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DocArzt’s LOST Season 5 First Quarter Report Card

By docarzt,

  Filed under: Lost
  Comments: 16

I have to admit, I felt a slight chill when I realized that LOST was at the 25 yard line of its fifth season and penultimate season.  Suddenly the hiatus felt a little closer, a little more enormous, and a little more final.  LOST is on its way to its end far faster than I ever envisioned., and the prospect of that post-LOST void is becoming something akin to accepting the reality of one’s own death.  It is unavoidable.  The only solution to all of this woe resides in what Darlton deliver to us between now and then.

The space after LOST will either be filled with resonating awe, or bitter dissatisfaction. The ‘void’ could be a place to remember a great adventure, still tinged with mystery and worthy of reliving, or a yearning intensified over six seasons that will never be satiated. The first indication of what destiny awaits us can be found right now, as LOST sits on the precipice overlooking its end game.   On that note, and for what it is worth, here is my opinion about where LOST is as the first quarter of season 5 wraps up.

I figured the way to approach this ‘report card’ would be to talk about the most obvious trends/devices in use for Season 5 and grade them individually.  So here we go.

Time Travel – A+

Sawyer Hates Time Travel, Do You?

Sawyer Hates Time Travel, Do You?

The LOST team keeps finding a way to make the flashing element interesting.  I can understand where the fans who are not necessarily coming in from the sci-fi fanboy side of things might have issues with it, to them I say wait it out.

I doubt the series is going to remain as overtly science fiction when it comes to the episode to episode Macguffins.  Right now, the constant presence of sci-fi’ish time travel is necessary – but since the consequence of the flashing going on forever would be that everybody dies we are virtually guaranteed it is going to stop.

I was concerned with this foray into bald science fiction, but if you think of it as merely a more solid metaphor of what we’ve been seeing in the flashback device it isn’t really all that much of a departure.

When it stops –as far as what point in time in the stories timeline – may be part of the overarching tale, but the heavy handed science fiction of the characters being cast about in time will definitely end.  With that assurance be enough to bring back the fans who are put off about time travel?  Does it matter?

The Separation – B-

separatedThis gets mediocre marks from me because it is pretty much a non-event.  I judge the separation of the ensemble on how each group resonates with the other, and I’m not seeing a lot that really achieves much here in the lives of the characters.  they seem to consider each others absence in fitful bursts, instead of within the   Let me explain a little further:

First of all, the hoopla about the ensemble being split up is total bunk.  They were split up most of season 4, and a good chunk of season 3.  So the press and fan reaction to them being split now by time and space is just a lot of hyperbole as far as I’m concerned.  The ‘delicate balance’ of the show’s ensemble chemistry is as intact as it ever was.  On the other hand…

The nebulous ‘bad things happened on the island’ mixed with Mrs. Hawkings’ monkeying around in her personal Dharma station make for a mildly ineffective driver for uniting the gang.  I’d reckon the fan reaction to having them split up is stronger than what the story is giving us.  I just expected more.

The Revelations – A+

I’m not even sure that the full force of the revelations are sinking in to folks just yet.  As my good friend Imfromthepast has tried so hard to drill through everyone’s heads, the events occurring in the time flashes – including the interactions by our losties – already happened in earlier seasons of the show.  In this perspective, the journey through time is really just a traditional flashback with a freaky twist.  On the other hand, it really lays out the scope for the endgame of LOST.  Around the world, and through time, there are things that need to be dealt with.  Buried bombs, Frenchmen losing arms,  everything we’ve seen happen is the result of some temporal sin that we have yet to see.

Indeed the entire universe of LOST is an event that shouldn’t be taking place.  It’s as cosmogonic as you can possibly get.  LOST’s final stretch deals – at least in part – with the creation and destruction of a universe.  Epic, baby. Epic.

Bottom Line – A

In my opinion, LOST season 5 has succeeded in ways that are unique to the narrative.  This is not simply the common comparative sort of statement – comparing LOST to Private Practice, or 24.  LOST’s fifth season has succeeded by expanding upon a narrative structure that LOST itself invented – or at least borrowed with absolute respect for the form.  Not just in the extension of flash backs to flash forwards to time travel, not in the taffy puller efficiency LOST demonstrates in extending its mysteries.  LOST’s biggest success isn’t that it did anything different at all, it is that after five seasons it still maintains the level of wonder and mystery that it did at the beginning – unadulterated by the greed inspired needs of studios, actors, and – yes – even us fans.  LOST’s narrative has proved resilient and indelible.

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From TVFrenzy:

  • imfromthepast

    Agreed and Agreed!

    • Dolce

      I’ll second that!

  • professorstotch

    Nice observations here. Good article, Doc!

  • Time travel A+++++++++++++++++++++++

  • “The Separation”

    I think we’ve seen wonderful development, some epiphinies with the characters despite separation. Locke’s statement to Sawyer about the light and Sawyer’s own to Juliet. Jack’s decision to return to the island (which will be revealed more as a result of what Bentham told Jack rather than Ben’s manipulations) and Sayid’s awareness of Ben’s evilness.

    We have yet to see Kate’s big change, or Hurley’s. And of course there are many more characters yet to evolve. But if nothing else this season as been a well-spring compared to past seasons.

    Sometimes separation can be a good thing. Gives us time to self-reflect.

  • Mack

    Hey, since when is a B- Mediocre. B- got me through college. Haha

  • chard

    i call season 5 ov LOST “The Black Lodge” season.

  • CovetTheRandom

    Awesome article. I couldn’t agree more.

  • LostTvFan

    I also agree with the caveat that I am sincerely looking forward to the entire cast at least being back on the Island if not in the same timeline. Kudos to the filming on Island as well, about time we got to see all the glory that comes from shooting in Hawaii. The Island is one of the stars of Lost and it is lookin’ good this season.

  • i was afraid with the separation and the last year which i could call o6 season and i hated it ’cause i love the island and for me the island is THEIR HOME it’s where story started and where story should end so i was afraid but they put the island story in BIG level here, o6 story is second now and i’m glad ’cause we learn many thing, the bomb, richard and locke connection, danielle’s team arrived on the island etc it’s AMAZING so i can’t wait all o6 to be back but still right now they did a good job 🙂

  • Darbi

    Nice report card, Doc, but Hallelujah for the beauty and awe of the island being featured heavily again, and not a moment too soon. You’re right, seperation between the cast isn’t new, but given that the on-island story is far stronger than the O6 story, IMO, I’m one of those viewers who is anxious to get the cast back together to finish out this tale, because the island is where the story has always been.

  • brent

    Since I’m guessing that the second quarter will have far greater payoff based on what happens in quarter one…and so on through quarter four, all you can do is add pluses to the grades. LOST builds towards the finale like no other show. So I’d rate it a little lower now because we don’t have the payoffs yet.

    The only actual issue I’m taking with the show is the dialogue of reveals. They are a little hammer over the head. “Put the gun down… WIDMORE.” Alpert’s cadence bothered me. It’s almost like he knew we knew Locke knew. Too winky winky. Or… “My name is Danielle…” pause pause move hair… “Danielle Rousseau”. But the Jin reveal was very, very good.

  • Really good piece, Doc! Couldn’t agree more about the separation factor…I feel like they’re actually missing some storytelling opportunities with the O6. For example, we really have nothing from Jack or Kate from between their breakup to beardy-Jack mewling “We have to go BACK!” a couple of years later. And where Kate’s concerned, that’s Aaron time…our “Little Prince.”

    We also haven’t seen what finally soured Sayid on killing for Ben enough to make him quit. We haven’t seen nearly enough of Sun’s cahootzing with Widmore. We saw way too little of Hurley’s slide into madness.

    It really makes their off-Island time feel rather perfunctory after the initial “holy shit!” of seeing that they both got off the Island and have had a bad time of it since.

    Also, I feel at least a little let down that it certainly looks like Locke never gets to spend time as leader of the Others, actually getting some real Island Secrets™ under his belt before becoming Jeremy Bentham and dying. :-/

    • neoloki55

      You might be getting ahead of yourself here. I believe most of what you suggest will be addressed soon enough by the show. As far as Jack and Kate go their hasn’t been a Jack and Kate once Jack started in on the pills and would be totally redundant if talked about further. That is the kind of thing they would spend a lot more time on if their was no end date. Is Hurley really Mad? Probably not. I bet they will delve farther into Hurleys relationship to the Island at the end of season 5 and in season 6.

  • Jangras

    I basically agree, and I find S5 very very good. BUT.
    .. I feel there’s something missing: episodes need to BREATHE, they lack of HUMAN TOUCH. What magnetically attracted me back in S1 was the ability to mix mistery and sci-fi with a good and ‘real’ depicting of the characters – excelent storytelling. Characters were interacting, dealing with their own selves as well, and action was just on a secondary level. This year everything is too fast, imo, and the characters appear to be 2-dimensional. I miss things like the kate-sawyer bottle game or all the gorgeous writing in the characters’ bios (Locke, Ben etc).
    Also I’m afraid that some useless complication in the plot has been forced by abc: for instance it was very annoying the Hurley-caught-by-police-and-set-free-in-5-minutes thing. This kind of storytelling belongs to soap operas.

  • JOhn Burger

    This is the worst beginning to a season so far. Even with that- Lost is still great.

    Have these episodes made you feel anything? I think they caved to the we want facts, we want to know how french guy lost his arm crowd. As the writers tried to explain..thats boring. THEMES are the key to lost and so far they have not been clever enough to weave a single interesting theme that ties in both parties.

    They also made a huge mistake having only Sawyer and Jules featured on the island. This “our friends need help” plot is carries no weight because of this. If Hurley, Kate and charlie were there and sawyer was home it would make for a fantastic dyanamic–with Jack and sawyer both trying to get to Kate. If they included Jin from the start, kept Claire in the mix, and made Rose and Hubby regulars it would have more emotion to save their friends.

    Being a writing buff this is real poor stuff. Its almost like a clip show. But I have faith that they will correct this. It was an interesting attempt at creating live flashbacks but they never found a way of weaving a coherent theme into both groups. Its just basically a play by play of events with no underlying symbolism.

    Im sure a certain segment of viewers love it but its poor writing and poor execution. I have feeling the next 2 epi’s will make up for it though–and I completely disagree with the notion that this will all be worth it or make sense when we see what follows it—People, thats not why people watch series–movies maybe–but each week, each scene has to be rich. It must stand on its own.