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Lost And Found

February 3rd, 2010

Lost is back for its sixth and final season, and if last night’s premiere was any indication, it should be one helluva plane ride.

(MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD!)

As I–and apparently, many others–suspected, this year the show has abandoned its flashbacks and flash-forwards for flashes-sideways into a reality in which the Oceanic flight never crashed. It seems that last year’s season-ending atomic explosion didn’t alter history as Jack and friends had hoped, but rather created a parallel track. Yet this new timeline is not the one we saw in the pilot episode; while many of the expected players were aboard that fateful flight, others were conspicuously absent. And there are other changes both big (the shattered Island at the bottom of the ocean) and small (Sun never learned English?). Now our cast of characters simultaneously exist in two states. It’s Schrödinger’s Plane Crash.

I’m glad to see the show finally pay off the cryptic yet obviously important backgammon scene from the pilot, in which Locke explained the game as “Two players. Two sides. One is light, one is dark.” At the time I’d thought it was setting up a schism between Jack’s group and a rival bunch of survivors to be led by Locke. Which, in a sense, it did, except that Locke isn’t Locke, but rather Jacob’s mysterious opponent. Who, by the way, is also the smoke monster. And has been conning Ben for at least half a season. Obviously the game continues, but the pawns are only beginning to catch on.

I find it a bit odd that a show that seemed so grounded in sci-fi last season has taken such a hard left back into supernatural territory. I don’t have a problem with it; it’s not like there haven’t been ghosts and similarly inexplicable phenomena since the first season. It’s just that now we’ve got healing pools, angry island gods and jungle temples. (I like that pretty much every review of last night’s show references Indiana Jones in discussing the now-revealed Temple, as if one hundred years of stories about hidden jungle civilizations only go back to 1981.)

It’s great to see a show that had foundered so badly back in season three right itself and become more satisfying than ever. I’m very much looking forward to seeing where this journey leads.

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