Maybe because we’re such big fans of Lost we expect too much. Because despite dwindling ratings (dirty little secret of 2009: Lie to Me is doing better on Wednesday nights than Lost), plenty of people seem to be onboard with the direction the show has taken. Even last night, the best episode of the season and an unqualified success–finally some focus and balance between the storylines!–we had some issues. We won’t even bother restating how silly the time travel stuff is, but suffice it to say, when Sawyer ran into Past Kate and Past Claire on the Island, we audibly groaned. (Where is a second Marty McFly when you need him?) And don’t even get us started on whatever is going on with Sun right now. No, last night our issues stemmed from the fact that it seems like Lost has gotten quite lazy with how it handles shocking reveals. If you haven’t watched the latest episode, we would suggest turning back now. Spoilers people!
Let’s start with one reveal that hasn’t actually happened yet, but surely will just as you’re sitting at your computer reading this. Miles Straume (Ken Leung) is going to end up being the little baby we caught a glimpse of in the cold open of the season premiere. One of the most prevailing theories at the time was that Miles would be Dr. Pierre Chang’s offspring, so people were obviously hip to this cool, albeit completely stupid, twist. So then did we really need a moment last night when Daniel Faraday told Miles that his oncoming time travel displacement (signified by his nose bleed) was brought upon because he had spent a lot of time on the Island previously? Hmm, wonder when that happened. Why don’t they just hold our hand and walk us towards the water next time?
Meanwhile, from the moment Charlotte found the wreckage of a French ship on the beach, following yet another time travel flash, it was clear we were going to encounter a young Rousseau. That’s something we can all get behind, but Lost teased that reveal out for a good fifteen minutes, literally sucking the life out of any jolt hearing her name at the end of the episode would have given. Come on guys, quicken the pace if you want to leave us mouth agape!
And though we’ll readily admit that seeing Jin float up on a piece of wreckage was shocking (though less so than you’d think since his name has been in the opening credits all season), the initial shock wore off extremely fast once we tried to figure out how it was possible that he was time traveling along with the other Island inhabitants. Not to get all geeky here, but at least Daniel and the people on the raft were “inside the radius” when the Island moved; Jin was on the freighter, which not only exploded, but also happened to be out past the helicopter The Oceanic Six were in. Yet Jin is the one who gets sucked in but the helicopter and freighter wreckage do not? It seems a tad too convenient. And yes, we’re saying that even though this is a show based solely on coincidence and convenience.
But we digress. Right now Lost is experiencing the “M. Night Shyamalan problem”. When a movie or television show pulls the rug out from under audiences too many times, the audiences start to expect and anticipate the twists. Mr. Shyamalan solved this by making movies that no one wanted to see (Lady in the Water, The Happening). Let’s hope Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof have a better solution up their sleeves.