This week, Lost finally delivered the thing I’ve been waiting for every since we first met the cast – an episode that doesn’t feature Jack. After four complete seasons as the show’s de factor protagonist and backbone, Matthew Fox is finally kicked to the gutter so that more interesting types can take centre stage. I’m talking, of course, about Daniel, Locke, Desmond and Richard – and let’s face it, even Juliet becomes a likeable character when paired up with Sawyer rather than Jack!
Now that the Time Travel cat is out of the bag, Lost is relentlessly ploughing through its own mythos. We finally discover why Richard Alpert was so interested in Locke’s childhood, for example – because Locke told him to visit! Elsewhere, we find out more about why, exactly, Charles Widmore might be interested in the island as he stands revealed as one of the “hostiles” – soldiers who went to the island in the ’50s.
Some of the revelations in this episode are practically big enough to have been season-enders in their own right, and yet with the end in sight, the writers are happy to shove three or four in every episode. Season 4 might have given us more pieces of the jigsaw puzzle than ever, but by comparison Season 5 is practically ready to show us what the picture on the box is.
Some things don’t quite work in this episode – the reveals about Daniel’s past don’t quite have enough gravitas to make him seem as shady or amoral as they were intended – the guy’s just too damn likeable at the moment. Elsewhere, the appearance of an atomic bomb on the island is a little too convenient. You can really see the plot wheels turning. There’s a famous saying about filmmaking that goes: “If you show a gun in act one, you’d better make sure it goes off in act three.” Ladies and Gents, this was act one. The question is when we get to act three – will it be the end of this season, or some point in Season 6? No matter what happens now, that bomb isn’t going to be far from my mind.
In amidst the plot twists, there are some brilliant character moments. Penny and Desmond get some of the best, specifically the speech Desmond gives his son about a wonderful island he’s from that he doesn’t think he’ll ever be able to go back to… called Great Britain. Elsewhere, the point where Daniel professes his love for Charlotte is matched only by Miles’ sarcastic interjections later down the line. Even Juliet, previously a meek and dislikeable individual, generates amazing chemistry with the rest of the cast when released from Jack’s gurning presence.
Meanwhile Sawyer, the only character not to be “in” on the Lost joke, stomps around the jungle like he’s just wandered onto the set of the wrong movie. The juxtaposition of a redneck conman alongside a group of scientists and island-worshipping fanatics works perfectly, leaving him free to comment on the ridiculous situations the Losties find themselves in, and short-circuiting the need for the audience to do it.
Even three episodes in, it feels like there’s more going on in this season than the previous 4 combined. Whether or not future episodes can match this one is going to be seriously debatable, because even by Lost’s lofty standards, it was superbly written and had the benefit of ignoring the show’s worst few characters entirely. A little Ben, Sayid or Hurley wouldn’t have been objectionable, but getting Jack, Kate and Sun out of our sights for a while can only be seen as a step in the right direction.
Check out a review of episode 1 & 2 Lost content at Den Of Geek” href=”/misc/181025/the_den_of_geek_list_of_%3Ci%3ELost%3C/i%3E.html”>
2 February 2009