There’s No Show Like LOST

(Poster adveterising Season 4 Opener. Note the reflection of the skyscrapers and number 6 in the water, a hint at the rescuing of the six passengers who survived the Oceaning 515 crash on The Island. Those crafty creators)

Last night’s season finale of LOST, “There’s No Place Like Home,” was an incredible, mind-blowing experience.  I’ve never seen an episode or TV show quite like this one.  The show’s creators really know how to tell a story and this ranks up there with the very best in our culture.

For those of you who have seen bits and pieces of LOST over the years, and thought it was hard to understand or cheesy and far-fetched, give the show another chance. I had the same feelings until I came down with a cold in February and began watching Seasons 1 and 2 (which a member of the church loaned me). I was immediately hooked.  It’s truly an amazing show that is filled with literary, music, film and historical event references that all relate to the main theme which is the “capacity for good and evil that exists in every person.”  Not a new concept, but one that is told in a fresh and exciting way–loaded with spirituality, ethics, romance, adventure, suspense, mystery, drama and action. Christianity, Judaism, Islam and Buddishm play major roles in the series, and the faith aspects of the show is one of the strongest hooks that pulls people onto The Island and into the lives of the survivors of Oceanic 815 and The Others.

A couple of days before the Season 4 finale, I finished up the stories and events that make up Season 3, thus completing four seasons of LOST in 4 months!  A lot of LOST, but most definitely worth it.  The benefit to watching previous seasons while a current season is airing is that you’re able to pick up on the many subtleties in the show and put more of the pieces to this puzzling story together, which makes for a really wonderful eye-opening experience.

I have always found TV and film to be mediums in which artists express their own faith and social commentary about the world around them, and LOST embodies this idea fully.  There are so many things going on in LOST that well… you can get lost.  So it’s also been helpful to turn to some solid resources as I reflect on the meaning of LOST and the message it has for humanity.   Two books I recommend are: “LOST’S Buried Treasures” by Lynnette Porter, David Lavery and Hillary Robson (contains all of the book, TV, film references for Seasons 1-3) “Unlocking The Meaning of Lost” (explores references made in series but focuses more on character choices and themes); “LOST and Philosophy: The Island Has It’s Reasons” (one of the books in the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series that contains several essays on the philosophical and religious themes in the show).

Recently I just ordered (along with Seasons 1-3 on DVD) the book “What Can Be Found in LOST: Insights on God and the Meaning of Life from the Popular TV Series” by John Ankerburg. I’m looking forward to reading this one as it is likely to delve a bit deeper into the many God and religious themes of the series.

The show, as you can imagine, has a huge cult following because of the mystery that surrounds it and the great storytelling that keeps folks on the edge of their seat from week to week. Because the creators of LOST do such a brilliant job crafting their tale, i.e. answering some questions, but leaving much more–often in a heart-grabbing cliff hanger, there are A LOT of theories out there about what’s going on.  Many are bunk and reveal how some people aren’t really paying attention to the show.  Most, though, are pretty solid and have proven to be true. No theory or viewer, including myself, however, has got it figured out 100 percent.  But it’s fun putting the clues together all the same, and to do that it seems key to pay attention to character motives, actions, dialogue, context, appearance (including outfits), connections between characters, some basic understanding of references and word-play, and even the film-editing.

The home page for ABC which airs LOST is the best place to begin for show info and LOST theories sent in by fans, www.abc.com. Another great mainline media and fan site is http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6867118/ and

While scoping out the theories on the ABC LOST page, I came across this blog called Mirror Matter Moon, http://mirrormattermoon.blogspot.com. It’s a long read and a bit dense, especially if you don’t have the scientific-math brain like me.  But it’s very interesting. The Mirror Matter Moon theory (also known as Through the Looking Glass via Theoretical Physics) explains a lot about the show without spoilers on particular character developments.  I’m not completely convinced that the show is that scientific or complicated. And the theorist makes at least one error in his/her explanation for “Wet Walt.”  The info on the Smoke Monster is insightful but doesn’t hold up 100 percent. Since we know the Smoke Monster can capture a person’s memories and shape shift (as it did in Season 3 by appearing as Eko’s brother Yemi) it makes you wonder if the appearances of characters who are captured or dead are not the Smoke Monster.  Hopefully Season 5 and 6 will lift up the smoke screen.

I do think that the idea of space and time travel and that the dead are spiritually living beings who travel through space and time plays a huge part in the events that occur on the Island. While the creators have strongly denied that the Island is purgatory (and there’s a lot of evidence to suggest it’s clearly not) I do think the Island could a powerful place that facilitates time travel between many worlds and universes, both physical and spiritual.  What is clear is that the show is essentially in its basic form about the exploration of good v. evil (of light and dark), as producers Damon Lindlelof and Carlton Cuse explained in an interview:

“We are interested in exploring how good and evil can be embodied in the same characters and the struggles we all have to overcome the dark parts of our souls.”

(For more of this interview, visit http://www.movieweb.com/dvd/news/96/23096.php)

****Spoiler Alert**** Don’t read the above link or any further in this post if you don’t want to know some of the theories, observations and revealed secrets before watching the Season 4 finale or the series.

Where did The Island go? or where exactly did Ben go when he made The Island disappear?

Your guess on where The Island went is as good as anyone elses. Because it’s always invisible to the rest of the world, it could be anywhere in the ocean.  As for Ben, I realized while taking a shower this morning (where some of my best thinking is done) that we found out where Ben ended up in episode 9 of Season 4.  Again in a flash-forward Ben is shown lying face down in a desert in Turkey with a heavy winter Dharma Initiative coat on! He’s immiedately found by a couple of armed Turkish men on horseback, and after a heated Turkish conversation, Ben kills them.  He checks in at a hotel under an alias and checks the date of the newspaper which is 3 years after the Oceanic 6 were rescued (Season 4 finale)…so Ben time-traveled to the future after pushing the wheel that moved the island.  He then of course, according to other flash-forwards, finds Sayid and convinces the former member of the Iraqi guard to assasinate enemies of the island, most likely henchmen working for Charles Widmore all in an effort protect The Island and the people left behind.

Speaking of Widmore, what’s his role in the show?

Well, we know that Widmore, father of Penny–Desmond’s true love, has an obsession with The Island. At an auction, he buys the log of the captain of The Black Rock which crashed on The Island many years ago. He is one of the major funders of the Dharma Initiative which coordinated experiments on The Island in hopes of discovering the place’s unique properties and powers. Widmore plants a decoy Oceanic 815 with dead bodies in the ocean so that no one else will attempt to search for Jack and crew or The Island. Widmore then sends the freighter with scientists Daniel, Charlotte and Miles and crazy Keamy and goons to The Island to regain control.  Widmore and Ben have a rivalry which became evident in flash forwards featuring Ben and Sayid.

The theory, and a very plausible one, that popped up on ABC’s site, is that Widmore was once a leader of the Others who moved The Island, and as a result could never come back (according to the mysterious laws of Jacob).  This would explain Widmore’s obsession with getting back to the island and his willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed. He may have put everything into motion from the beginning of Season 1.  If Widmore used to be a leader of The Others on The Island, he likely has some special or unique intuitive and psychic powers simillar to Locke and Ben. Widmore may even be able to see into the future like Desmond.   If that’s so, that would explain a bunch.

Widmore, knowing that the Oceanic 815 surivors would cause a series of events that would get him back to the island, could’ve arranged for all of the survivors to be on the plane at the same time. Crazy, I know, but possible.

So how did Widmore get the plane to crash? Remember that in Season 3, we disocver that Widmore cruelly rejected Desmond’s request to marry Penny, saying he’s not worthy enough to be a part of the prestigious, powerful and rich Widmore family. Widmore’s words cause Desmond to eventually break up with Penny.  Later, to prove he is worthy enough for Penny and her father, Desmond enters Widmore’s sail boat race. And the race is what puts Desmond on The Island where he ends up entering the crytpic coded numbers and pushing the button every 28 minutes to save the world.  After Desmond encounters the Oceanic 515 survivors, he realizes that he may have caused the plane to crash when he nearly was late entering the code and pressing the button.

Seems Widmore may have had a hand in all this, don’t you think?

How did Locke get off the island and end up getting killed?

Locke took over for Ben as leader of The Others in the Season 4 finale and as Ben explained, would soon learn everything The Others knew about The Island. One of those secrets apparently is how to travel back and forth from The Island just as Ben, the unaging Other Dr. Richard Alpert and The Others have done for years.  Ben, as was revealed in Season 4, had a secret room in his house where he kept dozens of passports with fake names.  The reason seems to be clear: Whenver Ben traveled off The Island, he used aliases to avoid detection by Widmore.  Locke is doing the same and it should be noted that the alias Locke chooses, Jeremy Benthem, is named after the classic philosopher who developed several theories and beliefs that are key in the LOST plot (look up ole Bentham when you get a chance, pretty neat stuff). Locke is dead, I believe, because Widmore’s guys got to him, maybe with the help of Sun.

It’s also important to note that Bentham was a serious believer in the concept of the greater good, which is an ethic that both Locke and Ben live by.  Although I have not agreed with all of Ben’s actions, I do believe that he’s not as villainous as he seems.  Even though he was flippant about setting off the bomb on the freighter, he also told Locke that emotions can lead to bad decisions.  The season finale seemed to emphasize that Ben, while the perpetrator of some heinous acts, is basically good and trying to do the right thing (I think he’s one of the characters who the show’s creators are enjoying this whole idea of exploring the struggles of good and evil).

Are Jin, Michael, and Claire dead?

I’m not sure what’s going on with Claire. If she is dead, how did she die?  I’m thinking more answers will be revealed in Season 5. Clearly she is alive either physically or spiritually otherwise she wouldn’t know about the bad things that have occurred on The Island since the rescue–things so bad she appeared to Kate in a dream and told her not to bring baby Aaron back.

Jin may or may not be dead…He could have jumped in the water in time and possibly rescued by Daniel and some of the Oceanic survivors that were on the motored raft heading for the freighter. Speaking of which, what happened to Daniel and the folks on the raft. The freighter blew up and then the Island disappeared.

Michael is dead according to interview with actor Harold Perrineau with TV Guide.com http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/tvguide/365208_tvgif30.html

Michael may still be spiritually alive and traveling across a spiritual plane that is on The Island. That would explain the reference to Michael in the conversation between Walt and Hurley.

What is up with Christian Shepherd, Jack and Claire’s dad?

Christian’s recent apperances on The Island feature him in dressed down clothes, often khaki and white with matted hair rather than in his trademark navy business suit and better kept mane as he is shown in flashbacks and when Jack spots him on The Island in Season 1 and in the future.  Keep in mind that Christian’s body was not in the coffin when Jack found the box in the caves in Season 1.  Not sure what this means exactly but definitely significant.

The theme of parental-child relationships is major in LOST, particularly with fathers and sons/daughters, and of these, the one that remains at the center of the show is the relationship between Christian and Jack.

Christian is dead but clearly is spiritually alive, a ghost if you will who tells Locke in Season 4 that he speaks for Jacob.  Christian also appears rather shockingly on the freighter to tell Michael “You can go now” before the bomb explodes.

Jack ignorance of his purpose on The Island as well as the power of The Island itself, which I feel has much to do with his unresolved feelings with dad, is what causes the “very bad things to happen” according to Locke/Jeremy Bentham.

The hope is that Jack, with the help of Ben, Sayid, Hurley, Kate, Aaron and the deceased Locke, will make up for his mistakes (just as other characters have done in past seasons).

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2 thoughts on “There’s No Show Like LOST”

  1. I think it is all about reason vs. faith. Reason and faith have to coexist together on the island in order for there to be peace. (Jack and Locke, Others and Dharma, etc.) Reason (Jack) and Faith (Locke) going it alone has not worked out–as evidenced by the the final scene of the season finale.

    I love LOST, but I say, “I hate this show!” multiple times during every episode! 🙂 congrats on your beautiful girl. I hope you are all three doing well.

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