|Lost - The Complete Second Season (Extended Experience)|
|DVD TV Shows|
|Written by Dan Macintosh|
|Tuesday, 05 September 2006|
If you are reading this DVD review expecting to learn exactly what the whole “Lost” phenomenon is all about, you have come to the wrong place. I am in no way an expert theorist on the popular TV program. In fact, I did not even see one episode from season one, so you might say I went into this review assignment lost.
Furthermore, such Johnny-come-lately behavior is nothing new for me. As a matter of fact, I didn’t see any films in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy until part three. (Are you starting to see a pattern?) Yet without being a prepared “ringer,” so to speak, I nevertheless enjoyed the conclusion of that complex, multipart Tolkien movie immensely.
My recent response to “Lost” season two was as enthusiastic as my tardy first impression of “Lord of the Rings.” Sure, it was confusing to pick up on just who was who at first, but it didn’t take long to figure out the good guys from the bad, the smart ones from the—shall we say-- “challenged” characters, as well as almost everyone in between.
For those of you even further behind on your water cooler talk than I was, a small explanation of the show’s overall premise is in order. This story began when Oceanic Flight 815 went off course. It lost radio contact with the traffic controllers and was sliced in half by horrible turbulence. These two sections of the plane crashed onto separate regions of an island, so the survivors in both sections were unaware of the others’ survival. It all may have ended up as a glorified combination of “Gilligan’s Island” and “Survivor,” if this had been your everyday generic island. Instead, these travelers landed on a strange and remote locale, which was already being utilized as a psychological testing ground. Or at least this is what we’re led to believe; it’s hard to ever know if you can believe your eyes and ears at any given time.
The primary “good guys” in our story are named John (Terry O’Quinn) and Jack (Matthew Fox). Well, they are not completely good; but they are definitely the “take charge” sort, and that is always a positive trait during any emergency situation. So gung-ho are they, in fact, these men oftentimes butt heads when decisiveness is required. This rivalry comes to a dangerous head, however, when our stranded crash victims capture a man who calls himself “Henry Gale,” who is also one of the “others.” These “others” by the way, are the “bad guys”’ that are suspected of killing and kidnapping these hapless plane-crashers. These others were also there on the island, it is assumed, before the Oceanic 815 crash. This “Henry Gale” (Michael Emerson) character (It’s not his real name, but is an identity he stole from one of his victims) is locked up while various 815-ers ones interrogate him. As soon as “Gale” gets a whiff that these two are in competition with each other, he quickly begins to play one against the other—especially John, who even begins to question his own ability to lead.
The critical consensus is that all the best screen dramas of our time are relegated to the cinema world, with television usually coming in a distant second. Of course, then along came “The Sopranos,” one of the best dramas in either medium, hands down. But for the most part, network television has always been handcuffed by the sort of content and language it can allow. Clearly, crooks don’t cuss on TV the way they do in real life, and nobody is shown going “all the way” on network TV screens. Even with such roadblocks, however, “Lost” reveals a few areas where TV dramas actually have an advantage over theater movies.
“Lost” earns large kudos for its superior character development. After all, movies only have a few hours to work with in most cases, so if a film wants to dig deeply into particular characters, it must focus on just a few individuals—and get to these portrayals quickly. With “Lost,” on the other hand, the viewer gets to know plenty about what these people were like before fate brought them to the middle of nowhere. Almost every episode includes non-island flashback moments.
One character, Mr. Eko (Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje), at first comes off like a wise sage of sorts. That is until you learn how he was previously a drug runner, and in severe conflict with his priest brother. When Eko becomes increasingly religious toward the end of season two, it’s clear that he’s trying to carry on the legacy of his brother, cruelly cut short by his untimely death. Eko is looked up to as a quiet and moral man by the others, but he had to go through hell to perfect this newfound stately demeanor.
The relationship between husband Sun (Yoon-jin Kim) and his wife Jin (Daniel Dae Kim) offers another fascinating dynamic. You learn that Sun came from an educated and wealthy South Korean background, whereas her husband Jin grew out of much poorer means—a fisherman. How they ended up together is not fully explained—at least not yet. They have many secrets between them, which are slowly but surely being revealed along the way. For example, it is not until they are stuck on this island together that Jin finds out his wife can also speak excellent English. In fact, the other islanders learn this truth before he does.
If Sun and Jin’s relationship is strained, Charlie (Dominic Monaghan) and Claire’s bond is nearly non-existent. Claire (Emile de Ravin) gives birth to a baby on the island, but Charlie is a total screw-up dad. Charlie is often seen with his trusty acoustic guitar, and we soon learn that he was an aspiring musician back home. When he tried to make a go at the big time in a rock band with his brother, it was his sibling—and not him—who was the screw-up drug addict. But here on the island, Charlie’s heroin addiction, or perhaps a suspicion of heroin addiction, puts an impenetrable wall between Charlie and Claire. Charlie’s delusional episodes nearly lead to the baby’s drowning death, which is the final straw for Claire. Charlie wants nothing more than to be back with Claire, while Claire wants nothing at all to do with him.
A third “official” couple on this devil’s island is the elderly Rose (L. Scott Caldwell) and Bernard (Sam Anderson). Like Sun and Jin, these two were forced to face separation from each other during a short period right after the crash. We learn in flashbacks how Rose is terminally ill. In one look-back, Bernard even takes her a wacky faith healer, only to find out that this strange man can do nothing for her. But like all the other couples on the island, this is not carefree life on the “Blue Lagoon” for this pair. They are seen arguing, as much as making up.
Almost as important as the character development during this follow-up season is the exploration of ‘the hatch.” This underground room—equipped with a computer, a food pantry and clues about the so-called experiments going on—is studied in great depth in the second season. It is here, for instance, that a series of numbers must be entered into a lone computer screen every 108 minutes. Or else. (Nobody is really sure what this “or else” means, or if it is truly a certain doomsday scenario). The power this computer has over the inhabitants is the stuff of great debate during season two. It oftentimes divides the camp between believers and non-believers.
Naturally, season two ends without explaining specifically what is going on around here. That is being saved for season three. Or is it four? Do I hear Five? Geeze, who knows?
Visually, this program switches deftly between showing an island paradise (the show is shot on Oahu), and revealing a dark and scary trap. This place is truly a pretty poison. Soundtrack music is not utilized a whole lot, except for the foreboding orchestral notes that introduce each episode. Some of the music played in the hatch is applied particularly well, however, such as when soul great Otis Redding’s “These Arms Of Mine” is played.
In addition to this boxed set’s six full discs of TV programming, there is also an additional disc completely comprised of extras. It contains the usual deleted scenes and bloopers, of course, but one segment titled “Mysteries, Theories, And Conspiracies” is the most fun of all. During this documentary, you hear from the producers and directors, as well as the actors and even fanatical fans, who explain what they think this odd show is all about. There’s also a bonus section titled “Secrets From The Hatch,” which goes into great detail about the design of the hatch and how these features play into the show.