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Lost: Now What?!

Sorry, everyone. Unfortunately, it's been almost a month since J. Wood's last post, and his promised follow-ups have yet to arrive. We've emailed him twice, with no word. (We just hope his health is still good.)

In the meantime, we felt it would be a crime to just ignore the amazing little community that has cropped up around the Lost postsit would be a crime to just ignore the amazing little community that has cropped up around the Lost posts.

Frankly, for most of us on this end, the comments are just as insightful as the posts themselves!

So, we wanted to give our Lost fans a chance to interact with each other on our blog — to share their thoughts and interpretations of each episode in this final season.

And we'll leave a light on, just in case J. manages to join us.

If you missed this week's episode, you're not too late — watch it online right here!

Books mentioned in this post




54 Responses to "Lost: Now What?!"

  1.  
    Guaman February 24th, 2010 at 7:16 pm

    I can't wait for the next post. I hope J's doing fine.

    Now, I'm getting a little tired of getting more questions than answers on Lost. I thought that, by now, we would have a much clearer picture of what's going on on the island. Perhaps I'm too dumb to figure it out myself but things are getting pretty confusing. Any thoughts?

  2.  
    wanderlost February 25th, 2010 at 7:32 am

    Hurray for this forum!

    As I write, no other posts are showing up.

    I am currently thinking about the relationship between LOST and the Myst computer game. There is plenty to say and I invite others to comment, but I want to wait and see if this forum begins to function before writing more.

  3.  
    the puma February 25th, 2010 at 8:16 am

    Thank you for the update. I think all of us wish only the best for J Wood. Our thoughts and prayers are with you J as always. Having said that I do not know what others are thinking but I am a little disappointed so far in this season. It seems to me it has fizzled on the momentum of season 5. s

  4.  
    John the silent February 25th, 2010 at 11:19 am

    Okay I'll bite...

    First, I hope that J Wood is doing well and that it is professional and personal productivity, rather than health related issues, that are keeping him from updating his Lost posts.

    It seems to me, keeping with the tenor of J's posts, that we must look at the most significant (only?) explicit literary (so to speak) reference of the season so far: Soren Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling. Much has been made of the overt influence of Kierkegaard on Lost (hell, J might have even written about it some time back...I'm not going to go searching right now) and it seems that, inevitably, given the important role of philosophy on the show, we were going to see his name pop up eventually.

    Now, there is enough in that significant volume to fill any number of Lost related dissertations for decades to come (Issac and Abraham and the notion of sacrifice, the Knight of faith who is able to suspend disbelief for the absurdity of faith--and here I'm looking at you John the silent, smokey one--as well as the old battle between faith and reason) BUT, but for the narrative structure of this current season I think that the appearance of "Fear and Trembling" is a bit of a red herring. It reminds me of those moments in the show where it is patently obvious the writers/producers/etc. have been reading the blogs, fan boards, etc. and put things in the show that they know will light our collective fires (i.e. the discussion of Purgatory in the 3rd season, Hurley's funny meditation on Adam and Eve in Tuesdays episode, etc.) and what if the Kierkegaard shout out was one of those moments. As if to say, "yes, we know, John Locke is the knight of faith, faith is absurd, etc."

    The red herring of F&T appearance is that Kierkegaard published TWO books on the day F&T came out...the other being a book entitled "Repetition" by Constantin Constantius. And here I'm going to be fucking lazy and cut and paste the facile but accurate summary of the book from Wikipedia (I apologize):

    Repetition is the story told by Constantin Constantius as he attempts to repeat a memorable trip by stage coach to see the Opera in Berlin but finds that he cannot recapture the feelings and experiences that he had the first time. Because so much of life depends on random, accidental happenings, past events cannot be precisely recreated. But the desire to repeat the past necessarily creates different experiences. The dynamic of our relationship with this backward and forward nature of experience are central themes. Recollection is characterized as the melancholic feelings we have associated with the past that we know cannot be repeated and that often immobilize us; whilst repetition is the act and will to live forward. In recollection we place ourselves at the tragic end and we have no hope or desire. Hope and desire for novelty is merely restlessness between past and present. But repetition is profoundly and courageously living in the present. Thus for Kierkegaard repetition is philosophically and otherwise essential.
    "...he who does not grasp that life is a repetition and that this is the beauty of life has pronounced his own verdict and deserves nothing better than what will happen to him anyway - he will perish."

    Hmm...sounds kind of like a certain narrative technique we see deployed in the current season of our favorite show.

    So there you go. I have to run. Thought we could do J the honor of carrying on in his stead by talking about Lost and books.

    Namaste,

    Johannes de silentio

  5.  
    Todd Prepsky February 25th, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Excellent comments, Johannes. Your thoughts on repetition also bring to mind another book--Spanking the Maid--by Robert Coover. The title character attempts to clean her master's room, but each time she is on the verge of success something goes wrong and she incurs his wrath--and a beating. She tries to "fix" things and appears to get a little farther along each time.

    Sound like anyone we know? Jack Shephard, too, is a fixer, a fixer of spines (which I always found amusing because his "spine" is in need of repair, or at least stiffening). His need to return to the island, then to set off the bomb, are attempts to set things right, yet even now he seems to lack the self-awareness to do so in his own life. Jacob seems to have a vested interest in Jack's working things out. He must be the prime candidate to replace Jacob as protector of the island. I look forward to seeing if Jack succeeds on this journey.

  6.  
    sosolost February 26th, 2010 at 6:50 am

    Thank you for the update and thank you for "keeping the light on!"

    I do hope J Wood is okay and, as someone else mentioned, busy with life and work and not experiencing more health issues. He is in my thoughts and prayers.

    I will def head here after each epi to read what this intelligent bunch has to say and maybe to comment occasionally.

    I guess I'm too in love w/ Lost to pick apart any faults with this Season. I know they are there but it's still the best show on TV (IMO) and mostly I'm just wistful that it's coming to an end.

    I keep thinking about how this show, like no other, was made better because of the fans. The show and the fans and their theories and discussions all feeding off one another have made this a truly unique experience.

    That said, it reminds me of the scene when Boone, using the radio in the drug plane, heard Bernard's voice: Boone: "We're the survivors of Flight 815." Bernard: "No, we're the survivors of Flight 815." In my mind, Boone = the show and Bernard = us, the audience.

    Over and out.

  7.  
    Waterland February 26th, 2010 at 7:21 am

    Although I am disappointed that there has been no word from J, I certainly think his well-being is more important than his what his readers, myself included, want or expect. And so my hope is that he is well.
    Having said that, to strike on his past themes of saints, did anyone else notice that David Shepherd attends school at St. Mary's? And how loaded is the name David Shepherd?
    Biblically, David and Goliath were cousins. And who is David Shepherd's cousin but our very own Aaron Littleton?
    Also, it seems that if you survive death, such as Sayid's gun shot wound and miraculous resurrection and Claire's "survival" of her Dharma house bombing, you are suceptible to corruption or infection. The biggest clue here is Miles. Once you've survived death, if Miles gives you a strange look, you are probably in big trouble.

  8.  
    Kyle February 26th, 2010 at 7:36 am

    The complaints that this season is more questions than answers, or that there's no momentum, are bizarre to the point of unbelievable to me. The Smoke Monster is a man! The (main) 815ers were indeed collected to come to the Island! There IS something curative about the Island! These are all major answers dating back to Season 1.

    Kate and Claire are both headed back to the Temple. Claire has sworn to kill Kate if she did in fact take Aaron. Right now, the only "survivors" left at the Temple are (new) Sayid and Miles. If you haven't been seeing the stinkeye Miles has been giving Sayid since his baptism, or you aren't totally thrilled at what might happen between those two next week, then you're as dead inside as Claire is and Sayid's about to be.

    I have been grooving more on LOST-themed music than books lately, and one song that I came up with a couple seasons ago but feels more resonant every day is Modest Mouse's "Missed the Boat."

  9.  
    Waterland February 26th, 2010 at 7:46 am

    John the Silent: I like your comments regarding "Fear and Trembling" and "Repetition". Consider however, that "Fear and Trembling" is perhaps not so much a red herring as a reference to a reference: when I hear the phrase "fear and trembling" I first think of the verses from Phillipians Chapter 2 which read: "Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my prescence only, but now much more in my absence, WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION WITH FEAR AND TREMBLING."
    Which is exactly what our Losties seem to be tasked with doing.

  10.  
    rowantree67 February 26th, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    I agree, Kyle. I am astounded when folks are complaining at the "lack of answers", when we have several hours left to go! Most films are around two hours, and look how much information can be packed into the average, well-made film. I'm not at all dissatisfied. In fact, if there were only answers at this point, the show would lose steam before the finale (Sunday, May 23rd! I'm taking a sick day the Monday after!)

    I am riveted by what we have been shown/told thus far. The journeys of our LOST characters are amazingly deep and transformative. I can't imagine that television allows for this!
    ;)

    Thanks, Powells, for letting us continue to use this forum.

    Namaste!

  11.  
    leah February 26th, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    What do you guys think about the way Jin was acting at the end of the show this week? Do you think he was just afraid of Claire, so he backed out on his admission that Kate raised Aaron? We never saw anybody tell Jin that Kate did raise Aaron, but I suppose we could assume someone did. but if so, why would he tell Claire that Aaron is at the temple? Could creepy other-boy that keeps showing up and telling people what the rules are--could that be Aaron somehow? He's too old, yes, but he looks like him.

    Somehow Claire doesn't remeber abandoning her baby, I guess, because otherwise why would she want to kill Kate for taking care of him?

    I like the idea that Miles is our clue and we should watch how he watches other people.

    This last episode was genius in my opinion. They are really bringing things full circle and doing such a good job with the character development. the scene with Jack and his son (his SON!) was really impressive.

    I don't have any complaint about anything yet. I'm just waiting to see what happens. If we're satisfied after we watch the finale, they've done their job. Until then, it's all suspense and questions. That's really why we love the show, isn't it? When our questions are gone, so is the mystery, and our interest.

  12.  
    Chris in Fort Worth February 28th, 2010 at 2:07 am

    "I guess I'm too in love w/ Lost to pick apart any faults with this Season. I know they are there but it's still the best show on TV (IMO) and mostly I'm just wistful that it's coming to an end.

    I keep thinking about how this show, like no other, was made better because of the fans. The show and the fans and their theories and discussions all feeding off one another have made this a truly unique experience."

    -sosolost

    Oh man, I feel so similar...I posted this a few weeks ago when someone scoffed at the notion of Lost being 'intellectual':

    'You know what? It by far has been the catalyst for a broad spectrum of dynamic and analytical thinking for me. I have been exposed to the writings of Joseph Campbell and his musings on mythology; the literature of such varied authors as Flann O'Brian, C.S. Lewis, Richard Adams, Philip K. Dick and many others; the history and ideas behind some of philosophy's greatest thinkers including John Locke, Jeremy Bentham, David Hume, Edmund Burke and so on. LOST has opened up new ideas to me on a massive scale, but only because I had the curiousity to pursue them and the desire to seek out the various metaphysical elements to the narrative.

    In short, LOST is as intellectual as you want it to be. The fact is, while it is steeped in intellectualness on nearly every level, most people lack the desire, ability, time or motivation to view it as anything other than a primetime television show, the vast majority of which are produced with the sole purpose of providing the masses with dumbed down entertainment to serve as a respite from meaningless, yet frenzied, work days.'

  13.  
    m_m_ewies March 1st, 2010 at 5:02 am

    Hellooo all,
    I was reading for J Wood, for about 3 years now, (since season 3), and then I bought his marvelous book "Living Lost".. He's the first who guided me through a better reading for Lost on very different levels, which made me have a very unique experience, I think I haven't had in any tv show before LOST, and I doubt to have it again after LOST!
    I hope J Wood is fine, and hope his health is getting better.


    About not getting too much answers, I think the real beauty of Lost is that it acts as a puzzle containing a large beautiful picture, and what the show creators were doing so far is that they are giving us scattered pieces of this puzzle...
    I'm confident they'll give us all the missing pieces, but I think they won't assemble them all together...they'll leave it to "us" to do so.

    And that's the beauty of Lost, there's always interaction between the show and the audience, and I think it will be so much fun to leave it to us playing the puzzle and gathering the pieces all together, under one condition, that they give us all the missing pieces!

  14.  
    sosolost March 1st, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    Chris in Fort Worth:

    You are so right about the intellectual aspects of Lost. I have learned so much and been exposed to so many things I never knew before! Philosophies, theologies, mythologies, heck pop culture. I continue to be amazed at all the things thrown into the Lost pot, and they make it work!

    But, again, without the amazing fan base, I would probably be a little "lost" - it's a smart bunch that watch this show and share ideas, thoughts, and theories about it. The show is really a catalyst for so much smart and creative thinking and discussion!

  15.  
    Ginny March 1st, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    I'm so glad we are able to post and keep things going for J in case he returns. I love the responses here because they are everything Lost is...heartwarming, intellectual, inquisitive and puzzling, etc! I think the sideways world represents the slight changes in our losties lives since 1977 when jughead was activated by Juliet. And island world is giving us all answers as we move forward. Smokie is becoming fake Locke. And I like what someone said about watching Miles. The way he looks at Sayid makes me wonder if Miles is able to pick up something he'd rather not know.

  16.  
    Chris in Fort Worth March 2nd, 2010 at 6:53 am

    sosolost:

    Absolutely...I first started listening to the guys who do Lostcasts every week and followed the comments on their weekly posts, then I got into Jensen at EW, started reading Doc Artz and DarkUFO, participated regularly on the Lostcasts Fan Forum for it's one season of existence and of course, read J. Wood's blogs from the get go...All this to say, I never would have been able to analyze Lost on my own and gotten as much from it. Which is to also say, I hate the idea of Lost ending and all of us who obsess and pour over every episode, dispersing and losing these little corners of the web to share ideas.

  17.  
    l057l0v3r March 2nd, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    Oh, I am so glad to see all of you and that J might return. I stopped in on the off chance and once again am enchanted with all the ideas. I think J should know that he can post after the series is over because we all KNOW we will be dying to discuss this wonderful, absorbing show for the rest of our lives. Just as "Alice in Wonderland" and all the other books referenced are still discussed. Oh JOY!!!

  18.  
    Waterland March 2nd, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Just a thought before the next episode: there has been much discussion of the alternate/parallel/sideways reality occurring in Season 6, but doesn't the glimpse of a sunken island imply at least one more reality? I posit that perhaps there are multiple, perhaps even infinite, realities that have been created by the attempted detonation of Jughead. "Alpha Reality" is the island reality in which our Losties mistakenly believe their effort at a reset has failed. "Bravo Reality" is the sunken island, where none of the events from the pilot episode or afterward ever happened; and Charlie Reality (pun intended) is the LA X version of events. Perhaps there are Realities Delta through Zulu and in those realities, the Losties were never born, have already died, are completely different people who may not qualify as "candidates", etc.
    Perhaps I am wrong about all of this, but I am trying to figure out how the sunken island fits into a "two worlds" theory and I can't find the logic without at least a third reality...any thoughts on this?

  19.  
    Doofus March 2nd, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    Was personally thinking that Sunken Island Reality was the same reality as LAX Reality. In the 70's Jughead sunk the island and therefore 815 made it to LA. (By the way, when the shark swam past in the underwater island scene I immediately thought of "Ezra J Sharkington.") I think the mirror twinning of the Island Losties with the LA losties is intentional and is of a piece with all of the other mirror twinning going on in Lost. Of course this mirror too is warped (Jack's appendix was taken out on the island.)

  20.  
    Waterland March 3rd, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Doofus---I see your point about the sunken island being an indicator of the LA X reality, rather than another reality itself. And you're absolutely right about the mirror twinning, it became really obvious in last night's "Sundown"
    SPOILER ALERT...!




    --the LA X and Island dialogue was nearly word-for-word in Sayid's descent story. Is it me, or did he just turn the Temple into his own private Thunder Dome?

  21.  
    leah March 3rd, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    I posted this on the facebook forum too, so apologies if you've seen it, but I kind of went through the whole show thoroughly, so I thought I'd get this group's thoughts as well.
    ------

    Okay, first, the quotes that struck me:

    "I am a good man." (Sayid to Dogan)
    "I always do what I say." (Flocke to Claire)
    "You gonna hurt them?" "Only the ones who don't listen." (Claire, Flocke)
    "I know what kind of man you are." (Omar to Sayid)
    "I'm not that man any more." (Sayid to Omar)
    "Speak English." (Claire to Dogan)
    "He is evil incarnate." (Dogan to Sayid, about Flocke)
    "If you allow him to speak it is already too late." (Dogan to Sayid, about Flocke)
    "Welcome back to the circus." (Miles)
    "She just strolled in here a couple of hours ago, all weird. Still hot, though." (Miles to Kate, about Claire)
    "I can't be with you because I don't deserve you." (Sayid to Nadia)
    "I'm not the one who needs to be rescued, Kate." (Claire)
    "he's coming and they can't stop him." (Claire, about smokey/Flocke)

    And some observations:
    **Sayid's brother is now married to Nadia, a union which was encouraged by Sayid."
    **Sayid and Nadia still love each other.
    **Sayid is translating contracts for an oil co. (reason for being in Sydney)
    **In the “Previously…” section, I noticed that when they carried (dead) Sayid out of the pool, his arms were outstretched like a crucifix. Wondering if that wasn’t intentional….
    **Dogan’s idea of every person having a scale: reminded me of many religions, where the good must outweigh the bad in a lifetime to go to heaven. I know this illustration is particularly prominent in Islam. Sayid came from a Muslim country, so he would be particularly affected by this parallel, I would think. Dogan told him he would be better off dead, because his scale was tipping to the bad. Sayid replied that he was a “good man.” This whole episode was dealing with Sayid’s inner man, and whether he is a “good” or a “bad” man. His brother asked him to “take care” of his problem, because he knows “what kind of man” Sayid is. It seems all his life Sayid has been forced into situations to do things that don’t really suit his nature. From what I see, he is a man with a good heart, but he is capable of doing what he sees is necessary. I wonder if now, following Flocke out of the temple, has his heart finally been corrupted? He seems to think it is already “too late” for him. Did he sell his soul to Flocke so he could see Nadia again?
    **Dogan said Claire is a “confused girl under the influence of an angry man.” I wondered about how Dogan refers to MiB as a man, though he tears through the temple as an angry column of smoke. Is he really a man? And is Claire really just confused? She is pretty scary herself.
    **I keep wondering if maybe those kids really belong to Sayid. He seems to love them more than Omar.
    **Keamy is still a really bad guy. Interesting how we see people in different contexts in this sideways world, but their basic character seems to remain intact. Though I’m not sure about Ethan.
    **What’s with the baseball?
    **How was Dogan keeping Flocke out just by being alive? Was it him or something he was doing?
    **Sayid is continually searching for atonement. Guilt follows him for everything he’s done in his life, and he can’t ever escape it. He tries to repent but keeps getting back into the same situations, like they come looking for him.
    **I also noticed the “deals with the devil” that have been made with both Jacob and Flocke. It reminded me of Ben’s deal with Juliet that if she stayed on the island he could heal her sister of terminal cancer. It appeared he did that (or someone did), but Juliet never got to see her sister again. We learned that Jacob visited Dogan and promised to save his son if he would come to the island, but he could never see his son again (is it the same son that is playing piano with David Shephard?). Then Flocke offers to allow Sayid to see dead Nadia if he will do something for him.
    --when I was writing that, I realized a distinction in the deals. Ben always thought he was working for Jacob. If he was, and Jacob was the one who healed Juliet’s sister, we have a very large distinction, I think. Both Juliet’s sister and Dogan’s son were dying, but not yet dead. He promised to heal them, and kept his promise from what we know. Nadia, however, is already dead. And we didn’t hear Flock saying he would heal her or bring her back to life. His language was vague; he implied that Sayid could see her again. This sounded sketchy to me. Would he be able to see her but not touch her/communicate with her? Would she be alive? Would Sayid be dead? It seems the devil always makes bargains with people, and though he keeps his end, it’s not what people expect. He hasn’t promised any healing. That bothers me. I don’t think Sayid is going to be satisfied when he gets what he was promised. And now it appears he has sold his soul for it.
    **I’m wondering why Illana and crew appeared in the temple right behind smokey. It’s almost like they were with him. But they’re not, right?
    **Why didn’t Jacob get some of the others out of the temple? Last week he said he had to get Jack and Hurley out of there. Why not Kate or Miles or Cindy or Dogan?

  22.  
    RyMo March 4th, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Leah,
    I think you want Sayid to be a good man. I can't be sure he is. And it is his own doing.
    You say "It seems all his life Sayid has been forced into situations to do things that don’t really suit his nature. From what I see, he is a man with a good heart, but he is capable of doing what he sees is necessary. I wonder if now, following Flocke out of the temple, has his heart finally been corrupted? He seems to think it is already “too late” for him."
    Sayid is not forced into situations anymore than the rest of us are. The situations happen, it is what we do with them and what we feel about our actions that determine who we are. Up until this weeks episode, the sideways world has offered us a look at how the different characters reached some sort of redemption. Some were more significant than others. This week was different. There was no redemption for Sayid, because he would not allow it. His reading of the line after Keamy said that the debt was forgiven, that he could forget about it, tells us alot about Sayid. "I can't" Do you really think that Sayid was simply saying he could not forget about what Keamy had done to his family? I don't think so. I think he meant that after 12 years of trying to wash his hands of the things he has done, he can not. He doesn't deserve Nadia. He doesn't deserve redemption. He said as much to Hurley before "dying" in the pool when he said he did not know where he was going, but was sure it was not a good place. Sayid is broken. He has determined that for himself. Flocke did not corrupt him. The choice was always his, it is just that Sayid was so blinded by guilt and remorse that he never really saw that he had two choices. He closed his eyes to the other choice, just as he has always closed his eyes to the power of redemption that comes from putting the past behind us.

  23.  
    Waterland March 4th, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Leah and RyMo: really insightful thoughts regarding Sayid's psyche. He is destined to fail as a good man because he cannot forgive himself, and thus will always remain incapable of forgiving others.
    The baseball: I think it's a reference to Christian Shepard's defeatist saying "and that's why the Red Sox will never win the World Series" especially since Sayid surrendered to the dark side in the end. Doesn't get much more defeatist than that. Also, a regulation baseball has 108 stitches...so, the numbers again.
    Dogen actually told Sayid that his scale tilted "the wrong way" (rather than toward the bad), which I think was intentionally ambiguous...we were not supposed to know at that point in the episode that Sayid was about to go full-Jack-Nicholson-in-the-Shining-guano-crazy. Although, his proclamation that he was "a good man" should have been a clue, since just a few episodes ago he was telling Hurley he deserved to go to hell when he died.

    The difference between an UnLocke deal and a Jacob deal is this (and I think it's a hugely important distinction): Jacob asks people for a great act of self-sacrifice (never leave the island or see your loved one again) in return for saving the life of said loved one.
    UnLocke asks for destruction and murder (which he is seemingly incapable of committing himself due to "the rules") in return for ANYTHING you want.
    Which sounds more like a deal with the Devil?

    Additionally, I don't think that Jacob was concerned with getting anyone else out of the Temple because none of the other Temple inhabitants were Candidates---remember, Kate did not return to the Temple until right before the melee began. (And she is Jacob's "secret" candidate--the Ace up his sleeve, if you will).
    It did irriate me that she would follow a dead friend into the jungle at the episode's end--when is it ever smart to follow a dead friend into the jungle? That's right! NEVER!
    However, I hold out hope that this will lead her to Sawyer who is running his (final, ultimate) long con on Evil Incarnate. He could probable use an ally for that.

  24.  
    leah March 4th, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    Waterland: good call on the baseball references, and on the deal-with-the-devil distinctions.

    When Sayid was pointing a gun at Keamy and Keamy gave up and begged for his life, it was that classic moment where the "good guy" lets the "bad guy" off the hook, then as soon as he's safe, the snake comes back to bite him. So we would expect Sayid, if he's a good guy, to follow that pattern. He didn't. The thing is, I keep thinking, if i were in that position, and I knew that this guy was just a really bad guy, and that he had the power and the potential to kill my family, would i just let him go? I don't know that I could do it either. I mean, I'm all for forgiveness and turning the other cheek, but when confronted with "evil incarnate" (this time manifested in the form of Keamy), could you really just let him go, when you know he's likely to kill the people you love?

    Maybe I'm just sentimental with Sayid or something... but I don't see him as a "bad" guy. Even when he's doing terrible things, we've seen his humanity and his heart. He doesn't torture or kill for pleasure. Maybe it's just that we don't usually see the humanity of a person like Sayid, or even think about it; I dunno.

    Waterland: how do you know Kate is a "secret" candidate? I can't remember who are and are not candidates at this point, or even remember who is where when.

  25.  
    Waterland March 5th, 2010 at 9:18 am

    Leah: I definitely agree with you that it would be really hard to let a villian like Keamy just walk away--you would expect him to seek retribution eventually. Although, I was certainly rooting for Sayid to find some redemption, especially since a lot of the evil he did was in defense of people he loved. But I think the point of his character arc is to show us that not everyone is going to achieve that redemption. Some of our beloved Losties are in fact slaves to their destiny and in the end, will not exercise their free will to free themselves from a cycle of violence or poor choices.
    My Kate-as-secret-candidate is just a theory, but we know that she was on the originial list that got her kidnapped by the Others on Hydra Island, we know that Jacob touched her and told her to "be good" when he visited her as a child and, thanks to some sharp-eyed viewers and a screen cap, we know she has a number (51) and it has not been crossed off the Lighthouse wheel. Besides that, if Jacob were smart, he would never show his whole hand to UnLocke. So, that's just my theory and I could be totally wrong. After all, if Lost doesn't surprise me, I'll be really surprised.

  26.  
    m_m_ewies March 6th, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    leah,
    Excellent analysis for the "Sun Down" episode..
    I just want to comment on a few things:

    - MiB is probably a man...remember in the season premiere, Ben asked him "what are you?", so he replied ' I'm not a "what," Ben.I'm a "who." '
    Also,in "The substitute", when Sawyer asked him the same question "what are you?", so MiB said "What I am is trapped.....But before I was trapped,
    I was a man, James, just like you." he's lying? maybe..but I think Dogen's comment is somewhat a prove that he was really a man long time ago, and probably Jacob made his this way.

    - I didn't get what was with the baseball exactly that made Dogen leave Sayid., although he had the chance to kill him...but, maybe it is related to him (Dogen) having been used to pick up his son from baseball?

  27.  
    RyMo March 8th, 2010 at 7:11 am

    Leah,

    You feelings towards Sayid are the same as mine. At his core, I do not think he is/was a bad guy. So many of his "bad" deeds seemed justifiable when looked at in context. But here is the important thing. It doesn't appear that Sayid's view of himself is the same. And I think that is a hugely important distinction, not only for Sayid, but for the show over all as we come towards the conclusion. Sayid saw himself as a bad guy, despite his half-hearted protest to Dogen early in the episode. I think (and I admit I could be wrong on this) that this coming war we have heard about is going to have some of our beloved Losties on both sides. The sides they choose will not necessarily be due alligning with what side they think is "right', but whether they will be able to break free from the past, "forgive" themselves, and become the heroes they can be. Sayid has not yet been able to do this, and thereore finds himself on the "Dark" side. Will this continue? Is there a point of no return? Can redemption still happen for Sayid and Claire? Possibly, but only if they allow it.

  28.  
    JoeV March 8th, 2010 at 10:36 am

    As I watch this final season of Lost, I've been keeping in mind the discussion on the beach btw Jacob and the MIB. The line that jumps out at me now, esp after "Sundown" is MIB's:

    "They come, they fight, they destroy, they corrupt. It always ends the same."

    Think about it. It hasn't been "they" so much at all. MIB has had his hand in ALL of these things so far this season!

  29.  
    leah March 9th, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    JoeV has an interesting point. So far as we have seen, all of the battles or war on the island have been between people who believe they are fighting "for" either Jacob or MIB, right? Dharma Initiative may not have been affiliated (or maybe they were). Wondering which side Widmore is on.... MIB seems more and more of the deceiver to me, the more we know him. He twists the facts, twists peoples words, and uses manipulation and deception to get people on his side. The line on the beach JoeV cited above is no different. MiB tries to distort the facts. Possibly he has always been the one to fight, destroy, and corrupt. Perhaps he has only used every generation of island-comers for his own purposes, and then he blames them for the destruction he himself has wrought.

  30.  
    leah March 9th, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    Wow. I’ve gotta say, I’ve never been super impressed with the acting on LOST, but the actors are really bringing it this season, aren’t they? Of course, I always sort of thought Michael Emerson the most talented actor on the show, but tonight I think he outdid himself.

    I also think we got a good deal of answers, especially re: Richard Alpert and Jacob.
    And what’s this? Suddenly Jack is a man of FAITH. Huge faith. Apparently something clicked, because last time we saw him he was livid that Jacob was playing with him, and now he trusts that Jacob has a plan and he won’t let it get messed up, no matter what they do.

    I’ve seen a lot of complaints about the season so far, because some people don’t feel like we’re getting answers fast enough. Personally, I’ve been really impressed with this season. I really don’t think the show has been this compelling since the first season. It really is circling back.

    Well, I guess I’ll do my notable quotations of the week:
    “It was on this island that everything changed. That everything finally became clear.” –Sideways Ben, Re: Napoleon on Elba
    “They let him keep the title of emperor, but without power it was meaningless. He might just as well have been dead.” –Sideways Ben Re: Napoleon
    “It sounds like you care about this place. And if the man in charge doesn’t, maybe it’s time for a change.” –John to Ben (sideways)
    “Jacob was the closest thing I ever had to a father.” –Illana to Ben
    “Imagine how different our lives would have been if we’d stayed [on the island].” –Ben’s dad (!) to Ben
    “You’re candidates—to replace Jacob…. There are only 6 left.” –Illana to Sun
    “Cheese curds.” –Hurley, dreaming
    “Where did you come from?” “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.” –Jack, Richard
    “The island still got you in the end, didn’t it?” –Ben to Lapidus
    “A promise is a promise.” –Ben to Alex (sideways)
    “Right up until the second the knife went into his heart, he was hoping he was wrong about you. Guess he wasn’t.” –Miles to Ben Re: Jacob
    “You a cyborg?” –Hurley to Richard
    “Jacob gave me a gift.” –Richard
    “Linus, you’re a real killer.” –Artz to Ben

    Interesting differences and similarities in Ben’s sideways life:
    **Alex is his student. As her name is still Rousseau, I am assuming the mom that is working two jobs to keep food on the table is Danielle. So she didn’t become a scientist and travel the world? Or did she? But if that were the case, why would she be in such dire straights? And what of Alex’s dad?

    A theme in this episode: “How would my life have been different if…” How many people said that? Ben’s dad, Lapidus, who else?

    Ben has a Ph.D in modern history. I wonder why he and his dad left the island? Did they leave during the evacuation before the incident? There had always been an incident, right? But the first time around they didn’t leave…? I was struck that Ben was “trying to keep you healthy” and taking care of his dad, while on the island he killed him. Maybe in the sideways world Ben was never shot by Sayid and dunked in the spring?

    I was struck by Richard’s despondency. He felt like he’d been trusting in Jacob all this time, that he’d had faith that Jacob was who he said he was and that it would all work out. But now that Jacob is dead he feels like his life had no purpose. Again, this reminds me of the disciples of Jesus who were devastated by Jesus’ death and wondering what their lives were about if they had been wrong about Jesus.

    I think when Hurley mentioned he’d seen Jacob and Richard told him not to believe anything Jacob said—he might think that MiB is taking Jacob’s form and deceiving Hurley. But before Jesus’ resurrection, He did appear to the disciples and others and guided them.

    The scene where Miles tells Ben what Jacob was thinking as Ben murdered him—that made me think of Judas Iscariot as well. Jesus knew Judas would betray him, but he still hoped Judas would change his mind, and gave him a chance to do so.

    Following Richard’s despair, I was really struck by Jack’s sudden, almost miraculous faith. He’s always been the scientist, the skeptic, but he jumped in with both feet and knew he was right to trust Jacob and his plan. We’ve never seen Jack trust in anyone but himself, and now he’s fully trusting Jacob, despite Jacob’s death. I guess looking out at the ocean worked.

    So Flocke performed a little miracle…or sleight of hand—when he undid Ben’s shackle.

    The most amazing thing about this episode was how polar opposite it was from last week’s Sayid-centric episode. Sayid, struggling with his past transgressions, attempts to redeem/punish himself, and fails to find redemption (probably because he was trying to earn it). This week Ben struggles similarly throughout the episode: with what he’s done and who he has been. In the end he is broken—he will follow Locke because nobody else wants him, nor should they. But he finds redemption, forgiveness and grace when he admits his faults, his “sins,” and confesses his humanity to Illana. It was an amazing scene, on par with Jack and his son 2 weeks ago.

    The old testament phrase comes to mind: Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated. In contrasting last week’s episode with this week’s, I keep thinking about how everything’s been turned on its head: we loved Sayid and hated Ben, but it seems Sayid has chosen the path of destruction and Ben the path of redemption and undeserved grace. When Illana said “I’ll take you” I wondered if Ben would still go with Flocke. I believe Sayid would have. Sayid felt he didn’t deserve grace, and he doesn’t (neither does Ben). But both were offered it, and only one accepted.

    And now Widmore’s back. So is that who Jacob was speaking of? Does that mean Widmore is on Jacob’s side? If so, I wonder about the scene where Widmore tells John it’s important he return to the island, and everything that followed. Right now it seems like everything with Locke was part of MiB’s plan….

  31.  
    Waterland March 10th, 2010 at 8:17 am

    Dr. Linus---Wow! And how talented is Michael Emerson? What a powerhouse showcase for (Doctor) Benjamin Linus.
    I think this episode really held up a mirror to last week's "Sundown". It was truly amazing to watch the most manipulative villian achieve redemption by letting go of his penchant for grasping for more power--both on the island and in the "sideways" reality. Instead of giving in to his pattern of behavior, Ben decided to change the way he would normally react and it made all the difference. In fact, it literally saved his life.
    And Jack has made the full transformation into a Man of Faith---great work from Matthew Fox and Nestor Carbonell in the belly of the Black Rock. I may have a new favorite episode...
    Here's hoping that Widmore will be followed ashore by Desmond, Penny and lil' Charlie.

  32.  
    RyMo March 11th, 2010 at 6:18 am

    Grace is such an interesting topic for our writers to tackle. And that is what they clearly did in this episode. That is what Ben received, Grace. It is an interesting topic because it flies in the face of our secular culture. Grace is a gift that is given, and not because it is deserved. And it must be accepted, and not becuase it is believed to be deserved. I am reminded of the line in the Catholic liturgy that is loosely taken from Matthew chapter 8 or Luke chapter 7 that says "I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.” I have always loved that line. It so simply sums up a gift that is freely given, and willingly accepted. No where in there can be found the concept of deserving, or working out for ourselves. Ben was given a gift, and as far as we can tell so far, he has accepted that gift.

  33.  
    neoloki March 11th, 2010 at 8:44 am

    Nice post Leah,

    I feel much the same as you concerning the quality of this season. I have stopped reading the comments on certain blogs such as Dark's site just because it seems so many people just aren't getting it and if I have to read another person saying they are not getting answers I am going to totally lose my mind. There has been so many questions addressed this year and so many clues and explanations on the minutia of Lost it is hard to keep up with. These people who claim we are not getting answers don't even understand the questions.
    Anyway, I have to recommend a very good blog to you if you don't know about it already: eyemsick.blogspot.com
    The blog runner has very interesting and thoughtful theories and comments on each episode, also the comment section is filled with the best Lost minds on the internet, in my humble opinion. Check it out.

  34.  
    the puma March 11th, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Who is the 6th Candidate?

    This episode was the best so far this year. The acting of Michael Emerson was fantastic. The parallel between the Island and the sideway(SW) version were significant. On the island he killed his father and all others with a poisonous gas .However, in the SW version he used the oxygen tanks to keep his father alive. Ben fell to grace in both versions. Maybe that is what Ilana wanted was a heartfelt compassionate response for his actions. Ben still has a heart and a conscious. This leads me to believe that Ben is a possible candidate.

    Another thing I enjoyed in the SW version was that Ben was still very manipulative Even though he took the high road, in the end he did play the principal... He got the letter for Alex but still has the emails in his side pocket. Which he used to get out of detention patrol. The last scene in the SW version Michael Emerson acting was incredible without speaking any words. His face showed a man who is at peace in his life and has a thorough understanding of his purpose in the world.

    ….and don’t sweat the small stuff like a parking spot

  35.  
    rowantree67 March 12th, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    I, too, am so very tired of the complaints about "no answers." Not true at all! We're all on an amazing journey, and there are so many aspects (for me) that mean so much more than mere "answers."

    @neoloki -- Yes, I agree! EyeMSick is one of the VERY best LOST blogs out there, and the commenters always amaze me with their insight. Definitely one of my favorites.

    I also love Therese/Tubular's: http://blogs.chron.com/tubular/archives/lost/
    She brings much humor and research to her write-ups as well.

    Another one I can recommend (that contains both intelligence and sarcasm) is:
    http://www.hobotrashcan.com/features/down-the-hatch/

  36.  
    Montand’s Arm March 14th, 2010 at 7:44 am

    The 'Lost' Supper in Action?!?

    Did anyone see the pre-season Last Supper photos Lost released? I'm beginning to wonder if these photos are a major clue about who will be on what side in the upcoming showdown.

    The fact that the characters seated at the "right hand of the Father"...I mean, the MONSTER (Lockeness)...are the very same characters choosing to follow his Smokeyness and those seated on his left are those choosing to follow Jacob: http://www.ew.com/ew/special/0,,20313460_20336788,00.html.

    I know, I know...Ilana and Richard seem unlikely candidates to turn to the darkside, but in this last episode (Dr. Linus), we saw both of them doubt their faith in Jacob, which could leave them susceptible to accepting one of FLocke's silver-tongued deals. And, as Waterland mentioned, maybe a near-death experience opens one up to the MIB's suggestions...which Richard's dynamite dilemma has now done.

    I find this theory rather interesting, especially since we've seen Ben be redeemed (which previously seemed impossible).

    Care to elaborate? Please, pretty please with an Apollo Bar on top???

    Yours until UnLocke makes me a better offer,
    ~Montand's Arm

  37.  
    leah March 15th, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Wow, Montand: that is a very interesting picture, and i'm sure it's rife with meaning that we can't fathom yet. Besides what you noted about those on the right and left sides of Flocke, i noticed that each side is a mirror image of the other. each character is in the exact opposite position as the one on the other side of Flocke. The only exception is Lapidus, who is sort of the odd man out in this picture. Also, both Miles and Ben are looking at him very strangely.

    Also, besides Flocke, the only person not facing/looking at another person is Hurley, who seems to be staring off into space. However, although each of the other characters seems to be looking at another, when looking at them closely, they don't seem focused on another person, just facing them, looking past them (with the exception of Miles and Ben, who are staring Lapidus down).

    very interesting, especially with the tie-in to Jesus. I've been surprised how many parallels I've seen in this season to Jacob and Jesus. But interesting how this picture has Flocke in Jesus's seat.

  38.  
    Damien March 25th, 2010 at 7:08 am

    Is J Wood's heath okay? Can someone update us on that? He seems to have disappeared from the face of the earth.

  39.  
    Miss Gretchen May 5th, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Phutatorius? You still watching? Or have you become a Gleek? I'd be happy to parse Sondheim references in the show with you. . .

  40.  
    Jeff May 23rd, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Lost Finale tonight, two worlds enter, only one world exits.

  41.  
    Lost 4vr May 24th, 2010 at 10:31 am

    I really miss the posts on this site by both J Wood and the "posters". Anyone care to post about the finale?

  42.  
    Miss Gretchen May 24th, 2010 at 11:24 am

    *singing* John Locke's knife
    Desmond's key
    the way they touched my life
    oh no they can't take that away from me.

    This was a television show about community, and Powell's offered J. Wood a chance to make a community here, and it was a vibrant one. For that, I thank all involved. Season 6 of LOST was not worthy of our community, but that can't destroy what we created here with our conversations. I still have a list of books that we discussed with J. Wood that I want to purchase from Powell's, but I can tell you: I will not be purchasing the Blu-ray box set of LOST.

  43.  
    Waterland May 25th, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Miss Gretchen,
    I respectfully disagree with your opinion on Season 6. As much as I love Lost, I am in for a penny, in for a pound. For all of the deep religious, philosophical, sociological and literary value that Lost was comprised of, none of that would matter if I did not care about the characters. And all the way to "The End", Lost was true to them, the characters.
    Don't get me wrong, I loved and appreciated all of the religious and cultural references. But it was the people on the island the I grew to care for, cheer for, get frustrated with, and, in "The End", wept for. I could not have hoped for a more earnest and hopeful conclusion. And although there are many who will disagree with me, I will always view Lost as a wholly subjective experience--my interpretation will not be like anyone else's. And that, in a nutshell, is the meaning of Lost. I don't believe there will ever be anything like it again.

  44.  
    Miss Gretchen May 25th, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Waterland, I understand your point of view. I used a box of kleenex during the finale. Here is something, however, I wrote the day after in regards to the characters:

    So let's talk about the characters. Was it really the writing that made me reach for the tissues so many times over the run of the show? It was the ACTORS who made us care. Juliet and Sawyer's reunion in Sidewaysatory? Sure, when they remembered their Island lives, I cried like a baby. But really, what were we really shown on the series to prove their love? Not much! The story provided very little. In season 5 I had to keep reminding myself that they had lived together for three years. It was Josh Holloway and Elizabeth Mitchell who made that scene great, and I don't think the actors are getting enough credit. Did the show ever truly support the cast? Think about it. You're Terry O'Quinn. You walk around the entire season 5 as a resurrection of your character, and you don't even know that you are actually the Smoke Monster. That goes waaaaaaay beyond the gloss certain critics are trying to give the story: "hey, their acting is just like real life! They don't know from one minute to the next what will happen!" Well, if you are showing an actor advancing on a group of people with a gun, in a narrative or real life, that person knows whether s/he wishes that group good or ill. Imagine being Michael Emerson/Ben or Elizabeth Mitchell/Juliet and having to play that scene, while knowing NOTHING. It was a disservice to the actors who attempted to create wonderful creations that when the dust settles, some of our beloved characters may end up looking like nothing more than a collection of quirks and tics.

  45.  
    Waterland May 26th, 2010 at 8:05 am

    Good morning Miss Gretchen,
    Your argument is not without merit, but having watched several interviews with the actors, it is pretty clear that most of them do not feel under-served. Emily De Ravin stated empathically that she made the conscious decision not to watch Season 5 because she knew that Claire was without information and she therefore wanted to be uninformed going into Season 6 as well. Terry O'Quinn said that his favorite part of playing Smokey was Season 5, when he did not know he was Smokey.
    All told, I couldn't agree more with you that the actors made a huge contribution to the success of the show.

    Aside from that, as a fan viewing the show, the acting is the thing (throughout all 6 seasons) that you would be concerned about at the time of viewing. If you are engaged and "in the moment", it is the acting that creates the escapism, suspense, fear, joy, etc. (With no small assist from Michael Giacchino's score). Only upon reflection is the viewer really able to analyze the writing.
    However, (and this goes back to my opinion that my interpretation of Lost will be different from yours, not more or less valid, just different) once I had a chance to see how Season 6 unspooled, I really retained my respect for the writers as well. If you go back and take a look at Jack and Kate's attempt at a normal domestic life raising Aaron, the passage from "Through the Looking Glass" that Jack reads to Aaron at bedtime takes on a MUCH greater meaning. That is just one of many references related to Jack that, in retrospect, indicate that Jack's story would be a version of Lewis Carrol's story.
    All of the glances in the mirrors and shots of the characters reflections were hints that the Sideways reality was Through the Looking Glass (which, if you are familiar, Alice determines to be a dream). And essentially, the Sideways story was indeed a dream world--one where Jack can invent a son to redeem himself of his own failings as a son---after all, Christian was trying to turn his life around when Jack accused him of an affair with Sarah and sent him off the wagon and into his final death spiral. John Locke was able to let go of his undeserved guilt and self pity in regard to his messed up relationship with Anthony Cooper. Sayid is finally told that he can be better than people expect him to be. Jin and Sun can live happily together in expectance of their daughter. I would also venture to say that all of the bad things that happened to the characters in the Sideways world was a result of the baggage they carried with them in life. Jin and Sayid dealing with violence, Hurley's mom nagging him to get a girlfriend, Jack's initial estrangement from David, etc.
    I expect that everyone who loved this show had an immediate reaction to the ending, and then upon further reflection, and time, and distance, those initial opinions will grow stonger, or change altogether, or be enriched by starting over and watching from a newly informed perspective.
    In the end (as well as in "The End") when we examine the work as a whole, if we are all honest about it, could WE have done any better? Lost was a truly unique journey and for any of it's failings, it was, to me, a triumph of storytelling. Who am I to criticize something that can create such passion,be it positive or negative?
    Namaste!

  46.  
    Waterland May 26th, 2010 at 8:15 am

    Also, if I may share this:

    "Some things lead into the realm beyond words...
    it is like that small mirror in fairy tales--
    you glance in it and what you see is not yourself;
    for an instant you glimpse the Inaccessible...
    and the soul cries out for it."
    Alexander Solzhenitsyn

    ...just though that was apt.

  47.  
    Miss Gretchen May 26th, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Waterland, I also watched the Jimmy Kimmel interviews. I'll just say, that I'm middle aged, and very, very cynical. I think that no actor would diss the show or the writers at this point in time -- it would be career suicide. Evangeline Lilly made some mild comments about her character in New York Magazine recently and the fans were ready to have her head.
    I should also give some background on my critical views of film/TV/literature (including graphic novels) -- I have long been interested in unusual narrative story-telling; I am a collector of fairy tales; David Lynch and Andrei Tarkovsky are amongst my favorite filmmakers; I love the hackwork 2nd rate novels of Philip K. Dick just because he is at least _trying._ So I understand peoples' comments about LOST, that at least they tried to do something in the vast wasteland which is television. But it's because I care that I feel it's necessary to point out the failings in the show, rather than just getting swept away into a Huxleyian "feelie." I love your Solzhenitsyn quote, but it only makes me more disgruntled that the show did not live up to its potential (IMHO.)

    I certainly understand that different viewers had different experiences in the instant of watching, where some were carried along by the acting and the usually brilliant Giacchino score (BTW there's a great article by Alex Ross in The New Yorker about him, unfortunately, subscribers only.) However, there were many times during the entire run of the show, where because I wasn't told the underlying physics of the world they were inhabiting, that I didn't care about what was happening, even (especially) when someone was killed. A prime example is the death of Sun and Jin. I didn't react at all. I expected to see them in the next scene in the Sideways, and sure enough, there was Jin.

    I am disheartened that in the weeks before and after the finale, fans are being put by some into two camps, the "feelers" and the "thinkers;" the "spiritual" and the "answer nerds." It is because I don't find those two categories to be opposite to each other that I feel moved to post here. In hopes that I don't look like a troll by writing too much, here is what I wrote down two days after the finale:

    I'm not happy to be posting these complaints, (and I could say more,) I'm not sitting here rubbing my hands gleefully and chortling "toldja so" (or I'd link to my first post here on this topic. *wink*) J. Wood and the other people here on this blog pulled me in to the show and I then saw many excellent and brilliant things to enjoy; like Mulder: I wanted to believe. The reason I am now irked, is that there are plenty of bean counters high up in the Disney corps and other places looking to see exactly how much traffic they could generate from the fans over the years and how little effort they had to put into satisfying those fans, and so subsequent TV series, films, serial novels, etc, will be based on their conclusions.
    (And, Waterland, thank you again for that Solzhenitsyn quote, it made my day. Trust the Powell's blog to bring me something I can really chew on in thinking of the LOST finale!)

  48.  
    Miss Gretchen May 26th, 2010 at 11:23 am

    sorry, I used some HTML by mistake, here are my comments: A "feelie." That's what we get for a finale after all these years of pondering the mysteries? Something that makes absolutely no sense? After they pulled in the fans (who they are now deriding as some kind of basement-dwelling geeks) with ARGs like The Lost Experience? (all puzzles and mysteries to be solved.)

    There was a lot of retcon going on in the media in the past week, not only by the show's creators, but by critics and fans who were defending their commitment to the show (because of cognitive dissonance, I would submit.) Before the finale, I kept hearing promoted this idea that, for instance, the fans' #1 question they wanted answered is: "what is 'special' about Walt?" Perhaps some people are not very articulate about how to describe what they want for "answers," but still, I think that the Walt-mania is so much smoke and mirrors, just like the show. Walt Schmalt. What fans actually have been wanting to know for years is about the physical reality proposed by the narrative. If someone dies, are they dead? Should I care about that event? Is there some kind of life after death in your narrative world? If a character sees a phantom, is it a "ghost" (in Western cultural terms,) or is it something else, or is the character insane? For instance, can anyone answer this question, based on season 6: When Kate saw Claire's apparition in LA, what the heck was that?

    Some are angry that the sci-fi gave way to the so-called "spiritual," but here's the rub: the two didn't have to be mutually exclusive. As J. Wood was pointing out in his posts: theologians and saints, teachers of all religions and sects throughout the centuries, have applied their human intelligence -- their scientific inquiry one could even say -- to spiritual questions. To insist that we must equate "spiritual" with "muddled nonsense" is just pure laziness.

  49.  
    Waterland May 26th, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Miss Gretchen,
    Well said. I agree that "thinkers" and "feelers" should not be labeled as two camps---I would like to think I am capable of doing both. For me, it was far more important that the behaviors of the characters remained true to the journey they were on---I always cared more about meaning than answers---I now know what drove Darth Vader to become what he did, but Hayden Christensen's wooden acting kept me from really caring. When George Lucas focused on mythology/story over character in the last 3 Star Wars movies, I stopped caring.
    Now I pretend that there are only 3 Star Wars movies, the last one released in 1983. I just like that world better, even if it isn't the real one, hee hee.
    And, in relation to your last paragraph regarding scientific inquiry versus spirituality, here's one more quote for you (one of my favorites!)

    "The most beautiful and profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead.
    To know what is impenatrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in the most primitive form--this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness.
    The cosmic religious experience is the strongest and oldest mainspring of scientific research. My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds.
    That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God."

    Albert Einstein

  50.  
    John the silent May 26th, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    Dear Waterland: Thank you for the Einstein quotation. I loved it. Simply, although there is nothing simple about it, because it reminded me of my favorite Einstein quotation regarding the existence of God: "I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings."

    Spinoza is one of the (few) 17th & 18th century philosophers not mentioned in Lost and yet I see him as a significant influence on the final 10 minutes of the show. Here's my own feeble attempt to synthesize the Lost finale with Spinoza's philosophy:

    Why does Christian emphasize the “reality” of the church scene so intently? Obviously, it serves a heuristic purpose (i.e. to make sure the viewer knows that everything that came before the scene did actually take place). Yet, it also emphasizes the materiality of the experience of the church—that is to say, this is not the immaterial world, heaven, etc. but something that still has tangible qualities.

    This is why I would argue that we are not dealing with the afterlife, yet. The afterlife comes with the opening of the doors: obviously they are preparing for everything that concludes “the present life”. This is contradicted, somewhat, by Christian’s assertion that “there is no now here”—the a-temporal nature of the church space seems to suggest that we are seeing a representation of the afterlife. But why differentiate it? Why open the doors suggesting that we are, in essence, leaving the present life behind?

    This is the essential contradiction, or paradox, that Spinoza describes as the third kind of knowledge, or the intellectual love of God. As he states in Proposition 21 in the fifth part of Ethics: “The mind can imagine nothing, nor can it recollect past things, except whilst the body endures.” He goes on to say in Proposition 22 that “In God, however, there necessarily exists an idea which expresses the essence of this or that human body under a species of eternity.” What Spinoza is describing is the seemingly contradictory moment between thought that can only be imagined while the body endures and a species of thought that persists eternally because God, as substance, is eternal.

    The intellectual love of God is the contradictory thought through which the mind that endures with the body is conjoined with the mind that exists under a species of eternity.

    As Spinoza states in Proposition 20: “This love for God cannot be sullied by the emotion of envy or of jealousy, but it is the more fostered, the more men we imagine to be joined with God by the same bond of love”. The intellectual love of God is in opposition to the passions, which are the inadequate ideas that humans form through the love “for things which no one can truly possess.” The intellectual love of God is an antidote to this type of thought for it “[…] generates love towards an immutable and eternal thing, of which we are truly the possessors…. (emphasis mine)” This is why the sideways world, rather than being a representation of the afterlife, is, in essence, a world created by these characters, for these characters because they alone possess this love. That this love manifests itself in both romantic love, communal love (i.e. Kate and Claire), intellectual affinity and conflict (i.e. Jack and Locke) is the reason why it is not merely the kiss between people that generates acknowledgement of this world.

    For Spinoza, this intellectual love of God is not experienced in isolation but only communally—because it is created communally as well. As he states in Proposition 36, Part 5: “The intellectual love of the mind for God is the love by which God loves himself; not in so far as he is infinite, but in so far as he can be explained through the essence of the human mind, considered under a species of eternity.” From this it follows in the Corollary to Proposition 36 that “God, in so far as he loves himself, loves human beings, and consequently that the love of God for men, and the intellectual love of the mind for God, is one and the same.” Spinoza concludes in the Scholium to this proposition: “From this we understand clearly in what our salvation, i.e. our blessedness, i.e. our freedom, consists: namely, in a constant and eternal love for God, or, in the love of God for human beings.”

    What does it all mean? I believe that the final 10 minutes of Lost represent the closest we can come to the thought of the outside, or in Spinozist terms, the third type of knowledge (i.e. the intellectual love of God). In essence, the sideways world represents our possession of the immutable and eternal thought, which can only be understood in the intellectual love in the mind for God, which, subsequently, is the bond we imagine to which men are bonded together with God. (Said concept of God not being the anthropomorphized God but rather Spinoza’s God, which he understands as “an absolutely infinite entity, that is, substance consisting of infinite attributes, each of which expresses eternal and infinite essence.”) Spinoza’s concept of God (which seems to be embodied in the final moments of the show—i.e. in the interconnected immanent relations between human beings—is contrasted by the island narrative in which the “God-like” figure is Jacob, or the God who seems to concern himself with the fates of men. That this figure is eventually shown to be a “nebbish” (as my friend so aptly put it) isn’t the “muddled” theology of the show but, rather, a very calculated representation of the inadequate thoughts the characters have towards the omnipotence of Jacob. One of the complaints regarding the rules of the island is that they are arbitrary, that anyone can make them up if they find themselves in the role of the island protector. This is precisely the point: these rules, this island protector, the island itself is contingent. The only necessary aspect of the show is the characters because they exist immanently for themselves.

    And yet this isn’t to suggest that, as many now have, that the island was/is meaningless—that this particular group of characters could have just as easily met on an outward bound trip or a Dead concert and had an equally spiritual connection, man. The rules, aspects, characteristics, etc. of the island may appear, when all is said and done, to be contingent but the experience of the island space (both for the characters and the viewers) is absolutely necessary. And, it should be added, that it may only be from the perspective (since this show is all about perspective) of the finale that the island appears thusly. Obviously, the things that once upon a time J. Wood so eloquently wrote about the show have not disappeared, rather they have “failed” to be explicated adequately for some viewers. I personally have no problem with this—the narrative has always been about cons and repetitions, and it is in the movement between these two devices that meanings emerge. If this seems like a cop out, then so be it—but don’t fool yourself into thinking it was ever anything more than this. But as I write this the phrase “anything more than this” sticks out. Why should we ask art to be anything more than this?

    The work on Lost is just beginning.

    Oh and Miss Gretchen: As for the bean counters: don’t worry, they will always be with ye. If I would venture a guess about such things, I imagine Lost is a money loser—ABC could have easily produced ten reality shows for the cost of Lost, made money back and then some.

  51.  
    Waterland May 27th, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    John the silent: Thank you for that!

    Spinoza's spin on the concept of a God-head is very, very appropriate to Lost. I would go one step further in speculation that the Sideways reality is not, in fact, a form of purgatory or afterlife:
    I thought it very telling that Christian Shepherd said to Jack "this is a place you all created", rather than "we". I interpret the Sideways reality and especially the church, as more of a "Soul's Harbor", a pocket of eternity that may or may not be a gift from the island. A gift, perhaps, from the "magic box" that Ben told John about in trying to explain the mysterious appearance of Anthony Coooper on the island.

    Since the island protector seemed to be able to manifest their version of the rules into actuality, perhaps all of the survivors finally accepted Jack's mantra of "live together or die alone" and the Sideways was the manifestation of their collective embrace of this ideal.

    Or perhaps it was because, in the end, they were all fighting to protect the island together---something none of them really understood, but struggled for on faith alone. Once the ultimate "Man of Science" developed into a believer, a better reality became available to all of them and allowed for a new plane of soul growth and redemption---something they were unable to obtain in their island existence.
    And then again, the loveliest thing about Lost is that there is plenty of room for speculation and interpretation and THAT is perhaps the island's greatest magic and greatest gift.
    Well, that and the lovely discussions we've had here.
    How's this for mirror-twinning: in the end, this virtual space has sparked back to life, like a light inside a deep, dark cave.
    Namaste, mahalo and amen.

  52.  
    Miss Gretchen May 28th, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Spinoza! Thanks John the silent, when I was in college in my one philosophy course, it was Spinoza who made me feel as if my brain was shattering into pieces. I'll enjoy pondering your thoughts for some time. And Waterland, your last post prompts me to post more thoughts, with the hopes that it is not too much.

    Ah, the internet. Where does the ability to have a deep conversation amongst people from all over the world, overlap with crowd sourcing of the most cynical and predatory nature? Without the internet, would there have been any audience at all for LOST past season 2? Without message boards and blogs "filling in the blanks," without poor Doc Jensen at Entertainment Weekly twisting himself into a pretzel each week to make some sense out of what was shown? I really wonder. An area of interest of mine is what I call (in my naivete to French theory or other fancy art terms) "participatory art," in the sense that in a Tarkovsky film like "Stalker," where he is "sculpting in time" (to use the name of his book,) the viewer has the space to add his/her own experiences and imaginations to what is shown, as opposed to quick-edit propaganda forms, like Eisenstein's Odessa Steps sequence or TV commercials.

    That ability was what, in part, pulled me into LOST. Yet, in the end, I don't feel that the skeleton they've provided is stable enough to uphold our added thoughts. I keep coming back to the word "worthy." I want to say that the show was not worthy, yet, I feel privileged right in this moment to be able to read the above posts, so how can it have been "unworthy?" Perhaps I will have to go with another frequently used term in the show, "redemption." The show gets redeemed (IMHO) by the viewers who bring their intelligence, their imagination, their scholarship to what has been presented.

    In that spirit, I'll add more questions to the ideas of what the Island was all about, sparked in part by Ben's statement, “God doesn't know how long we've been here, John. He can't see this island any better than the rest of the world can." In the iteration of the Island we were viewing, there were two beings in charge. The show attempted to keep the suspense going for as long as possible in season 6 as to "which one was good, which one was bad, Jacob or The Man in Black?" Throughout, it seemed to me, that neither was "good." They were two once-men-now-supernatural-beings, one saying "all your actions are meaningless" and the other saying "you can be like a god if you stay here" (the Protector, as Waterland points out, is able to enact his/her own laws of physics.) Sounds like two poles of what some traditions call "The Adversary" to me. Both trying to pull the people into a place where their "dreams come true," (a paraplegic can walk, someone who has lost his father to death sees him alive again, a troubled young woman about to give birth finds a soul mate who wants to be the father of her baby, a woman about to be jailed is now free, etc.) A place where their imaginations become real. (Sideways world being yet another iteration.) In that place, the main moral dilemma seems to be about their free will, the main question, do they have it?

    It was not a place which questioned violence; this was a television show which was incredibly violent. I asked myself at the end, are people so inured to televised scenes of heinous physical violence, gunfire, and cold blooded murder (including genocide and patricide) that they in the finale can gloss over all that as meaningless, as long as their favorite couple got to kiss and look moony at each other? For a show about the spiritual idea of redemption, did they ever take the time to explore questions of how to come up against evil in a nonviolent way? (As, for instance, David Mitchell did in his novel Cloud Atlas, or, say, Sam Fuller's movie "The Big Red One" where the one soldier who has been previously unable to shoot at another fellow human being, can finally in the end attempt to kill a German soldier after having seen a concentration camp.)

    As I said, I don't have a problem that it ended up to be a show about spirituality. My question is, what view of spirituality is being shown? Sure, I understand the emotions behind the show -- someone I loved died, and I wish I could see them again, and that things would be different. But what would I give in order to have that? Like in "The Matrix," would I give up reality in order to taste steak again like Joey Pants did? ("For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?" Matthew 16:26.)

  53.  
    Paulo Marreca March 1st, 2014 at 6:45 am

    Years later, from time to time, I still come around here to see if there is any news of J.Wood...

  54.  
    John Locke January 14th, 2015 at 6:14 am

    wow, same like Paulo who commented last before me.
    Really really sad I had to watch most of Season 5 and 6 without these posts.
    Unfortunately LOST lost some if its mojo in the last season, so maybe it was
    for the best and not have us all feel like we wasted hours online discussing
    deeper meanings etc. when the writers clearly had no MASTERPLAN to bring
    all strings back together and give this show the ending it deserved.....

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