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"The Beginning of the End," "Confirmed Dead," "The Economist," "Eggtown," "The Constant," "The Other Woman," "Ji Yeon," "Meet Kevin Johnson," "The Shape of Things to Come," "Something Nice Back Home," "Cabin Fever," "There's No Place Like Home: Part 1," "There's No Place Like Home: Part 2"
by Walter Chaw Four years into its run, "Lost" appears to have hit something of a stride--at least it does until it falls completely off the rails, maybe for good. Blame the most recent Writer's Strike, which happened in the middle of this truncated season, or better yet, blame the fact that the series can't seem to leave well enough alone. It has a chance to be transcendent, see, and resigns itself to being ordinary. The best episode of the run so far happens early in the season with episode 4.5, "The Constant." A clear homage to Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse-Five, it replaces Billy Pilgrim with our Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick), who becomes "unstuck" in time and struggles during the course of things to find a "constant" with which to anchor his consciousness in one fixed timeline. Ingeniously executed and manufacturing the first real suspense "Lost" has managed since possibly the first episode of the first season (or since the first hatch was opened), "The Constant" suggests that there are separate Oceanic Flight 815s, that reality is slippery, and that there might be a struggle somewhere, between some things, for control over a dominant reality. "The Constant" marks the moment I became a "Lost" fan. And then, in the very next episode, "The Other Woman," everything goes to shit: "Lost" scrambles to demystify all these philosophies in favour of a vast conspiracy masterminded by an evil billionaire who, apparently, has filled a fake plane with exhumed corpses and planted it in the ocean so as to prevent his daughter Penelope--named for Odysseus's wife, right?--from reuniting with a boy of whom he doesn't approve. The problem is mainly that after three-and-a-half years of this garbage, anything the creators could come up with in terms of an Answer would not be equal to the investment the show's loyal viewers have already made in it.