The season premiere of Lost’s sixth and final season coincided with election day in my native Illinois, so grant me this single, awful somewhat topical joke.
We’re calling it. With 100 % of the precincts reporting, Lost is officially awesome.
Alright, that’s the last one, I swear.
With the anticipation for this episode reaching radioactive levels, there was a lot of opportunity for us to be really, really disappointed. I can speak only for myself, of course, but I’m here to tell you: Nope. Not one little bit. Let the effusive praise runneth over:
For those of you who thought that Jack’s plan to blow up history would go for naught and the castaways would be stuck on that damn island like old times: Congrats, you win!
For those of you who thought that the plan would work to perfection, launching the castaways back onto Oceanic 815 securely fixed in their pre-crash lives: Congrats, you win, too!…sort of.
It wouldn’t be LOST if there wasn’t a multitude of insane shenanigans afoot. But can we all just take a second and appreciate those wonderfully heartfelt and soul-hugging moments. Never was that truer in “LA X” then the scene in which Oceanic 815 landed in Los Angeles, just like it was always “supposed to”. What we got upon its landing was vintage LOST, a perfectly executed slow-mo montage as the characters we’ve loved for five season calmly went about their business of exiting the flight, an otherwise mundane task. This was aided leaps and bounds by the always stellar musical score from Michael Giacchino, who scored an Oscar nod earlier in the day for his work on Up. Overall, a pretty solid day for Mikey G.
There was no shortage of these moments, but lets put that on hold and focus on some more prevalent matters:
Business as usual…?
Fun as it was to see all our old friends (Boone! Arzt! Charlie! Edward Mars!) I have no doubt you certainly noticed that things were a little, well, askew. Immediately springing to my mind are: Locke actually did go on his walkabout. Boone did not succeed in coaxing Shannon out of Australia. Hurley has embraced his winnings and apparently had nothing but good fortune since. Sun really doesn’t know how to speak English (though I guess technically that’s controversial). Oh, and I’m sure you all happened to notice that slightly subtle detail that DESMOND WAS ON THE DAMN PLANE. It of course begs a question that’s been uttered many times in conversations involving LOST : What the hell is going on here? More specifically, Why is the island at the bottom of the ocean?
Back to the present
Just when we had settled into the notion of a complete (if not a little wrinkled) reboot, we were whooshed (did anyone catch the slight, but very distinct difference in the whoosh we’ve come to know? More dissonant and haunting, right?) back to the island, circa 2007. Finally, the two divergent camps in the show are back on the same timeline. And, wouldn’t you know it, crises abound almost instantly. Sayid’s bleeding out, Juliet is trapped under all that stuff that fell on her, The bogus John Locke is just dominating those clowns that came to protect Jacob. Out of all this madness, a few things were made abundantly clear:
- The writers were definitely listening when all you folks were clamoring to know where Cindy and the kids, Zack and Emma, who crashed with Tailies were. They’ve been crashing at the Temple since waaaay back in the season three finale. What they were doing during all the freigher raiding, time jumping hijinks is really anyone’s guess, but still it’s nice to see them around.
- The Others have a really unorthodox method of saving people. I missed Sayid while he was gone. That was a really rough 20 minutes.
- The Man in Black, posing as John Locke, IS the Smoke Monster, definitively. Also, he has quite an aversion to that ash surrounding Jacob’s cabin, which makes sense, considering last year’s finale seemed to hint at a longstanding conflict between the two. This also lends credence to the fact that Christian’s squatting in the cabin in season 4 was a bit of trespassing, since we saw the ash had been broken.
- I already miss Juliet.
I love L.A.
Back in the quasi-reboot, Kate was up to more of the same stuff, running her cute little heart out. She seems to have been subject to the same circumstances pre-crash as she had before, which only makes the small diversions from the known canon all the more confusing. Why in the world are things somewhat different in these peoples’ lives, yet similar enough to get them back onto that plane at that time.
The highlight of this whole arc was undoubtedly the Jack/Locke interplay at the misplaced baggage office. Completely perfect in every way and on every level: Acting, writing, directing, the whole shot. You weren’t beaten over the head with the irony of their conversation, but the moment played perfectly. How refreshing was it to see these two just having a damn conversation. After all the intense, heated, sciencey/faithy battles they’ve waged, we saw a glimpse of what might have been. Just a distraught spinal surgeon dealing with the loss of his father (both in the death sense and, you know, they literally lost him) and a kind paralyzed stranger. I’m not one to ever really get emotional about fictional characters, but I came pretty close to losing it when Jack offered his services–pro bono, I might add–to help Locke out of that wheelchair, delivering one of the most thematically loaded lines of the night: “Nothing’s irreversible.”, which ranks right up there with Rose’s “You can let go now.”
Show me the way to go home
It stands to reason that my other favorite scene was also Locke-themed. It was Locke’s eulogy/manifesto delivered by none other than the smoke monster, in Locke form. As if having Locke’s long, tragic existence laid in detail wasn’t morbid enough, there was the surreal gut-punch of having it essentially delivered, aesthetically speaking, by Locke himself. Heartbreaking. As if this wasn’t enough, the monster then revealed that he is something of a prisoner on the island, longing to be set free, which was the night’s biggest shocker. In my opinion that was the episode’s only misstep. As giddily euphoric as the Sayid resurrection scene was, I think swapping that with the “Monster wants to go home” scene would have been a more effective cliffhanger here. But, really, we’re just nitpicking at this point.
Oh, and how about that beatdown the the Monster administered to Richard before carrying him off? It was really pretty jarring to see Richard so not in control, no? Even more jarring was the Monster’s reference to Richard’s “chains”, confirming a long-standing fan theory that Richard was a slave aboard a certain slave ship that now resides in the middle of the island.
I suspect some of you might be confused that the castaways are existing in two different timelines at once, one on the island, one in L.A. But remember that the flight took place in 2004. And that they’ve now been blown back to 2007, so it stands to reason that in this reboot, they will still end up back on the island. That still doesn’t answer that whole “Island at the bottom of the ocean” issue, though I’d have to guess another donkey wheel turn would be in our future.
If that’s not the case, then what we are being presented with is two separate, but equally real realities (yes, I just wrote “real realities”. On purpose.) We’re then left to ponder how the two are related. Will they converge? Will one become more important than the other? If these are not flashbacks or flash forwards, let’s call them flash-sideways. You have to start to wonder to what extent the castaways’ fate becomes inevitable. From the start, we’ve seen character stories off the island intersect. We now see that that would have always been the case, even without the crash, e.g. the Locke/Jack meeting, Sawyer aiding Kate in the elevator, Kate comandeering Claire’s cab. This gives the whole destiny/fate conundrum of LOST a great deal of gravitas.
Which brings me to this:
My Season 6 mindset
If you’ve noticed, I haven’t posited many answers to the myriad questions posed by “LA X”, and that’s likely to be a trend of my reviewing this season. I’ve never been one for theorizing, which puts me in the vast minority of LOST viewers, but that’s just how I get down. Frankly, I think if you’re watching this season with a checklist of mysteries that must be answered, I think you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. Sure, I want some answers, but above all else I want a well-told story. We’ve come so far with these people and this show that I just want a coherent, interesting and thematically rich conclusion. Out of that, I think answers will come. If “LA X” is any indication, I can safely say that I’m well on my way to getting what I want. I hope I can say the same for you.
So, that’s it. How do you feel about the start the season’s gotten off to? Are you taking the “along for the ride” mentality, as I am, or do you want some friggin’ answers, people? Well, feel free to sound off below or shoot me an email. I encourage your input.