Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Point of No Return

I don't know if you watch HOMELAND, but if you don't, you're missing out on a good show.  Deep characters, great acting, and awesome tension.  If you don't know what it's about, I'm not going to give you the set-up here.  Go look it up.

But they did something last week that stunned me.  They took what I expected to be the end game of the series, or at least something I thought we be a cliffhanger at the end of a season, and popped it up right there at the end of the second episode of the second season.

The point of no return.

It's that moment that changes a book, movie or a TV series' plot.  Hell, flips the whole concept of it.  Think Jack telling Kate "We have to go back" in LOST.  The end of BREAKING BAD's last two seasons.  It's a huge moment, usually turns the plot on it's head.

I love those moments.

Well, when the writer actually follows though with it.  I'm very interested to see if HOMELAND follows though.  LOST was able to, and did a decent job of following what they set up.  I'm, of course, drawing a blank on other good examples.

But it is also what I'm trying to do with the book I'm working on.  I am now halfway through the draft (and yes, still writing slowly), and am trying to flip everything on it's head.  The trick is, if you go for that moment, you can't half-ass it.  If you try to find a way to talk your plot out of its own twist, the reader isn't going to follow you.

Sometimes writers raise the stakes so high, they write them into a corner, and the author falls back on a character lying or something the reader thought happened actually NOT happening.  It creates false suspense, and I hate when a writer pulls the rug out from you.

So, I'm very interested to see where HOMELAND goes now.  Do they follow through or come up with a way to avoid the revelations they've dropped.

What are some of your favorite "point of no return" moments?


Anonymous said...

The more recent Battlestar Galactica, where they go through an entire year in the last ten minutes of the final episode. By the time the Cylons are back in the picture, all the characters have been reshuffled, and suddenly you have a new set of bad guys who've been right in front of your nose all along.

Anonymous said...

My reaction exactly. I had no expectation for them to throw that out there this early. Looking forward to seeing how this all plays out.