Jacob's Crackers


Series Five Lost Review: Who Is This Mystery Man?

When Series Four of Lost ended with its mind-bending vision of the Island blinking out of existance, we all knew that the weirdness dial had been turned up to max but now that we have sat through Series Five, we have found ourselves experiencing that “What? WHAT? WHAT?” moment on an almost weekly basis. Spoilers lie ahead for those of you dear readers who are still playing catch up, so I’d advise that you go off and read something less boring instead if you want to stay all virginal and unspoilt.

17 Episodes (or 16 if you count the double part finale, “The Incident”, as a single entity) and I’m not sure if anyone could’ve imagined where the story would end up taking us. The old accusation that was often levelled (including by me) at the production team was that they seemed to making it up as they went along and, through the sometimes frustrating periods during Series Two and more so in Three, this seemed to be fair criticism. It was after this time that the long-term plans for the series were announced and, following some re-jigging of these arrangements due to the writer’s strike, it became clear that there would be a series four, five and six but no more after that. This seemed to give the show some much needed direction and Series Four was much improved on what had gone before, with a number of answers being revealed throughout and some noteworthy progress in both character and plot development. Coupled with consistently high production values and plenty of action, this gave the viewer some comfort that this was a large tapestry of a story being slowly revealed and that the act of viewing (whether as a casual observer or as a more devoted fan) was being suitably rewarded.


The writers have described the style of Lost as being “fractured storytelling”. This began in fairly straightforward way as the events in the days and weeks following the crash of Oceanic 815 were interspersed with scenes from the characters’ past, which seemed to reflect or even affect the current Island-based activity. In the dramatic end to Series Three (in “Through the Looking Glass”) this was cleverly turned on its head when the final scene of the “flashback” revealed that it had in fact been a “flash forward”. This way of expanding the mythology gave the viewer a series of puzzles through Series Four as glimpses of the future were played out and events on the Island led inexorably to the escape of the Oceanic 6. It also led to a pleasantly confusing experience for the viewer of not knowing exactly when the events were supposed to be happening, an effect rather wonderfully transposed on to the characters themselves in the following series.

The premise for Series Five seemed to be to seek an answer to the question of why members of the Oceanic 6 wanted to get back to the Island that they were previously so desperate to escape from and what happened to those who stayed behind. What we got was so much more. It would be easy just to rattle off a list of all the plot points like some glorified series summary but that would be disengenuous to the wonderfully crafted interweaving story strands. Essentially though, the survivors left on the island found themselves jumping through time in an uncontrolled and increasingly dangerous manner, until Locke followed in Ben’s footsteps off the Island by turning the mysterious “donkey wheel”, stopping the jumping but leaving the remaining folk stranded in 1974 (Look, I told you it was weird). Meanwhile, the six escapees (less Aaron) found their various motivations to head back to the island via an Ajira Airlines flight, unfortunately though, and for reasons best known to someone else, four of them found themselves in 1977 where they met up with some of their old gang who’d been mooching around Dharmaville for three years, while Ben, Sun, Lapedis and someone we all thought was Locke were in the present day and looking for Jacob.


The mythology has been expanded with intriguing insights in to the motivations of Widmore and Ben and Locke and all the rest, but it still remains tantalisingly unclear as to who exactly are “the good guys”. If you want to get an idea of the depth of the show I can recommend no better place to look than Lostpedia, which utilises the wiki format to great effect by creating an online encyclopedic resource. Throughout the latest series, the viewing has been enhanced by the Official Lost Podcast, The Lost Intiative vodcast and a plethora of other media. So, here we are with just another 17 episodes to go and I can safely say that I have no idea what’s going to happen but it will be a great ride whatever.  In the meantime to pass the interminable period between now and Series Six in January 2010, I will be joining in “The Lost Rewatch” which is a Lostpedia / Facebook experience where fans of the show rewatch the whole series from begining to end. With a bit of luck and a good following wind, I’ll be blogging my thoughts here as we go.

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