It started with a crazy question: “Did ABC send you a copy of the new episode?”
“The new episode of LOST?” I asked, just slightly incredulous.
“Well, no… why would they give it to me?” I responded, my heart already filling with hope.
“Well… do you want to see it?”
The rest is pure ecstasy.
It arrived by Fed Ex in one of those slim DVD cases you pick up five for a buck at Staples. Plain disk with Sharpie scrawl for a label. “LOST“. That’s it. Not “LOST : The episode you’ve waited sixteen long weeks to see…” not “LOST: Watch with nitroglycerin and bananas close at hand” not even “LOST: Not in Portland” – even though I knew that’s what it was. Just “LOST“. But that was enough.
You might expect that I tore the cheap little plastic case asunder and plunged the obviously homemade copy into my DVD player and watched immediately. Well, I didn’t. Instead it sat there on the corner of my desk for several hours, calling to me… humming the LOST theme over and over again… touching me with the curly wisps of the smoke monster… But I had to resist. Heck I’d waited sixteen weeks for new LOST, what harm would a few more hours do.
The truth? Plenty. I could hardly concentrate on anything other than that inconspicuous Imation 16x DVD-R with the hand written label. The time it took me to get into a position to watch it was like an eternity. But luckily, the episode was worth waiting any amount of time for.
Now, I’m not going to spoil it for you. If you’ve waited sixteen weeks for the new LOST all I can say is, congratulations… you made it alive. In a few more days you’ll be watching ‘Not in Portland’ yourself and basking in its greatness.
The first thing that struck me about ‘Not in Portland’ is that it truly is both a chapter in the ‘mini-season’ as well as a return to the more episodic chapters of LOST. The episode is Juliet Centric and does tell you how she came to be on the island. I don’t consider that much of a spoiler, considering how fantastically unexpected that story actually is. Suffice to say there are elements to it that are on par with some of the greatest LOST mysteries and you’re going to be left with a sense of a ‘tuned reality’ that has been demonstrated on LOST many times before.
The real-time island adventure is exactly what you think it is: Jack holds Ben’s life hostage while Kate and Sawyer attempt to escape. Of course, keep in mind that Jack has no idea that they are not on the big island – so escape is a little more complicated then “run as fast as you can”. On that same note, don’t think for a second that Kate and Sawyer’s fate is resolved in a straight shot; there is in fact one detour that will have people talking and deconstructing for weeks on end.
Personally, my biggest fear going into the episode was that it was going to be purely action-adventure, gun-play, run-as-fast-as-you-can kind of stuff complete with one liners and impossible emergences of luck. In fact, it is that to a degree, but there is so much revealed and added to the overarching story of LOST that the episode just rings out as one of the most satisfying in a long time.
LOST Not In Portland should easily satisfy the producers wishes of being an episode that will bring casual, stray viewers back to the game. At the same time, even the most jaded of LOST viewers should be captivated by what the show has to offer all over again.