As a result of Ben moving the island, the survivors left on the island begin skipping through time. Meanwhile, three years later in Los Angeles, Ben starts convincing the Oceanic 6 to return... Read allAs a result of Ben moving the island, the survivors left on the island begin skipping through time. Meanwhile, three years later in Los Angeles, Ben starts convincing the Oceanic 6 to return to the island.As a result of Ben moving the island, the survivors left on the island begin skipping through time. Meanwhile, three years later in Los Angeles, Ben starts convincing the Oceanic 6 to return to the island.
What's the main difference? The main difference is that previous premieres actually calmed things down to start over again, to tell the new season's story. "Man of Science, Man of Faith" not as notably as the two after it, because season one was relatively low-key, but "A Tale of Two Cities" (the season three premiere) not only neglected to answer several of the immediate questions season two's finale posed, but took things in a whole different direction to tell a whole different story. "The Beginning of the End", the season four premiere, followed one of the most talked-about pieces of TV ever made, and while it is very enjoyable and accomplished what it set out to do admirably well, it again served the purpose of basically slowing down the pace from the season three premiere and starting to tell season four's story (the Oceanic 6, the freighters, etc). "Because You Left" feels like a more natural start. We see exactly what happens right after the events of season four, nothing is slowed down, the scope of the battle is as great as ever (although we're not even sure what battles are being fought right now). There is a lot of time spent on recap, but little on slowing down and starting over. I liked that.
This is not a recap, as there are dozens of those on the internet already, so I won't bother going over exactly what happened in the episode all over again. I thought the opening scene was remarkable, and easily the best of the traditional 'surprise openings' we are now accustomed to seeing on "Lost" since Desmond in the hatch in season 2. The scene was deliberately similar, and I also liked that it went on longer and hence gave us more to chew on. It was also great to actually see Marvin Candle (or Pierre Chang, if you're up to speed on the Comic-Con video from 2008) in a scene rather than on a screen in an orientation film/video. The episode was a bravura piece of genre storytelling, setting up the rules for the copious amounts of time travel we are surely going to see efficiently and surprisingly naturally. Considering that "Because You Left featured as much recap as it did of season four's climactic events, and most of the rest was made up of exposition, it was remarkably good in the end, mostly because it moved the story forward and provided some great set-pieces and new mysteries.
I'm very intrigued by Locke's role in the future of this series, and am glad that he is already being given a more significant and interesting storyline than he was given in season four. I loved his scene with Richard, and the compass surely has some sort of future significance. "Because You Left" wouldn't have pleased everyone: it did not focus on any character enough to provide much of interest as far as that angle goes, which is why it worked well shown back-to-back with the second episode "The Lie", and as hectic as it was, it was remarkably straightforward and efficient. The script by Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof set season 5 in motion without taking the time to slow things down and start over. That's refreshing, and as I said earlier, it's surprisingly straightforward and frank about what's to come. The exposition, such as Daniel's explanation of the brand of time travel being used here, is handled extremely well also. One thing "Lost" will never lose is its unpredictability. For everything about this season which I guessed right there was something I guessed wrong. The way Desmond was brought into the events of season five was certainly not something I had thought of before watching the episode.
- Jan 21, 2009