Density Calls

The “Lost” season 5 premiered with a two-parter, “Because You Left,” and “The Lie.” You can tell that they’ve finally mastered the “Lost” formula because they aired two full hours jam-packed with over a dozen characters, eight or nine locations all over the world, multiple flashbacks, a genuinely surprising reveal of a familiar character, multiple shoot-outs and double-crosses, and at least three extremely cool action sequences (including flaming arrows!), and still nothing happened.

I don’t think it’s spoiling anything to point out that they’ve decided to go all-in with the time travel angle, especially since Desmond’s back-story and the Dharma Initiative orientation movie for “The Orchid” pretty much said it outright. I am extremely disappointed, though, that they didn’t include an appearance by Bubblegum Tate or any of the other Space Globetrotters.

I guess it’s unfair to say that “nothing happened,” since they at least laid the groundwork for answering a lot of questions, without actually answering those questions. And those questions, as far as I can make out (including spoilers, so don’t read the rest until you’ve seen the episodes), are:

  • We can now assume that Nestor Carbonell’s character isn’t immortal, he just always appears to be the same age because he’s traveling through time. But that doesn’t explain why he always looks like he’s wearing eyeliner. Or why he’s able to travel off the island (to recruit Juliet, for instance). Presumably he’s from “the present,” and the version that Ben met as a child had traveled back from the future, so maybe that has something to do with it.
  • Since we saw the smuggling plane crash land, I’m assuming that that’s how they’ll bring back Danielle and give some resolution to her story. I’m hoping we’ll see a little of The Black Rock as well. Are we going to see the construction of the 4-toed statue as well?
  • Are they going to use the time mechanic to explain the coincidental meetings of all the characters, or is that going to be left unexplained?
  • Is Hurley imagining seeing Charlie and now Anna-Lucia, or can he really see ghosts? Or are they not actually dead, but traveling through time? (I think I read somewhere that Claire doesn’t come back until season 6, so I’d bet we don’t get any resolution on this stuff until then).
  • Could the gang that attacked Juliet and Sawyer at the end of the episode be from Danielle’s group? I’m not sure the plot can handle yet another military or paramilitary organization.
  • They pretty strongly implied that Sun’s turned evil and is looking for revenge from Kate & the others for Jin’s death. Did she (or Widmore) order the blood test to make Kate paranoid? Is Sun’s goal to get back to the island? When are we going to find out that Jin didn’t really die?

So for at least the next “70 hours,” the island’s going to be skipping around and giving the writers all kinds of do-over opportunities to tie up loose ends. In the promo hour, Damon Lindelof promised that the series would from now on be answering more questions than it raised. I think they’ve laid the groundwork for carrying through on that promise; I’m betting that it won’t be until the middle of the season before it starts to actually happen.

But still: flaming arrow to the chest + getting pulled over by a ghost cop + bad guy impaled on a dishwasher full of cutlery = good television, with or without resolution.