I know, I know. I promised myself that April was going to be a big month for this blog. I was going to post new stuff almost every day. But it hasn't worked out very well this week.
I'm almost through the DVD's of Lost Season 3, but I'll wait till I'm done with them to write more about that. Last night, Lost returned to hiatus with a ferocious episode that seems to be setting up a mad rush to the season finale. Characters die! Characters we thought were dead improbably survive! Expectations are thwarted! Expectations are met!
And watching last night's episode, it occurred to me how much of Lost is an exercise is cute structural tricks. The opening flash-forward sets up a mystery that we know we'll probably see answered by the season finale. The first scenes at the beach set up another mystery that will probably be answered soon. ABC's promos have told us that at least one character will die in this episode, so when Sawyer gets caught out in the open with snipers shooting at him, we think, "Oh no, not Sawyer!"
But he dodges a hail of bullets trying to save Claire, only to have her house blow up before he can get to it, and we think, "Oh no, not Claire!" but we're also thinking, "So this is why she didn't escape with Aaron," so mystery solved. But turns out she's okay, and the real death, when it comes, is a shock.
Meanwhile, the flash-forwards answer a mystery from a previous episode: why did Sayid agree to work with Ben?
Meanwhile, previous episodes have told us about the Oceanic Six, the six crash survivors who made it back to civilization--Jack, Kate, Aaron, Hurley, Sayid, and Sun. But those six are still separated. So when we get a scene late in the episode which sets up their reunion, we think, "Okay, finally, they're all getting together." But it's not to be. By the end of the ep, they're still separated, and one's heading in the wrong direction.
But the thing that makes Lost work for me (and it doesn't work for lots of people I know) is the way the writers are able to work really good character moments in among the tricks. The scene which teases at getting the Oceanic Six together segues into a really nice confrontation between Locke, Sawyer and Hurley that works because of the layers of character development that have occurred over the past three-and-a-half seasons.