Is Lost worth caring about anymore? asks David Neary.
WHO? WHAT? When? Where? Why? All of these are valid questions when it comes to Lost. And not one of them is answerable.
Indeed, even good old reliable ‘when?’ the one we thought we were certain of, has become the most puzzling of all. Confused yet? You ought to be.
Lost’s charm has always been its endless minefield of questions – for every six we detonate we fortunately stumble upon an answer mine, ready to tell us that Jack and Claire are siblings, Richard Alpert is immortal or the island can move in time. But it ultimately explodes in our face the next step we take.
Series five has so far been dabbling in mind-fuckery more than any of its predecessors; perhaps more than all of them put together. So far we have seen snippets of the island’s past – atomic weaponry, a colossal ancient statue, a truce between the Others and the ever-more decipherable Dharma Initiative.
Often our time-shifting heroes leave their mark on the past, but in true Terminator style they always did it, so it had already been done. Damn, this time travel stuff is confusing. The writers may have boxed themselves into a chronological corner. If the past always had our heroes there, why have we seen so little evidence (if not none at all) of their time-tinkering? Where is all the evidence that they once lived on this island years before they crashed there? The answer seems to be that this was never the plan from the beginning.
Like any long-running series, Lost has evolved and just run with it, and what was once a minor foray into time travel is now completely plot central.
Lost’s main achievement used to be to build its crazy plot around cleverly- scripted characters, but now the characters are taking a back seat while the plot downs a bottle of whiskey and floors the accelerator – sure it’s fun for a while but it’s very likely going to end a flaming mess.
So we’re left wondering, do we really care about Jack anymore? Or Kate? Or even lovable Hurley? Locke, one of the most memorable TV characters ever written, has risen from the dead and even he is dwarfed by all this plot. But it’s not all bad. Saywer and the other survivors’ presence on the island for three whole years in the 1970s is bound to reap all kinds of twisting rewards. With the Oceanic 6 (give or take) back on the island, the sky’s the limits for what can happen next.
The deliriously off-the-rails plot is so hell-bent on snapping your brain that, just like it did when you first found out there was a polar bear on the island, it makes you keep coming back for more. More answers, and to be honest, more questions. They’re what make it so much fun to keep watching.