‘Guys, where are we?’

A look into the last season of ‘Lost’

| Cadenza TV Editor

On Sept. 22, 2004, Oceanic Flight 815 crashed over the ocean on a flight from Sydney to Los Angeles. Luckily, no one actually died on this flight, and it instead launched a television phenomenon that has changed American popular culture over the past five years. That night, the series premiere of “Lost” aired.

The final season is beginning tomorrow night, and the last five seasons have been a very wild ride. (By the way, here’s a spoiler alert.) In the pilot episode, we encountered a polar bear living on a tropical island. We’ve also seen clashes with violent island natives, rafts burning, ideological fights between science and faith, character deaths that made us cry (Not Penny’s Boat!) and not nearly enough shirtless Sawyer. OK, maybe that last one just bothered me. But if only these were the end of our castaways’ troubles. In the last few seasons, everything has gotten a little weirder. Most characters have time-traveled, some have turned a wheel and ended up in Tunisia, and one has even been killed by his own mother, before he was even born. (Like I said, time travel.) As Faraday said many times last year, “Whatever happened, happened.” But as the end of last season asks, what happens when you try to change the future irrevocably?

Season 5 ended with Juliet setting off a hydrogen bomb in 1977, changing the lives of everyone who has ever been on the island. Or did the bomb just kill most of the main characters? That would be a pretty boring final season. Season 6, therefore, has to be a major game-changer to keep things interesting. Tomorrow’s premiere is called “LA X,” invoking only one thing: the Los Angeles airport code where Flight 815 was supposed to land. Casting spoilers have me especially intrigued—dead characters like Charlie, Boone and Michael are rumored to come back for at least a few episodes. Since season 1, fans have guessed the island to be a realm of purgatory, and the return of these people seems to hint toward this solution. But I’m hoping that’s not the case.

Season 2 introduced island mythology. Season 3 focused on “the others,” the island natives who live in houses and are actually quite civilized. Season 4 told the story of the Oceanic Six through flash-forwards, and season 5 broke my mind by trying to explain the theoretical physics of time travel. Season 6 will surely do something crazy, and I’m guessing we’re going to be watching alternative realities. If the island did not exist in 2004, it could not have used its electromagnetic activity to draw our characters in. The plane would have landed safely in California, just like the episode title suggests. Charlie would not have drowned, Sawyer would have stayed a con man, Claire would have given up her baby for adoption, and so on.

But that’s no fun. Are we really ready to give up the character development we have all observed over the last five seasons? No, of course not. As far as I know, the island could have flashed the minute Juliet set off the bomb, and the blinding white light could have sent everyone to a safer time. Hey, anything is possible on this island.

The two-hour episode starts at 8 p.m. Tuesday night on ABC, and there is a one-hour recap beforehand. Tune in to hopefully get some answers. Did Ben really kill Jacob? Who inhabited Locke’s body all season? What lies in the shadow of the statue, after all? And really, what sort of reality are we going to be watching? I, for one, am dying to watch the season unfold.