"LA X Part 1" Review
February 5, 2010

Did Faraday’s plan work? We look at the exciting two-part season opener! Or otherwise known as How Lost got it’s Groove Back! Tuesday night’s season premiere served up enough gasps, shrieks and heartbreaking moments to make it feel like a season finale—and it is only the beginning.

Please return your seats to their full upright position and fasten your seatbelts. LAX, here we come!

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WE HIT A POCKET
Initially I thought ABC was messing with our minds when the program started out with all hell breaking loose at the site of the magnetic anomaly. Then Juliet sets of the bomb and we return to the flight of Oceanic 815. I confess that I shouted, “I knew it!” startling my wife. Seeing the same airplane scene played out but re-filmed was one of those Yogi Berra moments: Deja vu all over again.. Of course, some things were different. Jack’s hair was longer. Cindy still gave him the booze, though it was one less bottle, wasn’t it? Jack and Rose had their conversation. The turbulence hit. And…

No crash! Seth Norris (Grunny lives! The “captain speaking” on the alt-Flight 815 was Capt. Norris, aka Greg Grunberg himself.) announces that they hit a pocket but everything’s okay. And now it’s clear (if it wasn’t before) that we are in an alternate timeline. Some nice juxtaposition there, as it was a drill hitting an electromagnetic energy pocket that launched this alternate in the first place. These pockets seem to trip up our Losties quite frequently.

Jack acts like something’s strange. Rose and Bernard seem to sense it, too. They give each other a knowing look. Of course, if they do know about the other reality on the island, they shouldn’t be too happy about being in this one. Life was good for Rose and Bernard on the island. In this world, Rose might (or might not) have cancer. Meanwhile, Jack goes to the restroom and observes a phantom cut that has appeared on the side of his neck.

Note: I checked photos from the original “Pilot” episode, but I didn’t see that exact same scratch anywhere (evidence of a THIRD reality! Just kidding). But it’s interesting that he isn’t just feeling mentally displaced – the cut is strong evidence of some physical manifestations of the other reality, too.

The key to this thread of the Lost narrative will be figuring out what’s already been changed, what can be changed, and what it means for the “real” story in the other timeline (yes, I’m making a big assumption that the events on the island are the real timeline and not the one where 815 arrives safely in Los Angeles). This should truly be a unique viewing experience – it’s almost like we get to watch a new show, except these characters aren’t new to us. They aren’t starting fresh, there’s no “Tabula Rasa”. We have ideas about them already. It’s like if they remade Lost intro a movie twenty years from now. We’d be wondering, “Oh, will they include Jack’s tattoos? Is Hurley still unlucky? What will they change about Sayid?” I think that’s how we’ll feel, now.

SEE YOU IN ANOTHER LIFE BRO… OH, THAT’S WHAT WE’RE DOING RIGHT NOW

Jack returns to his seat and finds he has a new seat partner. Desmond! How cool was that? It was really, I think, a perfect way to introduce us to all the weirdness of the alternative time line (by the way I don’t want to keep typing “alternative time line” for the whole damned season. Anyone have a suggestion for an alternative or abbreviation?). Desmond has always been bound to show up in the most interesting places, as if he were permanently unstuck in time like Billy Pilgrim in the novel that inspired “The Constant,” Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse Five.” Speaking of books, what was that he was reading? It’s a book by Salman Rushdie, and after carefully studying the frame I believe it’s titled “Haroun and the Sea of Stories.”
I haven’t read it but a quick Wikipedia check reveals it’s about a city so old that it’s name has been forgotten (sounds like the island, huh?). There’s also an electromagnetic device intended to destroy the ocean, which sounds an awful lot like the island’s final resting place in this timeline. By now we’re trained to look for similarities in every book that appears on Lost, but this one appears to be an especially good fit.

Jack thinks he recognizes Desmond – the question is, does he recognize him from the running of the stadium steps (which may or may not have happened in the alternative time line) or from the mainstream time line? Because I’m not sure the stadium steps meeting would occur in the ATL at all. If the bomb went off in 1977, it certainly killed Charles Widmore, who was on the island at the time. No Widmore should mean no Penny. No Penny should mean no sailing race and no sailing race should mean no stadium steps run. This stuff would make you want to get into the sealed box with Schrödinger’s cat. I hope we see much more of Desmond this season. His iconic “See you in another life, brotha,” is more relevant than ever.

While Jack ponders the multiverse and why he didn’t keep reading comics while he was in medical school, we jump out the window of flight 815 and dive into the ocean below. And then we get our first look at the island in the alternative universe – buried on the ocean floor! The Barracks are there, Dharma sharks, and the remains of the Statue. The only thing missing was Aquaman or Namor. This is almost certainly the result of the detonation of the Jughead in 1977. This means that the timeline doesn’t deviate when Oceaniac 815 stays airborne during the turbulence. It deviates when the bomb goes off in 1977. Things – some things, at least – have been different ever since then. And we fade to black to ponder these things while ABC makes money and Disney tries to figure out where to put Lost Land in the happiest place on earth.

CHAIN, CHAIN, CHAIN… COME ON, SING WITH ME NOW!

The show begins again and I think some dufus in the control room at ABC has accidently reset the tape as we’re seeing the construction site again and all hell is breaking loose. But, it quickly becomes apparent that this is different. This is from Kate’s perspective. After the boom, we get the eye of Kate. Nice that they remember that opening sequences with someone’s eye are a “thing” on the show.

There is a piercing tone in the background as we and Kate discover she way the hell up in a tree and just manages to save herself from falling out of it and it’s night. She climbs down and yells to see if anyone is around. She’s still having problems hearing and starts walking through the jungle only to have Miles surprise her. While they are talking about their hearing problems, Kate spots something and runs to the door of the Swan Hatch. With Miles trailing her, she’s off like a shot to the crater that is all that’s left of the hatch when Desmond turned the key and the sky turned purple.

They get to the remains of the Swan station and Miles asks if that is the construction site. Kate tells him it’s the Swan station. Miles is astounded that they built it. Kate finds Jack in the tall grass. She revives him and tells him they are at the hatch. Jack is confused that the plan didn’t appear to work according to Faraday’s plan – apparently, he doesn’t sense his other self landing safely in LAX. Sawyer appears and smacks the crap outta Jack, knocking down into the pit. “You were wrong!” Says Sawyer. The three of them climb down into the pit and Jack says he thought it would work. “Well, it didn’t!” Screams Sawyer. And he hear a jet engine noise.

Flash to the alternative time line with Jack walking to the restrooms again. That drink that Cindy gave him must have run it’s course, or maybe he just forgot to pee when he found the booboo on his next previously. Anyway, he reaches the restrooms only to find Marshal Ed Mars who he asks if he’s in line. Mars says he’s waiting for a friend. Just then Kate bounds out of the potty and bumps into Jack. The hands on each other linger just a moment longer than normal and Kate apologizes as Mars takes her back to her seat. Sawyer then walks by and bumps the arm of Mars as he’s heading back to his seat. Like Jack, Kate and Sawyer look at one another for just a moment longer than normal.

Arzt, the amazing exploding man, shows up for the first time since he played with spiders in Expose! Arzt is pestering Hurley about being the chicken man while Sawyer takes his seat. Arzt didn’t add much, but helped reveal the life of Bizarro Hurley, who is super lucky rather than super unlucky. It’s hard not to wonder if every thing is switched. The bad luck did in fact make Hurley richer – will good luck mean that he won the lottery but nothing much else happened? After Arzt goes back to his seat, Sawyer tells Hurley he shouldn’t mention he won the lotto, but he’s dismissed by the luckiest guy alive. Now, what exactly does that mean?

Further, we didn’t learn too much about what Sawyer is like in this reality. It’ll be interesting to see if his story’s changed, although I guess the major defining event of Sawyer’s life – his parents’ deaths – happened before the Jughead went off, so maybe he won’t turn out much differently. Gotta wonder whether he still killed Frank Duckett, though.

As Hurley slips on his earphones with a contented smile on his face, we cut to the main time line and Hurley is sitting on the ground outside the VW minibus with Sayid. Sayid quickly loses consciousness after reflecting on all the people he’s tortured. Again, just like last season, Sayid spends some serious amounts of time unconscious. Jin comes out of the vehicle with a flashlight. He tells a panicked Hurley that he thinks they traveled through time because of the white light, headache and loss of hearing. They hear Sawyer yelling in the distance and Jin takes off into the night.

At the Swan Jack and Sawyer are still debating the merits of using a hydrogen bomb to travel through time. Jin shows up and tells Jack that Sayid needs help. Kate hears a faint cry for help from the rubble pile and then so does Sawyer. It’s Juliette. She’s burried under all the crap where the energy pocket used to be.

Suddenly, we’re back with Hurley who hears a rustling in the jungle and does the funniest scene in the program, grabbing a gun and fumbling with it. He finds Jacob who asks if he, Hurley, has got a minute.

After a commercial break we are back on Oceaniac 815. Making our way among our favorite survivors, we come to Jin and Sun. Sun is smiling to herself as she watches Rose and Bernard. Jin is still a controlling jerk – he gives her the “button your shirt” just like right after the crash. I’m not totally buying Sun’s characterization anymore in the main time line (she’s been three drastically different people before the island, on the island, and after the island), so it’ll be interesting to see what they do with her here.

BOONE MADE IT FALL. THEN HE DIED.

I really like that bonding seems to be occurring among the same sets of people. It’s as if their fates are so intertwined they can’t help but have the same conversations, no matter what universe they’re in.
From Jin and Sun we move to a talk between Boone and John. John was cool, and full of irony. And Boone thinks he wants to go with Locke if the plane goes down… I’d say things are much better for Boone in the alternative time line. Maybe he’ll finally be able to give up Shannon. And he won’t die! Speaking of which, no Shannon, huh? Oh well. No beach = no bikini = no real purpose for Shannon.

John tells Boone that his trip was for pleasure and he weaves an elaborate tale of going on a walkabout. I will say is that John’s walkabout tale sounded almost as if he was talking about being on the island. He and Boone are channeling their crash-survivor selves, just like Jack.

Back to the temple. John picks up the knife covered in blood and wipes it clean. Ben is inshokc and asks why didn’t Jacob fight bab. Locke sends him out to get Richard. Richard is arguing with the “bodyguards.” Sun and Frank are confused. I’m confused. When Ben tells Richard that John wants to talk to him, he drags a scared and jabbering Ben, drags him to the box and throws him into the sand beside the body of John Lock. We fade to black.

After commercial While Sawyer, Kate and Jack set to work trying to dig Juliet out, Hurley and Jacob talk. Jacob admits to being dead and pretty much confirms that the Losties are now in 2007 – the same time period as Locke and Co. This is good, because it would just be too much to keep track of if there was another alternate reality and two different timelines in a main reality. Anyway, Jacob tells Hurley that he’s been dead about an hour, which makes sense, since Hurley can talk to dead people. I’m glad that Jacob didn’t just come back to life – that would be a little unfair, you know? Dead is Dead, after all. But there’s a greater sense of urgency and mortality when we know the characters can fail and die.
This also confirms that Hurley truly does have the power to talk to dead people, as this is the first dead person that we can unequivocally say is NOT the Man in Black. Jacob tells Hurley he has to save Sayid by taking him to the temple. He tells Hurley that Jin knows where it’s at – a hole in the wall with the French team. Oh, and bring the guitar case. Jin appears and they load Sayid into the VW. Hurley asks him if he knows where the hole in the wall is and Jin says yes as the drive through the jungle to the Swan hatch. Chains are attached to the I-beam and Sawyer tells Kate that if Juliette dies he’ll kill Jack.

Back on Oceaniac 815, Cindy gets on the intercom and asks if there is a doctor on the plane. Jack pushes his call button and they got to the restroom. Sayid appears and offers to help. Again, one of Sayid’s first scenes in “Pilot, Part 1″ was offering to help fix the transceiver. Apparently that’s how Sayid makes new friends. Sayid kicks in the door and out tumbles Charlie. He isn’t breathing. Charlie is choking on his drugs. I’m fairly certain it’s not too important, but it’s cool how even this scene – Jack asking for a pen to save Charlie – mirrors what would have happened had the plane gone down, when Jack asked for a pen to save Rose. Jack saves Charlie (Was it attempted suicide? An accident? I’m confused.)

Back at the Swan station, the I-Beam is moved and Sawyer climbs down into the hole. He finds Juliette who’s in a bad way.

Back on the beach, Ben tells Richard to go inside the temple, but the Bodyguards grab Ben and take him inside the temple. John and the Bodyguards have a confrontation and one of them shoots John who runs up the stairs. Smokey comes down the stairs and all hell breaks loose inside the temple. The guy who shot John finds the bullet and it looks like it hit the side of a battleship. WTF? The first Bodyguard pours a ring of ash around himself and when Smokey comes after him it slams into an invisible barrier and there is a beam of light that shines on the guy who looks real pleased with himself. Smokey is obviously pissed off and crashes into a pillar making all sorts of turmoil, including a large chunk of stone hit the guy and knock him out of his circle. Smokey proceeds to impale the poor slob on Jacob’s loom. Ouch!

Ben is watching all this with eyes as big as silver dollars when John appears again and says, “Sorry you had to see me like that.”

WE SHOULD GET COFFEE

Sawyer gets his final moments with a dying Juliet. Up until her last breath, I thought she might yet live, somehow. It was almost more heartbreaking watching Sawyer get that chance to say goodbye.

But even at death’s door, Juliet delivers some very important info. “We should get coffee,” she says. This immediately reminded me of Charlotte’s final words to Daniel, “I’m not allowed to have chocolate before supper.” I’m betting that was deliberate, and that it was done in order to suggest that maybe Juliet’s consciousness was, on some level, in another place. Could that place have been the alternative time line? Probably. Juliet was the one who actually set off the bomb, so I imagine she might have some of her own “The rules don’t apply” status, much like Desmond did for turning the failsafe key. Both these events took place very near the electromagnetic anomaly, so I’d be willing to buy it.

Maybe this isn’t a good time to ask, but why did the Jughead detonation launch them all into 2004 without harming them? And why just them? I was a little disappointed not to see what happened next between Miles and Pierre Chang, but Chang was gone. Shame, I hope Miles gets a chance to talk to his father sometime. I also really hope Miles doesn’t die, but he’s somewhat on the periphery, I feel, because he doesn’t yet have a place in the alternative timeline.

I’d really like to see Juliet and Sawyer get together in the alternative timeline. It won’t completely make up for their unhappy ending in the main timeline, but it would still be nice. Plus, if the island is destroyed in 1977, Juliet will never have to part with her sister and go there. So, even though Juliet’s death was very sad, we’re pretty much guaranteed to see her and Sawyer “get coffee” in another universe.

But Juliet had more to say before she died. But what was it? After kissing Sawyer, she dies in his arms. He carries her out of the hole and stares down Jack. “You did this.” He snarls and Jack looks like he would gladly change places with Juliette right now.

Flashback to the plane where Charlie is zip-tied. He tells Jack he should have let it happen. He was supposed to die. Cindy tells Jack some people don’ know how to say thank you. I think Cindy is hitting on Jack.

Jack returns to his seat to find Desmond gone. He asks Rose if she saw him, but she says she and Bernard were asleep. Jack sits down as Captain Norris announces final approach to LAX. The remainder of the hour is a sad music overlay as we see Cindy, Sawyer, Hurley, Sayid, Jin & Sun, Boone, Frogurt (who was sitting between Boone & Locke the whole time with a sleeping mask on), John, Kate & Mars and Jack.

The plane lands and LAPD collects Charlie and his guitar case and everyone gets off the plane. Jack and John are the last two on board and Jack sees them bring the wheelchair for John.

Speaking of Sayid, who’s carrying his famous Nadia photo, does this guy have it better in the ATL or what? He’s on his way, presumably, to meet up with Nadia, instead of dying in the jungle from a gunshot wound. Talk about an upgrade.

After the fade to white that concluded season five the general feeling from the fanbase was that the story could go in one of two directions. Either Faraday’s plan worked and the season six premiere would be feature a reset with the former survivors on the plane or the plan didn’t work and the premiere would deal with the fallout. There were those wild cards who suggested the potential of an alternate universe but I’ll be honest, I didn’t expect the story to go in that direction. Well, it appears as if I was wrong and that, at least for the next short little while, Lost will be told from two separate realities. It’s an interesting gamble for Lindelof, Cuse and the rest of the writing staff. On the heels of a season that dealt with time travel, they now tackle an entirely different sci-fi concept – alternative realities – and make it faithful to the story thus far, understandable and entertaining. After the first two hours I can safely say they’ve succeeded.

It was a rocky start though. The first hour threw a lot of punches right out of the gate. Taking copious notes as I try to do with every review seemed like a ridiculous endeavor after the first twenty-minutes or so. Simply put, there were plenty of “WTF” moments in that first hour and it was fairly difficult to keep up with the pace at which information was being delivered. Not only are we asked to accept the concept of these characters now coexisting in two different realities but we’re given a ton of different pieces of information over the course of an hour. Little things like the strange scar on Jack’s neck may be completely lost to some viewers who don’t partake in re-watching the episode like many die-hard fans (like me – I gotta get a life). Especially when juxtaposed against big reveals like the entire island being submerged underwater in a glorious display of terrible computer graphics.

Throw in plenty of appearances by various Lost alum and a couple of inconsistencies with what we originally know about Oceanic Flight 815 and you have an episode that demands rewatching once more and maybe even a third time. It’s a simple issue of pacing and that first hour is paced poorly in relation to all the information that needs to be imparted to the audience. The second hour more than makes up for it, however.

Jack checks out his reflection. First, I want to jump into a couple of those inconsistencies with the original Oceanic Flight 815 that I noticed. There may be more but these are the ones that I thought stood out. First, we have the appearance of Desmond on the plane. It’s great to see Desmond back and it is starting to become more and more apparent that his story may be the key to understanding how both of these realities are intertwined. Last season I felt that they had really pulled the focus from Desmond in the last few episodes for a very specific reason and I still feel that way. He may very well be the constant in these two realities.

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Glenn Moss
Born in 1952 (you do the math), making me one of the proverbial "old farts" involved in toys, comic books, and other juvenile activities that everyone said I should have outgrown decades ago. Fortunately, my wife of 36 years is an understanding soul. A firm believer in the philosophy of Groucho Marx, George Carlin, Robin Williams and Chris Rock. Am now indoctrinating my grandchildren to carry on so that when I finally fade away there will be another generation of odd neighbors who seemed nice and kept to themselves.
Read other articles by Glenn Moss.

 

 

 

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