Well, if ever you're worried that Lost is just going to run around in circles, never getting anywhere, the third season finale should dispel that thought immediately. We got pay-offs, answers, a bucket load of new questions, and - the so-called “snake in the mailbox” game-changer, which unfortunately I guessed and you might too - a twist right at the end that lets you know what the exec producers have planned for the next few seasons.
It has to be admitted, the third season started off poorly, with a block of episodes last year that were frankly very dull. They raised many questions that we didn't care about without providing any answers, and gave us little about characters we'd invested in.
But after the hiatus, Lost slowly found its feet again, and has consistently been getting better with every episode (bar one, which I'll mention in a bit), giving us relatively rapid answers to questions which we never even knew we had. It even tried to fix a few of its mistakes, killing off Nikki and Paulo in possibly the show's best every episode.
Anyone hoping for a repeat of the sci-fi extravaganza that was season two's finale will be disappointed, since the finale was purely an exercise in drama. On many levels, it worked, even if those Big Answers we wanted never materialised. But problematically, the focus for the usual story-asides was Jack. As anyone who's been watching Lost for a long time will know, Jack's flashbacks are a study in abject tedium (rivalled only by Sun and Jin's). There was certainly rather a lot of Jack moping - never a good sign - but although it will leave you incredibly depressed by the end, there was at least a point to it all, unlike Jack's trip Thailand, and one that should make you want to see what happens next season on Lost, something not always guaranteed these days.
When the story wasn't focusing on Jack and his terrible, terrible life of misery being a leader (or Sawyer's terrible, terrible life of misery being unlucky in love/killing people), it was actually very well done. Charlie and Desmond were great, as was Hurley. Ben was as creepy and unfathomable as ever. There was a very surprising return for a former Lostee, used to good effect. Some of the others (not The Others) were cheated of decent chunks of screen time, but you can't have everything, I guess. And, always a bonus, there was a hell of a lot of carnage, with a number of regular characters getting a very big chopping.
With three mini-seasons to go, it would have been surprising if we'd got any useful answers to the Big Questions (eg What is the monster? Where is the island? Who is Jacob?). But I'm not sure how many people, even if they do tune in thanks to this season's ending, are going to be watching Lost in future if there aren't big, definite answers in the next season to at least keep us going. At this rate though, we might just get them.
Tension: 9/10 (1/10 deduction because of the Jack bits)
- February 2, 2008: Review: Lost 4x1
My review of the opening episode of season four of Lost
- June 2, 2008: Season finale: Lost (season four)
A review of the finale of the fourth season of Lost