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‘Lost': Recapping the Recaps

Confused by Tuesday’s season premiere? Let these island experts help you sort out just what the heck happened

It’s God vs. Satan in a modern retelling of "Paradise Lost."

At least, that’s the MoJoe take on what’s really going on with "Lost" after watching season six’s stunning, what-the-what season premiere.

That, and wow: "Lost" is back and as awesome, confusing, exhilarating and beautiful as ever.

Beyond those two quick points, however, we’re not going to offer any further original interpretation of Tuesday’s two-hour event. Because, quite frankly, we’re just not qualified to professionally dissect "Lost."

Thankfully, plenty of other media friends are quite adept at illuminating the intricacies of the "Lost" universe. And they blog about it immediately afterward, giving the rest of us a chance to better comprehend what the Darlton we just saw.

Each week here on MoJoe, we’ll be recapping the recaps, pointing out some of our favorite summations and observations culled from the many Internet postings about ABC’s baffling but brilliant Tuesday hit.

We’re starting out with just a few bloggers. But we’ll be expanding (as soon as later today) to include more analysts — and welcome suggestions on other "Lost" experts we ought to be checking out.

Entertainment Weekly/Doc Jensen

The world’s foremost "Lost" mind hadn’t posted his full opus of a recap as of early Wednesday morning. But he and cohort Dan Snierson did get a chance to talk to Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse about this year’s storytelling hook:

EW: The whole idea of flash-sideways and the plan to use season 6 to show us a world where Oceanic 815 never crashed — how long has that been in the works? Why did you want to do it?

DAMON LINDELOF: It’s been in play for at least a couple of years. We knew that the ending of the time-travel season was going to be an attempt to reboot. And as a result, we [knew] the audience was going to come out of the “do-over moment” thinking we were either going start over or just say it didn’t work and continue on. [We thought] wouldn’t it be great if we did both? That was the origin of the story.

UPDATE: The Doc’s full recap is up. Click here to read it. 

Chicago Tribune/ Maureen Ryan

Mo is detailed but never wonky in her recaps. She sums up what MoJoe thinks is the key to the whole show:

There has been a lot of religious symbolism on this show, and here we had a character appear to die (as he was being baptized) and be reborn. We had the yin and yang or Jacob and SmokeLocke and their eternal battle. We got to see what people do when they are (unwittingly) given a do-over in life — will they keep making the same mistakes? Will they end up in the same places or do they really have choices?

What’s Alan Watching/Alan Sepinwall

Our buddy Alan, who has an encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture, doesn’t disappoint with his dead-on linking of this season’s story hook to a certain movie: 

Having taken us both back and forwards through time, turns out the game for year six involves going sideways, with a "Sliding Doors"(*) approach that allows Cuselof to have it both ways with last year’s cliffhanger, as we see one timeline where Faraday’s plan worked and Jack and company wound up back on the plane in 2004, and another where it didn’t and everyone’s in the middle of a big mess on Craphole Island in 2007.

Zap2It/Ryan McGee

We haven’t read McGee before, but we like the way his mind works. He identifies a key bit of dialogue as crucial to this season’s storyline — and we have to agree with him.

And now for the scene that made my heart happiest tonight.

Jack’s in the baggage claim office, arguing with his mother. "I scheduled it so soon because I wanted to get it over with as soon as possible." Not the way it works, Jack. In the office with him? Locke. The man of science and the man of faith get a chance to reconnect in the real world. And just like the first time around, there’s an inherent bond between them. Jack opens up about his situation, to which Locke replies, "They didn’t lose your father. They lost his body." As a spinal surgeon, Jack asks Locke about his condition. Locke terms the effects "irreversible."

Jack hands Locke his business card and replies, "Nothing’s irreversible." There’s your Season 6 mantra, people. Learn it, repeat it, love it

Time/James Poniewozik

Meanwhile, we’re willing to forgive James’ cover story last summer calling Jay Leno "the future of television" because his "Lost" recaps are among the best-written and easiest to understand out there. Simple, but never simplistic.

He applauds the producers for daring to present two realities at once, and succinctly captures the "wow, they went for it" reaction many of us had to last night’s pitch-perfect premiere.

But skating that edge is where "Lost" is most comfortable, and where it does its best work. It was a brave move, and I’m guessing an intentional one, that in that bravura underwater zoom through the ruins of the Island, the camera-eye whizzed past an actual shark, as if defying us to say the show had jumped it. That’s what "Lost" does — it plays with the big fish — and credit to it so far for again exploding itself into a new world (or rather two new worlds) that I couldn’t have imagined.

UPDATE:

Celebritology’s ‘Lost’ Dueling Analysis/Liz Kelly and Jen Chaney

Since "Lost" so often creates debate, the Washington Post’s "Celebritology" blog gets right to it with its "Dueling Analysis." These bloggers tend to focus more on what it all means, especially in relation to the characters. They were especially interested in who showed up in the now-safe-landing Oceanic Flight 815:

Jen: (I)t was like one big, happy reunion at a cruising altitude.

Liz: The nods to nostalgia, though, really illustrate the fact that this show is no longer about attracting new viewers. … I can’t imagine the uninitiated sitting down to a nice evening of mindless television only to be confronted with that opening sequence.

And they’re big fans of Terry O’Quinn (among other actors on the show):

Jen: We know now for a fact that the Man in Black (or as we’ll call him, MIB) assumed Locke’s spirit. And I think it’s fairly clear that he didn’t do that until after Locke died, which hopefully will end all this "Locke’s Been MIB this Whole Time!" nonsense. And we also know now that MIB = Smoky. Also, by my count we are now dealing with three John Lockes.

Liz: You’re right. Dead island John, John possessed by Esau and LAX John.

Jen: And may I say that Terry O’Quinn is handling it beautifully? Granted, the corpse version is less of an acting challenge than the other two. But the contrast between Oceanic Airlines Locke and MIB Locke is pretty amazing.

Of course, "Lost’s" twists and turns offer the opportunity for much snark as well. For that, there’s no one better than Movieline’s Mark Lisanti.

Movieline/An Alan Smithee Column 

Lisanti runs through the characters and their situations, pondering who’s better off in which alternative timelines. Of course, he focuses on the major characters, but here’s a sampling of his take on two beloved minor ones:

Arzt
2004: Chatting it up with his fellow passengers on Oceanic 815.
2007: Still blowed-up real nice with dynamite. Messy!
Advantage: 2004

Frogurt
2004: Asleep near Locke and Boone on Flight 815, stops Kate from cutting the cab line at LAX.
2007: Still dead via flaming arrow to the chest. Less messy than death-by-dynamite, but far funnier.
Advantage: 2004

Jezebel/Tracie

Jezebel’s recapper focuses on the title of Tuesday’s episode, "LA X," offering a different perspective:

The episode is titled "LA X." The space is intentional, duh. Psycho "Lost" fans—like me!—like to believe that even the stroke of a space bar has So. Much. Meaning. But for real, this most likely does. My guess? It’s a reference to Earth X, Marvel’s alternate universe (and comic book series of the same name). The interesting — and applicable — device here is retroactive continuity (or "retcon" to comic book or RPG geeks), wherein previously established facts are changed to suit the story. Typically, retcon is utilized in a sort of cheap way, to restructure the story to suit the writer’s needs. However, in Earth X, retcon was applied not to rewrite popular characters’ canonical histories, but to demonstrate that they are living an alternate existence.

Which would explain so much.