Previously on LOST is a weekly column recapping and analyzing each episode from the final season of Lost. (Warning: May contain spoilers!)
Entering the final season of LOST, I had a lot of anxiety about how the series would end. For me, LOST represented a show that made me believe in television again. I’ve never felt such personal investment in a piece of entertainment. Delusional as it may be, I thought that LOST owed me a satisfying ending, justifying the countless hours I’ve spent watching, talking and thinking about it. Writing that sentence I’ve never felt more pathetic but, to deny it, would be a lie. Is there any way that a show can live up to these lofty expectations? Starting Tuesday at 9:00 I was about to find out, for better or worse.
If there was one almost certainty for season 6, it was that Captain Jack’s plan worked, and Oceanic 815 would land safely at Los Angeles International Airport. This was my worst nightmare come true. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but something about this seemed cheap or unearned. I just didn’t like the sound of it at all. It was the only thing I could think about leading up to Tuesday night, just ask my dental hygienist. Sure enough, four minutes into the episode, after a little turbulence, 815 was at cruising altitude on its way to a smooth landing.
Regardless of my personal distaste, I have always had ultimate faith in the show’s creative team and would never write off an idea because I didn’t like it. So I buckled in and an hour and a half later I sat on my couch with an unusual feeling. I felt indifferent. I didn’t hate the episode but on most LOST nights, ideas would be brewing and I would be trying to read a little bit more into the episode. Frequently, this would inspire an immediate bedtime re-watch. On Tuesday, LAX fell a distant second to watching Groundhog Day for the hundredth time. I hoped into bed, rocked out to â€œPennsylvania Polkaâ€, and everything was allllll-right.
Watching the movie, my brain turned back to LOST. The parallels between LAX and Groundhog Day came flooding to me. As a result, my hopes and fears for LOST’s final season were completely reversed. When I’m watching Groundhog Day, I don’t care how metaphysically retarded the premise is. If it’s a mechanism for great comedy and interesting scenes, them I’m on board. This reminded me of what has always been my favourite aspect of LOST. It’s peering into the lives of an assortment of intriguing characters and seeing how they interact, with the island acting as a catalyst. The greatest parts of LAX were some of the glimpses of what could have been (may be?). A chance encounter between a spinal surgeon and a paralyzed man or a high school teacher harassing his favourite chicken corporation owner. I didn’t think the execution was great in this episode but an investigation of an island-less future is what has me really excited this season.
The island timeline was the bigger disappointment and seemed to lack any real punch. It unfolded as more of a series of events, getting from point A to point B to point C. I rarely felt engaged and to be honest, I thought the production value seemed to take a real dip, taking me out of the episode. The computer generated effects were pretty lame, and instead of the lush Hawaiian wilderness, I was treated to some pretty average sets.
I think one of the reasons why the island story seems a lot less interesting is that a hardcore LOST fan has read theories of all of the things that happened on this episode before. The Man in Black is the smoke monster, the ash around the cabin keeps the smoke monster away. Seeing these things come true were met with a resounding â€œmehâ€. I completely acknowledge that this is not the fault of the creators at all, but for a devout LOST follower, the way these canon elements were revealed seemed a little underwhelming.
In Film Junk terms, LAX â€œis what it isâ€. It still blows other shows out of the water and I have faith in the show’s writers. I’m hoping this episode was a building block to a great season, but as a single serving episode it was pretty pedestrian for LOST.
- Will the results of the island sinking directly influence the changes in the fate of 815 (blood on Jack’s neck, Desmond on the plane, Shannon not on the plane)?
- Is Sayid a reincarnation of Jacob, or possibly a version of Sayid from a different timeline?
- Did Desmond disappear (maybe pulled to the island Black Box style like Locke’s father) or did he just change seats?