Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Season 4 Recap

Season 4 was the first full season where the producers knew exactly how many episodes they had left, and knew how they could allow the show to unfold perfectly over 48 more episodes. And, as such, it was a lot tighter than any season before it. The title of the season 4 opener, “The Beginning of the End,” was absolutely perfect, since it really is the beginning of the rest of the series. Season 4 is the one where we see the brilliant episode “The Constant,” that contains in it the notions of consciousness-travelling, and the immense amount of importance Daniel will have in the series. Within that episode were SO many elements integral to the rest of the series: time travel; death by time travel; manipulating the future by doing something in the past; contact with the outside world; and love conquering all. In the equally brilliant “The Shape of Things to Come” we see the other side of the wormhole that will be located at the Frozen Donkey Wheel when Ben flies through it and into Tunisia. We see the war between Widmore and Ben that will only escalate in season 5. In “Cabin Fever,” Richard Alpert steps up as an important figure, and the mega-questions raised in that episode will be illuminated in season 5. The finale left us breathless, with the castaways hanging in the balance, and all of us desperate for season 5 (and having to wait 8 months for it!!)

Just looking at season 4 on its own, however, the big thing that happened was the flashforward. For the first three seasons we could see their lives now as a culmination of what we would later piece together in their flashbacks. Each flashback gave us more understanding of why the characters acted the way they did, and even the most villainous character (yes, I’m lookin’ at you, Ben) could garner sympathy from us just by us seeing what they’d gone through in their early lives. But in season 4, we know what’s going to happen to everyone in the future: Jack’s going to end up with Kate and then go off the rails; Kate’s going to raise Aaron as her son; Hurley will make it off the island but will be constantly visited by the island dead; Sayid will become a hitman working at Ben’s behest; Ben will vow his revenge against Widmore; and Sun will mourn the loss of her husband while returning to Korea to take revenge on her father for how he’s treated her and Jin, and will give birth to a baby that she will raise in Jin’s memory.

What an amazing story device this was! Season 4 showed audiences what a brilliant writing team was attached to Lost. In season 1 these were mysterious characters whose actions weren’t always clear, until we saw their backstories. Now the writers have decided they’ve got this idea to get them off the island, but they also know that in season 5 they’re going to plant us three years in the future. They don’t have time to cover off what will happen to the castaways off-island for those three years in season 5, and they have to cover that now. BUT they want to end the season with the Oceanic 6 actually being rescued. What to do? Cover off those three years using flashforwards. It’s a solution that was both risky and genius, and it paid off. By the end of this season we are able to put together what happened after the island moved, who got off the island, and what happened to them when they did. We’re given just enough information that by season 5 they’ll be able to jump ahead with everything and not have to fill in the blanks for us.

But what about those who didn’t leave the island? We’ve got Claire going AWOL and leaving Aaron in a move that still has Lost fans scratching their heads. Locke finds the cabin and his instructions to move the island, but Ben takes them over. Locke’s leadership has been a difficult one, yet at the same time, he’s the one who was right. He told Jack that the freighter folk were there to kill them. He told Jack that he would move the island, and he did. He told Jack they were going to have to lie, and they do. Everything he predicted has come true.

Ben moves into center stage in this season as the ambiguous villain of the series, and Widmore becomes something other than just Penny’s dad and Desmond’s nemesis when we find out he sent a freighter of people to the island. We meet all 4 of the freighter folk this season, and all of them are still around by next season, with Miles, Charlotte and Dan becoming essential characters. Michael redeems himself by helping delay the bomb long enough to get the helicopter off the boat.

This was also the season where people’s belief systems began changing. Sawyer’s “every man for himself” mantra disappeared as he began worrying about other people first, and becoming part of the team. That will only grow in season 5, when he’ll become head of security of a group of people. Jack went from Mr. “Locke-is-a-stupidhead-and-there’s-no-way-I’m-ever-returning-to-this-godforsaken-place-I-hate-Locke-I-hate-hate-hate-him” to the guy trying to lure everyone else back to the island. Ben went from the confident leader to the man who’s realized John Locke is usurping him, a belief that will only grow stronger in season 5 until he kills the very man he used to worship.

Season 4 was a pivotal turning point, a glorious turn in an already near-perfect series that sent us toward the even more extraordinary season 5. (Can you tell I like this show?) As we move on to season 5 with season 6 coming to us in just over a month, the excitement is building. I can’t wait.

Can you believe that we’re already moving on to season 5?! Where did the rewatch go? For some fun, here are the season 4 bloopers. There are some classics in here.

And for the one person left who I haven’t foisted this video upon, go and check out this fantastic trailer for season 6 that was compiled by one of our very own! Of all of the prep videos for season 6, this one is officially my fave:


Erin said...

OH MY GOD, NIKKI! That video literally gave me goosebumps. It was amazing. I am sooooo excited for season 6 now (like I wasn't already!)
Thanks for posting that. I think I'll go watch it again!

JS said...

Awesome write up Nikki. Season 4 was really perfect in so many ways and you can tell the writers know where they are going with the story. The flash forwards were genius. And what is most amazing is the S4 finale is the same scene as the S3 finale, and another version of the same scene in S5 finale and we were still shocked! How do you do that?

I would highly recommend (as I have previously) that those with the DVD's watch the bonus track of the flash forwards in order. Just further illustrates the genius of this team. Also intriguing, the hokey (but completely believable) true mystery type story which questions everything about the O6's return to civilization. How did they get away with it? They just DID.

Scott said...

@JS It is amazing how they manage to make John Locke in a coffin (or box) so continually intriguing. And by the same token we've seen the hatch involved in explosions/implosions in three season finales.

SonshineMusic said...

I just love this show and season 4 was so fantastic (short, but fantastic). It just paved the way for everything to come and I can't believe we've headed into season 5. Insane. Great recap, Nikki.

This rewatch has made the hiatus fly by and I can't believe that February is just around the corner :)

verification: Nowsioni - nerdy slang for doing something immediately instead of later

Batcabbage said...

...Mr. “Locke-is-a-stupidhead-and-there’s-no-way-I’m-ever-returning-to-this-godforsaken-place-I-hate-Locke-I-hate-hate-hate-him”...

Oh god. I'm crying. I've laughed so hard I've broken my funny bone, prolapsed, and peed a little. I'm literally crying. Best. Line. Ever.

tiasabita said...

So I discover yesterday that my boss loves LOST and has the first four seasons on DVD. (She hasn't actually seen three and four but plans to watch them so during our conversation she kept saying, 'So what happens with so-and-so. No, don't tell me!) The moral of my story is that she told me I could borrow the DVDs any time. Well that's just great after I've spent four months watching the shows online on my laptop!! I hope she gets season five for Christmas!!

As usual Nikki has presented a very well-written blog entry that is informative, thought provoking and pretty darn funny! Season four was fab, as were 1-3 and 5! Hurry up Feb 2!

Blam said...

Nikki: Keamy could be one of Lucifer’s angels who has come down to reclaim the territory he believes is his [in Paradise Lost]. That would put Widmore in the role of Lucifer. So who is God?
You said the above in remarks on "The Constant", but I was falling behind in the Rewatch again at the time. A couple of points came to mind, however, that I think (hope) are still worth sharing. One is that, ironically, the actor who plays Lost's Jacob has played a human host of Lucifer's on the very excellent Supernatural. Another more substantive one is that God both is and isn't opposite number to Lucifer: When Lucifer fell, he was of course merely an angel, and so (as on Supernatural) his correspondent figure in Heaven would be, say, the archangel Michael. On the other hand, much popular fiction has shown Lucifer, usually under the name Satan, having achieved as ruler of Hell some parity with God in terms of the struggle over the souls of humankind; what's more, Christian biblical and extrabiblical writings often conflate Lucifer with the snake in Genesis and the Adversary who tempts Job and later Jesus. When looking both at God and Lucifer / Satan in this light and at Lost's Jacob and Esau / Man in Black, with Charles Widmore and Benjamin Linus at their possible agents, my mind went back to a Robert Heinlein novel called Job: A Comedy of Justice, which deals with (1) alternate realities; (2) the question of whether Heaven is worth it and Hell is really all that bad, i.e. whether good and evil or white hats and black hats are necessarily true to our knee-jerk ingrained associations; and (3) the cosmic perspective of things, where pawns and omnipotent beings may be all a matter of perception in the grand scheme. Having read the novel again maybe a half-dozen years ago, I can't say it holds up as great prose, but in terms of its speculative content it's kinda surprising that Darlton didn't throw it into the show somewhere.

SonshineMusic said...

I have a comment that relates more to "The Shape of Things to Come" but also connects a bit with Blam and Nikki's comments here about the polarity of dark and light and the struggle between the two forces (who or whatever they may be) on the Island.

It actually came to mind while reading FL4, but I was behind on my reread... Okay, enough rambling.

Nikki pointed out that in the scene between Widmore and Ben Ben is all in dark and in the shadows whereas Widmore is in white and in his white bed. Now this immediately brings thoughts of Jacob and the MiB to mind. The knee-jerk reaction based on color is that Ben is connected with MiB and Widmore with Jacob.

However, I just watched part of "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham" where Widmore says if Locke doesn't go back "the wrong side will win" which seems to ally him with MiB which would put Ben on the side of Jacob.

When I was discussing this with my sister she suggested a very real possibility that Ben is not allied with either side, but has been used by both.

It will be interesting to see how all of this plays out in S6.

verification: ashros - what happens when your garden burns down

Batcabbage said...

So me and my beloved Batkitty are doing a rainy day Lost-a-thon, beginning with season 4 (we're weird, we like to do things like this, despite rewatching recently), and we've come to a realisation about something - we think that Claire never survived the explosion of her New Otherton house. Just the way Miles acts with her, I don't know, it's just... Something's off. We think she's dead, and she had a little bit of a Christian-like existance for a few days, and then she went off to be Christian-like full time. In fact, we think it might be the first manifestation of the Maybesau corpse-walking powers. The preview of the Not-Locke, but with Not-Claire instead. Probably wrong, but never mind. LOVE doing the Lost-a-thon. We're probably gonna stay up all night and watch Season 5 all the way through. Oh, and Batkitty is doing paintings for my three year old nephew, Michael, whose birthday is the same day as Jesus. I think there's something in that for all of us. :)

Jazzygirl said...

OMG I'm so screwed. LOL I am only in the middle of S4 and you guys are in S5 already! I don't even have S5 yet! It better be in my xmas stocking, as usual! Since I am on vacation starting xmas I plan to watch a LOT of Lost between now and Jan 4th when I'm back to work. I'll be on a short trip to NYC for a wedding on the 26th but I'll get it done. My mom who is visiting will have to deal! LOL!