16 May 2010

Lost - Season 3

Lost - Season 3
Starring
Naveen Andrews, Matthew Fox, Evangeline Lilly, Josh Holloway, Jorge Garcia, Terry O'Quinn, Elizabeth Mitchell, Henry Ian Cusick, Michael Emerson, Daniel Day Kim, Yunjin Kim, Emile de Ravin, Dominic Monaghan, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
Co-starring M.C. Gainey, Tania Raymonds, Mira Furlan

Developed by
Jeffrey Lieber, J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof
Transmission season: 2006-2007
ABC, 23 episodes, 43 mins.


Plot
: Oceanic 815 survivors have even more problems on their plate, this time in the for
m of "the Others", a group of baddies that live on the other side of the island and aren't too keen on having them take up space on 'their' land.

Now
that was awesome. Through the course of the entire season, I feel like I've just went through a roller-coaster ride. Season 3 was filled with so much emotion, so many thrills episode to episode, filled with so many awesome and immensely interesting characters and storylines - I can safely say I dug it more than the second season and first season. Seriously, I was throwing in disc after disc - and it's finals week, mate! I need to study!!! However, it's top ranking may not last long - I just picked up the fourth season from the library, and I have yet to hear a negative word against that truncated season. So, we'll see, but the intensity of season 3 would be hard to top.

The Season

This year is all about the Others, expanding info on the Dharma Initiative, and continuing to build on the island mythology. The sad thing is, though, even with nearly the entire year dedicated to the Dharmas and the Others, I still don't get their motives or purpose on the island. Eh, I'll tackle that a little later. Month three of the Oceanic 815's residence on the island is truly chaotic - at least for our main leads. The group on shore are rather aimless, spending a majority of their time questioning what to do now, brainstorming new ideas of rescue, and a unexpected pregnancy is about the big news that happens to them.

Our main groupies - Jack, Sawyer, and Kate, have been caged by the Ot
hers, beaten up and 'experimented on.' The true essence of these first six episodes is the character of Ben Linus (aka the impostor Henry Gale from season 2), watching this rather short and freaky-looking dude manipulative people to do anything he pleases, which makes him a frighting individual. His cool, calculating voice, never wavering unless he's truly provoked - yeah, I get why Michael Emerson gets a lot of attention. Let's not forget his stunning backstory in "The Man Behind the Curtain."

We also get to meet a new cast member, Juliet, a woman he initially really comes off as quite a bitch. Even though I knew she would be around up t
o the end of season 5, I was really hoping the Smoke Monster or a giant polar bear would just kill her in a very ouch-filled manner. Of course, her flashbacks throughout the season help flesh out her character, and add a bit more sympathy, but truth be told, Juliet is a tough woman to get a fix on. Even as her character progression at the end is cloudy, and her loyalties are never fully determined - which of course heightens drama and continues the thrilling Lost model of ambiguity, but even when she helps Sun in a later episode, I never really got a sense of her humanity. It's like she's a Dharma Initiative robot, or has been around Ben too long and has become as cold and calculating as he has.

"A Tale of Two Cities", the opening episode, is terrific."Further Instruc
tions" (S03E03) is not. Locke, currently suffering from momentary lack of voice ('until he has something to say'), enters a spiritual dimension to locate Eko, who has been missing since the hatch implosion. Alright, I can deal with that - sounds pretty cool, even. But the whole Eko-captured-by-polar-bear bit...yeah, not so cool. In fact, Mr. Eko is terribly wasted in the two episodes he's in. It would make better sense to have killed him off when the hatch imploded.

Alright, back to the Jack/Sawyer/Kate thing - it's tense, really, super duper tense. Kate and Sawyer are beginning to bond heavily, and I can't help but purr and ahhhhh when they make their little cuddly faces to each other. Jack can't tolerate being caged, 'losing' so to speak, and he devises a friggin' awesome plan in "I Do". So Jack succeeds in getting Kate and Sawyer out of the Others' hands, he does good on his promise to Ben, and then the focus shifts to the two escapees getting back to camp.

Well, now's a good of time as any: why were Kate, Sawyer, and Jack treate
d in the manner that they were? What is the primary goal of the Others? Juliet was recruited for her fertility research, Ben is just a head honcho, and Tom is the older Dwayne Johnson character. But what are they doing, and why the hell did they think it necessary to taunt, beat, and shoot at our beloved trio? In regards to Jack, I understand Ben was planning to manipulative him into doing something for him, and perhaps hurting Kate and Sawyer was the best avenue of coercion. I guess I'm frustrated because the treatment of Kate and Sawyer, and the whole purpose of them doing so, is too cloudy, and what the Others are even doing ('something special', they keep on saying over and over again) is never explored or explained.

The remainder of the season is pretty good, and then the two-hour finale comes upon us, and it's like, "Holy friggin' crap! COOL!" With Juliet tagging along Jack and Kate to their camp, she expectedly receives a lukewarm welcome, Jack being the only one who really trusts her. While this is going on, Locke is losing his bloody mind. I don't get his motivation, I don't get what continues to drive him other than his anointment of being 'special', but he stays with the Others, hangs around Ben, and overall seems directionless. However, I will say Locke/Sawyer get a MAGNIFICENT episode in "The Brig", where Locke gets Sawyer to do his dirty work for him. The episode is suspenseful and utterly dramatic - a series high point. By the end of the season, though, Locke seems lost. He kills someone - something I found rather uncharacteristic, but whatev - to stop something 'bad' from happening, and then just leaves. Um, yeah.

When "Through the Looking Glass" originally aired, it definitely stirred a lot of O!M!G! reactions, and understandably so. By the finale's conclusion, the game has changed, a end to the series appears to be in sight, and so many news questions are raised and offers a extremely intriguing path for the series to follow. All in all, a great season.


The Characters
Jack spends the most of the season frustrated by his captivity by the Others, rather adventurous and ballsy, and quite determined by the finale to get the frak off the island. As a character, I would say he grows stronger. Kate, too, I would add to that category. Sawyer probably gets the best pay-off, what with his blossoming romance with Kate and his fulfillment of revenge in "The Brig", his character definitely gets to shine this season.

A much undeveloped character gets his due this season, although it's sad he's given great material to work with just when he reaches a tragic end. The character I speak of, is of course, Charlie. Severely annoying and manipulatively written, Charlie was never a character to really like or take seriously, and sorta came across to me as Edward to Claire's Bella: always watching and stalking. So it's fantastic to see Dominic Monaghan work his wide range of skills as Charlie comes to terms with Desmond's visions of his death, and even face his destiny head-on in the finale.

The character of Desmond is given given a greater capacity to shine, and boy is th
is 'brotha' one hell of a awesome dude. His love story with Penny (the gal from The Librarian!), his duel of respect against her father (the dude from The O.C.!), his self-hatred about his cowardice, and his never-ending goal to help Charlie avert his fate. Desmond is probably one of the most unique and interesting characters on that island, and his ability to see snippets into the future and also survive a electromagnetic explosion is remarkably awesome and intriguing.

Misc.

I made a horrible error in my Lost - Season 2 review: I neglected to mention the work of composer Michael Giacchino. Doing such is, in my opinion, tantamount to a really bad sin. It's difficult to express how closely the success of Lost and the thrill and emotion it conveys is tied to Giacchino's terrific, magnificent score. If you've never watched a episode of Lost in your life, and maintain that you have no intention of doing so, I nevertheless implore you to do a blind buy of Giacchino's stuff. He's the John Williams of this age - a master at work, creating gorgeous works of music that deserves to be listened to over and over and over again. So, yeah, Giacchino rocks!

There's one thing I would like to mention that sorta irks me, and that's the time lapse between when a story element is introduced and when it's picked up again. Sometimes, a cliffhanger finale isn't resolved until two or three episodes down the line, which can be ridiculously maddening. I understand why they do that - I get it, I do; and I have no doubt it was more frustrating at a week-by-week basis, but a story follow-up with the next episode isn't necessarily a bad thing, guys.

And it's quite cool that the writers are already introducing elements that tie in with the greater Lost mythology (as I understand it from seasons 5 & 6 spoilers), such as the character of Jacob and Richard Alpert. That's kinda uber-nifty.

Final Words

The third season of Lost is terrific, and one hell of a high-energy rollercoaster of a ride. Moreso than season 2, I was flipping from one episode to the next, anxious to find out what happens next. This season benefits from the addition of Ben Linus and the enigma that is the Others, proposing many new questions, bringing in plenty of new obstacles and characters, giving payoffs to standing subplots and character arcs, introducing a season-long fight with fate in the form of Charlie's dilemma, and the stunning finale which offers a new direction and fresh ideas. Damn this show is awesome.

2 comments:

jeremythecritic said...

Excellent review and analysis of a season I thought was a mixed bag at the time but now that I look back on it the writers clearly knew where they were going. It only gets much, much better from here and while I had the same reaction to Juliet as you did at first, she became (next to Ben) my favorite character in the following seasons. The season 3 finale was a huge turning point for the show and maybe the best episode in the series.

Andy the Time Lord said...

Thanks, Jeremy!

I definitely think watching the entire season on DVD format helped form my appreciative opinion overall, because I'm quite sure if I waited a week-by-week basis I would be uber aggravated with the season and its seemingly lack of movement.

Re: Juliet. Just finished season 4, and still not so sure of her. I now know where her allegiance is, but her character was thrown too much into the background for her to evolve (despite 'The Other Woman'). But this season has cemented my love for Ben, especially the last episode.

The finale was great - but holy freakin' crap, the season 4 finale was a coalescence of all these beautiful, gorgeous elements: writing, acting, directing, score, editing. Now that was one hell of a two hour piece of television!