You just have to stand in awe of what Lost has accomplished in its four-plus seasons of existence. Lost has paved the way for hyper-intelligent serialized TV, in ways unimaginable five years ago. Prior to Lost’s success, was there ever anything like it on network television? A series completely and utterly serial in nature, no episode self-contained, featuring subtle call-backs to episodes all the way back to season one? Nothing this dense has ever existed on network TV, but even more than that, no show has ever trusted its audience more than Lost. In a world where most every form of media treats us like mental patients with massive head wounds, it’s refreshing that Lost can air an episode like last night’s. This is what struck me about “The Little Prince:” This was an episode that matter-of-factly intercut between two wildly different timelines as if they were happening concurrently, and felt no particular need to spell out the timelines to the audience. I understand that with the island folk being “unstuck in time,” the idea of timelines is more or less rendered moot, but still – it’s cool stuff. The best part, however, was traveling to the night Aaron was born. When Locke saw the light in the sky, Lost fans immediately knew when the island was.
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Think about that: one shot of that light in the sky, and the writers expected us to know that this was from season one, four years ago. And we did. We all got it. The Lost writers’ (and, to perhaps an even greater extent, ABC’s) respect for and faith in the viewers has created an obsessively loyal fan base, the likes of which has never existed before or since on television. There are bigger audiences sure, there may even be more more vocal audiences, but none as rabid as Lost’s. A question, then: Is Lost a product of the times, a creation that could only exist in a time where fans can immediately go online after an episode, offer theories and insights, discuss the significance of different events, and attempt to puzzle out the mysteries of the island? Is the success of Lost predicated on the advent of TV on DVD, podcasts from its creators, and ABC’s ability to offer Lost content in all sorts of different mediums. Had Lost premiered in 1995, would it have made it though one season?
I know this: for the Lost obsessive, the internet is an invaluable resource. It almost acts as part of the show itself. The viewing experience is not only enhanced by the online presence, but in many ways dependent upon it. The term “post-modern” is thrown around a lot, often overused, but with Lost, I find it entirely apt. Lost is the is the most prescient example of a show that has expanded its experience beyond the vacuum of 42 minutes on a TV screen. Weaving self-referential moments throughout every episode, growing a larger mythology via throwaway lines and “Easter Eggs,” expanding the story with things like webisodes, the Lost Book Club, and viral websites, Lost is a universe, not a simple six-season narrative. Lost is what TV shows can conceivably become in our time, with the internet ruling all, and the faith that audiences will figure it out, regardless of how complicated and dense the writers decide to be.
OK, I’ll get off Lost’s proverbial nuts now. To “The Little Prince.” Let’s start on the mainland. My initial reactions were fairly basic: Sun is working with Widmore, upset that Jin is presumably dead, wanting revenge, still blaming Kate, and unable to find meaning in her life, despite the wealth she has attained. As for Kate, I predicted this early in the season and will stick to it: Ben’s main motivation in hiring the lawyer to conduct the maternity test was to give Kate a reason to head back to the island. Ben, having (almost) everyone back together on the pier, had no reason to keep his lie up, and will be able to explain himself in ways that only Mr. Linus can. If you watched the “Scenes from Next Week” you saw Ben tell Sun that he can prove that Jin is still alive. This proof had to come from Locke upon his return, though I find it curious Locke didn’t mention this fact to anyone else, though I suppose he had more pressing matters at hand. The opening of next week’s episode should be great, with an angry Sun wielding that gun. I can’t imagine she’d use it (on who?), but you never know.
As for the on-island action, Sawyer’s plight gets more heart-breaking by the minute. The poetic use of time travel, allowing Sawyer to see Kate at her best from mere feet away, was emotionally crushing, especially given how fleeting the glimpse was. Danielle’s appearance was long in the making, I suspect, and gave the episode a nice button. How the French will weave into the overall story is a mystery, but I have to believe they’ll play a major role somehow.
Coming into the season, I would not have predicted that the on-island action would be more interesting and exciting than what the Oceanic 6 were up to, but I guess it makes sense – the objective of the Oceanic 6 is clearly spelled out, while the Island 6 are pretty much at a loss, at the behest of the island’s flashes. The canoe people, the French, the nose-bleeds; I’d like to have some opinions or theories about them, but they’d be far-fetched and almost certainly wrong. So, I will wait until next week, though my guess is that the bulk of the episode will be spent on the Oceanic 6’s journey off the mainland.
Lost Easter Eggs for “The Little Prince”
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of ABC)