Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Talking Point: Where is the payoff? LOST 6x06 "Sundown"

This week's episode of LOST-6x06 "Sundown", left me feeling unsatisfied. So far, every episode this season has been like watching a football game. In the NFL there are four quarters and each last fifteen minutes. In reality the game takes around three hours. During all that time, all actual game play lasts only twelve minutes on average. In comparison, I equate an episode of LOST to be about seven minutes of shit actually happening and the other 35 minutes to getting jerked off to no end.

Here is how I experienced LOST 6x06 "Sundown",
--Sayid flash-sideways:I love Nadia (yeah we know)
--Sayid banished
--commercial break

--flash-sideways: I love Nadia
--Sayid not banished
--commercial break

--flash-sideways: I love Nadia
--Sayid leaves temple: No cool, revealing answers. We found out why Dogen sent Sayid out, which was a question posed this episode. An example of the "answers" being revealed in season six.
--commercial break

--Sayid flash-sideways:I love Nadia and I kill people
--Sayid comes back to temple
--commercial break

--Shit actually happens except its all crammed into a frantic, sloppily edited seven minutes.
--dumb slow-motion
In a nutshell, it was Sideways Sayid doing what Sayid always does (killing people and loving Nadia) followed alongside Sayid walking around back and forth from the temple, and concluded with the smoke monster attacking the camp. LAME.

Anyway, the point is, I say its time for some pay-off. I mean REAL pay-off, things that are clearly fundamental to the bigger picture. I don't mean answers that leave us with new questions, I don't mean answers to shit that was introduced an episode prior, I am talking about answers to what is at the heart of the story.

Everything in season six seems like set-up. We've had five season's of set-up. It's season two and the beginning of season three all over again; the writer's buying time until they "make their move". Do the show-runners think that the only thing of value they have left to keep people watching are the answers? Obviously not, because they keep wasting my time with lame character flash-sideways bullshit. Yet its as if they know that once the viewers have a clear understanding of what things are, the people won't tune in for their excuse of an episode that consists of Jack going to get a haircut only to see Locke in the background! OOOOweeeeeOOOO!

I am starting to think the writer's know they can't do anything compelling without some mysterious connection and once that is gone the flaws will become apparent. When addressed most critically, LOST is about uninteresting, annoying characters acting out a story that is a mishmash of various cultural "homages" (some near-plagarism) masked behind a vale of mystery and "innovative" non-linear story telling that does nothing but confuse the unassuming Joe-everybody viewer into thinking it's something original and entertaining.

I am sorry, but LOST's storytelling and characters are not good enough - despite some people's opinions - to keep me going. My faith is wavering because the producers have said shit is going to make sense and be cool in the past, only to have it become one of the lamest things ever. Nikki and Paulo, anyone? The only thing keeping me in the game at this point is my quest for answers and the social aspects that come with watching the show.

I know I am not the only one feeling this way. Hell, I have hung on a lot longer than many people: I didn't lose faith and quit watching when season two and three dragged on with no apparent reason. But now I have waited long enough. STOP STOP STOP doing character shit! I KNOW the characters. I don't need more flash-anything!

Phew...anyway, my friend Francesca summed up my attitude best: I am not enjoying the ride and I'm in it for the payoff. She on the other hand is enjoying the ride and could care less for the payoff. I think this is a fair assessment. She likened it to One Piece (which, since only seven people watch, will be irrelevant to most). I enjoyed the Skypeia arc for the ride, even though it didn't have any direct repercussions to the overall plot. Francesca was frustrated by its lack of apparent relevance; especially with the knowledge of what follows.

In the end, I suppose I am just not invested in LOST's characters enough to enjoy the journey. If you like LOST's characters and more of the same flash-whatever crap, then you are probably enjoying season six. If you are more concerned with answers and the bigger picture, you are probably frustrated like me.


  1. Well, I liked it quite a bit more than you did, though your points aren't unfounded. Without stepping over my own post, I'll just say that I found the island events to be suitably tense, building up to an explosive climax.

    I thought the Sideways Sayid stuff being no different than regular Sayid was significant. Most of the other flashsideways show the characters in a better place, but this one showed that no matter what reality he's in, Sayid can't escape his violent ninja past. And I think that's important, especially in an episode where Island Sayid basically turns to the Dark Side. If the Sideways reality is some kind of reward, that suggests Sayid isn't getting one.

    Your concerns that, as the ABC promos like to say, the time for questions is over but we're still getting questions are certainly justified, but I try to keep myself from judging an episode based solely on how many questions it answered. That's harder to do in an episode like "What Kate Does" which, without any answers, is kinda lame. For me, this episode was good enough that I didn't mind the lack of answers.

    But they are running out of time. Hopefully next week's Ben episode will have a good chunk of mythology stuff. His episodes usually do.

  2. I agree that Sayid being the same as his alternate counterpart was important. I can't see any other way they could have established that. The problem, in this case, and the Kate episode, was that there wasn't enought action packed,"on-island" stuff to balance out the "this is uneventful, but will be important" flash-sideways.

  3. That's true. Like a lot of Lost episodes, and unfortunately, a lot of lesser Lost episodes, they saved the big moments for the last few minutes.

    Personally, I was enthralled enough by the growing tension at the temple that I didn't mind that not a whole lot was going on, but looking back, I can't really argue they didn't save the big stuff for the end once again.

    I think all of the Flashsideways will play so much better upon a rewatch when we know exactly what they are and what they mean. For now, they sink or swim based solely upon who they're focused, i.e. Locke=good, Kate=bad.