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Lost: Season 4 - The Beginning of The End (Review)

Matthew Fox in Lost: Season 4

Review by Jack Foley

INDIELONDON singles out notable episodes from our favourite television series for stand-alone reviews. On this occasion we take a look at the first episode of Lost: Season 4 entitled The Beginning of The End.

What’s the story? In the aftermath of Charlie’s death [and season 3’s revelations] the Oceanic survivors prepare to be rescued from the island. But with Locke (Terry O’Quinn), Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick) and Ben (Michael Emerson) warning against it, the group must decide who they trust – those that appeared mentally unstable and obsessed by the island, or Jack (Matthew Fox).

As events unfold on the island, we’re also given further teasing glimpses into the future as Hurley (Jorge Garcia) is committed to a mental institution and attempts to come to terms with… erm?

Why so good? Anyone who thought that Lost had lost the plot had better think again. Season 3 put the show firmly back on track and this gripping opener to season 4 has all but guaranteed we’ll be tuning in for the long haul. The episode was clever, taut and impressively written and – for once – put forward a lot of questions that should be really fun answering. What’s more, characters we thought we knew and loved began to behave in increasingly erratic fashion…

Digging a little deeper: The posters and pre-season hype declared that “answers are coming”. Well, on the evidence of the first hour, they’re still a long way off.

The Beginning Of The End posed more questions than a whole season of The X-Files and ensured that the confusion surrounding the show’s mysteries remained intact – but in a good way.

Underpinning the episode arc was the knowledge that a rescue party was on its way. But while some packed their bags with relief and glee at the prospect of departing the island, others busied themselves with trying to get out of the way.

The rescue team was not what they appeared to be, according to Ben, and meeting them would almost certainly lead to death. Another ruse designed to keep the survivors on the island? Or a genuinely scared man desperately trying to cheat death? Thanks to Emerson’s brilliant portrayal, we were never quite sure.

Jack, too, continues to intrigue – his once calm demeanour replaced by moments of violent rage and desperation. When, late on, he held Locke at gunpoint, no one suspected he was actually capable of pulling the trigger (not even Locke) until he let fly, only to find that the chambers were empty. Rather than step back in alarm at what he had just attempted to do, however, Jack set about beating Locke up.

It’s a remarkable turnaround for the one-time Dudley Do-right and has helped to make his character interesting once again.

The main activity, however, was reserved for Hurley who – perhaps even more surprisingly – emerged as an unlikely action figure.

The episode opened with a car chase and spectacular crash [all set in the future] that had Hurley – now calling himself Hugo – emerging from the wreckage and greeting the opportunity to be committed to a mental asylum.

Declaring himself to be “one of the Oceanic six”, he then received several visitors who all seemed interested in learning – or covering up – the truth about the island episode.

Most sinister was a representative of Oceanic Airlines (played by Lance Reddick), who ended his brief time with Hurley with the telling line: “Are they still alive?”

Then came Charlie (Dominic Monaghan) – clean cut, chirpy and happily talking about the reasons for his own sacrifice. Was he really dead? Apparently – but he still had some advice to impart to his loyal friend, Hurley.

And finally, there was a visit from Jack himself, cheekily declaring that he might grow a beard (in a nod to the flash-forward that ended season three) and keen to make sure that his chum remained quiet – to which Hurley replied: ““I don’t think we did the right thing, Jack. I think it wants us to come back.”

The episode then came to a close with Jack, Kate and a small group of survivors being confronted by the lights from a helicopter and a “rescuer” greeting Jack. Fade to black and the debating began…

If Hurley, Jack and Kate are three of the “Oceanic six” to have made it off the island, who are the other three? And are they the only ones to have made it off the island? If not, as the Oceanic representative asked, are the others still alive?

Furthermore, can Locke be trusted? Or even Ben? And what is the real agenda of the rescuers in the helicopter? Are they as dangerous as Ben suggests?

It may have been called The Beginning of The End but there seems plenty left in Lost‘s tank yet. And with an end date two years off, in 2010, it seems that we’re in for an exhilarating rollercoaster ride to the finish line…

What did you think?