Time travel, murder, religious parables— Lost’s shepherds, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, reflect on its fifth season.
Rich in mythology and character development, and tantalizingly complex, Lost is not something to be watched passively. Throughout its five years, the ABC series has brilliantly weaved a human drama about plane-crash survivors on a mysterious island into a Byzantine tableau. We’ve witnessed smoke monsters and polar bears, unearthed a bygone scientific initiative, met the native inhabitants, and sidled up to a four-toed statue and a hydrogen bomb named Jughead. There have been flash-forwards, time travel, meditations on faith and destiny and redemption, literary and pop-culture references, and the occasional Latin phrase. What’s more, all of these bizarre components are all somehow connected. The show’s intricate and cryptic details have sent many a rabid fan to reference books and online chat groups in an effort to unlock the show’s secrets.
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But even for those who aren’t content to parse through the myriad clues to find out what it all means, Lost, while epic in scope, is also intimate in its relationships. The overarching story can be incredibly dizzying and confounding as it travels around the world and through time and back again, but its writers (including executive producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, or “Darlton,” as they’re called on message boards) take care to keep it rooted solidly in its characters—who, over the show’s duration, have grown as rich and deep as the mythology that surrounds them.
And this fifth season—which featured a return to the island for those who had been rescued and erratic time travel—was not only enthralling; it was satisfying. The energy intensified as the series began answering integral questions, ramping up acceleration and purpose as the show barreled toward its sixth and final year.
Allyssa Lee is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor. Her work has also appeared in Entertainment Weekly and the Los Angeles Times.