“We Have to Go Back!!”: A Look Back At ‘Lost’ Part 1

It’s been nearly a year since Ajira flight 316 took off from the island. Kate, Sawyer and Claire were the only original Oceanic passengers on board. Charlie had died seasons ago, Jin and Sun were lost in the sub, Hurley stayed behind and Jack served as the series tragic hero. Taking one last breath, he watched the plane fly overheard with a smile on his face, Vincent the dog by his side. A fitting end to one of televisions best dramas of all-time.

If “Lost” had ended with just that storyline, some of the uproar and “disappointment” over the finale may have avoided. But in the sixth and last season of “Lost”, the producers presented audiences with an alternate world or sideways universe as many referred to it during the season. However, neither of those theories proved to be true. Instead, the sideways world turned out to be a purgatory-esque universe where all the “Losties” must find each other and “let go” to reach the afterlife. The scenes in the church were emotional, heart-breaking and thought-provoking. The second act to a great finale.

See, for me nothing that happened in the final episode was “the problem.” The tough part for me to swallow was how meaningless the flash-sideways world turned out to be. In this flash-sideways, Jack had a son, Locke was a substitute teacher, Sawyer was a cop and Kate still a criminal. All interesting plotlines that ultimately went nowhere. If you look back at any of those episodes, all were incredibly intriguing under the guise that when things finally came together, viewers would be taken to somewhere they had never expected and never seen before. Instead, it turned out to be what many initially thought the island really was…life after death.

What about Jack’s son? Why did he need a son to “let go?” Why did Locke get fired only to become a substitute teacher? To meet Ben, get hit by a car and “let go” when he met Jack again? I guess. Perhaps the part that bugs me is the fact that I can’t go back and watch those episodes and think “there’s something hidden here, something I never caught before, some secret the producers wanted me to catch.” No, they’re just in limbo, waiting to go to heaven. And that’s it. Again, not an ending I hate, I just didn’t understand the season as a fake out. If there was a spot that Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof failed, it was here.

But on to what was so wonderful about this series. It was not how it ended, but what got us there that was so great.

Season 1:

As great as the pilot episode was, the first season officially became must-see television in episode four when it was revealed that John Locke, the crazy hunter of the group, was actually disabled and could only walk after landing on “Lost” island. “Walkabout” blew me away, not only for the ending, but the way it was cleverly presented by the writers and actor Terry O’Quinn.

The episode that followed “White Rabbit” featuring Jack’s back story and hallucinations of his dead father on the island were equally as intriguing. (It was later revealed that his father was actually the smoke monster aka The Man in Black.) But at the end, Jack makes his famous, “Live together, die alone” speech.

There are so many to choose from, but I think my favorite episode is “The Moth.” In the seventh episode, we find out about Charlie’s heroine-addicted past and watch him overcome the need for drugs with a little help from Locke. It’s an episode that truly makes us care about the characters, dozens of shows emote, but only this one had a sense of frail humanity, the demons that we carry around and our struggle to vanquish them.

Of course, the entire first season was virtually flawless, drawing viewers deeper and deeper into the show’s mythology. From Hurley’s cursed numbers (4,8,15,16,23,42) to the Hatch to the mysterious Others, it all made for some of the greatest television I have ever seen.

Season 2:

The second season got off to a bang with a brilliant gotcha moment. A man wakes up to an alarm and is seemingly going about his daily routine, until ‘boom!’ Something blows up and it’s revealed, he’s actually underground on “Lost” island, living in the mysterious Hatch. The camera pan up to Jack and Locke’s faces is now a classic TV “what the hell?” moment. Mama Cass’ “Make Your Own Kind of Music” was on my iPod for months after this scene.

The beginning of Season 2 was certainly more of a slow burn that Season 1, the tail section storyline felt a little repetitive at times, but it was worth it later as it led to some interesting storytelling down the line. And that includes the introduction of the “Orientation” films and evil island mastermind “Henry Gale” aka “Ben Linus.” Michael Emerson offered some of the best acting in the series and it all started with this brilliant performance in “The Whole Truth.”

One of the best parts about “Lost” was the way it excelled at season-ending cliffhangers. Season 2 was no exception. In “Live Together, Die Alone” Jack, Kate, Sawyer and Hurley are left to die with the Others as Michael regains custody of Walt, leaving the island on a boat. Meanwhile, we get Desmond’s back story and his quest to get back with his long, lost love, Penny. Desmond, Charlie, Eko and Locke may be blown to bits. And two men in a frozen climate locate the island after the Hatch implodes.

The first two seasons really set the stage for the intriguing plotlines to come. Anyone could die. Original Losties Shannon and Boone were both knocked off in the first two years. And if you were in the tail section, your odds were even worse (RIP Ana Lucia and Libby.)

Up next, seasons three and four. Bear cage love, the Jack episode everyone hates and the producers make their second-worst decision, trying to weave in two new character Nikki and Paulo. Then making the best decision, killing them off.

posted by Seth Szilagyi in Lost and have Comments (2)