Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A remembrance of Seasons Past: The hatch

So, here comes the second of a five part series of really short reflections on seasons gone by. I kind of free-associated what I remember to be the emblematic sounds, images, characters and scenes of the season in question. But they could never be the only ones, and you're most welcome to comment on your own selections.

Season 2:'Lost' departed in Season two. It departed from hopes of imminent rescue, and from the physical drama of eking out an eating, drinking, disease-free existence in the wilderness. It departed from the hothouse collision of 40+ (for dramatic purposes, 12+) strangers forced to regress into a rough collective of survivors. The show has been continually moving since that first departure, but the rush of leaving, the absolutely novel contours of the first port, and the depth of mystery we were able to glimpse there makes Season Two my favorite season of Lost.

I have the sense that this isn't a common position--that conventional wisdom is that pushing the button was a gimmick that should have lasted 2 episodes, not an entire season. I've also read the creators themselves, and Terry O'Quinn, talking about the mounting frustration they felt as they were forced to keep Locke in the hatch, hour after hour, pushing the button. It may have been maddening, but I am enchanted by its sheer simplicity, and its ability to formalize the key conflict of the entire series--Why are we here?--in relentlessly awesome pseudo-sciencey trappings. It's old news now, but could anyone, in their absolute wildest predictions, have guessed what awaited our castaways in the Hatch?? Darlton have said that they take their missteps in stride because without a willingness to go so far out there and court failure, they wouldn't have the successes we all love them for. The opening of Season 2 represents a massive risk, and stands as a peerless success.

The Sound:

The hatch computer timing out. Leading to the crash, and the entire series...nuff said.

The Image:

The numbers: "Enter exactly what I tell you. And nothing else."

The Character:

And...it's a tie between Eko and Locke. Both men of faith, but Eko's was a faith that his journey had ended, while Locke's was a faith that his special purpose was yet to really begin. Perhaps no character on 'Lost' is thought to have met a more premature end than Mr. Eko. While it wasn't until Season 3 that he died, it was in Season 2 that Eko became the powerful presence that we still miss. Still, Darlton has said that Adewale's desire to leave the show left them the room necessary to further develop Ben Linus into a major component of the show--so, not the worst of exchanges. As far as Locke, the biggest arc of the season is, essentially, Locke's own arc. The writer's took us into the depths of elation, piety, petulance, anger, and heroism of this extraordinary character. Taking the long, long view, there isn't a single more original and compelling character on 'Lost' than John Locke, and this was the season that the writers and O'Quinn took us into the bare heart of the man.

The Scene:

Jack. Locke. The Hatch. The Button. Faith. Science. Mindgames. Absolute fracking brilliance. Watch the whole thing. It primes you for the final 15 seconds, which have probably already been the seed for a thousand discussions in Philosophy 101 classes.
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