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Lost in Lost
March 1, 2010 2:42 PM   Subscribe

Never Seen Lost is a blog by 'papa durbin' aka John Durbin, detailing his journey through watching the final season of Lost. The twist: he has never seen any other Lost episodes, and he attempts to understand whatever occurs as best he can. There is, however, some contention about whether the author is truthful about his lack of background in the show.
posted by jouir (127 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
I've never Lost, but if this blog takes off, I might ride his coattails and create a blog where I try to dissect the show based only on his reviews and comments.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 2:48 PM on March 1, 2010 [12 favorites]


From skimming the most recent recap, it definitely seems like he's watched the show before, but still, this is pretty funny.
posted by lunasol at 2:48 PM on March 1, 2010


The Losties Simpson-ized
posted by Joe Beese at 2:51 PM on March 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'd be interested in the companion blog: Never Seen Lost And Perfectly Content To Remain So
posted by DU at 2:52 PM on March 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Also, I think this thread will be a great place for all those people who have never watched Lost, or who stopped watching it after the first season, to come in and say so. That's always the best part about Lost threads, and now we get a thread dedicated to that very topic!
posted by lunasol at 2:55 PM on March 1, 2010 [33 favorites]


Actually, funnily enough I started doing the same thing. Well, not the blogging, but watching Lost having never watched any of the other episodes before. I had heard from various people things that happened throughout the series so I wasn't totally clueless, but I was able to follow what was happening pretty well. After the first few episodes though I was hooked and so decided to go back and watch all of the seasons. I'm up to the second season (and still watching this season!)
posted by trinkatot at 2:58 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I just started watching it this season also. It doesn't make any sense at all and the way the characters (don't) communicate with each other is absolutely infuriating. I only keep tuning in because my friend hosts a "Burgers 'n' Lost" night at his place every week, and he makes some tasty burgers.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 3:00 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


As someone who has also never watched Lost until this season, it seems like this guy is coming into it with a different perspective from mine. However, I did start watching season 1 on DVD simultaneously to watching season 6, so I guess I already have a lot more background info than he does. I'm told that this is a terrible idea, but I'm finding it kind of entertaining. Now I'm up to season 2.
posted by wondermouse at 3:00 PM on March 1, 2010


I watched the first two episodes, kinda liked it, but then missed two episodes. Turned on Ep. 5 and figured the recap would help me out. HA! Talk about being Lost! I tried a couple of more times but finally gave up around mid-season. Haven't watched an episode since. Every now and then I'll read some comments on io9 or such just to see whether the show's retained it's fan base. Uh, I think we can safely say that "fan base" should read: "Kind of creepy obsessive types with WAY too much time on their hands".
posted by TDavis at 3:02 PM on March 1, 2010


And if you hate Ben Linus as much as Mrs. Beese does, here's a 2:17 compilation of the many times he's been savagely beaten.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:04 PM on March 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


I feel bad for shows like Lost, in that they really do have an awful time growing their audience. I'm directly the target market but I just have no interest spending 103.5 hours watching 6 seasons of the show so this season can make sense.
posted by effugas at 3:06 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I watched like a season and a half on and off. Ehhh.
posted by drjimmy11 at 3:07 PM on March 1, 2010


He's never seen Lost before, and now he's ruining a beautiful thing.

I tried. God, I tried. But I had just come off watching The Wire and in comparison, Lost (Season 1, I didn't even make it all the way through that) was just sad and confused.
posted by barnacles at 3:09 PM on March 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Lost is one of those things I wanted to get into, but by the time I actually found out it was supposed to be interesting, it was already like two seasons in.
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:10 PM on March 1, 2010


I've been following since the beginning (or rather, caught up in one furious week of unemployment before the Season Three premier) but my roommate had never watched it before this season, and has been doing much the same thing. When he started, I begged him to blog about it, but alas.

Also, Where are people falling on the different storylines now? I'm totally enraptured by the LAX crew and nodding off on the Island stuff, but I have a feeling most people are the other way 'round.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:11 PM on March 1, 2010


*ahem*

I've never watched Lost and only know anything from it in passing, but the impression I've got is similar to what happens when you try to run a pen & paper RPG with little or no plan. Things tend to go ok for a while but as the players try to figure out just what's going on you're forced to come up with wilder and wilder plot points in attempts to justify and explain the BS you pulled out of you ass last week, often resulting in a tiresome recursion of Deus Ex Machinas. Ultimately it gets way too ridiculous to have any sort of meaning and you and the players either get bored with it or have a sort of Tommy-Westphall-like ending just to put it to rest.

Is Lost like that?
posted by BeerFilter at 3:11 PM on March 1, 2010 [16 favorites]


>>I feel bad for shows like Lost, in that they really do have an awful time growing their audience. I'm directly the target market but I just have no interest spending 103.5 hours watching 6 seasons of the show so this season can make sense.">>

Yeah, agreed. I started watching the season 1 DVDs because my friend handed me his and told me to. It ended up being entertaining enough that I watched the whole season within a month. A lot of my favorite shows have gone off the air recently, and plus I just found out a couple days ago that ABC has what seems like every single episode of every season on their website. So I can watch it at my leisure and not feel like I need to catch up on it. I mean the whole show up to this point is pretty much spoiled for me already because I already know characters that die and which ones do not, but I'm still enjoying watching how it all unfolded earlier on. And it's less frustrating for me because I already know that it's really never going to make any sense.
posted by wondermouse at 3:12 PM on March 1, 2010


Is Lost like that?

Yes.
posted by Mcable at 3:14 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


tl;dw
posted by nevercalm at 3:16 PM on March 1, 2010


wondermouse: ".. the whole show up to this point is pretty much spoiled for me already because I already know characters that die and which ones do not..."

Character deaths are as non-binding in Lost as they are in superhero comics.

See "the BS you pulled out of your ass last week" above.
posted by Joe Beese at 3:17 PM on March 1, 2010


Is Lost like that?

Yes and no. I mean, yes, they've changed directions like changing underwear and had to make major decisions involving major characters based upon the actors playing them, and the backstory has gotten more and more convoluted (though they're finally simplifying it!) but in the borad strokes it is now clear that they know what they've been doing. A couple of seasons ago ABC tried to renew them for a shitload of episodes and the creators negotiate them down to the number they'd been planing to have anyway, just spread over more seasons, so I have faith that there's a goal in mind.

I just hope that goal won't be an extraneous hour that refuses to explain Starbuck and then boils everything down to a pat "technology is bad, mmmkay" moral unworthy of all that came before it.
posted by Navelgazer at 3:20 PM on March 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


I watch Lost. I think the fact that so many people think they're cool because they don't watch Lost makes me the actual cool one because I don't care what people think about Lost. I like it. I drive home every week to watch it with my mom. No, I don't give a shit what you think about that, it's a lot of fun.

I also like this blog. Funny dude.
posted by oinopaponton at 3:23 PM on March 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Now I will start a blog critiquing David Lean movies that I have watched on my iPod Nano.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:24 PM on March 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


SPOILERS

I think it's an interesting idea but in the first bit he says that Jack's a bad doctor because he didn't know the scar on his stomach was from having his appendix out. I distinctly remember Jack asking his mother, "When did I have my appendix taken out?" after seeing the scar.

Anyway, I'm curious what MeFites think of three things:

1) Where's Sawyer?
2) Why did Jacob want Jack brought to the lighthouse?
3) What did the bomb do?

I don't have an answer for 1 except to say he can't be dead because I'm holding out for a Sawyer/Juliet reunion/lack of reunion being a major thrust of the ending, but for 2, I think he wanted him to smash the mirrors as it would prevent LockMonster from getting anyone else to/from the island. And 3... I'm thinking the bomb worked and reset the timeline from 1977 which is why characters can have pasts now that they didn't have before the bomb (Jack with a kid; Locke with a wife/father; etc).

Thoughts?
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 3:25 PM on March 1, 2010


My boyfriend is watching Lost with me this season, not having watched any of it before, but he has me to fill him in on what he's missing. (I didn't watch it before ... uh, October, and then watched all of it because I was bored.)

I'm falling on the side of the blog is fake -- too many details seem to be intentionally wrong (like the names). I guess it's sort of funny, but not really my thing.
posted by darksong at 3:29 PM on March 1, 2010


Is this something I'd need a copy of TV Guide to understand?
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 3:34 PM on March 1, 2010


I read an article either by or about neil gaiman where he discusses the process for writing long form serial fiction and it went something like this:

Reading sandman(or in this case, watching Lost), one gets the impression of a virtuoso juggling act, where the author is simultaneously keeping multiple story lines going, carefully plotting all the character arcs and eventually resolving everything satisfactorily at the end as was carefully planned from the beginning.

The reality is that anyone writing in that format is more a magician than a juggler. What he really does is toss lots and lots of balls in the air, and when one of those balls happens to be in a convenient spot, he catches it. Mostly he hopes that enough of them are caught in a flashy enough way that you don't notice all the ones that he missed rolling around on the stage after the show.

It's hard enough when you control 100% of the process, but add in budget, actors, studio interference, etc, I can imagine that it gets exponentially more difficult to pull it off convincingly.
posted by empath at 3:41 PM on March 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


*ALSO SPOILERS*

1. Lost in plotland doing something probably important but unseen for a few episodes.

2. I think it was to get the idea into Jack's head that he's on the island for a reason.

This whole season has developed a bit of a "X-Files in decline" feeling. (Although not awful television.) By which I mean, towards the end of the X-Files, Scully became the believer, and replacement-Mulder was the skeptic. This, I think, is starting to happen with Jack and Locke. Jack's becoming the believer in the importance of the island, and replacement-Locke is doing everything he can to get off.

3. The bomb worked but it didn't work for *this* timeline.

The biggest problem I have with the season is the sideways flashes. Either these characters, who I just met and don't really care for, are real. Or the characters on the island are real. We're not going to get to a point at the end where both groups are happy and problem solved. One of them will most likely disappear or cease to exist. (Plus seriously I don't even like Island Kate why do I have to spend more time with off-Island Kate ugh)
posted by graventy at 3:41 PM on March 1, 2010


I like the idea of Lost even though I don't watch it. It makes me feel good to know that somone decided to watch a whole shitload of David Lynch movies and then make a successful televsion series with the goal of making not a single bit of goddamned sense.
posted by mullingitover at 3:42 PM on March 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


2) Why did Jacob want Jack brought to the lighthouse?

Thoughts?
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 5:25 PM on March 1 [+] [!]


Because like the other Losties who are still alive Jack is a Candidate. But unlike the other losties, except for maybe sawyer who is arguably the other strongest Candidate, Jack has lost a sense of self-worth and was spiraling into a pit of nihilistic depression. Jacob wanted Jack to see that Jacob had been watching him his whole life and re-instill in him a sense of purpose and further Jacob's plan for the candidacy, whatever that may be.

It's a little more detailed than that, but you get the idea.
posted by Wanderlust88 at 3:42 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well I have never seen Lost but I have also remained unspoiled. I know a couple of character names like Jack, but I don't know who that is or what he looks like or anything about his story. I have been very patient, waiting for the Lost writers to decide that they were done, and now that I know this is the last season I can anticipate getting to watch the whole thing sometime in the next year. I employed this same strategy for Alias.

I do not see the point of starting to watch the show now when you know it's almost done. I know people do it but I don't know why, especially in this age of DVDs, torrents, and streams, when you have access to previous seasons. Is it because people want to get in on being there for the end?
posted by Danila at 3:43 PM on March 1, 2010


1) Where's Sawyer?
2) Why did Jacob want Jack brought to the lighthouse?
3) What did the bomb do?


1) I would say he's either standing right behind Flocke at Claire's tent or off doing something for Flocke that he thinks is going to help him get off the Island.

2) Jacob wanted Jack to see the mirrors, so that he could believe he had been watched by Jacob his whole life, being led to the Island. Which means he would realize he didn't have free will and he would be more open to do whatever Jacob tells him to.

3) This is the toughest one. I believe that it simply moved them to the correct position in time. It didn't keep their plane from crashing, because like Faraday originally said, "Whatever happened, happened".

Just my thoughts :)
posted by DoublePlus at 3:45 PM on March 1, 2010


I've never Lost, but if this blog takes off, I might ride his coattails and create a blog where I try to dissect the show based only on his reviews and comments.

And then I'll cube it by dissecting via your interpretation of his interpretation.

This no doubt will explain everything.
posted by philip-random at 3:46 PM on March 1, 2010


SPOILERS

1. I've got no clue where Sawyer is. Either waiting to hear from Jacob's nemesis, or off on some mission on behalf of the nemesis nominally toward getting them off the island. (Will Sawyer remember how easily everyone else cons the con man? Probably not.)

2. I'm taking Jacob at his word on this one: he wanted Jack to realize that Jacob's been manipulating him all his life (and/or his father.) Something about what Jacob needs Jack for requires his volunteering for it, rather than just being manipulated into it.

3. The bomb (in combination with the magic magnetic fields under the Swan) seemingly created an alternate universe in which the Island sunk in 1977, and the Dharma initiative personnel and children evacuated on the sub, like Ben and Ethan, survived. Any number of other things have changed since then, the earliest of which we know would be Jack's appendectomy. (So far as I recall, we don't know exactly how old Jack is, so I'm not sure if his alternate universe appendectomy would have been before 1977. If it is, some portion of this needs to be thrown out.)

There's this persistent suggestion that alternate universe Jack can feel that something's wrong. I think the season may be leading toward him figuring out that their universe shouldn't exist, and the two Jacks somehow working in concert to unite them.
posted by Zed at 3:50 PM on March 1, 2010


I think that the bomb both did and did not go off, creating a split time line.
posted by empath at 3:51 PM on March 1, 2010


He gets my approval for mentioning Kentucky Fried Movie in his most recent post.
posted by KGMoney at 3:57 PM on March 1, 2010


S P O I L E R S ! !

Hmm. Well... out of my ass:

1) We don't know (yet)? Wasn't he last seen with Bad Locke in Jacob's cliff cave? How they get back to the big old world should be addressed in the near future, as Bad Locke clearly can't leave on his own and needs Sawyer's help (or so he says).

2) He said two things: he needed to prod Jack towards realizing by himself what he needed to do instead of telling him to and have Jack pull one of his trademarked pigheaded petrifications. Also, he said he wanted him (and Hugo) away from the temple, as Bad Locke is coming there soon and Exceptionally Bad Shit is in the forecast for all residents.

3) Who knows? My annoying idea of the week: the island was propelled into the parallel universe where the side-stories of everyone mostly-happy are happening. It's going to be a lot of kicks and laughs when everybody meets their notsonicer twin and sort the whole mess out. Plus point: Ben can get his slimey ass kicked by his good twin!
posted by Iosephus at 4:02 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


btw, the guy writing this blog is full of it, and obnoxious, and not funny.
posted by empath at 4:04 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Observations on the last 2 minutes of The Usual Suspects:

Apparently Kayser Soze was faking that limp.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:05 PM on March 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


spoilers!

Somebody on the AV Club message board brought up a really good point about Jack. That scene at the end of season three, where he's whacked out on drugs, trying to kill himself and sceaming that "we have to go back to the island!" was only about a week ago in Jack time.

It took about three days to get on the Ajira flight and they were only in 1977 for a week at the most.
posted by phelixshu at 4:10 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think the fact that so many people think they're cool because they don't watch Lost makes me the actual cool one because I don't care what people think about Lost.

I don't think that I'm cool for not watching Lost, I just think that I'm lazy and forgetful. I'm currently fighting my way through the first season of The Wire and keep having to look things up in Wikipedia to remind me what's going on. I'd never have a chance of keeping up with Lost unless I locked myself in a room with the full set of DVDs and did nothing but watch them until I got all the way through.
posted by octothorpe at 4:11 PM on March 1, 2010


Also: I disagree with there being much Lynchean in Lost. For that, we would need to have Jack in permanent drag, the long lost brunette cousin of Claire showing up on the beach, Bad Locke starting to play human backgammon with momified Others as pieces, and Sun becoming the Coconut Lady. There is no dwarf, but Ben is fucked-up in the head good enough to make up for it, I suppose.
posted by Iosephus at 4:13 PM on March 1, 2010


I actually screwed that up, it should be Shannon's cousin, of course. Duh. *selfsmack*
posted by Iosephus at 4:16 PM on March 1, 2010


I think I should start this by letting you all know that last night, I had a quite detailed dream wherein the Lost characters were actually trapped on an island in the Hudson River; New York was invisible to them, and they were invisible to the citizens of Manhattan. However, after a thorough excursion of the Black Rock, they figured out the secret that would allow them to see the city beside them. But they were still invisible. They corrected this by jumping off of their island onto the lower deck of a cruise ship. Victory! However, they all made the immediate mistake of attending a fancy gala dinner thing, and who was there but The Peculiar Purple Pieman of Porcupine Peak. Using his Magical Powers, he vanished them back to the island. It would make for one hell of a season finale, amirite?

I've noticed that there's a particular breed of person that takes extreme pride in not watching Lost and being opposed to its very idea because "It's so confusing! I watched the first two seasons and then it stopped making sense and I stopped!" and similar statements, ad nauseum. A-hem. I understand not wanting to take the time to watch Lost -- you really do have to watch it all to get it -- but to project your own superiority (however lightheartedly) because you don't have time for that silly show? Psshaw.

Lost is not a TV show, it's a hobby, and some hobbies are not for everyone, etcetera. Having watched all five seasons as they aired, I will say I understand Lost and theorizing about its potential outcomes is one of my favorite things to do! I am a perpetual lurker on the Television Without Pity Lost message board and you know what, things are starting to make sense, and that makes me excited for the rest of the season. I have some faith in Darlton -- although believe me when I say I will not be a happy camper if they do not satisfyingly wrap up the series.

If you never watched or stopped watching because you aren't interested or you don't have time to keep up with the show and to think about the show in your off hours (and I get it! you do really have to have that time, to read theories and Doc Jensen and to parse what you've seen -- it's like Bible study for Christians!) then that is fine! Of course! I love everyone regardless of their opinions about Lost. But please don't mock me and my hobbies because you think they are silly and because you are convinced that the writers of Lost are idiots with no plan whatsoever.

Actually the people that bug me most are the ones that are still obsessing about the polar bear because come on that was solved in season 3.

Sadly I think this is my longest comment on Metafilter. And it was about Lost.
posted by elisabethjw at 4:17 PM on March 1, 2010 [19 favorites]


SPOILER-ish

Locke's father said they were all in Hell. Why not? Anything that doesn't make sense... a wizard Satan did it to torment the Losties with confusion. Y'know... like the way He did with those fake dinosaur fossils.
posted by Joe Beese at 4:18 PM on March 1, 2010


Heh? I take no particular issue with this blog, but are people complaining about not checking out Lost until later seasons? That's the best way to get into anything. At least, anything with any addictiveness potential. I didn't check out Lost or The Wire until they each had nearly five seasons going for them, and that was awesome. That didn't mean, of course, that I started in season 5.

Now I'm not going to touch Lost until they've sent season 6 packing. I'm off the sauce and have no intention of joining you for your casual drink until I know there's a full bottle on hand.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:19 PM on March 1, 2010


I'm holding out for a Sawyer/Juliet reunion/lack of reunion being a major thrust of the ending

Dollars to donuts this will occur in some way. The two universes are going to merge at some point in the middle of the season (so sayeth the writers), and I think they've been hinting for a while so far that the realities are linked in some way within the characters' heads (people in the alternate universe feeling like they recognize people, Claire's feeling that the baby should be named Aaron, etc)., and if you remember the beginning of the season premiere, they dug Juliet out of the rubble of the hatch specifically so that she could say a bunch of things that made no sense, and then die (I think she said something about a cup of tea, and she asked Sawyer to kiss her, and she said 'It worked'). I'll give you $20 if at some point we don't see alternate-universe Juliet having a conversation in which she says those exact things in a way that makes complete sense, because when she was dying in the primary universe the division between the two realities was paper-thin for her.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:21 PM on March 1, 2010 [9 favorites]


Oh and my thoughts. Spoilers.

1) I feel like he is just hanging out like 500 meters behind Locke moping about Juliet and thus hadn't gotten to the hut yet.

2) Because he thinks Jack is the best man for the job? That's my guess. Maybe because he knew Hurley wouldn't be able to get the door open himself.

3) Created an alternate timeline, but due to some science-y thing, made it have a really tenuous barrier with the "real" timeline so at some point things will get really weird and characters will be sharing mindthoughts a la Desmond season 4.
posted by elisabethjw at 4:22 PM on March 1, 2010


Oh, and as for (2), I think Jacob wanted Jack to destroy the mirrors in the lighthouse, and figured Hurley would be too excited by their magickyness to do so. My guess (probably wrong!) is that the guy that Jacob said is coming to the island is not a guy that Jacob wants at the island, and the lighthouse being non-functioning might facilitate that. ALTERNATELY Jacob does want the guy there, and the lighthouse being non-functioning facilitates that.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:25 PM on March 1, 2010


Actually, we don't see Ben get returned to the Dharma Initiative after Richard brings him into the Temple. There's not much time for that to have happened, so it's not clear whether he could have been part of the evacuation. If he weren't evacuated, the alternate timeline would have to have diverged prior to the bomb going off.
posted by Zed at 4:27 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, Twin Peaks was ridiculously hard to understand if you missed much of the beginning at all. Though part of the problem there was sorting out what you didn't understand because you'd missed something from what you didn't understand because you weren't supposed to. I did see Lost from the beginning, but in comparison, I bet it's actually a cakewalk.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:29 PM on March 1, 2010


I like Lost. It gives my wife and I something besides House to watch together. Bless her heart, she likes reality TV and so I spend a lot of time reading in the bedroom.

As far as the story arc is concerned, I feel they're mostly doing an okay job, though I think Straczynski did a better job with Babylon 5 (especially considering he ended up with an extra season on his hands).

Nothing's ever as good as we hope it can be, and if we're disappointed in the ending, it's only because the lead up promised so much.
posted by Pragmatica at 4:32 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Reading this guy try really hard to be funny has got to be worse than actually trying really hard to grapple through an episode on my own.
posted by Juicy Avenger at 4:33 PM on March 1, 2010


SPOILER (for those who haven't seen through season five)

3) What did the bomb do?

OK, I think I have a handle on this. What happened here actually makes a lot more sense than most of the time travel episodes. Actually, it made those episodes make more sense to me, because in hindsight, it's obvious that a lot of the characters' theories and assumptions were just as wrong as they sounded. Some of the stuff Miles was spewing about free will made me turn against him ever so slightly.

Anyway...what happened at the moment of the nuclear explosion was that the universe split into two timelines, in order to preserve itself from paradox. You know, the old "killing your grandfather" paradox i.e. they could not have been brought to the island if it was blown up in 1977. Thus, the universe diverged into two equally valid but distinct (so far) universes at the moment of the blast.

In one universe, the bomb exploded...that's the new alternate timeline (which we are currently seeing in 2004). The other universe is the one we already know and love, where the plane crashed in 2004, and we are currently watching its 2007.

The only part that really bugs me about this explanation is the fact that the gang who blew up the bomb were instantly teleported to the island in their home timeline in 2007. Why didn't they just get blown up? That wouldn't have been a paradox. Well, obviously, there are dramatic needs to be served, but that part of the whole thing came across as very deus ex machina. Still, on the balance, I like the diverging timelines concept, because it is a creative way of handling the whole situation without taking the direct route to paradoxville.

Incidentally, I think the "time traveling" story is one of the most challenging of sci-fi conventions. When properly executed, they are among the most rewarding stories, but more frequently they screw up the logic or fail to make use of the potential. For my money, Lost has been straddling the line between success and failure in its handling of time travel.
posted by Edgewise at 4:41 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, as for the blog...it did sound to me like the guy has already seen Lost. Also, his joking was a bit forced and hit-or-miss. I would have been a lot more entertained by a serious attempt at understanding the show. The genuine bewilderment would be funny enough on its own.
posted by Edgewise at 4:43 PM on March 1, 2010


The only part that really bugs me about this explanation is the fact that the gang who blew up the bomb were instantly teleported to the island in their home timeline in 2007.

Keep in mind that in the current island timeline, the bomb did not blow up.
posted by empath at 4:44 PM on March 1, 2010


I gave up on Lost at precisely the moment the writers admitted they were making it up as they went along.
posted by panboi at 4:46 PM on March 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'd never have a chance of keeping up with Lost unless I locked myself in a room with the full set of DVDs and did nothing but watch them until I got all the way through.

I actually think the best bet towards making sense of Lost would be to lock yourself in a room with all 5 seasons' worth of dvd and just watching episodes completely at random.

Oh and in regards to the linked blog, I wanted to hate it but I got to this point and just burst out laughing:

"Outside the temple, Said is uncomfortable because people are staring at him. They talk about the poison and someone else was infected. That’s pretty much it. It’s not Said’s turn to hang out with Jack this week, so that is pretty much the end of that interaction."
posted by mannequito at 4:51 PM on March 1, 2010


I watch Top Gear. Is there a blog written by someone who has never seen it, trying to figure out what it's about?

Because it's about cars, and fucking off, basically.
posted by davejay at 4:52 PM on March 1, 2010


Keep in mind that in the current island timeline... [emphasis added]

See, this is why I, much like panboi, stopped watching as soon as one producer admitted in an interview that they didn't think the puzzles needed to be wrapped up because people watch it for the relationships. In the middle of the first season, before they'd even dug the puzzle hole too deeply. Meh.

goes back to watching Top Gear, fucking off
posted by davejay at 4:54 PM on March 1, 2010


I gave up on Lost at precisely the moment the writers admitted they were making it up as they went along.

Why? You think good fiction must be pre-plotted?

David Milch (Deadwood) would strongly disagree and many consider him among the greatest tv writers ever. He flies by the seat of his pants every week and insists logic and outlines are the reason most tv sucks.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 5:04 PM on March 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


(potential LOST SPOILER below)

re #2, (from the always essential Lostpedia)
Jacob explains that it was the only way for Jack to see how important he is. Jacob also explains that Jack is here to do something. To get some people to do something you just tell them, but for people like Jack you need to "let them look out at the ocean for a little while." He also explains that he had to get them away from the Temple, because someone bad is about to arrive there.
posted by theclaw at 5:09 PM on March 1, 2010


I don't watch the show, but man do I have a low-down, dirty, jake-leg drinkin' Lostpedia habit, probably from the brief time I spent playing the Lost Experience ARGlike. I shouldn't even care, but Lostpedia is a better wiki hole than anything short of TVTropes.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 5:34 PM on March 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've never Lost, but if this blog takes off, I might ride his coattails and create a blog where I try to dissect the show based only on his reviews and comments.

Dude, I might ride your coattails and create a blog where I try to dissect the show based only on the comments in this thread.
posted by Slap Factory at 5:36 PM on March 1, 2010


As to the OP, yeah, obviously, the guy is a fan of LOST, and is trying to write a funny blog.

I started watching with S5, then went back and re-watched all S1-5. Wished I would have written a blog like this.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:42 PM on March 1, 2010


Jacob explains that it was the only way for Jack to see how important he is. Jacob also explains that Jack is here to do something.

It's been pretty obvious since season two that they were all meant to be there for a reason - and explicitly at the end of season three that those that left the island needed to go back. But WHY?

For some reasons the characters were convinced enough by Jack and the dead body of Locke that they needed to go back to save the others. This has both worked and not worked.

Stop answering questions with "just because". Stop convincing characters they are important without articulating why they are important. Stop having Locke and Jacob talk in riddles about destiny. Explain something, anything.

Please.

David Milch (Deadwood) would strongly disagree and many consider him among the greatest tv writers ever. He flies by the seat of his pants every week and insists logic and outlines are the reason most tv sucks.

Yes, but a lot of great writers who think this way wrote great character dramas. Alan Ball, Matthew Weiner, David Chase, David Simon - they've all talked about not plotting out far in advance. But their shows were/are about characters and their choices and how their flaws and frailties affect their lives.

LOST is not a story about characters. It chews up and spits out characters. It has a plot that has no goals. The characters are puppets, dancing to no tune. Six years of Jack and I still think of him as a one-dimensional character. Kate, too. None of them seem to do anything that convinces me they are real people; they rarely ask questions and most of the time do things... just to keep feeding the endless narrative.

That said, the last couple of seasons of LOST have actually been plotted out really well. I just don't think each successive season has much to do with the last and each year survives just because the writers have figured out a new narrative trick to keep audiences confused.

Every week I sit there trying to puzzle things out. And every week I decide there's no point thinking about it, because there's no rhyme nor reason to it. The characters are there because the writers couldn't figure out a way to tell a story about an island without some meat puppets delivering vague exposition.
posted by crossoverman at 5:47 PM on March 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


I think it's fairly obvious from the show that the writers have had most of the general narrative in mind from the very beginning, although not the day-to-day specific character arcs. Going back and watching earlier seasons makes this pretty clear, IMO.

And honestly, aside from that, I'm enjoying the hell out of watching the show, which is the point. If, at the end of the season, there's a lame-ass ending, or nothing is explained, or Patrick Duffy steps out of the shower, or something, I'll be pretty frustrated, sure, but I'll still have enjoyed the hell out of six years' worth of teevee, which is why we watch the teevee, isn't it?
posted by shakespeherian at 5:56 PM on March 1, 2010


I gave up on Lost at precisely the moment the writers admitted they were making it up as they went along.

Yeah, Casablanca sucked, too.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 6:09 PM on March 1, 2010


No one has answered THE most important question of Season 6:

How did Hurley get out of his car after parking so close to Locke's van?!
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:27 PM on March 1, 2010 [19 favorites]


Why would I read his weblog? I've never seen Lost, so I could just watch the last season and have the same experience he describes. Plus, I know for a fact that I haven't actually seen the previous seasons!

This is silly.
posted by paisley henosis at 6:29 PM on March 1, 2010


poop poop poop poop poop poop poop

poop all over this silly thing
posted by paisley henosis at 6:30 PM on March 1, 2010


1. Lost in plotland doing something probably important but unseen for a few episodes.

Isn't that every episode?

Hey, I'm a fan of complex, thinking shows. I loved the original series of The Prisoner, every few years I watch all the episodes of Twin Peaks back to back(coming out of it, all you want is pie and coffee, and every little action you see people do is fascinating, for a least a couple hours. Good times).

I saw five or six episodes of the first season, then gave up on it. Lost does nothing for me. I've tried a few episodes, and it comes close, but it just never hooks me. For me, there's one minute of DAMN INTERESTING, followed by nine minutes of WHATEVER, GET BACK TO BEING INTERESTING, DAMMIT. Wash, rinse, repeat. Friends of mine list all there very interesting things that I would really dig, but every time I see it, luck would have it, I would only catch the soap-opera-emotional-packing-peanuts scenes that shows throw in to keep the less 'active viewers' watching and boost the ratings.

I avoided the later episodes because I thought someday I'll come back to it, and now there's this mountain of stuff to catch up on, and I just think there's something better than committing to 103 hours just to find out if it really is interesting to me.

Should I start back at the beginning again, or is there a 2nd-3rd season episode I should start with?
posted by chambers at 6:37 PM on March 1, 2010


I gave up on Lost at precisely the moment the writers admitted they were making it up as they went along.

Yeah, Casablanca sucked, too.


Nah, it didn't start to suck until Casablanca II, when rick opens a roller disco in Morocco, while secretly stopping an assassination plot against Patton during Operation Torch. It was also a prequel to Xanadu.

THAT was a bad movie. Or just a fever dream.
posted by chambers at 6:44 PM on March 1, 2010


I, for one, stopped watching when the plane crashed. Clearly they were never going to explain that. You are all fools for watching this show that will never explain things like who the french person on the intercom is or where the polar bears come from or why Kate was in jail.

I'm sure this opinion makes me look very clever and sophisticated and in no ways rather silly for forming an opinion on something about which I am very ignorant.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 6:50 PM on March 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


Stop answering questions with "just because". Stop convincing characters they are important without articulating why they are important. Stop having Locke and Jacob talk in riddles about destiny. Explain something, anything.

Wait, what? Have you been watching the same seasons I have?

What we've concluded so far, just this season (it's been built up for several seasons, what with mentions of Jacob and his list.) The island is the home of two 'gods' who can't leave, and can't kill one another. So in order to gain power over one another, they use the island as a life-size chess board. They have to bring people to it in order to overcome one another, but the people just end up infighting killing each other. (With exceptions: see Richard.)

MiB wants to kill Jacob. Jacob seems to want to show that people, given free will, are fundamentally good.

MiB finally is able to manipulate someone (Ben) into killing Jacob. The balance is thrown off and everything's fucked up. See the monks and Richard freaking out.

Jacob guessed this would happen and made a list of candidates who could take over for him and keep the MIB in check. One unknown: how he choose these candidates, though it's implied it's people who have the potential to go very bad and have to make a choice to not do so. MiB thinks everyone's bad and will never change. This is why MiB pushes destiny and Jacob pushes free will.

MIB on the other hand is trying to corrupt these candidates into helping him get off the island. That's where we are now: we don't know yet if MIB needs all the candidates dead to leave, or just have them on his side, or what.

You can say that's really silly or stupid, but they've obviously explained many things.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 7:01 PM on March 1, 2010 [17 favorites]


1. Sawyer's sitting his his cabin, drinking. Or on the dock, talking to Kate. I think in the last episode, we just backed up a bit to see what happened to Jin after he & Kate parted ways.

(After they parted ways for no explicable reason, in typical LOST fashion.)

2 & 3, I have no answer for. Except Jacob was definitely fine with Jack's smashing the mirrors, and may have actively manipulated that outcome.

I have a bad LOST habit; it's the only show I watch as it airs rather than on DVD. Have to say, though, this season so far makes me skeptical that the writers are really going to pull off a satisfying conclusion. Not crazy about the new characters, locations, contraptions, etc. ...what's going on with Desmond, Eloise, and Widmore, I want to know??

But I like your analysis, Solon and Thanks. Thanks!

My 14-year-old son watched all the back-seasons last summer and now is watching current eps with me. Watching with a kid adds a lot of enjoyment to the show.
posted by torticat at 8:00 PM on March 1, 2010


I have a bad LOST habit; it's the only show I watch as it airs rather than on DVD. Have to say, though, this season so far makes me skeptical that the writers are really going to pull off a satisfying conclusion. Not crazy about the new characters, locations, contraptions, etc. ...what's going on with Desmond, Eloise, and Widmore, I want to know??

I'm skeptical of this, too. I think they were planning on going bigger with Widmore v. Ben then they actually did, because they took it in the Smokey v. Jacob direction, but they could always surprise me. Desmond's kind of a wild card after all.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 8:05 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


After they parted ways for no explicable reason, in typical LOST fashion.

Kate wanted to go look for Claire and Jin wanted to go back to the temple.
posted by Bonzai at 9:12 PM on March 1, 2010


I gave up on Lost at precisely the moment the writers admitted they were making it up as they went along.

Why? Do you think novelists don't write the first word until they know how everything will develop? I would guess that many writers "make it up as they go along", although, like Lost's authors, they probably develop a vague picture of the major issues soon after they begin. The only difference is that, as Lost's early chapters go to air before the later ones have been written, they have a reduced ability to redraft, although they can still do it to some extent.
posted by stammer at 9:15 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Keep in mind, that the Jacob vs Man in Black thing was setup in the very first episode.
posted by empath at 10:04 PM on March 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Kate wanted to go look for Claire and Jin wanted to go back to the temple.

Nah! Jin wants to find Sun. He knows she's not at the temple. Why not stick with Kate, now that he's escaped the crazies at the temple?

Their parting words are something like, "What do you want, Kate?"/ "Good luck, Jin."

Typical LOST. Tells us nothing, explains nothing about why the characters are doing what they're doing, except that the storyline requires them to split up at this point. If Jin wants to find Sun, he should be anywhere BUT at the temple, where they are battening down the hatches and presumably not letting anyone in or out.

As to this:
I gave up on Lost at precisely the moment the writers admitted they were making it up as they went along.

...um, I think that was meant as a joke? The writers have insisted all along that they are NOT making it up as they go along. Whether they can actually deliver is obviously the big question of the final season.
posted by torticat at 10:10 PM on March 1, 2010


I have been thinking that whether Jacob is "good" or not has really been called into question this season. For one thing...seasons 1-5. But for another, Jacob seems like he may infect the living (and MiB the dead), and taking control of a living body seems more morally questionable than the dead.

But I agree with the sentiment that Lost is a hobby that is sometimes tedious, sometimes a lot of work, and certainly isn't something I would recommend to everyone, but when it's good (as in Desmond's time skipping episode), the pay off is really, really good in a way that most other TV shows simply cannot rival.
posted by joan cusack the second at 10:33 PM on March 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


See, this is why I, much like panboi, stopped watching as soon as one producer admitted in an interview that they didn't think the puzzles needed to be wrapped up because people watch it for the relationships.

David Milch (Deadwood) would strongly disagree and many consider him among the greatest tv writers ever. He flies by the seat of his pants every week and insists logic and outlines are the reason most tv sucks.

Both of you have it wrong, at least partially. SPOILERS abound, naturally.

You need both, for a show like this. Thankfully, LOST has both in spades. I, in fact, do watch Lost primarily for the relationships (or, to be more honest, simple character-studies), but the mysteries give additional heft to the characters and vice-versa. This is as it should be, and it's been this way from the very beginning.

This is a show where the initial hook was "why are these people on the Island, and who were they before the plane crashed?" Right from the start it was a puzzle-question and a character-question in one. By the end of the fourth episode, "Walkabout," these questions became intertwined.

"Walkabout" is, of course, one of the top-fan-rated episodes of the entire series, maybe the single top-rated (though I'll mention some other contenders further along), which focuses on John Locke, the Island's happy survivalist with a suitcase full of knives, who is bad-ass enough to hunt a boar for the rest of the group and seems positively giddy to get the chance to do so. In the flashbacks, we see Locke at his shitty job at the box-making company, disrespected by his boss and making arrangements for the Australian "Walkabout" of the title. For all of you too cool and/or busy to watch the show, the episode ends with Locke arriving in Australia, only to be informed that the Walkabout can't take him because he wouldn't be up to what it requires. Locke then first shouts his now-catchphrase, "Don't tell me what I can't do!" as the agent walks away from the uncomfortable scene, and then we finally see the reveal of Locke, turning to follow after him, in his wheelchair.

And with that, boom goes the dynamite. Character and Puzzles are combined in what will become Lost's signature. Though, for my money, the best Locke moment comes nearer to the end of Season 1.

In "Deus Ex Machina," we alternate between Locke on the Island working with Boone to open the mysterious hatch they found - the chief mystery of Season 1 - and Locke's introduction to his biological father as an adult. The Hatch is a metal door in the ground, with a dull translucent window, and a serial number. Locke's father is Kevin Tighe, a guy who needs a kidney transplant. Both intrigue Locke's sense of tragic optimism, in his hopes for the hatch to be a determination of his purpose and his father to be, well, about the same thing, really. But the Hatch attempts end up mortally injuring Boone, and the kidney transplant just ends with Locke's dad deserting him after he got what he wanted.

The episode ends with pre-Locke driving away from his dad's gated community that he's now been shut out of, bleeding through his back still from the surgery, and pounding on his steering wheel while breaking down, and Island Locke dropping Boone's body off at the caves and then returning to the hatch to pound on it like Job crying out to a maleficent God. And then the window suddenly glows with light.

I'm not sure anything on TV has ever given me chills quite like that moment did. Because it was all about the mystery, and it was all about the character.

Season Two is often cited as the worst season, and for good reason - the creators were stuck spinning their wheels not knowing if they would have to wrap up everything early or if they'd get the chance to tell their full story. I watched it on DVD at a furious pace, however, and it worked gangbusters, like an 18-hour Das Boot with existential ramifications. The end of it gave us both the show's greatest unresolved mystery (Libby) and its greatest character (Desmond).

And what makes Des so great is that he is all character and all mystery all of the time, besides being a fantastic Scottish romantic, flittering between stoicism and drunken wistfulness at the drop of a hat. He also doesn't succumb to the worst of the Lost character-tropes - the refusal to answer questions. This is a plot-necessity on the show, but they don't always give good reasons for it. Jack is too much of a secretive egotistical prick. Locke is too mystical. Sawyer is too bitter and cagey (and actually Josh Holloway does a great job of selling that.) Ben is still seen as the enemy and even if he isn't, he's playing his own game. Kate is doomed to be uninteresting and poorly written. Et cetera. Desmond, hjowever, will usually tell people what he knows without problem - he just also happens to be as confused as anyone else, and not know much.

Des and Penny's love story provides the beating heart of the show, particularly in the days since Sun and Jin (and Rose and Bernard) stopped pitching in. I always like SUn and Jin, in the way that the show expressed their love for each other, how their previous life had almost destroyed it by powers beyond their control, and how the truth kept fighting its way forward against their attempts at reconciliation. They had very little to do with the island mysteries, however. Every Desmond storyline was like a Cigarette-Smoking-Man X-Files episode with an emotional gut-punch. None more than "The Constant."

"The Constant" is the single greatest-ever Lost episode. Yes, it is. It arrives in the fervor of the time-travel confusion and offers up at least some answers in a totally organic way in the story of Desmond Hume becoming unstuck in time. Unlike Billy Pilgrim, this state is going to kill Des pretty shortly, as the brain isn't psychologically prepared to deal with this sort of thing. Des is lucky enough to have Daniel Faraday around to help him find his 1996 self, however, and inform Desmond that he needs to find a "constant" - someone important to him in both '96 and '04 - so that he can mentally ground himself. Of course, his long-lost love Penny is the only answer.

And so we go with '96 Desmond damn-near forcing Penny's door down demanding to know her phone number while promising that - if she keeps the same number - that he won't call it for another eight years. She's ready to call the cops on him. But in the final moments, '04 Desmond is able to get the call through, on Christmas Eve, and we watch them break into tears, as Penny has now been waiting for the call - the only contact the two have had since Des has been on the Island - and avow their love and devotion for each other before they are cut off again. But it's enough to save Des, and the show.

There are tons of moments like this, however. A lot of the time, Lost gets it wrong. The Donkey Wheel was almost laughable, and Jin's "death" was only barely saved by Yunjin Kim's acting abilities. But more often, they get it very, very right. "Greatest Hits," for example. "The Man Behind the Curtain." "The Other Forty-Eight Days." "Not in Portland." And the final moments of the Season Five Finale, which still blow my mind:

Juliette, who has finally built a happy life in 1977 on the island with Sawyer, agrees to help set off the nuclear bomb blast which will (hopefully, in theory) keep any of them from coming to the island. They drop the warhead down the well, and it doesn't go off, but the electromagnetic force that the well had been digging into brings her down with it. DYing, impaled, at the bottom of a very deep hole, the season ends with her using the very last of her strength to pound desperately on the bomb with a rock - until the screen goes white.

Yes, I'm a Lost addict. Yes, I'm okay with that. It is both about the mysteries and the characters, and when one gets shafted in a storyline it is to the detriment of both.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:35 PM on March 1, 2010 [31 favorites]


Navelgazer, I don't like Lost as much as most fans of the show, but I liked "The Constant" way more than most of the people I know who are really into the show. Possibly one of the best hours of TV I've ever seen that wasn't set in the city of Baltimore.

Empath, I just realized that I've seen every episode of Lost except the first one. Weird. The Backgammon metaphor makes perfect sense when applied to the characters leaving and returning to the island.
posted by billyfleetwood at 11:07 PM on March 1, 2010


Both of you have it wrong, at least partially.

Lovely post, Navelgazer, but I don't see what any of it has to do with what I was talking about, which was that some writers believe that plotting in advance is the wrong way to go about telling a story. I don't know whether the Lost writers do it or not, but was merely commenting on someone else who suggested the show wasn't worth watching because the writers had admitted they don't pre-plot. Deadwood, my favorite show, was not preplotted at all, and I think it's the most complex show, conflict-wise, ever created.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 11:28 PM on March 1, 2010


I don't think any tv show in the history of ever will top the episode where the blast door map was revealed on Lockdown.

Man, my friends and I spent days and days going over those screencaps.
posted by empath at 12:22 AM on March 2, 2010


No one has answered THE most important question of Season 6:
How did Hurley get out of his car after parking so close to Locke's van?!


That's an easy one, he got out of the passenger side.

In this parallel timeline his best friend Johnny instead of deserting Hurley when he found out about the lottery win and running off with Starla, the girl Hurley was in love with, instead remains his best friend and becomes his driver.

Hurley is such a nice bloke that he gives his arsehole former boss Randy a job of course he's going to give Johnny a job too. And what better job than getting to hang out with your best friend and drive him around all day. Johnny is Turtle to Hurley's Vincent Chase.

When Hurley meets Locke in the car park Johnny had probably just gone off to get some fried chicken or something so the scene looks a little incongruous.
posted by electricinca at 2:54 AM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sorry, but this season sucks so far. Tappin' out.
posted by VicNebulous at 6:04 AM on March 2, 2010


and they were only in 1977 for a week at the most.

I know the feeling. I was there for only three months, tops.
posted by joe lisboa at 6:53 AM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I stopped watching Lost after season 2, just because I got busy. I was a bit put-off about how the style of mystery of the first 1.5 seasons was quickly spiralling into something so much busier and not quite as thought out, but I still wanted to watch.

Then the timeline stuff happened... And OK, while I love me some Primer and 12 Monkeys, I just refuse to watch a multiple timeline vehicle unless I know it is done well.
The second this season is over and I started seeing rave reviews of "OMG IT ALL MAKES SENSE!" AND "IT ALL COMES TOGETHER!", I will go back and watch the entire series.

I am paralyzed by the fear of multithreaded time-travelling cop-out ending.
posted by Theta States at 6:57 AM on March 2, 2010


Another vote for Desmond as favourite character (I thought I was the only one) and The Constant as an incredible episode.

I don't see what any of it has to do with what I was talking about, which was that some writers believe that plotting in advance is the wrong way to go about telling a story. ... Deadwood, my favorite show, was not preplotted at all, and I think it's the most complex show, conflict-wise, ever created.

I think Navelgazer has it right in the distinction, though. Imagine for a moment that the writers didn’t start out having decided that Dan will kill Garret. Is it a problem or a weakness that they fail to pre-plot that point? Only to the extent that it would strip them of the ability to foreshadow it. But imagine instead that the Metz family is murdered, apparently by Indians – and the writers haven’t figured out yet who they’re going to make responsible. Now you have a mystery, have set the audience up to trying to figure it out, using clues that don’t actually lead them anywhere, because those clues have no relationship to the truth. They’re all false starts until the writers make up their minds and start laying an intentional trail. Maybe Al is responsible. Maybe it was Indians. Maybe some character you haven’t seen yet. You could understand, I think, how viewers finding this out would be disinclined to wonder about the mystery, or at least do so in terms of “I wonder who the writers will pin this on” rather than “I wonder who ‘was’ responsible”. And that pulls you out of the narrative in a big way. A mystery is a different kind of promise to the viewer than other self-contained plot elements.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:27 AM on March 2, 2010


Spoilers for Deadwood.

They’re all false starts until the writers make up their minds and start laying an intentional trail.

Yeah, Milch would disagree with this if you're suggesting that laying the intentional trail happens prior to the creator taking a walk. If you use the analogy of a walk thru the woods, he would say he walks without knowing where he's going, hacking his way as he goes. Pre-plotting suggests knowing the lay of the land and sticking to a predetermined trail.

Sure there are some things Milch knows for certain--for instance, he knows Hickock will be killed by McCaul because it happened. Prior to the show airing, did he know it would be in the 4th episode? No. And either did HBO, who were pissed when it happened as they assumed the Hickock/Bullock relationshp was the point of the show. (Milch doesn't submit scripts as he generally writes them the day of or the day before shooting.)

For many people, this is extremely hard to accept. Milch says that people always tell him he's full of shit when he says he doesn't outline but he swears it's true and testimony from those who work with him seem to bear this out. He's also taught courses on it, multiple times. Another Mefite leant me a transcript he has of a 6 week course Milch taught in the early 00s and it's fascinating to listen to this guy talk about the creative process.

You give an example of Garret's murder; here's an actual example Milch cites: Trixie, he imagined, was "supposed" to be killed for what she does when she first appears--shooting the John. That's what he "outlined" (not really, as he doesn't outline--but when he hired Paula Malcolmson, it was for a character that wasn't supposed to last). When he was writing, his spirit, for lack of a better word, led that character to be what she was--which, besides just alive, is a hell of a character. Had Milch stuck to the channel, so to speak, to what he thought was supposed to happen... well, can you imagine Deadwood without Trixie? I certainly cannot.

I don't know how Lost is created as, though I like it, I'm not obsessed with it (though I seem to be with Milch/Deadwood). All I was commenting on was that to suggest that anything needs to be pre-plotted to be good is simply not true.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 8:08 AM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Right on, durn. There is a distinct difference in a viewing/reading experience with someone writing a finished storyline, then telling it to you, and someone telling it to you as they write it.
posted by chambers at 8:09 AM on March 2, 2010


SPOILERS/THEORIES AHOY

There aren't two timelines. There's one timeline with two copies of everyone that we're currently being shown in 2004 and 2007. The island "moved" (perhaps as a self-protective measure) as the nuke went off. Everyone on it got moved in time (a la first third of season five) and since it was in a different place when Oceanic 815 flew by, the crash was prevented. But everything that had happened on the island during the first 108 days (seasons 1-4) still happened. Some supporting circumstantial evidence:

* No one was hurt by the nuke. That's because the nuke happened in a different place (and time) from where the island and everyone on it was.
* The sound for the flashbacks and flashforwards has been abandoned. The sound we're hearing now to indicate flash-sidewayses is the same as the sound that accompanied the time jumps in the first third of season five.
* When Sawyer made Miles figure out what Juliet's last words meant, you heard some sounds. Those sounds were from the "alternate" timeline Oceanic 815. I posit that Miles's powers don't extend across universes.
* We've had no independent verification of the state of the outside world while in the "island" perspective. No radio communication. No ships. No Widmore or his minions. So we have no proof that these are two different islands.
* I think that when Jacob told Hurley that someone was coming to the island (even though he had an alterior motive for sending them to the lighthouse), he was telling the truth. And I'm betting that "someone" is alternate versions of people who are already on the island but avoided the Oceanic 815 crash. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if a number of them ended up getting on Ajira 316 in 2007.

I know that the ten-dollar CGI of the underwater statue foot at the beginning of the season six premiere kinda blows this out of the water. But I don't care. I disregard that evidence at whim!
posted by Plutor at 8:48 AM on March 2, 2010


Plutor, if there aren't two timelines, how does Jack have a kid? Island Jack has never had a kid. How does John have a wife and a good relationship with his father?
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 8:59 AM on March 2, 2010


Jin going back to the Temple makes perfect sense toward his goal of finding Sun. He now knows the Others know something about the Ajira crash. So he can

A) go to the people who know something and find out what they know, so he gets an idea of where to start. In the meantime he has food and a place to sleep so he's in good shape for marching through the jungle. Sure, he may have to fight his way out, but he's willing and Sawyer proved it's possible.

or

B) wander the island without a clue, needing to dedicate a lot of time and effort into just finding food and shelter and staying alive.

Jin's behavior here makes a lot more sense than most find-a-loved-one behavior we've seen on Lost. (WAAAAAAAAAAALLTTTT!)

I cede the point that the characters are an extraordinarily uncommunicative bunch, and that that grows tedious and annoying. Surely Sawyer and Juliet in 1977 were privy to a lot of the info known to the Others in 2004 and to the Dharma Initiative in 1977 (I'm assuming the two of them talked to each other; that may be a stretch.) But have they talked to anyone about it? Of course not.
posted by Zed at 9:00 AM on March 2, 2010


here's an actual example Milch cites: Trixie, he imagined, was "supposed" to be killed for what she does when she first appears--shooting the John. That's what he "outlined"

You don’t seem to have grasped the difference between the two examples I cited. The only unknown in your cited example is how Al will react. That isn’t a “mystery” in the way I used the term. It’s simply an unknown as future events are. Sure, this set up can also keep the viewer interested, provided a *different* set of promises are kept (Al must be true to his character as written, or some reasonable outgrowth of it). But it’s not the same thing.

I never said something needs to be pre-plotted to be “good”. I said you can understand how viewers finding out that a mystery hasn’t been resolved by the writers who put it in place would disincline viewers to spend time thinking about it, try to follow what is clearly a nonexistent trail, react with suspense. The other issue, about whether or not pre-plotting is required for a good story, isn’t an issue I’ve taken up, but I do think LOST and Deadwood tend to use different plot devices with different requirements.

As I've mentioned before, apparently Ben Linus was supposed to have a minor, temporary role on LOST but they loved him and expanded it. I take no issue with that, and agree that that kind of flexibility can help, because it provides you the ability to bolster your strong points and eliminate your weaknesses (imagine casting someone terrible – you’d surely like to kill that character off...) None of that has anything to do with what I was talking about, though. I was agreeing with Navelgazer’s distinction between two kinds of content and how lack of pre-plotting one of them can lead to viewer disillusionment. You can point to a thousand examples of the other kind of content and you won’t be responding to anything I said.

The difference between an incomplete televised series and a mystery novel is that, while no one expects the writer to necessarily have finally decided “whodunit” on page one of draft one, if the writer finishes the draft, decides it’s bunk and changes the killer, he or she can and will go back and adjust content to change expectations accordingly (unless the problem with the original killer is that the content did this well, but did it for someone else). The writer of the partially televised series cannot do this.

What happens if the novel writer doesn’t do this? Well here’s a suspenseful game. What number am I thinking of? 6! Ok, now. 2! Now. 283! Random answers to asked questions are not suspenseful. The promise of a trail that can be followed is, for the same reason that “the guy on page two who bumped into the protagonist and is never seen again did it” is not a satisfying answer. There’s nothing for the audience to do. Nothing to be engaged with.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:00 AM on March 2, 2010


Also: lalalalalalaIcan’thearyou to all those people talking about season 6.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:01 AM on March 2, 2010


You Should See the Other Guy: "Plutor, if there aren't two timelines, how does Jack have a kid? Island Jack has never had a kid. How does John have a wife and a good relationship with his father?"

There are lots of pre-815 changes in the timeline that are all the result of the island moving in 1977 in response to the nuke. Linus and Ethan in the Real World are other examples.
posted by Plutor at 9:19 AM on March 2, 2010


Plutor's theory seems plausible to me. The bomb simultaneously sinking the island while throwing another instance of it, complete with people whose only memory is of the island timeline as we know it, into another time makes about as much sense as anything else. Or maybe these aren't separate instances of the island, but the results of more time travel shenanigans -- the island we're seeing in Season 6 is going to end up thrown backward in time and sunk.

If that's a Dharma logo on the shark in the Season 6 opener, there's only so much time for that to happen (though Wikipedia says some sharks can live 100 years, and, for all we know, the Dharma Initiative managed to genetically engineer sharks born with the logo, or maybe it has some sort of super-longevity, through Dharma experimentation -- one of the alternate reality games featured a Hanso Foundation life extension project -- or through some method similar to Richard's.)
posted by Zed at 9:35 AM on March 2, 2010


The promise of a trail that can be followed is, for the same reason that “the guy on page two who bumped into the protagonist and is never seen again did it” is not a satisfying answer. There’s nothing for the audience to do. Nothing to be engaged with.

My understanding of what's been going on in the writer's room for LOST (based on several interviews, articles, etc) is that they've been very flexible w/r/t character behavior and significance (they only killed off Libby because they had wanted Ana Lucia's death to have emotional heft, but the audience hated her, for example), but the larger narrative (what is the Dharma Initiative, who are the Others, who is Jacob, etc) has always been established. They'll make both elements into mysteries and cliffhangers (shock! Locke was in a wheelchair!) so it's not necessarily accurate to say they've never posed mysteries without having the answers in mind ahead of time, but I think it's certainly true that the mythology has always been there, and that those mysteries have been presented in good faith.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:00 AM on March 2, 2010


When the tell-all book comes out after the show is done, I'll definitely be buying it.
posted by empath at 10:17 AM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've never watched more than sixty seconds of LOST but have very much come to enjoy reading about it, or rather reading the writing of fans (and non) arguing about it, trying to explain it, trying to justify it. Not unlike listening to people discuss a religion you have no particular position on.

Being a sometimes screenwriter, one thing I have concluded is regardless of what is (or isn't) going on onscreen, what's going on behind the scenes is fairly simple. The writers have written themselves into a hole (a strange loop, an extremely convoluted tangle -- choose yrrr metaphor) and the only reason they haven't just screamed in anguish, tossed the thing across the room and gone fishing for a few months is that the money's too damned good.

In this light, I very much look forward to LOST's eventual and no doubt much hyped FINAL EPISODE if only because I'm fairly certain it will not resolve, will not add up, will not satisfy ....

UNLESS they take a page from THE PRISONER and opt for good old madness.
posted by philip-random at 10:26 AM on March 2, 2010


* No one was hurt by the nuke. That's because the nuke happened in a different place (and time) from where the island and everyone on it was.

Keep in mind that I'm working with a Nexus 5 mind 5th season understanding of LOST, but who the heck was hammering on the warhead, then?

This talk of nukes and time slingshots is all very Cowboy Feng's.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:40 AM on March 2, 2010


Then the timeline stuff happened... And OK, while I love me some Primer and 12 Monkeys, I just refuse to watch a multiple timeline vehicle unless I know it is done well.

Yeah, we'll definitely see how this plays out. I'm given hope by the fantastic way in which they handled time travel. So many attempts to use time travel seriously in other stories fail because the writers can't divorce themselves from the concept of time. They don't get that the past is the past, and any future you're familiar with is the product of past events that (while you may be experiencing them now) have already occurred by that time. What happened, happened.

I mean it's hard to write out but I don't think it's that difficult a concept to grasp, I'm hardly a rocket surgeon.

Desmond seems to fuck this up a little, but it seems like a purposeful and knowledgeable twisting of the rules so I'll go with it until it becomes too hard to reconcile.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 10:57 AM on March 2, 2010


the only reason they haven't just screamed in anguish, tossed the thing across the room and gone fishing for a few months is that the money's too damned good.

What pokes a hole into this little statement is that they got the network to agree to let them stop this year rather than drawing it out infinitely as a cash-cow.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 10:58 AM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


[SPOILERS]
Edgewise: The only part that really bugs me about this explanation is the fact that the gang who blew up the bomb were instantly teleported to the island in their home timeline in 2007. Why didn't they just get blown up? That wouldn't have been a paradox. Well, obviously, there are dramatic needs to be served, but that part of the whole thing came across as very deus ex machina. Still, on the balance, I like the diverging timelines concept, because it is a creative way of handling the whole situation without taking the direct route to paradoxville.

I watched the episodes with commentary on the season 5 DVDs, and the producers mentioned that (I'm paraphrasing a lot here) the time travel flashes throughout that season weren't arbitrary. Basically, the castaways who were time traveling were being shunted around the island's timeline with purpose -- they were flashed into a certain time to accomplish something -- whether that something is to interfere with events or simply observe them -- but every time they seemed to be in mortal peril, the island flashed them away again because they weren't meant to die at that point. They still had things to accomplish.

So my theory is that, when Juliet detonated the bomb, the fade-to-white that ended the episode was basically another time flash -- the island was whisking the castaways away from mortal peril, since they weren't meant to die, and since they had accomplished what they needed to do, they were plopped back into 2007. The bomb detonation created a divergent timeline like you mentioned, and the castaways went along their merry way in their original universe/timeline.

The divergent, non-paradoxial timelines remind me a lot of the new Star Trek movie [SPOILER] and what old Spock told young Spock about what had happened with that wormhole thingie.

This is the only way my brain can make any sense of what has happened since the season 5 finale, and based on that little nugget about the flashes from the producers' commentary, I like to think I'm not too far off at all.
posted by phatkitten at 11:03 AM on March 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


Durn Bronzefist: "Keep in mind that I'm working with a Nexus 5 mind 5th season understanding of LOST, but who the heck was hammering on the warhead, then?"

This is why:

phatkitten: "So my theory is that, when Juliet detonated the bomb, the fade-to-white that ended the episode was basically another time flash -- the island was whisking the castaways away from mortal peril, since they weren't meant to die, and since they had accomplished what they needed to do, they were plopped back into 2007."

Eight smacks with a rock. The eighth one exactly coincidental with the island being moved. In fact, now that I think about it, maybe the nuke didn't even go off. We have no reason to believe that it did. Visualize a nuke (even a small one like Jughead) going off on a small island. Now, does your visualization include the island sinking under the ocean but with a significant man-made structure (the statue foot) left intact? No?

The more I think about this theory, the more I like it. It's not a Back To The Future Part Two divergent timeline. It's a The Enemy Within(TOS)/Second Chances(TNG)-esque transporter accident.
posted by Plutor at 11:58 AM on March 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am paralyzed by the fear of multithreaded time-travelling cop-out ending.

I'm not paralyzed, but suspicious as well. I tried watching the final season with no background but I don't trust it, so I quit. I'll go back and try again if it finishes brilliantly (I'm sure MF will let me know.)
posted by mrgrimm at 11:59 AM on March 2, 2010


I can deal with that, Plutor (time shift, not island move "coincidental" with detonation), though "the island doesn't think it's time for you to die yet" seems like a Wand of Deus Ex Machina with about a thousand charges in it.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:08 PM on March 2, 2010


The more I think about this theory, the more I like it. It's not a Back To The Future Part Two divergent timeline. It's a The Enemy Within(TOS)/Second Chances(TNG)-esque transporter accident.

I kind of like this-- the idea being that the under-the-ocean island at the beginning of the season is actually an unexplained reveal of what happens in the finale.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:12 PM on March 2, 2010


Visualize a nuke (even a small one like Jughead) going off on a small island.

This is an island known to teleport. Who's to say a nuke (at the magic electromagnetic hotspot) couldn't cause a teleportation gone wrong in which only the base of the island teleported, sinking the top of it?

Given how much non-realism one has to accept in Lost, I don't know that something being unrealistic is necessarily cause to reject it. I expect we're going to be served up some whoppers in the course of the season. Probably totally different whoppers than the teleportation-awry scenario, but just as hand-wavey. Which I'm totally OK with so long as it's, you know, good hand-waving.
posted by Zed at 12:51 PM on March 2, 2010


ME: the only reason they haven't just screamed in anguish, tossed the thing across the room and gone fishing for a few months is that the money's too damned good.

SOLON: What pokes a hole into this little statement is that they got the network to agree to let them stop this year rather than drawing it out infinitely as a cash-cow.

Or they've been drawing it out ever since Season 3 (or whenever) and the writers have finally said, okay, Network, enough's enough, our great-great-granchildren's healthcare and grad school is paid for, we're shutting it down after this year ... and going fishing.
posted by philip-random at 1:58 PM on March 2, 2010


Or they've been drawing it out ever since Season 3 (or whenever) and the writers have finally said, okay, Network, enough's enough, our great-great-granchildren's healthcare and grad school is paid for, we're shutting it down after this year ... and going fishing.

Man I'll bet every play you've ever been to was entirely improvised, too.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:08 PM on March 2, 2010


To clarify, the producers and the network came to an agreement to make three seasons of 16 episodes post-season three. Which is essentially two seasons split over three years. The writers' strike affected season four, so the missing episode numbers from that year were moved to seasons five and six.

So it's a compromise between the producers wanting to know how much time they had left to tell their story and a network trying to keep it running as long as feasibly possible. (The network has talked about a spin-off to keep milking the cash cow, but I don't think they've found anyone interested in trying to do it.)

Of all the problems I have with the narrative, I think the business decision making has been a perfect balance between art and commerce. Series creators on HBO or Showtime get to decide when their shows end (unless they are unceremoniously dumped like Deadwood or Carnivale), but network show creators usually have no say.

I also think the shorter seasons have definitely helped with the execution of the story, along with running the season straight through without extended hiatuses.
posted by crossoverman at 2:31 PM on March 2, 2010


Did that guy ever find Walt? WAAAAAAAALT? WAAAAAAAAAALT!

Dad? Dad? Is that you, Dad? Dad! DAAAAAAAAAAAD!

Yay we're back together! Oh no the dog has gone!

Vincent! VINCEEEEEEEEEEEENT!
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:41 PM on March 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Did that guy ever find Walt?

Yeah. Quite some time ago. All he had to do was murder two of his friends to make it look like Ben escaped.
posted by Bonzai at 7:14 PM on March 2, 2010


I've long held that Vincent is Jacob.
posted by m0nm0n at 8:45 PM on March 2, 2010


[Spoilers for the Feb. 23 episode] I have to say, I thought I had the twist figured out in advance on this one—when Jack had Hurley turn the lighthouse mirrors to the setting with Jack's name, I thought for sure Jack was going to see himself in the alternate timeline, talking to his son. I still think that would have been a neat twist, so whatever's coming up better be even neater than that.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:31 PM on March 2, 2010


Is this show really as much of a cash cow as The Haters want us to believe? The ratings have gone from mid-6s in season one to mid- to high-3s in season five. I don't think the twenty-somethingth highest rated primetime show is really something to frame on the wall and spin off.
posted by Plutor at 6:22 AM on March 3, 2010


First up, I'm not a hater. I've never even seen the show. I merely questioned the modus behind the show's longetivity.

As for whether or not LOST is a cash cow, the short answer is Yes It Is. Any show that lasts more than two or three seasons in prime time is well into the black. And then comes syndication, DVDs, you name it, particularly for a show like LOST which clearly has a passionate and committed fan base who can't seem to get enough of it. Every extra season they produce is pure gold for all involved.
posted by philip-random at 10:08 AM on March 3, 2010


I apologize for wrongly characterizing you as a hater. In my experience there has been a common hater refrain: "Jeez this show is going forever, they're just in it for the money, they have no plan and no idea what they're doing". But yeah, you make good points.
posted by Plutor at 5:26 AM on March 4, 2010


i'm a little biased as i absolutly love lost. Yes it does need to be taken with an open mind, and realsie that it is infact a TV show, and so doesnt matter how far fetched it is, its good entertainment and keep you guessing! for all you guys out there that havnt seen it, i suggest you give it a go before you knock it!
posted by Mike Brains at 7:10 AM on March 4, 2010


they had wanted Ana Lucia's death to have emotional heft, but the audience hated her

I still have never figured out why everyone hated her. She was, to my mind, a sympathetic if sad character. She was sexy, she made hard decisions, she look the lead, she took care of people. I feel like two of the five or so most interesting characters (Eko, Ana Lucia) came from the tail section, and they both got killed off almost right away. I understand that most people didn't like Ana, but no one has ever been able to articulate why to me.
posted by Night_owl at 10:33 AM on March 4, 2010


I absolutely look forward to throwing myself into the LOST universe at some point when various stars align (ie: lots of time on my hands, lack of motivation to make my own fun) much as I watched all of ROME in one long weekend, four years worth of ENTOURAGE in a week etc.

But first maybe I should commit to THE WIRE, BATTLESTAR GALLACTICA and THE SOPRANOS.
posted by philip-random at 10:36 AM on March 4, 2010


I feel like two of the five or so most interesting characters (Eko, Ana Lucia) came from the tail section, and they both got killed off almost right away.

I was under the impression that all of these people were killed off because of the actor, not the character. Ana Lucia and Libby because they got DUIs, or were otherwise trouble. Eko because he didn't want to be on the show any more.

Along the same lines, we'll never get a good conclusion to the Walt storylines (unless that supersecret footage of Jack and Walt exists) because Walt's actor gained like, 4 feet of height in between seasons. I don't think that was part of any original plan, and probably caused them to dump any further Walt story.
posted by graventy at 11:06 AM on March 4, 2010


I still have never figured out why everyone hated her.

I think for me, at least, it's that LOST is primarily about characters who are broken and at war with themselves, trying to reconcile disparate parts of themselves, and Michelle Rodriguez is simply incapable of emoting anything beyond pissed-off. The storyline for her character was plenty sympathy-evoking, but at no point was I ever convinced that Ana Lucia was wrestling with anything the way Jack wrestles with his father issues and Locke wrestles with faith and fatalism and Sawyer wrestles with his simultaneous fuck-y'all urges and need for acceptance. Hers was an annoyingly one-note performance in a show that is very much about complexity in all aspects.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:39 PM on March 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


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