Lost – Episodes 5-1 & 5-2 Review

So this season, my Lost columns are going to be handled differently. More specifically, you’re going to get a double-dosage. My first column will be posted Wednesday night/Thursday morning. This column will be a pretty straight forward initial reaction to the episode that had just aired. As such, observations will probably be pretty obvious, and mythology interpretations will be somewhat limited. The second part of my column will be posted the following Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. I’ll spend the week taking in the episode that had aired earlier in the week and pick apart the various theories that have circulated. I’ll also respond to e-mails and blog comments that readers have hopefully sent me. So – hint, hint – SEND ME YOUR COMMENTS!!!! But PLEASE, I avoid spoilers like the plague, so basically if it hasn’t happened yet and doesn’t appear in the next week’s preview, don’t tell me.

So coming into its fifth season, I daresay that this year’s premiere is the most anticipated one yet. I think it’s also fair to say that this episode is coming off the heels of perhaps the series’ most critically acclaimed season (and yes, that includes the first season). And similar to last year’s premiere, the previous season’s finale promised to completely alter the classic formula that had made Lost so special to begin with. How will they handle their two story arcs when they are presumably occurring on different timelines (with those left behind living in 2005, and the Oceanic Six three years later)? Or did the island “move” to the future when it vanished?

Basically, the bar has been set pretty damn high – did it live up to expectations?

I’ll answer that question with another question: Did you not see that freakin’ opening? Geez, more happened before the “LOST” graphic began slowly spiraling towards us than does in an entire episode of an ordinary television show. Anyway, here are my initial observations:

I loved how the episode kicked off in typical Lost fashion: With a faceless but familiar character waking up and beginning what is sure to be an unordinary day in a very ordinary way. I must admit that I was pretty shocked when I discovered we were following Dr. Candle (that’s what I’m calling him for the time being), and for a moment I considered the possibility that he was nothing but an actor portraying the role of a doctor (in yet another mindfu….trick played by the Dharma Initiative). But it seems he’s legit. Oh, and Daniel appearing in the cave? Awesome.

And while the record/turntable analogy went a bit over my head, I loved its connection to the opening scene with Dr. Candle, whose morning dealt with both a skipping record and time travel in potential turmoil.

The trippy time traveling island strengthens the belief that I, and many others, have long argued: That the whispers in the jungle are actually “echoes” of people from the past/future who are living on the island concurrently. Although I did have to do a double take when Sawyer asked Daniel who he is. Had these two really not met yet up until that point? That’s surprising. It’s a bit like Heroes where, unless I’m mistaken, Nathan and Sylar are yet to meet.

While I admit that I’ve always rooted for Kate to end up with Jack, I will concede that she’s got great chemistry and passion with Sawyer. That being said, since the end of last season, I have honestly felt like Sawyer’s best chemistry is with some of the other female characters. I thought his brief interaction with Claire just before she mysteriously disappeared had real potential. And the budding relationship between him and Juliet throughout the premiere was phenomenal.

After all the luxuries they had experienced, between the various hatches and the barracks, it was pretty fun seeing the survivors having to resort back to their wilderness survival skills. I also enjoyed the fact that their supposed skills had completely degenerated because of those luxuries they had grown so accustomed to. And I was about to name this Neal character “Paulo Version 2.0″ when he was suddenly killed. Oh wait….

I couldn’t help but shake my head when Locke started climbing the tree towards the Nigerian plane. I mean, does he not remember what happened to Boone? As a side note, I loved Alpert’s “What goes around comes around” comment when Locke told him that he was shot by Ethan (although, in fairness, it was Charlie who did the deed). When Alpert gave Locke his compass with the instructions to show it to him at a time where he won’t recognize Locke, I immediately thought of that test from last season, when Alpert told a young Locke to pick an item from the table. I had to do a bit research to confirm my suspicions, and yes indeed a compass was one of the items.

Last year I found the odd couple of Hurley and Sawyer living together hilarious. This year, it was the motel sharing duo of Jack and Ben that I found strangely humorous. Part of me wishes we had seen more of their wacky hijinx.

I love the fact that there was a photograph of Jack and Aaron in Kate’s house. I also like how when push comes to shove, he’s still the first person she turns to (or considers turning to) when she’s in trouble.

I was surprised that there was so much tension between Hurley and Sayid when they made the decision to lie about what happened after the crash, considering that it was Hurley who embraced Sayid and welcomed him into his family when the Oceanic Six made their first public appearance. Speaking of Sayid, those darts really knocked him the F out, didn’t they?

By the way, you could really sympathize with Hurley’s plight. He checks himself into a mental institution, escapes, and is accused of a triple homicide. And there was an explanation for it, but he can’t explain what happened because that story is even crazier.

Dark Sun scares the crap out of me, and I mean that in a good way. Her passive aggressive way of guilt tripping her for Jin’s death, only to say that she doesn’t blame her and then asking how Jack is moments later was absolutely brilliant stuff. Her tone of voice and speaking pattern, as well as her facial expressions, were absolutely perfect.

Oh, and you just KNEW the hooded chick was going to be the old woman from “Flashes Before Your Eyes.” And what are the chances that she’s Daniel’s mom too?

There was one thing I found interesting, though, and it aired during the pre-show recap. One of the creators stated that the island is, for some reason, invisible to the outside world, and that it can’t be viewed if somebody flies over it. Has this been established? I mean, there’s obviously some crazy stuff going on with that place, but I don’t recall this tidbit ever being hinted at. When Jack, Sawyer, and Kate were being held captive by The Others on another island, the Lost island was still visible. And Dharma (or whoever) was able to drop that food onto the island. Plus the freighter folk were able to parachute there and land their helicopter numerous times.

There was one thing that sucked about the Lost premiere, I have to admit. And that was being forced to sit through several Grey’s Anatomy commercials. Goodness gracious that was rough.

That’s it for me this week. Check my next Lost column next week, just before the new episode. Be sure to send me your thoughts, predictions, and theories (again, NO SPOILERS!) so that I can include them in the next edition.

Matt Basilo has been writing for Inside Pulse since April 2005, providing his insight into popular television shows such as Lost, Heroes, Prison Break, and Smallville. You can visit his blog at A Case of the Blog.