LOST Season 5

| January 5, 2010

LOST Season 5
This is not a list of theories, spoilers and hypotheses. It may, however, still spoil the season.
Never has a TV show clutched the stomach, heart and throat of television so tightly. Television has never produced a show that masterfully combines the mysteries of sci-fi, the sweaty palms of drama, the wide-eyed viewing of action and the relief of comedy.
We are now on the brink of the final season of what may be the greatest prime-time series of all time and the best way to whet your appetite for the final season of LOST is to freshen up and re-live Season 5 on DVD. Released just a few weeks ago, Season 5 is the start of something new on LOST. You find yourself with an understanding of the world and an understanding that things will be unexplained, which allows you to now concern yourself with how the characters are going to respond. Until Season 5, the Island, the Smoke Monster and the Others have all been at the front of our minds, stealing our attention. Trying to understand what they are, why they are, and even when they are has been more important than understanding our characters’ behavior and responses to them.
The entire first half of the season is almost entirely dedicated to what happens to those left behind, like Sawyer and Juliet, as they experience the consequences of Ben’s actions at the end of Season 4. I am afraid of time travel as a premise. It can become quite simple to find flaw and paradox in the stories, which inevitably make them incomplete somehow. Where LOST excels, however, is in the theme of “what happens, happens.” This consistant thought process, along with the show’s pension for the inexplicable, gets rid of skepticism and allows me to just see what “happens”.
As the season starts to go deeper, we become overwhelmed with timelines and flashbacks that seem to crossover and merge. The only way to describe it would be to picture parallel lines running across your television. Now picture each line as a distinct color and where the lines are vertically represents a time period (stay with me). As the lines travel, some might spike and merge with the line above it, then move up again and merge with a different line, turning a red line and a blue line into one purple line. Other lines might stop, and then pick up again above or below other lines. Some lines become permanently merged together. Then we reach the season finale, where most of the lines have moved tactfully together. In other words, time is manipulated and abused and it can easily become overwhelming.
The final episodes most heavily revolve around the idea of what the creators call an “erase button.” After being so dedicated to his beliefs, Daniel Faraday returns to the Island with a new theory, which he describes more clearly in the deleted scenes on the bonus disc. He and Jack become driven by the possibility that they have returned to the Island at the exact time when they can change the future (“The Variable”). This sets off the events that lead up to a bang of a season finale.
The finale is a culmination of what viewers have needed. An epic battle with Jack and Sawyer, the revelation of Jacob, big gun fights and The Incident all conclude with an ending that will freeze you in your seat. This is an episode that fans really needed and at the same time, beautifully, have dreaded.
This isn’t the strongest season of LOST, but when people re-watch this show, it will turn into a contender. A lot of people who were watching live, once a week, were still searching for answers about the mysteries and couldn’t focus on the more subtle character development and interaction. Sawyer, played by Josh Holloway, finally becomes a three dimensional character. He leads, he shows emotion, and he cares for others and begins to grasp a sense of the big picture. When this series first began he was the shallow antagonist and now he tends to steal scenes.
Disc three includes a few of my favorite episodes for the season, including “LaFleur” and “Namaste.” Getting to see Dharma Town fresh, clean and retro was really enjoyable and it created a new way to see characters like Hurley and Kate as they interact with who, to them, are quite mythical people. Seeing jack helpless and vulnerable also really reflected is evolution during Seasons 4 and 5. In “Some Like it Hoth” (disc four), Miles and Hurley begin to bond over questions of time travel and Hurley’s efforts to beat George Lucas to Empire Strikes Back. This episode also begins to expose who Dr. Chang, the man from the orientation videos, really is.
As for the bonus features, I really recommend watching the “Mysteries of the Universe.” This is sort of a secondary source of LOST material that is valuable and the premise more than satisfies: “Mysteries of the Universe” is a supposed expose of the Dharma Initiative from the 1980s and its chock full of hints about one of the series’ most enduring puzzles. “”LOST on Location” is also a really great feature that puts you behind the scenes and may even give a few small answers as actors wonder what will happen to them next, like Sun lamenting the possibility that she may have to re-button her top button. The deleted scenes are fun, too, mostly because of the outtakes of the actors’ feigned reactions to the bright light and noise before time travel. With neither light nor sound to guide them as they performed their agony, some of the outtakes are worth enjoying. We also get a very interesting featurette that follows “An Epic Day with Richard Alpert”. Following Nestor Carbonell as he goes through an 18 hour day on set, we see final scenes being rehearsed, the logistical problems of shooting in multiple locations. More importantly, though, we finally get closure on his supernaturally dark eyelashes.
I have a unique perception of this series. I did not start watching it live with Season 1. I will admit I did start to watch it through the first episode or 2, but didn’t stick with it until only four months ago, as the final season approached. Starting in September, with no knowledge of the show, I went on a LOST marathon with friends; family and wife in-tow (sometimes vice versa) and made it through Season 5 only two weeks ago. This is the way to watch this show. I shiver when I think of waiting a week between episodes in February. Seeing episodes in quick succession really helped with big picture issues and the annoyance of questions not being answered in the next episode is subdued. This was especially the case when Season 2 started, which seemed to almost repeat the same episode for 3 “weeks” straight. Whether you’ve never seen an episode or are a full-on Lostie, I recommend re-watching this series as soon as you can and don’t stop until you get through Season 6. I assume the DVDs for the final season will come out near Christmas, which gives you all summer and fall to start again. I can only imagine how differently we will all perceive Season 1 when this is all over.

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