Lost fans know how the Man in Black feels. Just as this Lost character has interminably been imprisoned on the Island, they have been trapped on Tuesday nights.

Most were excited at the beginning of the season — juiced by the high of a stellar fifth season. But beyond a few high points this year, the series seems to reach new lows as it trudges toward what has to be an unbelievably amazing finale to justify the drawn-out tease this season has been.

Just what has gone wrong this season? Here’s an A-to-Z guide to Lost’s troubles this year.

A is for Aphasia: Making Sun lose the ability to speak English after she ran into a tree is likely one of the lowest plot developments in this or any other season. What was the point? The only result was the two lines that best illustrate how off the writing has been. Right after it happens, Miles says: “She hits her head and forgets English? We’re supposed to buy that?”

B is for Battlestar Galactica: With four episodes left, Lost has a chance to pull its fat from the fire. But it looks like it’s following BSG’s final trajectory where, in moving from ambiguity to clarity, it collapsed under the weight of its mythology. The result was a terrible finale with what felt like a tacked-on happy ending and a literal hand-of-God moment that effectively devalued the show’s best theme.

C is for Continuity: This season has felt like it’s moved slowly and, really, it’s as if the creators are just filling plot holes in the leaky narrative. Unfortunately, most of the answers have been unsatisfying.

D is for Desmond’s death: Did anybody think that Sayid actually shot the man in the well? Desmond asks Sayid one question, and the vacant-eyed assassin immediately has a change of heart?

E is for Endings: Admittedly, endings are hard. Lost will be lauded in television history for committing to a finale three years before the actual ending, which would make you assume that this year has been planned out well in advance. But really, this year’s odd, slow pace feels like helium leaking out of a balloon as opposed to a big bang.

F is for Faith vs. Free will: These are some of the show’s enduring themes. We all get that Jack is now the man with faith in the Island. But why? What did Locke’s faith get him? Does anyone buy Jack’s conversion?

G is for Guns: Would somebody please shoot somebody? “A wise man once said war was coming to this Island.” Really? Where is it?

H is for Hydra Island: It seems that’s where the action is going to be.

I is for Ilana getting blown up real good: Yes, we know it referenced Arzt’s death. With Ilana, what a waste of a character. Her sudden death is a sign of how quickly the writers are running out of ideas.

J is for Jacob: Introducing him was supposed to move us on to another plane of reality that explains things. Of course, as a leader, his instructions are about as effective as Dumbledore’s in the Harry Potter books.

K is for Kissing Kims:
The Sun-Jin lip lock was a long time coming, and decent enough, but didn’t it feel like it was dragged out? And their reunion was so short-lived.

L is for Locke and Linus (as in Ben): Both are shadows of their former selves. Locke, literally, but Ben is almost the more regrettable, as he’s gone from being a hated, but extremely interesting, character to pretty much a useless wimp.

M is for Man of Science, as in whatever happened to?:
Who needs science, when you’ve got, well, whatever you’ve got. Another theme casually tossed aside.

N is for the Numbers: This is a perfect example of the unsatisfying answers. So the numbers represent the candidates on the Lighthouse dial. Okay. That’s it?

O is for Others: For a bunch of folks who lived on the Island for years, they got made short work of.

P is for Parallel Reality: For much of this season, the looks at the sideways L.A. reality have been boring. It took too long for Desmond to start making the connections between the two.

Q is for Quantum Theory: Lost gets points for teaching folks the basics of the many worlds theory of quantum mechanics, but this all feels like a rip-off of DC Comics’ Crisis on Infinite Worlds.

R is for Religion:
As the Jacob-Man in Black morality play finishes up, it’s clear God plays dice with the cosmos.

S is for Sayid: As a personal favourite, his descent into zombie-like sullenness has been particularly disappointing.

T is for Time Invested: This is the argument that many folks who aren’t enjoying this season when saying they’ll stick it out.

U is for Unanswered Questions: Be ready to have some of your queries left completely untouched.

V is for V: Even with all of the complaints, losing Lost and having to settle for ABC’s other Tuesday night genre show is a definite downgrade.

W is for Widmore: Hey Charles! When are you actually going to do something soon?

X is for Xbox Live:
Why? Well because it gives us the opportunity to say that the Lost: Via Domus videogame released in 2008 totally sucked, too.

Y is for You All Everybody: I actually like what I’ve heard of Driveshaft’s song.

Z is for Zoë: Introducing new characters this season is idiotic. Widmore’s right-hand girl might be interesting but at this stage of the game, it’s far too late to make me care.

An extra half hour

Lost has found an added half-hour to expand its big series conclusion. ABC says the May 23rd finale originally scheduled for two hours is now set to air from 9 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Eastern. Preceding the finale will be a retrospective special, Lost: The Final Journey, airing from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern. It will look back at the past six seasons of this mystical thriller.

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