Television: "LOST" Season Six, Episode One: "LA X" Review

2/03/2010 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Rob Stammitti

Be warned, it's nearly impossible to review this episode without spoilers. So, if you're still waiting to watch it, just know this--the season six premiere is by far the best season opener of the series, and is one of the top 20 episodes of all time.

SPOILERS from here on.

The last time we saw our Losties, they were planning on blowing up a hydrogen bomb in 1977 to prevent the Incident, thus preventing the hatch from being built, thus preventing their plane from crashing in the beginning of the series. So, did it work? Have they rewritten time? And what became of Jacob and his nemesis disguised as the supposedly dead Locke?

The episode starts right off the bat with a potential answer to the first question. We see clouds. We're in an airplane. And...there's Jack. Right where he was sitting back in 2004 when the plane crashed. He seems confused at first--a bit of deja vu, maybe? But no, he doesn't seem to think he's anywhere he shouldn't be. Suddenly, there's some turbulence. Will we see the plane crash again? No, the plane stills, the pilot apologizes, and the flight continues. They're fine.

But then we get that typical "Lost" flashback/flashforward sound--this time it sounds a bit different, like a plane engine--and we're back on the island, right in the aftermath of the bomb. So--what on Earth is going on here?

Like all "Lost" season premieres, this obviously is meant to set the stage for the rest of the season. We've met some new characters, we're introduced to a new narrative system, and some questions are answered while new ones are discovered. But, unlike previous premieres, this one doesn't simply serve as a starting point. It had an epic feel all its own (probably due to it being two hours instead of one), and by showing us an entirely new timeline (apparently), we get a brand new chance to explore the characters we've come to love.

Just think about it--in one timeline the plane hasn't crashed. Who do we see? Boone and Charlie, of course, who in this timeline haven't died. But some things are different. Desmond is mysteriously on the plane--so he's never shipwrecked on the island. And Hurley claims to have good luck instead of bad. It seems thast if the bomb was the catalyst for this alternate timeline, it changed much more than what happens on the island. Basically, it's the butterfly effect--one event, the detonation of Jughead, has led to millions of changes. Who knows what else could be different in this timeline?

Back on the island, however, Jughead seems to have detonated, but instead of sending the Losties back to the plane before it crashed, it's simply flashed them from 1977 back to 2007, when Fake Locke has just killed Jacob. Sayid is still wounded, Juliet has been lost, and Sawyer--well, understandably, Sawyer is pissed. He trusted Jack knew what he was doing in attempting to detonate Jughead, but now Juliet is gone and he blames Jack for it. So, not only do we have our conflict between FLocke and the Jacob (and apparently Richard and the rest of the Others, who are still confused as to what's happening at the four-toed statue) but Sawyer and Jack.

But that's not all. The episode also introduces us to two apparently crucial new characters. These are two currently unnamed inhabitants of the Temple, where the Losties go to attempt to save Sayid. These are an Asian man and his translator, and they appear to be high-level Others at the temple. They attempt to save Sayid when they learn of Hurley's conversations with Jacob, but when they also learn Jacob has been killed, the whole Temple goes into high alert.

They know what is coming.

Flocke. Who it is revealed is, as many have predicted, the smoke monster incarnated in a human form. Why he requires John Locke to do it we still don't know. Whatever the case, he proved to be one of the most awesome characters in this episode, and every line he had was absolute gold. We also get a lot more of Richard, and thankfully the actor who plays him, Nestor Carbonell, has been added to the main cast--he's here to stay.

I don't know what they plan on doing with these "Flash-sideways" (as they've been deemed by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse themselves), but whatever it is, the scenes bring a whole lot of nostalgia. Kate back in handcuffs, Charlie the drugged-out rockstar, Locke the tragically paralyzed nice guy--it all brings back so many memories of the first season, which is quite brilliant. What better way to prepare for the end of your show than to complete the circle?

The plot is going in so many directions, yet it seems easier than ever to keep up. The writers seem at the top of their game, finally relying less on shock value and more on plot, characters and mythology. It might seem a bit too early to say it, but I'm predicting this will be by far the best season of the series. And even if it doesn't turn out that way, at least we'll have "LA X," truly one of the best and most emotionally resonating episodes of the show I've ever seen.

Grade:  A+

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