Because life is a series of edits

Lost Season 5 Premiere: B-

In TV on January 22, 2009 at 9:26 am

LOSTI can't believe I'm writing a post about the Lost premiere last night, but here goes.

We came to the Lost hysteria late, watching a majority of the seasons on DVD this past summer, and finishing up season four over Christmas break. I just about bailed in the middle of season three (it was like watching paint dry), but season four redeemed things for me as the plot actually began moving somewhere.

That said, I'm semi-bored with the characters and much more interested in the island itself – its history, its abilities, its significance. I've read theories of what the island represents (purgatory, etc.), but I doubt it's that simple (though I don't think it's altogether non-spiritual in meaning either); I'd just rather spend more time on the Dharma Initiative and the island's supposed metaphysical characteristics than watch Kate cry (again).

For me, the most interesting scene of the whole series has been the brief confrontation in season four between Benjamin Linus and Charles Widmore. While one could interpret Widmore's claim to past ownership of the island merely as proprietary, it seemed a loaded statement, almost hinting at some larger cosmic "ownership" normally associated with deity. Not sure where to go with this (it can't be a good vs. evil thing between the two – who is which?), but I'm holding onto that scene as a key to the resolution of the story.

Overall, I give the premiere a B- for the evening – not bad by any means – but the human characters are getting in the way of the show's real star: the island.

Your thoughts and theories?
  1. agree and disagree.
    the series really is about the island in the sense that the it functions as a main character. however, i think you’re assessment of the actual characters is a bit too critical. has the show suffered from some melodrama? yes. have a couple of the characters become cliche and annoying (i.e. kate and jack)? yes. but there are still some very compelling storylines. the multiple realities inside hurley’s head parallel the realities of the island. farraday’s time hopping metaphysical experiences and the fact that desmond is his constant make him quite interesting. john locke as the man of faith who’s story is leading to self-sacrifice for the sake of the island and his friends. desmond is a personal favorite for multiple reasons and the hints of his larger purpose and role last night made me quite excited. then there’s ben. an enigma wrapped in a mystery. i respectfully disagree and say that the show has fully regained it’s stride and is poised to end extremely well. lost is the best thing that’s been on television for quite sometime and is working it’s way to epic status.

  2. Travis, I do like the character of Farraday (mostly because I really like the quirkiness of the actor who plays him), and Locke has always been a favorite (again, for the same reason). Desmond is okay, but Ben is indeed a great character and has been from the beginning, as he’s so complex as to what side (if any) he’s really on.
    Epic status? Depends on your definition, I suppose. Is anything truly “epic” anymore? That would be an interesting discussion, I think.

  3. as with most words “epic” has multiple definitions depending on context. but, according to the following definition i think the adjective can appropriately be applied to lost: adjective
    1. very imposing or impressive; surpassing the ordinary (especially in size or scale); “an epic voyage”; “of heroic proportions”; “heroic sculpture”
    i think what really sold the series to me was when i was able to get brooke hooked. that didn’t really happen till the end of season 3 which meant she had to go back and watch all the episodes she missed. being the good husband i am i rewatched them with her. doing this made me realize how incredible this series is. there are subtle things throughout every season that are only now beginning to be developed but you realize that even through the hiccups (1st half of season 3, unexpected character departures) the writers knew exactly where they were going. little things in early seasons are there because they are huge things later.
    now i’m just babbling but i can’t wait to find out more about the smoke monster and the statue with three toes, and several other things. if this were a book it would be the quintessential page-turner. i think the cues the writers take from stephen king (particularly the stand) are genius. okay, i’ll stop heaping unadulterated praise on the show. i know it has it’s weaknesses and flaws but in my opinion i think it’s the best thing that’s been on tv in quite some time.
    stepping back to the original post, i don’t think widmore’s statement is as complex as you suggest, except for maybe he has a bit of a god-complex. anyway, it’ll be interesting to see how it all works out this season with half the people vowing to kill someone.

  4. I agree with your overall grade on the premiere. I didn’t give it my full attention but didn’t feel it warranted it, either.
    I loved the show when it had the heavy emphasis on flashbacks and flash forwards — that time continuum concept was what made it so compelling. Now everything is happening in real time (which is an oxymoron considering the island keeps moving through time) and the plot seems less interesting.
    I want them to get back to the island, too. The island itself is a character, yes. But the show just seems more cohesive when all the characters are in the same locale. Once they introduced that freighter and took people off the island, it began to feel soap opera-ish in that I never felt I got enough elaboration on the characters or plot in a single episode.
    I’d really like to understand why Jack’s dad is on the island rocking in Jacob’s chair.

  5. I agree with you, Travis, on some of the details, especially as they’ve been woven in across multiple seasons. Somebody has known where the story arc has been going from the beginning, and it’s inspiring to see that flesh itself out across episodes.
    The only other thing that sticks in my craw about the Linus/Widmore relationship is when Linus reminds Widmore that “We both know I can’t kill you.” So far, Linus has not allowed much to limit him (killing included), so stating that so bluntly sticks out as very interesting to me. We’ll see, I suppose.
    As for the rest of the cast, maybe it’s because there are 40 or so semi-main characters to develop, but this development has been the weakest part of Lost for me. The people on the island aren’t people – they’re types (Jack as the doctor with a need to save everybody, Kate as the bad girl with the good heart, etc.). While I agree with Chelsea that the flashback and flash forwards helped, they served to reinforce the roles instead of the persons occupying those roles. That might seem splitting hairs, but it’s distinct in my mind and limiting on how the characters might change.

  6. i agree that there is a definite deficiency to the way certain characters are over-typed, or whatever. but i do think there’s more to it. jack has a the need to save everyone but i think the arc here is a push for him to live up to his actual name, “shepherd.” my theory is that the main reason the island has gone haywire is because jack left. i think at the end of the series we’re going to find jack being the”man of faith” instead of the “man of science” and he will be the leader (shepherd) of the others. kate’s whiny bad girl with the good heart i think has been used by the writers to position her as the ultimate protector of aaron. incidentally, i’m almost 100% convinced that locke is jacob. the reason jack’s dad is alive is because there is some power over death that the island has. claire is dead which is why she is in the cabin with her dad and doesn’t mind that aaron is with kate. once locke’s coffin gets back to the island he’s gonna pop outta that coffin like a spring chicken.
    as far as the absence of the flashacks it could be argued that the whole episode is a flash. however, now that i think of it there was a flashback at the beginning of the 2nd half of the premiere.
    anyway, maybe i’m just being overly optimistic, i want this show to finish well since so many don’t. i love it though.

  7. OK, you asked. I love these characters. After four seasons, they’re like old friends, and I can’t wait to see what’s going to happen to them. Yes, some are “types” and not much more, but the attachments I’ve formed and the character development I’ve witnessed are powerful. From the first few episodes of season 1, I believed (and hoped) that the story would be all about Locke. So glad this has turned out to be true. He may be one of my favorite characters ever. Nearly as complex and interesting are Desmond, Hurley, Ben, and Sawyer. Yes, Sawyer’s eye candy, but there’s so much more there. And ya gotta admit the acting, all the way around, is brilliant. Nearly every actor seems perfect in his/her part. Can you imagine Ben as anyone besides Michael Emerson? He was born for this role.
    Yeah, I like the island’s mysteries and the mental gymnastics required to figure them out, but science has never been my thing. People are my thing, and that’s why I love LOST.

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