It's the beginning of the end for "Lost" -- only one more season to go, and plenty of strange destined events yet to be explained.
And "Lost: The Complete Fifth Season" may be the best season of the show yet, with some unexpected glimpses back into the Island's history, mysterious people, and more explorations of the mysterious Jacob. It feels like the entire season is packed with strange twists and unexpected turns, complete with a trip back in time that illuminates everything that has come before it.
Jack joins forces with his former enemy Ben, trying to bring the Oceanic Six back together and get them back to the Island. But Charles Widmore has been sending assassins to kill Hurley and Sayid, and someone is sniffing around Kate's relationship to Aaron. Their only hope of getting back to the Island is to follow the instructions of Eloise Hawking, a woman who has intricate knowledge of time and space -- and the Island.
Meanwhile, the Island is randomly leaping through time, flinging Sawyer, Juliet, Daniel, Charlotte and all the others from one time period to another. And when the Oceanic Six (minus a few) arrive on the Island again, they find that it is now 1977 -- Sawyer, Juliet and their friends have all been living there for the past three years, as part of the Dharma Initiative. Sun and Ben end up in the hands of the remaining Others -- along with a supposedly dead man now returned to life.
But as the fateful Incident approaches, Jack and Co. end up having their plans unravel around them, and a bunch of gun-toting Dharma people out for their blood. With the help of Daniel Faraday and his mysterious journal, the splintered little group sets out to somehow reset everything that has happened on the Island -- even as Ben and the Others approach an ancient monument, where the Island's fate will be changed forever.
There's a sense of melancholy in the fifth season of "Lost." Okay, it's never been a cheerful show, but it's clear that many of the plot threads are being wound together, and the characters that are killed have wrenchingly tragic send-offs. What's more, this short season reveals a whole lot more about the Island than we ever knew before -- the stone foot, the Incident, Eloise Hawking's knowledge about time, and the Island's mysterious ruler Jacob.
And it's packed solid with plot, full of twists, gory action, flashbacks, flashforwards, and a sense of supernatural suspense. The first half of the season is all about the Six slowly being drawn back to the Island (almost against their will, really) while the second is about the disasters that ensue because of their presence, and the fight against the inevitability of time. It's just a big thick rope of plot twists that tightens itself as it approaches the explosive finale.
Fortunately this season is also graced with exceptionally good dialogue, and some funny moments often supplied by the ever-lovable Hurley (example: writing down the "Empire Strikes Back" script from memory). And it evolves into straight-out science fiction after sort of flirting with it for the past few seasons.
Matthew Fox does a pretty good job as the increasingly irrational, obsessed Jack, but he's overshadowed by Josh Holloway. Holloway is pretty darn brilliant as the new alpha male in the jungle who suddenly has his peaceful domain disrupted. Michael Emerson is also excellent as the vaguely creepy Ben, whose frustrations and anger start boiling over as he tries to somehow fix whatever has gone wrong, only to make a terrible mistake.
Actually, most of the cast does an excellent job: Naveen Andrews, Elizabeth Mitchell (especially in the finale), the dry-witted Ken Leung, Jeremy Davies, Yunjin Kim, Daniel Dae Kim, and the ever-awesome Jorge Garcia. There are also some other incredible actors who become pretty prominent here, including François Chau, Zuleikha Robinson, the ageless Nestor Carbonell, and the mysterious Fionnula Flanagan.
And Mark Pellegrino is introduced as the mysterious Jacob, whose identity, nature and goals are all murky. You're left wondering who this guy is, and if we'll see him again.
"Lost: The Complete Fifth Season" is a tightly-written, intensely-plotted stream of bittersweet sci-fi, and it leaves you hungry for whatever is next. Only one more season yet to go.