Let me guess, you don’t have time to read this right now, do you? Yes, the holiday season is always busy and yes time seems to go faster as you get older but doesn’t life seem to be moving at an even more frantic pace than usual lately? I know I’m feeling it. But I’ve been expecting this time crunch for a while now, so it may be a bit easier for me to deal with. Since I tend to be pretty sensitive about this stuff, what I wasn’t sure about was whether others would be able to pick up on it too. In the last few weeks however, I’ve heard at least fifteen different people exclaim in near shock about how fast time’s been going lately. And this without my even bringing it up! So, what’s going on? Can time really be going faster? If so, how much faster can it go before we can no longer keep up? And what then? Are we literally running out of time?
Lost is dead. Long live Lost. And so it ends, in much the same way it began—with a close-up of Jack’s eye, staring straight up past the tall stalks of bamboo that circled the sky above. This time however, that eye would close, and with it, our six-season journey that took us right back to where we started—with questions about a mysterious show that seemed to parallel the mysteries of life. For some, the journey was far more compelling than the destination. For others, it was the perfect resolution and they can walk away feeling fulfilled. Whatever you thought about the conclusion, the one thing most viewers can agree on is that the show challenged us to think in ways we might not have otherwise. In short, Lost was a real trip. And what a long, strange trip it’s been.
In the penultimate episode of Lost, “What They Died For,” Jacob tells the surviving Losties why he chose them as candidates: “I chose you because you were all alone. You were all looking for something that you couldn’t find out there. I chose you because you needed this place as much as it needed you.” This explanation really resonated with me, on one hand because it provided a mythologically sound answer to the main question I’ve always had about Lost: why do all these characters have major issues? And having that answer provided the other reason I really liked the explanation: I immediately understood that while Jacob was addressing the remaining candidates, he was really speaking to us.
In Lost’s “Everybody Loves Hugo,” Richard complains that Jacob “never tells us what to do.” Richard’s frustration echoes clearly into our world. For most of us, Jacob, aka God, never seems to tell us what to do. He just sits back and lets us make our own mistakes, leading to countless horrors and suffering. For many, this is a major argument as to why there is no God. Yet, when watching Lost, we see that Jacob does in fact tell the Losties what to do—sometimes directly, sometimes through his lists or clues, and sometimes through messages that he passes on through his emissaries. But certainly this doesn’t happen in our world. Here, there are no ghosts of Michaels past, otherworldly whispers, or visits from dimension-hopping Desmonds to guide us on our journey through life. Or…is there?
Just like any story, your life story is filled with twists and turns, an array of interesting characters, moments of bliss and despair, of success and failure, of challenges that will help you grow, and questions that will cause you to wonder. Among the cast of characters there will be love-interests, villains, tricksters, mavericks and mentors. There will be many friends and enemies, and millions of extras. However, there will only be one hero. That hero, is you.
In “Ab Aeterno,” Richard Alpert loses his faith after discovering that the plan he’s dedicated so much of his life to, may in fact, not exist. From the very same episode, some Lost fans began feeling the same. For six years, Lost viewers with an insatiable hunger for answers have anxiously waited to find out what the mysterious island actually is. At the writer’s strike a couple years ago, Carlton Cuse held up a picket sign that read: “Do You Want To Know What The Island Is??” Thousands of fans have dreamed up imaginative theories, all in an attempt to solve the show’s complex riddle. And now at last we have our answer! According to Jacob himself, the island is…A CORK!!! (crickets)
Whereas “Lighthouse” was all about our enlightenment, “Sundown” explored our dark side—temptation. “I can see her lying back in her satin dress in a room where you do what you don’t confess,” sang Gordon Lightfoot in his 1974 hit “Sundown.” The song is all about succumbing to temptation, hence once again revealing the double entendre that the Lost writers are so fond of using in their episode titles. When the sun goes down, man gets tempted by the dark. Why a “satin” dress? Sounds like Satan, don’t it?
Lost episode 6.4, “The Substitute,” has so many parallels with Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory , I am convinced that the movie can be used to reveal Lost’s endgame. While I’m sure those parallels also exist within the actual Charlie and the Chocolate Factory book, since I am more familiar with the 1971 Gene Wilder movie (having seen it dozens of times), I will make my comparisons there. Sure, this may turn out to be nothing more than stuff and nonsense, but in the words of Wonka, “a little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.” So, let’s get to it because we have so much time and so little to do. Strike that…reverse it.
Just as how the Others blindly follow Jacob, we Lost fans have invested five years of our lives blindly following a TV show that has become increasingly intricate. Will our commitment be worth it in the end? Those of us who have faith have stuck with it, but we’ve lost a lot of former believers along the way. What if the series finale is a disappointment and leaves many of the major questions unanswered? Will we question our blind faith in a show that we hoped would give us answers to its convoluted storyline, and beyond? Hopefully we won’t get to that point, but I have some thoughts just in case we do.
Continuing in the same vein as Part 1, Parts 2&3 was mostly action/adventure and little mythology. And what little there was still seems to support my theory.
For starters, at the end of the last episode’s update, I wrote:
In “Something Nice Back Home” Hurley even suggests that none of them made it off the island, and they were, perhaps dead. Not dead, just stuck in limbo between worlds. I feel like the season will end with the five of them not being rescued as we think, but getting hurt, and this whole flash-forward has all been in their minds.