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TV on DVD review: Get Lost Season 5. You deserve it

In television on 12/09/2009 at 11:23 pm

I’ll start with the crusher in this review of Lost: Season 5 on DVD. There is no audio commentary on the OMG is-Jacob-God season finale, The Incident.

I had been holding my breath that execs Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse would toss in not answers (that would be too easy) but some teasers to help Lost fans at least whittle down the list of questions, the now stupefyingly long list of questions that are a great part of the experience of loving this mystery within an enigma of a television series. But then again, getting answers is never as fun, as Cuse and Lindelof know, having crafted a series in which every answer (Yes, Locke really IS dead) twists the kaleidoscope into another dazzling cluster of questions (Yes, but is Locke dead in a way that Jacob can’t revive him, as he did in the season-finale flashback, when Jacob laid a hand on Locke and said he was sorry that this was happening to him? And wait, is Jacob even alive, what with the knife in his ribs and the lolling about in the flaming fire pit under the big foot statue since the finale on May 13, 2009?).

Ah, the glorious questions. Which speaks to why Lost is so great. If given full rein, I could go on forever about the questions provoked by this series about castaways turned time travellers and now revealed to be pawns in a microcosmic game of How Long Will It Take This Time to Prove These Puny Mortals Will Always Succumb to Greed/Revenge/Etc. Which is to say, it has an endless capacity for allowing me and every other Lost fan with a computer (or a mouth, if you’re working it old school) to make up my own stories or theories about what it’s really all about. And what theories.

One fellow fanatic is convinced that the dawning of Season 6 will bring a complete reset, that the hydrogen bomb will have done what Faraday predicted and Jack carried out for him: make it so that the incident never happened, Oceanic Flight 815 never crashed and none of the players have any memory of what happened over the past five seasons. Further, she posits that Season 6 will reveal how everyone fared after landing safely at LAX: Hugo and his money, Claire and her unborn child, Kate and her legal problems, Jack and his dead dad, Charlie and the monkey on his back, Sawyer and his flyaway hair… Perhaps she is right. The first episode of Season 6, set to air on Feb. 2 at 8 p.m. ET (set your DVR now!), is called LAX.

Me? I think that if the players land at LAX, all or some will have at least fractured memories from the past five seasons or will be pestered by someone else (what about Michael’s son, Walt?) into remembering. But I hope that the final, 18-episode season starts with something as unexpected as God and Satan or, if you prefer, Jacob and Black Shirt sitting on a beach, staring out at an old English trading ship called the Black Rock.

But there’s plenty of time for theories between now and the season opener.

Back to the DVD.

So although I was crushed that Lindelof and Cuse didn’t step up with commentary on the finale, they did provide excellent commentary on Episode 1 that references all the beans that are spilled over the season. The episode has heavy spoiler warnings in both the onscreen text and from Lindelof and Cuse themselves in the commentary and I’ll repeat it here: Do not watch Episode 1 with the commentary on if you have not seen the entire season. But if you have seen all, it’s a pretty good way to start your review. As usual, Cuse and Lindelof are funny and flirtatious with theories and insider details.

This is, however, one of only two episodes with commentary. This feels a bit chintzy, especially since Lost DVD commentaries are among the best. The second, featuring writers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz on He’s Our You, is a little dry.

Other bonus features are hit and miss.
The hits:

An Epic Day with Nestor Carbonell follows the actor who plays the never-aging Richard in one long day of shooting that covers his adventures in the finale with both Jack and Sayid in 1977 en route to blowing up the hydrogen bomb and, in 2007, leading devil-as-Locke, Sun and Ben to Jacob under the foot statue. Carbonell’s an amusing guy and reveals a deep childhood trauma about his … eyelashes?
Making Up for Lost Time reveals how the crew struggle to keep the props and actor’s looks accurate to the different times they travelled to over the season (says on crew member, time travel is not just hard on your head, it takes a lot of research, which was required to get authentic looking Korean War-era tents for the 1950s era, etc.).
Lost on Location was my favourite extra (all except the commentaries on are Disc 5 of the five-disc DVD set; more on the Blu-ray in a second). It goes behind the scenes on a handful of episodes with crew (great stuff on the night of arrows scene) and some of the less famous actors, including Sterling Beaumon (young Ben), who cheerfully says, “I want to be the big, bad mean Ben,” and Francois Chau (Pierre Chang/Marvin Candle), who laments, “It’s hard being a douchebag.”

Misses:
Mysteries of the Universe: The Dharma Initiative, a faux expose, has some nuggets, but was a little tedious.
Building 23 and Beyond, a walkabout the L.A. set with Michael Emerson (Ben) was, likewise, a little flat.
Bloopers, pretty standard.

Personal victory?
I found an Easter Egg. If you’re thinking either “What?” or “How sad” you’re off the island. You others, who are gleefully clapping your hands, behold. My hidden extra on a DVD revealed Jorge Garcia (Hurley) telling Michelle Rodriguez (Anal Lucia) what’s happened since she’s been gone, shot dead as her charactger was, back in Season 2. Having returned for a Hurley flashback in Season 5, she’s badly behind. So Garcia helps:

JG: They’ve moved the island to another time and now it’s on a weird loops where it keeps going from the 1950s to the present day to the 1970s …
MR: (to the camera and quite sincere) He’s joking with me right? Are you serious? Are  you serious?

It lasts less than a minute or so, which characterizes these little Easter Eggs: small but vital. To find this little treasure, go to Disc 5 and with the menu displayed, hold down the Left arrow until it finally lights on “Lost Season 5” in the upper right corner. Then hit Enter. It’s a little fussy as these things are.

Final word: I wish I’d gotten the Blu-ray instead, which has additional extras, including something called Lost University (Go Bears!). The page contains previews of the courses, which include History 101: Ancient Writing on the Wall, Philosophy 101: I’m Lost Therefore I Am and Science 201: Jungle Survival Basics. Click here to see previews of the courses, courtesy of TVShowsonDVD.com.

— Denise Duguay

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