Note – review may contain spoilers
LOST has always been a programme that?s been bold with its narrative structure. It seems odd to think of now, but watching season one for the first time in 2004, the show?s flashback format seemed radically innovative. But LOST is nothing if not innovative, and five years down the line it?s playing around with story structure more than ever. As far as this fifth season goes, the increasing willingness to screw around with the audience has been generally pretty successful. Whilst the shows temporal backwards and forwards may have seemed arbitrary to begin with, the increasing number of references and threads that are being tied together by toying with time gives the increasing impression that LOST is a programme with a definite purpose, heading towards a carefully planned ending. LaFLEUR is yet another meticulously constructed episode that connects a few more dots whilst providing some cracking, emotionally mature, entertainment.
Decidedly Sawyer-centric, LaFLEUR packs in a huge amount in its forty minutes, but never once feels rushed. The pre-titles sequence alone is one of those terrific LOST moments that is a big surprise but at the same time, crucially, feels right. Sawyer?s sudden appearance as a member of the Dharma Initiative had been hinted at since the start of the season (we saw Daniel in Dharma kit in the opening moments of BECAUSE YOU LEFT) but was still a definite ?whaoh!? moment. His promotion to a position of authority within the Dharma camp also worked well, especially given the character?s growth into a more responsible leader since Jack shipped off the island.
Indeed, befitting the episodes focus, Josh Hollaway was unquestionably the standout actor in this episode. The subtle differences he brought to his interpretations of Sawyer three years apart were a major element in selling yet another time jump. Indeed, the character?s rather sudden progressions, in terms of relationships, authority and maturity, were rendered less abrupt because Hollaway played every element perfectly. The scene in which he mournfully talks about getting over an unnamed Kate was a haunting, wonderfully handled moment that led nicely into the mid-season ?cliff-hanger?. Whilst I went in expecting the final moments prior to the two week break to pivot around a life or death situation, LaFLEUR played things differently, cutting out of the action as the emotion of Sawyer?s reunion with Jack, Hurley and specifically Kate built to a peak. This was resonant, nicely underplayed ending that allowed the show to take the focus off an increasing convoluted story and focus on what has always been LOST?s real strength ? its characters.
So LOST has changed gears yet again, moving characters back onto the island, once again giving the show a chance to be a little more single minded in its storytelling ? and I for one can?t wait to see where this show is going?.