Oceanic 815 castaways, the survivors, finally getting off their rescue plane, setting foot on the mainland, music swirling, loved ones embracing them in slow motion. This was supposed to be how Lost ended. This was the inevitable final scene of a series about ship-wrecked plane crash survivors. Or, at least that was the thought in seasons one and two, and for most of three. Once we saw the last scene of Lost’s third season, however, with Jack and Kate outside the air strip, we knew that Lost would not end with 815ers stepping on the mainland for the first time. Which is great – if Lost does anything, it’s toy with story conventions. I woudn’t have it any other way.
But, I couldn’t help but feeling a twinge of anti-climax last night when the Oceanic 6 got off that military plane. It was a cool way to do the scene (as the opener of a three-part finale) and we, of course, knew this scene occurred at some point, but still, it felt slight. A moment that should have been massive, wasn’t. This is not a bad thing, not necessarily, because it’s just another example of Lost’s intricately atypical storytelling devices, which we’ve all come to love. Now, we just have to wait for the last two hours of the finale to pass judgment.
Please, don’t take any of this as a complaint. I thought last night’s episode was very good, with the potential to be great, depending upon what we see from the final two hours. You can’t judge anything by its first act, so why bother trying? As stated above, it was weird seeing the Oceanic 6 step off that plane at the beginning of a mid-series episode. My reaction was visceral, but I knew the moment was inevitable, and I think the writers did a perfect job of not making a huge deal of a scene that every viewer knew was going to happen. The family reunions were touching, and my heart broke a little for Kate and Sayid when no one was there to greet them.
There’s no need to discuss any of the on-island/on-freighter stuff – it’s all set up for the final two hours. Having the castaways scattered around is a fun way to leave off during this torturous two-week Lost break we find ourselves in, and is reminiscent of other finales. It’s impossible to theorize how each of the Oceanic 6 come together and become the ones who are saved. Perhaps there is another list somewhere.
The real story about the episode last night was the format of the flash forwards. Although each flash forward scene had minor and major revelations, it felt patched together and a little sloppy, like Lindelof and Cuse had all this ground to cover in their quest to link all the action up to the final scene of season 3. I prefer the more focused flash backs and flash forwards. It kind of feels like cheating, jumping around between all of the Oceanic 6 members and telling their post-island stories. The plain truth is that this is likely a consequence of the writers’ strike and, if so, then I forgive it. Again, how the final two hours play out is astronomically important, and I suspect that it will all fit together nicely one the season ends.
That said, the flash forward scenes all played out exceedingly well. Claire’s mother, her confession to Jack, his inability to tell her the truth, plus her heartbreaking interaction with the grandson she may never know was expertly staged. Sun standing up to her father was slow-clap worthy, though another shoe has to drop in that story – I don’t buy that the Oceanic settlement was enough to buy a controlling share in her father’s company. And, seeing Hurley begin to go crazy right out of the gates was cool and answered some questions.
The main thing I took away from “There’s No Place Like Home: Part 1” was that we have to reserve any judgment until it’s all over. Lindelof and Cuse wrote the three-part finale as one script. Therefore, the episode last night was nothing more than a first act, and you can’t judge any story on its first act alone, as entertaining as it may have been.
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of ABC)