With the words “It’s good to be back” branded in its forehead, LOST emerged back on our screens. And with reason: not only was the fourth season absolutely stellar, it also got rewarded with a bonus: an extra episode this season, resulting in a double-feature premiere. And what kind of a premiere! Let’s start at the beginning – the first hour: Because You Left.
The cat’s out of the bag. For anyone still wondering what Season Five – and with that, what seems like the very core of LOST’s insanely complex story – is about, the answer is given in the first five minutes of this very episode: killing Hitler – I mean time travel. All of a sudden, and in typical LOST-fashion, the scope of the series widened again: Season 1 was about surviving, Season 2 showed us the Dharma initiative, Season 3 went beyond that and introduced us to the Others and Season 4 finally showed us what happened beyond the island. With every step, more things started making sense. The presence of the hatch – something completely and utterly insane in season 1 – became intelligible when Dharma was introduced in Season 2.
Now, we essentially have the same thing: a lot of things start making more sense. The presence of Adam and Eve back in Season 1? Ben knowing all? Richard not aging? Doesn’t seem so far-fetched anymore from where I’m standing.
So the island is unstuck in time. Or is it? For Richard, it seemed as if John Locke disappeared (as opposed to the other way around). So what is really happening? I personally do think the island is skipping and not the people on it – but why does someone like Richard not skip, while our Losties do? Is his bond with the island too strong? Does he have a Constant (maybe Jacob)? The question towards Richard becomes increasingly interesting as the question towards Ben slowly gets unraveled.
I’m really enjoying the course the story-telling in Season 5 seems to take: there’s no more flashbacks, no more flashforwards – but the whole thing does flash. It still feels like LOST, but it’s an entirely different approach (even if it is the most obvious choice at this point in the story). I do hope that the entire season won’t be as hectic as this first episode, though. There was a lot of flashing going on, but it lacked the archimedical point that LOST episodes usually have (which normally revolve around the now non-existant
Nice answer to the second question: the island hasn’t just gone back in time, it’s skipping in time. It’s going all over the place. Nice idea: it will allow the writers to make sense of a lot of past stuff (like they did in the prologue by telling us what the Arrow station was for). Other than that, none of the questions got tackled – but one question completely solved isn’t so bad either.
If you think Season 4 was insane, you will soon see that Season 5 decides to kick things up a notch in the bizzare department. In absolute essence, though, even Season 5 is still about the characters. And they are what made this episode believable: on the one hand, there is someone as sofisticated and confused as Daniel Faraday explaining whatever happened to the island (“we can never make another street”), and on the other there is someone like Sawyer, who just wants a damn shirt. It works. Jack might have shaven off that horrible beard (may it rest in peace) but he still acts like bearded Jack: mildly confused, tired – not at all hero-like. Sayid might have stopped working for Ben, but he is at the darkest point in his journey. The characters work: obviously all Bernard cares about is pleasing his down-to-earth Rose, even if the island is going bananas. Everyone has evolved, but no one truly has changed.
Heroes, you should be writing that down. It’s important.
Sawyer: “Open up! It’s the ghost of Christmas future!”.