Thursday, 3 March 2011

Score Review: LOST - Season 2 (Michael Giacchino)

At the time, Season 2 was not a particularly well received season of LOST. However, this had little to do with the quality of the show itself, but was more about viewers beginning to realise that the answers to the show weren't going to be given up easily. At this period in the show, the mythology just kept on building up on itself, until eventually it would collapse under it's own weight at the beginning of Season 3. Although many episodes were viewed to be 'filler' at the time, they have actually revealed themselves to be important character episodes that have a significant effect on how we view each character for the rest of the series, as well as setting up important characters, locations and events that, for the most part, wouldn't be fully explored until as late as seasons five and six.

Due to the intense character-driven stories given in this season, Giacchino has ample opportunity to really develop the character themes, which is very good news for the Season Two soundtrack release. For the most part, this soundtrack surpasses that standard set by Giacchino in Season One. However, after some strong character themes that make up the majority of the disc, the CD doesn't get into any real meaty action cues until the last few tracks of the CD, and these cues are nowhere near as terrifying as those written for Season One. However, my favourite action cue of this season takes it's place right in the middle of some of the quieter character moments close to the beginning of the season as we are treated to a flashback showing the crash from the point-of-view of the tail section survivors. This particular track is pure genius, as it takes the melancholic 'Survivors' theme of Season One and really rips into it in the last 40 seconds to show the difference in experience between the two groups of survivors:

As I said before though, the character themes are where this CD truly shines, including another variation on Locke's theme, as well as a rendition of the 'Temptation' theme for Charlie, the former-junkie former-rockstar trying to find his redemption through his relationship with a young mother, Claire, and her newborn child, Aaron.
Jin and Sun, starting to finally work their way through their marital issues, develop their own love theme, one of the best of the show. After all of the great variations on his theme in Season One, Sayid finally gets an official track on the CD to himself with 'A New Trade', and Hurley gains an extra two themes on top of a variation of his 'Fat-Man-Running' theme from the last CD. Although he was seen primarily as the comic relief this early in the series, his great new themes really begin to show the direction that his character will take into becoming one of the most important characters of the show, with one of these themes featuring prominently in the very last episode of the series.
Rose and Bernard also get a love theme after their reunion. However, it is a shame that due to their minimal role in the show, this theme is only rarely heard:

The greatest love theme of Lost, that of Desmond and Penny, is only briefly introduced on this release, and due to it's role in the finale, is surrounded by ACTION ACTION ACTION cues. It won't be until Season Four that we finally get to hear all of this theme in it's glory.

The undoubted highlight of this CD though, is a track called 'The Gathering'. This cue isn't truly original to this album, and is instead a variation on 'Parting Words' from Season One (For a clip, see the end of my previous review).

But what a variation! The counter-melodies later in the cue add so many layers of emotion that you wouldn't have thought it possible for your heart to break multiple times within four minutes. It's a crime that for the episode in which it was featured it was mixed to the very back of the sound, meaning that it can only be fully appreciated on this album.

Overall, whilst the action cues disappoint in comparison to the Season One album, Season Two has it's own identity and is all the better for it. Whilst still maintaining the LOST flavour through it's never-changing instrumentation, the stories allow for some staggeringly beautiful character themes to make their way onto the album.

Rating: 9.2


  1. Good review! Tastes like spaghetti!

    I did throughly enjoy season 2's soundtrack, though. Admittedly, not enough Desmundo. However we must keep in mind the Penny and Desmond love story didn't get fully explored until AFTER season 2. So don't expect that here, for there be none and none there be.

  2. One point. Agreed 'The Gathering' is a breathtaking piece of music but it doesn't appear on my season 2 OST? Track #9 is listed as 'The Tribes Merge' on mine.

  3. I believe that the youtube video has screwed up there. It is actually Track 10 of the CD.

    Also, it is very true about Desmond's story, and it's not necessarily a bad thing that we don't get the full version until Season Four, as I think that one of the greatest thing's about Giacchino is the foresight shown in his work. Even John Williams never had as good a gift for foresight as Giacchino, with many of Williams' themes appearing in their full form very early on, rather than gradually building up and up over years (admittedly William's has never really had that type of source material of course lol)

  4. True Williams never had that type of source material, but Giacchino either had some inside information, or was just very, very lucky that he had time to begin, adapt, and expand his motifs the way he did over six seasons. It's hard to say.

  5. This is very true. There are times in the show, looking back on how themes have developed, that it seems that Giacchino has been at least in the top 5 of the information flow about the story. At points, he even seems to know the story ahead of some of the writers (although obviously not including Darlton). I think a perfect example of this is his development of the Monster and John Locke themes over the course of the show.