Thursday, January 29, 2009

Everything Right Is Wrong Again, But Damn Does It Feel Right

LOST: Jughead
Season 5 Episode 3

Everything right is wrong again
Every movement false, every four is waltz again
Every five and dime's been gained and spent
Tell me that you like my float upstream
Draw the line dividing laugh and scream
You know everything that I know so I know
You've heard the voice that makes the silent noise
That says that

Everything that's right is wrong again

~They Might Be Giants

Spoilers for last night's Lost after the jump.

I've had a love-hate relationship with Lost ever since the season one reveal of 'The Hatch.' I loved the first eight episodes of the series but when show co-creator JJ Abrams left to direct Mission Impossible 3, I felt the brakes were applied to the story and the characters became obnoxious twits.

Flash forward (no pun intended) to the end of season 3 where the producers revealed that at least some of the castaways had, at some point in the future, gotten off the island. This reveal reinvigorated the series for me, but Lost, for me, is always at it's best when it's pushing a science fiction story and from season 3 onward the series has had some interesting tales to tell with time travel.

Before season 5 the time travel was only slightly used but now with the island (or rather the castaways) being "unstuck" in time Lost is no longer merely skirting the science fiction genre. No, now Lost is diving head first into the deep end of the science fiction swimming pool

Time travel is always a tough literary technique to get a grasp on but thankfully Executive Producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have saved the show from becoming a mess of time paradoxes like other television shows that use the conceit(cough cough Heroes) by essentially saying that time is a closed circuit and that anything that is, was, or will happen cannot be changed...mostly. The one caveat to the closed circuit time-line is the relationship between previously unstuck Desmond Hume and Physicist Daniel Faraday, who can apparently slightly alter their path's because of previously meeting while Desmond was traveling into the past.

This season thus far has been all about the 815 survivors still on the island moving willy-nilly from time period to time period, and the Oceanic 6 having their own off island adventures.
The show seems to have completely shucked they flashback/flashforward template that it used for it's first four seasons. This change is a great move for the series, I was at once elated and intimidated by this new order. For the first time in years I actually feel nervous about the fates of particular characters. The island has been particularly fun with Locke running into a veritable who's who and what's what of the island's past(seeing both the drug smuggler plane crash and being shot by long dead Ethan) before meeting up with Richard Alpert. Alpert, of course, realizes what's going on an gives Locke a compass(the same compass he used in the test on young Locke in the episode "Cabin Fever") to use as proof that they have met before or will meet later, rather.

Everything is terribly complicated this season, way more complicated than the show has been in the past. The thing is, it's also way more compelling that Lost has ever been before. I couldn't help but think of the They Might Be Giants song 'Everything Right Is Wrong Again' while watching this episode. Things are happening out of order, people are telling other people about meetings that haven't happened for us to witness. It's a great way to subvert our expectations for the rest of the season.

For the first time in many years, I am extremely positive about the direction a Lost season is taking and that makes me feel a confidence for the series' end game that I've never had before.

Some random thoughts:

  • Desmond and Penny have kid and he's named after Charlie! Nice reference since Charlie sacked himself to speak to Penny in season 3.
  • Is the busted H-Bomb, Jughead, still somewhere on the island?
  • Charles Widmore was an Other? Guess this conflict between Ben and Chuckles really has been going on for longer than Desmond can imagine.
  • Is Ellie the Other a younger version of Eloise Hawking from The Lie and Flashes Before Your Eyes?
  • And more importantly is SHE Faraday's mother?
That's it for now. Stay tuned next week for The Little Prince.

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