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+
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-
This 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.