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Lost: Season 5 - 316 (Review)

Lost, John Locke

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 2 out of 5

INDIELONDON singles out notable episodes from our favourite television series for stand-alone reviews. On this occasion we take a look at the fifth season episode of Lost: Season 5 entitled 316.

What’s the story? The way back to the island is revealed to members of the Oceanic 6, but there’s trouble ahead when not all of them wish to return.

Was it any good? At the beginning of 316, Dr. Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox) is urged to take a leap of faith and believe in the surreal events that will help get him back to the island. Viewers, at this stage, are being asked to make a similar leap given the incoherent, and at times illogical nature of this fifth season so far.

Just when it seemed Lost had re-established itself as one of the must-see American imports of the moment (especially in light of its excellent fourth season), Season 5 is beginning to test the patience… severely.

The time travelling element, in particular, is becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with and, more often than not, feels like a thinly veiled excuse for the writers to suspend time and drag out proceedings into a sixth and final season.

Right now, though, we’re in a real mess. Jack and the Oceanic 6 have finally made it back to the island, only to be greeted at gunpoint by Jin Kwon (Daniel Dae Kim), now wearing a Dharma Initiative uniform.

How they got to that point was chronicled throughout the episode entitled 316, which despite being made enjoyable by the dedicated performances of its still engaging cast, could only go so far in concealing the cracks that are beginning to appear.

For a series that is promising answers, there are still far too many questions and all sense of logic appears to have flown out of the window for the moment.

Jack’s sense of bewilderment is now echoed by the viewers. Can Ben (Michael Emerson) be trusted? Probably not. And who beat him up? Who did he go and see before boarding the flight back to the island?

Moreover, why such an elaborate set-up to get back to the island? We were asked to believe that the only guaranteed way back was to fly over it during a specific gap in time and only if the events of the first Oceanic plane crash were recreated as faithfully as possible. Yet, just one season earlier, a freighter full of mercenaries was able to locate the island all by themselves… A gap in logic? Maybe…

Questions also remain as to how the Oceanic 6 all came to be at the airport, ready to board the same flight, at the same time. We know how Kate and Jack got there… but not so the previously reluctant Hurley and Sayid. Are we to assume, therefore, that the absence of information will provide the writers with the excuse to provide further flashbacks to fill in these gaps?

And lingering questions still remain over the fate of John Locke (Terry O’Quinn), last seen in a coffin having apparently committed suicide. A suicide note that Jack possessed, and spent much of the episode mulling over, failed to provide any concrete clues (although we’re promised answers in next week’s instalment).

For now, Lost remains watchable because the writers have proven they can get themselves out of dodgy situations before. Yet answers need to come… and come quickly to prevent the nagging sense that we’re all going to be disappointed by the outcome from festering.

As things stand, we appear to be going around in circles, getting nowhere fast. The show’s momentum has been temporarily disrupted by the constant shifts in time. We’re all for being kept in the dark by tightly written series (check out Damages for examples of how this is done best). But on current form, Lost has more in common with the increasingly inept Prison Break and is threatening to career off the rails really fast.

(316 was aired on Sky 1 on Sunday, February 22, 2009)

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