Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Of Lost Season 5

That's right it's Lost Season 5 review bitches!!! However I will say now expect this to be hampered by a mixture of revision fatique, illness, excitement, fan wank and overdose of Gossip Girl. It's an odd but potent mixture. Meaning that whilst Lost once again had a great season I won't be able to go into the intricacies of what made the season great.

However first things first, Lost Season 5 is easily the worst season of the show since Season 2, however a bad season of Lost is still better than 90% of television. Then there's the fact that this season wasn't bad, it was good and occasionally great but apart from the normal excellence of Lost finales, failed to reach the stratospheric heights that Lost can normally reach. Last season we got The Constant, The Shape of Things to Come and There's No Place Like Home. But this year nothing except for Dead is Dead and The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham, and whilst both were great they just lacked something that Lost normally finds so easy to achieve. This puts it in league with Season 2 in more ways that one.

Okay here's where the show parallels season 2. Both start amazingly well, Season 2 with the best scene the show has ever shot and Season 5 with all the time travel mayhem. However then we settle into a groove with the hatch/Dharma initiative. The show picks up with some interesting Ben moments and one character in particular makes the best of every scene he gets (Season 2 = Eko, Season 5 = Locke). Then the finale is just incredible (Season 2/5 finales may just be my favourite finales of the show). But the rest around this leaves a lot to be wanted. Whilst Season 5 is never bad (in fact I would say it's the most consistent season in terms of quality) it never takes a leap and says "We're going to give you something awesome now" despite at least 3 or 4 episodes promising that. The episodes that are great definitely rank in the best episodes of the show, but compared to the shows best they definitely don't seem as incredible.

Overall Season 5 feels a bit more of a transition season. Whilst it definitely doesn't suffer from the stalling plan that Darlton had to implement in Season 2 and early Season 3, it still smells of "Next Year is going to be epic". In fact nowhere is this clearer than the finale. The fact that the episode that is setting up where the show is going to go in Season 6 is the best of the season just screams of how great Season 6 is going to be. Whilst the stories didn't stall this year like they did in previous years, this season just smells of set up and a few answers.

This seasons big gambit was time travel which was pulled off astonishingly well (although an annoying section of fans don't seem to understand the "What Happened, Happened" concept). Most shows can't do a good time travel but Lost Season 5 pulled off on of the best. Sadly it only lasted 5 episodes and was marred by a rushed off island story. I say rushed but really we've spent a year and a half off island and there was still more afterwards but still the fact that it ends as soon as it did (albeit with a cool twist) was a bit of a shock and slightly annoying in that they just didn't answer so much of the story saving it for flashbacks (one big mystery still being unanswered).

Then there was the other significant portion which was the Dharma which whilst having some great moments felt a bit void and more set up for next Season. This season wasn't bad but felt like the last breather we're going to get before Season 6. Thing is fans don't want breathers, we want the maintained character development and mythology the show has done over 5 years rather than this feeling of "One or the other". In fact the only episodes that got it truly right were "Jughead", "Life and Death Jeremy Bentham", "Dead is Dead" and "The Variable" and these all focused on the shows best characters. Yet still didn't compare to episodes like "The Constant" or "Walkabout".

I feel like I'm being harsh, Season 5 is nowhere near being bad. It's bloody amazing television. Thing is when you have a show like Lost, the problems are just even more pronounced. Lost isn't problem free. The show has had many character problems and some story telling problems (mostly involving a character named Libby). Lost Season 5 is easily the most consistent season of Lost, thing is this consistency came at the cost of flat out balls to the walls amazing episodes. "The Incident" was quite possibly the best finale the show has done but feels like it feeds too much into Season 6. Season 5 suffers from the same things that pre-finale episodes suffer from. The fact that everything big is going to come in the next part of the story. Whilst we love the set-up and get some great teases and twists (seriously that Finale!) it leaves us hungry for the inevitably awesome climax to the story.

The show still ticks all the right boxes. The acting is as always top notch, Terry O'Quinn and Michael Emerson can do no wrong, the writing is still on a top level thanks to Damon and Carlton and the direction is of a film quality thanks to Jack Bender. Then there is the finale. Lost does finales like no other show. By the end of the show Lost will have offered us 7 episodes which could have received cinema releases. Whilst some are annoyed by the cliffhanger end, it doesn't take away from the fact that "The Incident" may just be the best season finale of Lost (although Season 3 will always be a highpoint). The fact that we finally got introduced to one of the longest lingering mythology points of Lost and one of the best reveals in Lost history (again featuring one of the duo of best Lost characters), the reveal echoed scenes from the last seasons finale and just shows how much attention Lost pays to thematic links.

If you haven't seen Lost yet I don't know what to say. There are 8 months till Lost Season 6, plenty of time to catch up with the DVD sets, rent or buy I don't care but if you haven't seen now is the perfect time to catch up so you can be with us for what I'm sure will be one of the best seasons of television ever to conclude one of the best series of all time. But for now Season 5 gets a 9/10

1 comment:

Adam said...

The season five finale had some incredible moments. Loved it.