Friday, May 29, 2009

Lost Season 5 Review

Well it's been a few weeks since "The Incident, Parts 1 & 2" aired around the world, ending Lost's superb fifth season with a climactic and unforgettable cliffhanger. So now, I figured it would be a good time to do an all-encompassing review of Lost's fifth season, right before we engage in the five-season-long LOST Rewatch.

I will start by saying that this season has been my favorite season so far -- it has been full of shocking twists, intricate mythology, enigmatic time travel, and incredible character development. The writers have truly succeeded at creating a show that comprehensively explains mysteries and systematically improves.

Episode 1: "Because You Left"

In the epic and unforgettable first scene of the season, Pierre Chang is filming the DHARMA Orientation for the Arrow station (a station that is shrouded in mystery). I was very glad to see that the Arrow had more purpose than being an abandoned stocking and staging area for the D.I.H.G. The purpose of this station is to develop defensive warfare against the Hostile natives of the Island. During filming, Chang is interrupted and brought to the Orchid station where it's revealed that energy released from drilling too close to the frozen wheel has killed a construction worker. Unbeknownst to Chang, Daniel Faraday has snuck into the station, and knows that what just happened at the Orchid will soon happen at the Swan, but the energy there is 30,000 tmies greater than at the Orchid. The premiere this season dove full-force into the mysterious aspects of time travel. Time travel has been gradually and slowly integrated into LOST -- in "Flashes Before Your Eyes", Desmond time traveled after turning the fail-safe key -- in "The Constant", Desmond time traveled through consciousness intermittently between past and present -- and finally, in "The Shape of Things to Come" and "There's No Place Like Home, Part 3," the full story of Ben's time travel jounrey was complete. Ben had traveled ten months into the future, and started to work with Sayid.

"Because You Left" starts to slowly unravel something that has been foreshadowed for quite some time -- Jack is really "lost," and his only way to regain purpose is to return to the Island. This was a great start to a great season -- time travel was a very risky concept for the writers to employ, but I'm glad they did.

Episode 2: "The Lie"

This episode revealed that Hurley Reyes has had a long struggle with maintaining the "lie" that the survivors developed to protect the Island. We also get to see some amazing Neil Frogurt scenes (finally!). His scenes however, do not end well -- after scolding the survivors for not making fire, he himself is killed by flaming arrows shot by the Others.
One of my favorite scenes of this episode was Hurley's amazing conversation with his mother Carmen. Hurley spills the beans on their "lie" by giving Carmen an epic, comprehensive recap of everything we've seen on Lost thus far:

"Okay. See, we did crash, but it was on this crazy island. And we waited for rescue, and there wasn't any rescue. And there was a smoke monster, and then there were other people on the island. We called them the Others, and they started attacking us. And we found some hatches, and there was a button you had to push every 108 minutes or... well, I was never really clear on that. But... the Others didn't have anything to do with the hatches. That was the DHARMA Initiative. The Others killed them, and now they're trying to kill us. And then we teamed up with the Others because some worse people were coming on a freighter. Desmond's girlfriend's father sent them to kill us. So we stole their helicopter and we flew it to their freighter, but it blew up. And we couldn't go back to the island because it disappeared, so then we crashed into the ocean, and we floated there for a while until a boat came and picked us up. And by then, there were six of us. That part was true. But the rest of the people... who were on the plane? They're still on that island."
- Hugo Reyes

And of course, who could forget the amazing reveal at the end of this episode? It is revealed that Eloise Hawking, last seen with Desmond in "Flashes Before Your Eyes," (unless you count the easter egg at Moriah Vineyards) is invovled with Ben in the attempt to get the Oceanic 6 back to the Island.

Episode 3: "Jughead"

This will probably go down as one of the most epic Lost episodes of all time -- not only do we get to see amazing sequences of the Others, Richard, redshirts exploded, Desmond confront Charles, and Penny give birth to Charlie -- the on-Island events occur in 1954. I found it very enlightening and intriguing to view the Island in the perspective of 1954. A thought occurred to me after watching this season: what if the majority of the season took place in 1954 instead of 1977? I think that would be very interesting. We only got to see a small slice of the cake; I'm sure there is a lot more Island history we have't yet seen.

Of course, we get to see the hydrogen bomb "Jughead". This bomb will later come into play, and have an explosive (pun intended, haha) impact on the finale. I absolutely loved the off-Island scenes with Desmond in this episode. Desmond was on the sidelines for most of this season, and didn't get as large of a role as I hoped -- I was glad to see him be the spotlight and focus of things, even if it was just for one episode.

Episode 4: "The Little Prince"

Kate's struggle with the authorities continues in this episode, and her custody of Aaron is at risk. When Jack finds her, they follow Ben's attorney to Carole Littleton, who states that she doesn't know who "Aaron" is.

On the Island, we get to see some of my favorite scenes of LOST ever -- the survivors have flashed back a few months in time (to the era of "Deus Ex Machina" and "Do No Harm"). In my two favorite parts of the episode, Sawyer witnesses Kate help Claire give birth to Aaron, and Locke sees the light from the hatch in the distance. Every time I rewatch this scene, I wish that they would've been just a little closer to the hatch so that Locke could have heard himself yelling at "the island". John Locke also has one of my favorite quotes ever after Sawyer wonders why Locke didn't intervene with himself: "I needed that pain, to get to where I am now." Hopefully we will get to see the Ajira outrigger shootout in the future -- my guess is that Bram, Ilana, and the other statue people were the people chasing everyone in this episode.

Episode 5: "This Place Is Death"

It's the epic story we've been waiting for since early Season 1: Danielle and the French science expedition. I think that their story should have been throughout the entire episode, rather than just the first part. We get to see the science team shot right into action, seeing the mythology that has taken our Losties months to see -- Montand is dragged by the Monster to the Temple, where most of the team becomes "infected".

Charlotte dies from the time shifts in this episode -- I wasn't too sad to see her go, as she was one of my least favorite characters, and one of the least interesting in my opinion. In one of my favorite scenes, we see John Locke talk with Christian Shephard. He convinces John to turn the wheel, and that he must "sacrifice" himself for the islanders. I have a theory that Christian is really the mysterious man we saw with Jacob in the finale - and that he is also the smoke monster. I guess we won't know till Season 6, though. I absolutely loved seeing this episode unfold; we first heard about Danielle's story in Season 1 (in "Pilot, Part 2", "Solitary", and "Exodus.") This was a story we have all been waiting to see, and we finally get to see it. I thought it was nice to see Jin give Locke his wedding wing, to keep Sun away from the island -- ironically, that is the force that will eventually cause her to want to go back to the island. I found it a little odd, though, that Sun would so willingly leave her daughter Ji Yeon back home, and go on a trip back to find Jin.

Episode 6: "316"

Some of the Oceanic 6 make their long-awaited and epic return to the Island. With the help of Eloise, Jack, Kate, and Sun go aboard Ajira Airways Flight 316 to go through the 'window' that will get them back to the island. Sayid comes back to the Island unwillingly, along with Ilana (later revealed to be on a personal mission from Jacob). Hurley is also told by Jacob, who says that he has a choice, to return to the Island.

In one of my favorite scenes, Ben tells Jack the story of Thomas the Apostle, and how he had to actually "see" Jesus' wounds to believe that he rose from the dead. This relates to Jack and how he has made a large leap of faith -- man of science, to man of faith. This episode is top-notch in my book. Everything about this episode reminded me of the classic Season 1 -- the opening scene, the music, and the characters all made this episode one of the best ever. Jack has made a complete leap of faith -- what he did in this episode (putting Christian's shoes on Locke) is much like something Locke would do. It's amazing that Locke's words back from the Season 1 episode "Exodus, Part 2" have shown to be true:

JACK: I don't believe in destiny.
LOCKE: Yes you do. You just don't know it yet.

Jack has been told numerous times throughout LOST that he shouldn't leave the island -- Locke told him on several occasions ("Through the Looking Glass", "There's No Place Like Home") and Ben has also said that he may one day regret leaving ("King of the Castle"). Jack realizes he made a mistake, and that his destiny is on the Island.

Episode 7: "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham"

The long-awaited story of John Locke's perilous off-Island journey is revealed. Locke is unable to get any of the Oceanic 6 to want to return to the Island -- this of course, launches him into depression, and he is about to hang himself when none other than Ben Linus storms in, intervening. After watching the finale, I'm beginning to fear that Locke's off-Island venture was not meant to happen -- Christian Shephard and "fake Locke" (a.k.a. Esau, Flocke, etc.) both said that Locke had to die --- why? Probably so that Flocke could takeover Locke's identity, manipulate Ben into wanting to kill Jacob, and fulfilling his promise to find a loophole.

Anyways, back to this episode. I was glad to see that Locke had pursued his lost love Helen Norwood, who unfortunately had passed away. This episode shows us a great conversation between Jack and Locke -- Jack refuses to believe Locke's claims that his father is still alive, and completely refutes all of the "destiny" and "you have to go back" stuff. We all know that he will soon undergo extreme character developement. This episode contains one of the biggest and most shocking twists of all-time -- Ben Linus kills John Locke! And since Locke didn't get raised from the dead, we know that Ben actually killed Locke.

Episode 8: "LaFleur"

In one of the best episodes of the season, we get to see James "Sawyer" Ford undergo the greatest character development in Lost, ever. Starting as a con man on a mysterious island, intent on hoarding everything for himself, stealing guns from the camp, and always focused on himself - Sawyer has become the DHARMA Initiative head of security. He has a powerful position in the DI. I absolutely love this episode -- not only do we get to see the characters in DHARMA times, we see it from two points of view. In 1974, Juliet wants to return home on the sub, but Sawyer convinces her to stay. They end up falling in love (and become the best relationship in LOST in my opinion, Suliet...) The scenes with Sawyer and Juliet are awesome -- there isn't any drama and fighting like with Jack/Kate or Sawyer/Kate scenes. Juliet and Sawyer are a great match.

The DHARMA Initiative has been a compelling mystery ever since Season 2. We have seen bits and pieces of mythology relating to DHARMA, but this season (and particularly this episode) has given us great insight into the people, events, and mysteries related to DHARMA. Horace Goodspeed is a character only seen twice in the LOST before this episode ("The Man Behind the Curtain" and "Cabin Fever"). It is very interesting to learn more about these characters. Overall, this episode ranks as my third favorite from this season.

Episode 9: "Namaste"

This was probably one of the weaker episodes of the season. Not much happens, other than we get to see Jack, Kate, and Hurley brought in to the DI. Sayid is unlucky, and is caught by Jin and Radzinsky inside the Flame perimeter. This, of course, isn't good since Stuart thinks he's a Hostile. The best part of this episode was seeing Pierre Chang hand out janatorial duties to Jack. However, Jack doesn't demand a new job or go throw a fit, he is actually content with things, for the first time in a long time. This was very awesome to see -- I definitely like the new Jack (so far, at least). Rather than lead a group to a radio tower, go on a treacherous mission for dynamite, or give a speech about living together and dying alone -- Jack decides to sit back and make some sandwiches... Now that is some major character development.

Episode 10: "He's Our You"

This is probably the most underrated episode of the season. Not only do we get to see Sayid captured by Ilana, but we also get to see young Ben for the first time since "The Man Behind the Curtain". Ben has been living a terrible life, and his abusive father Roger isn't helping at all. Sayid is brought to Oldham, who is the "torturer" or the DI. He doesn't really torture Sayid, but he sedates him and gives him drugs that force him to tell the truth; and he does. He reveals the truth about everything -- Flight 815, Ajira 316, the survivors, and even Sawyer (LaFleur)... but Stuart seems focused on his Swan model over anything else. In the final scene we see one of the best cliffhangers ever -- Sayid shoots young Ben, knowing that he will soon grow up into the diabolical, manipulative man that made him an assasin. This is a fantastic episode that shows us the dark relationship between Sayid and Ben. I love to see the character correlations in this episode: In 1977, Sayid (in his future) shoots Ben (in his past) because of what Ben (in his future) did to Sayid (in his past). Yes, Lost can be confusing someimes, but it makes it all the more awesome.

Episode 11: "Whatever Happened, Happened"

This episode probably ranks as the best Kate-centric in LOST. This episode sort of takes off where "The Little Prince" left off -- Kate is continuously plagued by the guilt of taking Aaron. She goes to see Cassidy Phillips, mother of Clementine (Sawyer told her to do this, in "TNPLH"). Cassidy has no toruble reminding Kate that she took Aaron because she needed someone. She calls Sawyer a coward, claiming that the only reason he jumped off the helicopter was to escape from Kate. Back at the Barracks, Juliet attempts to save young Ben, who is suffering terribly from his gun shot wound at close range. Jack refuses to help with saving him, saying that he already did that once before (back at the Hydra, Season 3). Juliet knows the only way to save him is to take him to the Others. In one of my favorite scenes of this show, Hurley and Miles engage in an epic conversation about WHH (whatever happened, happened).

"Back to the Future," man. We came back in time to the island and changed stuff. So if little Ben dies, he'll never grow up to be big Ben, who's the one who made us come back here in the first place. Which means we can't be here. And therefore, dude? We don't exist.
- Hugo Reyes

This episode ends with great mythology -- Richard Alpert takes young Ben into the Temple without consent from either Charles Widmore or Eloise Hawking (two prominent Others). This, of course, is what saves him, and he grows up to be the Ben that we all know (and sometimes love...)

Episode 12: "Dead Is Dead"

This is definitely the second best episode of the season. To start things off, we get to see Ben shoot Caesar (who was expected to become a major character in the show) in the chest, instantly killing him. This allows him and Locke to make a journey to the "real island," and they make their way to the Barracks. They find Sun and Frank, who have been waiting for Locke (on the orders of Christian Shephard). Ben tries to summon the Monster, but it doesn't come -- Locke (who is really the fake Locke) says that they need to go to it. And he knows exactly where it is: the Temple. In one of my favorite sequences of the episode, Ben is judged by the Monster for letting his daughter Alex die back in "The Shape of Things to Come." The Monster lets Ben live. In flashbacks, we get to see very interesting chunks of island history -- we see Ben capture Alex from Danielle, much to the dislike of Widmore. We get to see Charles Widmore exiled from the Island, largely based on his relationship with an outsider. And we get to see Ben confront Penny (Widmore's daughter) at the marina; he almost kills her, but stops after seeing Charlie Hume. Desmond then beats him up, throwing him in the water. I absolutely loved this episode, and it ranks one of the best of the series.

Episode 13: "Some Like It Hoth"

Finally... we get a Miles-centric (even if it is one of the stragest episode titles ever). Miles is one of my favorite characters, and he has really grown over these past two seasons. I really disliked Miles in Season 4 -- he was annoying, selfish, and a just plain boring character compared to everyone else. Miles has evolved into a great character though, and I thought this was a genuine episode that revealed a lot of connections between him and the Island. It was revealed (not to my surprise) that Pierre Chang (a DHARMA leader who has appeared in numerous orientation films) is his father. I thought this was great work by the writers -- it was a perfect way to relate Miles to the Island. In one of the light-hearted aspects of this episode, Hurley is seen writing the script for "The Empire Strikes Back." He plans to send George Lucas the script when he's finish to save him some work. Miles and Hurley are a great duo, and I loved their scenes together. In another great scene, Hurley sees the Hatch being built, and once again he faces those ominous numbers: 4 8 15 16 23 42.

Episode 14: "The Variable"

It's episode 100 -- my expectations for this episode were tremendously high. This Daniel Faraday centric gave us a ton of insight on his family -- Eloise Hawking (leader of the Others in 1977) is the mother of Daniel. Daniel saw his own mother in 1954 during a time flash. To make things more complicated, Charles Widmore is his father! A disappointing aspect of this episode was the lack of Desmond -- Desmond has been at the sidelines for pretty much this entire season, and I wish they had put more emphasis on his character in this episode (considering that the episode title mirrors that of "The Constant," a prominent Desmond-centric from Season 4). At Dharmaville, things get messy when Radzinsky catches Kate, Daniel, and Jack collecting guns at the Motor Pool -- a shootout ensues, and they escape to go to the Hostiles. Daniel says that he has to find his mother, Eloise. In a shocking twist, Daniel claims that he has focused so much on the CONSTANTS and whatever happened, happened -- he forgot about the VARIABLES. Daniel says that free will exists; they make choices, decisions, and they can change things. He wants to detonate Jughead, the hydrogen bomb, in order to negate the hatch, destroy the electromagnetic energy, and prevent Desmond from every forgetting to push the button, and finally preventing the crash of Oceanic Flight 815. I thought it was interesting to see Daniel completely change viewpoints; he had been strongly focused on WHH, and suddenly he says that variables exist. At the end of this episode, we shockingly see Eloise kill her own son, Daniel. Daniel was a great character, and this was a great way for him to die -- telling his mother, "I'm your son."

Episode 15: "Follow the Leader"

The penultimate episode of the season can be described in only one word - EPIC. Flocke (also known by a variety of nicknames like Esau/Mr. X/Jacob's nemesis/Unlocke) goes to the Others' camp, where he finds the ageless advisor Richard Alpert. He says that they have an errand to run, and Ben must come along. Ben snarkily replies with, "afraid I'll stage a coup?" But Locke is no longer afraid of Ben. They go into the jungle to find the "real" time-traveling Locke; Flocke commands Richard to tell the real Locke that he must leave the island and die. This, of course, is all part of Flcoke's plan (I believe that Flocke wants Locke to die so that he can takeover his identity, hence manipulating Ben to kill Jacob -- this is probably the loophole that he's been aiming to achieve for more two hundred years). In 1977, Jack has seemed to takeover Daniel's mission -- detonate Jughead, and erase a substantial part of their lives. Kate is not so keen on this -- perhaps she thinks her life has been better because of the crash. If the plane hadn't crashed, she could still be in jail for murdering her father. We get to see Sayid return -- he's been absent for quite some time, and still thinks that he was able to kill young Ben.

Jack, Eloise, Richard, and Sayid venture into the tunnels, and prepare to find a way to detonate the bomb. I absolutely loved the Richard scenes in this episode -- he is present in two timelines spanning 30 years (1977 and 2007) -- he has always been one of the most intriguing characters in the show. I absolutely love the hilarious conversation between Chang and Hurley:

DR. CHANG: Your friend Faraday said that you were from the future. I need to know if he was telling the truth.
HURLEY: Dude, that's ridiculous.
DR. CHANG: What year were you born? What year?
HURLEY: Uh... 1931?
DR. CHANG: You're 46?
HURLEY: Yeah. Yes, I am.
DR. CHANG: So you fought in the Korean War?
HURLEY: There's... no such thing.
DR. CHANG: Who's the President of the United States?
HURLEY: All right, dude, we're from the future.

Hurley is just such a great character. I love funny moments like these in LOST -- it's amazing that LOST can be so dark, mysterious, and enigmatic and at the same time be funny.

Episode 16: "The Incident, Parts 1 & 2"

This episode is mindblowing -- it is the best finale and episode of the show ever, in my opinion. We get to see an incredible opening scene -- it reveals that Jacob has been alive since the 1800s, and he has a nemesis; this man has been searching for a loophole - a way to kill Jacob. The origins of their rivalry has yet to be exlpained. Jacob lives inside the four-toed statue, and we get to see a nice close-up of this age-old mystery. I am very glad to see that the writers introduced us to Jacob immediately, rather than waiting for some cliffhanger reveal. We don't just see brief moments with Jacob -- this is actually a Jacob-centric. Jacob is featured and seen in many of the survivors lives, including Sun, Jin, Kate, Jack, Sawyer, Hurley, and Sayid. In every one of these encounters, he appeared to 'touch' them -- perhaps a touch from Jacob somehow lures you to the island through the work of destiny? Flocke continues to lead the Others to Jacob -- he says that Ben is the one that will have to kill him. We also learn that Jacob's cabin has been used by someone else for quite some time -- perhaps all of those ominous apparitions we saw in Season 3 and 4 weren't Jacob after all. In an astonishing reveal, we learn that Locke has been dead since he was strangled by Ben in "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham." Flcoke has taken over his identity, and he manipulated Ben to kill Jacob. I still don't believe that JACOB, the ageless seemingly all-powerful island entity, was killed by Ben. I'm pretty sure that Jacob wanted to be killed, for reasons unknown. Back at the Swan site, Juliet falls into a massive hole, along with the bomb didn't go off with the fall. In her last effort, Juliet detonates the bomb. I'm curious to see what will happen next...

Overall this has been a captivating, compelling, and incredible season. There have been shocking mythological reveals and tremendous character development -- let's hope that Season 6 will fill the rest of this amazing story.
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