SPOILER ALERT: Before you read this post, microwave a Hot Pocket and watch last night’s Lost.
When a new season of Lost returns, there are fans who want to get reacquainted with the characters that they know and love—preferably including Sawyer without a shirt—and there are those who want Lost to get busy with the mind-freakiness ASAP. The two-part season 5 return gave us both in succession.
First episode, “Because You Left,” commences with the mind-freak, as the opening scene brought back Dr. Marvin Candle, that cranky man of many aliases and videos and proud Michigan Wolverine. Who commenced to tell us: this is a time-travel show now. Actual time-travel. The real, straight-up, hardcore time-trivizzle. (I know the slang is dated. Hey, it’s 2004.) Not the going-back-and-killing-Hitler kind, but the reliving-unchangeable-history kind.
Which is quickly cemented when the survivors on the Island experience another of those weird-metallic-sound-plus-flash incidents and discover that they have gone back in time. And have to right things somehow. Or people are going to start getting nosebleeds, if the Past Others don’t kill them first. (Moment of silence for Neil Frogurt.)
The second episode, “The Lie,” was not as reveal-heavy, but grounded us with everyone’s favorite surrogate, Hurley. Ever since I watched the episode, I’ve been cracking up at random over his throwing a Hot Pocket in surprise at Ben. Having set up the premise of the season in the first hour, the second used Hugo to delve into the emotional toll that leaving their friends, and lying about it, has had on the Six. It heightened the stakes for the Six while bringing the funny with Hurley’s Weekend at Sayid’s adventure (“Why is there a dead Pakistani on my couch?”). It thus did something as important as the first hour (even though I preferred the first): it reminded us not just why we love this story, but why we like these people. (I don’t know if Ana Lucia is meant to be a ghost or just a manifestation of the crazy, but it’s even good to see her.)
And it was moving, and in a way necessary, to see Hurley explain his experience to a non-castaway—his mom—and see his immense relief, not just at telling the story but at not being called crazy for it. “I don’t understand, but I believe you.” Very much, I’m sure, the experience we often have watching Lost.
Moving on to the questions. There are many. You will have more.
* So the Island moved. Or did it?
As Faraday says, maybe it moved in time—or maybe the characters did. (If the Island-of-2004 were moving about in time, then wouldn’t its physical state, including the camp built on it, move with it? Just as if the characters were bodily moving in time, you’d expect them to move through time in their 2004 state–not to become younger or sprout legwarmers if they went to the 1980s.) Either way, it does not seem as if the Island and the characters are moving in tandem—one is moving relative to the other.
Anyway—do we know that the Island also moved in space? True, we saw a shot from the perspective of the Zodiac boat of the Island vanishing. But! We know that the perception from the Island is warped—whether through light-bending or something else—so that it seems to be in a slightly different place from where it is. (Daniel noticed something curious about the light first thing when he landed on the Island.) And there is some factor that causes it not to appear on radar or satellite photos. For all we know, that distortion field constantly moves. If the Island moved in time, then might it simply be that the Island’s image is moving to where the Island’s image was at that particular time. (On the other hand, the intersecting lines on the computer screen at the end of “The Lie” may have been pinpointing its location[s].)
Am I even making sense now? Do I have a nosebleed?
* Regardless, a shorter question. The Islanders are moving through time in tandem with each other. But only with each other. Not with the Others—who did not appear to get flashed, yes? Why? Please to explain.
* How many kinds of time travel are we dealing with here? We have unsticking-in-time, a la Desmond, the mouse, and everyone who gets The Sickness. We have traveling through time and space—Ben Linus turning the wheel and landing on his back in Tunisia. And know we have traveling in time but staying in place, or, at least, staying in place relative to your surroundings, as is happening on the Island. Curious to see if, and how, Lost explains the distinction between these various kinds, and what it means. (It must be significant: Faraday tells Desmond he is “special.”)
* I really like Daniel Faraday. Not just because his character is key to getting at the mysteries of the Island’s powers, but because a perfectly-cast Jeremy Davies has turned him into a likeable, flawed, brusque, slightly-in-over-his-head nebbish-god.
* And speaking of him: I am embarrassed to say that when I first saw the opening scene, I thought, Aha! So Faraday has known about Dharma’s experiments all along! He was there! I know; that’s impossible, since he would have been, what, a toddler when Dharma was excavating the Orchid? Instead, we must be seeing Faraday after the survivors started flashing about in time—at same point later in the season, they must end up flashing to the Dharma-era ’70s[?], and Faraday decides he must infiltrate the Initiative to learn something. In other words… later this year, we will see that scene again.
* Likewise, I so enjoy Miles. Not just for his methods of, um, “hunting” boar, but because his sarcastic wisecracking makes him a kind of second Sawyer—and it’s hilarious seeing Sawyer, reacting to Miles, realize that.
* Who sicced the lawyers on Kate and Aaron? Perhaps Ben, wanting to, er, incentivize her to run to Jack and leave the country… on an Island getaway?
* In general, one of my worries with this season was that it would be a long time before we got info about the Island (1) to prolong the what-happened mystery and (2) because several of the big stars were in the Oceanic Six. Clearly not the case, and I’m glad about that.
* Others wake up at 8:15. Of course they do.
* Speaking of which–are we to assume Marvin Candle just got to the Island in the flashback? Because he has a new baby, and his wife is not dead.
* I mentioned this quibble in my mini-review, but I’ll say it again: “God help us all!” is B-movie dialogue even by Lost standards–did they need to use it twice?
* On the other hand: “It’s a compass.” “What’s it do?” “It points north, John.”
* Introducing the time shift by having Faraday talk about it: OK. Introducing the time shift by having Locke witness the crash of the Nigerian drug plane? Awesome.
* Did we need the flashback footage to the season 4 finale (played as characters described the same scenes)? At this point, either you’re watching Lost or you’re not; either you remember it or you don’t.
* Rewatching the episode “Walkabout” the other day, I was reminded of something Chaddogg [I think] wrote in a comment a while ago: that it’s striking now how much season 1 is about simple survival. In a way, the Islanders’ straits now are a kind of an extreme return to season 1—but without a camp, or even a wrecked plane to scavenge. (But the Zodiac comes with them. Seems… convenient.)
* And speaking of survival, the flaming-arrow attack scene, low-tech as it was, was one of the cooler effects scenes Lost has done.
* So: Past Ethan does not recognize Locke. But Past Richard does. Please to explain. (By the way, there is another piece to this puzzle next week–but I still don’t understand after watching next week’s episode.)
* So Exposé just recast Nikki and moved on? TV is a heartless business.
* “He’s dead, isn’t he?” “I’ll see you in six hours, Jack.” Discuss.