Read an Excerpt
Finding Lost Season 5
the unofficial guide
By Nikki Stafford
ECW PRESS Copyright © 2009 Nikki Stafford
All rights reserved.
"We Have to Go Back!": Season 5
At the end of season 3, Darlton had been given the assurance by ABC that Lost would be given 48 more episodes (and would not be canceled, regardless of ratings), allowing them to piece the remaining bits together to unfold their mystery the way they wanted to. The result was a tightly woven, beautifully written fourth season that won back many of the fans they'd lost the year before. With the end of season 4 answering the big question from the end of season 3 — Locke was the guy in the coffin — fans got their big bombshell cliffhanger ... and then had to wait another eight months to see anything more.
Season 4, by far the shortest of the show's history due to a smaller scheduled number of episodes and an unscheduled writers' strike, was about the outside world invading the island and what happens when you get the very thing you'd wished for. It was about the rescue of the survivors; well, some of them, anyway. We saw the Oceanic 6 — Kate, Jack, Hurley, Sayid, Sun, and Aaron — taken off the island with Frank and Desmond. But through flashforwards, that handy-dandy plot device the writers added at the end of season 3, we saw how their happiness at being rescued quickly dissipated as they succumbed to guilt, personal demons, and destiny. Kate and Jack settled down to play house with Aaron, even going so far as to get engaged. But Jack's obsessions got in the way, and he became an alcoholic and drug addict, driving his loved ones away from him. He sees Locke's obituary in the newspaper and heads to the funeral home, where Ben confronts him and tells him he needs to return to the island. Kate remains fiercely protective of Aaron, and never wants to return to the island. Hurley ends up back at the mental institution after seeing the late Charlie standing in a convenience store. Sayid briefly finds love with Nadia, but when she's killed, he turns into a soulless hitman, working for his nemesis Ben Linus. Sun, devastated by Jin's death, gives birth to Ji Yeon on her own, separates herself from everyone else, and becomes vengeful, reaching out to Widmore.
And now, they're about to go back. How will everyone get back to the island? Will Jack be able to convince everyone? If Sun is working against everyone else, why would she willingly return? Would Kate bring Aaron with her? Will some of the Oceanic 6 have to be returned against their will? And how did Locke end up in that coffin? These were the questions that kept fans talking through the very long summer, fall, and winter that preceded season 5.
In July, Darlton appeared at the San Diego Comic-Con, the event where they've been teasing viewers and spilling secrets since the show's first season. They answered questions about season 4, and hinted at spoilers for season 5 (which I won't include here). As in other years, however, the audience had to take everything they said with a grain of salt (these are the guys who promised an explanation of the four-toed statue in season 3 and a Rousseau flashback in season 4), but even when these guys are just pulling our legs, they're still a lot of fun to watch. They talked about time travel and how they were going to try to do it differently than other movies and TV shows (see page 169). They showed some of the extras that would appear on the upcoming season 4 DVDs. They held up a Jack action figure and argued about whether or not it actually looked like Jack, only for Matthew Fox to suddenly appear unannounced to answer the question once and for all. And then they showed the orientation video for season 5.
The video opens with a fanboy who is at the Dharma orientation booth at Comic-Con. He's about to go into a room where he'll be shown a classified video, and he's got a hidden camera on him so he can record the information he sees inside the booth. We see Hans Van Eeghen (see page 128), head of Dharma Recruitment, talking to him in advance, and he's the one who introduces the video we're about to see. The video opens with the Asian man we see at the beginning of all the Dharma orientation videos, who says his real name is Pierre Chang and he's a professor of theoretical astrophysics at Ann Arbor, Michigan. He says he knows the people watching this video are seeing it roughly 30 years from the moment he's speaking, and gives key indicators to prove he's aware of what the world will be like in the future. He says all of his people will be killed in a purge that they are powerless to stop. He says his information is coming from a trustworthy source, and at that moment you can hear Daniel Faraday's voice behind the camera, telling him all of this information is irrelevant and that he needs to get to the point. Chang tells the viewer that the island has special properties, and urges anyone watching to please continue the research because maybe they can come back in time and prevent the cataclysmic events from happening and save all of them. At that point, Daniel gives up, frustrated, and says no one is ever going to watch the video. Chang jumps up, pleading with him to let him continue, and the video shuts off. At that point Hans steps over, sees the hidden camera that's been recording the whole time, and shouts for security. The fanboy runs out of the booth, exclaiming that he "got it" and keeps running until a multi-colored test pattern covers the screen, and it's over (to watch the video, go to lostpedia.wikia.com/wiki/Dharma_booth_video).
Fans speculated for months about the significance of the scene. Chang is wearing sweatpants in a 1970s-style, which would make sense because that's the era he is from, but why is Daniel in the video? Did he travel back in time to Chang? Were they somehow able to stop the Purge?
The Dharma video led fans outside to the Dharma recruitment booth, where they could sign up as new Dharma recruits and take a series of tests. This game was the beginning of the new Lost alternate reality game (ARG) that kept fans busy for a few weeks in the summer (see page 128).
At the same Comic-Con, the opening scene of J.J. Abrams' new fall series, Fringe, was shown to eager audiences, who immediately jumped onto blogs and other networking devices to reveal that the scene featured people on a plane ... that hits turbulence ... and they all crash to earth, with no survivors. Was it just déjà vu? A colossal joke? Or was J.J. just giving a not-so-subtle wink to the show's predecessor, showing audiences that Fringe would keep them glued to their seats in the same way Lost did, filled with little mysteries that viewers would have to piece together? (Fringe debuted in September to stellar ratings, which quickly fell when the first few episodes didn't live up to the hype; by the end of the season, the series had redeemed itself, appearing at the top of critics' yearend best-of lists and proving J.J. had another enigmatic hit on his hands.)
Throughout the hiatus, Lost was recognized in several awards ceremonies, and shut out of others. The show was nominated for Best Drama at the Emmy Awards, with Michael Emerson receiving a nod for Best Supporting Actor (Drama). Jorge Garcia won an alma (American Latino Media Award) for Best Supporting Actor in a TV Series, Drama. Later in fall 2008, the show was shut out of the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards, but was nominated for a Writers Guild and Producers Guild award.
In August, the cast quietly began renegotiating their contracts with ABC. Most of them were making $80–90,000 per episode, with Matthew Fox (who is considered the lead) making $150,000. Fox was given a raise to $225,000 per episode, and the other stars negotiated their raises separately.
At the beginning of September, the new casting announcements began. Zuleikha Robinson was cast in the part of Ilana, a role described in the casting call as "a European female in her late 20s to early 30s who possesses great intelligence, but who's also dangerous as all get out. She's alluring and apparently used to getting her own way." The deal was for a recurring part in season 5, with the possibility of becoming a regular cast member in the final season. Robinson is a British actress who also appeared in Hidalgo, as well as The Namesake, the ill-fated fox series New Amsterdam, the X-Files spin-off The Lone Gunmen, and as the strong-willed Gaia on the HBO series Rome.
The following week, Robinson was joined by Saïd Taghmaoui. A French actor who was originally a professional boxer, his move to Hollywood began in screenwriting, where he cowrote the screenplay for the French film La haine, with director Mathieu Kassovitz, who won the Best Director prize at Cannes for it. It's a remarkable film about three men in Paris, angered by the recent police assault on an Arab, who are eventually questioned in the case. The film starred Vincent Cassel, Taghmaoui, and Hubert Koundé. Since that film Taghmaoui has become a star in France, though to North American audiences he may only be recognized from appearances in a handful of episodes of The West Wing and the films Three Kings, Hidalgo, The Kite Runner, and Vantage Point with Matthew Fox. When the casting call went out for the part of Caesar, it read, in part, that he would be "a dangerous, physical, and extremely intelligent male between the ages of 35 and 45. Although his intentions are unclear, this much is certain: he's as skillful at charming people as he is at killing them. He also has a dark past ..."
In October, while completing Star Trek, J.J. Abrams hinted in an interview that a Lost movie was a faint possibility. His emphasis was on the word "faint," but the media picked up on "possibility," quoting the section of the interview where he said, "The one thing that makes you think maybe there could be [a movie] ... is that ABC agreed to end the series after six years. Which is a gift, because you know you won't have years seven and eight where you're thinking 'they should've ended at year six,' and you know how to pace yourself so that you know how to end the series." They seemed to leave out the part where he added, "My gut is it would never happen."
Just to clarify, a few days after this interview made waves, Lindelof insisted there would not be a movie, which came as a relief to most fans for the very reasons he outlined: "People have been so patient with the show and to basically say that we're going to end the TV show but we're going to leave some questions unanswered so that you can pay $14 and go see it in the theater? ... You never say never but what we are saying is that when the final episode of Lost airs, that will be very conclusive. There will not be a question mark at the end of the words 'the end.'"
At the end of October, ABC began airing promos for season 5, which caused a flurry of excitement among fans. With the season tagline, "Destiny Calls," the trailer showed various quick cuts of scenes from season 5, causing blogs to light up with questions and speculation ("Why is someone holding a gun to Charlotte's head?" "Who locked Sun in that room and why is she banging on the door?" "Is Hurley holding a gun?!"). The second trailer began airing at the end of November, and it announced the new season would begin in January, not February as previously assumed.
In November, it was announced that series composer Michael Giacchino, who had also written scores for movies such as Speed Racer, Mission Impossible III, The Incredibles, Ratatouille (for which he was nominated for an Oscar), and most recently Up, would be conducting the orchestra at the following February's Academy Awards. Said the producers in a joint statement, "Michael is an extraordinarily talented and versatile musical artist.... We couldn't be happier that he is game to come onboard."
As the promo for the new season ramped up, Lost's fourth season began showing up on year-end best-of polls, appearing in TV Guide's top shows of the years, as well as AFI's list of best shows on television. In December ABC began running a new, longer promo for the fifth season as a mini-video for The Fray's new single, "You Found Me," which subsequently became a hit for the band.
Through the ongoing Dharma ARG, fans were given sneak peeks of full scenes from the first episode of season 5, and ABC released a promotional photo of the cast. Each member had been individually shot against a green screen, and then Photoshopped into a picture, making it look like they were sitting in an apartment building surrounded by paraphernalia from the first four seasons of Lost. Fans who took a close look at the picture noticed that Daniel's foot was missing, as were Juliet's toes. Could it be a sign? Did this mean Daniel had one foot in the grave? Could Juliet's days be numbered? The producers released a statement saying no, in fact, it was just really shoddy Photoshop work.
As the date of the show's premiere — January 21, 2009 — loomed, and fans caught up on season 4 through the newly released DVD set, the producers began hinting at the season that was to come, promising time travel, many surprises, and one character in particular coming to the forefront. "We really feel it's the year of Sawyer," Lindelof said in an interview. "He's really stepping up in a major way." For a guy who didn't even get his own episode in season 4, this was a big deal. How would Sawyer be stepping up? Would he and Kate be reunited? Would both of them end up with other people? The fans would have to wait and see ...
SEASON 5 — January–May 2009
Cast: Matthew Fox (Jack Shephard), Evangeline Lilly (Kate Austen), Terry O'Quinn (John Locke), Josh Holloway (James "Sawyer" Ford), Jorge Garcia (Hugo "Hurley" Reyes), Naveen Andrews (Sayid Jarrah), Yunjin Kim (Sun Kwon), Daniel Dae Kim (Jin Kwon), Henry Ian Cusick (Desmond Hume), Michael Emerson (Benjamin Linus), Elizabeth Mitchell (Juliet Burke), Jeremy Davies (Daniel Faraday), Ken Leung (Miles Straume), Rebecca Mader (Charlotte Lewis)
Recurring characters: Alan Dale (Charles Widmore), Jeff Fahey (Frank Lapidus), John Terry (Christian Shephard), Nestor Carbonell (Richard Alpert), François Chau (Pierre Chang, always uncredited), Sonya Walger (Penelope Widmore), William Blanchette (Aaron), Sam Anderson (Bernard), L. Scott Caldwell (Rose), Zuleikha Robinson (Ilana), Saïd Taghmaoui (Caesar), Patrick Fischler (Phil), Reiko Aylesworth (Amy), Doug Hutchison (Horace Goodspeed), Sterling Beaumon (Young Ben), Eric Lange (Radzinsky), Brad William Henke (Bram), Jon Gries (Roger Linus)
5.1 Because You Left
Original air date: January 21, 2009
Written by: Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse
Directed by: Stephen Williams
Guest cast: Tom Irwin (Dan Norton), William Mapother (Ethan Rom), Sean Whalen (Neil "Frogurt"), Brad Berryhill (Anxious Guy), Chantal Boom'la (Counter Girl), Michael Dempsey (Foreman), Leslie Ishii (Woman), Sven Lindstrom (Crew Member), Cindy Paliracio (Reporter/TV Anchor), Stefanie Smart (Ticket Agent)
It's been three years since the Oceanic 6 were rescued, and Ben and Jack are trying to figure out how to round up the others to return to the island. Sayid has helped Hurley escape the hospital, Kate is faced with lawyers demanding something she won't give them, and Sun is stuck at an airport with another key player in the island mystery. Meanwhile, three years earlier on the island, a record is skipping, tossing the survivors from one time period to another.
A woman we don't know shakes a man awake and tells him to tend to the baby we hear crying in the background. He puts on a record from a few decades ago and gets the baby ready for the day before heading to work. We realize he's the man from the orientation videos, the time period probably some point in the '70s. Suddenly he's rushed from his tranquil day to an emergency at some construction site. As he yells at one of the workers about the intricacies of time travel, he bumps into ... Daniel Faraday, looking the same in the '70s as he did in 2004. It's a jarring opening that is completely baffling.
Welcome to another season of Lost.
We left our favorite castaways in precarious positions at the end of season 4. The island had disappeared when Ben turned the Frozen Donkey Wheel. Dan and a bunch of redshirts were in a Zodiac boat in the water when it happened, and the Oceanic 6, plus Frank and Desmond, were in a helicopter. The latter group saw the island disappear, but we didn't know what would become of the people on, or near, the island. Through flashforwards we knew the Oceanic 6 would get home, go through their own trials and tribulations — discovering parenthood, becoming assassins, having birthday parties, growing terrible beards — and wherever they went, the island would follow them in one way or another. We also knew that in 2004 Locke was on the island, but by 2007 he was off the island ... in a coffin.
Excerpted from Finding Lost Season 5 by Nikki Stafford. Copyright © 2009 Nikki Stafford. Excerpted by permission of ECW PRESS.
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