ABC’s other new dramas may be faltering somewhat in the wake of their stellar premieres, but J.J. Abram’s excellent “Lost” just keeps getting better. Tonight’s episode, the fourth, took the series to a whole other level. My initial read on the show was positive, but it certainly jumped beyond my expectations tonight.
What the writers have done particularly well is to maintain a large cast of characters, focusing on a few principals but giving equal time to many of the lesser players as needed. While we don’t know all 48 survivors, we certainly have a good sense of at least a dozen of them so far. I especially like the use of flashbacks, which has been sparing but extremely well thought out. The decision to reveal the back story of only one character each episode ensures that there are many more secrets to be uncovered throughout.
Last week, when viewers got a glimpse into heroine Kate’s background, it was clear that all bets were off. The carefully constructed façade she had presented was stripped away layer by layer, and we slowly discovered her past along with a few of the show’s characters. It was clear then that the slow unveiling of each survivor’s back story would become a running theme of the show. Such a device could grow old and contrived, but that certainly was not the case tonight.
When the mysterious Locke’s secret was revealed in the last ten minutes of the episode, it was absolutely jaw dropping. A moment that could have very easily been trite or melodramatic was played brilliantly, rewarding viewers with that reclusive epiphanic “Aha!” Scenes dating all the way back to the first episode that may have seemed odd or wrong on first viewing suddenly make sense. A few more puzzle pieces fall into place.
One of the concerns voiced about the premise of “Lost” was how long the show could keep up its premise, which admittedly seems more like that of a mini-series than an ongoing show. So far, however, every question that’s been answered has seemed to raise two more. Previews for next week clearly show that there’s plenty more to come that hasn’t even been hinted at yet, meaning we may be following these characters for some time to come.
After tonight, there’s no question that “Lost” should have cemented its impressive audience. Abrams and his staff of writers continue to deliver cliffhangers that make the week’s wait between episodes seem an eternity.