Lost: The Beginning of the End

Posted on February 12, 2010

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Every year. Every year I say, “I’m not watching Lost this year. I’m done with it. I don’t care if they ever get off the island, get back on the island, turn it into a holiday resort or whatever it is they’re trying to do with the damned island now.”

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But as soon as a trailer appears on Youtube or someone starts theorising on IMDB, my cynicism melts away and kicks my arse into submission. And I end up sitting in on whatever night it’s on, screaming at the TV for it to GIVE ME SOME BLOODY ANSWERS!

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And in effect, that’s what Lost has done for the last 5 years, hooked a suitable audience of people to keep it on TV and then dragged them along behind, what seemed in series 3, like a never ending story.

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Like say, The X Files for the late 90s and early noughties, fans have spent countless hours online theorising over JJ Abram’s time consuming but ultimately intriguing Lost. Is the island heaven? Unlikely. Is it all a dream? I bloody hope not. But while something like The X Files assured us that the truth was out there and then slowly drew it out over 9 series (where thankfully, the episodes had something else going on plot wise) Lost uses more of the carrot on a stick approach, except they leave the audience on the ground and strap the carrot to a rollercoaster that we can’t possibly follow and by the time it gets to the end we’ve forgotten which turn we threw up at.

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So, in the spirit of the compulsive viewing spectacle that is Lost, this review is going to be short on answers or information, and high on speculation, questions and your average tomfoolery and high jinks.

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An extended first episode shows the aftermath of the bomb blast at the end of series 5 – have the writers resorted to simply pushing a reset button like so many before them? Will our heroes/zeroes get home and forget it ever happened? Well of course they won’t! But the writers have done something different this series. Having informed fans that the flashing forward and backwards was finished (and moved on to Lost’s cousin programme Flashforward), they’ve now decided to embark on what they call a flash-sideways, a plotline which shows what would have happened had the flight never crashed. It certainly looks to be setting up a plot focusing on the whole idea of destiny and how sometimes the worst thing that can happen is actually the best thing for our characters to grow.

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And grow these characters have, most notably Sawyer, who has gone from self assured conman to noble gentleman though it does seem like he may revert back to his original character later in this series. The stand out performance of the episode though had to be Terry O’Quinn as Locke/Un-Locke (see what I did there?). O’Quinn has gone from playing a character who struggled with issues of faith to an unknown entity who is cold, ruthless and merciless – in a phrase, the anti-Locke. The best scene of the episode is the one in which anti-Locke explains to Ben what the real Locke was thinking as he died.

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Like always, we have more questions than answers. Actually we have very few answers and given that we have five years worth of questions, the writers really ought to be giving out about three with every episode rather than adding more to the questions column. What saved Sayid? Who is the mysterious Jacob? Is the island the set of a reality TV show? Will Kate end up with Sawyer or Jack? Why don’t nightclubs invest in black smoke monsters instead of bouncers? Are those my feet? Are we there yet?

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And now that the series has made its triumphant return, it’s only a matter of time before Lost becomes the most searched topic in our search engines again. It’s where the show’s greatest asset lies, the fact that people can’t help but talk about it, can’t help but try to figure it out. The most interesting idea I’ve heard recently refers back to Lost’s baby cousin Flashforward, in which something called a “Many Worlds” interpretation is mentioned. The theory decrees that all of our choices play out whether we make them or not, so in another world, we are living out the choices we didn’t make. This is what Lost does to an otherwise happy, sane audience – gets them looking for theories and clues that don’t even exist within the actual show.

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Lost could be accused of blowing a hole in an audience’s space-time continuum, tricking us into giving up five years of our lives for it. When the series does finally end in May, one thing is for sure, there will be a gaping TV void in a lot of people’s schedules. Like series before it, The X-Files, Buffy, The Sopranos or The West Wing, there are a lot of us who have invested time and interest into Lost. When we should have been out living the high life, we were theorising with our friends over copious amounts of tea and chocolate. Oh if only I’d appreciated you when you were here Celtic Tiger.

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Instead, I was too busy watching Lost.

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Posted in: Reviews