So the third season of Lost is over. We had good fun with John Locke becoming more and more, well, Lockeian (see Two Treatises of Government). That guy knows how to labor the land! (Locke joke? Anyone? Well, ok then–nevermind). Also we were able to further practice our fear of Others and exercise our conviction that the Western subjects we identify with are the good guys. Hey, after all the most romantic moment in the finale was presented as the Korean fisherman’s ability to speak English! Assimilation is just too cute (and apparently necessary in order to save a marriage, be considered a hero and, well, generally to get laid). Finally we managed to push the Asian subject into its intended role as part of the model minority. Wohoo! And the general fear of Others and Western logocentrism: important ideological practice in times of terrorism, no? It just provides us with a feeling of safety when we can divide the world into a binary system of negative oppositions. Us good. Others bad. Nice.
But let’s talk about the season finale. First: pacing. It was too rushed. Since they seemingly had left so many plot strings open for the finale they really had to rush through all of them to get to this season’s cliffhanger. Slightly reminded me of the remake of the classic film Long Hot Summer (the original stars a young Paul Newman, Ava Gardner and Orson Welles) starring Don Johnson and Cybil Shepherd, which tried to complicate the plot of the original movie (the original script was written by William Faulkner, immediately telling you how necessary a further complication was), ran out of time toward the end of the movie and actually forgot to pick up some plot strings. Makes for one of the funniest endings in film history. You have scenes of a village mob running excitedly into the woods in order to …well, we don’t really know. They forgot to get back to that. Anyway, back to Lost. Badly paced. We did not even have time to do what is expected from us as gullible viewers, such as being outraged that three people were shot. I was just trying to muster up some outrage to get into the spirit of the show (after obviously knowing that they were not dead) and they just ruined it by telling me the shooting was fake. Give me more time to buy into this stuff! This fast-paced stuff was almost ironically Brechtian in its inability to provide me with some much desired mechanism for escaping the real world. Same thing with Locke’s suicidal thoughts. Lasted about 5 seconds. Not even enough for me to say the stereotypical things that are expected of me. I only got to: “oh no, not John, he…”–and the suicidal thing was already over. Nice resolution here, though, via bringing back Walt. Definitely made me smile. Also remarkable in this respect: two black characters that had not even been in a single shot for the entire season had multiple lines in the finale. Seems like they are beginning to realize that killing off all the black people was a little strange (to put it mildly). My favority suspension-of-disbelief-enjoyment moment: Hurly’s rescue. Aah, good old cheering-for-the-underdog satisfaction.
But about the most important aspect: the ending. We have had three seasons of flashback narrative and we have three seasons to go until the end of the show. Will those three be flash-forward narrative? And: was there anyone who liked the flash-forward? Don’t really think so. It tends to appear as a move that limits the previous open-endedness and unpredictability of the show in dramatic ways. But then again, the future, as opposed to the past, is not necessarily static–meaning, we know things may change (see Desmond’s personal struggle). The thing that interests me, however, is the fact that people really hated the future narrative. It is not because it was negative. There were a lot of negative past narratives in the show. It is because it is a determinism arising out of the positing of a(negative) teleology, which again tells me something I have mentioned before about the ways in which we are currently willing to imagine potentiality. Rather than turning toward the future we tend to locate potentiality and jouissance in the past, an affective structure mediated through nostalgia that manifests itself in the escapist fantasies perpetuated by Lost. It is this play on our present psychological struggles surrounding the ways in which we articulate our existence to the changed structural temporality of our global environment (especially in a post-9/11 world) together with the introduction of a new Other that makes me quite excited about season four (and this is also the thing that makes the show for me a valuable object of study–i.e. a mediation of the current US psyche in a post-9/11 global situation). But this is all obviously just the beginning of a discussion I would very much like to continue. So write me your thoughts on Lost and on the finale in particular, especially those that deal with the show’s connection to contemporary forms of anxiety and desiring structures.
Oh: and, of course, send me some possible answers to these important questions:
Will Jack be able to redeem himself and change the future, which seems to be an effect of his tragic decision to make the call?
Is Charlie truly dead?
Kate or Juliette? (I am still very much torn here.)
What’s up with Jacob (and the re-appearance of Walt, for that matter)?
Who is (will/might be) in the coffin?