'Lost' in Thought
Season two finale answers a couple questions, raises more
First of all, this season's final episode paid off much better than the conclusion of last season. Although a number of long-running questions (the monster, who's behind Hanso/Dharma, the mysterious visions) are still wide open and new ones (How 'bout that giant four-toed statue?) were raised, knowing that the hatch computer had a purpose and what (probably) caused Oceanic Flight 815 to crash provided some satisfaction that was lacking a year ago.
But, since showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have a series to sustain, they couldn't very well explain everything (if they're even able to). Given what we've seen, though, there are a number of intriguing directions "Lost" can venture into starting next fall. Starting with ...
For me, the most intriguing aspect of the show has always been the implicit (and in a number of cases, explicit) connections between so many of the crash survivors. But if "system failure" truly was what caused the plane to crash, that would mean that simple bad luck, not necessarily some grand design, brought everyone to the island.
I still think those connections between the passengers are real, if only because they've been played too prominently so far to be dismissed out of hand. But the writers also seem to be reminding us that this story is at its core a human one, and humans rarely get the chance to enact a master plan. The opposition of faith and science, fate and coincidence underpinned much of this season; it looks like that won't let up next year.
I feel sorry for Locke -- the guy just can't seem to find a belief system that has any sort of shelf life. The man has bounced from pinning his hopes on his dad to an Australian walkabout to the island to the hatch, and nothing seems to stick. The look on his face when he told Eko, "I was wrong," was tragic. Terry O'Quinn deserves a repeat Emmy nomination for his performance this season.
Dharma, Hanso and Widmore
Locke's latest crisis of faith was caused by his discovery of another Dharma hatch which appeared to show that his devotion to "the button" was based on nothing. We now know that not to be true, but more intriguing was Jack et al's discovery of the Pneumatic Tube to Nowhere and the dumping ground for all those journals recording activity in the Swan hatch.
I'm starting to wonder if Dharma and the Hanso Foundation aren't just an elaborate house of cards put up by the show's other shadowy, oft-referenced organization, Widmore Industries. I'm convinced that the "quarantine" is a red herring -- or, even if crazy Frenchwoman Danielle is to be taken at her word, that whatever killed her cohorts is no longer a threat. And a supposedly altruistic venture like Dharma/Hanso would be a good front for possible profiteering from experiments on a strange energy source.
Speaking of which ...
Last night's final scene, involving two Brazilians in some polar research outpost and Desmond's long-lost love Penelope, seemed to put to rest the notion that the characters are in purgatory (something the producers have been naysaying from day one). A popular theory now seems to be that the weird electromagnetic properties of the island have somehow kept it uncharted over the centuries.
So, now that the EM field has been (apparently) dissipated and the anomaly detected, does that mean Penelope can just go to Google Earth and find the place? And will anyone be affected by the big pulse that engulfed everyone?
Perhaps the most interesting line Wednesday night came from the mouth of Not-Henry Gale: "We're the good guys." We still don't know who they are, why they wear fake beards and use fake names ("Zeke" is really Tom, "Miss Clue" is Dee) or where they came from. But it seems clear that they really believe what they're doing is right, and will employ whatever methods they deem fit (like kidnapping children and killing other crash survivors) to achieve their goal. Not-Henry is clearly the leader on the island, but a lot of theorists seem to think that "Him" is probably Widmore (played by "The O.C.'s" Alan Dale), which fits with the idea that Widmore Industries has a big stake in the island.
If they really are good guys, though, what do the Others (or the Hostiles, if you prefer) want with a murderer (Kate), a con man (Sawyer) and a doctor with a God complex (Jack)? And why would they banish a genuinely good guy in Hurley?
A lot more happened in the episode -- Libby meeting Desmond, that statue, Inman's (Clancy Brown) post-Iraq sojourn with Dharma -- that would take too much time to cover here. One other question I'd like to see answered next season, though: Who the heck was Rudzinski? He was apparently the man who started the invisible map of all the hatches and taught Inman to fake a lockdown. Is he the key to understanding the Dharma Initiative? A guy could get lost trying to figure all this stuff out.