Overthinking Lost: Season 6 Episode 3

Overthinking Lost: Season 6 Episode 3

No, Lost. It DOESN’T matter if you’re black or white.

[Disclaimer: As you can see, I’ve titled this piece “Season 6 Episode 3” even though everyone else in the world is calling this “Episode 604.”  The reason for this is that I erroneously interpreted the season premiere as one episode when, apparently, it counts as two.  I hope you can enjoy this piece, regardless.]

Lost has always been a show about dichotomies, but maybe never more so than in this week’s episode, “The Substitute.”  In this episode alone we saw dramatized all of our favorite dualisms.  To wit:

  • Light vs. dark: Symbolized by the rocks on the scales
  • Things you can do vs. things you cannot: Embodied by Alterna-Locke and Un-Locke
  • Being trapped vs. being free: Un-Locke again
  • Acceptance vs. denial: Alterna-Locke and Alterna-Rose
  • Realism (or nihilism, if you want to be dark) vs. faith in miracles

And, beyond that, of course, we have the whole “two timelines” thing going on, allowing us to see two versions of every character operate side-by-side.  So we see Evil Island-Ben looking into the grave of one of the many men he killed and Not-Evil-Evil-But-Still-Kind-of-a-Prick-European-History-Teacher Ben who wants to grab a cup of tea with Locke, his new buddy.  The Bad Luck Hurley of 2007 is now being contrasted with Good Luck Hurley, the easy-going multi-millionaire from 2004, and Rose, who once was the big lover of faith and hope, is now a grim realist.  In fact, we now have two versions of every character, except for Locke, who, being special, gets his very own trinity of selves: Dead Locke (who I like to think of as The Father), Alterna-Locke (who I like to think of as Dead Locke’s spiritual “son”), and Un-Locke (the Unholy Spirit).

Anyway, except in the case of the three Lockes, we’ve seen a lot dichotomies in the last few seasons of Lost, and now it’s coming out big time.

The main question that arises when we think about these dichotomies, of course, is, “Which side is going to win?”  Are the writers ultimately going to side with science or faith?  Fate or free will?  Jacob or the Man in Black?  The 2007 Universe or the 2004 Universe?  And so on.  These are all forms of the same kind of question.

But is that the right kind of question?  My theory for a while has been this: Lost’s writers have been tricking us all along.  They have been manipulating us–nearly forcing us–to look at the world they’ve created as a Manichean Universe, a big ol’ backgammon board with two sets of pieces and a decidedly “black and white” world view.  But this is all a ruse.  In the end, my bet is that Lost’s world isn’t Manichean at all.  It’s a gray, gray, gray, gray world.

We’ve seen this “grayness” in earlier seasons.  For all Lost’s talk of “good guys” and “bad guys,” for instance, it’s still incredibly unclear which side anyone is on.  For the first four seasons, we were led to believe that “fate” was a religious term, and that “the Island” was making things happen using some magical, spiritual force.  Then, in season 5, we found out that “fate” was scientific all along—it was caused by time travel and electromagnetism.  Thus even “reasonable,” scientific characters like Jack and Faraday were forced to admit that destiny, in fact, was real.  In the character of Jack we see the various dichotomies duke it out almost every episode: one day he’s the Man of Science; the next, the Man of Faith.  In the second half of season 5 he was both at the same time: he wanted to use science and his own faith in himself to alter the course of history by blowing up a nuclear weapon.  And last episode we learned that Jack currently is a man unmoored; he doesn’t use medical science to help Sayid, and he has no faith in himself, in Dogen, or in humanity.  So is Jack the Man of Science or the Man of Faith?  All of the above, and none of the above.

So good and bad, light and dark, science and faith, fate and free will have all been overlapping, somewhat, since at least the fifth season.  The show, in other words, is slowly shifting from one based on black and white thinking to one based on blurry grayness.  Maybe I was looking too hard for evidence of this shift, but I did find some this week in the character of Helen.  This episode, “The Substitute” focused on a series of dichotomies that are all related.  On one side, we have “Imprisonment,” “Fate,” “Reality,” “Acceptance.”  On the other side is “Freedom,” “Free Will,” “Faith,” and “Hope.”  The first side is represented by the Man in Black, Sawyer, and, interestingly, the AU versions of Locke and Rose, while the second side is represented (in this episode) by AU-Hurley and (in our memories) by Original (Now Dead) Locke.

Tonight, however, we saw a character who found a middle ground between these two poles: Helen.  That flash-sideways scene where she and Locke converse in the kitchen was not only incredibly moving, but it also might give us some insight in where the show is ultimately headed.  To refresh your memory, here’s what happened: Locke, echoing Alterna-Rose’s “accept your life” speech, tells Helen that he’s “sick of imagining what [his] life would be like” if he could walk.  (Interesting line, from a meta-literary perspective, ain’t it?)  He then says that there are no such things as miracles—so don’t go waiting for him to start walking again, Helen.  So far, we’re firmly in Lost’s dichotomy land: at the beginning of the episode, Locke was Mr. Free Will, Faith, and False Hope.  By the end of the episode, he’s forsaken those things in favor of fatalism, reality (or “science”), and acceptance.  Two sides: one light, one dark.

Then comes the interesting part.  Helen says, “There are miracles, John.  And the only thing I was waiting for was you.”  She and Locke rip up Jack’s business card and kiss, and your humble OTI writer goes all misty-eyed.

Katey Sagal makes everything better. Do not deny it.

It’s a quick moment, but it says so much.  Let’s break it down.  Helen says she believes in miracles, but she rips up Jack’s business card (which represented the hope that Locke might walk again, by some miracle of science).  If the “miracle” she’s referring to here ISN’T the potential miracle of Locke being able to walk again, what is she talking about?

Well, her love for John, obviously!  (Aww…)  Their relationship, which did not work in the original Lost universe, is a real life miracle here.  In this one sentence, Helen blurs Lost’s old dichotomies.  She has faith, not in religious miracles or the power of science, but in Locke.  Yet, at the same time, she is a realist in that she understands that Locke will not dance at their wedding.  She accepts Locke the way he is, yet that acceptance isn’t a form of nihilistic fatalism.  No, her acceptance of Locke comes from her love for him, which is simultaneously fated (after all, they fell in love in the original universe, so it seems some force is working to bring these two together) and a free choice (because in the other universe, she decided not to take up his offer of marriage).  In two sentences, Helen synthesizes fate and free will and reason and faith all in one romantic mélange.  Good job, Leela!

The scene with Un-Locke in the cave with Sawyer blurs the strict lines between the dualities, as well.  I don’t know about you, but when I saw The Incident, I separated Jacob and the Man in Black like this: Jacob was light, good, the master of free will, and full of faith and hope, while the MiB was dark, evil, a believer in fate, and full of cynicism borne out of his experience with humanity.

But in Tuesday’s episode, the Man in Black did a few things that changed my views.  First, he showed Sawyer Jacob’s list of candidates, which did prove that Jacob caused the Losties to land on the Island.  Second, he told Sawyer that Jacob’s “touch” was a subtle manipulation—another way of ensuring that Sawyer got to the Island in 2004.  Now, whether the MiB is lying or misinterpreting Jacob’s actions is up for debate, but this all does suggest that, for all of Jacob’s talk of “progress,” “free will,” and “the choice is yours, Hurley,” he WAS the man behind the curtain in some ways, pulling the strings of fate toward some end he predetermined a long, long time ago.  Maybe Jacob represents fate and free will at the same time, and, if that is the case, he might also be good and evil at the same time, too.  We’ll see.

Lost has gone out of its way to emphasize that it’s a show about two sides, like in a game of backgammon.  According to the characters, there’s light and dark, good people and bad people, fate and free will, science and faith, things you can do and things you can’t, and so on.  The thing is, this is what the characters SAY, but it’s not what the show DOES.  In practice, the lines separating the two poles are more blurred than they seem, and I, for one, am still holding out for an ending that obliterates these false dichotomies once and for all.

Other notes:

  • As much as I like Richard the Badass Know-It-All, this new terrified, beaten Richard (a.k.a. “Richard the Rabbit-Hearted,” a.k.a. “Guyliner, Streaked With Tears”) is looking good.  Rawr.
  • So now that it’s confirmed that Locke (along with the other Losties) was a candidate, does that confirm that he was, indeed, “special”?
  • That “Locke Goes to An Interview” scene was almost exactly the same satirical interview scene shown in a recent episode of the ABC sitcom The Middle.  Fascinating.  Looks like I’m not the only person in the world who hates the modern interviewing process.

You know who I want to see show up in the Alterna-verse? Mikhail.

  • I’m going to believe the Man in Black when he says he used to be human.  So if we accept that, then, uh… what does that mean?
  • When the Man in Black says he’s trapped on the Island, is he trapped there by the Island’s “unique electromagnetic properties” or by magic?  (Or are they the same thing?)
  • If Smokey is stuck as Locke, that means he can only take the shape of one dead person at a time, correct?  So, uh, who was Fake!Alex in “Dead Is Dead”?  (And, argh!  Who is Christian Shephard?!)
  • Ben’s sorry he killed Locke?  Aw, Ben!  You’ve grown!  I’m so proud of you.  (P.S. Anyone see Michael Emerson on The Soup last week?  Ben Linus needs a sitcom spin-off, stat.)
  • According to Little Blonde Ghost Boy (who I’m assuming is Baby Jacob), Smokey can’t kill “him” because it’s against the rules.  I assumed LBGB was referring to Sawyer.  Yet Smokey, we all remember, killed Mr. Eko.  Does that mean, then, that A) the rule is, you can’t kill Candidates like Sawyer, and B) Eko, for whatever reason, wasn’t a Candidate?  If so, WHY wasn’t Eko a Candidate?  He was awesome!
  • Re: Ben Linus, European History teacher: Speaking as a former public-school teacher, I have met versions of this man before.  Boy, oh boy, would it be fun to be in a faculty meeting with him!  (Answer: No.  No, it would not.)
  • Also: ha!  I totally predicted (while talking to my boyfriend, not on this blog) that we would soon see some kind of “ladder” that belonged to Jacob.  And BAM! Here comes the ladder to the cliff cave.  I’m all like Desmond up in here.  (Psychic, I mean. Not Scottish.)

[What did you think of The Substitute?  Let loose in the comments section below!  And be sure to come back Wednesday for our new Overthinking It feature, The LOST Open Thread!  It’s like our regular Open Thread, only LOST-ier!]

20 Comments on “Overthinking Lost: Season 6 Episode 3”

  1. TheMagician #

    What do you think the relevance of this is?

    The Battle of the Numbers, ancient Philosophers’ Game, a game of very high level of thinking and mathematics, played on a Black and White board with Numbers representing the pieces, here you can read The Rules and more: http://jducoeur.org/game-hist/mebben.ryth.html

    Clearly Jacob plays on the White side, MIB on the Black side, Island represents the Board and the Numbered names on Jacob’s List the pieces of each player.

    It’s pretty interesting I must say… When you look at the aim of the game: “Through tactical moves, the players should attempt to arrange a harmony out of three or four pieces in a specific proportion in the opponent’s field. The players should however pay attention to the opponent and prevent him from blocking his harmony. The first player who arranges a harmony is the winner.”

    The capturing of pieces could also explain why Smokey kills some people, but some not.

    Anyway, FIVE pieces left:

    4 = Locke (!)
    8 = Hugo
    15 = Sawyer
    16 = Sayid
    23 = Jack
    42 = Kwon

    I’ve merely glanced at the Rules of the game, should take time to learn the game, but it seems too complex for me >_>

    Do you know the game? Can you draw any conclusions from this?

    (Credit to someone on Lostpedia for finding about this.)


  2. Guy P #

    What I’m wondering is how Sawyer and UnLocke are going to get back up now that the ladder broke. That’s a real “cliffhanger”! Get it? You get it.


  3. Iver #

    Random thought that probably doesn’t have any basis and someone will be able to shoot holes in my theory but…something I thought about after this weeks episode….what if the island is some sort of prison or jail and Jacob is/was the jailer…and the candidates are for his replacement?


  4. Kevin #

    re: Smokey being “stuck” as Locke — my take was that he had spent too long in that identity, as “John Locke,” and now isn’t able to keep changing. I know I’m kind of pulling that out of my ass… but so be it.

    Speaking of Christian — I’m STILL not entirely convinced that Smokey was always playing him. Think about it: it’s pretty obvious that “dead” Claire isn’t the smoke monster — she’s just been “infected,” “claimed,” whatever any of that means, like Sayid. There are more forces at play here than just Smokey — I think that if anything, Smokey is the “puppet master,” who’s able to control the actions of the recently deceased. We should know more after tomorrow’s episode, when we get more crazy-jungle-Claire action…

    One thing’s for certain: Miles HAS to play an integral part of the resolution of the “dead” talk on Lost. He was the only one who knew something was wrong with Claire after the merc attack in S4… and that something was wrong with Sayid in “What Kate Does” a few eps ago. While both he and Hurley can “communicate” with the dead, it’s Miles that has mastered it.

    As for me: MORE DESMOND! Come on, writers — you said it yourselves, he’s “uniquely special” and destined to go back to the island! Time’s a-wasting!


  5. Bob #

    First off – thanks for the recap! Love it here. I love the EW version too, but the comments are too weird. Never posted on ’em.

    Second – Ben on the Soup was great. Still have it on my Tivo, which is saying a lot (Last two things I saved was my best friend on Tool Academy and Mark Buehrle’s perfect game)

    Am I the only one afraid of a ‘Gray’ ending to this series? I know it will be the most fullfilling on an intelectual level – Thought the sudden black in The Soprano’s was masterful – I don’t think it will be at all fullfilling on an emotional level. Just my ramblings.

    I like the possiblity that the MiB is actually ‘good’ – he’s going out and showing the man behind the curtain. I think they were too over handed in showing us Jacob in White, Lockelganger in Black, etc. I think it could be a nice twist if this were the case. Not sure if they will, but like it.

    This is the first episode I remember them having ‘clips’ in the show – ie re-showing the Jacob touch. Can this mean anything or am I chasing shadows?


  6. Kevin #

    @Bob: I wouldn’t worry about a ‘gray’ ending — everyone involved, from the cast and writers on down, say they intend the last episode to be an emotional powerhouse that leaves everyone in tears. (Now, that’s not to say that mlawski is incorrect, and the finale will be black and white — more that I disagree that a ‘gray’ ending can’t be emotionally fulfilling. Take the example she uses, the John/Helen scene that leaves everyone misty-eyed — gray, but also emotional.)

    Speaking of gray, that’s sort of where all the talk about Jacob and Smokey/MiB has been lately: neither is all-good or all-evil; they just ARE, and as they act in their particular interests, sometimes they do good, other times not. But I’m with you: I can’t imagine it’s as simplistic as Jacob = a loving God, MiB = an evil Devil. After all, trying to influence the lives of others — even if it’s for a good end — isn’t actually “good,” is it? Shouldn’t it be up to them to determine?

    (And back @mlawski: I mentioned it months ago back in one of your S2 recaps, but the S2 title “Man of Science, Man of Faith” was confirmed by Damon/Carlton to refer entirely to Jack… as opposed to Jack and Locke, which about 99.9% of the audience always assumed, myself included. So even back then, they thought there was a duality to Jack’s character… even if none of us saw it!)


  7. stabbim #

    @mlawski: On the revelation of Smokey as having been, to quote Cobra Commander, “Once a man” …note the pronoun use when, during preparations to defend the temple, Lennon says “It’s to keep him out.” Apparently it’s not a revelation to everyone.

    Along those lines, does anyone else find Smokey that much creepier knowing there’s something approximating a human consciousness lurking in there?

    @Bob: They’ve used those kind of “reminder” flashes on the show before, though it is rare.


  8. Bob #

    @Iver – what if – just tossing it out there – Jacob is the prisoner and MiB is the jailor? MiB is supposed to watch Jacob but wants out (“I want to kill you” or “I found a loophole” as in “I want you dead so I don’t have to be here anymore and go home”). Jacob can represent the ‘Wee-Bays’ of prison – accepted his fate on the island and enjoys the little things. Wee-Bay enjoyed the occational Big Mac and visit from his family – Jacob enjoys playing with his scale and visit from islanders. MiB is the tired keeper sick of watching Jacob causing problems by bringing people to the island and suspects the whole time Jacob is looking for someone to replace him – thus meaning MiB will have to keep his job watching out for someone else. Throwing it out there – but What a Twist!


  9. jimp #

    @Bob: I too was surprised and a little perplexed at the use of flashbacks to Jacob touching the Losties – surely at this late stage in proceedings not simply as an aid to understanding for first-time viewers. I mean, anyone with any stake in the Lost narrative at this point saw, and vividly remembers ‘The Incident’, no? My take on this is that the ‘clips’ were being used to highlight the possible discrepancy between what we thought were Jacob’s motivations last time we saw the ‘touching’ scenes and what the MiB was claiming in the cave scene – that Jacob’s touch negated free will rather than encouraged it. The simple dichotomies have already been smashed to pieces by Lost and I don’t think anything other than a deeply-emotional but nevertheless ‘grey’ ending will suffice

    Another potential rationale for the identical-to-what-was-already-seen flashbacks could be to highlight what was missing – a glaring omission really. Where was Kate’s touch? Obviously there are only six numbers but her name wasn’t even visible on the cave as far as I remember. Why show her being touched too in ‘The Incident’? Are we to assume that only men can be candidates? And that they currently call all the shots? That all-pervading dichotomy of male/female may be key to this thing…

    @miawski: liked your interpretation that the boy’s comment of “you can’t kill him” referred to Sawyer, as I’d assumed it was another restating of the ‘can’t kill Jacob without a loophole’ myth. Perhaps because of the flashback to Jacob’s death – which appeared to be ultimately caused by un-Locke’s pushing him into the fire rather than Ben’s stabbing. If the writers are saying that Jacob can come back from the dead because of an elementary mistake like this from the MiB I’ll be really disappointed…it appears that understanding ‘The Rules’ of the game are key to an understanding of this whole glorious mess. Just hope the writers are still playing by them!


  10. Brian Williams NBC Nightly News #

    @Kevin, regarding Christian: After seeing Smokey as Un-Locke freak out upon seeing the Boy Jacob in the woods, I now don’t think it’s so obvious that he was Christian all those other times, like you. His surprise indicated that A)he CAN show fear, unlike Sawyer’s statement, and B)he had no idea that the island could communicate through apparitions, which means that C)the island has probably acted unilaterally via apparitions (Christian, Walt, the horse, Dave, etc.) MUCH more than at least I ever thought. Certainly more than Smokey thought.

    And as for the idea of Smokey as good: I agree that the morality of the Jacob/Smokey duo is probably nuanced, but also remember that no matter what, the smoke monster KILLED tons of people. MAYBE when he judged Eko he deemed the former druglord’s sins too great to consider his island-badassness. But what about his other victims? The pilot/Matt Parkman, Rousseau’s Science Expedition? He’s got some ‘splainin to do.


  11. Gab #

    As heartbreaking as it was to see Rose as a realist, the way she is in this alternate timeline is still consistent with her character in terms of her optimism. Well, maybe “optimism” isn’t quite the right word, but she’s making the best she can out of a sticky situation. Instead of wallowing, she’s living her life to the fullest she can, and that still reminds me of the Rose from the Island, too. She doesn’t come across as “resigned” to her fate, so much as having embraced it, and that sounds like Island Rose to me- which gives me comfort, since, like I said before, she’s goi tong die now, and that makes me uber sad… I’d like to get more insight as to what Bernard is thinking about her cancer, though- remember how determined he was to find her a cure before the Island and then how hard it was for him to accept that the Island had cured her (at first… doesn’t he then try really hard to KEEP her there?), after all.

    @Guy P: HAHAHA!!! Puns!!! I LOVE THEM!!!

    @TheMagician: That’s rather, uh, trippy, for lack of a better word.

    What about the ash? Ilana gathered Jacob’s ashes into that little sack, and it looks *suspiciously* like the other powdery stuff we’ve seen before, the stuff acting as a ward against Smokey. So does this mean Jacob has died *before* and his ashes are the only thing sacred enough to keep Smokey at bay? I find that kind of hard to swallow, unless by “can’t kill him” (the “him” still being Jacob and not Jacob’s Candidates) they really mean “you can kill him but he’ll just come back so it’s pointless to try AND you’ll increase the supply of anti-you stuff” or something, instead.

    In general: Call me crazy, and not to sound snobbish, but I hadn’t ever bought into the idea that there *would* be a definitive answer to the dichotomic questions proposed- I had thought the point of the show was to prove that even if we try to see things in black and white, reality and life just are not like that at all. Fatally or faithfully, it doesn’t matter, because there are *always* situations that will arise in which we have a choice while there are *always* ones in which we have none, and the two may not always be mutually exclusive, either. For example, Jack got placed in the position of choosing whether to operate on Ben or not a few seasons back. He didn’t choose to be there, but he chose how to respond. You have elements of fate AND free will operating at the same time there. I’ve had a similar vibe from pretty much every season. Like you said, Mlawski, the characters *talk* in black and white terms, but the show, and even those supposedly black and white people, don’t operate like that- but I’d take it further and say I don’t really think the show *ever* has, either, or that it at least hasn’t been doing so for quite some time.

    About Smokey, my own theory is like yours, too, that once he takes a form, he can’t switch until another person dies. Trouble is, I can’t remember if Christian showed up again after he took the form of Alex- if he DID, then no, this theory is, most likely, wrong. If he didn’t, it isn’t necessarily *right* yet, but I suppose a bit harder to disprove. However, I do also think perhaps Jacob can take other forms, too, although differently than Smokey- remember all the “sightings” of Walt, after all, and Kate’s horse, etc., so maybe they *both* took Christian’s form at some point.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one, but what makes Jacob cross people off of his little list is, of course, plaguing me.

    And about LBGB, I liked how UnLocke was so surprised Sawyer could see him. My guess is Jacob did that 100% on purpose, to trip UnLocke up a bit and prove that Sawyer is still a Candidate. And speaking of Candidates, I hadn’t made the Eko (dis)connection yet myself, but you’re *so* right- Eko was made of awesome, so why the heck wasn’t he a Candidate? And actually, there’s more to it. To tie back into my previous rambling about Jacob taking forms, perhaps you don’t necessarily have to be a Candidate to see the special forms being taken, no, since Ben saw Alex, Shanon saw Walt, etc.; but I find it hard to swallow that Eko wasn’t Special in some way, given how much the Island seemed to have invested in him- and, more importantly, the way Smokey hunted him down. Smokey didn’t just go after Eko in his Smoke-like form, but led him away, tempted him, took the form of his dead brother in order to lure him. That’s a lot more than when Smokey offed the pilot, for instance- in that case, the victim was just snatched out of a window or something (right? From out of the cockpit, yeah? In front of Jack and Kate? Correct me, but I do remember *somebody* being basically sucked out of a window without much warning other than the creepy mechanical noises…). This could have been a result of how the writers had to accommodate the actor’s request to leave, but if Eko really *wasn’t* a Candidate, I’d like to know why Smokey thought he was a threat or at least felt it necessary to kill him in such a meticulous, elaborate fashion. *But*, if the theory that Jacob takes different forms, too, is correct, what if that vision of his brother was Jacob, trying to save him somehow? I’m not sure, I haven’t seen that episode in quite some time, but I’m tossing that one out there for general contemplation. That would throw a kernel or two into the mix, since it seems MiB/Smokey and Jacob can’t directly interfere with each other, sort of like the Greek Gods and how they have to act through mortals and demigods. Maybe Smokey broke a rule by killing him? Maybe Jacob was breaking a rule by showing up as Eko’s brother? I dunno, but I’ve never been able to get over how Eko died- and I know I sound like a broken record, but even *if* it had to do with the hastiness his character had to leave for meta-reasons, I still think more explanation would help me win my sanity roll with regards to it.


  12. stabbim #

    On Smokey no longer being able to change his “face” …perhaps it’s something as simple as a result of Jacob being dead. I’m fuzzy on what would be the actual causality there, but it’s the only major thing that’s changed since he switched from Alex back to Locke in S5.


  13. Ezra #

    I never watched this show (only seen 2 episodes, and they seemed like a lot of hooey to me), but watching the increasingly desparate attempts of its fans to force the show’s implausible nonsense into procrustean beds of meaning is enjoyable in itself. These questions like, is the Lost universe black-and-white or shades-of-gray, or are the writers tricking us into thinking it has one worldview when it really has another, seem totally ridiculous. Isn’t it obvious that the writers are simply a group of people with no real plans or goals except keep the ratings up, who careen from plot point to plot point with little thought for the future, and who will eventually concoct some slapdash finale that will manage to seem hasty despite having had 6 seasons to prepare it? These sorts of long-form, narrative-arc TV shows always look good in the beginning, but endings and resolutions are their achilles heel. E.g., Battlestar Galactica, the 1st 2 seasons were great, but their big resolution was the revelation that the writers had spent 2 years painting themselves into a corner.


  14. mlawski OTI Staff #

    @ezra: Quick answers before I go back to work:

    “Isn’t it obvious that the writers are simply a group of people with no real plans or goals except keep the ratings up, who careen from plot point to plot point with little thought for the future, and who will eventually concoct some slapdash finale that will manage to seem hasty despite having had 6 seasons to prepare it?”

    Nope. It’s not obvious at all. I think the sixth season’s been pretty great so far. Anyway (although it does seem to me that the writers did have a plan for at least the main arc of the six season from the beginning), this question of “did they have a plan all along?” seems less and less interesting to me as time goes on. Who cares, as long as the ending makes sense and is entertaining?

    “These questions like, is the Lost universe black-and-white or shades-of-gray…seem totally ridiculous.”

    Name of the website, dude.


  15. Kevin #

    @Ezra: thank you — THANK YOU — for coming on to post about how much the show sucks. You’ve totally changed my mind with your thoughtful, reasoned argument. Now I don’t have to waste my time watching the show… because after all, you’ve seen a whole *two* episodes out of over one hundred and deem them “hooey.”



  16. Tom P #

    @Ezra: I never watched this show (only seen 2 episodes,

    Clearly your expertise is unparalleled.


  17. jimp #

    @Ezra: I’m all for throwing cats amongst pigeons and challenging status quos and the like but, seriously, you are far freakier than any of the often disturbingly unfocused discussion of ‘Lost’ that has clogged so many discussion boards. It seems transparent that you’ve seen more than two episodes of the show otherwise you wouldn’t have so much animosity invested in it…on the other hand if what you say about only watching two out of over one hundred episodes is true, then you are insane! How can the motives of creators of ANYTHING that you admit to having no real exposure to be ‘obvious’ or subject to any kind of personal critique?

    ‘Lost’ is notable amongst TV shows for responding narratively to predictions and theories on how its narrative will unfold, both confirming and confounding expectations. It is also one of the most cleverly-constructed narratives I have ever seen in so-called ‘lowbrow’ culture; watching the series has been akin to being inside a tiny pod trundling around a huge picture, uncovering tiny pieces as it moves in erratic directions, folding back on itself sometimes and then veering off into new territory, like some maniac with an Etch-a-Sketch. The writers have actually done a pretty remarkable job of keeping things both consistent and fresh for six seasons, especially in comparison with previous travesties of ‘big picture’ narratives, like ‘Twin Peaks’, ‘X Files’ and, for all its merits, ‘Battlestar Galactica’.

    Just to add me own ‘umble opinion on the ‘island spirits’ debate, isn’t it totally possible that ‘Walt’, ‘Christian’ and ‘Alex’ were indeed the MiB? The end of the previous season seemed to go out of its way to suggest that MiB had been pushing events to his advantage for some time, to find the ‘loophole’. ‘Walt’s pep talk to a dying John Locke (who hadn’t yet usurped Ben’s leadership of the Others) ‘Christian’s encouragement to Locke at the wheel and ‘Alex’s instruction to Ben were all designed to get Locke (dead) and Ben (his guilty killer) in the positions he needed them to be in to kill Jacob (even the “help me” at Jacob’s cabin fits in with this plan). The fact that his ‘play’ appears to be wrapped around and working with Jacob’s ‘moves’ is part of any gaming strategy against a similarly-levelled opponent. MiB may not be good – or bad – but he’s certainly a damned clever player…oh, and maybe he killed Eko because he was getting in the way of Locke’s ascendancy. Just a thought.


  18. Genevieve #

    OK, I know we’ve all moved on, but I just wanted to say:

    I don’t think the “miracle” Helen is talking about is her love for John. I think it was the fact that he was finally ready to move on and embrace life. That’s what she meant by “the only thing I was waiting for was you.” After all, that’s why she refuses his proposal in the original timeline: because he’s obsessed & mired in the past. She was never concerned with dancing at her wedding; she loves him as-is, and wants only for him to do the same. She tears up the card because she’s so thrilled that he’s finally come to terms with the way things are. It’s a parallel to Rose & Bernard’s relationship, with the way that she was always so accepting of her fate, but she was willing to indulge him in his constant efforts to fix her… only, obviously, it’s reversed, b/c it’s the loved one who’s found acceptance and the person experiencing the trauma who hadn’t been resigned.


  19. Paul Brown #

    Read John Donne “A Hymn to God the Father”, 3rd Stanza. Here’s Jacob on the day of his death. He fears no more.


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