Tyler Charles

Not Too Late to Find Lost

Contemplating the cult TV sensation in the wake of its penultimate season finale.

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The fifth season of Lost wasn't shy about showcasing previously shrouded science-fiction elements. In response, Popular Mechanics started blogging about the ideas in the show, enlisting experts to weigh in on Lost's representation of topics like electromagnetism, relativistic physics, wormholes, and Egyptology. And the expert reviews were largely positive; the scientific and historical depictions, though far-fetched at times, were at least rooted in plausibility—proof, it seems, that Lost has done its homework.

Despite the inclusion of science-fiction elements like time travel, Lost seldom feels like sci-fi. Perhaps this is because viewers are left to wonder whether the island's forces are scientific, supernatural, or, quite possibly, both. Take for example, the character Richard Alpert (who shares his name with Timothy Leary's former cohort, before he became Ram Dass), a man who doesn't appear to age. His immortality—if he even is immortal—is one of the unexplained elements that has baffled and intrigued viewers.

When the fifth season wasn't boggling minds with its time-jumping storyline, the plot delved deep into island history. The finale to season 5 confirmed that the castaways have staggered into a conflict that predates them by centuries, if not longer. The most telling scene included an exchange between two characters that seems to set the stage for Lost's final season:

"They come. They fight. They destroy. They corrupt. It always ends the same way."

"It only ends once. Everything that happens before that is just progress."

So what does that mean for the original castaways, the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815? Are they going to factor into an ultimate conclusion? Or will their ordeals be "just progress"? Will the story culminate in a good-versus-evil showdown with supernatural implications? Will it establish the solvency of free will? Will there be redemption? For whom?

Whatever happens, if the first five seasons are any indication, the sixth and final season will be worth watching. If nothing else, Lost's final season promises to answer some if not quite all of the island's mysteries. Most likely, those answers will be unlike anything viewers are anticipating.

But then again, that's exactly what they should expect by now.

Tyler Charles is a freelance writer and assistant editor for PreachingToday's FaithVisuals.

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