Back in September my first “In Praise Of” post was commending the now completed ABC show LOST on it’s sixth anniversary… and the cusp of my eight year old daughter and I rewatching the series from the pilot to the series finale. Three months and a handful of days later… we are done.
Why did we want to rewatch a show that had only just finished? The answer to that is multi-pronged. First, my experience of watching the show was greatly enhanced around the middle of season four when I discovered the LOST Podcast with Jay & Jack. This is a podcast dedicated to the show with two fantastic hosts… father and son team Jay and Jack Gladfelter… who, after the finale announced they would be continuing the podcast by rewatching the series from beginning to end… two episodes a week… and to reexamine the storyline in it’s entirety with the benefit of hindsight. What really worked, what was cast off, what were dead ends and what propelled the story.
My second and more compelling reason for the rewatch was my eight year old daughter. Although the show premiered the day before her eighth birthday, she didn’t become cognizant of my obsession with the series until the tail end of season five. By that time, she was old enough to dig the visuals and the action, yet still a bit young to put all the pieces together… and to be fair… most adults couldn’t do it themselves, so I give her massive credit for even trying. By season six she was completely on board with the show and ultimately, with sharing something with her daddy… me. However, I had to spend an inordinate amount of time trying to explain the who/what/where/when/hows of a show that is convoluted at best… down right annoying and nonsensical at worst… to a seven year old! So we agreed… when I got my complete series DVD set (a super awesome and geektastic Father’s Day present which I had to wait months for) we would hold off on watching it until the anniversary and kick it off with the podcast and immerse ourselves in learning everything we could about the story and its mythology.
My third reason? I honestly don’t enjoy most of what’s on TV these days… The Walking Dead excepted… so why not watch a show I know I love. Plus, over the course of six years I forgot a whole lot of the details. So the third reason is as simple as, “Because.”
As you may have guessed by now… we didn’t stick with the podcast’s schedule. They have just begun season two… we are now finished. Two episode a week simply didn’t cut it for us… we needed more. Some days we were doing two or three episodes a night… and other times we slowed it down a bit. So what did we learn?
For starters, I cemented a previous suspicion I had… my daughter is very much a geek in training, and I couldn’t be more proud. She obsessed over details and odd bits of island mythology as well as any dork arguing in online forums and chat rooms… and she allowed herself to both enjoy the show as it unfolded and to enjoy the show from the perspective of knowing the end and what we couldn’t have known at the time we first saw it. I was very impressed with her understanding… although her obsession at time became frightening. Even buying mice for our snakes turned into, “Daddy, didn’t the man who sold you the snake look just like Charlie?” Or as I dropped her off at school, “See you in another life brutha…”, said with perfect Scottish accent. I was both proud and terrified at the monster I had created.
One thing I wanted to see with the rewatch was whether or not the writers really did have direction towards the final outcome as they claimed they did… or were they winging it? My final takeaway from the experience is that yes, they did have a final goal in mind and they were moving towards it… however, towards the end of season two and first half of season three… I do think they were flailing a bit. Perhaps because they were sure how long they needed to stretch it out, there are some craptacularly annoying flashbacks in season three that felt forced and pointless. I had a hard time getting through those two seasons. They did however allow my daughter to understand the whole story arc much better… specifically my love of the Desmond-Penny relationship. Also, it was fantastic being reminded of certain details and tidbits that I had not recalled or really cared much about the first time around.
That brings me to what the show ultimately was really about… the characters and their developments. I was a bit surprised to see that I viewed a few characters differently the second time around. Most surprising to me was how much I enjoyed the Jin-Sun story the second time. Also, how much more I disliked the Michael story and wanted more Walt. Kate was far less interesting and most of her flashbacks were pointless to me. I’m convinced she was there to have something really good to look at… and as my girl said, “she looks really good walking in that black dress”. I can’t disagree with that.
I know a lot of people were disappointed with the finale and felt they were gipped because they wanted more answers to the pseudo scientific-quasi magical questions the show brought up and didn’t like that it was ultimately about faith and letting go. I for one loved the end. I think any explanation for the mysteries would have been complete BS and would have cheapened everything. Watching the show from the beginning allowed me to see each characters arc and how the show was about them learning something and being able to move on from that. Basically, any character that didn’t not grow was killed off or marginalized. I don’t believe we come back to anything for answers… I believe we come back for questions. As Mother told Claudia, “each question you ask with be answered with another question”… or something like that.
In the end, the best part of watching the series again was how it brought my daughter and I (and Mrs. Blahg and our five year old as well) closer than ever. We had our inside jokes, our discussions that went deeper, my being able to connect some dots for her and seeing her getting excited about something I like as well is the greatest thing in the world. She had a sleepover one night and was gone by the time I came home. Knowing I always check the mailbox when I come home I was delighted to find a small note addressed to Daddy… when I opened it I found a picture she drew of Desmond and Penny holding hands. It was her way of saying she will miss me and miss watching the show for that night. I would be lying if I said I didn’t get a bit misty on that one. Or how she combined our love of both LOST and Pushing Daisies(another great, yet too short series that we started rewatching last night) by saying “Oh bloody hell no brutha…”. A mix of Emerson Cod (Chi McBride in PD), Charlie Pace and Desmond Hume. It was brilliant.
When I was tucking her in after watching the finale a couple of nights ago we hugged and I thanked her for watching it with me and told her how much I loved sharing the experience with her. Her response was, “What’s next?” I pretended the tears I got were about the finale… we all know better.
Once I was LOST… now I’m FOUND,
Cornelius J. Blahg