I’ll admit the first six episodes of the season weren’t the series’ best. (Mr. Eko’s fate nearly had me swearing off the show…) But when it returned from hiatus in the spring, what sprang forth was probably the greatest run of quality television from any program this year—just one great episode after another, building quickly and confidently to the unbelievable season finale. (More on that later.) I’m not saying the remaining 16 shows were perfect. I enjoyed Locke’s arc but selfishly would’ve liked to see him used more. And Nikki and Paolo’s presence pleasantly ended up Twilight Zone-y, yet ultimately uneventful in the big scheme of things. However, overall the second part of the season completely renewed my eager interest in LOST.
The most important thing is that what worked before for the show continues to shine. For my money, the mystery remains engaging as ever. It wears its influences proudly on its sleeve (spirituality and philosophy, classic literature and science fiction, a healthy dose of Stephen King and a dash of The Prisoner), but never feels like a ripoff (*cough* Heroes *cough*). The slow unfolding nature of the plot can be fun as well as frustrating, yet it’s becoming clear that not only do the creators have a master plan laid out, but they are also actively in touch with the devout fan base. The clever back and forth reacting between show and viewer (Evidence: “Take a shit guy”) adds a whole other level to all the unraveling secrecy and the experience of being a fan.
LOST also continues to be a “character-first” show, with some superb acting from everyone in the cast, especially a thankless Matthew Fox. The relationships between the survivors grows and becomes increasingly intricate as the series and flashbacks progress, making episodes where the plot doesn’t noticeably move forward (like when Hurley fixes the van) still intriguing and enjoyable to watch. But then again that’s what’s great about a show like LOST; Hurley’s van seemed like a throwaway story, but it had a payoff later on in the season. Maybe it’s best to just sit back and trust the creative powers-that-be; give ‘em some time before you start bitching five minutes after the end of an episode.
On top of all that, we get some awesome new additions and twists in the third season, specifically a greater focus on the Others and the good-bad dichotomy, power struggles, cultism and mysticism that are revealed within. Their story answers quite a few questions, while still retaining the allure and mystery of their culture. Michael Emerson is perfectly creepy, but not wholly off-putting as the leader Ben, while Elizabeth Mitchell is hot and mysterious, and her continuing moral ambiguity and back story has surprisingly made Juliet one of my favorite characters. I also give Season Three kudos for the unsettling appearance of Jacob, Naomi’s purgatorial revelation, Desmond’s time-jumping (which potentially changes the show completely), and giving Andrew Divoff (Mikhail/Wishmaster) work. Hell, the bastards even made me care about Charlie.
And of course, there’s the season finale, which unhyperbolically counts as one of the greatest two hours of television I’ve ever seen. The build up brings so many threads together perfectly, not to mention the huge final reveal—a brave move and tonal shift that sets a lot of careful responsibility on the creator’s shoulders and promises great things to come. (No pressure.)
Now with an end date in sight, and a fantastic season behind it, it’s undeniable that LOST as a series is going somewhere and at this point it’s more than earned my season pass until the big secrets are finally revealed three years down the road. I’ll brace myself for the occasional filler episode, but after Season Three I trust I’m in good hands.
Plus, this season gave us the glory that is Goth Claire. That alone is worth five stars.
Commentary by cast and crew on “A Tale of Two Cities,” “I Do,” “Expose,” and “The Man Behind The Curtain”: Pretty much all of these are interesting and worth listening to for fans; however, it’s not completely an easy sell. Everyone obviously doesn’t want to give anything away, which makes some of the comments seem in-jokey or meandering, or at worst, arrogant. But Cuse and Lindelof are very funny (they were hilarious at Comic-Con this year), so I enjoyed it.
LOST On Location (58:13): Get some face time with cast and crew shooting on various locations (on and off the island) for 10 different episodes, including the finale. Long, detailed, and made for fans.
Lost in a Day (25:33): Spend one day in the LOST universe, where hundreds of people work at various stages of production on up to seven (!) episodes at a time. It’s an unbelievable amount of work worldwide, from writing, construction, location filming to post production.
Deleted Scenes (17:20): Nine in total, mostly little character moments, including Claire and Nikki having a frank discussion about sex. (Sadly, not about themselves together.)
Lost Flashbacks (5:40): Some deleted flashback scenes from three episodes with Locke, Jin and Nikki. Nothing super special.
The World of the Others (14:12): A decent recap about the mysterious group, who they are and what they stand for. I liked the metaphor of Alpert as the Dick Cheney of the island.
The Lost Book Club (8:12): The literary references are obvious throughout the series, everything from Stephen King to Dostoevsky. I enjoyed what everyone had to say on the subject; is it just thematic similarities or is there a deeper meaning behind all the books?
Blooper Reel (6:35): It’s always nice to see the consistently serious and dour actors mess around and actually smile, especially Michael Emerson (Ben).
Crew Tribute (7:18): Evangeline Lily introduces you to various crew members, many of whom I hate because they receive close physical contact with her. Still, it’s always nice to see the unseen get recognition, so I’ll let it slide this once.
Terry O’Quinn: Throwing From The Handle (1:40): Locke shows off his skill at throwing knives for money.
The Next Level (4:06): Get a preview of the LOST game, which looks pretty decent.
Cast in Clay (5:13): A look at Todd MacFarlane’s LOST toy series. Anybody want to buy me the Shannon and Sun in bikini series?
The Orchid Instructional Film (2:10): If you made it to the San Diego Comic-Con this past summer, you were privy to this bonus instructional film featuring everyone’s favorite Asian scientist. Otherwise, catch the rabbit-happy clip here.
There’s also some Previews and a bunch of Easter Eggs if you’re craft and/or patient.
Extra Tidbit: As a big fan of the first two seasons of ALIAS, I beg you J.J. Abrams, don’t drop the ball as much as that show did after its big plot shift.