Lost: The Complete Third Season DVD Review
Much like season two started out with a new wrinkle with the "taillies," season three started out with a "mini-season" of six episodes in a scheduling effort to have a block of fall episodes before returning for a longer run in the spring. This mini-season focused on Kate, Jack and Sawyer as well as developing "The Others." There was plenty of angst and even a new possible interest for Jack. Fortunately, for some of the rest of the ensemble, there were some flashbacks. We learned why Jack's father ended up in Australia. Sawyer pulled a con with a twist. Sun was further developed. Unfortunately, Locke and Kate's flashbacks were nothing new. The fifth episode had Eko flashbacks, but the on-island ending was the treat even though we were disappointed at the latest death.
The second season was considered a disappointment, but actually ended on the upswing. After slowing down during all the exposition (and angst) of the mini-season, the third season kept that momentum going nearly all season long. Much like the "tailies" 'stole' screen time from the original survivors in the second season, the "Others" got plenty of screen time in season three. By the end of the season, Mikhail had become one of our favorite characters. Like a bad penny, he just kept turning up. Coming a close second was Richard Alpert.
The third season's formula flashbacks weren't the "gotchas" that populated the first season or even the second season. They instead functioned to further established flashback threads, set up more past connections with survivors and establish the back stories on new characters. The "gotchas" that did turn up were actually not that surprising for hardcore fans that had seen the clues for a long time. Other flashbacks weren't nearly so conventional. Flashbacks for Desmond, Nikki & Paulo (who are they, you ask), Ben and Jack's season finale flashback all were favorites for different reasons. We're still not completely sure what Desmond and Jack's flashbacks really meant. Ben's flashback was full of great back story, although it raised as many new questions as it answered. Nikki & Paulo's flashbacks intertwined existing storylines similar to season two's The Other 48 Days .
By the time the season was done, it was clear that the "mold" for flashbacks had been broken which would allow for greater storytelling possibilities for season four and beyond. Much like season two was a departure from the first season, the third season was a departure from both and we felt that it succeeded. We had to say good-bye to larger number of characters this season, some secondary, but others were fan favorites. Because of this, it was a bittersweet season but a season that proved there was a lot of good storytelling left in the Lost tank.
The Complete Third Season: The Unexplored Experience DVD includes over six hours of extras. Of course, more than three hours of that comes from four episode commentaries. The first commentary features Damon Lindelof and Elizabeth Mitchell talking about the first episode of the season. Unfortunately, the episode has Jack flashbacks, so much of the commentary is just the two of them laughing and joking around. The second commentary is a bit better with Carlton Cuse, Evangeline Lilly and Josh Holloway talking about I Do, a Kate episode with a lot of discussion about acting motivations with some writing insights from Cuse. The third commentary is done by writers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz on Exposé, the Nikki & Paulo episode. They talk a great deal about the episode's structure and challenges, albeit very dryly. The final commentary was done by Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse and Michael Emerson for The Man Behind the Curtain. They actually manage to drop some seeming hints about future story direction, but nothing groundbreaking. There were several other episodes that we wish would have had commentaries such as Desmond's episode and the season finale, but that would likely have given too much away.
The rest of the extras are hit or miss. The best special feature was "Lost in a Day," which followed a day spanning fourteen hours in the production of the show both in Hawaii and Los Angeles. With so much going on, the piece still managed to clock in at less than half an hour. There were behind-the-scenes featurettes from ten episodes which largely focused on one particular element in each episode. "The World of the Others" covers some of the bits from season three and includes conjecture from many of the actors. We're still trying to figure out what the Orchid Instructional Film could mean. The rest of the extras are amusing, but more of the standard featurette fare that offers few true insights. One other thing we'd like to note is that the DVD case itself has a map of the Island spanning across the inside of it behind the DVDs. It's nice touch to utilize the DVD case itself as a bonus feature.
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