Getting lost in the last season of LOST

ABC hit revving up and winding down

I love LOST.  I’m one of those people who has followed it from the very first episode, never missing even one (thank you, DVR!).  Nobody else in my family watched, but I did.  Religiously.   But even I was getting tired of the endless questions and the very scarce answers after the first couple of seasons. 

Frankly, I was worried that we were in for another X-Files-esque debacle.  You know, where the network tries to milk the successful show for so long that all the good characters leave and the core plot line becomes so convoluted that it can never be resolved.  Don’t get me wrong – I love me some X-Files – but we all know that when Mulder left the show died and Fox should have given it a proper burial, complete with mythology closure.  From the beginning, LOST presented even more conundrums than did Mulder and Scully and I was worried and nearly ready to abandon ship (or rather abandon island).  But then ABC did a smart thing – surprising everyone.  They named an end point.

I believe this was a crucial decision that saved the show from gradually sliding into a ratings hole, getting abruptly canceled with nothing resolved and leaving bereft fans out there writing fan fiction blogs for all eternity.  But during season 3, it was announced that there would be only three more seasons to follow.  The story had an arc, a beginning, a middle and an end.  We would get our answers.  That’s the way Abrams planned it, but we didn’t know that.  Announcing it made a lot of us stick with the show.

And now we are there – in the season where we learn all the secrets, tie up all the story lines and send our characters off into the wild blue yonder.  The first episode of this season was the first to show a ratings increase since season 2 (thanks Wikipedia!).  I get it, I know why people are coming back and I’m glad I didn’t give up on the show.  ABC has marketed this final season brilliantly, playing straight into the our thirst for information about the island and the characters.

My favorite part of the season thus far is the treatment of the flashback/forward/sideways portions of the story.  LOST has always used flashback and forward as a way to flesh out characters and give hints at plot points.  This season those flashes consist of what the lives of each character would be like if they had never crashed on the island.  But not only that – if they had never been touched by the island at all.  Any of you who are fans know that the island quietly influenced the main characters throughout their lives (we don’t know precisely how quite yet) and getting to see how they would have been if they were Regular Joes is cool.  Sometimes we’re surprised and sometimes basic character traits that we recognize still rule the roost.  Usually it’s a combination of both.  My only real gripe is that the completely delicious Naveen Andrews is having to play Sayid as less than the man I want him to be at the moment.  My own personal bias is that anyone as hot as Andrews should automatically get to stay a good, if conflicted, guy.  Also, would someone just kill off Kate so we could get out of our Evangeline Lilly torment?  I would much rather have Elizabeth Mitchell’s Juliet back.  But that’s just me. 

 JJ Abrams is no slouch when it comes to putting together a TV series and he hit a home run when he and Darren Lindelof created both the show and its mythos – and its arc.  Always intended to be limited in run, LOST is now wildly succeeding in giving its fanbase a quality sixth season and ending on top rather than petering out and ceasing to be have any pop-culture relevance (a fate worse than death for a show like this).     And I have to say, I am very excited for next week’s Richard Alpert episode.  We’re starting to hit the motherlode!

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