Previously on LOST: LA X


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 “Pennsylvania Polka”, 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 “meh”. 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 “is what it is”. 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.

Discussion Topics

  • 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?

SCORE: 2.5 stars

  • Goon

    revelations and twists werent mindblowing but by pure construction this was a 3.4/4 for me.

  • Nate

    I was the opposite. I liked the island timeline much more than the plane timeline. I understand that it’s setting up for awesomeness when the two timelines interact with each other, but until then I don’t see why I need to invest myself into it. Although, there were hints that the two timelines already are interacting with Juliet saying “It worked” and Jack recognizing Desmond. I’m very curious to see how they’ll factor into one another.

    I will say introducing ANOTHER group of Others (or the rest of the original Others, whatever) annoyed me and felt totally redundant. Especially when one of them doesn’t speak English. To quote Arrested Development, it’s like they get off on being withholding.

    And I guess the group going to the Temple wasn’t as interesting as it could have been. We’ve been hearing about the Temple for years and the arrival was somewhat anticlimactic. Again, probably due to the other Others there.

    However, every scene with Ben and Fake Locke/Smokey was mindblowing. Michael Emerson and Terry O’Quinn are the show’s two best actors and they are at their best when they’re together. O’Quinn makes a bad ass villain. Also, as someone who purposely avoids reading theories on the internet, the revelations of the smoke monster and the ash were awesome.

    The CGI shot at the beginning, while looking like it was out of 1997, was still an awesome reveal.

    I could go on nitpick everything, but I won’t. It wasn’t my favorite season premiere, but it got me really excited for what’s to come and I’ll consider that a success.

  • Mr Robot

    I was completely blown away by the stuff on the island, especially in the second hour. It went places I personally did not expect, for example from everything we had seen before I did not expect the temple to be in tact I always imagined it as ruins like the outer walls of the temple. I think the episode had huge mythological advances we learned what happened to Ben inside the temple, we learned (atleast somewhat) the motivation of the monster. The island stuff had great character moments like Sawyer’s grief over Juliet and his justifiable anger towards Jack. Jack’s guilt over the consequences of his plan and my personal favourite scene where SmokeLocke analyzes Locke’s character as pathetic and sad. As evil as the Smoke Monster is it seems that it sympathizes with Locke on some level. SmokeLocke had some great on liners Ben:”So you’re the monster” SmokeLocke “Let’s not resort to namecalling”. The CGI of the submerged island was bad but the temple sets were excellent.

    I was more unsure about the LA stuff, it was entertaining and fun but I didn’t see how it was relevant but I guess that is something we have to wait and see how (if?) the two realities interact. I’m guessing the stuff in LA reality is going to get a lot crazier when (if) Faraday gets involved.

  • bus

    In your last paragraph you called it LAX, when it should be LA X…the space was entirely intentional. Now I have read that this may allude to comic books where they use X to denote an alternate reality…Although listening to the producers they want you to be absolutely certain that you do NOT use the term “alternate” as it implies that one is more real than the other. This makes me think that the no-crash timeline shows the eventual consequences of the nuke blowing up but I appreciate how it moved jack and co to present time so that whatever is to happen there is not dangling.

    You also mentioned that the seemed to go from point A to B to C…now that they have a limited time I like how they didn`t waste much time and got the show to a point where most threads from the finale were accounted for.

    Anyway, I favourite moment of the episode was seeing Desmond on the plane and then me flipping out because “he’s not supposed to be on that plane”. As Desmond is special I wonder if that has something to do with his abrupt departure or if this will have something to do with events to come…

    Either way I can`t wait!

  • RaphNL

    I’d easily give it 9/10. Probably my favourite season premiere after the Pilot. Yea they showed a lot of stuff which was theorized about but it was still awesome to see it happen. It’s obvious the closer we get to the end the more that can be guessed by theorizing.
    One thing I find weird, though I really liked them, are the new Others. It seemed like they didn’t know who Jack etc were while the Others we’ve known for all these years knew everything about them.
    Still wondering what will happen with the LAX stuff. In this episode most of the interactions between the 815’s in the plane/LAX was great but I wonder if they can keep it interesting in the next few episodes. Damon and Carlton have also hinted at the two timelines being connected somehow (they also hate the term ‘alternate reality’) which will pay off later in the season. I’m still kinda worried though, the pay-off better be good.

  • RaphNL

    And you didn’t think the scene between Locke and Jack at LAX was great??? I thought that was one of the best moments in the entire episodes.

  • 81

    Great but where can i download this episode?

  • Love this new feature and hope it continues to the end… My response:

    I have to say the writers really did twist it around all over again to me. I knew they would have to do something new, we were used to flashbacks and now got used to flashforwards, so I was expecting the unexpected.

    First I was like – oh so the show is actually starting all over again… hmm. But then they twisted me over and proved to me that there was more; a parallel story based on-island. This side-flash type of scinario seemed to work perfectly and they really linked the off island and on island stuff well. It gives them all new plot scenarios to explore and also many ways to answer questions about the show. They really gave me something completely unexpected.

    It is clear questions are being answered and I think they handled it well by not trying to be make each one into a massive thing; the true fans were able to nod and smile whereas the normal fans were wowed – and the plot never diverted to prove it.

    Most importantly of all is how the writers are going to bring the two plots together. I know they are going to connect them but it’s going to take some time to find out. They have twisted the show over once again and shocked the audience.

    Top episode and I think one of my favorites in the show, and yes like you I am MASSIVE lost fan. Watched every episode religiously and read all the forums.
    I really think Darlton handled it well!

  • Frank

    If the Locke/Jack scene was directed to me, I just want to clear up. It WAS my favourite scene as well.

    Also, to clarify, one of the reasons I was so fearful of the hydrogen bomb plan working was because I didn’t see how this could be pulled off without killing everyone in that time line. It makes me think all of the flashing stuff on the previous season was created to accommodate this. Still feels kind of cheap, but at least the time line didn’t get abandoned.

    Anyone on here reading the forums on other LOST websites? I’m kind of worried that this deep into filming that there may be massive spoilers out there. Anyone have any good suggests for some spoiler free but interesting boards?

  • RaphNL and have pretty good spoiler rules. But ofcourse there’s always the possibility of some idiot posting a spoiler at the same time you’re online, without mods having enough time to delete it. I think by episode 10 or so I will stop reading the forums.
    Do you listen to Lost podcasts btw? My favourites are Jay and Jack, The Tranmission, the Lost Mythos Theory Cast and the Black Rock podcast.

  • Cody

    In my opinion I wouldn’t consider this episode to be on par with the 5th season’s finale but I was still satisfied with the direction the story has taken. I think that the island timeline and the non-island timeline each have something worthwhile to offer and I think it has the ability to culminate into a very satisfying conclusion to the series. I have to admit though watching the 815ers not crashing and moving on did get me a bit emotional because for so long we’ve been invested in these characters story’s and seeing them walk off the plane gave a very bittersweet feeling. As far as the dual timelines go I think It’s a cool to be able to see the repercussions as well the benefits of Jacks bomb drop last season. The half answer reveal of the man in black identity was a bit expected but the execution of that scene was still awesome to watch (RIP Bram). Also Juliet being alive still did feel repetitive because I felt we already said our goodbyes to her last season but at the same time it wasn’t completely pointless because we did get an interesting reveal from her. The trek to the temple for Sayid was a clever irony considering what he did to young Ben last season. Speaking of the temple, I don’t quite agree with Jay’s comment on the set value, because I did find everything with the temple and the interiors to be quite fascinating to look at, especially the pool / fountain of youth area. I always love what they do with the ancient ruin sets they create for the show. Looking back at what happened though, my favorite moments had to of been the stuff taking place the four toed statue with Ben / Man In Black / Richard and the LAX moment with Locke and Jack. Throughout the two episodes there we’re some good emotional moments as well as some cool action stuff. Overall I’m still satisfied with the episodes and pleased to have more crazy mysteries to ponder over. I think people still gotta give props to Lost for being able to keep all these interweaving plot line’s so relevant to the audience and after so long. I can’t really picture any other show being able to match the quality of story telling and execution in a similar manner that Lost has done. It’s gonna be sad to see this show end but I’m an definitely excited to see what the writer’s have waiting for us at the end of this great journey.

  • Drewsifer

    Holy shit why is no one discussing the big reveal: we found out what or who smokey is. There s one mystery off the list.