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Published: Thursday, 5/14/2009

Thrilling 'Lost' season finale delivers surprises, more questions

Welcome to the new Blade blog Culture Shock, a three-times-a-week riff by Pop Culture Editor Kirk Baird on pop culture news, events, and trends. The blog will appear Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings here, with the odd night or off-day posting if something is merited.

For those who DVR'd tonight's Lost and haven't watched it, look away. For the rest of us ... wow. What an episode. The season finale was slow to start, but when it found its groove, it made for some thrilling television. And, as any good season ender will do, it made you long for next season to get here. Fast.

Highlights:

Loved the fact we finally meet Jacob; even better was his introduction, and brief involvement in the lives of Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Juliet, Locke, Hurley, Sayid, and Sun and Jin. A hallmark of this series is its character depth, even those that are introduced in the final episode of the second-to-last season.

Doppelganger Locke may have won this round in his battle against Jacob, but I'm sure the mysterious and all-knowing Jacob will be back next season to even the score. It's interesting how the power struggle for the island, including its complex rules and etiquette, has been going on centuries before Ben and Widmore tangled.

Before this episode, I was in agreement with an Entertainment Weekly theory that the Adam and Eve skeletons from season one will turn out to be Kate and Sawyer. Not anymore. Now I think it'll be Rose and Bernard.

Not so impressive:

My only complaint with tonight's episode was that I didn't buy into Juliet's sudden change of heart to follow Jack's so-crazy-it-just-might-work plan of detonating the bomb and rewriting the future -- all because she knows Sawyer s heart will never belong to her. It seemed to be a rash decision, especially considering the consequences to those living on the island, whose future ends with the explosion. But when the screen went white (presumably from the blast) and Lost appeared on the screen, any qualms I had with the finale was forgotten. 2010 can't get here fast enough.

I'll be the first to acknowledge that I was growing impatient with the ABC sci-fi drama with its propensity to d-r-a-g out the drama, plots and subplots, and introduce 10 questions for every answer it provided. Once the producers were given an end date to build toward, there's been almost zero padding in the show, with tight plots and lean scripts. It's like Lost suddenly got health conscious.

Tonight I think it finally hit me that Lost is really coming to an end. I can't wait to see the finale, but I'm also going to miss it in the way I haven't missed a TV show in a long time. (Freaks and Geeks comes to mind.)

Critics love to say, "We'll never see a TV show like this again." Sometimes it's true, but more often it's not. TV producers generally aren't known for their creativity, and usually the easiest way to compete with a successful show is to imitate it -- poorly. But I think I can say without fear of hyperbole that there will never be another Lost. Not with the way television is changing in the face of declining ratings and increasing viewing options. Lost is one of a kind the rare TV show that gets better as it gets older -- and a year from now we'll be losing it for good.

Agree or disagree with a posting? Lemme know. Have a topic or suggestion? Lemme know that, too. Send an e-mail to kbaird@theblade.com or call 419-724-6734.



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