Tuesday, January 20, 2009

We Have To Go Back Kate!

This Wednesday on ABC, Lost makes it's much anticipated return. The show is kicking off it's 5th season with two back-to-back episodes and I'm just amped because it's the first time that I'll get to take part in the festivities. My wife and I discovered Lost and fell in love with it over several rainy weekends last March and have been eagerly waiting the show's return since season four ended last May. Lost is a television phenomenon unlike anything previously seen on the small screen, save perhaps for the X-Files. Like the X-Files, Lost is essentially a genre program with a mainstream audience, grounding it's speculative fiction with relatable characters from our own world. In the case of Lost, many of the characters are archetypes we've seen before in film and literature. Viewers can relate to the rogue with the golden heart (Sawyer), the tormented leader (Jack), and the man desperate to prove his worth to his love (Desmond), while enjoying the twists and turns of an imaginative plot and the slow unraveling of the mysteries of an island that's a character in and of itself.

Last season, Lost took a step forward in it's storytelling, transporting some of our survivors off the island in the form of the rescued Oceanic 6. Mostly abandoning the plot device of flashbacks, most of Season 4 worked through flash forwards, telling us the story of what happened to Jack, Kate, Sun, Hurely, Sayid, and Aaron after their rescue from the island. And for the first time, a season of Lost felt like a cohesive chapter, a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. The story wasn't entirely linear, but that was part of the fun. The weaving of the various plots was tremendously done, in such a way that right down until the last hour it was hard to figure how the survivors that we know had made it off the island were actually going to get off the island. The new season looks to continue the non-linear storytelling, with separate plot threads taking place both on and off the island.

Lost's forth season was bold, shaking up a show that might have otherwise become literally too big for it's island confines. The best part about last season's move off the island is it changes the nature of the story being told in such a way that the end of the series need no longer be about getting off the island, having the island's secrets revealed, nor be about the island at all. The end of the series is now about our characters and the next few seasons should wrap up everyone's story. I'm crossing my fingers that the writers of Lost don't feel the need to reveal every secret about the island rather than only revealing what's necessary for our characters resolutions. Some may disagree with me, but I don't need to know precisely who or what Jacob is, I don't need to know how dead people seem to be reborn on the island, nor do I need to know what the black smoke monster is. I don't want to know what makes the island so special because the answer to that question can only be horrible lame and unfulfilling. I'd rather have it be left mysterious than have it revealed that the island was special because of aliens, or God, or people from the future, or something equally stupid.

Just for fun, I figure I'd close out with some predictions for Lost fans, mostly in regards to our characters.

# Jack gets a happy ending. He has to, right? It certainly seems as though he's been set up for some sort of redemption, although I suppose it's possible that redemption could involve his death.

# Sawyer gets a happy ending. He's just gotta. The more I think about it now, my bet is Jack gets some personal redemption, but dies and then Kate winds up with Sawyer.

# Sayid will die. He already had his happy ending tragically taken from him He's like Michael, paying for sins before he gets to die a noble death.

# Aaron will stay on the island, with his real mother.

# Jin is still alive and will be reunited with Sun. Last season I was shocked when Penny was reunited with Desmond, if only because I was certain that their union would come later in the series. Since their happy reunion has already occurred, I'm expecting a possibly more powerful one with Jin and Sun. Plus, if Jin was really dead, how does the show end even remotely well for Sun?

# Both Desmond and Penny will die or at least Penny will die, ruining Desmond's shot at a happy ending. The intrigue that many fans seem to be forgetting is Ben's promise to Charles Widmore to return the favor by killing Widmore's daughter, who as we all know, happens to be Penny. Desmond and Penny have already had their happy reunion and given the set up, I have trouble seeing a happy end for the couple.

# And for a wild prediction, Walt's going back to the island too. Why include him in last season's finale if you're not planning to utilize him more?

# In terms of our other characters, I think Hurley will stay on the island, the one place where he seems happy. Juliet will get off the island and be reunited with her sister. Of the freighter people from last year, Miles will stay on the island because of the dead people and Charlotte will stay because it's where she was born.


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