Thursday, March 29, 2007

My Take on Lost's "Exposé"

I'm usually easy for this show like a drunk college girl with low self-esteem, but I'm a little baffled about why we were shown this hour of story about life on the Island. Unfamiliar in many ways, "Exposé" felt more an episode of Cold Case than Lost.

I've always liked Nikki and Paolo, but why the heck were we told their story in this episode? What's the "moral" of the story, and why did we break from the running narrative to tell it?

Unlike "The Other 48 Days," when we saw the story of the tailies, which was another story of the Island that we didn't see the first time around, this could not be experienced as a gripping tale of horror. (If anything, "Exposé" was a story of suspense, like a Hitchcock movie—the one-word title even evokes Hitchcock's movie titles a bit.)

And unlike "S.O.S.," the Rose and Bernard flashback episode, it didn't show that the redemptive powers of the Island reach down event to the supporting characters. In fact, it seemed to illustrate the opposite—that the Island can be squandered. It can be the tabula rasa, a blank slate, a second chance, but that's apparently optional. Redemption and batteries are not included.

Usually on Lost, we see character experiencing similar emotional experiences on and off the Island, and they either make a better choice the second time around or screw it up again, depending on who they are and where they are in their lives. This time we saw things that seemed to explain why and how Nikki and Paolo literally came to suffocate on their own greed, lies and hostility. (Shudder.)

What's the lesson? Why are we seeing this? The wages of sin are death? Nikki and Paolo were surely sinners, but that's all these people: Sinners 'R' Us. That's the case in the real world, too, so big whoop.

If it's an "Exposé" of the life of your typical redshirt, are we to believe that the reason we focus on our main characters is because the main characters are the only ones with a chance of winning against the Island, while all the superhot extras are so uniquely selfish and conniving that they're doomed? Does the Island demand their sacrifice? (Am I completely taking this too seriously?)

We now know what our past glimpses of "Pikki" add up to, but what do our new glimpses of the past 80-some days on the Island add up to?

In short: Why God why? Why did you bury them alive? Why do we have to believe the Island is special if it's so damn idiosyncratic?! Is this like when God asked Isaac to sacrifice Abraham? If so, it's still true 5,000 years later: Faith is a bitch. (And not just the character Faith from Buffy, but her too.)

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