Michael betrayed the survivors to save his son and escape from the island. As Season 3 starts, Sawyer and Kate are being held in cages while Jack is held in a room and The Others are slowly breaking them down. Meanwhile the rest of the survivors are trying to live without their leaders.
When Lost premiered in 2004, it changed what people expected from network television. Costing over $10 million, it was the most expensive pilot in television history. It did not disappoint. The story of the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 began with a bang, people scattered among the wreckage of a crashed plane, the audience simply forced to sit there in wonder with no idea what was going on. It began the format the show would retain throughout its three year history. There were always questions, the audience only knowing as much as the creators wanted to let slip. Throughout the first season, more and more questions were being raised and mysteries being revealed. It was one of the most exciting seasons of any show to ever air on television.
The second season opened new mysteries, exploring the other people on the island, known simply as “The Others.” The problem is that more and more questions were raised and very few answers were given for either the mysteries of the island or the mysteries of the survivors themselves. By the end of Season 2, fans seemed to be growing weary of the format of the show, wanting answers and the producers must have realized this because in Season 3 we got answers in spades.
This review will contain spoilers, so read at your own risk. I will mention first that I give it high recommendations.
Season 2 ended with Michael betraying his friends and turning Jack, Sawyer and Kate over to The Others in exchange for being allowed a boat to leave the island with his son Walt. Questions still remained. Who were The Others? In Season 2, we met Henry Gale and then learned that he was a part of The Others. What we never learned were who they were and why had they were terrorizing the survivors. What was the monster on the Island? Why are there polar bears on the island and sharks with the Dharma logo on them? And what are the secrets that all the survivors are hiding?
To start the season, we see The Others in a flashback to the day Oceanic Flight 815 crashed. They were not savages, living in caves. They had homes, with electricity, medical facilities, book clubs and yards. They were people, just like any other community, only with security cameras and parameter alarms. The writers take a lot of time throughout the season to make you care about various members of The Others. Ben is the leader and only answers to the mysterious Jacob. Juliet is a physician who was brought to the island to run fertility tests on the women there. Women who conceived on the island never lived past the first trimester, so Juliet was there to figure out why and save their lives. “Friendly” turned out to be the not-so-scary and slightly likeable Tom. Throughout the season we meet more members of The Others and are allowed to sympathize with them one minute while witnessing the horrible, evil things they do the next minute. Season 3 answers most of the question of who this group of people is to a satisfying degree.
Many of the big questions surrounding the survivors were answered this season as well. We find out what caused Locke’s paralysis (The Man from Tallahassee). That mystery also tied into the reveal of who caused Sawyer’s father to kill his mother and the commit suicide (The Brig). We learn what caused Jin’s servitude to Sun’s father (D.O.C.). We find out what caused Kate’s mother to turn on her after she murdered her stepfather (Left Behind). Most of the survivor’s stories have now been told and many of their mysteries have been revealed. Very few of the survivors are innocent victims, but people with horrible secrets they are hiding from everyone around them. When Desmond tells Charlie that the survivor’s of the flight have killed more of The Others than The Others have killed of them, it kind of reverses the roles of the victims of the show. Then we see what The Others are really capable of, and everything straightens itself back out. That is what makes great episodic television, as it twists and turns, never quite going in the direction you would expect.
While the season answers many of these mysteries, it takes about seven episodes to actually find its pace. The first six episodes were very subpar, with much of the show taking place with Sawyer and Kate living in a cage while Jack was held in his cell. It just seemed like every week it was the same deal, Kate and Sawyer would try to escape and fail while Jack was being broke down. It got really old quick and the minute that Jack orchestrated Kate and Sawyer’s escape was the moment the show began to pick up steam. This is one area where watching the show on DVD is superior to watching the weekly episodes. I grew frustrated at the slow, plodding script as the weeks wore on, and from the drop in ratings it appeared the majority of the audience felt the same. On DVDs, without the constant interruption of commercials and without the mid-season break, these episodes move faster and are easier to get through. Lost is a show that rewards the DVD format.
I said that the first six episodes were below par, but that is a little inaccurate because the fifth episode of the season was one of the best and most satisfying episodes I have seen. “The Cost of Living” is an Eko flashback episode and has one of the most satisfying deaths of a major character I have seen in a long time on any show. When a character that is loved by fans dies, there needs to be a good reason and closure for that character. This episode shows how a television show should send off a major character. The show even follows up that great moment with an even better goodbye at the end of the season. In “Greatest Hits” we get the closure for a loved character and it made his death in “Through the Looking Glass” mean even more. If there is one thing Lost has learned to do, it is make the deaths of characters mean something to the viewer.
An addition to the show that seemed to annoy people was the introduction of two new characters – Nikki and Paulo. These were two characters that had been introduced this season, yet had been a part of the original survivors who crashed in Season 1. The two characters were definitely annoying and viewers were clamoring for their deaths. They would not be disappointed. In the episode “Expose” the two would be eliminated from the show, but the show’s focus on their flashbacks was very original and entertaining. The scene of carnage from Season 1’s pilot was recreated with the two inserted into the action. Many other moments throughout the first two and a half seasons were also altered to show them from the point of view of Nikki and Paulo. The ending held a wonderful twist and felt almost like a Twilight Zone episode and was a nice addition to a great season.
With all the great episodes of the season, I would say the best would have to be “Flashes before Your Eyes.” In this episode, we don’t necessarily get a flashback like we are used to. Taking place shortly after the hatch exploded, Desmond was apparently sent back in time and relived his past. What made it interesting was that he still had flashes and remembered what happened in his future. The episode explored the real focus of Lost – Fate versus Free Will. Throughout the episode, Desmond questions whether he really has to relive the past the way it happened. Why should be lose the love of his life and end up on an island pushing a button when he can just change his actions and live happily ever after. The appearance of a woman named Ms. Hawking answers those questions and it is not what Desmond wants to know. Throughout the rest of the season, Desmond questions fate and does everything in his power to change the future. One question remains as the season comes to a close. Did Desmond change the future of the survivors through his actions or did fate simply catch up with them?
When the season ends, we get the biggest shock of them all. We have not another flashback, but a flash forward. We see the future of two people who escaped the island. New questions are still raised and answers are still sought after, but as Season 3 proved, they will answer these questions in good time. We still need to know what the monster is. Who is Jacob? Who are the people that are on their way to the island to rescue the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815? Season 3 ends with a bang and left me wanting more and that is all I can ask for in episodic television. Season 3 made me trust the creators of Lost again and it remains the best show on television today.
The picture and sound are great, and I think it actually looks better on DVD than when I watched it originally. The sound is in Dolby Digital 2.4 and 2.0 Surround Sound and the Video is presented in 1.78:1 Widescreen.
There are several episodes containing audio commentaries. They are: “A Tale of Two Cities” with Executive Producer Damon Lindelof and actress Elizabeth Mitchell (Disc 1); “I Do” with writer/producer Carlton Cuse, Actress Evangeline Lilly and actor Josh Holloway (Disc 2); “Expose” with co-executive producers/writers Edward Kitsis and Adaw Horowitz (Disc 4); and “The Man Behind the Curtain” with co-creator/executive producer Damon Lindelof, executive producer Carlton Cuse and actor Michael Emerson (Disc 5). They provide a mixture of information about the production of the episode and talk about the story. All of them are full of decent information.
There are some great featurettes in this set. The Lost Book Club discusses much of the literary influences of the show. The feature discusses many of the books that Sawyer reads as well, explaining that everything you see in the show means something. Cast in Clay shows the creation of the Lost action figures and The Next Level shows the creation of the video game.
Lost: On Location talks about the various places the show films at using various episodes as examples. There is a lot of behind the scenes footage in this feature. There is a goofy introduction to all the members of the crew by Evangeline Lilly. One of the more interesting features is called Lost in a Day. The feature takes you through one day of work on the show, from different locations, as the cast and crew work on seven different episodes throughout the single day.
The World of the Others is a featurette that talks about the focus of Season 3, The Others. There is a feature where Terry O’Quinn explains how he learned to throw a knife and a blooper reel where the cast screws up their lines, cracks jokes and mugs for the camera.
There is a batch of three missing flashbacks that really don’t add too much to the storyline. There are also five deleted scenes that also don’t add any new information to the story. Finally, there is a neat Dharma video that gives you a little look at the creation of the instructional video.