Oh, boy, see this is exactly what I feared Lost would devolve into with its last few seasons when it’s clear the original conceit of the show had been fulfilled and the writers were left throwing things at the wall to see what ludicrous things would stick to the wall to unnecessarily continue this story. “Unnecessary” is the big takeaway for me from this season, the last season, too, really, but at least it a semblance on making sense within the overarching storyline that had been built up, where none of these needed to happen and everything just seems like silly conjecture just in order to pump out more seasons of the show. It literally plays like some sort of fan-fiction you’d see posted up on tumblr by some super fan (was tumblr popular during the run of Lost, I can’t remember, but I bet it’d be filled with Sawyer gifs and Hurley memes if so) where they made the characters go back in time to the 70s, throw together a dream couple of Sawyer/Juliet, have cute moments where characters run into the child or younger versions of other characters they know of adults, and have the mythology have tinges of, like, illuminati secret society stuff.
I was on board with some of the light time travel that was introduced last season, mainly when it was a small segment of the show and not something that dominated the main storyline. I’ve wrote before about how I wanted Lost and its mysteries to be as grounded in reality as possible, I know it’s a stretch and never intended to be everything explainable by real-world things, but I always though the inherent creepiness and danger of the show and mysteries would and was heightened when the dangers were so real or just on the outskirts of reality like the presence of the Others, the secret testings and the idea of them being whitewashed from the mainland’s conscious and how their whole existence was being covered up. It’s abundantly clear by this point that Lost loves to segment their storylines by having a division of the cast, almost like two teams against each other in some way, with season three having the hatch and the main camp, season three with the Others camp and the main camp, season four with the people who want to get off the island and the ones who want to stay, and now season five with the people from the future/present with the people from the past/70s. I don’t know if this is true, but I feel like a lot of the reason for this is a behind-the-scenes thing where it’s easier to film these specific actors scenes all in one go or a burst of “Others” scenes and then do a bunch of Jack and the main camp scenes or whatever, but that’s at least got to be a part of it. Anyways, it kinda grates on me sometimes how segmented the show feels when they constantly have characters split up and rarely interacting with each other, where they often feel like they’re on different shows or some characters don’t even know each other when supposedly they’re all on the same island. I realize it’s a huge cast and it’s a lot easier to manage having them all split up, and it makes for nice reconciliation moments for characters and such, but to me it often felt like too much of a fallacy and contrived how they always had to be split into these groups.
Most of all, though, this season of Lost literally didn’t even feel like Lost to me. It seems so removed from the first three seasons especially and has lost that dramatic through-line that so expertly connected and built up and upon the beginning seasons. A lot of it has to do with the extended scenes and storylines that are in the real world and not on the island, which I understand for where the show is at currently, but it just seems a bit much when the island should be the focus. I could see an argument of the staleness of always staying with the island, but the first few seasons showed that the flashbacks or flash forwards work best when they compliment or shade in the characters or storyline of the island, and don’t take center stage themselves. The main camp from the first few seasons was such an integral part of the show that it’s a shame the show was centered more inland in the Dharma Initiative area, such a visually boring and confined setting, compared to the shore camp where everything seemed so open and had the wide haunting never-ending backdrop of the ocean to frame their isolation.
I was pretty shocked to read that this season actually got favourable reviews from critics as I didn’t think either the concept or execution worked that well. One thing I’ll agree on, though, is the performance of Michale Emerson who was as good as he’s ever been as Ben Linus, even though I vastly underwhelmed with how much they used him. It seemed at the beginning of the season they were setting him up to reclaim his spot as the #1 villain that Jack would eventually face off with again, but nope, he was just a side-piece in the entire story with the idea of his younger self and explaining how he became how he was. In theory that’s an interesting story, how Ben Linus became the Ben Linus that we came to know, but it was pretty unmemorable and had nothing to contribute besides the classic “traumatic event as a child” scenario. While I thought for sure most people didn’t like season 5, which I was wrong about, I know people don’t like season 6, or are at least super divisive about it, which means I should hate it, but again I’m trying to go into these seasons with as much of a closed mind to the outside opinions of them as possible, so in fact I’m looking forward to this season, especially since it’s the final one with so much riding on it. I really liked the first three seasons, was pretty neutral on the fourth and pretty much hated the fifth, so really the sixth is going to decide what my final verdict is gonna be on the show when I take it as a whole. I mean, they destroyed a lot of the goodwill from the first three seasons, but I can still appreciate them in a vacuum, but everything as a whole may be a different story depending on how season six wraps things up. No pressure.