Recap: "Lost" Seasons 1-5

1/25/2010 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

NOTE: Starting next week, our guest blogger Rob Stammitti will be following each episode of the final season of "Lost."  A review of each episode will appear here the day after the episode airs.

"Lost" has thrilled and baffled audiences for six years and five seasons, but one week from now the enigmatic ABC series will begin coming to a close with the premiere of the sixth and final season.

So, in preparation for our final outing, who have we met, where have we gone, and what have we learned? I have a recap here just to find out. Now bear with me--this is a long and wild journey. Try to keep up.

Beware, spoilers are ahead.


"Lost" takes place on an uncharted island in the South Pacific. It begins when Oceanic Airlines Flight 815 crashlands there. In the aftermath of the crash, we meet our main characters:

  • Jack - The doctor and de facto leader
  • Kate - A fugitive and eventual love interest for Jack
  • Charlie - A washed-up British rock star
  • Sayid - A former torturer for the Iraqi republican guard and communications expert
  • Locke - A man who was paralyzed from the waist down before crashing--he can mysteriously walk following the crash
  • Hurley - A slacker-turned-multimillionaire when he won the lottery
  • Sawyer - A con man who has dedicated his life to seeking revenge on the man responsible for his parents' death as a child
  • Michael & Walt - A father and son. Walt previously lived with his mother before her untimely death--Michael doesn't know his son that well and is desperate to be a good father
  • Sun & Jin - A Korean couple nearly torn apart by Jin's tragic relationship with Sun's corrupt and criminal father
  • Boone & Shannon - A brother and sister with a rather rough relationship
  • Claire - A pregnant woman from Australia who was heading to Los Angeles to have her baby and put it up for adoption

The first season follows these characters for the first few weeks surviving on the mysterious island. Flashbacks in each episode elaborate on their past and reveal connections between characters that they don't all quite know or understand. Locke, driven by his newfound ability to walk and an unexplained connection to the island, travels inland, where he finds a hatch door leading underground.

The season begins the show's typical explorations of teamwork, familial conflict, and redemption. Every character seems to have some element in their past that they can't quite get over--the title of the series just as easily describes their state in life as well as their more specific situation on the island. The season ends with the Locke, Jack, Hurley and Kate blowing open the hatch door and preparing to go inside. Some other survivors (Michael, Sawyer, Walt and Jin) build a raft and attempt to leave the island to bring back help.


In the second season, we are introduced to one of the predominant mysteries of the show--the former inhabitants of the island--the Dharma Initiative. They were a scientific research group living there through the '70s and '80s, and the hatch was one of their many research stations. Inside the hatch, the group finds Desmond Hume, a man who shipwrecked on the island years ago who has been down in the hatch pushing a button every 108 minutes in order to, in his own words, "save the world." Desmond flees when the timer almost runs out, and Locke and Jack take his place pushing the button. Jack eventually gives it up, thinking it was merely an experiment Dharma was doing on some of its crewmembers, and Locke has a crisis of faith before discovering the button is far from a fraud.

Meanwhile, a group of survivors from the tail section of 815 that landed elsewhere on the island find the group and join them. They also happen to have the crew from the raft, who were assaulted in the middle of the ocean by a group on a boat who kidnapped Walt from them.

This unknown group is the Others, the island's native inhabitants, whose motives are not quite clear. Their leader, Benjamin Linus, infiltrates the 815 group by pretending to be someone who crashed on the island on his hot air balloon. Once he gathers information about the crash survivors, he escapes, and eventually he forces Michael to bring him Jack, Kate and Sawyer in exchange for Walt. The season ends as the trio is taken by the Others and the hatch station is destroyed when Desmond returns and activates a fail-safe before the electromagnetic energy the button had been holding in for all of these years destroys the island. We also learn that one such occasion where the button wasn't pushed in time resulted in the crash of flight 815.

This season primarily observes the relationship between Jack and Locke, the former a man of science, and the latter a man of faith. Their dichotomy (and the overall theme of science/faith and good/evil) is the most important theme of the show.


This season explores the history and motives of the Others. Locke, demoralized by his experiences in the hatch and unsure of his overall purpose on the island, is brought into the Others' inner circle when he goes to rescue Jack. Throughout the season, we learn that the Others answer to an unseen man named Jacob, the leader of the group and presumably the leader of the island itself. The survivors each learn that their presence on the island is far from an accident, and their lives and fates have brought each of them there for a reason.

As Locke's fate with the Others and his relationship with the snakey and murderous Benjamin Linus begins to unravel, Jack and the rest of the survivors attempt to survive attacks from the Others before they find a woman that has crashlanded on the island. She claims to have come to the island to rescue them, and that the freighter she arrived on is only a few miles offshore. She also reveals that back in society, it is believed that flight 815 crashed in the middle of the ocean and that all of its passengers are dead--there is even a plane at the bottom of the Pacific to prove it.

The third season also introduces the use of flashforwards instead of flashbacks. The season ends with Jack and Ben coming to a head and we learn in a flashforward that Jack eventually gets off the island.


The fourth season follows the survivors as they attempt to get off the island, and the flashforwards slowly unveil who eventually manages to escape. The survivors who get off the island are known as the Oceanic 6. They consist of Jack, Kate, Sun, Hurley, Sayid and Claire's son Aaron, who was since born on the island. We learn that life off the island isn't quite what they hoped for.

On the island we meet several new characters, all from the freighter:

  • Daniel Faraday - A physicist sent to research the unique scientific attributes of the island
  • Charlotte Lewis - An anthropologist who seems to have a history with the island
  • Miles Straum - A spiritualist who serves as the sort of leader of the on-island science crew
  • Frank Lapidus - A pilot who was originally supposed to have piloted 815

The survivors are at first unsure whether the freighter is really there to save them, but they eventually learn that they are actually there under the orders of a man named Charles Widmore, former leader of the Others who wants to take power back from Benjamin Linus. He has sent the freighter crew to capture Linus and to kill everyone on the island. Ultimately, the four members of the science crew join the survivors as another freighter group, led by a former Black-Ops soldier named Keamy, attempt to find Ben.

The season explores the conflicts of leadership among the survivors and the Others, and at the season's end, Ben uses a special device on the island to "move" it, which also forces him to leave the island, after which Locke takes his place as leader of the others. The freighter is destroyed, and Frank Lapidus flies those who are soon to be the Oceanic 6 (along with Desmond) off the island. The other survivors are forced to stay behind.


The most recent season is where "Lost" completely makes the transition from mystery to science fiction. Benjamin Linus' actions to move the island so that Charles Widmore couldn't find it result in the survivors being flashed through different periods in time. Richard Alpert, an apparently ageless advisor to the many leaders of the Others, tells Locke that to stop the flashes, he must leave the island and bring back the Oceanic 6. Locke leaves and when he apparently fails at convincing anyone to return, he dies. His death, ironically, is what ultimately convinces Jack and the others to return.

The rest of the season follows two timelines. One follows the survivors who remained on the island, led by Sawyer, in the year 1977, where they became stuck when Locke left and stopped the flashes. They are present right at the height of the Dharma Initiative, and through some clever conning Sawyer and the other survivors join Dharma in order to wait for Locke to return. The other timeline, taking place in 2007, follows a whole new group of survivors from the plane crash that brings Jack and company back to the island--except Jack, Kate, Hurley and Sayid have been flashed back to 1977, whereas Sun has remained in the correct time frame. Also with Sun is Ben, who used the opportunity to return to the island as well, and, mysteriously, Locke, who appears to have come back from the dead.

The season climaxes when Daniel Faraday comes up with a plot to explode a hydrogen bomb that has been laying dormant on the island on the day in which the immense electromagnetic energy was supposed to have first been released, and when which the hatch station and the button were built to contain it. Faraday's theory is that by igniting the bomb and containing the energy, the hatch will never be built, the energy will never be released, and flight 815 will never have crashed. In a nutshell, Faraday plans to rewrite history.

The season ends with some shocking revelations--it is discovered that Jacob, the island's spiritual leader, has an unknown nemesis, and that for centuries he has been seeking a way to kill Jacob. We learn that Locke is really dead, and that the nemesis has taken over his body in order to murder Jacob. His plan is fulfilled. In 1977, the 815ers attempt to explode the hydrogen bomb, but the final episode cuts to white before we learn whether their plan worked or not.


Phew. That was a mouthful.

The sixth season will bring all of these stories to a close--why were the survivors fated to crash on the island? Are their fates really all just a game between Jacob and his nemesis? What is to happen now that the leader of the Others and island is dead, and did the survivors in 1977 succeed in restarting their history? Showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have been tight-lipped, even asking ABC to withhold any new footage in their advertisement for the final season.

One thing is for sure--the final season is going to be the definite must-see season of 2010.

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