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Marsha Thomason (#110 of 4)

Lost Recap Season 5, Episode 13, “Some Like It Hoth”

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Lost Recap: Season 5, Episode 13, “Some Like It Hoth”

ABC

Lost Recap: Season 5, Episode 13, “Some Like It Hoth”

Father issues are to the Lost flashback what cancer is to a diagnosis on House. There’s always a tumor somewhere on that show, and if someone has emotional trauma in their past on Lost, it almost always stems from their dad doing them wrong somewhere along the line. One could type up an exact recounting of whose father wronged them how, but that would take up the whole of this piece, and no one would want to read that. Suffice it to say that when Lost confirmed what we all suspected and let us know out front the parentage of Miles Straum, we longtime fans probably braced ourselves for another vaguely dissatisfying hour of a character working through a variety of complexes all linked to the man who walked out on them. Or, y’know, threw them out a window and paralyzed them. Whatever.

Lost Recap: Season 3, Episode 19, “The Brig”

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Lost Recap: Season 3, Episode 19, “The Brig”
Lost Recap: Season 3, Episode 19, “The Brig”

As it enters the home stretch of a wildly uneven third season, there’s a sense that Lost is finally back to the point where it’s comfortable with both itself and the type of stories it wants to tell on a week-by-week basis. With only a handful of episode left before leaving the airwaves for what may end up being the better part of a year, the show has taken the unconventional approach of applying the brakes to the unending stream of twists, double-crosses and impossible revelations that, for better or worse, have driven the show along for most of the past season.

Lost Recap: Season 3, Episode 18, “D.O.C.”

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Lost Recap: Season 3, Episode 18, “D.O.C.”
Lost Recap: Season 3, Episode 18, “D.O.C.”

At its worst, Lost is guilty of employing its flashback structure to draw simple conclusions and character development by proxy. It uses contrived real-world parallels to tie up its themes in a giant red bow, allowing its once innovative format, initially an effective short-hand to explore its enormous cast, to grow stale over time. Afterall, who hasn’t groaned through countless “Jack is driven to ’X’ because he once had to deal with ’Y’ years ago” storylines?

Occasionally though, the show transcends this flaw which has seemingly been engrained in its DNA, crafting a multi-pronged narrative which not only sustains itself dramatically on multiple temporal levels, but where the intersection of the two actually compliment one another, lending thematic weight to scenes both on and off the island.

Lost Recap: Season 3, Episode 17, “Catch-22”

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Lost Recap: Season 3, Episode 17, “Catch-22”
Lost Recap: Season 3, Episode 17, “Catch-22”

I’ve long contended that the writers of Lost use the show as the world’s most expensive message board, employing its very text to address fan concerns and critiques, often in the body of the same story that’s causing consternation.

Apparently some of the writers have been known to blog, and executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse conduct regular podcasts on ABC’s website where they clear the air, but I’ve never quite seen the point. When you watch Lost you almost always have a pretty good idea of where everyone stands.

To wit, Lost doesn’t just name check the pop culture phenomena that have inspired and co-exist with it (most recently evident in the episode where Sawyer has to go around being nice to everyone or else he’ll be “voted off the island”). Occasionally, it seems to step outside of itself and offer reassuring nods to its viewership—no doubt one of the most savvy audience in all of television—that it has at least anticipated their eventual complaints. Arguably, that’s not quite as impressive when you consider how many corners the show has written itself into over the years, but they do say admitting you have a problem is the first step.