14 responses

  1. Myles McNutt
    February 3, 2010

    Antenna’s great for many reasons, but further pushing you to write about the show weekly is my favourite spinoff benefit thus far.

    You raise the question of the function of memory here, and it’s interesting how divisive that will be amongst viewers in terms of the new reality. Some watched the “flash-sideways” and noticed all of the little details that were different (like, for example, that Jack received one bottle of vodka instead of two when he complained of a weak drink), while others perhaps engaged with it in terms of the similarities and differences in the characters’ on-island and off-island journeys (Kate still escapes the Marshall, Jack still loses his father’s body). And then there might be those who don’t bother with memory, simply comparing Jack/Kate/etc. in 2007 to the same characters if they had never crashed on the island.

    The episode encourages fans to do all three, each demonstrating a different level of commitment to watching the series while remaining compelling and satisfying narrative for the show to follow. There’s something for everyone this time around, and I’m darn excited to see where it goes from here.

  2. Derek Kompare
    February 3, 2010

    I’ve nothing to add to this take on the continued dazzling narrative experimentation, except to point out that Damon and Carlton have also mentioned that the “no plane crash” timeline, as it unfolds, can be easily followed by newbies, i.e., as a separate and compelling narrative in its own right. Things won’t start collapsing together till late in the season, and I love how we’ve now got many answers, but enough remaining questions (and new questions) to keep us intrigued.

    I also want to mention that I reviewed the entire run over the past couple of months (including in my car via iPod!), and saw most of Season 5 for the first time over the past week. I saw “The Incident” for the first time (unspoiled as well) on Monday, and it was amazing to be able to jump right in to the new season the next night.

    And yep, Terry O’Quinn is particularly amazing. As for theories, I think a lot hinges on this question: Was Desmond actually on the plane?

    • Jeffrey Jones
      February 4, 2010

      Does a lot also hinge on Jack’s “missing” dad?

  3. Derek Johnson
    February 3, 2010

    Maybe Lost has lost its shine for me, but I’m honestly completely underwhelmed by this alternate (or as you point out, maybe-not-quite-alternate) reality storytelling approach. First off, given that Cuse and Lindelof tipped their hat that flashbacks and flashforwards were gone, this seemed like the most obvious and most logical next step. Without any spoilers whatsoever, I knew this would be the storytelling structure for the season. Or perhaps it only seems predictable because the Lindelof/Cuse/Orci/Kurtzman/Abrams crew seem so unable to do anything BUT alternate realities (see Felicity, Star Trek, Fringe). I realize that each of these producers has varying degrees of involvement in all these productions, and they’re not all coming from the exact same place, but given all the extra-textual connections, NOT having an alternate reality (or even the suggestion of alternate realities, if there is a swerve in store) would be refreshing to me at this point. Instead of “C”, why not “D”: none of the above.

    • Jason Mittell
      February 3, 2010

      Derek – I think “D: none of the above” is the plan for season 7…

  4. Daynah
    February 3, 2010

    great piece, Jason. i, too, am thinking that Lindlehoff & co are deserving of a little patience at this point.

    one point you make: “Additionally, they effectively teased the audience with questions about Jack’s internal thoughts in the first few sequences, as there were enough ambiguous references to past events like recognizing Desmond to hint that he might remember island life…” is interesting. i immediately thought this was simply reference to the pre-oceanic 815 meeting in the stadium where desmond was training and jack was running up the stairs. sort of assuring us that some things changed (like the single serving of vodka) and some things didn’t (their brief encounter). thoughts?

    • Jason Mittell
      February 3, 2010

      I agree that Jack was probably remembering that – although some critics have pointed out that if the island blew up in 1977, then Charles Widmore died, so Desmond wouldn’t be training for his race, and thus wouldn’t have met Jack! What I found interesting is that in the first few segments of Jack on the plane, every glance and reaction seemed full of potential meaning and possible memories. They all had rationale explanations, but I was grasping at anything that suggested the option that the bombers would remember their past/future.

  5. Tom Phillips
    February 4, 2010

    Jason, watching the scenes of the 2004 alt-timeline reminded me of your blog piece about the Sopranos ending and narrative context. I know I’ve read somewhere that Cuse and Lindelof have said that audiences new to Lost could conceivably start watching s6 as an entry point, and for me, the scenes on the plane would highlight the way in which context and knowledge come into play.

    As the plane landed, the background music seemed to be almost triumphant – that Jack has succeeded in his mission and everything would turn out okay. To the uninformed viewers, the narrative signals going on within this timeline would certainly signal this. Though watching it myself I couldn’t get rid of the feeling of unease, that what I was watching wasn’t supposed to happen, and I was far more comfortable with the 2007 scenes featuring “my” characters. The plane landing scene subsequently became a sequence of melancholy – no one knows each other and five seasons of character development is eradicated. I think ultimately this will be resolved, but it will interesting to see if any other moments will be open to interpretation based on narrative context.

  6. Jonathan Gray
    February 5, 2010

    The alt lines also allowed them to be monumental turds re: the Jin/Sun storyline. For all the banging and clattering about Sawyer/Kate/Jack, all of which I don’t care about, it’s been Jin and Sun’s relationship that’s seemed to propel a lot affectively for me as a fan.

    … and then they get back together, but as estranged, distant partners. So even though Sun and Jin now seem to be in the same timeline in both alt worlds, ensuring they’ll get back together in the crashed timeline, Cuse and Lindelof have no doubt undercut that reunion. While this makes me wanna shake my fist as a fan, it’s also pretty masterful storytelling gamesmanship.

    • Tom Phillips
      February 5, 2010

      According to the blog Televisionary, Sun and Jin aren’t even married in the alt-timeline, as the airport personnel addresses her as “Ms Paik”. Does this resolve your fan anger or make it worse?!
      (http://www.televisionaryblog.com/2010/02/nothing-is-irreversible-season-premiere.html)

      • Jonathan Gray
        February 5, 2010

        Not really anger, Tom — it’s more like heartbreak. And it doesn’t change it either way. The point was that I was looking forward to their no doubt sappy — but hey, can’t a dude love him some melodrama? 🙂 — reunion, yet now it’ll be tinged with the alt world scenario … regardless of whether they’re married or not. Thanks for the clarification, though: I didn’t pick up on that

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