Getting Lost

There are only two kinds of people in this world– those who watch Lost, and those who find those who watch Lost super-annoying.  It’s a funny experience, being a Lost fan.  It’s like how in high school there were several groups of nerds, but only a few of those groups seemed to understand how nerdy they were, and seemed to take a peculiar kind of enjoyment in their nerdiness despite their knowledge of how nerdy they were (in most cases, it’s the drama nerds, right?)  That’s Lost fans.  Trust me, I know how ridiculous we are.  I know what it sounds like for us to sit around in public places and talk about the smoke monster and the golden tunnel at the center of the island in hushed, solemn tones.  It’s not like we think that kind of stuff makes us cool.  It’s just that we think it makes us better than you.  Even if it makes us look like idiots.


We Losties have been through things together that you’ll never understand. Any time you meet someone with a deep, sad wisdom about them, you know you’re talking to a Lost fan.  What if you had spent six whole years as part of a community pondering deep mysteries and discussing deep truths, and sometimes getting scared to death, and sometimes getting really frustrated, and sometimes wondering why that fat guy is still so fat after six years stranded on an island. (Just kidding- that last one is only something the haters wonder.  The fans don’t care, so stop acting like it matters).  Maybe that doesn’t sound like anything life-changing to you, but when you’ve done it together, as fellow nerds, you learn things about yourself that you didn’t know before.  Like when this one guy acted like he was a part of the airplane survivors group, but really he was just hanging around to steal Claire’s baby, and when they figured it out, he had already kidnapped Claire, and when a huge posse went after him, he beat the crap out of all of them together, and actually strung a guy up in vines, and he never gave up.  Well, I’m not sure we ever completely figured out why all of that happened, and certainly not why he seemed to have superpowers, but we did learn that with hard work and a good support group, you can pretty much kidnap anyone you want to, no matter how intimidating it seems.

And that’s kind of a small sample of what Lost fans have gone through over and over.  Something crazy happens, and it’s fascinating and crazy and completely absorbing.  And you watch and watch to get to explanations of why so-and-so would do that or how thus-and-such is possible.  And in the end, far more often than not, you never find out the thus-and-such, but you do find out a little bit more about the so-and-so’s, and it turns out that’s pretty much the only thing the show cares about in the first place.  In other words, Lost is a soap opera about people, but in disguise as a sci-fi/island mystery, but the mystery part is only really there to keep you engaged in the soap opera.  In fact, it turns out the mystery is really only half a mystery, because all the crazy stuff that happens propels the story forward in this crazy, intriguing way, but most of it is never explained or resolved or answered in any satisfying way.


So, based on the above, I’m sure all you unbelievers can start to see why your nerdier friends and neighbors feel a little superior to you this week, after going on a journey like that.  I’m not saying they’re right.  Just that they’ve been through something you’ll never understand, and that something gives them knowledge of the light that animates all humanity, and helps them see themselves as saviors of our race, and teaches them not to take you too seriously, because you’re probably already dead.  So yeah, they probably are a little superior to you, actually.

Me and two buddies were having lunch in a restaurant last week, when the conversation turned to Lost.  Two of us talked through some of the remaining questions, and shared some important feelings about our journey, while the other one laughed at us for exposing these emotions.  Meanwhile, everyone sitting around us could certainly hear most of our conversation, about the Roman lady who started the island club, and the invention of the donkey wheel that moves the island through space and time, and the way it melds water and light to transport people to, um, Tunisia.  So obviously, most of those people were a little jealous of us, with all our answers to life’s big questions.  I started realizing how awkward they must feel in our presence.  But in the end, it turns out we’re really not much better than them.  We don’t really have most of the answers either.  But we have asked the big questions- something those workplace drones have never done.  And we’ll go through life a little better prepared for that inevitable encounter all of us have with the smoke monster.  The smoke monster of our own destiny.  Or maybe the smoke monster of sickness, or unemployment, or shyness.  Whatever it is, we’ll be able to look deeply into it, and see that it is beautiful.  And then we’ll move the plug out of the hot tub in the center of the island to make the smoke monster mortal and then we’ll chase it for a while and then just shoot it, and it will die, like a normal dude.

It sounds complicated, but trust me, it’s very deep.  And you’ll never understand, so don’t try.  LOST.

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22 Responses to Getting Lost

  1. Davis says:

    (If you’re dumb enough to have not watched last night and THEN go in the Internet the next day, SPOILER ALERT)

    Man, so many thoughts. I’ve been thinking about the finale ever since it ended, and I honestly feel a certain heaviness about me knowing that Jack died. I know a lot of people – Ryan, for one – didn’t like Jack, but I always did.

    There were so many things I loved about it: That initial confrontation between Jack and Smokey? Brilliant and spine-tingling. I love that instead of meeting up and just battling it out, they both recognize that their hatred of one another stems from two completely different views of the Island/world, and they’re each so confident in this view that they don’t even feel a need to duke it out (yet) but rather work together to reveal who was right and who was wrong.

    I loved – a lot more than I expected to – that Kate and Jack owned up to loving one another.

    I love that Hurley and Ben are now in charge of the Island.

    I love that Lapidus was still alive (though I saw that coming a mile away, as I did with Richard still being alive).

    But man, am I sad that Jack died. So very sad. And that was the genius of the ending, I think – they kind of had their cake and ate it, too. On the one hand, Jack dies, Hurley and Ben (and Desmond, I guess?) stay on the island, Lapidus, Miles, Kate, Sawyer, Richard, and Claire all leave and go live their lives in the ordinary world. Pretty heartbreaking, especially when it comes to Jack and Kate. And yet, in the end, we know they all get together, eventually. My heart broke when Jack (with his Hitler blood mustache) saw the plane fly over, but I was also able to handle it knowing that he and Kate get to go live in the Great Beyond. It actually mirrors the way a religious person feels about mortality; is it a big deal, ultimately, that Kate has to go live for 40 years without Jack? Well, no, I guess not, as long as they get eternity together. But it’s still pretty sad.

  2. Layne says:

    Okay I have to add my 2 cents here. When people are discussing the show, they sound crazy. Donkey wheels, time travel, polar bears, etc. The list goes on and on. But it was entertaining and I think that’s what people were looking for.

    Besides, it is more outlandish than the force, death stars, galactic empires and jaba the hut? Not even close. I was a latecomer to lost (thanks for letting me catch up hulu) and I’ve had to reconcile the fact that I’ve become a Lostie. Would this be overkill?

  3. Macy Bell says:

    I loved the entire journey! I am a huge fan of Lost, and even though they had their up and down seasons , as whole the show was amazing. The best part was the characters….I loved them all! Ryan and I both loved John Locke. The one character that saw the bigger picture and was right the whole time. I loooove Sawyer…so great! And yes davis, we went through our ups and downs with Jack, but I really, really liked him this last season. I just thought he was such downer most of the series. He needed to put a smile on once in a while, and that is why I loved in the end that he smiled up at that plane before he died. My favorite character of all was Desmond…he is the best! I love he and Penny so much…cutest relationship hands down. Anyway, the characters were enough to make the weirdo stuff go away.

    The finale didn’t answer all of our questions, but was still somehow satisfying. And although I was more of a Sawyer /kate fan I liked that jack and kate ended up together.

    Anyway, sigh…..I feel a little Lost this morning knowing it is over.

  4. Ryan says:

    Davis, great thoughts. I am doing the same thing today. It has really affected me emotionally, and I’m trying to sort it all out, on a bunch of levels. First, there’s the level of working through the emotions of how the story for all these characters ended. Then there’s the emotion of figuring out how I feel about how they did it. It’s funny, because in some moments I feel completely satisfied and fulfilled and paid off. And in other moments I feel completely ripped off.

    I think it comes down to what you see this show being. Lost basically works on three levels: (1) an intimate, personal story about some compelling characters, (2) a broader story about a mysterious island full of mysterious history and mysterious groups of people with their own agendas, and finally, (3) a very broad philosophical story about love, destiny, free will, leadership, and control. For me, Lost is an absolute grand slam on level one, a miserable failure on level two, and a mixed, though ultimately fascinating, success on level three.

    Last night was almost all about level one last night. It was incredibly emotional, and on that level it was really satisfying. I’m with you about Jack. Jack is one of the most frustrating characters ever on TV, and he went through so many iterations that it’s impossible to say that you like or hate Jack entirely. But in Season Six, he was excellent. He internalized all of the lessons of the past seasons and became exactly what he needed to be. He was humble, but still a leader, he was smart, but still faithful, he was willing to sit and wait to know what to do, but when it became clear what he was to do, he took the opportunity. I was so glad the finale focused so much on him. It was honestly beautiful to watch him go after his mission so wholeheartedly, and finally succeed. Loooooved it. And loved that he died there. Awesome.

    I agree that the dynamic with smokey was awesome. When he told him he was going to kill him, and Lock asked “how are you going to do that,” I loved the cocky, knowing response: “That’s a surprise.” Awesome.

    Really loved the other emotional ‘waking up’ moments. Sawyer and Juliet, Kate and Jack, Charlie and Claire. That was really great.

    So yeah, there was huge emotional payoff last night. I’m really happy with that, and it’s left me pleased overall today.

    But it also turns out that the writers never intended to take level 2 seriously at all. That’s a major bummer. Very frustrating, in fact. The sideways timeline, which had so much potential, was essentially meaningless. More importantly, the most important fact of all in the island mythology never got addressed. That is, we still never found out what the stakes are. What happens when the light goes out? What happens if smokey escapes? What is the island, and why is it important to the cosmos? They never established any stakes, even through the very end. And I’m not going to list the hundreds of other mysteries that they never even attempted to tie up. I could live with many of those remaining undone, but I can’t live with the fact that the writers didn’t take ANY of the mysteries seriously enough to try to deal with them. Level 2: Fail.

    Finally, level three. I think much of made Lost so excellent was how well it played with the themes of faith and doubt and destiny and free will. If it had stuck to that, I’d say this was a great success. However, it looks like right before the beginning of Season Six, the writers decided that this show is actually about friendship and love. And honestly, they just never plowed that ground enough in the first five seasons to go back and act like this is what everything’s all about now. Yeah, there were some romances and hookups over the course of the show. But few ever looked like real, life-changing love. Even with Jack and Kate, there was major doubt as to whether they really loved each other. And come on, friendship was almost entirely absent on the island. The way characters constantly cheated each other and turned on each other and separated into different groups all the time. There was never a sense that these characters were truly bound by strong loyalty or anything. How great would it have been if Jack and Sawyer had built a strong bond in season four that lasted through the end, or if Sawyer and Jin had been best friends for more than one season, etc. The only time that happened was Charlie and Hurley, and that didn’t last long either. Anyway, I loved all the big themes, but I don’t think they ever carried one or two major themes from beginning to end. The thematic shift toward love and the well-lived life only shows again how much they were making it up as they went.

    Final thought: This show is worth it. Many frustrating things, many things never pay off, but man, it’s so worth it. Overall, it is just a great, great show. Could have been a thousand times better. But you still got Desmond, the island, the others, Dharma, Hanso, the hatch, the smoke monster, the freighter, the polar bear cages, New Otherton, Security Chief LeFleur, Mister Clucks, etc. etc. . . . Most of all, better than everything else you got Lock, and you got Desmond. Two best characters ever made.

  5. Ryan says:

    Sorry for the length of that last one. Here’s the summary: Intellectually, the finale was a huge letdown. Emotionally, it was a smashing success. Hats off to Lost.

    And here’s looking forward to the spinoff about how Des gets back to Pen and Charlie.

  6. Davis says:

    I like your breakdown of the three different levels of the show, and pretty much entirely agree with your assessment of how well it executed on all three.

    Failing on Level 2 is a pretty big deal, given that it’s that, at the end of the day, that sucked us in and kept us watching. Sure, we loved the characters and all, but we mostly showed up every week because of the smoke monsters and the polar bears.

    I don’t really get the fascination with Desmond. I mean, I like him and all, but he’s no Jack.

  7. Macy Bell says:

    What?? Jack is not even close to Des. My next born son or daughter will be named Desmond or Penelope.

  8. Davis says:

    Look, I don’t believe in “dibbsing” names, but I will tell you “Penelope” is high on our list, and we won’t necessarily be dissuaded by there already being a cousin with that same name.

  9. Ryan says:

    I loved this paragraph from an LA Times blogger:

    So much of the finale of “Lost” is about bringing things to a sort of holistic closure, about tying things together. Much of the series has been about duality, about things that are split between two halves or two forces that act in opposition, but the finale is largely about solving dualities. I mean, on one (really obvious and kinda Freudian) level, it’s about putting a big rock back in a magic hole. But it’s also about the character who’s probably been responsible for the most good in the world of “Lost” and a character who has been responsible for a lot of bad looking to find another way to do business than the way that the Monster and Jacob did it. There doesn’t need to be judgment followed by execution. There doesn’t need to be a moratorium on people leaving the Island. And there doesn’t need to be the constant struggle between light and dark. Rose and Bernard had it right after all. The best way forward is to opt out, is to just do the right thing by those you love. In this way, Jacob was “right” or at least on the side of what the series thinks is “good.” He was more about sacrifice than selfishness, and the finale’s latter passages are about what it means to embrace that ethos, about what it means that Desmond probably could put the stone back in the hole, but Jack is the one to do it because Desmond still has someone back home to live for.

  10. Ben Pratt says:


    Yes, it was that good, though I appreciate your 1,2,3 above, Ryan. That’s dead on.

    What a great, great story, and great storytelling. Excuse me while I put my television set on craiglist, because TV has peaked.

  11. System Administrator says:

    Mr. Ryan,
    You have been observed spending excessive business hours on this site and other “Lost” related fan sites. has now been blocked by the company firewall. Please report immediately to your supervisor.

  12. Ryan says:

    Hah. Whoever wrote comment number 12 obviously doesn’t know that my firm has actually declared a holiday today, for observance of Lost finale day. In fact, I’m pretty sure all the system administrators at my firm are now in the air above the Pacific, in search of catastrophic electromagnetic events.

  13. Layne says:

    Ryan, I think you’re first comment was better than the whole post. Good stuff. I think that the 3 levels were spot on. I think that at some point the writers felt like they had to wrap up the story, only the characters weren’t generally very good buddies consistently during the show, so all of the emotionally charged “recollections” together with the drama music were good ways to make the audience feel like they’ve been real tight the whole time and nostalgic about the show without providing any more meat to the story. It seemed a tad forced.

    That said, I loved every minute of the finale–it was great. And I called that Jack would die to save his friends. A while back it was obvious that they weren’t going to explain the mysteries and if they tried it would have been unsatisfying anyways. I don’t think they wanted to go there with the “Every question you ask will simply lead to another question.” comment that the lady said a couple episodes back.

    My lone disappointment was that that they didn’t bring back Nikki and Paulo and some razzle dazzle for the finale. Too bad. They were great. And no Arndst? Bummer.

  14. Serene says:

    I uh… *nervous cough* I’ve never watched Lost so, I have no clue about anything you just said.

    I’ll understand if I’m shunned. 🙂

  15. Erin says:

    Completely found? no. Completely satisfied? yes. I loved last night as well. It was obvious they weren’t going to answer a lot of our questions, but it was exciting television. And that is why we watched for six seasons. And though the charcters weren’t always best of frieds, at times it was survival of the fittest, hard to be bff’s in that situation. But it would have been fun to see a Sawyer with a buddy.

    The best character of all time is Jin. I loooooved him! Still do. And he and Sun’s death brought more tears than any other tv episode I have ever watched. Their awakening clip last night was the most believable and heart felt. His whole purpose was her. I heart you, Jin.

  16. Ryan says:

    It’s funny to me how people key in on certain characters. I get the love for Jack, and maybe some others.

    But Jin? I don’t get it, Erin. I’m not sure I felt like I ever got to know Jin. He seemed too opaque to me. He never seemed like an agent to me, more like just an object that got tossed around by the whims of other actors and events. What was it that grabbed you about him?

  17. Erin says:

    Ok, maybe he got tossed around a bit, but by mere circumstance. I just loved how he loved Sun. I think they had the most interesting history. Desptie his earlier days working for Sun’s father, he was a good guy, deep down. He was always willing to help and by far, the least selfish.

  18. chelsea says:

    Love Lost! Best hours we’ve ever spent on a show. And I’m with Macy – Desmond and Penny are the best.

  19. Christian says:

    I stopped watching lost a season or 2 ago, but you guys have made me interested enough to watch the finale now. Even though I know exactly what happens (Thanks for nothing DAVIS!)

    Jack did get super duper annoying but the point I stopped watching.

    So true about Ethan. That dude was a zen master. No one could bring him down. I remember being like WTF when I found out later he was just a human, that the Others were just humans, because he definitely had super human fighting moves. He was an island ninja. I miss him.

  20. Braden says:

    Guys, is this exchange in comments a brilliant satire on the whole Lostie thing? If it is, it’s brilliant. I’m just going to walk away. You are all sharing something very special and I don’t want to intrude. I never saw the show so I clearly have no idea how much it means. But I’m glad it has been so fulfilling and enjoyable.

  21. Elisa says:

    I ADORE Lost! It’s the Cheese to my Mac. The Taco in my Bell. The Diet to my Coke.

    I read all the Lost blogs, I played all the Lost Internet Games while the show was on hiatus every summer. I am a true Lostie. In fact, I even have a bumper sticker that says “Not all that wander are LOST” (which pays homage to another great series– name it!)

    I was/am conflicted about the ending. I liked how it was all tied up in a nice pretty yellow bow, but was disappointed with the lack of information regarding the Island itself.

    We’re now watching the entire series over again on Hulu to see if it has a different meaning now that we understand where it all ends.

    Favorite line from the whole show: “Don’t tell me what I can’t do”. Well, that and then all the great nicknames that Sawyer came up with. He is the nickname MASTER!

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