I recently finished watching the entirety of LOST.
I know, I know, I’m a few years late to the game. With the modern advent of Netflix and binge viewing, the time and finally arrived. Over more than two months, my wife and I watched all 121 episodes of the hit ABC television program. It was a pleasure to watch every episode of all six seasons on demand, and we relished each time like a ritual holding great mystery.
All in all, I think J.J. Abrams and crew wrote a compelling story, which was driven by some of the strongest character development I’ve seen in TV or film. The acting and production were on target, and they held a nation captive each week with chatter about what would happen to whom. (I still remember my college friends gathering religiously every week to watch and discuss.)
121 episodes at 42 minutes per episode equal 5,082 minutes. 84.7 hours of my life spent on an island with strangers who became like family. Not to me, to each other. (What, do you think I got totally, uh, lost in the story?)
For those who still haven’t seen LOST, congratulations. You’ve somehow managed to procrastinate more than me. I have a constant list of movies, books, and TV shows to check out from others’ recommendations, but if I ever get to enjoy something on the list, it’s usually long after it was recommended.
If you’re serious about watching LOST and you haven’t finished all six seasons yet, some of this may not make sense, and there may be spoilers that ruin the story for you. Or, you may find yourself just as confused and confounded as you would be from simply watching the show.
I have intentionally kept silent on the Twittersphere about watching LOST because I didn’t want to get any tips that would ruin the mystique of the viewing experience for me. I have not read Lostpedia or any articles on reasons for this or that. I wanted to remain blissfully ignorant of what others were saying all this time after the show ended.
Like the Island, I wanted to be shrouded in mystery. And until I post this article, I will remain in the unclear tension of my own musings about the show before I become informed of the explanations of LOST’s universe.
Perhaps my thoughts on it will change, maybe I’ll be totally enlightened. But most likely I’ll remain profoundly confused, though enjoying the great sense of mystery with which it captured my attention and appreciation.
21 Rants of Unexplained “LOST” Questions
Here are a few rambling questions I still have after viewing the whole series. I’m sure you still have some, too. (Leave a comment about yours below).
- The polar bear. No one ever explained the polar bear.
- Why did Walt get to leave and never come back without repercussion? And what was with his crazy physic ability to conjure dangerous animals?
- The names of Locke, Hume, and Rousseau were nods to major philosophers. But how did they each correspond? Was there any more depth to what they represented?
- Who/what was really in charge of everything? Every season, another layer up was revealed as to who was pulling strings (like Ben, Charles, “the man in black,” etc). Was the Island supreme?
- Why did anyone ever like Michael’s character? What a jerk.
- Did J.J. Abrams and the writers of “LOST” actually plan out the entire story arch, just each season, or simply create a couple episodes at a time to lead on viewers? The nature of TV writing is that they don’t know if they’ll be kept on the air for so many seasons, let alone every episode they produce. Did they really plan to bring the story around like they did?
- Why time travel? And teleportation how? How did Ben get back and forth from the Island?
- The Island had healing powers for some people, but killed pregnant mothers and babies? Except for Claire and Sun? How does all this work—was it supposed to be because of the energy pockets? And where else was the Dharma Initiative?
- Sure, the “man in black” is Jacob’s brother. But why is he such an authority? Why is his name never spoken (or mentioned at all)?
- Where did Jacob’s mother come from? Why is she on the Island? Who gave her the role of protecting the Island?
- Why Jack’s beard? I mean, beards are great and everything. But why didn’t he grow the beard on the Island instead of back in civilization? Counterintuitive.
- Why was Richard necessary? And why did he survive so long? Was it really because he sold his soul to “the man in black”?
- That black smoke monster doesn’t make sense. Yes, it’s “the man in black,” but why did he turn into that form? Where does this otherworldly power come from? Why couldn’t it leave the Island?
- Why was “the man in black’s” spirit bound to the Island? Was he going to destroy the whole world physically, or spiritually, or what? If he was so powerful, why did he have to leave the Island to do it?
- Why could “the man in black” live in other (deceased) bodies but Jacob’s couldn’t? Where was “the man in black’s” spirit/essence between his original body and Christian’s body and Locke’s body?
- Why couldn’t Jacob and his brother hurt each other? And then Jack (in Jacob’s stead) hurt and killed “the man in black” (even though he was in Locke’s appearance).
- Who else guessed Hurley was going to become the protector of the Island?
- How were the alternate realities supposed to match up? They had flashbacks of their pre-nuclear blast lives together when they touched? Which was supposed to be the right way things should’ve gone?
- Was the finale church scene just promoting a vague, existential universalism wherein all people are already dead and really have no consequence to their actions and lives?
- Do pockets of such powerful geothermal/nuclear energy exist around the world in reality? If so, where, and how come a plane hasn’t crashed there and changed our lives?
- Does everyone who watches all 121 episodes of the show feel the same sense of letdown we did? (Probably because we invested so much time into watching, but felt so many questions remained unaddressed.)
At the end of the day, LOST is still just a story made into a TV show. But it’s in powerful stories we often find a lot of truths and motivation to live our lives. Perhaps this is the strongest attraction to a show like “LOST.” It caused people to ask questions, to explore philosophy, faith, purpose, psychology, and science. True to form, J.J. Abrams created a unique, intriguing consortium of sci-fi, drama, and character-driven action. I hope more films and shows are written with such emphasis on telling a good story and making people think.
What are your thoughts on LOST?