i am currently rewatching the show in chronological order via this website:
because of the timeflashes, i wasn't sure if this would be a worthwhile way to take in the story, but after several episodes i've been completely sucked in. it's turned out to be a great way to take in the full scope of the story.
my response to the series finale is postive, but mixed. i stated in my last post that if the reveal of the finale blew me away, i would need to rewatch the entire show to evaluate it. initially i didn't think i would need to do this, in fact i initially felt that the finale didn't cast much light on the entire series at all. but the more i pondered it, i realized that the finale does cast new light on the entire series - not in an m. night shamalayan kind of way, but in a deeper, spiritual, and thematic way. because the narrative is so fractured, the chronological rewatch has turned out to be the best way to really process the entire story we've been given. i've written quite a lot about the finale already, but i will complete the entry and post it after i've finished my rewatch.
i will also post a separate response to 'the new man in charge' epilogue that has been released with the dvd's.
last weekend all key props and costumes from the show were auctioned off at santa monica airport. the exhibit was a fan's dream come true. check out this video showing how much work went into creating it:
it's a shame that all these items are being spread among the fans and not going into a permanent exhibit. i want to revive that petition to convert tom sawyer island into LOST island at disneyland. the chance to run around for a day, peer down the hatch, push the button, hang with roger linus, sit on flight 815, and inspect the amazing iconic props from this show was an experience as overwhelming as the actual finale. it was the perfect way to say goodbye.
interestingly, the blast door map was not up for auction.. i wonder which lucky cast/crewmember got it..
on the chronological rewatch:
if revisiting the show interests you, i highly recommend the chronological viewing. i am only at the halfway point (amazingly, the halfway point in the entire epic story is when the tailies reunite with the beach camp), but so far, it it smoothes over an amazing number of narrative bumps that occurred in the traditional episodic viewing. many plot points that felt shoehorned or retconned into the timeline (like nikki and paolo) now play perfectly smoothly as part of the great, whole story that is 'lost.' even jack's tattoo episode is improved (slightly).
some observations from watching the show chronologically:
- it begins with the hated 'across the sea.' so right away, it's out of the way. i wish i could say that this helps the episode, but it doesn't really. however, it does set up the scope of the entire story, and gives a glimpse of the source, which we won't see again until the final moments of jack's life.
- what is interesting is that after mother and mib have been laid to rest, the next scene is the timeflash that took the season 5 survivors deepest into the past, when they saw the back of the statue. so narratively, man in black tells mother he's going to build a wheel - then only a few scenes later we see him in christian shepard's form (he was able to carry that manifestation through time as well?) instructing john locke to push the wheel in order to stop the time flashes.
- the next episode is richard's incredible story in 'ab aeterno.' it sets up the epic scale of the story quickly, and the next few episodes follow richard's point of view as he remains ageless and the island changes around him. it's really great to see this story from richard's pov - since in the end, he is the most constant character through the entire series.
- visitors from the future pop in and out of the early years of the show - and their chronology is all out of order. which makes viewing 'lost' chronologically not entirely unlike show's original fractured narrative. the visitors arrive in 1954 and meet richard. this time around, it is richard we identify with as we take in the story. locke comes to him, gives him a compass, says that he's meant to be their leader, and that he'll be born in a few years. the next scene shows locke's birth. then we see richard's attempts to check out locke through the years.
- we next learn about dharma through the story of ben, who's mother died in childbirth, and whose father was given a job out of pity by horace goodspeed.
- the timejumpers appear again - and infer that this person named locke was successful at preventing their deaths by stopping the timejumps. unfortunately they are stuck in 1974, and we follow their adventures as they decide to stay on the island and join up with the dharma initiative.
- after three years of peace with dharma, the people from the future are joined by four of their own - and they throw everything into disarray. one of them, jack, realizes that his purpose is to undo a plane crash that will occur in 2004. he drops a nuclear bomb down a construction site. juliet falls down the hole, and hits the bomb.
- there's an interesting new tension in the chronological version, because if you're taking in the story for the first time, events that unfold after the detonation of jughead have new mystery behind them - you keep wondering 'did it work?' the day of the incident, we see pregnant eloise hawking, working to help jack detonate the bomb. one of the first things we see after the bomb goes off, is eloise redirecting young faraday to study science. the stakes for her are amazingly high - she doesn't know if the bomb worked either, but she does know that her son will hold the key to whether or not it does, and knows that if he's to be successful, his journal must contain the necessary instructions to guide them in the past.
- what follows are the childhoods of all our major characters. i had forgotten how many childhood flashbacks we saw, and sometimes a childhood flashback was only one act of an episode, like sun's 'i got the maid fired and i loved it' bit from 'the glass ballerina.' we get a peek at the childhoods of charlie, sun, kate, jack, juliet, sayid.
- next we get the bulk of the main character's flashbacks from the first three seasons of the show - some of the stories are stronger than others, but episodes occurring at roughly the same time have been smartly intercut with each other. it's refreshing to see these stories laid out in order, and some interesting new juxtapositions occur. jack and kate got married at roughly the same time, both with unhappy endings. jin accuses sun of hiding her inability to conceive around the same time that claire's boyfriend accuses her of getting pregnant to force him to stay with her.
- the events leading up to the crash are emotionally breathtaking. every character had a major story arc coalesce at the airport, and it's incredible to see them all cut together. even outside of the airport, the emotional buildup to juliet's book club, and desmond's ultimate failure to push the button is intense.
- once the crash is over, the island adventure is presented mostly straight, though the adventures of the tailies, nikki/paolo, the schemes of the others, and the mobisodes (of varying quality) are seamlessly woven into the story.
- it's interesting to have the flashbacks removed, because it's impossible to remember exactly which facet of the person's past was originally juxtaposed with certain island moments. so those lingering shots of characters remembering their pasts, for once, includes their entire past history, not just the convenient or ironic bit sometimes manufactured by the writers. in many ways this plays better because we have the whole of the person's past already under our belts, and we can draw our own conclusions about what trauma is motivating their current actions. in season 2, when sun asks kate if she's ever taken a pregnancy test, we've already seen the scene from kate's past where she broke down in the bathroom crying over her test results - in the show structure, we didn't get that scene until the middle of season three when the show was in the late stages of treading water. any reference to a character's past becomes a potential 'flashback' moment.
- the island story races by - i'm at episode 53 of 101. sun finds out she's pregnant, sayid is about to find 'henry gale's' balloon, and the blast door map has fallen on locke's oft-abused leg.