Hey, just because Lost is on a lengthy hiatus doesn’t mean we still can’t discuss it, right?
Now that some time has passed since the finale and things have calmed down a bit, fans have likely reconciled what happened in the season’s final episode and have started to contemplate what will happen in season five. I know I have, and let me tell you, I am psyched.
I’m sure this comes as no surprise to anybody who has ever discussed the show with me or to anybody who regularly reads my columns. But the reason I am so excited for next season is because, in all likelihood, it’s going to be so much different than anything we’ve ever seen before.
I won’t pretend to know what format the show will take during its fifth season. Will the flashbacks/forwards be completely abandoned in favor of switching between the narratives of the Oceanic Six and those that were left behind? Will the Oceanic Six story arc pick up from where we left off (in the “future” with a distraught Jack and dead Locke), or will it take place from when they first returned home and lead up to that point? Will it primarily focus on the Oceanic Six trying to return to the island, or will the season focus mostly on the apparently terrible things that happened to those that remained on the island?
I don’t know the answer to any of those questions. But if the writers choose any of those above scenarios, it’ll be unlike anything the show has previously done. Personally, I am exceptionally intrigued by the Oceanic Six storyline. Some fans are disappointed by which characters make up the sextet, arguing that the majority of those characters are also the most bland and overexposed. While that criticism does carry some weight, I ultimately have to disagree. And that’s why I can’t wait for the next season.
Consider this: Despite being exceptionally flawed, Jack has ALWAYS been a very together, mostly level headed hero and leader. Assuming that the next season picks up where we left off, suddenly Jack is anything but that. He has also been the ONE character that has managed to resist Ben’s manipulation, a trap that Locke, Hurley, Michael, and hellm even Sawyer have fallen into at some point. But never really Jack, even when he was being “blackmailed” into saving Ben’s life. That is a far cry from the man we saw in the funeral parlor in the final moments of last season. That Jack was anything but together. And that Jack was putty in Ben’s hands. No longer was he this confident, certain leader. Instead he was a broken man in extreme emotional distress. To put it simply, compare the interaction between Jack and Ben in the funeral parlor to their confrontation at the end of season three, when Ben was threatening the lives of Jin, Sayid, and Bernard. It’s like night and day.
For that matter, despite all of her noble qualities, Kate has always been — particularly in the beginning of the series — in it for herself. I don’t mean to imply that she would ever sabotage anybody else’s chances of rescue or survival (like Ben), because we know she wouldn’t. But there have been numerous instances where she has put herself in a situation that would be purely beneficial to her and nobody else (like trying to get on the raft so that she could make a quick escape upon their rescue, and kidnapping Miles to find out if the people on the freighter know who she is). Kate now finds herself in a scenario in which SHE is not the most important person in her life, Aaron is. She can no longer make decisions that are in her best interest. Instead, she must consider what’s best for Aaron.
And despite what I said about her earlier, Kate is NOT selfish. She’s actually exceptionally loyal, especially to Jack and Sawyer. Yet, again, she’s in a situation where she can’t simply return to the island because Jack wants her to. Or because she wants to save Sawyer. That’s no longer the case. Neither Jack or Sawyer is the man in her life anymore. Aaron is.
The change in characters don’t end there. While Sun undeniably gained independence during her time on the island, she appears to be much colder and more calculated now that she’s returned to her homeland. She’s working towards usurping her father and she’s willing to work with the “devil,” namely Charles Widmore. While Sun has seemingly been one of the more selfless characters on the series, she now seems to be in business for herself. From what I’ve gathered, she’s willing to do whatever it takes to avenge her husband’s death. It doesn’t matter who she has to align herself with or who she has to take down. In the end, it’s about making those responsible for Jin’s apparent death pay.
It’s also worth noting that Jack mentioned how Sun won’t even speak to him and that she blames him for what happened to Jin. This is interesting because on more than one occasion, when Jin and Sun have been separated, Jin would tell her to “stay close to Jack.”
Then there’s Hurley. While he’s obviously not “heroic” in the same sense as Jack or Sawyer, I’ve always considered him, in a way, the emotional center and spirit of the show. He was the one person universally liked by the characters and audience alike. Along with that, when things between characters would get volatile, more often than not it was Hurley who calmed the situation. As a member of the Oceanic Six, Hurley has committed himself to a psychiatric ward, even though he doesn’t REALLY need to be there (after all, both Jack and Kate have been haunted by dead people). And when push comes to shove, Hurley always seemed to come through and do something heroic. But since their return, Jack has had to rescue him mentally, and Sayid has had to come to his rescue physically. He truly seems more helpless than ever before.
Speaking of Sayid, for much of the time on the island, the former Iraqi soldier was the diplomat of the group. He’d handle hostage exchanges and strategic matters. And despite all of his instances of torture or harmful threats, he actually rarely took anybody’s life. He had mercy on Locke after Boone died, and he spared Ana Lucia when she accidentally killed Shannon. Yet in the “future” Sayid is a cold hearted killer. Sure, one might justify his hired gun persona by arguing that he’s protecting those on the island or that he’s avenging his wife’s murder, but that’s neither here nor there. Again, consider that Sayid ultimately forgave Ana Lucia for what she had done. Off the island, he murdered Nadia’s alleged killer solely based on Ben’s word. Also keep in mind that while on the island, most perceived Sayid as a protector. Yet when he bursts into Hurley’s psych ward room, Hurley’s immediate reaction is a somewhat unfriendly and distant “why would I go with you?” Whether it was his experiences on the island or the murder of his wife — or a combination of both — Sayid is a very changed man.
And then, finally, there’s Ben. For the entire time we’ve known him, he’s been the antagonist. Even when he wasn’t the villain, per se, his character was still, at its core, the heroes’ primary obstacle. He was trying to prevent Jack and his crew from utilizing the freighter for their rescue. And even when he was “with” Locke and his team, he was still wasn’t doing anything to help or assist them. While I don’t have any delusions that Ben doesn’t have an ulterior motive, there is definitely something selfless about his actions here. He can never return to the island, so having Jack et al go back to “fix” things doesn’t appear to benefit him at all, yet he’s doing it anyway. For that matter, moving the island, despite the fact that it would forever banish him, was in and of itself noble. It is far too early to anoint him for sainthood (after all, this is the guy who coldly proclaimed “so?” when he realized he had indirectly killed everybody on the freighter, after weeks of portraying him sympathetically), but I do believe that Ben, in his own way, has changed just as much as the other characters.
So yes, we may very well see more of Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sayid, Sun, and Ben, but I do think that these so-called overexposed characters will be much different than the ones we’ve been watching for the past four years. Like I said, I have no clue what format next season will take, but if it’s anything like I think it will be, I predict that Lost will become something very fresh and different. Especially when you consider that this long diatribe has only focused on HALF of the cast!