Michael Emerson sheds some light on Lost
This Tuesday, the sixth and final season of Lost will launch onto home screens (ABC; February 2 at 9 pm). When the show last left us, you'll recall, it appeared to have killed off one of the Island's main string pullers, Jacob (Mark Pellegrino), in 2007 while simultaneously detonating a nuclear bomb underneath the Island in 1977. And for those who have stuck by Lost through all the smoke monsters, polar bears, hatches, time-traveling Scotsmen, four-toed statues, and sarcastic mediums, that wasn't all. Season 5 raised the ultimate question on top of all of the already-existing mysteries of the Island at the center of Lost's vast mythology: where is all this going? How will this show resolve its multiple complex plot strands in a way that will satisfy its rabid followers?
As it turns out, not even the cast members have much of an idea. "Honestly, I don't think there are any actors on the show that would say they know what's going on or where we're heading," says Michael Emerson, who last fall won an Emmy for his role as Ben Linus, the genteel, manipulative, deadpan, recently deposed leader of the Others, the Island's indigenous people. We're talking by phone during a lull in filming the season's 12th episode (of 18) in Hawaii. "I thought when we filmed this final season that I would be able to see the end coming," Emerson continues, "that things would begin to wrap up, or the various threads of the story would begin to knit together. But the contrary has been true. The show just continues to tackle more and more new events. There's a whole new storytelling device at work this season. I can't tell where we're going, and how it will end is anybody's guess. We don't get scripts until usually the day before we shoot them, so we're always in the dark about what developments are coming."
This leads to some interesting conversations among the actors between takes. "Days like today, when we have a whole bunch of the cast together — that's when we sit around and talk about it. Especially when Jorge [Garcia, who plays portly, star-crossed lottery winner Hurley] is around, because he's sort of the primary speculator about the storyline. But everyone does it. We're all interested in the show, and we all try to solve it, too. But I have to say, none of us is anywhere near as good at it as some of the people on-line."
Emerson does touch on a few developments, however. He confirms the announcement from the show's co-creators, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, that several former cast members will be returning in some capacity, among them Dominic Monaghan (as the heroin-addled rocker Charlie Pace) and Harold Perrineau (reprising his role as devoted-father-turned-traitor Michael Dawson). He also says there will be some significant casualties. "As we get closer to the end, I guess it's obvious that not everybody is going to get out of it alive. In fact, we were talking today because there's a shocking event in the episode we're filming, and it made us all think, 'Oh wow, nobody's safe on this show.' " As for that "new narrative device" he mentions, he calls it "stunning, thought-provoking."
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