On the island, Sawyer and the rest of the survivors left behind are forced to cope with the fact that they are constantly flashing through time, either to the past or the future. The approach taken here is straightforward and clearly laid out in the first episode of the season; you cannot change events in the past - "whatever happened, happened" and couldn't of happened any other way. Faraday acts as the mouth piece for much of the technobabble in the early part of the season with Sawyer playing the part of the 'everyman' who constantly questions why things are happening the way they are. This allows the writers an opportunity to ease the audience into this shift of events without making things too complex to follow. There is plenty of exposition, but with Sawyer's classic charm to offset Faraday's jargon, it makes it a lot easier to swallow.
Time travel is utilized to its fullest here to reveal some of the island's back-story over the last 50 years. Sawyer and co. pay a visit to the Others of the 1950s and are introduced to past leaders of the mysterious group. We also see some much-needed loose ends tied up as we finally learn more about Rousseau and her research team and we also discover why Richard Alpert visited a young Locke just one season ago. As secrets are revealed and key puzzle pieces are slid into place it's surprising to see just how well everything fits together. Some of this is certainly due to the asset of knowing how many episodes you have left to tell your story in, but I'm hard pressed to find many plot holes in any of the explanations given. Cuse and Lindelof deserve credit for maintaining a watertight narrative throughout most of the season.
The majority of the cast reunites for the latter half of the season in a surprising new location. It's an exciting twist for the story and gives the writers another opportunity to play with the relationships between these familiar characters while also introducing some unexpected new variables into the group. Being given the opportunity to see familiar locales from a completely different perspective is refreshing and adds to the grandeur of the island's history. While some of the mystery is stripped away as questions begin to be answered, make no mistake that the island still holds plenty of secrets yet to be uncovered.
While the narrative excels at consistently bombarding us with answers, plot developments and shocking twists, this season finds the exceptional character development of the past taking a little bit of a back seat. It's tough to fault a show that spent much of the first two seasons focused solely on character development for not having as much of it now. Still, if you're watching season five for the first time, don't be surprised to find that the frenetic pace of the plot out-shadows character development to a certain extent. With two seasons left, it's clear that Cuse and Lindelof have found themselves with a lot to cover in a short period of time and have had to make some sacrifices along the way. However, there are still some great character moments this season, and as I've said, we've spent seasons getting to know these characters, it's time to let the island's rich history come to the forefront.
Season 5 of Lost does an exceptional job of building on the story told in the past four seasons. While it doesn't quite find the perfect balance between story and character development that season four did, there are plenty of new revelations to keep fans hooked. The addition of time travel to the series gives the writers a fresh and exciting way to delve into the island's history. For those that have already watched season five, you don't need me to tell you that this is a worthy addition to a great story. For those of you waiting for the DVD or Blu-ray, season five has everything you've come to expect from one of the best shows on television.