Lost: Setting Up the Endgame

We're getting close to what Lost's creators have been salivating over for the last several years: a mind-melting finale, the whole reason the damn show was created in the first place. Is Lost about love? Is it about good versus evil? Is it about faith versus science? Is it about free will versus destiny?

We'll find all that out later, but for now, it's time to place the pieces on the game board for the big series-ender that will air one calendar month and two days from today. This is going to happen quickly, because the writers have two realities to worry about and they're running out of time.

Perhaps that's why things are feeling a tad rushed as the finish line comes into sight. This is no-nonsense Lost; characters have places to be and things to do! The series finale is coming up fast, and if they don't hit their marks, things won't work. Which is exactly what "The Last Recruit" was all about. It was pure setup with little else, but that's okay.

The show has lost a bit of emotional weight with the producers spending less time on each character's actions, and sometimes we just have to take their states of mind at surface value even if they seem out-of-place. But I'm okay with all of this... as long as it makes for a great finale. Does anyone else feel this way? Like you're sitting tight, watching Lost as it winds down for good, and just... waiting? More on that later.

On the island, allegiances are being tested, broken, and realigned in typical Lost fashion. Last night, Sawyer told everyone about his submarine plan; only those who aren't completely insane (sorry, zombie-Sayid and cuckoo-Claire) are invited. Jack decided he didn't want to leave the island and jumped off the boat, leaving everyone else behind. Widmore's people blew up the beach with Locke-seeking mortar fire, and Jin and Sun finally got back together.

Off the island, massive coincidences/destiny (arrests! emergency room visits! dead people's wills!) finally started bringing the alterna-versions of our castaways together. Sun and Locke had their near-death experiences, and at least Sun seemed to show some recognition of "the other side," by screaming "It's him!" when John Locke's gurney conveniently pulled up directly alongside her own hospital chariot. We'll forgive John for not giving us any signs as he got pretty wrecked by Desmond's car. Oh, and Ilana is a lawyer.

Overall, "The Last Recruit" was one of those non-special offerings that we simply dismiss as a necessary "setup episode" because we're not quite sure what else to call it. But like I said, that's okay.

Next: Is anyone still watching this show? >>

I don't know about you, but more than one of my Lost-watching friends has given up on the show at some point this season. And it appears that this isn't unusual. According to TV By The Numbers, last night's Lost checked in with a 3.6 rating, the show's lowest thus far for an original episode. That's not a great sign. Overall viewing numbers were somewhere around 9.3 million, which is on the lower end of what Lost has been posting this season.

Normally I'd look at ratings strictly for renewal and cancellation purposes, but Lost is obviously immune because its fate is sealed. That said, do these numbers indicate that Lost has been losing its faithful? It would seem so.

Consider this guy's opinion, from the Miami Herald: "For the past three months, I've been wondering if I was the only one who believed that ABC's Lost has degenerated into incomprehensible gibberish as it crawls toward the end of its sixth and final season." Some of you may get on me for not calling every single episode the best thing ever, but at least I ain't this dude.

Even Entertainment Weekly's verbose Doc Jensen, who would have nothing but good things to say about Lost even if it had just killed his mother, said last night's episode "really bugged [him]."

So is Lost's sixth season making more people frustrated than not? Are we even far enough into Season 6 that we can already look back and cast judgment? I've certainly had my issues with this season so far, and if the show ended tomorrow, I'd rank it somewhere near the bottom. I'm reserving final judgment until the finale, but the ending is going to have to be incredible for me to rank this season in the top three.

How is Season 6 faring on your radar so far?

A few notes on last night's episode:

... Is it just me, or did the Sun-Jin reunion not have the emotional impact it should have? It's great that they're back together, but it wasn't accompanied by the usual tearjerking accoutrements.

... What's up with the well Desmond got thrown into? Last week it was really deep, this week it was as deep as a basketball rim is high. Is the production of the show suffering as a result of rushing things?

... I'm ready for Zoe and all the Widmore folks to die. There isn't an ounce of personality among any of them. The writers had a real chance to give us a new person to love to hate; instead they gave us Zoe, who we just hate. I shall celebrate when she gets offed.

... I liked the way this episode bounced around between characters and their side-flashes. Lost has done this before, but this one felt especially smooth.

... More clunky answers to big questions (but not as bad as last week's explanation of the whispers), this time about Smocke appearing as Christian on the island. It just feels like they're doing these parts for our benefit, when they really shouldn't be.

User Contribution News

First, thanks to everyone who liked last week's write-up. Much appreciated. Sorry this week's wasn't as entertaining, I'll bounce back next week (feeling ill today).

There were a few comments from last week's story about falling off the wagon on Lost. Not in that drinky drinky sort of way, but more that people are sort of becoming disenchanted with it. (I know I'm pulling some of the more negative comments from last week's piece, but I'm just trying to raise a question. So if anyone wants to say I'm doing this to hate on the show, don't bother.)

Novembernicole says: "I have been a die-hard fan of Lost, and I still am, but I think I am just ready for the damn finale to get here, so I can quit wondering about all of this!"

eppix says: "...After being a big fan since season 1 was aired, I have to say that Im just seeing it to finish the pain."

Zeyado says: "i think we all agree that this will NOT be the best season of Lost, even with five episodes left which alot can happen in, but lets face it, what's done is done, this season had alot of flaws."

belia013 says: "just can't wait till it's over... never gonna rewatch it that is for sure."

I know exactly what Novembernicole and eppix are saying; I too feel like I'm finishing this season just to get to the finale. But I also know that as soon as Lost ends, I'm going to miss the stuffing out of it. Is anyone else feeling like this? We're still interested... but just not as interested as we used to be?

I asked what everyone thought of last week's episode and where they would rank it. As I expected, the answers were all over the place: Some thought it was the best episode ever, and others didn't care for it. The majority seemed to take a stance that was similar to mine: It was good, but there were some really odd moments that didn't make it great.

I also made the point that so much happened in that episode that could have been spread out to other episodes a bit more. Case in point, last night's episode lacked a lot of WOW moments. Just sayin'. Spread the love, Lost writers.

Hungry_Homer111: I may have you write these things if I ever need a week off! You are a machine!

The Lost Season 6 Episode Power Rankings

(I'll be keeping tabs on each episode, ranking them in terms of quality each week, right here. Your opinions will differ from mine.)

"The Last Recruit": I really dug the format of the episode—bouncing between characters on and off the island really quickened the pace. But it was little more than a setup episode; vital to the progress of the show, but not incredible in and of itself. "The Last Recruit" was one of those "good but not great" segments, so I'm plopping it down right after "The Lighthouse."

1. "The Substitute" Ep. 4
2. "Ab Aeterno" Ep. 9
3. "Happily Ever After" Ep. 11
4. "Everybody Loves Hugo" Ep. 12
5. "Recon" Ep. 8
6. "LA X (2)" Ep. 2
7. "The Lighthouse" Ep. 5
8. "The Last Recruit" Ep. 13
9. "Sundown" Ep. 6
10. "LA X (1)" Ep. 1
11. "Dr. Linus Ep. 7
12. "The Package" Ep. 10
13. "What Kate Does" Ep. 3

Your Homework:

Where do you think Season 6 currently ranks among all of Lost's seasons? And where do you think it will end up once we get to the finale?

Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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