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"Questions Can't Be Answered Satisfactorily"

  • Avatar of buildam2005

    buildam2005

    [1]May 26, 2010
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    First, sorry for creating a thread for this, as this forum seems flooded with all sorts of things at the moment (as one would expect), but I had a thought that I think deserved to be shared.


    I am in the camp that is frustrated by a lack of satisfactory answers to mysteries because I believe that good storytelling requires resolution to the plot. If you disagree, fine, that's your business. However, I'm here to tackle the claim that "any answer the writers give will not satisfy you" that some people have thrown out. It's true that some of the answers this season (the whispers, Christian being MIB sometimes, etcetera) were handled clunkily, and people have said that's the case. As a result, others claim that we'd dislike any answer given. I'm here to demonstrate why that's not true. And here's why:


    They did it just fine in season two.


    There were probably two pretty big things in the first season that got resolved really nicely in season two. First was the big question: why the heck did the plane crash anyway? And the other was, hey, how'd that light turn on in the hatch when John Locke was emotionally destroyed after Boone's death.


    These were mysteries that went unanswered for quite some time, but got GREAT resolution at the end of season two AND featured character development along the way. For both we get this character Desmond, who is desperately seeking the approval of the father of the love of his life. We see a moment of great hopelessness for him--he's about to kill himself, and along comes Locke, a man who has lost his way. This interaction causes them to both find a new faith, inadvertently through one another--John's sense of purpose is restored when he gets a "sign" that he's meant to work with this hatch, and Desmond becomes more hopeful that he's not destined to push this stupid button his whole life. We also get a pretty coherently written and presented explanation for the crash and why Desmond didn't push the button the day Oceanic 815 crashed. These mysteries was clearly planned out by the writers and executed in a way that was not only nicely executed but had SIGNIFICANCE TO THE CHARACTERS AND THE THEME.


    My whole point in bringing this up is that the writers were, at one point, capable of doing both--having mysteries that got good resolution as well as taking the characters to new and interesting places, using the two bridged together to get thematic cohesion. A few other people have been discussing why character and mystery don't have to be mutually exclusive, and this, I suggest, demonstrates that. It also providesa stark contrast for how later mysteries were poorly done, while STILL dropping the ball on character arc.


    Thoughts? I'm interested in peoples' responses to this.

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  • Avatar of ajokurvanyad

    ajokurvanyad

    [2]May 26, 2010
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    yeah,season 2 was probably the best and maybe this is the reason i loved it so much,right from the first episode(my fav of all).you got the mystery,the WTF,and the pay-off.Desmond instantly became a fan favorite.but i guess you can come up with only so many good ideas...that's why you should quit before you run out and not jerk us around for a bonus season of horse manure

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  • Avatar of KingofIPirates

    KingofIPirates

    [3]May 26, 2010
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    Completely agree, you brought up two great examples of mysteries they solved quite effectively so this nonsense that we would never be satisfied with the answers or that it will only create more questions is quite frankly unfounded.
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  • Avatar of anthem47

    anthem47

    [4]May 26, 2010
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    I know those two examples you gave are just that, examples, but I'll run with them if I can in saying that the fans would never have been satisfied. If those two conclusions had been presented in Season 6 as "end of the show" material, there would have been another uproar. We'd be getting...I was about to list questions, but really all the questions we ended Season 2 with regarding Desmond and the hatch, the incident and Dharma. I do honestly think that every answer leads to more questions, it's the same for other stories but somehow Lost fans demanded everything. They keep going back and back until we get either; a)"where did the Source come from?", "who was the first island protector?", questions that might require creation of the Earth type backdrops; or b) "how are the numbers special?", "how did Walt become special?", "how does the island heal people", questioning the physics of the show that requires midichlorian-type answers. Where do we stop?


    (If I can sound a bit wanky for a sec, this is sort of interesting too. It's like wanting to know what molecules are made of, then finding out, then wondering what *those* building blocks are made of, then finding out, then wondering what the point of all it is in the first place).


    My usual disclaimer though, I'm not saying the show was perfect. I still wish the plot around Jacob's cabin wasn't so messy, or Walt's "specialness" had had a purpose (not "how" he was special, but what the function was)...but a lot of this, especially Walt, is the sort of thing a novel writer would have cleaned up on the second draft. TV shows don't get those, especially when Eko's actor up and leaves, or Walt's actor ages faster than the story material, hehe.


    Great thread by the way. I'm glad to find one that isn't all-caps, wild anger =P

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  • Avatar of motleylil

    motleylil

    [5]May 26, 2010
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    anthem47 wrote:


    Great thread by the way. I'm glad to find one that isn't all-caps, wild anger =P



    Yes, wild anger seems to be popular these days.

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  • Avatar of ajokurvanyad

    ajokurvanyad

    [6]May 26, 2010
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    anthem47 wrote:
    (If I can sound a bit wanky for a sec, this is sort of interesting too. It's like wanting to know what molecules are made of, then finding out, then wondering what *those* building blocks are made of, then finding out, then wondering what the point of all it is in the first place).


    yeah,precicly.the point is to understand eigther by getting to the most basic or by learning that infinity is the basis.but just because the answer to something becomes more and more complex doesn't mean you should abandon it.


    and they could have easaly done what they did in the first seasons,1season mystery + 1season pay-off,new mystery.mop up after yourself.when you run out of answers:QUIT!

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  • Avatar of buildam2005

    buildam2005

    [7]May 26, 2010
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    anthem47 wrote:

    I know those two examples you gave are just that, examples, but I'll run with them if I can in saying that the fans would never have been satisfied. If those two conclusions had been presented in Season 6 as "end of the show" material, there would have been another uproar. We'd be getting...I was about to list questions, but really all the questions we ended Season 2 with regarding Desmond and the hatch, the incident and Dharma. I do honestly think that every answer leads to more questions, it's the same for other stories but somehow Lost fans demanded everything. They keep going back and back until we get either; a)"where did the Source come from?", "who was the first island protector?", questions that might require creation of the Earth type backdrops; or b) "how are the numbers special?", "how did Walt become special?", "how does the island heal people", questioning the physics of the show that requires midichlorian-type answers. Where do we stop?


    (If I can sound a bit wanky for a sec, this is sort of interesting too. It's like wanting to know what molecules are made of, then finding out, then wondering what *those* building blocks are made of, then finding out, then wondering what the point of all it is in the first place).


    My usual disclaimer though, I'm not saying the show was perfect. I still wish the plot around Jacob's cabin wasn't so messy, or Walt's "specialness" had had a purpose (not "how" he was special, but what the function was)...but a lot of this, especially Walt, is the sort of thing a novel writer would have cleaned up on the second draft. TV shows don't get those, especially when Eko's actor up and leaves, or Walt's actor ages faster than the story material, hehe.


    Great thread by the way. I'm glad to find one that isn't all-caps, wild anger =P



    Haha--no problem about the non-caps. I'm not here to be angry or start fights, just to try to get discussion going in a way that's not a mud-slinging fest, no matter what side of the fence one is on, so I certainly appreciate your candor.

    That said, though, I'm not sure I buy people's arguments that "answers only bring more questions." That problem only comes up really when, well, the answers are vague in order to remain mysterious. Why couldn't we have gotten a straight reason as to why those specific numbers had to be punched in and why those numbers coincided with certain candidates (I'm not particularly hung-up on the numbers specifically; I'm just using them as an example). It's not like the question of "how'd that light come on" brought up all sorts of endless questions. Answer: Desmond turned it on. New question: who is Desmond and why is he in the hatch? Answer: he was in love with Penelope Widmore, her father hated him, he tried to do a sailing race to get his approval, crashed on the island, was dragged to the hatch, and left there by his partner. No more real questions about that mystery (this is, of course, not bringing up the nature of the hatch).

    I just DON'T buy the concept that all answers MUST bring up new questions. Why couldn't there just be a good, straightforward reason why, after circa 1977, children couldn't be born on the island (this one DID get me hung up because it was so influential in bringing in several characters)? Why DID people get sucked into the 1970s via the Ajira flight and how in the world did the hydrogen bomb send them back to 2007 and not just kill them? I do think it's fairly clear that the hydrogen bomb WAS the incident, and I'll just surrender to the idea that the reason the hydrogen bomb didn't destroy the island has to do with this all-powerful electromagnetism (though that element of the show itself is a manipulative cop-out of a plot device), but I don't think just saying "the island did it" is a good answer to how they ended up in the 1970s and all those other wacko things that happened.

    Basically, that was my long, roundabout way of contrasting early mystery resolution that was WELL DONE, NOT vague, and coherently connected to the characters and theme, and never felt cheap, with recent mystery resolution that was entirely the opposite.

    Hope that makes sense.
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  • Avatar of ajokurvanyad

    ajokurvanyad

    [8]May 26, 2010
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    [QUOTE="buildam2005"]

    anthem47 wrote:
    It's not like the question of "how'd that light come on" brought up all sorts of endless questions. Answer: Desmond turned it on. New question: who is Desmond and why is he in the hatch? Answer: he was in love with Penelope Widmore, her father hated him, he tried to do a sailing race to get his approval, crashed on the island, was dragged to the hatch, and left there by his partner. No more real questions about that mystery (this is, of course, not bringing up the nature of the hatch).


    it was the best season premiere ever.they even tried to copy it in the season 3 premiere.


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  • Avatar of mangodurian

    mangodurian

    [9]May 26, 2010
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    buildam2005 wrote:
    I do think it's fairly clear that the hydrogen bomb WAS the incident, and I'll just surrender to the idea that the reason the hydrogen bomb didn't destroy the island has to do with this all-powerful electromagnetism (though that element of the show itself is a manipulative cop-out of a plot device), but I don't think just saying "the island did it" is a good answer to how they ended up in the 1970s and all those other wacko things that happened. Basically, that was my long, roundabout way of contrasting early mystery resolution that was WELL DONE, NOT vague, and coherently connected to the characters and theme, and never felt cheap, with recent mystery resolution that was entirely the opposite. Hope that makes sense.
    i don't understand how the hydrogen bomb could have been the incident as my understanding is that the alt universe, the flash sideways, sparked into existence after the bomb went off.. thus the original losties could not have been a product of a universe where the bomb went off.. they created that by going back in time, and effectively altering the past.. the hydrogen bomb did destroy the island.. hence the alt universe showed the island at the bottom of the sea.

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  • Avatar of ajokurvanyad

    ajokurvanyad

    [10]May 26, 2010
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    mangodurian wrote:


    buildam2005 wrote:
    I do think it's fairly clear that the hydrogen bomb WAS the incident, and I'll just surrender to the idea that the reason the hydrogen bomb didn't destroy the island has to do with this all-powerful electromagnetism (though that element of the show itself is a manipulative cop-out of a plot device), but I don't think just saying "the island did it" is a good answer to how they ended up in the 1970s and all those other wacko things that happened. Basically, that was my long, roundabout way of contrasting early mystery resolution that was WELL DONE, NOT vague, and coherently connected to the characters and theme, and never felt cheap, with recent mystery resolution that was entirely the opposite. Hope that makes sense.
    i don't understand how the hydrogen bomb could have been the incident as my understanding is that the alt universe, the flash sideways, sparked into existence after the bomb went off.. thus the original losties could not have been a product of a universe where the bomb went off.. they created that by going back in time, and effectively altering the past.. the hydrogen bomb did destroy the island.. hence the alt universe showed the island at the bottom of the sea.



    there is a whole thread for the bomb and there are some pretty good points on why it couldn't have gone off

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  • Avatar of KingofIPirates

    KingofIPirates

    [11]May 26, 2010
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    mangodurian wrote:
    i don't understand how the hydrogen bomb could have been the incident as my understanding is that the alt universe, the flash sideways, sparked into existence after the bomb went off..
    The Flash sideways was basically the afterlife, in other words it wasn't real and they were all dead.
    mangodurian wrote:
    the hydrogen bomb did destroy the island.. hence the alt universe showed the island at the bottom of the sea.
    That was just a misdirection by the producers, The Dead Losties thought it would be fun to create some type of purgatory where they could meet up again, hug it out and move on and where some of their wishes would come true. Therefore they all got their wish that they never encountered the island so naturally it was underwater; Sayid got Nadia to be alive; Locke had an excellent relationship with his father; Desmond was pals with Widmore and Widmore finally showed him the respect Desmond always wanted; Jack had a son who he could connect to; Kate got to be a truly innocent fugitive instead of guilty fugitive, etc.
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  • Avatar of anthem47

    anthem47

    [12]May 26, 2010
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    buildam2005 wrote:
    anthem47 wrote:


    I know those two examples you gave are just that, examples, but I'll run with them if I can in saying that the fans would never have been satisfied. If those two conclusions had been presented in Season 6 as "end of the show" material, there would have been another uproar. We'd be getting...I was about to list questions, but really all the questions we ended Season 2 with regarding Desmond and the hatch, the incident and Dharma. I do honestly think that every answer leads to more questions, it's the same for other stories but somehow Lost fans demanded everything. They keep going back and back until we get either; a)"where did the Source come from?", "who was the first island protector?", questions that might require creation of the Earth type backdrops; or b) "how are the numbers special?", "how did Walt become special?", "how does the island heal people", questioning the physics of the show that requires midichlorian-type answers. Where do we stop?


    (If I can sound a bit wanky for a sec, this is sort of interesting too. It's like wanting to know what molecules are made of, then finding out, then wondering what *those* building blocks are made of, then finding out, then wondering what the point of all it is in the first place).


    My usual disclaimer though, I'm not saying the show was perfect. I still wish the plot around Jacob's cabin wasn't so messy, or Walt's "specialness" had had a purpose (not "how" he was special, but what the function was)...but a lot of this, especially Walt, is the sort of thing a novel writer would have cleaned up on the second draft. TV shows don't get those, especially when Eko's actor up and leaves, or Walt's actor ages faster than the story material, hehe.


    Great thread by the way. I'm glad to find one that isn't all-caps, wild anger =P


    Haha--no problem about the non-caps. I'm not here to be angry or start fights, just to try to get discussion going in a way that's not a mud-slinging fest, no matter what side of the fence one is on, so I certainly appreciate your candor. That said, though, I'm not sure I buy people's arguments that "answers only bring more questions." That problem only comes up really when, well, the answers are vague in order to remain mysterious. Why couldn't we have gotten a straight reason as to why those specific numbers had to be punched in and why those numbers coincided with certain candidates (I'm not particularly hung-up on the numbers specifically; I'm just using them as an example). It's not like the question of "how'd that light come on" brought up all sorts of endless questions. Answer: Desmond turned it on. New question: who is Desmond and why is he in the hatch? Answer: he was in love with Penelope Widmore, her father hated him, he tried to do a sailing race to get his approval, crashed on the island, was dragged to the hatch, and left there by his partner. No more real questions about that mystery (this is, of course, not bringing up the nature of the hatch). I just DON'T buy the concept that all answers MUST bring up new questions. Why couldn't there just be a good, straightforward reason why, after circa 1977, children couldn't be born on the island (this one DID get me hung up because it was so influential in bringing in several characters)? Why DID people get sucked into the 1970s via the Ajira flight and how in the world did the hydrogen bomb send them back to 2007 and not just kill them? I do think it's fairly clear that the hydrogen bomb WAS the incident, and I'll just surrender to the idea that the reason the hydrogen bomb didn't destroy the island has to do with this all-powerful electromagnetism (though that element of the show itself is a manipulative cop-out of a plot device), but I don't think just saying "the island did it" is a good answer to how they ended up in the 1970s and all those other wacko things that happened. Basically, that was my long, roundabout way of contrasting early mystery resolution that was WELL DONE, NOT vague, and coherently connected to the characters and theme, and never felt cheap, with recent mystery resolution that was entirely the opposite. Hope that makes sense.


    This reply will probably take me an hour to do because I'm writing from work (gasp!), hehe.


    Regarding children being born after 1977, I should have put that on my list of things that bother me too. I really expected that to be addressed, at least one line, especially since it was brought up as a plot point as late as Season 5 with Juliet's work in Dharma. I mean at least with Walt they almost admitted they dropped the ball by never referring to it again, but I really got the impression they had some plans for the fertility issue. They seem to be implying the Incident caused it, due to the timing, but...I don't know, maybe this is spoon-feeding, but I think that needed to be explicitly stated. I'd take that, I mean it's some sort of pocket of energy and a little bit is "inside us all",almostGaia like, I don't know what would happen if you blew up a bomb near it but causing an anti-fertility aura and blowing people back in time, hey why not? But they didn't put that to us. I think an audience will accept far out rules of a fictional universe if you put them to the audience, but expecting them to make the logic jump to those rules is the problem. People accept the Force and how it works, but if Ben Kenobi didn't explain how the Force worked you'd have no clue what was going on.


    The Ajira flight I think was just messy, like Jacob's cabin. I think it makes sense in theory. The island is skipping through time, Eloise calculates where and when it will next be, the Oceanic 6 want to go back, they get on a plane and go there. "Recreating the elements of the crash", eh, it could have been done without and made far more sense.


    I suppose in a roundabout way I'm agreeing with you, hehe. I'm comfortable with the conclusions I've drawn to most of the big questions, but yeah I think they could have given us more concrete details.

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  • Avatar of buildam2005

    buildam2005

    [13]May 27, 2010
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    I can buy the argument that the Ajira flight was over the island as it was going through another flash, though if my memory serves, the way it was presented, it seemed like the flashes on-island had stopped when they were on the Ajira flight, but maybe that's a faulty reading.


    I was never a fan of the "we have to recreate the flight" mumbo jumbo. There was no reason why that was a necessity ever given; it seemed just like a lazy front to givea reason to compel everyone to return.


    Or I guess it could have been Ben lying to manipulate people again. By the end of the show, everyone was so dishonest, it was impossible to believe anyone who just said anything anymore, so no motivations were every provable. A bit of uncertainty can be good, but when it blocks one's ability to be sure of the plot itself, then it becomes a problem.

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    KingofIPirates

    [14]May 27, 2010
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    buildam2005 wrote:

    I can buy the argument that the Ajira flight was over the island as it was going through another flash, though if my memory serves, the way it was presented, it seemed like the flashes on-island had stopped when they were on the Ajira flight, but maybe that's a faulty reading.


    It had stopped, it had been three years since it stopped, as Sawyer, Juliet, Jin, Miles,etc was able to live with no issue of the flashes with the Dharma Initiative.
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    ajokurvanyad

    [15]May 27, 2010
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    KingofIPirates wrote:
    buildam2005 wrote:


    I can buy the argument that the Ajira flight was over the island as it was going through another flash, though if my memory serves, the way it was presented, it seemed like the flashes on-island had stopped when they were on the Ajira flight, but maybe that's a faulty reading.


    It had stopped, it had been three years since it stopped, as Sawyer, Juliet, Jin, Miles,etc was able to live with no issue of the flashes with the Dharma Initiative.


    not to nitpick i swear but faraday said that the flashes are random not periodic so a flash could accure anywhere from 5seconds to 5000years after the last one....could be 36months as well :/

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  • Avatar of buildam2005

    buildam2005

    [16]May 27, 2010
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    ajokurvanyad wrote:

    KingofIPirates wrote:
    buildam2005 wrote:


    I can buy the argument that the Ajira flight was over the island as it was going through another flash, though if my memory serves, the way it was presented, it seemed like the flashes on-island had stopped when they were on the Ajira flight, but maybe that's a faulty reading.


    It had stopped, it had been three years since it stopped, as Sawyer, Juliet, Jin, Miles,etc was able to live with no issue of the flashes with the Dharma Initiative.


    not to nitpick i swear but faraday said that the flashes are random not periodic so a flash could accure anywhere from 5seconds to 5000years after the last one....could be 36months as well :/



    I always assumed that was while they were flashing, after the wheel was turned--once Locke turned it again, that stopped the flashing. THAT'S why Juliet, Sawyer, et. al. could live with Dharma for 3 years. I thought Faraday was saying that the flashes could send them 5 seconds or 5000 years through time, not take that long to happen.
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  • Avatar of ajokurvanyad

    ajokurvanyad

    [17]May 27, 2010
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    buildam2005 wrote:
    ajokurvanyad wrote:


    KingofIPirates wrote:
    buildam2005 wrote:


    I can buy the argument that the Ajira flight was over the island as it was going through another flash, though if my memory serves, the way it was presented, it seemed like the flashes on-island had stopped when they were on the Ajira flight, but maybe that's a faulty reading.


    It had stopped, it had been three years since it stopped, as Sawyer, Juliet, Jin, Miles,etc was able to live with no issue of the flashes with the Dharma Initiative.


    not to nitpick i swear but faraday said that the flashes are random not periodic so a flash could accure anywhere from 5seconds to 5000years after the last one....could be 36months as well :/


    I always assumed that was while they were flashing, after the wheel was turned--once Locke turned it again, that stopped the flashing. THAT'S why Juliet, Sawyer, et. al. could live with Dharma for 3 years. I thought Faraday was saying that the flashes could send them 5 seconds or 5000 years through time, not take that long to happen.


    yeh i forgot about locke turning the wheel.that's how he got off that damned rock.

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  • Avatar of buildam2005

    buildam2005

    [18]May 28, 2010
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    ajokurvanyad wrote:

    anthem47 wrote:
    (If I can sound a bit wanky for a sec, this is sort of interesting too. It's like wanting to know what molecules are made of, then finding out, then wondering what *those* building blocks are made of, then finding out, then wondering what the point of all it is in the first place).


    yeah,precicly.the point is to understand eigther by getting to the most basic or by learning that infinity is the basis.but just because the answer to something becomes more and more complex doesn't mean you should abandon it.


    and they could have easaly done what they did in the first seasons,1season mystery + 1season pay-off,new mystery.mop up after yourself.when you run out of answers:QUIT!



    I think this structure would have worked very well. Buffy the Vampire Slayer did it all the time, and that show is easily one of the best of all time, despite the reputation it gets based on name alone.
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