Lost Season FourI started watching the first season of _Lost_ again this week (ABC has begun streaming all three seasons on HD on their website). While I would love to attribute it to the generosity of spirit of the executives at America’s Broadcasting Company, the real reason is too obvious: it’s the only way to accrue new viewers. _Lost_ is so intricately wound, one has to have seen all the seasons to watch it comfortably. This is not to say that a person who has seen all the episodes is not subject to frustration either.

The latest episode moved along at a breakneck pace. I was surprised to see forty minutes had passed so quickly. In it, we met the rescue team. It now becomes clear, also, why Charlie was killed off in the end of season three: to make room for Daniel Faraday (Jeremy Davies), a similarly goofy character. The watchers of _Lost_ probably wouldn’t be able to tolerate two Charlie characters on one island. Perhaps Daniel will become good friends with Hurley at some point.

Speaking of Charlie, I have to say that his parting was genuinely sad for me, as his character revelations provided some of the best fodder for the first two seasons. The episodes centering on his character have been some of the highlights of the show, as far as I’m concerned. I have been surprised at how well season 1 has held up to a second viewing. The characters are still equally compelling, and the mystery is still mysterious. This may not be so when all is finally revealed, and so perhaps you better start rewatching now if you want it to retain at least some of the mystery the second time around. But I have a feeling _Lost_ will retain at least some of the glow it originally held, if only because of our remembrance.

Remembrance is one of the key themes on _Lost_. The show has a sly way or reintroducing us to ourselves. Its original stripping away of everything via the plane crash on the island took our technology away, reintroducing a sort of primitivism we had forgotten. Slowly, the technology has been brought back. Radios first, and then, recently phones, and along with it, the odd frustrations that accompany technology. Suddenly, technology feels odd to us, strange in our own hands. We feel the absurdity and humor of statements like “Daniel, am I on speakerphone?” or “He can’t come to the phone right now” in the midst of the jungle environment.

And of course, remembrance is the one of the show’s narrative ciphers. It insists on weaving circles of time into each other (an interesting narrative form, given some of the various _Lost_ theories have proposed a certain time bubble around the island, caused by its enormous gravitation). Thus, the introduction of a ghost hunter tonight should be no surprise. I’m happy to have the paranormal element reintroduced. With the death of Eko, and Locke’s loss of faith (or at least his inability to speak about it in those terms anymore), the show’s sense of supernatural mystery (which posits an undeconstructable mystery above our understanding as opposed to scientific mystery, which only says you must wait and all will be revealed) had begun to evaporate. While a ghost hunter does not strike the complex chords of theology that Eko did (or even Locked in his more divine moments), it is a welcome reintroduction.

With the introduction of these newest characters, there are several brand new lives to uncover. _Lost_ has always been best at this, when it can strike the balance of narrative and emotional revelation. Season two was the perfect example (and the best season so far, in my opinion). Season one borders on emotionally overwrought from time to time, and season three is almost strangled by its own strings. In the end, let’s hope the balance can be found again, and that the second season was not just a transitional fluke from sappy to snappy.

In other news, the polar bears are back.

Micah Towery is working on his master of fine arts degree at Hunter College in Manhattan. He is the founder and co-editor of The Cartographer Electric.

More Lost coverage:
Season Four, Episode 1 (premiere)
Season Four Preview

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