Quest for plot twists loses space and time

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Tv -

And on it goes: The stars of the Seven net­work’s on­go­ing saga LIKE pa­tri­o­tism, time travel is the last refuge of the scoundrel. When Lost , the con­tin­u­ing saga of the sur­vivors of a plane crash trapped on a mys­te­ri­ous trop­i­cal is­land, re-emerged for a fifth sea­son on our screens last week, it be­gan with a flash­back. Just for a change. But in­stead of the usual char­ac­ter-build­ing ex­er­cise, this time it was to those bound­ers at the Dharma Ini­tia­tive who cre­ated the tech­no­log­i­cal shenani­gans of the is­land in the first place.

Fans, those hardy, en­dur­ing souls who have not withered in the face of pos­si­bly the most stretched, most pre­pos­ter­ous, most ma­nip­u­la­tive tele­vi­sion pro­gram in his­tory, will re­call Hur­ley ( Jorge Gar­cia) jump-start­ing a Dharma Kombi van that had been rust­ing in a pad­dock for decades. The Kombi screamed down the rise, started mirac­u­lously, and Hur­ley and his passenger, the now de­ceased Char­lie ( Do­minic Mon­aghan), whooped and hollered and too­tled about, joy­ful as Noddy and Big Ears.

It’s re­fresh­ing to see the Kombi im­mac­u­late again. Not so re­fresh­ing is the man from the Dharma Ini­tia­tive train­ing videos. He has been re­hashed to tell us, straight-faced: ‘‘ This sta­tion is be­ing built here be­cause of its prox­im­ity to what we be­lieve to be an al­most lim­it­less en­ergy.

‘‘ Once we can harness it cor­rectly, it will al­low us to ma­nip­u­late time.’’

Right. There have been tem­po­ral para­doxes in Lost be­fore. ( Who could for­get Des­mond’s an­tics on the freighter?)

And, near the end of the last sea­son, we saw enig­matic vil­lain Ben ( Michael Emer­son) la­bo­ri­ously turn ‘‘ the wheel’’ in an ef­fort to move the is­land, while some of our beloved he­roes were es­cap­ing on a he­li­copter. As they watched, it dis­ap­peared.

Yes, Ben moved the freak­ing is­land. What we didn’t know is that he moved it in time as well as in space.

, pic­tured in more comfortable sur­rounds

And now we know why. It al­lows all sorts of plot para­doxes. Tonight the long­stand­ing camp on the beach just dis­ap­pears. ‘‘ It hasn’t been built yet,’’ of­fers newish tem­po­ral ex­pert Dan Fara­day ( Jeremy Davies), who re­ceives a well-de­served and ex­tremely sat­is­fy­ing thump in the face from the ever volatile Sawyer ( Josh Hol­loway) for his trou­bles.

When you mess with time, you can raise the dead, undo the past and fix the fu­ture. Still, those who are off the is­land must come back, or ev­ery­body dies. How, when, and where they en­ter an is­land in mo­tion through time and space is not ex­actly clear.

Lost still has great char­ac­ters and a grow­ing sense of hu­mour about it­self.

But when the is­land jumped, many will have seen a shark cir­cling be­neath it in the crys­tal-clear Hawai­ian wa­ters.

Ian Cuth­bert­son

Lost

In the de­but episode of the third se­ries of this English ad­ven­ture pro­gram, pre­sen­ter Bruce Parry, pic­tured, has come to the heart of the Ama­zo­nian rain­for­est to live among the Matis, a tribe that re­mained un­con­tacted un­til the 1970s when log­gers moved on to their land. While this first con­tact was a bonanza for an­thro­pol­o­gists, and pre­sum­ably for the log­gers, it didn’t work out so well for the Matis, who were all but wiped out by West­ern dis­eases. Parry will try to live as a Matis. He will have net­tles rubbed into his skin, have tree sap dropped into his eyes, eat frog tox­ins and shoot a spi­der mon­key right out of a tree for din­ner. The ques­tion is: why? In Show­case’s , vam­pires are com­ing out of the cof­fin. Over on ABC2, chimps are com­ing out of the shad­ows. Chim­panzees share 99 per cent of our DNA, and are closer to us in their ge­netic make-up than to go­ril­las. They have been treated poorly, bought and sold, trained for the cir­cus, made to wear silly cos­tumes and oth­er­wise stripped of their nat­u­ral dig­nity. Now they are fight­ing back. Chimp rights, now!

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