Getting Lost: LA X

For “Getting Lost,” the new series in which John S takes a look at the most salient questions from last night’s episode of Lost, he’s borrowing Tim’s interlocutor style:

What was the deal with that opening? As many were predicting, the opening scene of Lost Season Six was a quasi-replay of the first airplane scene from the show’s pilot. Panning back from the wing, we see Jack looking out the window, and the flight attendant comes by to ask about his drink. In other words, the plan worked, and we are now witnessing an alternate timeline.

Last May, when Juliet set off the hydrogen bomb on the Island, people immediately starting hypothesizing that Season Six would be the story of what happens if and when Oceanic 815 actually landed at LAX (a hypothesis strengthened when the title of the season premiere was announced). My biggest worry about this storyline, though, was that it wouldn’t be interesting. I, for one, never really cared much about these characters’ off-Island lives.

The scenes on the plane and at LAX seemed to justify this fear. There was certainly the intrigue of seeing old characters (like Boone, Charlie, Bernard, etc.) and pointing out differences from the pilot,* but once that wore off, there wasn’t much there. Most of the scenes revolved around Kate’s attempt to flee from her U.S. Marshall escort (using a pen she stole from Jack), and I got tired of the whole “Kate likes running away from people” thing at the end of Season One.

*Those differences include, but are probably not limited to: Jack, not Rose, being nervous on the plane; Charlie already being in the bathroom, not running to it when Jack gets up; the dialogue is slightly different; Shannon is not on the plane; Desmond IS on the plane; Hurley describes himself as “the luckiest guy in the world”; Jack has a mark on his neck. Oh yeah, and the plane doesn’t crash.

Come on, didn’t you like that scene between Jack and Locke at the lost baggage station? Yeah, that was pretty good. I’ve always felt that the Jack-Locke tension was the aspect of the show with the most squandered potential. They represent two very interesting and distinct philosophies (pragmatism vs. faith, free will vs. destiny, skepticism vs. acceptance), and many of their scenes have been the best of the show.

And the producers sometimes feel compelled to keep them separate for entire seasons (over the course of Seasons Three and Four, I think they had maybe four scenes together). When they do put them together, they always portray it as Jack having a violent and unjustified hatred for Locke that makes him seem ridiculous.

So the scene at the airport (scenes, if you count the look Jack gives Locke when they are the last two to get off the plane), in which they meet for the first time, was very well done.

Speaking of lost baggage, how does an airline lose a body? Yeah, that’s a pretty big mistake.

Can’t Lost afford some better CGI? You would think. That sequence in the beginning, showing the Island underwater was pretty lame.

What about all this “alternate timelines” shit? Can people exist in two places at once? The on-Island aspects of the story, in which Kate, Miles, Sawyer, Jack, Sayid, Hurley, and Jin all wake up on the Island, presumably after the blast, was much more interesting than the plane/airport stuff.

For one, I’m glad that Sawyer is not as wishy-washy on his feelings as Kate and Jack are. His anger at Jack, blaming him for Juliet’s death, continued the leap Sawyer made last season, into maybe the show’s most heroic and likable character.

Jacob’s appearance to Hurley was also cool, mainly because I like the way the actor (Mark Pellegrino) plays him. Also, Jacob’s admission that he died “about an hour ago” was refreshing, because I still had some doubts that A) Jacob was mortal, and B) Ben effectively killed him.

Finally, there was the mild cliffhanger of Juliet having something “very important” to tell Sawyer before she died. (For a second, I thought she was going to say that she was pregnant.) Sawyer asks Miles to use his hearing-the-dead abilities to find out what Juliet wanted to say, but all he gets from her is, “It worked.”

Any ideas on what this means? Well, kind of. I did for a while, at least. During the hiatus between seasons, I figured that Season Six had to be a reset. After all, Juliet set off a fucking hydrogen bomb. The only other alternative is that the characters are just dead.

And so the scenes with them on the Island can’t possibly mean that those six just survived an explosion, or that the bomb never went off (there is also the fact that, before the explosion, there were bunch of Dharma folks with them, who are nowhere to be found). For a while, I thought they were dead. I thought they were in some kind of afterlife that was perpetual night, and was going to give us some insight into how exactly ghosts survive and exist on the Island (which was, if you recall, one of the essential questions the show needed to answer).

This idea, though, was kind of punctured when the sun came up and the group went to the Temple. Introducing a whole new set of characters at the Temple makes it seem much more likely that the group simply moved somewhere on the space-time continuum, likely closer to the “present.”

Do you give a shit about these Temple people? Not at all. I’m always wary of shows introducing new characters so late in the game (see: The Wire), particularly when there are so many things to rap up.

It also doesn’t seem like these new characters are all that interesting, either. They follow the same tropes that the show is already used to. There’s a Mysterious Leader—who knows English, but won’t speak it because of “how it tastes on (his) tongue”—as well as helpful Second in Command, who wants to be nice but is willing to use force. Oh, and OF COUSE the mysterious new people have access to magical healing waters that work in ambiguous ways that can’t be explained.

But at least the magical waters restored Sayid! Well, did they? They didn’t seem to work initially, and even the Temple natives were surprised when he woke up. We’ve learned to be suspicious of apparent resurrections on this show, haven’t we?

Yeah, is Locke really and truly still dead? NOOOOOO! We finally got confirmation of the fact that Locke is the embodiment of the smoke monster. Watching him kill all those armed “bodyguards” of Jacob was pretty badass, but what was the deal with the circle their leader created? Is there some kind of smoke monster force field?

The really important fact, though, was that Locke 2.0’s identity was revealed to Ben, who disliked being used (hurts, doesn’t it, Ben?) and realized suddenly that Locke was the monster. Locke 2.0’s response, “Let’s not resort to name-calling,” was great.

Also revealed was the fact that Smokey/the Man in Black/Locke 2.0’s goal is “to go home”—wherever that is—and the fact that he has a relationship with Richard that involves Richard in chains. All of this, combined with the fear that Richard displayed when he realized who the new Locke was and Locke 2.0’s contempt for the original Locke, reinforces the idea that Smoke/the Man in Black represent “evil” to Jacob’s “good,” but I hope they give that some more depth.

What about those fireworks? The fact that Richard and his group (which still includes Lapidus and Sun) could see the fireworks that the Temple folk set off upon hearing that Jacob was dead shows that they are in the same timeline, which should place all of the Island action in 2007.

This also seems like the beginning of an all-out war between those loyal to now-dead Jacob, and Locke 2.0/Smokey/the Man in Black. Presumably, Jacob stands in the way of Locke 2.0’s return home.

Is this the “war” that Charles Widmore was referring to last season? And does the fact that Widmore helped the real Locke in his quest to return to the Island mean he is on Jacob’s side? Or the Man in Black’s? And if Widmore is on one side, is Ben on the other? Ben, who seemed to regret murdering Jacob almost immediately, is almost certainly on Jacob’s side, right? Had any of the Others ever actually met Jacob?

As usual, last night’s episode of Lost left me with more questions than answers, but there are still 17 episodes left.

Aren’t you psyched? I am.

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One response to this post.

  1. […] may have noticed that John S was rather psyched for the season premiere of Lost last week. Well, he wasn’t the only one: Alan Sepinwall pregamed for the episode by […]

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