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A beast of a different kind
on 1 June 2010
I know I am being too harsh by just giving a whole season just three stars, but somehow the cerebral-ness of the whole enterprise has somehow compromised the emotional engagement with the characters. Really liked the season I did, but I don't think unlike other seasons, the fifth season can stand tall on its own merit and convince the skeptics back to it. Maybe that is the point of it: this season separates out the casual watchers from the aficionados. I was quite surprised when I made through the first few episodes without getting a subarachnoid hemorrhage myself with all the time-travel flashes. Seriously writers, there's overdose of a theme, and then there's plain nuts. The constant white-outs, though later justified by the plot-design, made an incomprehensible narrative pulp out of a reasonably well-paced three-or-four-thread-in-parallel series. Thankfully the flashy time travel stops and gives way to massive decade-long leaps of... hold your breath... time. It's Lost of a completely different sort, very chaotic, almost head-throbbingly chockfull of incident and never really taking a breather (sometime in the finale we have Rose and Bernard quipping at the sheer ludicrousness of their world-fixing ways and the earnestness and consistency with which these characters find reasons to make their lives challenging in new times, new environments. Just relax people, stop blowing each other up and just have some tea and take in the sunshine. I couldn't agree more). The island's and the big corporations' nefarious beginnings are revealed and certainly a face and presence gets attached to the names of those enigmatic big daddies.
When it's not busying itself with the whole Back-to-the-Future/Butterfly Effect-esque issues inherent in time travel, it's doing a major Indiana Jones on us, complete with caves and temples and hieroglyphics and what have you. For all the derivativeness of it's science fiction, atleast Lost has stopped fudging bets and placed itself firmly in sci-fi absurdia which sort of spells out the scope and reach of the show. My love for the main characters hasn't changed in any huge way with this season, as they are now acting as mere props to hurtle along the plot (and in the bigger, within-Lost scheme of things, as puppets of grandiosely evil and invisible guys). Okay, so Sawyer mans up finally and more layers to Ben are revealed but if there had to be a standout character, it would be Daniel Faraday. For the rest, it's status quo.
Being the penultimate season, this inevitably plays, as I mentioned before and this is my main gripe with it, as a prequel to the grandstanding final season. It's unrelentingly cryptic for newbies (don't touch this boxset with a bargepole if you ain't properly clued in with the last 4 seasons), rewires the lazy old followers who half expect a flashback/flashforward with some progress of the on-island story (sorry folks, time to shut that macbook and pay attention), and the whole B-movie regalia with that background score, the sheer number of coincidences and the copious amount of red corn syrup used for blood (not to forget what a joke getting shot in the show always has been!) is all intact. It alludes to bigger things thematically (the Dharma initiative, the Others, the island's special properties really are almost unspooled with the big reveals carefully left out for the sixth season), and hammers in time-travel so much that the uninitiated experience a paradigm shift in how they think about time (really good thing I thought). But on the drama side of things, a tad pale. It gets a lot of things and people moving at the same time but you'd be surprised how much you forget the moment you have seen the finale. Still, a must watch for those tearing their hair out for years now trying to work out "what it all means". I hear you brothers and sisters.