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Wednesday, June 04, 2008
TV Round-Up: Season Finales
Lost: There's No Place Like Home
While not nearly as series-changing as last year's season finale, there was a lot to like about this year's season finale.

I will say one thing though--Damon Lindelof and Carelton Cuse are right about one thing. The scenarios to explain things that we, the fans, dream up in our own heads are generally better than the ones the series gives us. I say this in reference to the whole "reason we all have to lie about the island" that has been building up as an undercurrent to every flash-forward this year. Frankly, I was expecting something a lot more than what we got. Yes, I understand that Jack, as the flawed leader of this group, makes a decision to protect everyone that was left behind. But somehow I expected the rift that grew between he and Kate over leaving Sawyer behind to be something a bit more significant. Sawyer makes a noble sacrifice by jumping out of the helicopter and swimming back to the island. Noble, yes. In character with Sawyer, yes. But such a huge decision that it will be a constant source of conflict between Jack and Kate? Not so much. Now, if Sawyer had died in order to get Kate off the island or Jack had somehow managed to do something wherein he got to leave with Kate and Sawyer got the shaft, I could see it. But what we got here seemed like the easiest way to go. Almost as if they went--well, we have to leave Sawyer behind and we've got to come up with something that doesn't kill him. Because you know if they killed off Sawyer there would be female fans of the show rioting in the streets.

Then, we get to the revelation of who's in the coffin. About halfway through I said it would either be Sawyer or Locke. And in the end, it turns out to be Locke. I will give Lost credit that it was one of those--huh, well now what? cliffhangers they excel at, for the most part. Well, unless they're doing a mid-season cliffhanger and then the producers don't seem to have a clue. ("Run, Kate!" and this year's anyone?)

Finally, has the show really done the ultimate X-Files crossover not only have an island that makes time go wonky but also has super soldiers. Seriously, did no one thing to check and see if the head of the Whitmore group of soldiers was dead? They couldn't spare a second to check for a pulse and maybe tie the guy up. And don't get me started on the whole--I've got the trigger tied to my heartbeat thing. I have to admit even my eyes rolled a bit at that one.

OK, so enough of what I didn't care for. Let's get to the bigger things that I did like.

First of all, it could still be possible for Jin to be alive. I'd love to see that. Mayhaps we'll see Whidmore find the island again and use that as some kind of leverage against Sun. That'd be one heck of a moment.

As with all good season finales, we got a few answers and many more questions. The biggest is--just where did the island move? And can it be found again? If so, how? Will Ben have to have Charles Whidmore's help to find the island? Or will they have Penny help them out? Of course, the fact that Ben has set out to kill Penny could throw a monkey wrench into that. And does going back mean they have to find and take Desmond with them? If so, I can imagine that conservation won't go well since we've seen Desmond spend three years to get off the island and back to Penny.

It was nice to see Walt in a flash-forward, coming to talk to Hurley. I do wonder if Locke came to see everyone after he left the island. Or did he only visit Jack since the two have the longest history of conflict. Or that Jack was the perceived leader now.

Speaking of Locke, I am fascinated to see what he does now as the leader of the Others. I do wonder just how Ben set him up to be the leader now. Does no one else want the job? It does seem rather thankless. And will the whole "things go bad" storyline come out of Locke's attempts to be Ben and not succeeding?

Wow, that's a whole lot of questions and not a lot of answers. But it did leave me ready for more. And that's what a good season finale can and should do.

House: House's Mind, Wilson's Heart
I usually don't write much about House on my blog. Why you ask?

Well, because it's not a show that really lends itself to much in the way of discussion. It's a good show, though fairly predictable and saved by fantastic work by Hugh Laurie. This season has been, overall, pretty good. Watching House try to find a new team was a fun reason to watch in the first half of the season and then watching the weird triangle of House, Wilson and Amber drove the last half of the season.

And so, we come to these two episodes that try to wrap-up or resolve the House, Wilson, Amber triangle. I've heard a lot of people raving about how these are the best episodes of House ever and I have to say, they're good but best ever. I just don't see it. Maybe it's because the whole mystery of who was the person House was trying to recall was pretty obvious from the first few hints we got. Or maybe I've just watched Jurassic Park recently on cable and seeing the amber there was too big a clue.

But I think my biggest beef is this--I've been burned too many times by this show in the past at the promise of series-changing, character-changing events only to see it all come to nothing or be forgotten within a few episodes. Clearly, what's happened here can and should change the friendship between House and Wilson. But will it? I'm not so sure. If you'll recall, there were series-altering events in season three with House's leg pain being healed and the Tritter arc. But then the producers found a way to magically press the reset button to keep House an addict, lonely and in pain and a huge liability to his employers and friends. I will admit that season four did a good job of at least not resetting the firing of the original team in last year's season finale, so there is some hope. But until the show actually steps up and dares to have consquences to this that go beyond two episodes, I'm not going to go all ga-ga over the show.

Also, this was a pretty blatant rip-off of season one's "Three Cases."

And you can also tell the producers are trying to get Hugh Laurie his much overdue Emmy with this one. And make no mistake--the man deserves one. His work on the show is nothing short of incredible. And how James Spader keeps winning is beyond me.

Smallville: Artic
If Lost was the most satisfying of the season finales, then Smallville is in the running for the least satisfying.

You could almost see the writing staff trying to wipe the slate clean and hope to start fresh next year. I hope you guys have a good time because, quite frankly, you've lost me.

After two years of Brainiac running around, being a legitimate threat, the character is dispatched in one scene. Clark finally decides he's had enough and uses high voltage to destroy Brainiac. Honestly, I'd rather they left this bit dangling and resolved it next year in more than, oh, five minutes of screen time. But maybe the availability of James Marsters was in question. I'm not quite sure, but the resolution here felt wholly unsatisfying.

But it was more satisfying than the resolution of the Lex storyline. So, this year Lex finally goes evil and then we have a couple of filler episodes? Surely in a strike-shortened season, we could have found a moment or two to show Lex being evil, couldn't we? No, instead let's do the umpeenth adaptation of It's A Wonderful Life for our show. Can you hear my eyes rolling?

So, Lex finally founds out Clark's big secret. And instead of being a dramatic, series-changing, incredible scene, it feels anti-climatic. Maybe that's because we had to mark time to get to that point and the plots marking that time--just terrible. Now, at last, the conflict between Lex and Clark can finally kick it into high gear and...well, Lex is gone. See, Michael Rosenbaum is gone from the show (he must have seen the writing on the wall), so Lex is gone. So this whole build-up...for nothing. Any fall-out...there won't be any. Any great potential drama from this...gone.

As the Fortress fell apart and sank into the Artic, so did my hopes for this show.

But, at least it wasn't a "world in peril" cliffhanger that Smallville usually does. Those at least intrigue me enough to come back and see how they get out of it this time. And I get sucked back into the show, wanting it to be good. This time, I'm left with a cliffhanger that honestly I could care less about how it comes out since I know Lex won't be back next year. And with that, I believe I'm officially done with Smallville.

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 6/04/2008 02:00:00 PM | |
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