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It really has been six years since we waved goodbye to J.J. Abrams's island adventure. For six seasons and 121 episodes we followed the rag-tag bunch of survivors who were marooned on a Hawaiian island alongside polar bears, smoke monsters and even time travel. Some episodes seemed as if they were plucked directly from The Twilight Zone, and soon after the show first aired, we realised this was no Tom Hanks Castaway. For those who stayed the course, the final episode "The End" was met with mixed reviews (we know some of you hated it), leaving most of us scratching our heads after a bittersweet payoff. We assumed that those burning questions left after Season 6 ended would never be answered - but fear not though, Abrams had one more trick up his sleeve. A twelve-minute epilogue, "The New Man in Charge", was released on August 24, 2010 on the Complete Sixth Season DVD and the Complete Collection boxset. As with most of these things *cough* Game of Thrones *cough* it was leaked online early. Reuniting Michael Emerson, Jorge Garcia and Malcolm David Kelley, does "The New Man in Charge" still leave you feeling 'lost'?
Set off-island in a supply drop centre, the episode was intended to end several long-running questions that fans were annoyed at not having answered. The methods of the Dharma supply drops, the giant engineered "Hurley bird", and the brainwashing of Room 23 were all resolved thanks to one of LOST's signature orientation videos. What "The New Man in Charge" got right in answering questions, also left us with a whole host more! However, the epilogue it went some way to repairing the work of the finale.
Amongst the returning faces we see the highly underused François Chau, reprising his role in the orientation video for the Hydra station. We got some more information on his character, Dr. Pierre Chang/Dr. Marvin Candle/Dr. Mark Wickmund/Dr. Edgar Halliwax - one of the show's most interesting, but mysterious characters. Chang states in the video:
For purposes of security, please do not divulge my name to any outside parties...wouldn't want to resort to using an alias in future.
Well at least that explains the many names of Dr. Chang. We also got some more backstory on those polar bears that were roaming around the island. For those who had waited six year for answers on the polar bears, we found that they were amongst the island guinea pigs. Picked for their intelligence, the bears underwent several levels of testing, before transferred tot he orchid station. It was a bit of a 'meh' ending, tying up of loose ends it what was a shoehorned storyline for fanboys. Talking of tying up loose ends, "The New Man in Charge" is a tongue-in-cheek parody of itself. Michael Emerson's Benjamin Linus is there to close down the Dharma Initiative and decommission the remaining branches under the order of the 'new man in charge'. The boss nowadays is Jorge Garcia's Hurley, who took over the island after the tragic death of Michael Fox's Jack Shephard. Reformed from his old ways, Ben serves as the de facto narrator of the mini-episode and it reassuring to have a familiar face close the book on LOST.
Michael Emerson told Digital Spy:
The writers weren't dealing with procedural mysteries in the finale. They were bringing the show to kind of a spiritual conclusion, and that was the right emphasis I think ... I'd have to say that this DVD extra feature thing is lighter-spirited and a little more mechanical in the best sense of that word. And we do have the satisfaction of seeing what happened to some of the people whose storylines were not resolved in the finale.
Emerson was right; the characters of Ben and Hurley had always been a comedy double act, (anyone with Hurley was really) and a softer side of Ben was a fitting ending to his character arc. The concluding half of the episode sees a return to the Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute and our final old friend.
Malcolm David Kelley's character of Walt had also shared an affinity with Hurley, but due to pesky puberty, had to bow out of his role early. Whilst an older Walt did briefly appear in Season Five, it was cathartic to get a sense of closure on one character that we felt the show missed.
As ever with LOST, "The New Man in Charge" was never going to satisfy everyone or answer the 1,0001 questions that Redditors and fan forums threw at showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse. How did they get off the island with the Dharma van in tow - is there a never ending supply of submarines? How could Walt still help his dead father? What was the job that Hurley wanted to give to Walt? For us diehard 'Losties' though, the epilogue served as the cherry on the top of a landmark television show. Whilst the Dharma Initiative may be closed for the time being, chances our we will be crashing into the LOST island some time in the future, so fasten your seatbelts!