This will be hard to write without Spoilers but as my intent is to hopefully get people who have never seen the show to watch it, to sit down and watch what I regard a six season Masterpiece, I will do what I can and avoid any freakish spoilers of this show. Perhaps I will write another version that shows my admiration for the plot of this series.
So to set the stage on where LOST sits in my heart:
Several years ago I was dating this girl and the moment of true excitement came. A test if you will. I was sitting down to introduce her to my favorite TV show of all time. Now this was during the final season of the series. So the show had not ended. We sat down and I popped in my much used dvd copy of the first season of LOST. A 48 million dollar episode that sets the tone for what would become one of the greatest mysteries in the history of television. We sat on the couch together and we see the first shot of Jack Shepard’s eye as he awakes confused in a jungle of bamboo. She was hooked. When the episode ended is when the true excitement came.
“WHAT THE HECK IS THE MONSTER” “WHY IS THERE A POLAR BEAR ON THE ISLAND” or in the closing thoughts of Charlie Pace, “Where are we?”
And as every true LOST fan would do I kept my mouth shut.
“This is all part of the show. They will answer it you just got wait.”
We watched a junk ton of episodes that night and then she went home without me giving away any future details.
The next day I saw her and she informed me that she had done the unthinkable.
I’m sitting here thrilled that I get to share in the adventure through the eyes of someone who had never seen the show and she tells me “Well you see….I actually went on Wikipedia last night and just looked up all the answers to my questions. So I know about the smoke monster and what’s in the hatch and the other people who are on the island. Actually….I probably know more than you. I was reading about the final episode and…
I believed the words I used were “If you spoil this six year commitment I have had to this show. The weeks on weeks of dinner conversations and theories with my family I WILL DROP YOU RIGHT HERE AND NOW AND WE WILL NEVER SPEAK AGAIN.”
Now this was part joke and part 100% what I would have done.
I tell this silly story and wave “Hello!” to this ex girlfriend as she probably will read this and be laughing loudly because in a pathetic sort of way this is most likely the most upset I had ever been at a girl I was in cahoots with.
That is the high regard to which I hold this TV series.
As you laugh and roll your eyes. Let us dive into the question then. What makes this show so special to me?
September 22, 2004. Nearly ten years ago. I had a supreme struggle that I had to deal with.
Lord of the Rings was at the time my number one obsession and an actor from this trilogy by the name of Dominic Monaghan was going to be a character on this TV series that would debut on ABC. The only thing I knew about the show was that it would be about a group of people who survived a plane crash. Also this night was the season premier of a show about Superman that I had been following for years. I decided to stick with that loyalty and turn in between commercial breaks and to watch the full second hour of the series premier of LOST. The final scene of the first episode has a group of castaways trying to fix the planes transceiver but instead they pick up a message by a french woman saying what we as the audience must assume can be the potential fate of these new characters. The message of her survival had been playing on a loop for 16 years. That her team that crashed on the island was dead and that she was all alone. And if this woman was never rescued how will our survivors be?
The episode ends with the question that would set up the entire show.
“Guys…Where are we?”
If that doesn’t hook you what the heck will.
The mysteries of this show however are but a backdrop to what is truly the defining and rewarding feature of the series…its characters.
Just three years after September 11, 2001 the show begins with a plane crash. A plane crash that brings a diverse group of people from all over the world. Each with their own backgrounds, differences, and stories that we the audience will come to know. In a time where we as Americans bundled up with each other and in a way pushed out all who weren’t like us this show gave a message of unity.
“If we can’t live together, we’re gonna die alone.”
By addressing the conflict a character named Sayid Jarrah is blamed for the plane crash because he is Iraqi. We are introduced to the culture clash of two Korean characters Sun and Jin who are cast as outsiders due to their differences in language and cultural customs. We have Canadians, African Americans, Australians, Latinos, and an interracial couple. A variety of people that more than any show that I can name in the history of the medium represents the variety of what we experience every day. The variety that we often stare at or ignore.
No, this show throws them all into a situation of dependence on the other while telling a story through the conflict. The characters start off separating each other by their differences and as they grow to know each other and understand each other they become some of the most loyal friends. Racism, insults and stereotypes are bonded by living life together.
The show also deals with one of my favorite things to see in stories. Faith.
As one of the lead characters John Locke puts it:
“Each one of us was brought here for a reason.”
-And who brought us here John?
“The island. The island brought us here.”
John Locke’s character ultimately is where I find myself in the show.
I was watching a panel with the creators and a woman stood up to tell the creators of the show that this series helped her find her faith in God again.
Which may sound absurd until you watch this entire series.
John Locke is constantly living out his faith. Doing what he believes the island has asked of him. Something that in later seasons we will find other characters have as well and very very often we find that when acting out their faith it doesn’t always work out for them. They feel so certain that they are supposed to do something and so they do it and it leaves them empty.
Characters who have longed for their purpose all of their lives. Longing to feel special and then left confused at the end of their hope.
I know I’ve been there and I believe many others have been there. But what is great about this show is I find it reacts in a similar way to my own experiences. It’s often at the end of our hope that we find reason to believe again. The end of the line is often where our faith is rewarded.
That scene in my opinion is one of the strongest examples of why LOST is different than any of it’s competition. I had never seen anything like that on network television. Not to mention what I will put my foot down and say unarguably is the greatest soundtrack any show on television has ever had. This one point you cannot argue with me. I am still furious at the Emmys for giving the award to 24. (And 24 was one of my favorite series.) When John Locke lays on top of that hatch and bangs and yells at the island that he has been so obedient to, I find many situations of my own life in that one moment. And as that scene reflects there is light at the end of those tunnels. When we cry out desperate feelings towards our faith we often find a glimpse of answers. That moment comes back later in the final episode of season 2 and we see that it wasn’t just John’s hope that was being rescued.
Ultimately this is a series about letting go. As Christian Shepard tells his son Jack “you struggle with letting go.” The whole story is leading to this moment of clarity and acceptance for Jack Shepard. And to the people who didn’t understand this aspect and ridicule the finale I say shame on you. As I have come to find most people who didn’t like the final episode didn’t even understand it. So to the creators of the show who have received flack for what I think is single handedly the best episode of television ever I say this:
I have many interest. I love movies, I love television, and I love books. Out of all of those categories I have never found a story that was as moving, intelligent, and wonder-filled as I did with LOST. For six years of my life my family was united by a story that captivated our conversations. That brought us together in discussion and meals. That out of every aspect of entertainment and fiction I have personally encountered I have never found a story that I would call better than what each episode of LOST delivered. LOST is my favorite story ever told.
The final episode and that final scene made me come face first to the message of the show and in the words of Coldplay “letting go was the hardest part.”
From every “dude” to every “Sonofabitch.” Every montage of joyful reunion and every montage of hiking through the jungle. From every pillow throwing WHAT!?!? to every tear shed LOST remains the king of stories.
I remember going in to the final episode of the show wondering how the heck could this all come together and then truly crying when the realization of what was going on became apparent.
9 years ago Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse saw my post count in a LOST message board and said the words in reference to me “We like people who are overly obsessive.”
Passion my friends. Deep, deep passion for what is and likely will be the best series to ever be on Television.
For more on “letting go” visit: https://devonbailey.com/2012/06/27/let-go/
Top 5 Episodes:
5.Through The Looking Glass