When a show has been on the air for six seasons like Lost has, it’s inevitable that there will be a few episodes that just flat-out disappoint you. I don’t know about the rest of you, but last week’s episode, “Across the Sea,” was exactly that kind of episode for me. I even tweeted that I considered it “The Midichlorian Episode.”
For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have regularly compared the audience’s demand for answers to all the various mysteries of Lost to the midichlorians of Star Wars. For those who still have no idea what I’m talking about, in the 1999 Star Wars prequel The Phantom Menace, George Lucas came up with a extraordinarily lame explanation for what “The Force” is and how it works. Their point was that they could give you answers to all of the Lost mysteries, but you probably wouldn’t like them and the questions are more fun than the answers anyway.
So with last week’s episode, depicting the origins of Jacob and the Man in Black, I felt that the show crossed over into the territory of trying too hard to come up with answers that weren’t really necessary. Some of it was cool, but a lot if just didn’t work for me (the faux-mythic melodrama, the occasionally cheesy effects). It almost felt like a bonus episode that you would find later on the DVD. I was perfectly content with the information that we got from “Ab Eterno,” where Jacob explained to Richard that the Island was a cork. I also didn’t like the placement of the episode. We’re really at the end of the show now. Smokey/Fake Locke is waging war on the candidates and has killed half of them and so now we’re going to take a time out for an Island history lesson? It really disrupted the momentum of the show. We’ve been told all along that the focus of the show is the characters, not the mythology, and this episode, coming so close to the end, contradicted that.
But I’m not writing to just dump on the show I love. And I genuinely do love this show, even if this final season has occasionally left me frustrated. I knew going into this season that I had to let go of my expectations and let the producers tell the story they want to tell. I’ve listened to a couple of podcasts this week where the Lindelof and Cuse have discussed the polarizing response to “Across the Sea.” They’re general response is that they were pleased with the episode and that “this is what answers look like on Lost.” So I’m choosing to trust these guys and trust that there is a reason why they wanted to tell this part of the story at this point in time. There are only three and a half hours left in this story, and I want to enjoy them to the fullest. I’m still invested in Jack and Kate and Sawyer and Hurley and everyone else who’s left, and I want to know what happens! I still have faith that these last few hours will be thrilling, satisfying, and yes, probably a little perplexing too. I can’t wait. What are your thoughts on this season as we reach the end? What questions do you still want answered?