LOST: Season Six Preview

We are now one week away from the first episode of the last season of Lost. I’m both excited and skeptical.

The Lost Supper

NOTE: The post below is (I hope) free of Season Six spoilers. Please try to keep it that way in the comments.


Links and miscellanea:

  • One of the challenges of the final season will be satisfying fans who are going to be demanding answers. Producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof discuss this issue in a recent interview:

    It’s very dangerous to basically create a checklist of answers and then start trying to tick them off, because we want to make sure we’re telling engaging stories. For us really, while the mythology is important, for us it’s a story about these characters. And so most of our focus has been on, how are we going to resolve the character stories?

    We really feel we are very committed to this notion of not stripping the show of its essential mystery. …

    There are sort of fundamental elements of mystery and magic to the show that are unexplainable, and any attempt to explain them would actually harm the show, and in our opinion, the legacy of the show. So we’re trying to find the right blend of answering questions, but also leaving the things that should be mysterious mysterious.

    My nominees for “mysteries” that will not be answered: the meaning of the numbers; the source of the island’s powers; how Claire lost her baby fat so quickly.

  • On that note, the creators of this list of “100 questions Lost better answer or we’ll be pissed” are just setting themselves up for disappointment.
  • Do you remember Cindy, the Oceanic Airlines flight attendent who we last saw palling around with the Others? She’s apparently working for Bissell now.

    I first spotted this while my kids were watching something on Nickelodeon and it took me a minute to place the actress.
  • Newsweek has a nice feature story about Lost’s final season titled “The End is Near.”
  • As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, the Obama Administration wisely decided that it wasn’t worth pissing off millions of Lost fans and rescheduled the State of the Union address for a night other than February 2. (I enjoyed Lindelof’s reaction: “I’m a lifelong Democrat, but when I first heard they were considering Feb. 2, I was like, ‘That motherf***er!'”)
  • This piece from the Onion News Network is brilliant.
    http://www.theonion.com/content/themes/common/assets/onn_embed/embedded_player.swf
    Final Season Of ‘Lost’ Promises To Make Fans More Annoying Than Ever
    I especially love that they interviewed Cuse and Lindelof for the piece. That’s quality journalism.
  • Michael Emerson (Ben Linus) talks about the end of Lost with TV Guide (without giving anything away).
  • And, finally, how do the characters of Lost make PB&J?

I imagine there is going to be a flood of media stories in the coming week. I’ll try to highlight some of the best ones in the first part of next week’s post.

A priori Observations and Speculations

  • Now where (and when?) were we?I must admit, I haven’t put a ton of thought into Lost over the break. In fact, I have to strain a little bit to remember how it all ended up. Even for someone who followed the show as closely as I did, Season 5 was just really confusing. You may recall that the season followed three basic narratives (two of which merged at halfway through the season). In one, we found out what happened to those who remained on the island after the Oceanic Six (Jack, Kate, Aaron, Sun, Hurley and Sayid) left. And what happened was, they (Sawyer, Juliet, Faraday, Miles) skipped through time for a while, discovering interesting things about the island and its history, until finally coming to a stop in 1977, a time when the Widmore/Hawking led Others occupied one part of the island, while the DHARMA crew, led by Pierre Chang and including a young Ben, occupied the other part.
  • Meanwhile, John Locke, convinced that he must bring them back, visited each of the Oceanic Six in order to convince them to return to the island. Eventually, Jack, Kate, Sun, Sayid and Hurley board an Ajira Airways flight bound for the island with Ben on board, with a strangled and coffined Locke in the cargo hold, wearing Jack’s father’s shoes. Oh, and Frank Lapidus is the captain. Jack, Kate, Sayid and Hurley disappear from the plane in mid-air and find themselves in the Lost island lagoon in 1977, joining Sawyer (now going by the name of LaFleur, head of security for DHARMA), Juliet, Miles and Jin. Jack becomes convinced, with some help from Faraday, that he must detonate Jughead, a hydrogen bomb buried in an underground tunnel beneath the island’s surface in order to put everything back in place. That may or may not have happened at the end of the season when Juliet fell down the hole and possibly detonated the bomb, making the screen fade to white.
  • The other story line began when those Ajira passengers who did not de-materialize (including Ben, Lapidus and Sun, as well as new characters Ilana, Cesar, and Bram) crash landed on Hydra Island (probably on the airstrip that Sawyer and Kate helped build when they were captives there in Season 3). After the crash, Locke appears to be resurrected (although the last episode revealed that whoever it is, it’s not exactly Locke). Ilana and Bram are shown to be among a group of people loyal to Jacob and intent on helping him. (Not-)Locke, with the help of Ben and Richard, leads a march to Jacob’s domicile beneath the three-toed statue, where Ben is tasked with killing (the demi-god) Jacob. We find out that (Not-)Locke is an ancient rival of Jacob’s who has been working for years, centuries even, to find a loophole that will allow him to kill Jacob, and finally he succeeds, through Ben.
  • So what does it all mean? Honestly, I wouldn’t begin to presume. It was hard enough just remembering what all happened last season. With any luck, by the show’s end, it will all sort of make sense, at least in a big-picture sort of way. And, in some ways “what does it mean?” is the wrong question anyway. It is a TV show, after all. It’s not a sacred text. (No, really. It’s not. ABC promotional photo at the top of this post notwithstanding.)
  • The most pressing question, and one that will have to be answered fairly early in the final season will be what effect did detonating the hydrogen bomb have. Did it really reset everything, making it so that Oceanic 815 lands safely at LAX? There are reasons to believe it did, and yet, that possibility seems absurd, as if it canceled the meaning of five years worth of drama. Surely it can’t be as simple as that‐the time spent on the island by these characters has to have made an impact.
  • And even if the bomb is detonated and everything is reset, does that mean that Ben does not murder Jacob in the island’s post-1977 future? That possibility is also highly unsatisfying,
  • Who knows? To some degree, we are forced to do a little bit longer what all Lost fans have done for the past five years: trust in the writers to come up with something interesting and entertaining. I know the writers have certainly earned a lot of trust from me, so they have this nice capital reserve of slack to tap into. But even that may have its limits if the answers don’t seem plausible.
  • Even still, I’m skeptical. To be perfectly honest, I thought introducing the character of Jacob—not the ethereal, ghost-shack Jacob, but a flesh-and-blood being—and his story so late in the game was somewhat jarring. Maybe it will make more sense in light of things still to be learned, but maybe not.
    Can such a wildly dense and disparate story ever be adequately wrapped up? I’m not sure.
  • So what questions should be answered in a satisfying way? Here’s my own non-exhaustive list of half a dozen open issues:
    1. Who are the walking dead/apparitions and what role do they play on the island? There are pretty good fan theories out there, but I don’t think this has been adequately addressed. At times, these beings seem to have knowledge and speak in the voice of the person they appear to be. Other times, not so much. Many of them are clearly dead (Christian, Yemi, Horace, probably Claire.) This has been too much of a recurring happening for vague hand motions and appeals to the mysteriousness of the island. I need an explanation.
    2. What was Jacob’s motivation for bringing the Oceanic survivors to the island? One of the biggest reveals during last season’s finale was that Jacob had been involved all along, visiting and touching each of the character’s lives (both metaphorically and physically). Why? How does this fit into the meta-meta-meta plot that we first learned about in the last episode of the fifth season? (Sub-topic: What/Who is Jacob, anyway? Sub-sub-topic: And the other guy?)
    3. What was DHARMA really up to? DHARMA seems like it was a front organization with several different agendas. Pierre Chang undestood that it wasn’t really all about polar bears and fish biscuits. But what was it then? I’d like to know.
    4. Who is Richard Alpert and what is his role/relationship with the island? Everyone’s favorite ageless, eyelined adviser warrants some exposition at this point, I think.
    5. What exactly is going on between Ben Linus and Charles Widmore? We did get some idea during last season that Ben and Charles are fighting for control of the island and leadership of the Others. It’s also fair, I think to infer that their struggle is a one step removed from the overarching battle of wills between Jacob and the other guy (whom some have called Esau). But I still would like a better understanding of what the Ben vs. Widmore rivalry is all about and who made the rules by which they are playing.
    6. What’s the deal with Aaron? Since Season 1, it has been emphasized that Claire’s son (Christian’s grandson and Jack’s nephew, etc.) has special significance. The pyschic told Claire that he must not be “raised by another” (or “an Other”). The forces battling over the island wanted to either protect Aaron, or return him to the island. Why. (Sub-topic: What’s the deal with Walt?)
  • That’s not everything—in fact, it’s not even close—but it’s a really good start. Of course, there are other things that I’d like to know and that I suspect will be answered along the way (e.g., Is Juliet dead? Will Kate ever find true love? And, most importantly, just what do the rest of Jack’s tattoos mean? Okay, maybe not that last one). We’ll probably learn some more about the Black Smoke Monster, the Temple and the island’s mythology (although I imagine this is an area that may not be fully explicated).
  • I really think that those who watch every episode this season with a checklist in hand will be running the risk of missing out one what Lost really is: top-quality entertainment and storytelling. On some level, even if the finale is less than wholly satisfying, those of us who have watched for the last five years should acknowledge that the show has been a really, really great diversion. At a minimum, Season Six promises nothing less.

Please use this thread to post your thoughts and feelings about the upcoming final season of Lost. But do try to avoid posting spoilers.

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42 thoughts on “LOST: Season Six Preview

  1. Thanks for this. Excellent write up.

    It was probably half-way thru the 2nd season that I stopped trying to figure everything out and found myself just along for the ride. I’m glad I did.

    I don’t expect every mystery to be answered, that’s absurd. I’m just hoping that ABC does the wise (and profitable) thing and have a 2-hour 20/20 sit down with Cuse and Lindelof where they talk about the show and then answer questions either submitted online or from a live audience.

  2. I have hopes that they will stay true to their word and return to more character-based storytelling, that more than anything is what made the early seasons great. Lately, Lost has been very busy, with plenty of frantic running around on the island, but the characters, with the possible exception of Sawyer, haven’t evolved much. Or like with Jack, for instance, the writers wrote a change in character and the actor couldn’t quite make that turn convincing.

    I think the smartest thing for the writers to do would be to answer some of the biggest questions that loom over the audience right out of the gate. Then they can focus on the characters through the middle of the season and ramp for a big finale.

    Having said all that, I do think the “retain the mystery” argument is a bit of a cop out. Do I need 100 questions answered? No, but if my personal top ten aren’t answered, I will be pissed, and rightfully so.

  3. I agree with that the story needs to be character-based and that it is Lost’s real strenght. It’s what the creators of FlashForward forgot. They gave us a good mystery but terrible characters that nobody cares about.

  4. We really feel we are very committed to this notion of not stripping the show of its essential mystery. …

    There are sort of fundamental elements of mystery and magic to the show that are unexplainable, and any attempt to explain them would actually harm the show, and in our opinion, the legacy of the show.

    Translation (imho) “We just pulled ideas that didn’t tie together out of thin air, then crapped our pants when we realized people might think it actually has something to do with the story”.

    What a cop-out. They’ve had years to write the story start to finish, it just seems like lazy writing to me.

  5. I thought the characterizations were still pretty good last year – especially Locke, Desmond and Linus. Everyone just hates Jack. (Understandably – the character is pretty flawed)

    I think they should leave some things a mystery. The island itself will obviously be one. They said in several interviews they don’t want to do the George Lucas Mitachlorian move. Still there are some big mysteries – especially with regards to Walt and Aaron – that need cleared up.

    Personally while I don’t expect an answer, I still want some explanation about Charlie’s weird turn wanting to baptize Aaron. If it’s just, “he was screwed up on heroin” I’ll be pissed. Ditto for why Claire took him back so quickly. Charlie’s popped up a few times since his death so I’m hoping his role in everything will become clearer.

  6. They have to explain what the island is, at least to certain degree.

    The comparison to mitachlorians doesn’t apply because the Force never demanded explanation. We all knew what it was, and loved it.

  7. I enjoy Lost and will be watching this final season, but I must admit that I laughed when the AV Club called the show’s fans “pop culture’s most annoying fanbase.”

  8. Great round-up and discussion. I can’t believe Lost is coming back and I can’t believe it’s the last season. I also can’t believe how little I’ve thought about it in the break (notwithstanding the Benry Knows Best comic). I love the PB&J link.

    The one story I’m fairly certain they won’t go back to but I wish they would is Libby. (I suppose they finally did get back to Danielle Rousseau’s younger years, but I don’t think it’ll happen with Libby.) Other than that, I think everything I’d like to see addressed has been mentioned – Richard Alpert, ghosts, what’s the deal with kids, and so on.

  9. Libby is coming back and they did hint in one interview that some aspects of her backstory will be explained.

    I still think “Adam” and “Eve” are Bernard and Rose.

  10. Somehow I didn’t realize Cynthia Watros would be returning. I thought she wasn’t available (but that must have been earlier seasons). Well, good.

  11. For what it’s worth, I think these reports that certain characters are “returning” are probably being overhyped. Yes, they may make an appearance on the show, but as we’ve seen before, that appearance can be extremely brief (for example, when Ana Lucia shows up in a Hurley delusion/vision). I suspect that Libby’s appearance may be something just as limited.

  12. What the bits and bobs around the internet it seems Shannon, Boone, Micheal, Libby, Charlie, Juliet and Claire will all be returning in some way. Richard gets bumped up to regular cast member this season. Des will be only reaccuring. No word on Penny. I imagine we’ll see Faraday in some capacity.

  13. One way that everyone comes back, of course, is if Oceanic 815 lands safely at LAX on September 22, 2004. I just can wrap my head around how that will fit into the overall store arc, though.

  14. Wow, I am surprised at how gloomy this post is. I agree it will probably be a let down, but I was planning to get my hopes up and let the season dash them rather than this preemptive gloominess. In fairness, I thought time travel was going to be the worst thing ever, but then season 5 turned out pretty good.

  15. Jacob, sorry for the gloom, man. I didn’t set out to write it that way.

    Truth is, I’m cautiously optimistic. I consider Lost one of the best-written shows in the history of television, so if anyone can pull it off, it’s these writers. It’s just that they’ve really created an incredibly difficult task for themselves.

    But I’m also incredibly excited. I hope to be able to continue to blog Lost like I have the last few seasons (although my day job is promising to be crazy busy, which could make it difficult).

  16. You know BSG went to hell because it was clear there wasn’t a plot outline for the show. I think by the end of season 2 and certainly by season 3 the writers did have an ending in mind. Somethings were adjusted. (I don’t think Ben was supposed to have a big role initially – but he did so well everyone loved him) But by and large I think this is what Jacob was intended to be by sometime in season 2.

  17. Glad to see names I recognize back to discuss the final season!

    I just rewatched last season’s finale, and one thing that stood out to me was Richard’s statement to NotLocke that in all his time on the island (apparently a very long time) he’s seen a lot of things, but has never seen anyone come back from the dead. Obviously they were foreshadowing the reveal of Locke’s body, and setting up thinking on Jacob’s murder.

    But I also keep wondering about what that means to so many of the undeads we’ve seen from the beginning – clearly many of them are in people’s heads (ie suited Christian, likely most of Hurley’s visions), but this idea of Nemesis and possibly others taking on the form of the dead certainly adds a new dimension to things.

    It also suggests that the idea of changing history might not be as simple as erasing everything that happened after 1977. There might be different fates for those who are in 2007, and those who are 2007 people but were present in 1977. And I still haven’t wrapped my head around the idea that two of the same person can be present in the same time period (ie Miles, or younger versions of Sawyer and Juliet back home in the US).

    Glad to see that most are on board with the idea that Lost is primarily a story about people (as the producers have said repeatedly, but seems to lack traction among certain pockets of fans who consider the sci fi stuff to be the most important aspect, and who are going to be rather disappointed in the end).

    Another vote also for the producers to have a two hour special at some point, maybe a week or so later when we’ve had time to digest and speculated and discuss, to answer the top fan questions.

  18. Carlton and Damon have said that they are going into hiding after the finale; they don’t want to get sucked into interpretative questions the rest of their lives.

    After Ben’s confrontation with Smokey, I thought that it was smokey that takes on human form. He did it with Shannon in Season 1, with Yemi in Season 2, Alex, etc…

  19. I don’t know if the sci-fi/mythology stuff is the most important aspect of the show, but to me it is certainly the most interesting. There was a time when this might not have been the case, but I’ve grown to hate almost every character on the show (there are a few very notable exceptions) while the mythology stuff continues to intrigue.

    I hope this means I won’t be disappointed in the end.

  20. I just remembered another one of my big questions (one that I can’t imagine going unanswered): why didn’t Sun end up back in the 70s with Jack, Kate, Hurley, and Sayid?

  21. I looked at that, Clark. I don’t think there’s any new footage, and it’s questionable whether it’s legit.

  22. BTD Greg, I don’t want to hear any excuses about day jobs being busy, we are all counting on your Lost posts.

    Clark, your chances of getting a satisfying answer on why Charlie wanted to baptize Aaron seem pretty slim to me. I don’t really care about anything else, I just want to know the back story of the Hurley bird.

  23. Heather P, there was an article in Sunday’s NYT in which they said that they won’t explicitly say why Sun didn’t bounce back to 1977, but that viewers will likely be able to figure it out.

  24. Thanks, Jenny! I’m glad we should be able to figure it out. (One thing that is different about her is that Locke didn’t visit her after he turned the donkey wheel – but I can’t wrap my head around why that might make a difference.)

    People who avoid spoilers will not want to know about this video clip I’m about to mention. For anyone who is interested (and can access Hulu – which might still be U.S. only), there is a sneak peek on Hulu. It’s three minutes, it’s called “A Look at LOST!” and it looks legit.

    Oh, and that clip above from Dark UFO is now on the ABC official Lost website.

  25. AICN has also released the titles for the upcoming episodes…some seem to mirror Season 2 titles (What Kate DOES, instead of What Kate Did; Everybody LOVES Hugo, instead of Everybody Hates Hugo).

    Interesting…

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