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Lost Season 2 - Part 1 Review

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★★★★

Welcome back to the mysterious island where survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 struggle with personal demons, each other, an elusive marauding killer tribe, jungle apparitions, scary beasties and an avalanche of literary, philosophical and cinematic references — when they aren’t being chased off by a seemingly sentient stream of black smoke.

This first half of the second season delivered a few dips, but we’ve also had answers — and the beginnings thereof — to some of the questions continually raised in its tangled predecessor.

The best ‘Previously...’ ever recaps season one in 45 seconds, including the finale’s two big cliffhangers: the raft people blown into the water after Walt’s (Malcolm David Kelley) abduction by The Others, and the beach people peering down into the exploded hatch (a brilliant reveal). The plan for year two (remember it’s ‘only’ been 40-something days for the characters) emerges as the exploration of the island itself — and not before time, but in a show so rife with potential spoilers, to reveal anything else might be unfair.

So how do we get by between episodes and seasons when there has been little to rival its tantalizing adventure at the cinema? By appreciating that it’s not only like a movie, it is the movies — a lot of spiffy movies combined, actually.

Next hiatus, we recommend a slate of pictures to enhance the Lost know-it-all experience. Firstly there’s Lord Of The Flies (William Golding’s novel of castaway schoolboys going savage, with two cinematic adaptations), Forbidden Planet (members of a space expedition are picked off by an invisible monster of the id), and Shakespeare’s The Tempest (shipwreck survivors strewn about a magical island plot against each other and are plagued by creatures supernatural).

Then there are the homages, nods and debts to Mysterious Island (Jules Verne’s castaways beset by pirates and giant creatures), genre granddaddy Robinson Crusoe, Swiss Family Robinson, Flight Of The Phoenix and Five Came Back (crash survivors beset by cannibals). To keep the mystery elements bubbling there are obvious pinches of Ten Little Indians (strangers at a remote mansion are picked off, knowing that killer may be among them). We won’t even go on the trail blazed by television’s eeriest classics, The Twilight Zone, The X-Files, Twin Peaks and The Prisoner (Where is the island?/Who is Number One?). Coming full circle, ironically for a show that constantly references film, film has started referencing the show — M:I-3, for one, but of course that was Abrams’ handiwork; expect more.