Lost Cause

[cross-posted at The 'Verse where comments are enabled]

The hype is starting to build as the end of the second season of ABC's Lost approaches. Bill Keveney lays out some of the theories that have sprung up on internet fan forums in today's USA Today. I'll admit that I entertained the Purgatory theory towards the end of season 1 but later concluded that there is no theory to be solved, and that using more than the three brain cells required to watch each episode is a waste of effort.

"One layer speaks to electromagnetism, another to psychological experimentation, another to why they can see Walt. Coming up with one answer that unifies all those things is next to impossible. Hopefully, every sublayer will be explained" by the end, they say.

In other words, they don't know. They're making it up as they go along. With J. J. Abrams traipsing around the world with the scientologous one in creation of the sure to be massively overhyped MI3, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have been on their worst behavior. For them, "resolution" is a foreign concept. Almost nothing has been revealed while the mysteries keep piling up. One week it's a humungous pile of food that just shows up out of the blue right over there; the next week it's an immaculate conception. The list of absurdities gets larger every week.

For a series initially dedicated to a character-driven posture, as demonstrated by the weekly use of flashbacks since the beginning, the lack of plot progression would be tolerable. But the second season has been nothing more than a spectacle of character assasination, all the while the riddles add up.

And the characters don't seem to even care anymore. In the pilot episode, an unseen monster snatched the pilot out of the crashed cockpit section and left him for vultures atop a tree. Nearly two seasons later, nobody on the island knows anything about the monster, nor do they show the slightest curiosity. And that's just one example.

Yet, apathy among the losties doesn't seem to result in apathy in the audience who cling to the false hope that one day, all will be revealed.

Devout online followers slide each episode under the microscope, seeking to answer questions that go far beyond if and when castaways will get off their mysterious island.

Though some fans would seem to be putting in the time necessary to earn a Ph.D. — and numerous Ph.D.s analyze the show — a CliffsNotes may be in order for new students. Lost follows the survivors of a Sydney-to-Los Angeles flight that broke apart and crashed on a tropical island. [...]

"I think Lost, more than anything else on TV to date, provides a forum for philosophical and critical discussion," says Amy Bauer, an assistant professor of music at the University of California-Irvine who moderates a peer-reviewed online journal, The Society for the Study of Lost (www.loststudies.com).

Everything about Lost is designed for analysis, says Joyce Millman, who wrote one of the Getting Lost essays. She credits the writers with "a rich variety of references: scientific, biblical, pop-cultural, literary, historical, philosophical."

Philosophy my ass. What was that bit the philosopher said about slaving away to find meaning in absurdity?

Share this