For 4 years now, Lost has taken us through mystery after mystery. I’m beginning to think that the show’s title is more a mission statement for where they want to take the viewers. Each time Abrams appears to answer a question and move on, closer examination proves that nothing has actually been revealed. The series has become the poster child for misdirection and script sleight of hand. When I examine the 13 episodes from season 4 I’m left with the inescapable, pun intended, feeling that nothing significant has really happened here at all. But at the same time it’s the most significant event of the series. All the while I find myself compelled to watch episode after episode. Abrams would have been a great drug dealer if that producing gig hadn’t worked out for him. The show started out with enough directions and plot devices to put our brains into overload. From that point on he’s been cutting each dose a little bit so that we find ourselves drawn to each hour fix chasing the high we got in the beginning. Of course, we already know we’re never going to feel that way again, but we’ll keep coming back for more as long as he continues to make us believe that we will. I’m not saying the show has declined at all. I’m saying that it doesn’t really ever go anywhere. Abrams continues to introduce major plot lines such as the hatch, the others, and now the freighter with promises of linking it all together into some kind of epiphany, and for a short time he actually does. But hindsight leaves us scratching our heads, because once we come down we can’t really explain what the high was all about. And so, we’ll continue to tune in or buy the DVD’s to see where it’s all headed, even if we already know that we’re doomed to remain lost no matter how it all ends.
Now you might consider this paragraph to be a series spoiler. Trust me, it is not. You are introduced to the major thread almost immediately in the first episode of the season. In fact it actually began as the last season concluded. But what if I didn’t watch season 3, you ask. In that case you have no business buying this release. It will make absolutely no sense to you, and you will have wasted 13 hours and about 60 bucks. So I won’t go into a plot synopsis here, because if you don’t know it by now you need to go back to Go and start from the beginning. In the season 3 finale we are introduced to a new element of the show. The series has always done a good job of mixing in character flashbacks that serve to fill in pieces of the story. Now we begin to have flash forwards. We get to see a handful of these characters in their post rescue lives. The season involves the so called Oceanic 6 who bring home a mystery and conspiracy of their own. We get glimpses of these lives and discover that they are in disarray since rejoining civilization. In some ways nothing has changed. Kate is still playing Jack and Sawyer off each other. Is it me, or is anyone else tired of the “who is Kate with this week” arcs? The flash forwards are the most significant contribution to the mythology offered this season.
I will attempt to relate to you some of the important elements from this season without revealing much in the way of spoilers. If you’re worried at all about jumping the gun, you might simply skip to the next paragraph. New characters are introduced as the season involves the crew of the freighter that Jack radios at the end of season 3. With the arrival of the freighter, there is a political split among the castaways. Jack is convinced the freighter offers them their first real hope of rescue and decides to commit himself to that plan of action. Locke is troubled by Charlie’s final warning and wants to avoid contact with the freighter, intending to go to the Others’ camp and attempt to unravel more of the island’s purpose for him. So, these two camps separate. The main freighter characters soon arrive on the island. The best of these characters is Dr. Daniel Faraday, played by Jeremy Davies. Davies manages to bring a lot of depth to the character. We fear his motives, but begin to see him as a genuinely good guy. He’s a scientist who appears to have come to the island to study its unusual effects on time and space. Yes, there’s a time travel element to this season that involves Faraday and Desmond. It’s actually my favorite episode of the season, but like all of Abrams larger than life plots, it ends up mostly abandoned as soon as it is revealed. Also arriving from the freighter is Charlotte Lewis, played awkwardly by Rebecca Mader. She’s the least interesting of the new characters, and after 13 episodes I still don’t understand the point of her being there. She contributes nothing but tension to the season’s arc. As an actress she appears to have a limited range, and she’s just background noise after a while. An interesting character is Miles Straume. In another buildup that is soon thrown away, Miles appears to be able to communicate with the dead, at least we’re led to believe that in a flashback segment. His motives are also unclear. We spend most of the first episodes dealing with whether or not we can trust the crew of the freighter which also includes a paramilitary unit that takes on Locke’s party, as their mission is very clear…. Bring back Ben. The lives of the characters become far more intertwined here both before and after the crash. The entire strike shortened season is merely leading us up to the eventual return home of the Oceanic 6. Leave it to Abrams to end a season in a place you might expect the series to end. Fortunately for fans of Lost, it appears that getting home is not the end of the story, rather the beginning of the end of the story.
Of the regular characters, Locke continues to be one of the most intriguing. Terry O’Quinn brings such depth and intensity to the role that he appears to represent the island as a character through Locke. When sides are drawn, as they almost always are on Lost, Locke provides just the right amount of darkness and obsession to the otherwise grounded Jack. Jorge Garcia continues to impress as Hurley. He is without question the heart of the series. He manages to maintain an innocence to it all that represents us in the ensemble. He is instantly sympathetic and naive. He’s an incredibly talented actor. I miss Charlie, played by The Lord Of The Rings hobbit Dominic Monaghan. He does return for an emotional visit with Hurley that is one of the season’s standout scenes. I’m also growing more and more fond of Sawyer and the actor who plays him, Josh Holloway. He’s growing into the role and maturing as an actor right before our eyes. Finally Desmond, played by Henry Ian Cusick, and Sayid, essayed by Naveen Andrews, are standouts in the cast. It’s a large cast that continues to expand, so not all of the characters always get enough to do. It’s a curse in that way, but a blessing when you have all of these complicated stories you can tell. One thing I can guarantee is that while Lost appears to go nowhere, it does travel there quickly enough that you’ll never catch your breath until the final scene.
Each episode of Lost is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. They are presented in 1080p using an AVC/MPEG-4 codec. The bitrate remains an impressive 25 or higher mbps. The transfers are on the average pretty good. The colors are certainly tight, particularly the greens of the wilderness and the ocean blue-greens. There are times when grain is a little too heavy. I found the new level of detail offered in high definition to excellent. This is my first television season on Blu-ray, and if the rest of them look this good there is certainly a huge future for TV on Blu.
The PCM uncompressed 5.1 track is pretty sweet. While most of the sound is dialog, handled perfectly, there are brilliant moments when creepy jungle sounds or rain do a remarkable job of surrounding you with the show’s action. It wasn’t hard at all to lose myself in the mix. The big difference here is in the sub range. For the first time I could feel a strong bass helping to immerse me in the action.
There are 3 Audio Commentaries that feature various cast and crew.
The extras are all in HD. Most of the features can be found on the last of the 5 discs.
Lost in 8:15: Outside of the commentaries, this is the only extra found on disc 1. It’s intended to be a little humorous, but it serves to wrap up the events of the first 3 seasons in just over 8 minutes. The time, of course, is also the castaways’ Oceanic flight number. Fasten your seatbelts; it’s a very swift ride.
Lost On Location: You can pick any of 8 episode related chapters, or you can use the handy play all feature and watch it as one full piece. The feature points out many aspects of the production of the series. The entire feature runs 41 minutes if you play it all at once.
The Island Backlot – Lost In
The Right To Bear Arms: This 11 minute feature is a little humorous. Cast and crew talk about the continuity nightmare the various guns on the island have become. Apparently it’s been hard remembering who has what gun.
Soundtrack Of Survival: There’s no question that the score for Lost is a bit unusual and has a lot to do with the show’s uniqueness and atmosphere. It’s one of the few series that still use a real orchestra. Composer Michael Giacchino shares some of his ideas and music with us during this 26 minute feature.
Lost Bloopers: 3 minutes of the usual set mayhem.
Deleted Scenes: There are 9 from various episodes adding about 9 minutes of content. There’s nothing standout here.
Course Of The Future – The Definitive Interactive Flash Forwards: I found this to be very tiresome. You’re given a series of flash forwards from the season and asked to put the clips in chronological order. If you do it correctly you’re given an Easter egg, of sorts.
The Oceanic 6 – A Conspiracy Of Lies: This 23 minute piece is a fake expose documentary of the survivors. It plays out like an old 1970’s Geraldo piece. It points out the holes in their stories and makes a claim for a conspiracy involving the group.
The Freighter Folk: Can’t tell the players without a program? This is the program. This 13 minute piece is a nice profile of the new actors and characters for this season.
Off Shore Shoot: This 8 minute piece looks at the actual freighter used to shoot the season.
Lost Missing Pieces – Mobisodes: These are short little 2 minute dramas involving the characters from Lost. They appear intended to fill in little pieces of missing information. They might have been webisodes. I’m not sure what a mobisode is.
The 4th season is somewhat a different animal than was originally intended. The writers’ strike and the way the episodes were spread out made them nearly impossible to follow during their original broadcast run. I am finding more and more that these releases are fast becoming the only way to actually enjoy this kind of a show. It’s hard enough to keep up as is without waiting days and even weeks between episodes. If you happen to miss one, forget it. Skip the broadcasts and pick up the show, now on high definition Blu-ray. You’ll get all of the stories together in one place so you can watch it in one sitting, if you like. It’s only between 9 and 10 hours plus features. “Is that going to be a problem for ya?”