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'Lost' in the Black Lodge

I admit that as I was feeling tingles of fright rush up my spine while watching this week's excellent episode of Lost, that another, more cynical fear was hanging over my head.

We've said it twice already: Lost is the coolest new show on TV. Most of us here at TeeVee (yes, we're still here, thanks for asking) are hooked on it. It's well written, well acted, and is as much about character interplay as it is about creepy, scary things thrashing around in the jungle of an uncharted tropical island.

The show's last two episodes suggest that the early episodes, fraught with issues of surviving a hideous plane crash and learning how to survive on an island with no hope of rescue, were actually the light and fun part. Now comes the creepy kicker: the island is also home to a crazed (or... is she?) French woman (Mira Furlan, Babylon 5's Delenn, and it's sure great to see her working again) who's been trapped there for the better part of two decades. And it's also apparently home to a sinister group of "others," not to mention a forest full of buzzing, rustling voices.

So with the apparent (I'm using that word a lot, aren't I? Things on Lost are not always what they seem) kidnapping of two of the series regulars by a character who may not have been on the crashed plane at all!, things have gotten even darker in a hurry. If you haven't taken a ride down this particular rabbit hole yet, jump in fast or wait for the DVD. (This show is so intense, I'm almost wishing they'd put out a "Lost: The First Half of The First Season" DVD, so I could get it now rather than waiting for the inevitable release next fall.)

So what cynical fear is hanging over my head? Simple: that I'm loving this show so much, it will never be able to provide me with a satisfactory resolution. That like 24 or, worse yet, Twin Peaks and The X-Files, it'll become a complete mess that will leave me wondering why I wasted my time, rather than making me appreciate the incredible thrill ride that led me to the messy conclusion.

Don't get me wrong: I loved Twin Peaks, even as it began to disintegrate. I was truly brokenhearted when we never got to see the apparent demonic possession of upstanding FBI Agent Dale Cooper get resolved. Not since Don Davis (now famous for his role on Stargate) uttered the creepy line, "The owls are not what they seem," have I felt so creeped out by the dark possibilities of a TV show's storyline.

It worries me, though, that Lost seems to be toying with concepts of light and dark (stones, backgammon pieces, the mysterious "black rock" that the French lady talks about) as if we are being led into a Stand-like cataclysmic battle between good and evil. Yeah, I liked The Stand... but I've already read it... twice! I want Lost to blow me away. I don't want it to be a rehashed Stephen King novel, or a story about time travel, or nanotechnology, or genetically tailored viruses run rampant. I want to be surprised, not to be cheated.

And most of all, I want it all to end in something other than a disjointed mess.

In my original review of Lost I wondered if the show could really hold up for more than a single season. At this point I think it can, because its characters have so much depth and because the story is playing out a day or two per episode, meaning the first season will only encompass about 40 days on the island. Whether or not the show's writers can stick to their plans and not get distracted into creating another Twin Peaks is still open to question.

The moment I see a dancing dwarf speaking backwards, I'm outta here. Until then, I'll be visiting The Fuselage more often than I probably should.


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