We are now one week away from the first episode of the last season of Lost. I’m both excited and skeptical.
NOTE: The post below is (I hope) free of Season Six spoilers. Please try to keep it that way in the comments.
Links and miscellanea:
- One of the challenges of the final season will be satisfying fans who are going to be demanding answers. Producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof discuss this issue in a recent interview:
Itâ€™s very dangerous to basically create a checklist of answers and then start trying to tick them off, because we want to make sure weâ€™re telling engaging stories. For us really, while the mythology is important, for us itâ€™s a story about these characters. And so most of our focus has been on, how are we going to resolve the character stories?
We really feel we are very committed to this notion of not stripping the show of its essential mystery. …
There are sort of fundamental elements of mystery and magic to the show that are unexplainable, and any attempt to explain them would actually harm the show, and in our opinion, the legacy of the show. So weâ€™re trying to find the right blend of answering questions, but also leaving the things that should be mysterious mysterious.
My nominees for “mysteries” that will not be answered: the meaning of the numbers; the source of the island’s powers; how Claire lost her baby fat so quickly.
- On that note, the creators of this list of “100 questions Lost better answer or we’ll be pissed” are just setting themselves up for disappointment.
- Do you remember Cindy, the Oceanic Airlines flight attendent who we last saw palling around with the Others? She’s apparently working for Bissell now.
I first spotted this while my kids were watching something on Nickelodeon and it took me a minute to place the actress.
- Newsweek has a nice feature story about Lost’s final season titled “The End is Near.”
- As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, the Obama Administration wisely decided that it wasn’t worth pissing off millions of Lost fans and rescheduled the State of the Union address for a night other than February 2. (I enjoyed Lindelof’s reaction: “I’m a lifelong Democrat, but when I first heard they were considering Feb. 2, I was like, ‘That motherf***er!'”)
- This piece from the Onion News Network is brilliant.
Final Season Of ‘Lost’ Promises To Make Fans More Annoying Than Ever
I especially love that they interviewed Cuse and Lindelof for the piece. That’s quality journalism.
- Michael Emerson (Ben Linus) talks about the end of Lost with TV Guide (without giving anything away).
- And, finally, how do the characters of Lost make PB&J?
I imagine there is going to be a flood of media stories in the coming week. I’ll try to highlight some of the best ones in the first part of next week’s post.
A priori Observations and Speculations
- Now where (and when?) were we?I must admit, I haven’t put a ton of thought into Lost over the break. In fact, I have to strain a little bit to remember how it all ended up. Even for someone who followed the show as closely as I did, Season 5 was just really confusing. You may recall that the season followed three basic narratives (two of which merged at halfway through the season). In one, we found out what happened to those who remained on the island after the Oceanic Six (Jack, Kate, Aaron, Sun, Hurley and Sayid) left. And what happened was, they (Sawyer, Juliet, Faraday, Miles) skipped through time for a while, discovering interesting things about the island and its history, until finally coming to a stop in 1977, a time when the Widmore/Hawking led Others occupied one part of the island, while the DHARMA crew, led by Pierre Chang and including a young Ben, occupied the other part.
- Meanwhile, John Locke, convinced that he must bring them back, visited each of the Oceanic Six in order to convince them to return to the island. Eventually, Jack, Kate, Sun, Sayid and Hurley board an Ajira Airways flight bound for the island with Ben on board, with a strangled and coffined Locke in the cargo hold, wearing Jack’s father’s shoes. Oh, and Frank Lapidus is the captain. Jack, Kate, Sayid and Hurley disappear from the plane in mid-air and find themselves in the Lost island lagoon in 1977, joining Sawyer (now going by the name of LaFleur, head of security for DHARMA), Juliet, Miles and Jin. Jack becomes convinced, with some help from Faraday, that he must detonate Jughead, a hydrogen bomb buried in an underground tunnel beneath the island’s surface in order to put everything back in place. That may or may not have happened at the end of the season when Juliet fell down the hole and possibly detonated the bomb, making the screen fade to white.
- The other story line began when those Ajira passengers who did not de-materialize (including Ben, Lapidus and Sun, as well as new characters Ilana, Cesar, and Bram) crash landed on Hydra Island (probably on the airstrip that Sawyer and Kate helped build when they were captives there in Season 3). After the crash, Locke appears to be resurrected (although the last episode revealed that whoever it is, it’s not exactly Locke). Ilana and Bram are shown to be among a group of people loyal to Jacob and intent on helping him. (Not-)Locke, with the help of Ben and Richard, leads a march to Jacob’s domicile beneath the three-toed statue, where Ben is tasked with killing (the demi-god) Jacob. We find out that (Not-)Locke is an ancient rival of Jacob’s who has been working for years, centuries even, to find a loophole that will allow him to kill Jacob, and finally he succeeds, through Ben.
- So what does it all mean? Honestly, I wouldn’t begin to presume. It was hard enough just remembering what all happened last season. With any luck, by the show’s end, it will all sort of make sense, at least in a big-picture sort of way. And, in some ways “what does it mean?” is the wrong question anyway. It is a TV show, after all. It’s not a sacred text. (No, really. It’s not. ABC promotional photo at the top of this post notwithstanding.)
- The most pressing question, and one that will have to be answered fairly early in the final season will be what effect did detonating the hydrogen bomb have. Did it really reset everything, making it so that Oceanic 815 lands safely at LAX? There are reasons to believe it did, and yet, that possibility seems absurd, as if it canceled the meaning of five years worth of drama. Surely it can’t be as simple as that‐the time spent on the island by these characters has to have made an impact.
- And even if the bomb is detonated and everything is reset, does that mean that Ben does not murder Jacob in the island’s post-1977 future? That possibility is also highly unsatisfying,
- Who knows? To some degree, we are forced to do a little bit longer what all Lost fans have done for the past five years: trust in the writers to come up with something interesting and entertaining. I know the writers have certainly earned a lot of trust from me, so they have this nice capital reserve of slack to tap into. But even that may have its limits if the answers don’t seem plausible.
- Even still, I’m skeptical. To be perfectly honest, I thought introducing the character of Jacob—not the ethereal, ghost-shack Jacob, but a flesh-and-blood being—and his story so late in the game was somewhat jarring. Maybe it will make more sense in light of things still to be learned, but maybe not.
Can such a wildly dense and disparate story ever be adequately wrapped up? I’m not sure.
- So what questions should be answered in a satisfying way? Here’s my own non-exhaustive list of half a dozen open issues:
- Who are the walking dead/apparitions and what role do they play on the island? There are pretty good fan theories out there, but I don’t think this has been adequately addressed. At times, these beings seem to have knowledge and speak in the voice of the person they appear to be. Other times, not so much. Many of them are clearly dead (Christian, Yemi, Horace, probably Claire.) This has been too much of a recurring happening for vague hand motions and appeals to the mysteriousness of the island. I need an explanation.
- What was Jacob’s motivation for bringing the Oceanic survivors to the island? One of the biggest reveals during last season’s finale was that Jacob had been involved all along, visiting and touching each of the character’s lives (both metaphorically and physically). Why? How does this fit into the meta-meta-meta plot that we first learned about in the last episode of the fifth season? (Sub-topic: What/Who is Jacob, anyway? Sub-sub-topic: And the other guy?)
- What was DHARMA really up to? DHARMA seems like it was a front organization with several different agendas. Pierre Chang undestood that it wasn’t really all about polar bears and fish biscuits. But what was it then? I’d like to know.
- Who is Richard Alpert and what is his role/relationship with the island? Everyone’s favorite ageless, eyelined adviser warrants some exposition at this point, I think.
- What exactly is going on between Ben Linus and Charles Widmore? We did get some idea during last season that Ben and Charles are fighting for control of the island and leadership of the Others. It’s also fair, I think to infer that their struggle is a one step removed from the overarching battle of wills between Jacob and the other guy (whom some have called Esau). But I still would like a better understanding of what the Ben vs. Widmore rivalry is all about and who made the rules by which they are playing.
- What’s the deal with Aaron? Since Season 1, it has been emphasized that Claire’s son (Christian’s grandson and Jack’s nephew, etc.) has special significance. The pyschic told Claire that he must not be “raised by another” (or “an Other”). The forces battling over the island wanted to either protect Aaron, or return him to the island. Why. (Sub-topic: What’s the deal with Walt?)
- That’s not everything—in fact, it’s not even close—but it’s a really good start. Of course, there are other things that I’d like to know and that I suspect will be answered along the way (e.g., Is Juliet dead? Will Kate ever find true love? And, most importantly, just what do the rest of Jack’s tattoos mean? Okay, maybe not that last one). We’ll probably learn some more about the Black Smoke Monster, the Temple and the island’s mythology (although I imagine this is an area that may not be fully explicated).
- I really think that those who watch every episode this season with a checklist in hand will be running the risk of missing out one what Lost really is: top-quality entertainment and storytelling. On some level, even if the finale is less than wholly satisfying, those of us who have watched for the last five years should acknowledge that the show has been a really, really great diversion. At a minimum, Season Six promises nothing less.
Please use this thread to post your thoughts and feelings about the upcoming final season of Lost. But do try to avoid posting spoilers.