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Getting Lost with LOST

Alex Kilpatrick | Thursday, January 28, 2010

It’s everyone’s favorite ABC sci-fi show. Whether you watch it for the mystery, the philosophical value, the sweet action scenes, the relationships or just the attractive characters, you can’t look away from the screen. If you thought the first few seasons of “LOST” were weird, what with smoke monsters, the appearance of polar bears on a tropical island and an underground hatch with a button meant to be pressed every 108 minutes, you’re in for a whirlwind of a sixth and final season. So to prepare you for the final 18 episodes of the show that has had millions watching for the past five and a half years, here is a synopsis to keep you up to date on the happenings of everyone’s favorite fictional island.
 

Season 4 saw the arrival of billionaire Charles Widmore’s research team to the island on the freighter “Kahana,” as well as the escape of the Oceanic Six from the island, shown in flash-forwards. The Oceanic Six consists of Jack, Kate, Sun, Hurley, Sayid and Claire’s baby Aaron. Token evil genius Ben Linus, former leader of the Others, turns an underground dial at the end of Season 4 and as the Oceanic Six leave the island in a helicopter, it dislodges the island from time so that no one in the outside world can possibly find it.
 

The turn of the dial then causes the remaining survivors of Flight 815 to erratically jump forward and backward through time. Widmore team member, Daniel Faraday, a physics mastermind, explains this fictional scientific phenomenon to the flight survivors and to the viewers at home. At this point, viewers have lost all hope that “LOST” will work within the realm of physics or even some set standard of rules. The producers play with the minds of viewers so that it is entirely impossible to guess what will happen next in the show.
Season 5 followed two plotlines, the first showing the survivors remaining on the island (everyone left from Flight 815 plus Widmore’s research team minus the Oceanic Six) jumping around in time until they are eventually stranded with the Dharma Initiative in 1974. The Dharma Initiative is essentially a communal scientific research compound, which began on the island in 1970, that holds utopian ideals and whose origins are first explained in Season 2 with the “Orientation” video by Dr. Marvin Candle.
 

The second plotline follows the Oceanic Six’s lives off the island and their return to the island on Ajira Airways Flight 316 in 2007, nearly three years after they left. Most of the passengers land on the island in 2007, but Kate, Jack, Hurley and Sayid land in 1977. To their immense surprise, they find when they return that the remaining survivors have become part of the Dharma Initiative.
 

Sawyer, the comic relief of the show, has become LaFleur, head of security for the Dharma Initiative and is living with Juliet. It is clear that he never got over his relationship with Kate, who was always torn between him and Jack. Jin, Miles and Faraday are also part of the Dharma Initiative, but if you thought it wasn’t possible, things get even more complicated when Kate, Jack and Hurley return to the island and must pretend that they are part of an incoming crew for Dharma. Sayid also returns, but is mistaken for a Hostile (which pretty much refers to anyone on the island not part of Dharma) and is imprisoned, where he meets a 12-year-old Ben Linus, whom he attempts to kill. At this point, we learn that “whatever happened, happened.” Although these experiences are new for the survivors of Flight 815, it already happened in the overall timeline. Even if Sayid attempts to kill young Ben, he must survive because we already know that he is alive in the 2000s.
 

This brings us to “The Incident.” We meet the Hostiles when Ben is brought to them to heal the gunshot wound inflicted by Sayid. The Hostiles include Richard Alpert (one of the Others who never ages), Eloise Hawking and Charles Widmore, who are all on the island in 1954, when a hydrogen bomb called Jughead is buried underground to keep it from going off for at least 50 years. When Faraday warns the island’s inhabitants in 1977 of an impending catastrophe involving electromagnetic energy at the Swan Station, they remember the bomb buried on the island in the 1950s and decide to detonate it in order to prevent the construction of the Swan and ensure that the plane never crashes on the island in 2004, ignoring the theory of “whatever happened, happened.” Of course, when the bomb is dropped into the Station during the Season 5 finale, it does not immediately go off and some of the energy is released. Juliet accidentally falls into the station with the bomb and sacrificially detonates it during the last second of the show, leaving viewers with a cliffhanger.
 

Another significant side plot involves the body of Locke, who was killed by Ben off the island in 2007. His body is brought on Ajira Airways Flight 316, but when many of the passengers land on the island in 2007, Locke is found alive and is on a mission to go kill Jacob, the island’s highest authority. However, we learn at the end of the season finale that the man who appears to be Locke is in fact Jacob’s rival and long-time acquaintance, the Man in Black, who dislikes Jacob bringing people to the island, feeling that it leads to violence and destruction, and desires to kill him, with a loophole. In 2007, he manages to kill him by taking on the form of Locke and coercing Ben to kill Jacob in his residence inside the four-toed statue.
 

Still confused? If you are in need of more of a recap, a special synopsis episode will air on ABC on Tuesday at 8 p.m. The final season of “LOST” will premiere with a two-hour episode directly following at 9 p.m.
 

Contact Alex Kilpatrick at akilpatr@nd.edu