There are many reasons to be skeptical heading into next Sunday’s Lost finale: the massive expectations, the unevenness of Season Six’s quality, the limited number of successful television finales compared to the vast array of “disappointments,” etc. But there is one reason why I am still confident that the Lost series finale will be memorable for the right reasons: This show knows how to do finales, and “Exodus” was the first example of that.
As I’ve said before, I didn’t watch Season One as it aired, and even as I was catching up on DVD, I wasn’t totally sold on the series. There were moments of high suspense and taut action, but there were also stretches in which the show seemed to be spinning its wheels, and I found the flashback stories almost unbearably trite and boring at times. “Exodus,” the three-hour finale to the first season, was probably the first episode that made me see that there was something uniquely appealing about Lost. Continue reading »
There’s no doubt that a large reason for Lost’s initial success was its impressive pilot. Directed by J.J. Abrams, the first episode of Lost has both the intense feel of an action movie, and the enticing suspense of the first chapter of a mystery novel.
So many images from the pilot are obviously memorable. The opening shot of Jack’s eye, the sight of a pregnant Claire on the beach, the scene in which Kate stitches up Jack’s wound, and so many others have become burnt into Lost lore. The episode is stunningly visual—the first line of dialogue (aside from screams and cries for help, of course) doesn’t come until almost five minutes in, when Jacks asks Claire how many months pregnant she is. This comes amidst the famous opening sequence of Jack pulling bodies from the wreckage.
What stands out about these opening scenes, looking back, is how the priority of characters has changed. We see a lot of Michael, Walt, Shannon, and Boone, but Sawyer and Locke don’t even speak in the first hour. Even Vincent the dog seems more important than they do.
This is not to say that the writers and producers didn’t know what they were doing—just that the story they were setting up was clearly very deep. In fact, Abrams’ direction is impressive in its ability to capture the core of characters in single shots. Whether it’s something easy and simple, like Shannon painting her toenails on the beach, something obviously important but cryptic, like Locke sitting on the beach as the rain begins to fall, or something subtly telling, like Sawyer’s silent self-loathing as he smokes a cigarette, it’s clear that there is a very defined view of all these characters.* Continue reading »