Note: there are a few spoilers below. We have no LOST for ONE MONTH. I know I shouldn't complain about that as there will for sure be more episodes, and the Jericho loyal fans may very well (probably?) be down to their last episode. Their producer Carol Barbee says they are shopping it to other networks but it seems to me like they needed to cut that deal before CBS airs the "series finale" with no cliffhanger rather than the cliffhanger version. I hope it works out though. I really like action and suspense and the pacing this year has been very good. And Lennie James as Robert Hawkins makes a great post-apocalyptic Jack Bauer.
But LOST has something going for it that most shows don't, it's all about slowly unveiling the mystery. There is a lot of mystery and with each episode a little mystery is revealed, but more mystery is created. Shows like Battlestar Galactica do have similar mystery, the big difference is that especially with about the last season and a half of BSG, very little of the mystery is revealed or created in each episode - some episodes have absolutely nothing to do with the overarching story arc at all. This is true for almost all science fiction shows though whether it's BSG, the Star Trek franchise, or the Stargate franchise.
As with Star Trek: The Next Generation you could pretty much count on that any episode featuring Gene Roddenberry's wife (Majel Barrett) as Lwaxana Troi (as opposed to her role as the voice of the computer, where she appeared in every episode!) was not going to have anything to do with the overall story arc. On Stargate: SG1, any story focusing on Teal'c was filler as well. This is part of the formula for almost all episodic television with major story arcs. Some episodes are just filler.
LOST is more like a Stephen King novel. Or maybe a Stephen King series, like the Dark Tower (which took King like 107 years to finish - OK, I exaggerate, but only by about 70 years!). With most King books, I love the stories and find the endings anti-climactic. With the Dark Tower, I actually liked the ending very much, but getting there was sometimes drudgery. Except with a few wacky twists and turns in season 3 of LOST, I don't really recall too many episodes that were pure filler where I had to struggle to make it through.
It was good to see Michael again though I have to admit my favorite part may have been the "previously on LOST" where they show Michael screaming his classic line of "Waaaaaaaaaaalltt!" I couldn't help but laugh. I liked the episode though. Especially the metaphor. That's what LOST's creators and writers are so good at. A traumatized, guilt-ridden Michael attempts suicide only to find out it's like Groundhog's Day and that he can't. It turns out that "the island will not let him" - he still has work to do and "the island" is not finished with him just yet.
This probably resonates with me more than the average person as when I was 9 years old in early 1972, I walked out in front of a 10 wheeled Mac truck (an Amoco Oil Tanker) and lived to tell the tale. There's a complete blank for me in terms of what happened from about 15 minutes before until waking up in the ambulance, so I don't remember what actually happened. But it has to boil down to one of three things:
Trying to spite my mother
I was among the earliest of latch-key kids I suppose, and it was some deal where before going to school when I went to eat breakfast there was cereal but no milk, so I called my mom at work to inform her I was going to walk over to the High's Dairy Store (a 7-11 equivalent at the time) to get some milk. She said, "Don't do it, you'll get hit by a car."
I did it anyway. And I one-upped her and got hit by a truck. Believe me, sheer stupidity is certainly a possibility but if I had to wager, I'd go with being spiteful or suicidal. But either way really, I most certainly had my "the island isn't done with me yet" moment.
Anyway, the mystery with LOST winds up being so good because there is so much mystery. It's actually possible that Ben Linus is one of the good guys. And that's amazing because Michael Emerson who plays the role of Linus makes for one of the creepiest bad guys EVER! But it's entirely possible that Ben is the good to Charles Widmore's evil. I think it has to work out that they are both evil, but the truth is, I have no idea at all and that's part of what makes this story so great for me.
It was good to see Cynthia Watros in the role of Libby again, if only in a flashback where Michael shoots and kills her (again). While I love, love, love this show, I do have several nits to pick with it, and the biggest of those nits is killing off Libby. They painted some mystery and intrigue when they revealed (which Hurley still doesn't recall) that Libby was in the psych ward with Hurley. Then bam - they kill her off with no further mention of it. Although with this being LOST, it's not unthinkable that they'll circle back to that before the show closes out.
There are very few shows where I just can't wait for the next episode. LOST is one of them. It's going to be a long month.