Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Lost Season 3

In the reviews of season 1 and season 2 here at NonModern, an attempt was made to avoid spoilers. Here in season 3 that will not be possible, so you are warned…

By Season 3 of Lost, the show had established its unique “feel” and structure well enough that the story felt like a natural continuation of both the first season and the second, in spite of the fact that they were somewhat different from each other. Also, in spite of the ratings drop experienced in season 3, the show was actually able to tackle issues and themes in a more determined way.

The show has continually been used (as all good genre, especially fantasy, always is) to address deeper themes of culture. Everything from decision making in society and government, to torture, to faith has been touched on at some point, and is continued to here in season 3. However, a main theme seemed to emerge in this season’s stories that overarched all others as the season moved along: repentance.

Repentance is special in that it takes the faith and belief elements that the show has always toyed with and explores how that faith affects the way people live. Religion, morality, and ethics are all practical, real life outcomes of belief. It is here that the show explores religion and not just philosophy.

We see the issue of repentance, or at least characters dealing with past decisions, over and over again. Hurley has to come to terms with the way his father affected his life, and the decisions he made as a result of that relationship. Claire had to deal with her guilt related to her mother’s death. We see Kate’s past decisions destroy an important relationship she had before the crash and her current decisions change the whole dynamic of the society on the island. Desmond’s whole character and abilities present an interesting exploration in the way the choices people make affect the world. However, two episodes and the characters they feature are key in this theme of repentance in season 3.

In The Cost of Living we see Mr. Eko being summoned by his brother’s ghost to repent for the sins he has committed. In the end, he refuses to admit he did anything wrong. He was doing whatever he needed to do to survive. Because he had reasons to do the evil things he did, and did not necessarily delight in them, he feels he should not be held accountable for them. Unfortunately for him, the force on the island taking the form of his brother does not agree.

Later on in the episode Enter 77 we see a flashback to Sayid in Paris. In this flashback he is captured and held captive by a woman whom he had tortured during his time with the Republican Guard. While her husband wants revenge, she simply wants an admission. She has no interest in becoming what Sayid was to her. Confronted with his past, Sayid breaks down and expresses his regrets. He expects to be killed, and knows that he deserves to die for his sins. He shows true repentance.

The theme is revisited and shown throughout the season from a lot of perspectives.

Other stand-out episodes include:

Flashes Before Your Eyes
We see the curse/gift that Desmond receives after blowing the hatch.

Tricia Tanaka Is Dead
The seasonal dose of laughs centered on Hurley.

The Man From Tallahassee
This episode features a fascinating conversation between Ben and Locke that considers the difference between empty religion and true faith. A whole post could be written about this one.

And, of course, everything From Catch 22 on to the end of the series.

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