Lost

Season Five

Getting To The Bottom Of Things

December 15, 2009
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ABC’s Lost has had a good run. Five seasons, surviving the strike, balancing personal stories with action-packed adventures, the show has seen its participants’ careers broadened, much the same way that J.J. Abrams “made” Jennifer Garner’s career with Alias. Now, the story has run around, sideways, through time and back again, off the island, back to the island, blown up the island, and more. It’s hard to give a recap… and even harder to jump into in the current set without any background. So, let me see if I can accomplish the first, and explain my thoughts on this, the fifth season, and my hopes for the finale this spring.

Oceanic Flight 815 crashlands on an island in the first (and to date, the most compelling) season as a group of strangers find themselves “living together” so that they don’t die alone. Each of the people there comes with a particular set of baggage, and finds new life on the island. But the island itself has dangers and trials of its own, and some of the dangers are previous inhabitants in various shapes, sizes, and transparencies. But you knew all that unless you’ve lived under a rock or refused to tune into ABC for the last five years.

Now, a group of survivors of the crash who had initially escaped the island go back out of a duty to the others to save them at the same time that some nasty time-traveling is going on. And I’m still wondering what is causing the whole deal. Is it science and a “creation” out of control? Is it some divine testing bubble? We still haven’t been told the answers (and maybe we never will) but we do know this (a couple of things).

Humanity, as presented in the series, is selfish by nature but ultimately, people make choices (even when destiny is involved) about whether to do the right thing or the wrong thing. Most of the people on the initial flight were not “good,” but they have all sacrificed something at some point to make the world right for others, even at the cost of death.

Blind faith is dangerous, but some of the people, old and new, have become absolute followers of the Island, and their decision-making is not to be trusted. It’s shocking to me how some of the people are depicted, but I see the same attitudes about politics, government, money, and faith that scare me… and that’s in everyday conversation. So, again, Lost is making a social commentary, which I might understand better if I read all the books that are highlighted on the show; and even its outrageous science fiction points an accusatory finger.

But really, I can’t get this show out of my head. Even when I’ve tried to say that I don’t care how it ends, I still find myself coming back to the show. So my advice to any newbies is this: if you don’t have time to go back and watch the whole thing from Season One through now, don’t start. But if you have been watching, get your DVRs ready, because the spring is going to have some powerful nights of television, with all the shows you’ve fallen in love with this fall, and the return of a serial king in January.

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Jacob is a United Methodist minister from Virginia, looking for inklings of God's grace in our world today.