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'Lost's Final Season Premiere: The Verdict

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'Lost's Final Season Premiere: The Verdict
So much happened in the opening two hours of Lost's final season that it's hard to know where exactly to begin. Fortunately, the skilful hands who craft that show assembled everything so intricately that we were treated to a thoroughly compelling adventure which took the series in a bold new direction, all while concurrently dealing with the narrative threads left dangling from the previous season's explosive finale. On this evidence, Lost will go out on a high - and Terry O'Quinn's masterful performances as both the sorrowful, still paralysed Locke and Jacob's eerie nemesis deserve plenty of accolades.

In a similar style to J.J. Abrams's expert series Alias, each new season of Lost heralds a mini-reinvention of the show's narrative thrust. In this instance, it primarily involved the swift establishment of an 'alternative reality' story arc featuring the passengers of Flight 815 inhabiting a world in which the plane only experiences a spot of turbulence en route to Los Angeles and nothing more sinister. A procession of enjoyable cameos from the previously deceased likes of Boone, Charlie, Leslie and 'Frogurt' ensued, all of which were fan-pleasing and highly fitting for the last season of the programme. A Drive Shaft comeback tour is at least a possibility now, however remote!

More importantly, the twist allowed us to see the lives of the protagonists unfold in distinctly different ways to what we'd previously witnessed. The tragic circumstances of Jack and Locke were neatly developed, with the pair combining for an immensely touching and earnest scene in which the spinal surgeon promises to try to repair the 'irreparable' condition of the paralysed adventurer. Also gripping, but through 'cat and mouse'-style action rather than dialogue, was Kate's escape from US Marshall Edward Mars. Her meeting with Sawyer in a lift was a powerful sequence of sexual understatement and sizzling chemistry.

The same cannot be said for Sawyer's final encounter with his beloved Juliet, however. Her death (presumably to allow Elizabeth Mitchell to nip off and film V) was conducted in the most schmaltzy and overly sentimental manner possible. One half expected a polar bear to spring up behind the couple and serenade them with a violin. After Juliet shuffled her mortal coil in her lover's arms, matters continued to disintegrate as Sawyer predictably let loose with a series of those squinty-eyed glares towards Jack and promised to 'ave 'im. It reeked of déjà vu and, thankfully, was the only real sore point of the generally brilliant season premiere.

Lost certainly upped the ante in terms of its visual nature, too. Several scenes showcased the cinematic, visceral texture of the show - in particular the pre-title sequence which featured a breathtaking camera swoop from inside the aisle of Flight 815 down to the submerged island on the ocean bed. In addition, the Smoke Monster's attack on Jacob's bodyguards beneath the statue was horrific and startlingly effective. Such moments brilliantly complemented the more personal, human encounters that relied on strong writing and credible performances for dialogue and acting for effect.

The introduction of the island inhabitants who lurk inside the temple was well-handled, particularly their blunt leader - a man who refuses to speak the English language because he can't bear its taste on his tongue! He should try some of those stale Dharma Initiative cookies that Hurley stashed away. Significantly, the temple led us closer to one of the island's many mysteries - its healing powers. We witnessed Sayid return from the dead, leading us to wonder whether it is actually him or someone/something taking possession of his body. What if the coffin of Christian Shephard happened to land in the temple's spring after Flight 815 crashed? The possibilities are both endless and tantalising.

The former Iraqi torturer's first words after his miraculous comeback pretty much summed up the reaction to the double bill episode as a whole. "What happened?" he groaned. It's beyond us to actually explain what is going on, what is real, who is who and whether two realities are co-existing… yet it's all so much fun to watch and superbly made that one can only tap into its world and wonder what lies in store next. Lost is entering the home straight and shows no signs of slowing down. It's going to be an emotional and thrilling next few months.

> What do you think of the season premiere? Share your views

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