Friday, May 22, 2009

Finishing Up The Season: Lost

I love time travel. I think it’s one of the most exciting things there is, and I think this season of “Lost” utilized it wonderfully. From the premiere episode where flashes of light would transport those left stranded on the island through time, I loved every moment of it. This was a terrific season for all those characters, starting with the dearly departed Charlotte and Daniel, and fellow marooned islanders Miles, Jin, Juliet, and Sawyer. The dualistic setup of following those trapped in time on the island and those trapped in unfulfillment off the island was incredible and worked wonders. My complaint about previous seasons that episodes rarely included more than two or three characters and left the group feeling extremely disjointed wasn’t an issue at all here – each episode addressed a bunch of characters grouped together, allowing insight not only into their individual lives but into their group dynamic as well.

The first half of the season was great in the way it developed the relationship between the on-island characters. Daniel was the real star, and actor Jeremy Davies did a great job of keeping him awesome and crazy at the same time. Charlotte was good enough while she lasted, and she’s just the latest addition to a list of characters I’d love to still have around and see where they would be at this point, like Shannon, Boone, and Mr. Eko. I suppose they weren’t fated to get this far and to experience all the time-jumping. I like the fact that the cast was really whittled down to the bare essentials, and it was cool that everyone was still incorporated. Spotting Rose and Bernard in the finale was a great recognition of the fact that the writers are still on top of everything even though it seems like things are out of control with everyone in different time periods. I loved learning more about Richard, who’s awesome in every time period. I really like how Nestor Carbonell sounds exactly like Michael Emerson. All Others talk alike, it seems. Although that’s really not true, because there’s one Other no one quite expected: Widmore. The moment it was first revealed that he was on the island was just superb, and moments like that (and basically anytime Sayid shows up unexpectedly and saves the day) make this show feel just as fresh as everyone thought it was on day one.

The best part of the season is when everything came full-circle and the castaways ended up back in time as part of the very Dharma Initiative they always found so mysterious. Jin running into Jack, Kate, and Hurley in a Dharma jumpsuit was a nice way to start to reveal things, but the true moment for me that sealed the deal was the opening sequence of “LaFleur.” I’ve never been a huge fan of Sawyer until this year, and now he’s my favorite character. Josh Holloway was excellent as the still disgruntled but newly reformed and optimistic Sawyer. His romance with Juliet was a pleasure to see, and her character was terrific this year, especially in the finale. Great performances all around from everyone, even weak link Matthew Fox. Dharmaville was made all the more fantastic by the revelation that Dr. Chang was Miles’ father and that Eloise, Daniel’s mother, was an Other. Ben’s presence was a great treat as well. Patrick Fischler, recently Jimmy Barrett on “Mad Men,” was a great Dharma employee, and all the small characters, like Horace and Radzinsky contributed to a great supporting ensemble that made the 70s seem like the place to be. I loved the “thirty years later” fadeout and thought that it made everything seem so wonderfully mystical.

The season finale was terrific. The opening sequence was mind-boggling, with two great actors, Mark Pellegrino and Titus Welliver, introduced as part of a completely new, never-before-explored plotline. The instant identification of Pellegrino as Jacob was fantastic, and his continued appearances throughout the two-hour episode were amazing. It’s always great to have flashbacks which take viewers back to the origins of the series, and inserting this previously fabled character into key scenes of each of the major characters was truly cool. The insanity later on when Jacob revealed that Locke was actually that second man changed everything – these people have been on this mystical island for centuries just playing games with each other. It’s simply incredible. There’s so much more to all this “Lost” mythology now. Tying the Ajira flight passengers into Jacob and Richard was pretty awesome as well. On the thirty years earlier side of things, the attempt by Jack, Hurley, and others to change history was entirely compelling. Sawyer’s crack about not being at LAX opens up a whole new door for season six – what happens if the bomb going off did in fact change things and time starts over at the moment when Oceanic 815 does NOT crash, and they land in Los Angeles with scattered memories of knowing each other. I’d love to see that, although I’m not sure how well it would work, especially because I’d have lengthy conversations with people about how time travel works in theory, citing “Heroes” as an example of senselessness and “Back to the Future” as the ideal sensibility. The closing moment with Juliet desperately trying to set off the bomb was a great closing moment, and season six (coming in 2010!!!) is going to be a great thrill ride. There’s much more to say about this season of “Lost,” so offer your thoughts in the comments section!

Season finale: A-
Season grade: A-
Season MVP: Josh Holloway


Anonymous said...

Abe! I have to agree that Sawyer became my favorite character this season as well with Juliet as a close second. I have been incredibly disappointed in Jack and Kate - finding Kate undeniably annoying with each word she spoke, and Jack a little too self-righteous and pig-headed. JG will disagree with me, of course, as he is fan of Jack through and through. I am looking forward to next season even though, unlike you I suppose, I hope the time traveling will be finished.

- MP

Richter Scale said...

I just finished the fifth season, getting ready for the new season to start. I've never seen so exhilirated. This season was intense, and I couldn't breathe through the entire second half of the finale. I didn't know what to expect from that bomb going off, and what I loved most were the scenes that featured Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn prominently (I can see why those two got their well-deserved Emmys). But I was also moved by the Sawyer/Juliet love story, and I'm intrigued to see where this all leads.