JANUARY 20, 2011
AIRED: FEBRUARY 2, 2010
Usually I liked the idea of a two hour Lost (in its prime I could have watched it all day), but in the case of “LAX”, they should have split it in half and let me (and presumably others) enjoy the good first half on its own, then return to get disappointed by the 2nd half a week later. A wise man once pointed out why the ending of a movie is so important to get right – it’s what the audience remembers most about the overall experience. A lackluster movie with a great ending – you can come out feeling positive. On the other hand, a movie can be great for a while, but a terrible ending mars the experience and results in a lot of negative feelings (see: A.I.).
“LAX” is a case of the latter – the whole 2nd half, with the temple shit, is borderline awful, almost nearing “Fire + Water” territory with its inane, out of nowhere character actions and utterly horrid new plot developments. Honestly, I couldn’t care less if we ever got any explanation for the “temple” or where Zach and Emma went (or even Cindy, for that matter), and with 16 hours to go, I don’t want new characters! Hell, I LOVE John Hawkes, but both his character (Lennon – ugh) and Dogen are sub-Nikki and Paulo as far as I’m concerned. Apparently Hawkes didn’t think much of it either, so I feel a little less guilty about dismissing his appearance here, but it’s still pretty telling that the sight of a favorite character actor in subsequent episodes would cause me to groan instead of cheer.
One thing about re-watching this episode knowing what the flash sideways are all about – it’s a lot less confusing (i.e. Desmond on the plane), but I was expecting that. However, I had forgotten how many examples there were of what was my main problem with the ultimate answer (spoiler!) – if this was some sort of waiting room for Heaven, why is it so violent and confusing? Why does Kate’s idea of the afterlife involve fighting once again with the Marshal (p.s. him giving in to her bathroom request when she calls him “Edward” just adds to the “have these two fucked?” suspicion I’ve had for years) and holding cabbies at gunpoint? Why would Boone’s involve being in the coach section without his sister, who he probably would be trying to get to join the mile high club with him? It just added to the confusion a lot of people felt when the finale aired. “All this shit was heaven? Who gets shot at in heaven?”
But the island stuff, pre-Temple, is quite good. The fact that Juliet was still alive was a nice surprise (so Sawyer, Richard, Kate, and everyone else on that plane in the finale – they never get a death scene or any sort of wrap-up, but Juliet gets to die twice?), and Sawyer’s total hatred of Jack was terrifying and even sort of understandable. Most of the time they fight, I’m on Jack’s side, but Sawyer’s got the upper hand here – it really is his fault Juliet’s dead. Speaking of their rivalry, I love the moment where Kate wakes up and sees them both unconscious, and she has to “choose” who to help first (and my boy wins!).
The full on reveal of “Locke is the smoke monster is the Man In Black” is great too. Again I wish they had used it in the S5 finale, but it doesn’t make it any less significant here – it’s great that something legitimately shocks Ben for once. There’s some muddled storytelling in this section (why is the Man in Black “disappointed” with the Others? They didn’t work for him), and I don’t get why he smacks Richard around, but it gives Terry O’Quinn a renewed bit of energy, and I like how Smokey figures out a way to get around Bram’s little protective circle too.
And even though they’re not “real”, the flash sideways do allow for some nice character moments. The scene between Jack and Locke is quite nice (first time they’ve been civil to each other since what, Season 2?), and it’s always nice to see Arzt again. And good call on leaving out the tail section people (except for Cindy, never quite got how she was in the back of the plane since she walked further toward the front after giving Jack his drink and the plane crashed 30 seconds later), since they probably couldn’t have gotten them all back anyway – just don’t show the tail section! Problem solved. It’s a shame Eko never came back though – the promotional art for the 6th season showed EVERYONE, dead or not (even Vincent!), including our favorite drug dealing priest, but he never appeared.
Speaking of Eko – I wonder if his “church”, when finished, would have resembled the one they all ended up in at the end of the series before “moving on”. I always assumed that he would be building a Catholic church (the one he “owed” Yemi), but perhaps if he was around for a while it could have been modified to be multi-denominational. If so, I’m guessing the final scene wouldn’t have been so annoying to some, as it would have tied into something from the show. Oh well. Over the years, Cuse and Lindelof have never really spilled too many details on things that “could have been”, so I doubt we’ll ever know.
Where are we?