LOST in Translation: “LA X”

LOST
Season 6 Episodes 1 & 2
LA X

“Yes there are two paths you can go by
but in the long run,
there’s still time to change the road you’re on.”

~Led Zeppelin, Stairway to Heaven

Where to begin? It’s been a long hiatus filled with anticipation and conjecture… and yes, a little bit of fear. So many things could have gone wrong. As the fractured LOST fan base struggled with the revelations and implications that Season 5 wrought my mantra had always been, “In Darlton I Trust”.  My faith, it seems, was not misguided.

Once again, the producers have delivered a complex narrative structure that compliments the characters and the show’s intricate mythology. From flashbacks to flash-forwards to time travel, each narrative device has served the story well, and now we get flash-sideways. Taking a page from Abrams’ Fringe, LOST has presented us with two realities being played out side by side. In one, we see what might have been. In the other, we see what came to pass.

In the realm of theoretical physics and parallel universe cosmology, it is important to realize that one is no more valid than the other. This isn’t a case of a real versus alternate reality — and seeing as how both are fictional the point is mute anyway — but an opportunity to see how these two worlds are both similar and different. I expect that there will be a convergence of the two at some point and I’m presuming that Jacob’s reading of Flannery O’Connor’s Everything That Rises Must Converge last season is a clue to just such a thing.

The timeline in which Oceanic 815 didn’t crash was interesting, with plenty of nods to the characters we became invested in during the first season. The interactions between these characters were carefully constructed with well placed winks and nudges along the way.  Everyone’s been reset to their original iconic archetype, with a tweak here and there. It was a fun way to reintroduce everyone to what these people were… but don’t be misled into thinking these sideways glimpses through the looking glass don’t matter. I believe the producers have something up their sleeve and they’re not in the business of wasting our time.

I found the exchange between our resident Man of Faith and Man of Science to be particularly thematic.

John Locke, looking up from his wheelchair, with just a hint of remorse, said to Jack, “My condition is irreversible.” And good old Jack the Dragon Slayer replied, “Nothing is irreversible.”

The more things change, the more they remain the same.

But enough about “the other side” for we will have to be patient to see where Team Darlton are taking us with this narrative journey through the what could have been — should have been — would have been reality… for there were plenty of goings on back on the Island.

Wow. The producers weren’t playing around were they? Excising the mirror reality we are still left with almost too much to ponder. It came at us fast and furious. Team Reset wakes up post-Juliet rock pounding in 2007. Sawyer gets his hate on for Jack and a tender farewell with his lady love. Hurley chats with Jacob. Miles chats with Juliet. Sayid dies and is reborn. The Temple and Cindy and the kids and by Odin’s Scruffy Beard, we’re lost in a world of mental gymnastics and what-in-the-name of pete exclamations.

But never mind all that. Let’s talk Flocke.

How delicious was that? As we surmised, Locke is dead. Long live Flocke… or should we call him the Man in Black, or as was confirmed, Smokey. Can we get a pre-Emmy nod for Terry O’Quinn please? He sold it every step of the way. He relished in his evil… in his cruelty… but I still can’t help but think that somehow Flocke’s not necessarily all bad. There’s a method to his madness. He has a mission and he’s not going to let a little ash get in his way.

A lot of people have been stating that the ash had no effect on the Smoke Monster, failing to save Bram who inscribed a hastily made circle of protection against its ferocious assault. Look again. The ash repelled  Old Smokey just fine.  Smokey was just smart enough to fling a column at his target, knocking him outside of his little safehaven so he could snatch him up and lay a beatdown on him.

Man, that was awesome. Flocke is a “man” with a mission and the “good” folk at the Temple are scared… Flocke’s coming, kids, and I suspect he’s taking names and kicking much ass in the episodes to come.

So what’s Flocke’s agenda? He states that he wants, “the one thing that John Locke didn’t. I want to go home.” I suspect that “home” is the Temple proper. Regardless there’s a definite sense of this epic feud between Smokey/MIB/Flocke and Jacob being tied up in some sort of “American Gods” meets “Paradise Lost” conflict.

The Guardians of the Temple know what’s at stake and via some old school fireworks signal Richard Alpert and Ilana’s forces of this imminent threat, but as Flocke emerges from the foot of the Statue he commands their attention. “It’s good to see you out of those chains”, he says to Richard before beating him down and slinging the ageless one over his back. He has nothing but contempt for Ilana and the others gathered here.

This is a “man” who has been wronged.

So I’ll sit back and enjoy the twists and turns that the mirrorverse offers, but it’s the Island and Flocke that I’m invested in. This is the mythos writ large on the grandest of stages. The scene is set for the stuff of legends to be born.

LOST’s return has been everything I’d hoped for and more.

I can hardly wait till next week…

As always with LOST, you can expect more from me later as I slowly digest LA X…

Until then… Namaste.

***

Bob Freeman’s Occult Detective novel, Descendant,
is now available in multiple eBook formats from Smashwords.

***

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