10 Questions LOST Needs to Resolve

20 05 2010

In my recap yesterday, I asked you guys to identify the mysteries you want the writers to reveal to us on Sunday. Well, I got tired of waiting for your answers, and I went looking elsewhere:

There’s a great post over on the Zap 2 It blog, Ten Questions that LOST Needs to Resolve.

Not only does he point out 10 good questions, but it’s also well-written. I enjoyed it, so I figured I’d share it with the rest of you.




7 responses

21 05 2010
Todd Hertz


When you linked to that article, I was nervous. I *hate* all this “what Lost most answer” stuff because it looks at the show not as a mystery novel but as a checklist. But that article handled it well and actually listed legitimate questions that I think will be addressed — and not fanboy stuff like “Why was Juliet branded?” “What DOES Jack’s tattoo mean?” and “But isn’t Aaron the key to everything ever?”

I’ve actually found a couple of great articles this week about embracing mystery and not seeking answers that I like a lot. Some viewers of Lost, as one article points out, are just ASKING for midichlorians 🙂

Here are those articles. I think you’ll especially like the popinitiative one.

Pop Initiative: “The Mystery of Mystery” http://bit.ly/d31LKn

NPR: “Why I’m Not Approaching The ‘Lost’ Finale With A List Of Demands” http://ow.ly/1NEvW (This one has some catty bits to it as it seems to pick on one article by a site I love…but her basic point is good.)

21 05 2010


I’m totally with you on this. Some fans are being unrealistic in their demands about what needs to be answered.

Do I think there’s more to Kate’s back story? Yes. Do I think it’s essential to the conclusion of the drama we’ve been watching. Absolutely not. (Unless it turns out that it IS essential, in which case, obviously, the writers will include it.)

I understand the frustration, though, for fans who have been trying to solve the mystery for 6 seasons, only to realize that many of the “clues” were never as relevant as we thought they would be. A year ago, I absolutely felt like we needed to know more about Annie. (Based only on the interview with Darlton in which they emphasized her importance in Ben’s life…)

I think we all need to remember that the writers had the impossible job of putting this show together (initially) with no idea when it was going to end. That’s why we got Nikki and Paolo and spiders that paralyze people temporarily…and that’s why Walt went from being “special” and seemingly very important to…too grown-up-looking to play his role any longer.

By the way, I think the NPR article was dead-on about LOST being a show about characters, not a show about answering our questions.

I wasn’t able to view the Pop Initiative link. I even googled it and tried to get to the page other ways, but I kept getting an “invalid key” error. I don’t know…but I”ll try again later.

22 05 2010
Todd Hertz

I guess I’ll never understand what you think should be in Kate’s backstory or what you see in her story that is untold… 🙂 And you know what? I don’t think that is a bad thing! That is exactly what I love about open-ended storytelling–we can all use imagination to fill in blanks and infer things not explicitly spoon-fed to us. I love that. If you wrote this story, Lost would look a lot different than if I did. And that is beautiful.

I also think there has been, in general among Lost fans, a difference of opinion or even a misunderstanding on interpreting what it means for someone or something to be “important” or special. For instance, like Darlton said, I always thought Annie WAS important in Ben’s life. Not now, but WAS. After all, she was the only girl who accepted him–and really the ONLY PERSON at all who showed him real unconditional love. And Annie was used to set up Ben’s weird compulsion with Juliet. So, that was important. But was she important to our bigger arc dealing with the characters of Flight 815? No. Was she a key to the mystery? Could you create your own fan fiction about what she went onto later and how it intersects with this story? Yah, that could be fun.

Same with Kate. Is she important? Ya. But not in some hidden way–just that she is a central character changing and evolving as the story unfolds. Is she special? Well, I don’t know how to define that. I know that the show itself has only called two people special: 1) Locke, who was called that by himself (well, by the MIB posing as Locke) to Richard in order to set up the big con and 2) Desmond, who is truly special because of his uncanny abilities. But this doesn’t mean Kate is bad or a weak character. She is special not because of some withheld information but because of what she does now. She is important because we care for her and she will impact the story.

I think you also worded something very interesting when you said that the show gives us “clues.” I think that is a good word for it, but I think we need to realize that these clues would never lead us to solving the mystery. No one who properly picked up and understood the clues could have figured out where we were going. This isn’t an episode of Castle. 🙂 Instead, I like to think of them as threads…some threads led to where we are today (like the very early sighting of a book called “The Bad Twin”) and some threads served more limited purposes (like when an Ambrose Bierce reference set up the appearance of Hurley’s friend Dave two eps later) and some threads…well, weren’t really threads (like Nikki & Paulo’s spiders…that was just a one-off homage to Twilight Zone–which I liked–that never meant to have greater “meaning”) but some thought they were. Maybe that’s something I’ve come to realize: We made things be “important” or “clues” that really were not. I think Aaron is the biggest example of this.

Still, like you said, I think there are some threads that Darlton and team put in to use someday and…ended up just leaving them hanging for whatever reasons (a re-focus or a kid who grew too quickly or even I think in some cases a mistake). I think figuring out what to do with those loose threads is key. Do we view them as a bad thing? If we never really figure out why Claire shouldn’t let another raise Aaron would that be a failure? I think this will be an interesting discussion that will continue as we see where the story ends. I think many things will be left for interpretation. And I love that. We won’t find out WHY Sun didn’t go to 1977…but I infer it was because she wasn’t a candidate. But that’s just how I choose to tie the thread. 🙂

Love having these conversations!

22 05 2010


Given all our previous discussions about Kate’s significance (or lack thereof), I probably should have used another character for my example.

Let me expound on what I meant:

Every character’s pre-island life contains events we’re never going to see. Details about Jack playing Little League, or Hurley learning to crawl, or whether or not Juliet attended her senior prom…obviously don’t matter. And I’m not interested in those things. But if Kate’s father (the man she thought was her father, anyway), who we know was stationed in the South Pacific, happened to be part of the team that took Jughead to the island, then that’s interesting to me…even if it’s not essential to the story.

To move all the characters through their storylines (past, present, and sideways), the writers have to know a lot more than they have time to show. So, in that sense, I guess there’s more to EVERY character’s backstory, because we don’t see everything. But I guess I meant that there are some unseen connections that would INTEREST those of us viewing these characters’ lives in the context of this narrative.

Kate’s backstory (what we’ve seen of it) seemed to include potential clues or teasers…and then they haven’t really turned out to be anything. But Kate’s not the only one. For instance, Libby’s husband died, and she just GAVE his sailboat to Desmond so Desmond could go on his crazy race around the world. I was saying all along that I thought Libby was working for Widmore. (I thought she was sent to provide that boat for Desmond, and I wondered if she pretended to be insane so she could be in the mental hospital with Hurley…) All of that could be true, but it’s not essential to the story now. So we’re left to speculate about that. (And I’m okay with that.)

I wrote a post earlier this year speculating about the Dharma Initiative’s origins. Even if everything I wrote is correct (in terms of what the writers had in mind), we’ll never see it. There’s just not enough time, and it’s not relevant considering how far the plot has progressed past that. But there’s more to that story, and the writers know more than they’ve told…and some of those pieces would be interesting to learn.

Another example, when we first met Charlotte, she wasn’t surprised to find a polar bear in Tunisia. And she even knew to look for the Dharma tag. So what brought her to that point? When did she first start learning about Dharma? What started her on this quest? Again, we don’t NEED to know, but there is certainly more to her story.

I always wondered why the psychic (Malkin) was so insistent that Claire go to LA. Was someone paying him to make it happen? Was it really a psychic vibe? Even though he later told Eko that he was a fraud? Is it essential now? No, but it’s still interesting to me.

Why did Radzinsky blow his head off?

Is there more to Christian’s death? Maybe. Is it essential to the story? I was going to say “No,” but I think I’ll wait until after the finale to write that one off…

These are the things I’d like to know to satisfy my curiosity, not because they necessarily matter. So I don’t need to see them in the finale, but if Darlton ever wants to answer some of these questions, I’ll listen.

I’m most interested in how these characters’ lives intersect with one another (or with the island’s past). Other people seem to care more about the mythology of the island, and they want to know who built the statue, when the Temple was built, etc.

Because viewers have different interests, I’m really curious to see how people respond to the finale. Some viewers like Jack. Some like Sawyer. Some like both. Some don’t. Some hate Kate. Some don’t. So it will be interesting to see, depending what happens, how viewers respond. It’s not like 24, where we care about Jack Bauer…and no one else.

I think we are in complete agreement about what we want to see in the finale, though. We want to see this “thread” (to use your word) seen through to the end. If some threads are left dangling, I know I’m willing to forgive the writers for that.

Let me give one last example:

How did Jacob learn to leave the island? In some ways, I feel like this is pretty significant (especially for Jack or the future protector). But if this question isn’t addressed in the finale, I’m not going to throw a fit about it. As long as the finale is consistent and well-done, I’ll trust the writers enough to conclude that they’re being true to their story and showing us what we need to see.

For everything else, we can just speculate (or as you said, we can choose to tie the threads our own way). Which is fine…because that’s what we’ve been doing with this show for years. 🙂

22 05 2010
Todd Hertz

Oh…and here’s that link if it is still not working: http://popinitiative.com/2010/05/20/the-end/#LOST

22 05 2010
Todd Hertz

I see your point: There are things about each character that would be nice to know but aren’t essential and since you are so invested in this world, you would love to further explore. I dig it. I just worried that we were getting to a place where we say, for example: “I wanted them to show us that Libby was actually Widmore’s daughter and because they didn’t, that’s bad writing!” It’s their story and they can reveal of conceal as much or as little of the “backstory” as they choose as long as it doesn’t cause plot holes or leaps in logic (which I think we all DO worry about…).

By the way, the producers are planning something to give more info on what they had in mind regarding certain things (maybe something on the DVD?) and that, I expect, will be awesome.

Happy LOSTing for the last time, friend.

22 05 2010


I was just reading a LOST article from TIme, and this part ties in with what we’re talking about here:

On Lost, says Lindelof, “the question has mostly been, What’s going to happen next? But that question no longer exists after the series finale. And we anticipate that it will be replaced by a question along the lines of, What did they mean by that? And the question that we would throw back at the audience is, Well, what did it mean to you? Your own personal relationship with Lost actually trumps any intention that we had as storytellers. And we wanted that to be the legacy of the show.”

You can read the rest of the article here: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1989123-1,00.html (but be careful, because there’s some spoilery stuff in the first few paragraphs that I skipped over)

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