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You Spin Me Round: An Advance Look at Season Five of "Lost"

"What goes around comes around."

Truer words were never spoken when looking at the concept of karma. Do our past actions affect our future? Does good bring good and ill bring ill? How important are fate and free will in determining the paths of our lives? Are our lives, like a record, spinning around and around, repeating the same patterns again and again?

It's these metaphysical questions (and a host of others) that have been explored over the course of the last four seasons of ABC's Lost. I had the chance yesterday to watch the brilliant and provocative first two episodes of Season Five of Lost ("Because You Left" and "The Lie"), which kicks off on January 21st, and naturally fell under the series' deft spell.

While I'm prohibited by the network from revealing major plot points about the first two installments of Lost, I can offer some rather oblique clues about what to expect and discuss some general points from these early Season Five episodes.

So, put on your Dharma jumpsuit, and let's discuss Season Five of Lost.

First, I have to commend Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse for once again exploding the narrative framework of this series. Much as Season Four forever altered the way that stories on Lost were told--with flash-forwards rather than flashbacks--so too does Season Five tweak some familiar tropes, offering a very different narrative style than we've seen so far. (Though fret not, those flashbacks are still there, in some small part.)

This season, the mission has changed dramatically: our beloved castaways are no longer attempting to get off of the island, but rather, they're trying to get back. And to do so, they'll have to work with the one man that they've all battled against for so long: Benjamin Linus. Ben's overarching mission comprises a large part of these early episodes and his drive to return to that place splinters the already fractious relationships among the Oceanic Six, causing some new alliances to form and some old grudges to resurface. Without revealing too much, I'll say that these Oceanic Six aren't quite a united front as they seemed from that press conference.

The strain of keeping the true circumstances surrounding the crash of Oceanic Flight 815 a secret are weighing very heavily on the consciences of each of the six and, as we saw from Season Four, cracks are beginning to form in the carefully constructed cover story.

Someone knows that Kate isn't Aaron's birth mother and they clearly want Kate to know this information... as evidenced by her surprise visitors in the form of lawyers from the firm of Agostini & Norton, who turn up with a court order to take a blood sample from Kate. But if someone knows the truth about Aaron's parentage, why not go to the media and publicly reveal the truth about Kate and the others? And just who is their mysterious client? Hmmm...

The consequences of that fateful meeting between Sun and Charles Widmore, glimpsed in the Season Four finale, becoming shockingly clear and the full weight of Sun's words is discussed with a surprising candor. Desmond and Penny are shaken from their romantic travels by an unexpected message. Elsewhere, Sayid and Hurley must both make some difficult decisions when faced with attacks from all quarters... and Sayid makes good use of a dishwasher.

Meanwhile, I can't shake the feeling that the Oceanic Six are nothing more but pawns in the ongoing war between Charles Widmore and Ben. But there are other mysterious operatives working in the shadows as well; whether these people are friends or foes to the Six remains to be seen.

However, expect to see some familiar faces return as the writers answer some provocative questions about the history of the Dharma Initiative, just what Ben did turning that ancient wheel beneath the Orchid Station, and, yes, why Locke died. Along the way, there's a slew of new mysteries involving compasses, blood, fire, hands, pendulums, archaic computers, and event windows.

(Yes, it's bloody hard not spilling the beans about just what happens in these two fantastic installments.)

What else can you expect? Look for an intriguing plot twist with Charlotte, keep your eye on the night sky, and pay special attention to Daniel Faraday's journal, which seems to hold answers to every single question that the remaining castaways need answered. And, oh, Bernard and Rose squabble and cuddle, but that's hardly news, now is it?

Suffice it to say, the opening installments of Season Five of Lost do not disappoint on any level, once again offering a tantalizing trip down the rabbit hole and through the looking glass. With an end date clearly in their sights, Lindelof and Cuse have ramped up the tension, pacing, and action as we begin our journey towards The End. It's with great excitement (and a little bit of sadness) that we set off on the penultimate chapter in this gripping saga. And these first two superlative episodes only herald at even greater revelations to come in the days ahead.

Season Five of Lost premieres with a special three-hour launch on January 21st at 8 pm ET/PT on ABC. For a look at the third episode of Season Five, click here.


Anonymous said…
Awesome...I was excited to read your advance take on the premiere and it sounds like it's gonna be worth this agonizing wait.

One non-spoilery question...does my girl Juliet have a lot to do in the premiere?
Jace Lacob said…
Anonymous, look for Juliet to play a major role in Season Five and perhaps assume some leadership responsibilities in the wake of the departure of the Oceanic Six.
Anonymous said…
OMG, I cannot wait!
Johnny Stringer said…
Very good to hear the first two episodes deliver.

How would you rank them in comparison to the previous premieres? Better, equal, just a little bit worse?
Jace Lacob said…
Sanity Assassin, re: the VERY opening scenes, I'd put it on par with the Season Three opener, better than the Season Four opener, but not as shocking as the Season Two premiere with Desmond in the Swan. Vague, yes, but I don't want to say anymore. Though there are some gasp-inducing moments throughout the first and second installments of this season.
Johnny Stringer said…
Cool. That's the sort of level I was expecting. The S2 opener would be pretty impossible to top at this stage, I think.

In terms of how enjoyable the entire episodes are, do they rank up there with S4's opener and Confirmed Dead? As you may be able to tell, beyond hyped here. :)
Anonymous said…
Wow. I can't wait for this season to begin. Especially after reading your great review. I agree that nothing can top the season two opener but I'm glad to see that they're still able to shock us and keep us hooked!
Anonymous said…
Awesome review! I love the cryptic stuff you tease us with. Hoping that this turns out to be even better than you've made it seem as I am all ready going crazy waiting for the start!
Thanks for your review, Jace! Now I'm not only salivating for the season 5 premiere, I'm practically delirious with anticipation! It's the only balm right now for my Pushing Daisies-deprived soul.
Anonymous said…
Sounds AMAZING! SOOOOOOOO jealous that you got to see this so early!
Anonymous said…
Loved your review, which definitely teased and ramped up the anticipation better than any of the other reviews out there right now. A few questions:

-You mentioned a compass. Is it embedded in Locke's hand as it seems from the promo or no???
-Does the new narrative structure you mention involve flash-forwards or flashes sideways?
-Are the castaways in the past?
-Is Locke really dead or is he faking somehow?
-Does a record player play a role in the eps? You seem to mention records a few times in your review. A clue?
-So is Juliet the defacto leader now?
Mazza said…
Awesome review, Jace! I can't wait for season 5 to start and am already trying to figure out the answers tot he clues and questions that you put out there. I hope Juliet gets more screentime and that she and Sawyer get together. Why is everyone working with Ben if they hate him so much?
Anonymous said…
Thanks for wetting our whistles Jace! Really looking forward to the resumption of the show.

I hear Hurley does some uncharacteristic acts too! Hope they do not change his character too much. He is the heart of the show and has been the one true element throughout the series.
Anonymous said…
And, oh, Bernard and Rose squabble and cuddle, but that's hardly news, now is it?

Sure it is! I love me a little Bernose! Or Bose? Or Ronard? Whatever you call it.
Anonymous said…
"Sayid makes good use of a dishwasher."

More than anything I want to know what this means!!!!!!

Great review, BTW.
Anonymous said…
@ted23: I was wondering that myself. How can someone make "good use of a dishwasher" in the context of LOST?

@bryan: All good questions. I don't know the answer to any of them but judging from Jace's past use of sly hints in his reviews I would say that a record player likely figures into things somehow.

@OldDarth aka CanuckLou: I hope that they don't change Hurley too much but he DID kill some people on the island last season. Ends justify the means maybe?
Anonymous said…
@charlie darwin. I am wracking my brain but can't come up with anything that makes sense. Please, Jace? Another clue?

@anonymous. Glad I am not the only person who loves Rose and Bernard or Bose or Bernose. :)
annebeth said…
Hi There :)
I just discovered this blog, and it's great!! Also fun to see that you react in the blog comments to, Jace.

About the diswasher: I think this has something to do with the fight scene between sayid and someone inside an apartment as seen in the promo's. Maibe Sayid slams open the dishwasher door against the head of his opponent?

About 'record', good catch!! I think that maibe the marvin-faraday video will be 'recorded' this soon in the season. That would be a blast :)

Annebeth (from the Netherlands)
annebeth said…
Oops, record player means something else... maibe a scene remeniscent of Emily's opening scene will come?
Anonymous said…
Are our lives, like a record, spinning around and around, repeating the same patterns again and again?

All I know is that to me, you look like you're havin' fun, open up your lovin' arms, I want some, want some.

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