Finally, season 4 of Lost begins to cap off its somewhat truncated run with part one of a three part finale – the second two-thirds of which will belatedly air two weeks after this one while a Grey’s Anatomy episode takes the timeslot next week. Congratulations must surely go to the network, who managed to find one last opportunity to screw with the Lost fans following a season already buffeted by writer’s strikes, delayed airing and a truncated season length.
Luckily, one rubbish Jack episode aside, season 4 of Lost has been crammed full of revelations and plot twists that have retroactively justified 3 years of relative water-treading. Lost has finally tipped itself over the hill into being overtly science-fiction, but even if it’s a little jarring, it’s not something I can complain about too much. After all, how else can we explain that smoke monster?
This episode’s flash-forward finally shows us what we’ve been waiting for – the Oceanic Six returning to civilisation. Between the chaos currently afflicting the island and the explosion about to occur on the boat, part of me suspects that this season is going to end with the Six being rescued shortly after Locke moves the island and the boat blows up. Then again, I already know that trying to predict what Lost will do is a fairly futile endeavour, so prepare for none of that to come even slightly true.
This episode reintroduces two elements of the show that fell into the background in this season – first, the numbers return to haunt Hurley after he returns to the mainland, foreshadowing his eventual return to the mental health institution he eventually ends up in. Secondly, the Others make a return in the most traditional way possible – leaping out of the bushes with a bunch of weapons, immediately out-gunning the Losties. As I once commented, our guys were perhaps a little too used to being the dominant force on the island of late, and now they’re getting their come-uppance in spades.
Locke, Ben and Hurley are meanwhile continuing their attempt to move the island. I can’t wait to see where this is going, personally, but I expect I’m going to have to wait until season 5 to really find out. Ben surrendering himself to the marines is an interesting development, only because – as he says – he’s always got a plan. We know Ben’s alive in the future, so I’m going to guess that it can’t end well for the soldiers – but how will Locke use the Orchid station, and what’s Hurley’s role in all this?
The flash-forward tells us surprisingly little about what leaving the island means for the Six – at least, nothing that we didn’t already know (although it does feature a guest appearance by Michelle “Ro Lauren” Forbes, who seems to turn up in everything, playing basically the same character). Even so, it’s a genuinely emotional moment to watch them all slope off the plane (in Hawaii – where the series is filmed – of all places!) and know that they did eventually escape. The unspoken question of what exactly they left behind hangs over the rest of the season. Is Jin really going to die, or will he simply get trapped on the island? What happened to Clare?
Speaking of Claire, we do finally see how Jack learnt of his familial relationship to both her and Aaron, so it’s good to see that plot thread tied up, especially in light of Claire’s increasingly insane behaviour on the island which telegraphs some… not good things for her.
As ever, Lost thrives on the relationship between its questions and answers – there’s one double episode left to go, and this season has already gone further and faster than any previous one. Let’s hope it’s got a good endgame planned out.