I was more excited than ever for the big Lost season 6 premiere and, sadly, felt a little disappointed. There was a lot of interesting stuff, and seeing people like Leslie Arzt, Boone and Claire again was cool, but I had one major issue: those new “flash sideways.”
That’s the name being given to the narrative device of the season in which the “flashbacks” are now told as an alternate universe where Oceanic 815 landed safely. From a storytelling perspective, I appreciate the chance to see a whole new tale. But as a Lost fan, it frustrates me.
These flash sideways have nothing to do with the Island. Basically, it’s as if Lost is creating a whole different show about a group of strangers who were on the same flight. Since the Island never happened, the characters in these flash sideways have no knowledge of the past five seasons, and therefore, their stories are entirely irrelevant.
It’s already obvious how the season will play out. Jack will try to cure John Locke’s spinal injury. Kate and Claire will bond on the run from the law like TV’s Thelma and Louise. Sawyer will try to con Hurley out of his lotto winnings. The problem is that none of this has anything to do with anything we’ve seen so far.
Or does it? While researching my Easter Eggs, I came across one cool bit of trivia that gives me a glimmer of hope. On the flight, Desmond was reading Salman Rushdie’s Harouh and the Sea of Stories. This children’s book is about the struggle between imagination and reality, with one character asking the important question:”What’s the use of stories that aren’t even true?” Oddly, that’s the exact same question I asked about the flash sideways, so clearly the Lost writers at least recognize this obvious flaw.
I have little doubt that it will pay off. What was the mark on Jack’s neck? What happened to Christian Shephard’s body and John Locke’s knives? Was Desmond really on the flight or can he travel between universes like a Time Lord? When Juliet died, did she go into the alternate universe, hence her prophetic “It worked” from beyond the grave? These flash sideways will certainly (hopefully) tie back into the Island, but my problem is the waiting.
Until we see any possibility of a connection, these flash sideways are just stories that aren’t even true. Alternate universes are cool, but when other TV shows do them, they only last a single episode. If I don’t start seeing some connections soon, I suspect I, and many others, will quickly lose interest and continue to ask “what’s the use?”
(Image courtesy of ABC)