So Lost finished its sixth and final Season a little while back, but for the release of the final Season onto Blu-ray and DVD the makers have included a bonus 12 minute episode titled The Man in Charge. It’s intended to tie up just a few (Of many) loose ends the show left when it moved on, and it’s just an excuse to watch Michael Emerson be awesome as Ben again.
First, my own brief feelings on the end of Lost. Overall I’m glad I took the ride. I laughed, I was thrilled and yes I even cried a little bit; does that make it a satisfactory experience though? For me the answer is maybe not. The finale of Season 6 seemed a great send off for those characters, an emotionally engaging piece of work that touched every nerve it was meant to. But as a finale to Lost as a show it doesn’t quite work. Maybe it’s raised expectations, or maybe it’s that I was watching a different show to the one they were making (As has been subtly suggested by the creators). But the end of Lost provides an answer to a question I don’t suspect many cared about.
Since the show finished I’ve tried watching it again from the start, but it’s proven difficult to get through now that I know what pays off and what doesn’t. One of those bigger issues is actually addressed in The Man in Charge and we’ll come to that in a minute, but I found myself getting increasingly frustrated around Seasons 2/3 as they tend to get heavy on the mythology, a mythology that frankly didn’t get the closure it deserved.
That brings us to Walt. Walt was a special child (So we’re told again and again, then underlined for those not following) until he was unfortunate to hit a growth spurt, then he was banished from the Island by the writers. Of all the mistakes the show has made over the years, that’s probably the worst one. The actors’ sudden growth was quoted as being the reason that massive plot thread was dropped, but it’s so nonsensical that it borders on laughable. Who cares if the Actor has grown? Jack got thinner and grew his hair, Hurley stayed the same weight and John Locke got fatter. No one complained about those and it’s highly unlikely that anyone would’ve cared about Walt had he returned (For the record he does show for a cameo later on, and a character quips that he looked “taller”). The whole thing is rendered even more pointless once the show starts hopping around in time. Personally I think the loss of Walt is indicative of the show suddenly changing directions late in the game, and so certainly plot threads would be left unresolved. I can’t really blame the show for that, they suddenly had an end date and so they had to plan what they were going to do, but as a result some things will just never get answered (Why was Sayid suddenly an assassin for hire in the episode The Economist, and who were the people he was killing? Again it’s a great episode, but it’s hurt after the fact by the lack of closure).
Walt shows up at the end of The Man in Charge as he’s taken away by Ben and Hurley and back to the Island, which they refer to as his home. Given that he spent roughly a month there it’s a little disingenuous to suggest that’s where he belongs (Provided he doesn’t think about growing) but he goes with them anyway, and the promise of more adventures to follow is left tantalisingly in front of us. So much teasing, so very Lost. It’s these brief minutes at the end that got me most excited about seeing the episode, suddenly I felt like I’d gone back a few years and I was right in the middle of a episode rather than a 12 minute bonus feature.
There has been promises of answers from this episode, and they’re right in a manner of speaking. But I doubt they’re the answers anyone really wants to hear about. In fact ask any Lost fan what the answers to those questions probably were before they’d ever seen this episode, and chances are they would match what’s on screen. Still, it’s not really fair to expect much more from a brief bonus feature that was included for a bit of fun. But can you look deeper into its inclusion? Clearly the writers were moved to include the episode, and is that because they’re acknowledging that yes they screwed up in some respects and wanted to give a last hurrah to the show? Or is it just that they thought they could alleviate years of questions whenever they happened to be caught out in public by a rabid fan?
But still there’s…something about that damn show. I can see those boxsets looking at me right now, and I think about the good times we had. I know there’s bad episodes, I know there’s questions that will never get answered. I know all these things and more but the more I think about it the more I want to get Lost again.