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(For Old Times' Sake) Reacting To Lost: "The New Man In Charge"

Baxter
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Posted August 25, 2010 - By Joseph Baxter

(For Old Time's Sake) Reacting To Lost: The New Man In Charge

It's been a while since we saw the Lost gang sit in a church only to get swallowed up by a blinding light that took them to -- Hawaii Five-0, I guess? Anyway, with the Lost: The Complete Collection DVD/Blu-Ray sitting on shelves as we speak, it's a good opportunity to discuss that item's new addition to the show's ever-confusing and non-resolved canon, specifically, the included epilogue entitled The New Man in Charge. (Also available on the season 6 DVD/Blu-Ray.) Clocking-in a little under 12 minutes, it may at first, seem like just an afterthought to the epic, yet divisive finale. However, as it turns out, it's a rather critical afterthought that's worth exploring, especially if you're one of those folks that spend their days ravaging "teh internets" with venomous posts due to your deprivation of "answers." So, for old times' sake, lets take one final look at what Lost has to offer.

Caution: Spoilers Ahead

1) Seeing two more men stuck in their own proverbial DHARMA hatch in some factory in Guam, having their faith tested by blindly carrying out a monotonous task continuously (in this case, for twenty years) speaks well to the themes that have been rampant throughout the series regarding faith and finding a role to play in the world. Yet, no matter how far up the Island's food chain you would go, from the 815 Crash Survivors, to the Others, to even Jacob himself, finding the ultimate purpose to all the tasks that each one felt compelled to complete always seemed to pass the buck to the next level, until finally, they were left in a corner with no point of origin in sight. Perhaps, that was the purpose of this opening scene. It pretty much said to the audience: "Oh, so you want answers?! Well, here's a ton of them! Room 23? No problem! Polar Bears? Nailed! Hurley Birds? Eat it! But guess what? No matter how explicitly we give you these answers, you will only have another dead end waiting for you. Have fun, suckers!"

(For Old Time's Sake) Reacting To Lost: The New Man In Charge

2) I think (at least, in my interpretation,) this epilogue has shed the now disbanded group of the Others into a whole new light. The illusion of civilization they had with their life on the old DHARMA barracks was not just theirs because they killed the DHARMA's and physically took their little idyllic island hamlet. As it turns out, they pulled-off what could be considered the ultimate example of identity theft heist. They managed to convince what little segment of the real world that were aware of the existence of the DHARMA Initiative, that they were in fact, them! They kept the mechanism rolling by taking control of the Lamp Post station's communications to ensure that those provisions, which were meant to replenish the Island's late DHARMA group, went to them. (Which as far as anyone knew, they were.) It's a sinister and conniving scheme that just reeks of the evil genius of Ben Linus.

3) Seeing Walt's story wrapped-up made this entry worth the price of admission. It's a shame that with as much time and energy that was invested in focusing on Walt's status as "special" in the early seasons, that it couldn't have paid off in a central way to the finale. Nevertheless, Ben and Hurley whisking Walt away from that same dreaded Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute (where he just happened to be, coincidentally enough,) towards a return to the Island with a definitive task in helping his late father Michael find peace away from his existence as a whispering voice, is a nice step towards closure. (Even if we'll never know if he succeeded.)

(For Old Time's Sake) Reacting To Lost: The New Man In Charge

4) I suspect that, in true Lost fashion, the title of "The New Man in Charge" had a double meaning. The finale, of course, ended with Hurley becoming the "new Jacob." We saw him not only forming this initial alliance with Ben in the real world, but as a critical leader in corralling the Losties towards their destination in the Sideways. Since Hurley's afterlife fixation remained with the 815'ers and his brief time with Libby, I tend to think that, given the implication that Walt will be groomed to take the job of Island Protector from Hurley, that Hurley's tenure would end up a short one. Moreover, it may be the case that Walt's reign would presumably be a long-term one, similar to, or longer than Jacob's 2,000+ years. Since we saw the afterlife events in which Hurley had already stepped-down and passed away, the "new man in charge" may have been a sneaky way to provide one last answer to the question "who took over for Hurley?"

5) The revelations in this chapter may explain serve as an excuse as to why we never saw Walt or Michael in the Sideways. Walt's time will come to an end at some point, but he may have lived too much life at that point to be fixated on this event that occurred when he was just a child to share any real bond. And as for Michael, even if his soul was eventually liberated, he may have alienated himself too much from the group to want to join them. (Even if he would have been welcomed, since Ben's presence there suggests forgiveness.) Maybe given how things unfolded on the Island and even his life before it, his afterlife focus may end up remaining with Walt's mother.

Have you had a chance to check out The New Man in Charge on DVD/Blu-Ray (or perhaps via "alternative means?") Did it do its job of being that small, but enticing cherry on top of the sundae that was the Lost series?

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