So, that Sanjaya kid on American Idol. Apparently he’s gone.
Yeah, I can’t even pretend like I care, sorry about that – on to better things…
Like Lost. I like that show. I really, really do. Would you like to know why? Well, I’ll tell you. I’ve told you before, but I get it, the world has a short memory. Lost is a good show because, at its best, it’s able to construct episodes that contain interesting story arcs within each individual episode, while also pushing forward a larger story arc and larger agenda. Sometimes one of these elements is stronger than the other (some episodes are more big picture, some more self-contained). But when the show is firing on all cylinders, it’s both.
Last night, while some people were mourning Sanjaya, I was reveling in the discovery of more information about Desmond’s life from before he ended up on the island. I liked the whole monk storyline, and Desmond’s meeting of Penny. While the backstory was, more or less, self-contained, there was the added bonus for the longtime viewer of learning about the first time Desmond saw Penny. Interesting. Good. Fun.
Sadly though, not everything was all sunshine and buttercups for Lost. Actually, there was a huge part of the show that didn’t work. In Desmond’s visions of the future that opened the show last night, the viewer was treated to a scene in which Charlie died. Desmond acted for the vast majority of the episode as though he was going to allow this to happen. There are always rumors about people leaving Lost, but for the producers to tell us that Desmond was going to let Charlie die at the beginning of last night’s episode pretty much guaranteed that Charlie wouldn’t die (at least not as shown). The conventions of storytelling in general and television in particular required as much.
For Charlie to die in the exact fashion pictured in Desmond’s future, and for Desmond to drive the death to happen just as he envisioned, without altering anything, wouldn’t have been good storytelling. It wouldn’t have been Lost-like. There was always a chance that someone else might die, but that Charlie would die at the very end of the episode just as Desmond had envisioned was impossible. And that was disappointing. The “surprise” of Desmond saving Charlie at the last possible moment wasn’t a surprise. I don’t doubt that Desmond is completely capable of allowing someone to die, but can’t imagine that the story would be laid bare in advance like that.
Sanjaya’s passing from Idol was, of course, foretold. He, much like Charlie, has been living on borrowed time. Too bad Desmond didn’t make his way off the island in order to save Sanjaya for one more week.