I’ve just watched today two series which ended with some answers. Of course…spoilers…hehe. Something quick off the top of my head on both series.
Lost finished at the wee early hours this morning UK time, since it was streaming live from the USA (with all the inadvertently poorly timed breaks that implies where it had a stock title card saying “Streaming live from the USA”, heh).
It was pretty fun; an enjoyable ending to a series which otherwise thrives on simply being over the top in all aspects of secrecy. It did come off as rushed in so far as, I think, they should have much better paced the earlier seasons so it didn’t seem like the overarching reason was just thrust upon everyone at the start of this season.
Also the two worlds; who knows if the sideways “happy” world is actually heaven or something (frankly; who cares? they’re happy!), but that ended well as could be considering they had next to no time to get a plot in there. Frankly I watched it mainly for this part of the story, especially with all the nods to past characters – although oddly missing, to me, Walt, Michael and Eko – presumably unavailable for casting.
The other world, well, the writers were pretty much dicks here. Suddenly the smoke monster has motives and is essentially human, which while putting a nice perspective on earlier scenes with him then goes and bowls a fast one on other things in this series making no sense. Seems no one has any clue – the smoke monster has no idea what to do after killing Jacob (how’d he have any idea if Desmond was killed? What if he’d had blown the sub and there were no more candidates to show him the way to the pool?). The mythology is inconsistent – no one else turns into a smoke monster (even when Desmond pulls the plug – a plug which is man made. I can accept it is life force, or magic, underneath – but who built all this stuff originally?), and no one ever explains how Sayid was raised from the dead yet no one else is. Then they are pretty much dicks about who lives and dies. The Others all die. Charles Widmores people all die. The Pilot? He miraculously survives since they need to fly the plane (for no real reason except artistic imagery on the final shot – the Island fails to sink after all), but Sayid, Sun and Jin die poetically and perhaps having some redemption in the case of Sayid – but rather stupidly. It gives the characters conclusions, but then makes me wonder why they didn’t do this for the other characters.
The Others and Widmores people also only seem to arbitrarily be barriers to doing anything too, and all die anyway. It’s bizarre both that The Others get no direction from Jacob yet Jacob had such a long term plan (which was implied he has no hope in by this very action!) as to be able to convert Widmore to bringing Desmond to the island to be the backup plan. You might as well bring a nuke like they did in the past, it’d make shorter work of the island since Desmond would basically sink it anyway it seemed. We still have no idea what Widmore ever wanted with the island with his freighter either – the rather-still-unnamed power of the island? Yet he knew the smoke monster was bad? Huh?
Oh, poor Others. So put down upon. Cannon fodder to the last. I really wish they had a more active role in doing something. In any case, just proves it basically was kind of rushed – characters swinging from in character to “must do plot action” every few scenes (Ben especially, although I do see why he killed Charles of course) didn’t help matters. They also missed opportunities for more interactions with ghosts/spirits (did they get set free? who knows! it was a plot point a few episodes ago…), and time travel – one of the major things Desmond was doing loads of. Shame there is no epilogue, and no further explanation of the Dharma/Hanso stuff that was the main part of the first half of the program.
But it was at least partially satisfying – both to get the smarmy bad guy killed (or…is he? I really couldn’t care, he’s sadly setup to be more deep and clever then he ever actually is), and to get some kind of conclusion even if the way to that conclusion didn’t make much logical sense.
Ashes to Ashes
A series I watched on and off for season 3, mainly because it had some good characters but I didn’t like the lead female Drake, so meh (she was if nothing but annoying – so I missed most of season 1 and 2). I caught up with it towards the end and then got to see a much more satisfying conclusion episode then Lost was.
British Brevity to the rescue – although I’d have liked to have seen the original Life on Mars go for another season and end the same way or something. Compared to Lost, it sticks with a smaller cast, and a consistent reason behind things. It’s great – you see in the final episode, mainly that the entire world of the 1970’s/80’s is a limbo for coppers who have been killed, before they move onto heaven, with Gene Hunt being the epicentre basically without knowing how it started – himself being killed in a violent act and forgetting, ending up in a world that revolves basically around him helping whoever joins his crew (with some long term people needing additional help it turns out). When his team are let down and even shown the truth by a devil-like character who obviously wants to take them to his “Department” – ie; hell – he physically loses presence and only Drakes belief gets him going again. Very interesting!
I can’t recall another thing so overtly using the limbo/gateway world to span series and have it make so much sense. Of course it allows for a good layering of procedural police episodes to be mingled with some good foreshadowing, longer time plotting and character development. A great resolution – in so far as people move on but Gene Hunt still can find other coppers to sort out (as one trounces in the door), so nothing is left unresolved – while it can be taken that you still do not really know if the world is, in itself, real in some way – is it all just a collective place made up of memories of others? Are there actually a great number of other people in limbo there? (Was for instance Viv in a similar situation?). Do the actions in that world affect or parallel the real world consistently? For instance, saving parents or younger versions of themselves, did Drake and Sam Tyler do any real good? I hope so and at the very least it is implied it truly helps themselves find peace.
Since apparently the devil personified in Jim Keats can’t just steal people away and needs them to go willingly, and also can’t just out information instantly from the world, it implies laws similar to the real world however cinematic it turns out to be, and gives Jim some real reason for being so suave yet, such as with Viv, so uncaring (why did he put his hand on the poor mans throat after all?). There are additional things like Drake trying to find information and (like a persons memory) some of it is unavailable or hidden, hard to prise out, especially from Gene himself, and Jim can’t even overtly say it. Leads to some great logical pieces placed so far back as the first Life on Mars episode too. Later Life on Mars episodes feature Frank Morgan, who turns out to be the real-world brain tumour surgeon. Presumably this means some characters in this world are at least inspired by real world people somehow – and perhaps used by the devil to get people to do things, or perhaps are really trying to get people to wake up from comas! With Frank Morgan the opinion is definitely a “who knows”; after all a surgeon personified would want the patient to live and regain conciousness (and he notably doesn’t appear in the limbo world after Sam Tyler goes back in). Another interesting thing is obviously some plots are directly from the memories of the lead characters – and some are implied to be similar to side characters memories. Who knows how this comes about – we have guardian Gene, the devil Jim and the characters themselves all seemingly influencing the world in their own way.
There is also the matter of comas – in both series’ – which allow going into and out of this world with the world retaining knowledge of these people. A shared limbo world is a weird concept for sure when it comes to making sense. It’s a shame the side characters are not delved into much more – most died young as it were, so presumably are more boring. Once they all started to realise the reality wasn’t quite real though, it could have lead to some more interesting backstory for them if they started to remember their past life as Drake always did.
Anyway, I’m much more satisfied with the Life on Mars/Ashes to Ashes conclusion as you can tell. Perhaps the series’ actually went on to long as I suggested (okay, okay, maybe I just really don’t like the Drake character!), but it sorts itself out and still has unanswered questions but they’re not silly ones, and it also does a good job at realising the big and little inconsistencies and why they exist – a great get-out-of-jail card for continuity and anachronisms.