Monday, March 09, 2009

Lost Women

This is a subject that has been getting me cranky for a while. Mainly since Danielle Rousseau was so summarily killed off. I know we're seeing her again in a way this season, and her French crew and all that, and I know the actress supposedly wanted off the show... but still. Even before she was killed off, she was underused and eventually made into a moron. Seriously: after we've seen her tough as nails and insisting Ben lies all the time she all of a sudden takes his advice and listens to him? And she gets killed. Not that Ben set it up, supposedly, but still. Rousseau doing anything Ben told her was not believable.

So who are the women of Lost and how have they been lost? (Oh yea, bad word play just keeps coming!)

  • Shannon - I detested her at the start of the show. She was whiny, bratty, useless... though she was eventually made somewhat human when we saw her backstory with Boone. Then there was that forced love story interlude with Sayid (who supposedly only loved Nadia..)... less said the better. Shannon thus suffered one fate of women on Lost: to be made an appendage of a male character and then killed off.

  • Libby - had some really interesting hints of backstory with Hurley and Desmond. Seemed like she'd have something to do with the overall plan of everything. Then she hooked up with Hurley and was killed off. Hooking up = increased chance of death for women on Lost island?

  • Ana-Lucia - Started out kind of interesting with all her strong connections to Jack's dad. The idea of pairing her with Jack fizzled before it was even put on paper it seemed. Instead she had a quickie with Sawyer, shot Shannon and then she was killed by Michael. Whatever interesting connections and story she had was gone. I loved seeing her back in S5, and I know her DUI was a factor in her being written out ... but still: good actress, interesting character, killed off.

  • Kate - started out interesting, but has become more and more annoying a character as the show progresses. Her scene with Locke off the island when she told him he just wanted to go back to the island because he hadn't been loved by someone, or had never loved anyone... well, that was so unnecessarily cruel and bitchy that I now can barely stand to look at Kate. And forcing Kate into the STUPID love triangle has made her seem callous, fickle, silly, high-schoolish, immature and plain dumb. I know people can love/be attracted to more than one person... but the way Kate's been written is just lame. And getting lamer. Her brief fling with motherhood was ok, but she's still being forced into the triangle crap. I love Jack, I pine for Sawyer, I sleep with one, make cow-eyes at the other... *yawn* Her constant whininess and neediness is wearing thin. Grow the f- up Kate! Evangeline is an ok actress, but the writing for Kate has to allow the character to grow the hell up some time soon. Having her jump into bed with Jack and then treat him like crap the next day is another example. Maybe there's some circumstances behind that, because really, the whole "giving up my kid makes me horny" was totally not a good storyline for Kate imo.

  • Sun - is getting to kick some ass at last. Or so I thought for a while anyway. Then I thought she'd turned psycho. Then I thought she might be working for/with Widmore. Whatever she is up to, she seems capable of independent thought and action, and I hope we get to see that she does not listen to everything Ben says. She's been set up as a rather strong and motivated character this season, but then she seemed to drop a lot of that drive when she agreed to go to the island. I hope we get to see more of her and that she a) stays alive and b) doesn't become a damsel in distress but a character who gets to drive some of the action.

  • Alex - Strongest death scene ever on the show. I wish they'd kept her on, but at least she got to go out in a totally powerful scene that had some meaning to the story of Lost.

  • Rousseau - never utilized by tptb to full potential imo. She seemed so promising with her knowledge of the island and the others (not to mention her maps), then disappeared or was reduced to scenery. Not using her more was a big mistake imo, and one that can't be corrected by filling in her backstory. And having her bite it because she listened to Ben? Insulting. Once she found Alex it was like she became a very foolish woman instead of a hardcore survivalist. Lame. Mira Furlan wanted off the island supposedly, but maybe that was because she too realized she was never going to get the screentime her character deserved?

  • Rose - Good character, when she's used. And her relationship with Bernard has been well-played by the actors and the writers imo. Too bad she's almost never around...

  • Penny - Good actress, good character, almost no screentime. Her relationship with Desmond seems to be one of the few happy ones on Lost, but her screentime is so minimal it's hard to say what Penny herself is really like. We just know her as Desmond's true love. I'm hoping to get some Widmore-Penny scenes soon.

  • Charlotte - Criminally underutilized. She's an anthropologist who finds a polar bear skeleton with a dharma collar in the Tunisian desert. She speaks Korean, probably reads hieroglyphs, and was born on the island. She was rather kickass and devious when she first appeared. Then she was reduced to making googly eyes at Daniel, bleeding through her nose and dying before she got to do anything of importance on the island, except mention the well and "scary old man Daniel". Kiddie Charlotte will in no way make up for the dropping of Charlotte.

  • Mrs Hawking - I love Fionnula Flanagan, but her Magical Old Lady character on Lost is not doing a whole lot for me. She's too much: too much accent, too much school-marm hair and clothes, too much mystical exposition. She was good when she was in Desmond's past/time travel episodes, but the way she is written and played doesn't do much for me.

  • Juliet - Strongest female character as of right now. Kicks ass, shoots well, knows Latin, fixes dinner and cars, delivers babies and keeps her word. Also loyal and helpful, no-nonsense, non-whiny and generally a real human being. When she started out on the show I didn't like her much. The forced coupling with Jack did neither of them any favours. She was devious and strong and mysterious at all times... but I also think that her off-island (and on-island) backstory is one of the strongest on the show. That whole ep when Alpert recruited her to come to the island was a classic. Mitchell is getting better and better, or maybe she's just growing on me. The pairing with Sawyer was nicely done, but I hope she isn't reduced to appendage status and being either happy in love or upset that "her man" may be pining for Freckles. I do not want to see her reduced that way. And I especially hope she is not killed off just to take the pressure off the Sawyer/Kate relationship. Juliet has earned a place on the island as her own person: not girlfriend, not love interest. And her connection to the fertility/pregnancy issues is so strong I really hope we get to see that pay off in the future (or past!).

  • Claire -I have always found the character very bland. Whatever happened to her last season may eventually reveal her to be more interesting I guess, but other than that I really don't think she has been a very strong or exciting person. She was the resident baby-momma, and her scenes with Charlie in the early seasons were great moments of sweetness and light, but beyond that I really never thought she added much.

It seems to me that women on Lost often start out as strong, interesting characters in their own right but are then reduced to barely-there status or appendages to one of the male characters: whether as girlfriends or love/lust interest. This was very apparent in the case of Charlotte and Rousseau, and the deterioration of Kate over the seasons shows this off too. How female characters are written and dealt with on the show is imo one of its weak spots. That Kate is one of the lead characters helps, but I just wish she wasn't such a pathetic, whiny mess a lot of the time, and that her main purpose often seems to be whether she will hook up with/support Jack or hook up with/support Sawyer. Juliet is very good right now and Sun has a lot of promise. I hope neither is dumbed down or killed off anytime soon!

One of Lost's strengths is that they cast very good actors and actresses. So IMO the problem with the female characters is not bad actresses. Everyone on the show has been good to great. It's just how they are treated by the writing that bugs the heck out of me sometimes. Not all the time, because there are bright spots for sure and I know I'm kind of ranting and exaggerating the badness of it here... but to me, this is one of the recurring issues I have with the show. The fate of Charlotte this season and Rousseau last season have just brought it home full force.

Screencaps and images thanks to lost-media.

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