In the US: Wednesdays, 9/8c, ABC
In the UK: Second season being repeated on E4. Third season probably a decade away from airing on C4 and E4, given their usual speed.
Characters re-cast: 0
Major characters gotten rid of: Unknown
Major new characters: 1, maybe 2 so far
Format change percentage: 20%
Rats run through mazes: 3
When last we saw our intrepid bunch of survivors from that rather spectacular plane crash, a fair few of them were getting “blown up” and three of them were being led off into captivity by The Others. This episode we get to see what happened to Jack, Kate and Sawyer, but we’re still none the wiser as to their fate. Don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil you UK viewers.
Since the point of these reviews is, ostensibly, to warn new and regular viewers of any sudden sharp shocks they need to be braced for with any new season, let me start of by saying regular viewers don’t have too much to worry about. There’s a new member of The Others, but the big three characters and The Others we already knew about are all all right for now.
Will a new viewer be able to leap in and know what’s going on, though? Not a chance. That’s not to say you won’t be able to enjoy the episode: it’s just you won’t understand why anyone’s doing what they’re doing, despite the “Previously on Lost” at the beginning designed to fill in the gaps. If you’re going to join now, it might be an idea to rent the previous seasons on DVD first.
As for the episode itself, it’s clear the writers are going for a return to basics. Lost likes to play with your mind. Now there’s a whole group of characters in Lost that like to play with your mind, too: The Others. The episode plays like a bizarre psychological experiment, right down to levers to push to get food, fake intercoms and “you can trust me” fake-outs.
All the same, the story is simpler, the flashbacks are about people we care about (and others…), and there are no sci-fi elements in it at all. Much of it deals with characters, and their interactions and relationships with one another. So a bit more like season one, just with The Others in it.
I won’t say it sets the world on fire, but it’s still pretty good and is clearly the first part of a gradual drip, drip of information about the island’s previous inhabitants. The producers clearly realise they have a captive audience and they can divulge information at their own pace – but they also seem to realise that people’s patience won’t last forever. Who knows when the big stuff is going to arrive though… Just going to have to keep watching.