10 Things I’ll Miss About Lost

The final season of Lost is rapidly approaching, so I’ve been obsessively feathering my geek nest with reruns of the show and an unending meditation on its themes, characters, and place in the Pop Culture Pantheon.  I even dreamt that I had graded the poorly researched term paper of Dr. Jack Shepherd, and confronted him at a bistro to offer him a chance to revise his work.  “You’ve only got one source,” I cried.  Never being a man who could entertain more than one point of view, Jack turned me down with his typical dismissive arrogance.  So, yeah, I guess it could be said I’ve internalized this show to an almost cellular level.  If there’s a show worth squatter’s rights in my heart and mind, it’s definitely LostAnd I will miss it when it goes.  What follows below is my list of the things that made it special: Spoiler Alerts ad infinitum.

  • Its complete and utter audacity. True, Lost is fantasy, and, as such, is pretty much duty-bound to go where no man has gone before.  Lost transports us and its flawed characters to a land of impossibilities known as  The Island.  Here, the disabled walk, the dead talk, and time as we know it is, well, subject to change.  The thing is, man has gone to these places before; those places are called spirituality, philosophy, and science.  The true journey of Lost isn’t just the exploration of where our imaginations can take us; it returns us to that timeless question of why we are here.  Are we merely the playthings of  gods and monsters, our inborn frailties foretelling our fates like some predestination expiration date?  Or do we create reality through the choices we make, our lives an ongoing experiment in which the very fabric of existence is refracted through free will into a rainbow of infinite worlds?  To these questions, Lost says an unblinking “yes.”  Like the character Eloise Hawking, Lost has built its church upon an underground lab of outlaw science, and it’s through this interdigitation of oppositional philosophies that Lost flashes mad cajones. To even presume to bring up the subject in the context of a network television drama is gutsy enough, but Lost takes it a bit further.  Judging by the ongoing failures of characters representing both sides of  the God vs. Science Culture Wars, Lost implies both camps will always be wrong as long as they continue in their mutual hostility.  Damn!
Eloise Hawking: Upstairs/Downstairs
Eloise Hawking: Upstairs/Downstairs
  • The Smoke Monster.  An uncanny silence, occasionally pierced by percussive locust echoes, heralds its imminence.  It coils like a serpent.  It roars like a beast.  What the hell is it?  Nobody knows, but make no mistake, it will fuck you up.  The Smoke Monster has been known to pull trees right out of their root bases, toss people like rag dolls, or if it’s in a good mood, it just might treat you to its own special twist on “This Is Your Life” and torment you with visions of  your past transgressions.  He’s your conscience, motherfucker!

  • The Characters.  Sayid the Killer, Kate the Bad Girl, Sawyer the Con Man, Jack the Doctor with Daddy Issues.  Lost introduced us to characters who were each uniquely tormented.  Within the cycle of the 5 seasons, these characters have grown to transcend the psychic pain induced by their life experiences or to become transformed by it.   Make no mistake, the people who crawled from the flaming wreckage of Oceanic flight 815 are not the same as the ones we’ll be watching this final season.  It’s been a fascinating trip watching Sawyer, for one, grow beyond a  vengeance-obsessed, provisions-hoarding confidence artist and bloom into Le Fleur, a man who employs his gifts for prevarication and manipulation to contribute to society instead of taking from it.  But other characters are not so lucky: warped by their shortcomings and blinded by suffering, they succumb to forces beyond their control and become pawns of destiny.  Which brings me to…
  • John Locke.  I love John Locke.  This cannot be stressed enough.  John Locke is the Charlie Brown of Lost.  He’s lonely, peculiar, and out of step with the rest of the world; therefore, he is misunderstood and regarded with suspicion and a fair amount of ridicule.  He is, without a doubt, the messiest character who has ever punched a dashboard on network television, and I mean that as a compliment.  His unvarnished neediness, wince-worthy guilelessness and idiosyncratic inscrutability propels John Locke to pursue his purpose within The Island one desperate, dangerous leap of faith at a time.  He is a conduit of both miracle and mayhem, a man who is as liable to walk out of a wheelchair he’d occupied for a number of years as he is to deliberately sabotage the rescue of his friends.  Locke would seem unworthy of anyone’s love, but Terry O’ Quinn’s Emmy-winning portrayal of this tragically wounded man leaves me no choice but to secretly consider myself Locke’s Little Red Haired Girl.  He is a jackass visionary and he sets the Lost story arc in motion with pure Crazy Power.  Let’s have a 21 knife salute to John Locke!
  • Son Of  A Bitch!

  • Time after time: not to be confused with that one time that happened 30 years before, which is right about…. Now!   Yeah, I’m not going to pretend that this Subterranean Donkey Wheel That Takes a Licking and Keeps On Kicking The Island Around In Time stuff makes sense.   The thing is, I get the sense that Lost doesn’t expect us to, either.  The show has catapulted its characters back and forth in time, and along the way, proposed that time is not a linear stream made up of a past, present, and future but instead that time is actually the eternal present.  This means that characters who transport from ‘our’ present, do not go into the past, but rather into another present.  This present seems to exist concurrently with our own, a relativity I can only liken to the coexistence of apartments within the same building.  Calling that other present (say 1977), the past, would be incorrect because that character had never occupied that particular present (apartment) until, well, now.  Lost has gone to some admirable lengths to explain this theory, which is very Sci of it, but it does not hesitate to remind us that it is also Fi by admonishing its audience to stop sweating the geek stuff and to have some faith that the story will be told.
  • Sayid getting tied up and worked over. I’m pretty sure this happens at least once every season.  It’s beginning to seem as though he’s enjoying it, particularly when he happens to be at the mercy of a woman.    I’ll also miss his soulful brown eyes, his off-putting long fingernails, his jheri curlish locks, his Season One Quiet Storm Love Tent, that low-cut chesty purple blouse he wore on the Ajira flight, and the cute way he says “Torcha!”
  • The beautiful bad ass women, their dirty tousled manes, their chiseled guns and their tank tops.

    Ana Lucia and Kate remind you: Don’t drive the tank if you ain’t got the guns

  • The smarty pants payoffs. Following in the tradition exemplified by time traveling seeker Billy Pilgrim from Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five, many of Lost‘s characters have names that are either character sign posts or clever literary references.  There’s Miles Strom, who harbors within himself a maelström of conflicted emotion.  There’s Jack Shepherd, a leader of men who don’t mind being treated like sheep.  There’s Clementine, who is “lost and gone forever” as far as her absentee dad is concerned. Danielle Rousseau had me revisiting the ideas of her namesake and Jeremy Bentham, the mummified philosopher, even popped by to inspire a hearty chuckle.  At last, my advanced Liberal Arts degree comes to its smug fruition!
  • The kismet of coincidence. The Island’s inhabitants are only strangers to one another by virtue of their own ignorance.  Their lives are interwoven in ways that they could never guess at and that they all happened to be survivors of the same plane crash is a narrative device that lends itself to all sorts of fascinating plot twists.  But more than that: for the tiny duration of one hour a week, Lost allows us to feel as though our very existence, all its chaos and senseless suffering, somehow means something, that all our lives are interlocking components of the jigsaw enigma of being.  I’ll miss that.

I’m not especially worried if Lost will fail to live up to its ambitions with this Final Season.   That it even dared to have them in the first place is enough to merit my admiration.

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One Response to “10 Things I’ll Miss About Lost”

  1. Abbi Says:

    BAHHHHH! I had no idea you love Lost as much as I do 🙂 It is going to be a sad day when it’s gone…

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