tirsdag, juni 15, 2010

Lost: Season 5

I detest the fifth season of Lost with a furious passion. The awful lackluster quality of this season makes the franchise a prime example of how television shows that usually begin with so much promise often suffer the depressing outcome of degenerating into a messy, unsightly morass of gibberish due to its producers' eagerness to milk their concepts with such indiscriminate abandon that interesting stories eventually become the pitiful victims of their own creators.

I don't know what to make of its ending yet - whether it is designed that way so that alternate realities can be explored in Season 6 (which I haven't begun watching - I'm behind times; I know, I know) or whether it heralds an immense shift in the course of history; but if it is the latter, then I think that the show's vision of time travel is logically flawed. If they truly managed to affect past events, then their plane would never have crashed in the first place - and that would not have led to their later return to the island, which means they could not have done what they did to shift the route of history, and that, in turn, necessitates that they would be in a plane crash after all, ad infinitum.

Perhaps one would attempt to resolve this glaring problem by making the same suggestion as my friend did: the characters prevented the occurrence of that particularly crucial incident - which would cause their plane to severely malfunction - in a completely parallel world, which had hitherto been wholly identical to the universe presented in previous seasons, and which would otherwise have continued to unfold in exactly the same fashion, if not for the intervening actions of the characters. This solution would also mean those characters were very suddenly transplanted into the parallel realm - it would be utterly appropriate to think of them as aliens, materialising from nowhere, who shared human properties.

It is really not an uneducated proposal, but I do not think it is a good defence of the plausibility of the plot - if I am correctly informed, causal relations cannot hold across parallel galaxies, i.e., when the characters boarded the flight to go back to the mysterious island, they could not possibly have ended up in a different universe. Even if my knowledge of Physics proves to be embarrassingly wrong, another counter-argument can be launched by making references to the show itself - let us grant that the characters in Lost ended up in a parallel world when they decided to revisit the island. The invocation of parallel universes is supposed to render intelligible the idea of re-authoring the past, but its purpose is unfortunately defeated when we consider the fact that Sun would not have seen the group photo taken thirty years ago by her friends in the present if the other characters had indeed modified history in a parallel cosmos. I am quite afraid that my counter-argument can probably only be adequately understood by viewers who have already watched the fifth season.

Anyway, kindly allow me to move on.

Another major gripe I have is with the implications entailed by the introduction of time travel - because of this plot device, the actions of the characters were no longer autonomous; they did what they did not because they genuinely wanted to, but because they really had no other option. Their future sauntered back into the past, which had already happened, and there was simply no way they could have successfully erased and rewritten the events in history. The metaphysical impossibility of changing the past unavoidably ended up compromising the integrity of the characters' conduct - the set-up in Lost brought about the inexorable consequence that time moved unstoppably in an immutable course, and it was precisely for this reason that the agents' behaviour became absolutely bereft of meaning - the characters were actually just waiting passively for things to occur even though they might have felt like they were freely acting out of their own volition; their deeds were dictated to them, their destiny foisted upon them, though they might have bought into the attractive, seductive illusion of possessing free will.

Their future was already fully determined; everything was inalterably preordained, destined, irresistible, unchangeable. The nature of such a state of affairs robbed them of their free will and negated the beauty of serendipity - coincidences became kismet; luck became fate. And that was the most unbearable thing, to me, about the fifth season of Lost.

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