“What lies in the shadow of the statue?”
Confusing, frustrating, thrilling, exciting, epic, intimate, funny, tedious, Lost is all these things and more. And perhaps nothing summed up the show’s good and bad points quite so much as the fifth season. Although not as good as the blistering fourth season season five is still more enjoyable than two and three and marks the penultimate chapter of one of television’s most addictive dramas.
It’s clear now that the writers no longer feel bound by the need to attract new viewers to the show (which might explain the ratings dip). Liberated from studio constraints they’ve indulged themselves with every single mad idea they might’ve previously held back on for being too out there, man. That means a butt load of time travel, a case of resurrection, some temporal paradoxes and Hurley writing the script to The Empire Strikes Back three years in advance. With improvements, of course.
The first half of the season is split into two separate storylines. The first follows those who escaped the island in the finale of season four, the so-called Oceanic Six, and deals with Jack and Ben’s attempts to persuade them to return to the island. The second, and my favourite, chronicles the events back on island and the struggles of those characters who were left behind. As a result of the Ben Linus turning that frozen donkey wheel the island has become unstuck in time, randomly yanking this helpless group of Billy Pilgrims back and forth through untold chapters in the shows back-story. This was a great way to delve into areas of the show’s history without having long, boring scenes of character talking. For example, instead of telling us what happened to Danielle and her crew we actually get to see it play out live.
The actual return of the Oceanic Six to the island is a rather muted and anti-climatic affair, almost as if the writers couldn’t be bothered to work it all out properly and just wanted everyone back on the island without delay. After a duo of fantastic episodes, “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham” and “LaFleur” the momentum then grinds to a sudden halt as our heroes become trapped in 1977 and start hanging out with the Dharma Initiative. Initially this storyline seemed slow and directionless, enlivened only by Sayid shooting someone unexpected, until Daniel comes up with a bonkers plan to upend history, “Hi…err…guys…ahhh…we need to…Mmmm…nuke the…err…island”. Great plan, Dan.
The various plot strands finally come to a head in season finale “The Incident” an episode that is both stunning and infuriating in equal measure. Once again questions were answered only to lead to even more questions. After years of hints and clues we get to meet the mysterious Jacob only for him to be… oh, you’ll see. A new key player was introduced, although given the character’s nature it’s likely he was there all along we just didn’t know it. The season ends on the type of cliff-hanger that leaves everyone’s fate, and the entire fabric of the show’s reality, in some serious doubt.
Despites the many ups and downs this season the cast continues to remain strong. Michael Emerson earned his Emmy on more than one occasion. Looking back it’s hard to believe that he was originally only supposed to do five or six episodes. Ben Linus has become an indispensable part of this show’s mythology. On the other hand, Elizabeth Mitchell and Josh Holloway were both unforgivably snubbed this year. If anything this was the season that Sawyer and Juliet took centre stage and pushed Jack and Kate into the sidelines. Their touching, affectionate and ultimately tragic tale dominated the season and this particular viewer’s heart.
Rating: * * * *
- Audio Commentaries
- LOST On Location
- Building 23 & Beyond
- An Epic Day With Richard Alpert
- Making Up For LOST Time
- Mysteries Of The Universe: The DHARMA Initiative
- LOST Bloopers - Deleted Scenes