(*We actually have a lot more than that.)
It's the beginning of the end. There's a little show by the name of Lost that enters its final season tomorrow night on ABC. The survivors of Oceanic 815 have a date with destiny (if such a concept even exists in the Lost universe in the first place) and we're ready to watch it play out. But Lost is a show about mysteries...a very, very long list of mysteries we've been waiting for answers to since Lost started back in 2004. It's unclear how many answers we're going to get, but we can dream, right?
Andrew Pfister and I have spent countless hours (thanks to some Dharma beer) debating what's going to happen at the end of Lost. Something tells me G4's readers are avid Lost watchers, too. Starting this week, as the premiere for the final season approaches, here's what we want answered in the weeks head. Each week we'll be pick something to be answered (there's plenty to go around) and after every episode, we'll compile the evidence for a real answer -- or, if we're lucky, cross it off the list.
Careful. Since this is season six discussion -- there are spoilers ahead!
Patrick: Fate? Destiny? Both? Neither?
I'd originally posed this as "how does the Island choose people?" after recalling the struggle John Locke has with the Island and its influence on his legs (a moment where the Island showed motivation as its own "character"). It's really a much larger question than that. The driving force behind the character motivations in Lost are about fate and whether or not it exists. Are we supposed to do things because someone else determined "hey, that's how it goes," or can we break free from the cycle? The question of whether the people on Oceanic 815 and the events that came before and after -- what would have happened if Desmond didn't turn the fail-safe? -- are part of a larger question. I expect (well, hope) Lost will end up answering these questions in one fell swoop. It seems impossible the answer can't involve the cast of Lost fighting back, even if fate does exist.
But...what happens if they lose?
Andrew: Smokey the Monster
Judgement, vengeance, protection…we know that the Smoke Monster is all about these things. But what is it? It’s been around since the Egyptian times…is it a deity of some sort? Why does flushing Ben’s basement drain summon it? How is it linked to The Whispers and the “ghost” mainfestations of dead folks? What exactly is it about the Island that requires this type of protective force? Is it related to “the sickness” that took out Rousseau’s team after they got sucked into the Temple? And what did poor Greg Grunberg do in his life to deserve his brutal beatdown death in the show’s pilot episode? We never got his flashback!
Patrick: WAAAAAAAAAALT (AKA How Come Children are Special?)
Upon rewatching the first season of Lost, Michael isn't nearly as annoying as I remember him, and Walt remains one of the most interesting and mysterious characters on the show. It's unfortunate that Walt's natural growth spurts essentially forced him out of the show. That could make a concrete explanation of what the heck was going on with Walt difficult (though with the advent of time travel, pretty much anything's possible), but we know the Others were kidnapping and testing children before Walt arrived. The Others have also been trying to solve why children can't be born on the Island (pre-Aaron, anyway). Clearly, children are key to many answers on Lost. How was Walt able to seemingly influence events on the Island (the appearance of the polar bear after reading a comic book, weather changing from sun to rain)? If the writers weren't going to circle around to this eventually, however, I don't think grown up Walt would have re-appeared in a vision to John Locke, if that was even a "vision" at all.
Andrew: Cabin Fever
It was revealed late in season 4 that Jacob's Cabin of Mystery was originally built by Horace, the Dharma leader, as a getaway for his budding family. But then something happened that turned the quaint little home into a haunted house that Ben used to communicate with Jacob. Or was it Jacob? Remember also in season 5's finale when the cabin was burned down by the pro-Jacob faction led by Illana, she said "He isn't there, hasn't been in a long time. Somebody else has been using it." Also, what's with the ash? Protective barrier, obviously, but against what or whom? What was written on the animal hide nailed to the wall that Illana read before lighting it up? Why could Hurley see it?
Patrick: Do We Actually Want the Numbers Explained?
I'm willing to accept some questions in the first season of Lost aren't going to receive the satisfying answers, knowing the writers admitted they were, as suspected, making good chunks of it up. I've gone back and forth on whether the numbers -- 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42 -- should fall into that category. Hurly believes he's cursed by the numbers. A transmission containing the numbers brought Rousseau to the Island. If the writers realized the numbers couldn't be thoughtfully explained (read: the midichlorians issue), why bring them back once the series had course-corrected? Desmond encountered them all over when he was tripping through time in "Flashes Before Your Eyes." By then, it's simply audience mockery.
I'd be okay if the numbers aren't explicitly explained (it'd easily be goofy), but there needs to be discussion of how the machination of the Island are able to permeate beyond the reach of the Island itself -- and why.
Andrew: Who’s John Locke?
John Locke at the end of season 5 is not the John Locke we know smiling with the orange peel in his mouth after the crash of 815, that much we know for sure. But just how much control does The Man in Black (Jacob’s rival) have over the Locke vessel? He remembers Ben killing him in Los Angeles before coming back to the island, he remembers how Ben would torment him by witholding knowledge about the Island, he remembers details about Richard Alpert, including sending him to pull the bullet out of his own leg when the Island was skipping through time (which happened before Ben killed him), and he even seems concerned about reuniting Sun and Jin.
Locke’s death and return to the Island was The Man in Black’s “loophole” that made it possible for him to kill Jacob (even though he ended up having Ben do it, which is another mystery…could he still not do it himself?). But it seems to me that Old John isn’t completely gone, which is good because he and Jack have that whole “fate vs. free will” debate to resolve.
One last (potentially huge) thing about Locke’s death that’s intriguing: Jacob was there when John got pushed out of the high rise in “The Man From Tallahassee.” Before touching John on the shoulder and seemingly resurrecting him, he was reading a book called Everything That Rises Must Converge, which is a collection of short stories by Flannery O’Conner. I have yet to read it myself, but the title is suggestive enough on its own, and the stories within deal with themes of parental conflict and redemption (sound like anyone we know?). And in what’s probably an incredibly appropriate coincidence, Everything That Rises Must Converge was published after O’Conner’s death.
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That's ours so far -- expect more once the season starts! What does Lost need to answer for you?