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'Lost': Season Four Review

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'Lost': Season Four Review
In the latter half of its fourth year, Lost hit its stride in spectacular fashion, recalling the outrageously addictive nature of its debut season. Here's our grand overview of the year, covering the good, the bad and the Hurley. Unlike a Dharma Initiative videotape, we'll see it through to the bitter end. Don't forget to leave your comments on Lost's fourth season below.

There's no doubt that the show benefited from the largely masterful use of flashforwards, giving us tantalising glimpses into the future and sending our imaginations into a frenzy as we scrambled to figure out the missing pieces in the grand puzzle. Just who are the Oceanic Six, why has Hurley gone mad, and what led the polar bear to the desert?

Fortunately, Lost avoided a serious case of X-Filesitis by actually answering all these questions and avoiding terminal frustration for the audience. Undoubtedly, the vastly increased focus has stemmed from the fact that the seasons are now two-thirds of their usual length and an end date for the show has been announced. Early fourth season episodes took their time to find the right balance and occasionally suggested that there was more life left in Naomi's corpse, but everything clicked into place wonderfully in the end.

The emergence of Charles Widmore's Kahana freighter ensured that Lost provides as much thrills in the present as it does when peeking at the past or future. The vicious Keamy and his faceless mercenaries scythed their way through the jungle, with the execution of Alex in front of her stunned father Ben Linus providing a real shock - and vitally adding to the increasing ambiguity surrounding Linus. Could he be the good guy after all?

The freighter also introduced the less bloodthirsty likes of Charlotte, Daniel and Miles to island life. Their secret, non-benevolent mission was gradually unravelled, plus flashbacks to Daniel's time-travelling experiments with his pet rat Eloise and Desmond heightened the science fiction element of the show. It's interesting to note that Eloise was given a far better send off than Danielle Rousseau, as her demise was distinctly underwhelming and unsatisfying.

It also brought the wonderful figure of Frank Lapidus onto the shores, a real cult figure. Michael Dawson was also lurking on board as Ben's mole and thankfully his enthralling backstory was the main focus of an entire episode that further explored the mystical properties of the island, for Michael couldn't kill himself if he tried. Alas, the island - in the form of dead man walking Christian Shephard - allowed him to sail off to the afterlife in the end, tragically without a reunion with son Walt.

Still, at least we were given the saccharine-laced smoochfest between Des and Penny in the end. Given what we know from the flashforwards, can Des prevent Ben from killing off Widmore's daughter as revenge for the slaying of Alex? Let's hope Alan Dale returns to reprise his role as Charles in the future and takes a break from his apparent quest to appear in every cult television show known to mankind. The scope of the uber-villain's dealings is immense - just witness the stunning images beamed back from the crash wreckage of the fake Oceanic Flight 815.

The mystery of how Claire's baby Aaron came to be Kate's son was explained over the latter half of the season. In scenes reminiscent of the black lodge from Twin Peaks, Claire snuck off with her father into Jacob's hut and abandoned her baby. The cover story of the Oceanic Six caused Kate to claim Aaron and saw an increasingly derailed Jack hooking up with Sawyer's former squeeze - a breath of fresh air following the somewhat tedious and red herring nature of his flirtations and snog with Juliet on the island.

Ultimately, none of them were at it like rabbits at all, unless Bernard and Rose got jiggy on the sly. For we now know what happens to rabbits on the island - they get stuffed into a time-travelling device by a sinister Oriental chap lurking in the underground Orchid station.

Other plus points worth mentioning include the magnificent comradeship between Locke and Linus, the impressive acting by Matthew Fox as troubled Future Jack, the return of the Black Smoke Monster, Hurley's chess match with Mr. Eko and above all - Michael Emerson adding so many contrasting layers of humanity and callousness to the character of Benjamin Linus.

Also, one particular scene stands out in the series. This occurred when Claire's mother turned up at Christian's funeral to spill a few beans to Jack, who stuck to his cover story and claimed to have never met his newly discovered half-sister. The look on Jack's face was harrowing to behold, especially when Claire's mother looked at the baby in Kate's arms - not knowing that Aaron is her own grandson! This moment could have been melodramatic and overblown, but instead was wisely understated.

Lost's fourth season was superb, as an intricate puzzle starts to slot together merging past, present and future. All eyes are now on next year, with the finale's revelation that Locke was the man in the coffin prompting plenty of speculation. Fingers crossed that we discover just what Sawyer whispered to Kate before leaping out of the helicopter and how much of a bill Richard Alpert has racked up with his Botox treatments. We can't wait.

> What do you think of Lost's fourth season? Share your views

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