A really good friend of mine died last month. I think I'm still trying to come to terms with his not being around anymore. I sit around in my room looking at old pictures on my laptop, I think back to all the crazy times we had, all the crazy fights we got into - it never mattered that we were both in love with the same woman, we understood one another, respected each other. I'll never forget the time we found that dynamite - we argued for hours over whether or not to use it, we probably shouldn't have, but I'll be damned if it wasn't entertaining. Those times are over, and the hardest thing for me to comes to terms with is that its over. They'll never be another day where we go out and just let loose, get into some crazy shenanigans and make it home by days end. My memories are fond ones, and that is all there is, the book is closed, our time is over. I have old smiles and old, tired eyes.
I miss him, I do. I still think that I'll turn my TV on and there he'll be, looking right back at me, feeling all guilty and responsible for something or other. I never got to find out so many things about him: what was the deal with his tattoos? What was up with his dad visiting him in that LA hotel lobby - wasn't he on house arrest over on that island of his? He had some pretty wild friends too who I have exactly 85 questions for.
I miss you Jack Shepherd, I do.
The tree looks like a parrot - a fine pirate he would be.
There really seems to be two schools of thought on the finale of Lost (spoiler free). One group feels that the character story arcs, Jack's especially, were fully realised and explored in a beautifully haunting way. The other(s) group simply feel outraged.
For what my two cents are worth - I fell somewhere inbetween - I'm bi curious. I will readily admit to tearing up a few times during the finale as I watched characters that I had grown to know and love crawl toward their collective destiny. I was deeply moved by Matthew Fox's portrayal of Jack, and goddammit the FALCON PUNCH that took us to a commercial break was perhaps the single greatest kick ass moment the series ever produced. His interactions with Kate, Desmond and ultimately his father were among his best work as an actor on the show, and I really hope he can move on from this to become as successfull as he deserves to be. I was quite upset with how Dawson/Joey everything ended up, very few of the couples who were obviously meant to be together were torn apart by fate!
And thats where the flash-sideways came in. I like it, thats all I'll say.
Damn she fine.
To be honest though, Lost had a lot of crap thrown in (see above paragraph). There were a lot of episodes, a lot of characters, a lot of subplots that were just ham-fisted and groan-inducing. But we kept through, we weathered the storm, partly because we were promised all along that every little thing contributed to the bigger picture, that everything was important, that it would all build to a dizzying conclusion. And when it really came down to it, we got fewer answers than a man interviewing a squid would. Even worse, we were burdened with other questions right up until the very end!
In coming to the end and looking back on the finale, now as I'm watching scenes on youtube, it becomes pretty evident that none of the other stuff really matters. The show had some of the most well defined, well rounded and fully realised characters that I've ever seen, and looking at the show from that perspective it was indeed a satisfying conclusion. In 5 years from now, you won't remember that we were gyped out of answers, you'll remember Jack and Kate, Juliet and Sawyer, hell even Charlie and Claire.
So now people are desperately clammering to fill the void left in their lives in a post Lost world - searching for the next addictive show that makes you realise that life is just an obstacle keeping you away from your television. To be fair, the networks are clamping out some right crackers next season - but will any of them ever hit that sweet spot? You know, that spot in your heart usually reserved for Sawyer's overly conditioned hair? I'd guess no.
The good news however, is that one show, a show with heavy ties to Lost, is really starting to come into its own. That show, is of course, Fringe. If any of you watched it the first season, or caught an episode here and there, you're really not doing it justice. Created/produced by JJ Abrams - who I think must be a really annoying person to live with;
Wife: 'Honey, why is there lipstick on your collar?'
JJ stares blankly at her. Long pause, Michael Giacchino sits in the corner playing some dramatic music. Cue title cards, opening montage. Fade back to alternate New York 1977, blimps fly high above the sky, the captain looks a lot like JJ, only with a beard and a bluetooth handset. They fly past a billboard advertising JBucks Coffee and another one for JJoogle.
Cut back to present day.
JJ: 'Hm. You're not ready for the answer yet dear'.
The show is much more than just a present day X-Files (the theme song to which still scares me to this day), there is an overarching plot, it is self-referential, there are gross-out moments, astounding continuity, scary bits, a smoking hot Australian doing a really bad American accent, partial nudity, robots, aliens, alternate universes, questions that get answered, they play RUSH(!), and, and, AND, it stars Pacey Witter. Asking for anything more than that would just be greedy.
Watch this show. My grace period for directionless TV usually ends at the conclusion of the first season - I decided to give this show another chance, and I watched the entire second season in the course of a week. Much akin to Lost, there are little clues hidden in each episode - a specific book on a table, an anagram written on a wall - each giving warning and precursing major events to follow. 'The Pattern', a set of cue cards dispersed within the show, depicting supernatural or just plain weird stuff (an xray of a six fingered hand, a frog with uneven limbs), is the shows alphabet. Decipher the code yourself and you get one word clues as to what a character's motive might be, or what an episode might deal with; recent examples including TRAITOR, MEMORY and PETERS.
The episode dealt with the actions of a man later revealed to be a character's father.
My favourite part however, is looking for the Observers in each episode - bald men wearing suits and bowler hats, who's job is to simply 'observe' important events in the universe. They have been around since the beginning of time, and are in every episode of Fringe - the trick is spotting them - you might see one crossing the street in the background, he might be waiting in line at McDonalds while a high speed chase is going on, he might even be just sitting on a bench reading the newspaper with only his shoes showing. It truly is such a fun game to play.
He sees you, did you see him?
Again, much like Lost, these easter eggs only add to the story. They are not integral to the plot, but they add so many more dimensions to the show if you find and understand them.
This whole post was meant to be about my thoughts on the ending of Lost. Ah well. Replace Lost with Fringe, and you'll be sorted.
And finally, some sage advice. Hell is getting to the gates of heaven with a blu-ray disc full of your life's greatest moments, only to find out that God backed HD DVDs. The moral, back whatever Microsoft back.
*Note: there were two Dawson's Creek references in this column. Next installment will have three.