Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Willing Suspension of Disbelief: More Thoughts on Lost with Spoilers

So the light under the water was a little hokey and child actors can't act. Who cares?  I liked Across the Sea. I think they answered questions well and gave us some good back story for the mythology of Lost. A lot of people hated it. To them I say what Carlton Cuse said, "This is what an episode of Lost that answers questions looks like."Isn't it what we've wanted all this time? And isn't it great that it came right near the end? Still. I feel like I have to defend Lost--which I will do to the death as long as I can continue living happily in an alternate time line.

I think people who are mad that we don't know where Mother came from are silly. I understand curious, but mad and willing to tweet their anger to Damon Lindelof--psycho! (I've been reading his tweets since the episode aired. People are jerks. They come.  They fight. They destroy. They corrupt. They tweet rude things to Damon Lindelof.) It's like taking issue with, "Once upon a time." A story starts somewhere. It could start with a magic ring, the force, a wardrobe that leads to a magical kingdom (but where did that wardrobe come from anyway?), or in the case of the ridiculous and appalling Thomas and the Magic Railroad starring Alec Baldwin as Mr. Conductor, gold dust. (I'd like to tweet Alec Baldwin something rude about that movie.) Mother told us her answers would just make us have more questions. I like little meta-lectures like that from the writers to the audience. We deserve it.

Personally I found it excruciating that we didn't get a name for Brother. I was really betting on Esau. I mean, it makes sense--even if it's kind of obvious. At this point we probably won't get a name. I can live with it. I know the writers have probably thought about it more than I have--and I say that as a person who has spent literally 5 hours reading Lost theories today. And I mean literally, literally. They get to decide what to divulge. And I trust them because waiting for three episodes to reveal that John Locke was in a wheel chair made it all the more Haw-some!

It's hard, people. Believe me--I KNOW. But we can't think of Lost as something that really happened. Even if it does at times seem to depict the war in Heaven and Satan's subsequent denial of a body. It is, after all, a construct. The pilot was put together in a pressure cooker just like all these TV shows start out. They didn't know the end when they wrote it. They had some basic ideas, themes, imaginative narration, and (I believe) the main points. But yeah. They made it up as they went along. Frankly, I'm surprised and impressed the writers have been able to answer as many questions as they have successfully answered so far. I love it. I think it's good and clever.

One of the cleverest things they have done is have the mythology come out of the mouth of a woman who may or may not be crazy (she's for sure not mother of the year). So if the whole light inside everyone thing doesn't jive for you it's still plausible to think that she's insane and it's a big hunk of plutonium down there. It reminds me of X-Files. There was almost always an alternate scientific explanation--albeit sometimes far-fetched. I don't mind that it might be some kind of magical or god-like thing. I like thinking of Smokey as Evil and Jacob as Good. I always enjoy seeing that battle play out. (Spoiler Alert: Good wins. But at what cost?) But I know the writers worry about being didactic and it does make a better story to have some gray area. So now we know that Brother wasn't evil from the start and Jacob isn't the embodiment of good. The difference between them lies in their worldview: is humankind naturally evil or can we overcome our fallen state and be good? I've got to hand it to them: This is a more interesting question. Although I have to admit that there is a big difference for me between orchestrating this whole thing to put people through tests for their own good to make them better people and bringing them to the island as pawns to play out their parts. I always felt like Jacob was doing the former but now it seems like the writers have stepped away from Jacob being God-like as I, personally, liked to think of him. But  it still works for me. In fact, it probably works better if I were to go back and watch every episode. Which I am doing.

And at this point I think we can admit that there is not a way to "solve" Lost. The literary and Biblical allusions are there and they make the story richer and more meaningful but they don't have a one to one correspondence--they aren't the "key." I still want to guess the ending. Is it a time loop? Will it end with Jack on the beach waking up after the crash of Oceanic 815? Or not waking up? Matthew Fox keeps describing the ending as terribly sad but beautiful and moving. So I'm trying to think of the saddest thing I can think of even if it doesn't make sense. I think it would be sad for him to wake up, get up and run to the plane and find everyone dead. Other sad scenarios would be Hurley or Kate taking a proverbial (or literal) bullet for Jack so he can do whatever it is he has to do.

I can also see it ending with Jack on the beach with an adversary talking just like we saw Jacob and the MIB speculating about the nature of man. But I don't really like this. I don't want to see Jack sitting there alone for the rest of time. It seems pointless. I mean, I know the point is to keep the light from going out in order to save the rest of the world from complete annihilation but it actually sounds kind of boring to me for it to end this way and perhaps just a little too predictable--like the name Esau.

Since we got so much about the rules and how they could possibly be subjective or up to the protector of the island ("One day you can make up your own rules, Jacob.") what I'd really love to see is our survivors getting around the rules so Jack doesn't have to sit there forever.  I think this is where Desmond will come into play. I mean, Desmond obviously has to go up against Smokey or withstand exposure to the glowing water cave. I just hope scrawny Daniel Faraday has figured this whole thing out and knows a way around the inevitable. Because while there is virtue in self-sacrifice, I hope there is a way to subvert the rules or change them. This is the only way the ending can surprise us.

It's like how there are two sides and you think you have to beat them a certain way but then the scrawny nerd figures out that tickling a certain spot on a dragon's back will make him roll over. Or when you think you're outnumbered in a battle and the way to win is to call in reinforcements but the scrawny jedi single-handedly takes out the entire Death Star with one well-placed shot. Or again when you think you are outnumbered but you suddenly realize you can call up the dead to fight on your side. Or when it looks really bleak and whatever happened at the end of Pirate's of the Carribean happens.Whatever happens, I think everyone will die on the island and live in the alternate time line.

I know it's boring when people talk about their dreams. However, it might interest you to know that I've been dreaming about Lost almost every night for the last week. The dream that was actually a nightmare was one where I was with some Lost characters in the alternate time line and they got killed. I had a horrifying realization, "It's happening here." That's how much I have invested in the alternate time line.

If you like reading about Lost there is no shortage of Lost coverage.  It's important to remember though that it can only end in a way that the writers can show us. That is, it can't be so complicated that they can't show us the ending in the next 3 1/2 hours. This principle eliminates about 85% of all the theories out there.
This is a good simple summary, even though it has two major swear words in it.  I think if you swear you get crossed off the list.


  1. PS I was also hoping Brother's name was Aaron. I don't know how. I don't know why.

  2. This poses a really good question, because, after all, you can't answer one question without asking another. What DID happen at the end of Pirates of the Caribbean? I forget.

  3. Kacy! The wardrobe was made from the tree that grew where they buried the magic ring! Do you even LIKE C.S. Lewis? Are you even a Mormon?

    And I think I can speak for all Lost fans when I say, "What is up with the back of Jacob's hair?" He has constant, egregious, distracting bedhead.

  4. I don't care how it ends as long as Ana Lucia comes back and holds a gun sideways. Or Maybe she will wash ashore and give birth to Shannon.

    I miss them.

  5. I'm glad to know I'm nit the only one dreaming about lost! I had my own finale on my dreams last Tuesday night when everyone got off the island and then a meteor shower started luckly hurney noticed they were just some sort of out of space Klondike bars. Oh well that's when I realized I've worried too much about it. I did love across the sea now I think of MIB as a victim of the "nutty mommy hair" ( have you seen the untangleds on
    Can't wait for the finale which is on a Sunday, I really hope it will be available online he next day so I can watch it

  6. I really liked the episode as well- and when I got on line was surprised to read about how many did not.

  7. ya know, you should just ask Heidi. She says she's got it all figured out.

  8. I like that you are in. You are ALL IN. I applaud your commitment and dedication through to the end. I hope you have a "now that it's all over, lets review what we know. . ." post after the finale.

  9. I'm with you Kacy, I don't want or need every little thing explained; it's more fun that way. Hard, pat answers probably wouldn't satisfy us anyway (but what about this? What about that?)

    And the people that checked themselves out during this season? Seriously? Just finish the show, then be mad.

  10. I was gunning for Esau as well since they were twins and Jacob, which means "he who supplants" did, in fact, supplant MIB.

  11. AND, the interesting thing about the subjective rules that is once you make a rule, it's always a rule, right? You can't kill each other, and even after I'm gone, you can't kill each other. So the death of the rule maker doesn't mean a clean slate. This potentially makes for a bunch of crazy, mixed-up, contradictory rules.

  12. What?! You mean LOST isn't real? Didn't really happen? Isn't the perfect allegory? DANG IT! That's been your biggest spoiler so far :)

    I don't care if their story isn't water tight. I like that it leaves me trying to put pieces together, drawing connections and noticing symbolism - gives my brain something to chew on while I wipe noses and make PB&J, you know?

  13. I agree on lots of points. I also thought that Smokey's name was going to be Esau but I was so glad no one said. I despised "Mother," wow, Allison Janney is creepy.

    I was so glad that the writers actually came up with something besides Jack having amnesia or multiple personalities in his head (i.e. Mulholland Drive, Memento, The Machinist...) At least, not yet.

    (I thought I would point out that we DO know where The Wardrobe comes from but apparently someone else gave that away. And I don't know what it has got to do with Mormons.)

  14. I love your point about outnumbered, scrawny people beating the odds, and I would love to see that happen here. And I guess Orlando Bloom would be the scrawniest person on POTC but I have no idea what happened in those movies, either! SO confusing. But LOST is awesome, and I'm also glad that they made the series so that we CAN watch the whole thing over again (with our kids some day) and it will still surprise us again!

  15. Hurry up and be done with Lost so I can start reading your blog again ;)

  16. Have you considered getting a PhD in Lost?


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