Lost: Reactions, Review, and Predictions (Part 1)
As some may be aware, I co-host the Walterfootball.com podcast each week with Walter Cherepinsky, the owner, purveyor, and chief content creator for Walterfoorball.com. Typically, we talk football, obviously. But during the summer of 2018 we did an episode about our top five favorite television shows of all-time. At the top of Walter’s list was ABC’s hit show Lost. I had never seen it, so I determined that I would watch it at some point in 2019. Well, I actually got a head start. I started in early December 2018.
Initially, I was going to write one blog post at the end of each season, giving my overall thoughts and highlights as well as predictions for future seasons. I originally started drafting this blog post as the summary for season one, but I got too excited and went ahead. As of the writing of the post, I’m nearing the end of season three.
[Warning: Spoilers ahead. If you have not watched the show, and you do not want the show content and information to be spoiled for you, I would encourage you to stop reading now.]
For those of you who have watched season one, you know that the premise of the show is a plane that crash landed at the shore of a mysterious island in the South Pacific. Oceanic Airlines flight 815, flying from Sydney to Los Angeles, crashes on the tropical island. On impact, the plane broke into two section in mid air, so another part of the plane is somewhere else on the island.
Weird noises and roars can be heard in the jungle from the beach. Trees are found knocked to the floor. The whole situation seems filled with peril and anomalies.
Eventually Jack, Charlie and Kate go into the jungle to find the cockpit of the plane. They find the co-pilot, who survived but is then killed by the smoke monster. Yes, there’s a smoke monster. WTF?!?
Kate, Sayid, Sawyer, Charlie, Shannon, and Boone are attacked by a Polar bear, that Sawyer shoots and kills. Yes, a polar bear on a tropical island. Again, WTF?!?
Over the course of time Jack learns about Kate being a fugitive. Saywer shoots the US Marshall who had been transporting Kate, trying to put him out of his misery. The whole situation appears to be a cluster-fudge!
Locke goes hunting for Boar. He encounters the smoke monster. Jack’s going crazy and keeps seeing his dead father on the island, when he follows him he finds caves with a good water supply. We learn that Charlie is a heroin addict.
Sayid was a torturer in the Iraqi special forces and uses his skills to interrogate Sawyer because he thinks that Sawyer has Shannon’s asthma inhaler. Sayid then finds a cable running from the ocean into the jungle. He gets caught in one of Rousseau’s traps and is captured by her. She tells Sayid she was a part of a team of scientists that crashed on the island 16 years earlier. Later, Sayid begins to hear whispers on the island. He goes back to the beach to tell the others about Rousseau.
Claire and Charlie are kidnapped by a guy named Ethan, who has been pretending to also be a survivor of flight 815 but was really a part of a team of people who were already living on the island (a group that eventually is referred to as “the others”). Some of the group find Charlie in the jungle and bring him back safely.
Locke and Boone find a hatch in the jungle. It appears to go to some underground lair or research center of some sort.
Randomly, Claire is back, safe, but she has partial amnesia. At this point in the show, there’s a lot going on. And all the while, there’s flashbacks giving insights into these characters’ lives and showing us the tumultuous situations, for many, that led them to be on Oceanic Flight 815. Some of the flashbacks are insightful, riveting, and engaging. But, some are boring.
Sometimes a flashback is 10 minutes when it could’ve been 5 minutes, and sometimes it’s 5 minutes when it should’ve been 10. Most times they get it right, but sometimes they completely miss it.
Meanwhile, back on the beach, a sub-group, led by Michael, are building a raft, but it is eventually burnt down by Walt (Michael’s son), but Michael blames Jin (who doesn’t speak English, only Korean).
Boone and Locke find another plane, a small one, in the jungle, that clearly crashed months or years earlier. Boone climbs the trees to gets into it, hoping to talk to the outside world via the radio, but instead, the plane falls off the cliff and Boone dies.
Locke tells Jack about the hatch. Shannon asks Sayid to kill Locke. Rousseau goes to the beach to tell everyone that ‘the others’ are coming. Rousseau takes some of the survivors to the ‘Black Rock’ to get some dynamite to try and blow open the hatch (the Black Rock was an old slave ship that crashed on the island many years earlier; actually, when I first saw it I thought it was many years earlier, but now I’m not so sure when it actually happened as I suspect time travel or time warps will become a thing with this show).
Later, Rousseau steals Claire’s baby (Aaron, born on the island). [Side Note: I had a feeling that Rousseau was kind of crazy. And even well into the 3rd season, I’m not a fan of her.]
Sayid and Charlie come across a plane full of heroin when they go and get Aaron back, Charlie takes some, because, well, he’s a junkie.
In a later episode, Hurley and Sayid are messing with a radio and they catch some sounds. One of them remarks that they could be coming from any place, and the other says, “Or any time.” Hmmm, what an interesting statement?!? It was quick, subtle, and probably seemed insignificant to most viewers. But this made me raise an eyebrow. The show writers are discretely and subtlety foreshadowing that the island can receive communication from multiple time periods. I immediately thought to myself, “Time travel, or something to do with time-space anomalies, is going to play a huge role in this show.”
Meanwhile, back on the beach, Michael is building a new raft and he eventually sets sail with Sawyer, Jin, and Walt. On their journey they come across the others. One shoots Sawyer and another kidnaps Walt. The raft is then destroyed. The guys on the raft presumably will drown or remain lost at sea.
Season one ends with the Hatch door opening, and Jack and Locke looking down into it.
The greatest strength of the show is the character development. Multiple times throughout season one there are moments, and even whole episodes, solely devoted to unpacking the psyche of an individual character. At first I thought Lost was an apocalyptic-style adventure thriller, like “The Walking Dead” but I now realize that Lost is a show that is all about relationships, and that the show is more like “Friends” or “Cheers” (I know that’s odd to say, but stick with me).
The goal of the show isn’t to merely shock or thrill the audience with action sequences or unique adventurous story-lines, where the people need to band together to survive, no. The goal of this show is to display how we all long for communion with other human begins, and what we’re willing to do to achieve that.
Lost is all about relational dynamics and what it takes to keep people together, or what drives people a part. We all seek to belong and we all seek for significance, and that’s what we see in the hearts and minds of the characters of Lost. The reason this show resonates with so many viewers (my guess) is because, in these characters, we see ourselves. In them we see our own inclinations, our own folly, our own depravity, and our own our disappointments. What we also see in them are the things that we long to see in ourselves, but we’re not so sure that we actually have, such as valor, resilience, courage, and the approval of others.
But before we can understand the dynamics between the people on the show and before we can see behind the various relationships that develop over the course of a season, we need to fully understand what motivates these characters individually. That’s why the flashbacks are so insightful. And that’s why I’m annoyed when a flashback isn’t engaging or is not executed well.
As I watched season one, I was constantly sending text messages to my friend and co-host Walter, voicing my thoughts and making predictions. I had no idea what would be in the hatch. I didn’t know what the numbers meant. I didn’t know what the smoke monster was (and still not 100% sure). But I was on edge. The show, most times, was captivating!
Clearly the island has some sort of special healing properties or even supernatural powers. Locke is healed of paralysis. Jin is healed of infertility. Rose is healed of cancer.
My speculation was that there were some sort of electromagnetic anomaly. Maybe some sort of rip in the fabric of space time continuum, that allows this one particular plot of land to be the place where certain attributes are amplified. It’s sort of an electromagnetically-inspired hyperbaric chamber of some sort.
In my mind, I was thinking that there must have been some sort of government agency (or some collaboration of private entities) that discovered this island and sent a group of scientists to examine the island. Even before that was obvious, I figured that out. My assumption is that these various scientists brought with them different animals that they wanted to experiment on in this new environment, which explains why a polar bear would end up on a tropical island.
In the opening episode of season 2, Jack, Locke, and Kate investigate the hatch and find somebody living down there, called Desmond. Shannon keeps seeing surreal visions of Walt in the jungle (even though Walt was kidnapped by ‘the others’).
The guys that were on the raft are in trouble. Walt had been kidnapped, Jin gets separated from the crew, and the other two, Sawyer and Michael, are stuck at sea, but they eventually make it back to shore. They see Jin tied up, he had been captured by the survivors of the tail end of the plane from Oceanic flight 815, but those survivors believe that Jin, Walt, and Sawyer are ‘the others’. Through a crazy series of events, they all end with the other survivors on the other end of the island.
The coolest character from the tail end of the plane is a guy named Mr Eko. Soon after his introduction, you get some cool flashbacks, and we then begin to realize that all of these characters were more and more connected to each other than we realized.
The other three characters from the tail end that become prominent are Ana Lucia, Libby, and Bernard (who’s wife had already been on the beach on the other end of the island with the rest of the crew).
Then, the numbers… 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42… these specific numbers have special powers. Desmond forces Locke to put these numbers into a computer every 108 minutes. We later learn that the numbers match the numbers that Hurley used to win the lottery.
Michael goes looking for Walt. Mr Eko and Jin go after him, they come across the others. Shannon believes Walt is still on the island, she see’s him again and runs after him. She gets shot by Ana Lucia, who accidentally thought Shannon was ‘an other’. All of the survivors meet. Charlie and Mr Eko go to the Heroin plane. The pilot of the plane was actually Eko’s brother, Yemi. Shannon’s funeral takes place. Michael heads into the jungle in search of Walt. Charlie keeps having dreams that Aaron is in danger and that he should be baptized. I’ve never met a heroin-addicted Catholic, but Charlie seems to fit the bill.
The main focus of Season 2 is the Hatch. We learn that this was a research station of some sort. We eventually learn that this is one of many such stations on the island, built and established by a group of scientists known as the Dharma Initiative. They seem to set-up shop and begin to do all sorts of grand experiments. My suspicions were right.
But obviously the Dharma Initiative isn’t still going strong. Something went wrong. I don’t know when or how, but it went awry. And my suspicion is that the group we know as ‘the others’ are not the original Dharma scientists. My prediction is that some other group came along, killed all the Dharma peeps, and took over their barracks and some of their stations.
Another major development is the fact that the capture a man who claims to be Henry Gale. But we eventually learn that his name is actually Ben, and that he is indeed one of ‘the others’. We later learn that’s he is one of the leaders of that group, and that he is quite sinister and malicious.
Season two was filled with all sorts of shocking plot twists, character development, new mythology, intriguing flashbacks, religious themes, literary techniques, phenomenal cinematography, and great writing that continued to dig into the psyche of human beings and the relational dynamics that make the human existence both incredibly rewarding and incredibly painful.
One of my favorite moments of the entire season came in the second to last episode when Desmond David Hume returns on his boat, the Elizabeth. In flashbacks, we learn that the Elizabeth was named after Elizabeth “Libby” Smith, one of the Flight 815 survivors. She had given him the boat years earlier, and now, through a crazy set of circumstances, they end on the same island, but Libby dies before she ever has the chance to meet up with Desmond. I wonder what it would have been like if Libby had survived; seeing Desmond and her boat that she gave him would’ve been quite the shock to her.
In this episode, Michael leads Jack, Kate, Sawyer, and Hurley (the four people on the list he received from the others). They go towards the Others’ camp. Michael is secretly working with the others because they have promised he and his son safe passage off the island. He has lied to them about the purpose of the journey, but they are not totally fooled. During their trek, Michael realizes that his gun, given to him by Jack, was never loaded. He is now suspicious, fearing that his cover has been blown.
Meanwhile, in the Hatch, Locke and Desmond force a lock-down, keeping Mr Eko outside. Locke is convinced that the button is fake, claiming he has never been more sure about anything in his life.
As Sayid, Jin, and Sun are sailing toward’s the Others’ village, they see the four-toed statue. It looked like something from Egyptian mythology. This led me to believe that the island has been inhabited by many peoples throughout the ages.
My suspicion that the island has some sort of power to summon people. It has the ability to identify what it needs, for its own protection, and that eventually whenever its inhabitants die out, the island then summons a new group. At some point, it had summoned some Egyptians. Later it summoned the Black Rock (the old slave ship). Eventually the island summoned the group that we now call the others to kill off the Dharma Initiative because the Dharma peeps were a threat.
The primary thing that caused me to begin to think about this is the reality that, during the early episodes of season three, Ben (the pseudo-leader of the others) needed surgery to remove a tumor from his back. And voila, Jack shows up, who just so happens to be a world-renowned back/spinal surgeon. It is as if the island knows what it needs and brings/summons people to it, in order to protect itself.
So, then, it makes you wonder… is Ben really a bad guy? Why would the island want to summon Jack to ensure Ben’s life? The island (or whoever is really running the island) must believe that Ben is really important to orchestrate the events of Jack’s life to ensure Jack ended up on flight 815 to ensure he’d end up on the island, just to perform back surgery on Ben. Whoa! Mind-blown
In a flashback towards the end of season two, we see that Desmond was dishonorably discharged from the Royal Scots Regiment. He sees Charles Widmore, who pays him money so that he will leave Penny alone. Penny was Desmond’s girlfriend and Widmore’s daughter.
Through a wild and crazy series of events, Desmond ends up in the basement of the Hatch station, with a massive nuclear explosion just minutes away from happening. But he chooses to turn some special key that would cause the whole place to implode. The event of the discharge then destroyed the Hatch along with the larger station, leaving behind just a huge crater full of debris. It seems like Desmond is dead, but we find out that Desmond actually began to time travel and comes back soon after these events.
My predictions for the rest of the series are simple.
[Reminder: At current time I’m mostly through season three, so maybe these predictions and thoughts will all be proven to be silly at some point soon.]
Here’s what I think about the island itself. There is some sort of anomaly or fracture in the space time continuum, and when someone travels through that hole or tear, they travel to a different dimension where the island is located.
In order to leave the island and get back to the normal dimensions in which we live, you must travel back through the same route to ensure you go through that same hole or tear in the space time continuum. Because the island is in a different dimension, it is not subject to follow the same laws of physics and biochemistry that our world and dimension are subjected to.
I believe this explains most of the mysteries on the island.
Also I believe that there are additional dimensions (or worlds or universes) from which someone can travel to, from the island, into the other dimensions. If you travel away from the island a different way than you came, you won’t end up in the same dimension you came from, but in a different dimension with different people (or different variations of the same people from your own world).
The island is sort of a portal to different dimensions or different worlds or different universes, all with different elements, and all governed by different laws physics and science.
My prediction is that the voices in the jungles, often heard by the survivors of 815, is that those are the voices of people that previously inhabited the island but have now traveled to a different dimension.
My speculation is that once someone is on the island, even after they leave, their genetic or chemical make-up is impacted in a way where they forever have a connection to the island, and maybe they can actually look back and observe the island in one way or another. People on the island are hearing voices of people who previously inhabited the island. Maybe it’s things those inhabitant said while they themselves were on the island, and maybe their voices are a residue of some sort, or many the previous inhabitants of the island can still observe the current inhabitants in real-time and are seeking to give them advice or insights.
The smoke master was called the security system of the island. My suspicion is that the smoke is controlled by some machinery or technology from one of the other dimensions. And whenever someone is a threat to the quality of the island in anyway whatsoever, they/it use the smoke monster to bring quality control or punishment.
The show is also beginning to unfold, more and more, how all of the people on Oceanic flight 815 were connected, and based on my conversations with Walter, it appears that there are more connections to come. How all of these connected people ended up on a flight that would crash on this island is wild, and I do not have any rational speculation for that whatsoever.
Currently I’m more than halfway through season three. And honestly, it’s dragging a little bit. Feels like it’s got several secrets and they’re simply trying to drag it out.
I prefer a television shows that drag things out over several episodes and then come up with a punchy way to reveal the secrets. And then come up with new ones. This show seems to have the same types of story-lines and concepts being drawn out over multiple seasons. Multiple times I’ve already said to myself, “Okay, let’s get on with it already.”
Furthermore, I’m not a big sci-fi fan overall. The show has become more and more like a sci-fi show. But the weird sci-fi elements on the island are palatable because of the great character development, the aforementioned relational dynamics, and the mostly-engaging flashback scenes.
But I’m legitimately not sure if I can take two or three more seasons of too much sci-fi elements. If future seasons continue on this trajectory, I could foresee myself getting somewhat bored with the show.
However, I must admit that overall, Lost is a fantastic show thus far! It’s got a lot of great elements and it is mostly very compelling, especially the first two seasons.
I’m not sure that this show has the potential to crack my top five list, but it has been a very good show nonetheless.