So, after six years of obfuscation, convolution and masquerade it’s come down to a big rock in a cave with the names of the passengers of flight 815 scrawled on it like juvenile adoration etched on a pencil case.
The latest revelation – and their galloping in at least one per episode now the end’s in sight – is that Jacob, the mysterious leader of the island (or he was until he was incinerated by John Locke-who-isn’t-really-Locke-
but-is-really-the-smoke-monster, but he might have been resurrected as a golden-haired boy racing about the tropical forests). Well, over a number of years, perhaps centuries, Jacob has been subtly coercing the people whose names are written on the rock to come to the island.
And for what reason? Well, the Locke-not-Locke (LNL) has told the gullible Sawyer – or James Ford – that it’s because Jacob is on the look out for someone to replace him; almost as if he knew that he was going to die. So the whole series has been one long job interview? One that makes the original Job Interview From Hell on the Apprentice look as easy as eating clouds?
Not quite. Sawyer was lured to the cave under the promise that the reason he was on the island would be revealed to him. Despite the risk of mortal danger – he saw through LNL’s disguise straight away he followed LNL down a precipitous cliff to a place he could quite easily be murdered. The smoke monster, after all, has done for loads of the cast so far.
But Sawyer’s curiosity became analogous to that of the viewer; to finally discover what the hell has been happening these past six series. He was given a chance to escape to the temple with the ever-youthful Richard Alpert, but declined. And as viewers, we wanted him to go with LNL to seek the answers.
With all the seeking of answers there’s been very little actual drama on the island. Sayid died, came back to life, but is afflicted by the same ailment that has sent the returning Claire loopy, subsisting in the deep jungle like a mad old witch, Juliette was found alive but died soon after and Sun and Jin are still apart, eventually to be reunited in one of those nauseating slow-motion scenes full of tears, and regretful stares out to the ocean horizon that wouldn’t look out of place on Home & Away.
But there’s a compulsion to keep coming back. The episodes may be as contrived as Dragons’ Den, whereby the successful pitch is always the one shown last replaced by the latest revelation about the island emerging just before the end credits, but Lost still captivates; nowhere more so than at the end of the last series when LNL was shown not to be Locke.
At the moment, the ‘flash-sideways’ – a chronicle of what would have happened had flight 815 not crashed on the island – is a smooth, guileless, saccharine narrative more suited to daytime TV. However, we suppose this is the point. It’s full of smiles and laughter and overcoming difficulties as Claire has her baby, Jack comes to terms with the death of his father, Kate discovers that, hey, despite being a fugitive on the run she’s really a ‘good person’ and Locke’s marriage preparations and acceptance of his disability; amid all that are the perverse little interludes that suggest it’s not quite so easy to tamper with destiny. Already we’ve witnessed Ethan – shot dead by Charlie in the first series – as the paediatrician taking care of Claire’s pregnancy and Ben as the history teacher in a school where Locke is acting as a supply.
This facet of Lost is becoming more crucial by the week. As the main timeline on the island is bogged down with opening magic boxes and crossing names off a big rock, the alternate timeline is providing all the momentum, and most essentially for Lost, all the mystery as it evaporates elsewhere.