Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lost - "The Variable"

Poor Daniel. He deserved so much better.

Here was the one guy that we thought had the smarts and the awareness to unravel the island's mysteries and solve all of our heroes' problems, and he falls victim to a bad case of time traveler's irony. The time loop certainly helps to explain the cold, cryptic spookiness of Mrs. Hawking but doesn't do much to help us understand the larger purpose of Daniel's "experiments," or how he thought a hydrogen bomb would help -- on the other hand, as Chekov said, if you introduce a hydrogen bomb in act one, there better be a mushroom cloud by the end of act three (or something).

Meanwhile, I thought the writers did Daniel and the audience a disservice by having everyone (but Jack) respond to him as though he were a blithering idiot. The sweating, the crying, the memory losses, the greasy hair, the manic behavior, all added up to, as Sawyer described, a very "Twitchy" and unreliable Daniel. And he's the guy we're rooting for. Suddenly the season that felt like it was moving forward so well feels a little futile and pointless. And with just three hours left in the season, I suddenly don't feel like we're in very good hands.
  • We still don't know all that much about the Dharma Initiative, or this mysterious electro-magnetic power source, or why they were building the Orchid or the Swan.
  • We still don't know much about the Hostiles, where they came from, what they're up to, or why their camp is so easy to find.
  • We still don't know how any of these events relate to the purge and how the Hostiles came to take over the DI facilities as the Others.
  • We still don't know about the third faction of good/bad guys who are looking for whatever lies in the shadow of the statue.
  • And finally, we still don't know who Jacob is, what the smoke monster is, or why Richard Alpert never seems to age.
That's a lot of questions, and with our heroes still stuck in the 70s without their resident genius, its hard to have a sense of how things will unfold from here. Everything suddenly seems to have devolved to in-group bickering and the inevitable splitting into Sawyer, Jack, and Locke led factions, as well as "hey, why'd you shoot that guy who had important information to share"-style conflicts.