Love’s Labours Lost

When I unashamedly confess to anyone that I am a _Lost_ freak, the usual reaction is “oh, I started watching that, but I couldn’t be bothered any more after Season One”.

As the sixth and final season hits our screens in early February, I am going to remind you of Season One, and recount where we are now. But for those of you who do want to watch it all from start to finish – which is undoubtedly the best way to do it – look away now if you don’t want spoilers!

On 22 September 2004, Oceanic Flight 815 crashed on a desert island. Because it is a TV show, there are several survivors who all have a back-story to tell, each of which is recounted in a different episode. In the first season, the characters are pretty much divided into the action figures, who like to trek, hunt, and discover what’s already lurking on the island, and those who think they’re in Club Med, and try to sunbathe or play golf.

Doctor Jack is pretty swiftly cast into leader role, with everyone – except for moody Sawyer – looking up to him. Hot on his heels as he sweats around the jungle are fugitive Kate, Iraqi Sayid and mysterious huntsman Locke – until, that is, his beliefs clash fundamentally with those of Jack. Pretty boy Boone follows Locke around like a puppy, which pisses his stepsister Shannon off, and leaves her running into Sayid’s arms.

Meanwhile, keeping house on the beach are junkie Charlie and his pregnant love interest Claire; Sun and Jin, a Korean couple with marital problems; father, son and dog Michael, Walt and Vincent; conman Sawyer with a burning passion for Kate; obese lottery-winner Hurley; and Rose, who is convinced that her husband, also on the plane, is still alive, despite there being no sign of him anywhere. This is not to mention the ghost of Jack’s father, a polar bear, a crazy French lady who has been on the island for fifteen years, and a monster made of smoke.

So where were we at the end of Season One? The Others had hijacked the raft and kidnapped Walt, leaving Michael, Jin and Sawyer stranded in the ocean. Jack, Kate, Locke, and Hurley (and extra Arzt, who died after about five minutes) had taken dynamite from the Black Rock and blown up the hatch that Locke and Boone had found on one of their homoerotic excursions. Boone had died, rather symbolically in another plane. The Frenchwoman had stolen Claire’s baby, but Sayid and Charlie had got it back. Kate still hadn’t kissed Jack, and had only kissed Sawyer to get an inhaler for whiny Shannon, which doesn’t really count.

Because I haven’t got time to go into every season in detail, I will skip past the discovery of the tail end of the plane, a crazy Scottish man in the hatch, many more hatches, infiltration by the Others’ crafty leader Ben Linus, the Dharma initiative, murder, kidnapping, mind control, Stockholm syndrome in the form of blonde bombshell Juliet, cage sex, a powerful man named Charles Widmore, invasion of the island, time travel, and the emergence of the Oceanic Six: the six original Losties who make it back to the real world.

Despite spending the entire first three seasons trying to get off the island, by the end of Season Five, five of the Oceanic Six are back on it again; except they are in different time periods. You see, during the three years that they have been away, the island has been skipping through time, finally settling in the 1970s. They return to find their friends as undercover members of the Dharma Initiative, including Sawyer, now fully redeemed and happily living with post- (or would it be pre-, because of the timeline?) -Other Juliet. No-one cares where Claire has got to, but to be honest, that Australian accent was really starting to grate anyway. Things get interesting as Kate has to get her hands dirty as a car mechanic with love rival Juliet, Sayid shoots the child version of Ben Linus, and Jack decides to blow up a hydrogen bomb. Meanwhile Hurley is content being the resident chef and is still not bored of saying the word “dude”. Nothing out of the ordinary there, then.

For some reason, however, not all the plane crash survivors, second time around, have gone back to the 1970s. Sun, Ben, and pilot Frank are joined by a resurrected Locke and a completely new gang with their own questionable agenda, and are in ‘real time’, where they seem to be pawns in some kind of deadly game between Island God Jacob and his nemesis – whoever that is.

The end of Season Five leaves us with Juliet detonating the hydrogen bomb in a desperate and perhaps ridiculous bid to transport the Losties safely to LA on the same 22 September 2004. Back in the present day, Sun et al have discovered Locke’s corpse in his coffin – so who is the Locke that has manipulated Ben into killing Jacob?

People complain that Lost formulates too many questions and yet never has an answer. I dare to disagree: we now know the back stories not only about the original Losties but also about the Others, the Dharma Initiative and Widmore’s employees. But if you do find the mystery a problem, surely now is the perfect time to tune in. Do the 1970s Losties make it safely to LA, meaning they won’t have been to the island at all? Is Juliet dead? Will Sun and Jin be reunited? Why does Richard Alpert never age? Who will Kate end up with at the end: Jack or Sawyer? How can you NOT want to watch Season Six?!


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