LOST AGAIN 1.25 “Exodus Part 3″
Here it is, my final review for Season 1. If my memory is accurate, there could be some dark times ahead. Let’s enjoy this last hour while it lasts, shall we?
“You see the thing is, we’re going to have to take the boy.”
Well, I’m through watching Season 1. And while I think Exodus is a strong conclusion to the first season, I also don’t think it can compare to the other finales. The reason for that might be a little hard to articulate, but I’ll give it a shot.
The way the other seasons are structured, they just lend themselves to more spectacular finales. They have arcs and stakes that are more clearly defined and self contained, and it’s easier to bring them to a big climax in the final episode. What happens if you don’t push the button? How will the Oceanic 6 get off the island? How will they get to the Swan Site to detonate Jughead? Button isn’t pushed, rush to escape island, race to Swan Site, climax, climax, climax.
Season 1′s overall story was concerned with two things, establishing the community and introducing the island. How do you pay those off? You can’t, not really. All these dynamics have been set up, and they’ll have to stick around for however many seasons are left. So all you can do is bring those to a satisfactory resting point. For example, Jack and Locke don’t have their foreshadowed explosive confrontation, that continues to simmer as Jack mentions there’s going to be a “Locke problem.” Likewise, you can’t answer every major question about the island. You can only offer glimpses of the Monster, the Others, the inside of the Hatch, and hope it’s enough to tide us over. I said in the Part 1 review that the finale did a good job of featuring all the mythological elements. “Featuring” being the operative word here, there’s almost nothing beyond that.
And all of that is fine. The finale sets out to accomplish a specific goal and deliver a certain experience, and for the most part, it achieves that. It’s just dwarfed by what’s to come later (in my opinion, of course).
As for the episode itself, it’s the strongest of the three parts, intercutting between a number of stories, building up plenty of tension, and arriving at a series of cliffhangers that are, if nothing else, memorable and iconic.
First, we’ve got to resolve this whole Monster V. Locke thing. What are our theories about it, knowing now that it’s a clever sentient being with a set of clear goals? The guess might be that it was trying to kill Locke, then would assume his form in a plan to get to Jacob. Although for that to work, he would need to have Locke die indirectly, and I don’t think this encounter really qualifies as indirect. Perhaps it was trying to “infect” Locke in the way that it infected Rousseau’s team. In any event, it’s scared away with dynamite and we finally see it’s smokey form in full.
Only a couple of flashbacks this time. Hurley’s race to the doomed flight is again a bit overlong, but still quite entertaining. Locke has to get a couple of crew members to live him onto the plane when the wheelchair goes missing. He doesn’t say much here, but the guy seems to be in a less than happy place right here. He’s resigned and defeated. If only we could somehow see what would have happened to him if he had landed in L.A!
Charlie suffers a mishap out in the jungle, getting a head wound cauterized with gunpowder and leaving a cut that I’m sure will take at least a full season to heal (I’ll be looking out for it!). They stumble upon the pillar of smoke and Rousseau, and there’s a lot of misinterpretation. Charlie thinks that Rousseau set the fire, and there are no Others. Rousseau thinks the Whispers were referring to Aaron. Of course, both are horribly mistaken.
On the ocean, our boys are sailing along just fine. Jin has got some mad language skills, and Michael and Sawyer converse about their father issues. But the part everyone remembers is the blip appearing on the radar screen. The scenes on the raft in the second half of the episode are masterfully drawn out. The argument over whether or not to fire the flare, the boat getting further and further away, the approaching boat in the darkness. It’s so tense the first time, but fills you with such dread on a second viewing. Because the final scene, the raft blowing up, Sawyer getting shot, Jin disappearing into the sea, Michael and Walt screaming for each other, it’s very well done, very bleak stuff.
Back on land, there’s a conversation laden with foreshadowing between Jack and Locke, in which it is speculated that they will both one day indeed be Men of Faith. I’ll give the show this one, they may not have planned out the hows, but I believe that Jack’s journey was always meant to take him to a place where he’d be a Believer. At the Hatch, the dynamite is placed, the fuse is set. Hurley spots the numbers on the door and panics, but Locke has come too far! Explosion! Jack and Locke race to the busted hatch, pull it off, find themselves gazing down a long, unending metallic hole in the ground and we don’t see where it-
No. Not good enough. I’ll say it. This is an iconic, but infuriating and unsatisfying cliffhanger. We went on this three episode journey, built up to a big reveal, only to discover that whatever is in the Hatch… is down there deep? In retrospect, knowing the contents, it’s 100% understandable. It makes no sense from a production standpoint to put the crew to work building a gigantic set that’s going to be seen for a few seconds at the tail end of the season. But I think we needed a little something more. You know what I might have preferred? The long pull down the hatch, Jack and Locke staring down, down, down… camera pulls back until we see a man in a jumpsuit, a mysterious emblem on his sleeve, his back to us, holding a rifle. L O S T. You lose the Season 2 opener that way, and I know that’s a favourite moment of a lot of people, but if I may be so arrogant, I think you’d gain a better cliffhanger.
Well, it is what it is. And maybe it’s because I don’t have a four month hiatus ahead, but it’s far easier today to appreciate the way the season ends. Season 1 was not about opening some silly hatch. It was about a disparate group of people coming together, building friendships, forming conflicts, establishing dynamics. Going from complete strangers to members of a community. And that journey is complete, and satisfying. The final sequence with our fourteen original characters gathering on the plane does an outstanding job of bringing all of that home.
Still, while the characters were the thing, the hatch is gone. It’s our cliff-hanger, not the plane scene or Walt kidnapping. The biggest and most literal Mystery Box of the show has been blown wide open. Will J.J. Abrams be right in assuming that the contents can’t possibly live up to our imagination? That’s for another day.
Unofficial Rating for Part 3: 9/10
Unofficial Rating for Exodus as a whole: 8.5/10
Official Rating for Exodus Part 2/3: 9/10
Ranked 7th out of 24 episodes.
Season 1 Final Ratings/Rankings:
24. Hearts and Minds (6.5/10)
23. Born to Run (6.5/10)
22. Whatever the Case May Be (7/10)
21. The Greater Good (7/10)
20. Special (7.5/10)
19. The Moth (7.5/10)
18. …In Translation (7.5/10)
17. Solitary (8/10)
16. House of the Rising Sun (8/10)
15. Homecoming (8/10)
14. Confidence Man (8.5/10)
13. Exodus: Part 1 (8.5/10)
12. Pilot: Part 2 (8.5/10)
11. Tabula Rasa (8.5/10)
10. Raised by Another (8.5/10)
9. White Rabbit (9/10)
8. Do No Harm (9/10)
7. Exodus Part 2/3 (9/10)
6. All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues (9/10)
5. Deus Ex Machina (9/10)
4. Outlaws (9/10)
3. Numbers (9.5.10)
2. Walkabout (9.5/10)
1. Pilot: Part 1 (10/10)
Season 1 Average: 8.29 out of 10.
Well, there we go. Overall I thought Season 1 had a spectacular first half, then an uneven but still worthwhile concluding run. And almost nothing was as I remembered, virtually every episode scored a little higher or a little lower than what I would have rated it based on memory. I’m definitely ready for future seasons to open up the scope beyond fourteen characters and one beach location, but I really enjoyed the intimacy and character exploration of Season 1.
And I thank you for reading this far. Come back tomorrow for the beginning of some, well, probably slightly less cheery reviews. But we’ll see.