Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Vincent: the best thing about Lost

So my next post is pretty critical of Lost and how it treats Eloise. And I’ve written a lot recently about ways in which Lost sucks and does a disservice to its characters.

And it does. But there’s one character that I think they handled beautifully from start to finish in Lost. And not coincidentally, it’s the character that I have never heard a complaint about from the fanbase.

That’s right. Vincent.

It’s hard to go wrong with a dog this sweet. But Darlton did more than just give us a cute puppy to coo over. They used Vincent as a character and as a plot device pitch-perfectly throughout the entire run of the show.

Vincent the character was someone we, the fans, deeply cared about throughout the show. We cared about his relationship with Walt – Cara cited Walt’s farewell to him in the season one finale as one of the most moving moments of the show. He helped Shannon before she was killed (for loving Sayid). I cared about what happened to them as the human characters skipped through time and space. He made episodes that featured him better because I was always happy to see Vincent when he showed up. One common refrain I heard throughout the often discouraging sixth season was “More Vincent!” And as the show waned, it turned into a beg – a wish for a bright spot in the disappointing winding down of the show.

Vincent was also used brilliantly as a literary device. He was used to lead people into the Jungle of Mystery for believable reasons. Because, everybody loved him, who wouldn’t save Vincent? He was an emotional or comic relief for many scenes, a way to easily but effectively punctuate scenes without overdoing it.

And Vincent’s placement in the opening and closing shots of the show was just unbelieveably beautiful and perfect, and multifaceted. First off, dogs are cute and make everything +1. Furthermore, at the beginning of the show, it created just the right amount of mystery and suspense. At the end of the show, Vincent, the developed character we cared about, gave the show its last strong punch of emotional resonance. Furthermore, it reflected the parallelism of the beginning and ending shots of the show.

The sixth season made a lot of mistakes, but its closing on-island shot was an excellent choice that emotionally redeemed many of my qualms as I watched the show end in tears. And Vincent was the reason that shot, and to some extension the show, worked as well as it did.

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