Wednesday, March 24, 2010

'LOST' No More


In the single biggest plot-revealing episode, and one of the best overall, in the long and entertaining history of the TV show 'LOST', last night showed that the writers and producers have indeed taken it's huge audience on a worthy morality trip.

For those who do not watch the show, the references to the story line herein will be over your head, but you can still understand the direction this article will take. For those many who, like me, are already strongly addicted, you might even find yourself farther along than these thoughts will travel.

For the unwashed, 'LOST' is a program on the ABC network that is now running it's 6th and final highly-rated and award-winning season. It's story began with the crash of an airliner just off the coast of an island in the South Pacific, and the efforts of the survivors to, well, survive on that island in the aftermath of the crash. That has been even more difficult than it might sound.

It would take me forever to lead anyone who has not watched through the various characters and story lines, so I won't even try, but suffice it to say that there have always been a number of underlying mysteries to the plot line, not the least of which has been that the island has some type of mysterious, mystical quality to it. So what indeed is this island supposed to be, or represent?

There is also a character named Richard Alpert who, despite flashbacks to the island's past and flash forwards to it's future, always remains the same age whether the show is taking place in the present day, or in the 1950's, or in the 1970's, or a few years into the future. Who is Alpert, and how is it that he never ages?

There are a number of characters that have died during the course of the show's run, and yet somehow turn up either 'alive' again or as apparitions, appearing to various other characters at pivotal moments, often with important advice or messages. Who is really dead, who is alive, who is an apparition, who is really who they appear to be?

Even the main characters of the program such as Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley, Locke, Sayid and more all seem to have multiple elements to their personal backgrounds and human characters that defy definition. Who are these people really? Why are they here on the island? What is their individual, specific role in the ultimate story line?

Most importantly perhaps has been that ultimate story line. What indeed is 'LOST' really all about? Early on it appeared to be a 'survivor' type program. Some people survived a plane crash and had to learn to live on a deserted island while hoping for a rescue. Then it became apparent that the island was in fact not deserted, and their survival became even more difficult and deadly as they banded together to overcome the new and ever more mysterious challenges.

But as the show has moved along and the story line has progressed through the years, the plot line has revealed that the program is, in fact, about something much bigger than a 'stranded on an island trying to survive' story. 'LOST', it turns out, is about the ultimate struggle of good against evil. And not in some generic idea sense, but in the very nature and origin of good and evil.

As was revealed last night (disclaimer alert for those fans who have not watched), the island actually represents the very 'cap' or wall that separates hell from the earth. The character Jacob is apparently a sort-of angelic 'protector' of the island who has been bestowed with power to keep the island safe. He is, however, not immortal and if Jacob were to be killed the island could cease to protect the earth from the evils of hell spilling out directly on to the earth.

That evil, of course, comes in it's most dramatic form from the devil. The shows 'Man in Black' who can take on the form of a 'Smoke Monster' and who has now taken on the form of the deceased character John Locke is in fact Satan himself. With Jacob out of the way, the devil is free to escape from the island and loose hell on earth.

The devil, unfortunately for him, cannot directly kill Jacob himself. He must get some human to step up and do it willingly. For centuries, Jacob has been luring men and women to the island via shipwreck and plane crash as a sort of test for humanity. He believes that men will ultimately prove to be of a 'good' nature, but appears thus far to have been disappointed. He begins to sense that one day soon, the devil may make good on his long-standing threat to "find a loophole", finally have Jacob killed, and make his escape from the island to earth.

This was the reason for the crash of Oceanic flight 815, the plane crash that brought most of the main characters to the island. Jacob had been scouting for years for someone to ultimately take his place should the devil actually succeed in having him killed. Jacob has ultimately found six candidates to replace him, and directed all of their lives towards the point that placed them on that doomed flight. All six are now on the island, though the actual successor has yet to be revealed, perhaps not even yet been actually and finally selected.

As was already seen in the show, perhaps the single most conflicted character in it's history, Benjamin Linus, is finally deceived by the devil to kill Jacob. At the current time, the devil is preparing to make his exit from the island. What might try to stand in his way ultimately, who will become a 'successor' to Jacob, and how that battle plays out will make up the rest of the story line, in all likelihood.

But the important point in all of this is that 'LOST' has come out of the closet. It recognizes publicly that there is indeed good and evil in the world. It recognizes that there is indeed a real place called hell, and a real devil that means real harm to the world. It recognizes that the only way to overcome that evil power is for good men to recognize those facts and to be willing to stand up and fight against it.

Richard Alpert was a man driven by complete love and devotion to his wife, a woman whom he lost in her youth before they could really even begin their lives together. At his lowest point, he was drawn to the island by Jacob, who touched him with the ability to live forever and bestowed on him the role of 'messenger' and 'guide' to those others who would be drawn to the island for their own test.

Alpert himself finds that after generations of service to Jacob, who promised him a pivotal role in some earthly epic, that with Jacob now dead his life appears to have been lived in vain. He believes that he has strived and worked all this time for no reason, and he abandons his faith and prepares to instead turn himself over to the devil, who he now believes may have the actual ultimate answers and truth.

It is at this low point in last night's episode that Richard is finally comforted by the soul and spirit of his deceased wife, through the translated words of the character Hugo 'Hurley' Reyes acting as an intermediary. Alpert appears to have been pulled back from the abyss, and last night left us with at least the impression that he would now refocus himself on his work towards ultimate good that Jacob assigned to him.

The show 'LOST' has never been simple, and there have been many opportunities to question the outlandishness of some of it's basic premises and plot lines. But as the last few seasons have wound down towards what should be a dramatic ultimate conclusion, most of those questions are indeed becoming answered.

'LOST' fans should no longer be lost. The show has clearly defined it's basic premise of good against evil. Both fans of the show and those who have never watched would be wise to understand that it's basic premise is indeed true. There is a devil, there is a hell, and he does want both to bring hell to earth and to capture your immortal soul for eternity.

It is a part of the job of every one of us during our lives here on earth to recognize that evil, to open ourselves to God's love for us, to embrace Jesus Christ as did Alpert and his wife, to love one another and find inspiration to go on in the most difficult of moments, and to overcome or at least to willingly fight against evil whenever we are faced with it. Like the direction that the show finally revealed last night, this will leave you lost no more.

NOTE: as always, the title of this article at the original www.mattveasey.com website is actually a link to further information on the topic. This time it links you to the official site for 'LOST' at which you can view all episodes, including last night's highlighted herein.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Excellent summary of the show. Lost ultimately succumbs to the lowest common denominator. Instead of a "reveal" based on a logical scientific or "sci fi" based element, the story goes the spiritual direction. Its about the
devil and its caretaker corker.

The use of religion is always done when writers run out of steam, and ideas. The same thing happened at the end of the recent Battlestar Galactica series. The ending tied up the loose ends with an angel. I won't go into details, but thanks a bunch Battlestar writers:(

The spiritual/superstitous plot twist is an easy way out for Lost writers. Its Harry Potter meets Lost. Sad, when you think of all the time spent giving you logical plot twists.

Matt Veasey said...

As is probably already obvious from the actual article, I couldn't disagree with "anonymous" more.

(As a side note, once again it's a shame that folks cannot stand behind their commentary by putting their actual name to it, but that's another article for another day.)

Rather than hiding behind religion or falling to someone's vision of a "lowest common denominator", 'LOST' actually has reached higher.

In winding down the story, the writers and producers reveal their angle on the ultimate 'good' vs. 'evil' theme that is the basic truth for humanity to own up to and face.

The devil is a real being, hell is a real place, and Heaven is a real goal. Men and women who acknowledge those facts, are guided by the Word of Jesus Christ, and put their faith in God will always ultimately prevail.

Di Veasey said...

Hey Matt:

I agree with you 100%. I think the writers intended this to be the storyline all along. I love the show and am glad now to finally be getting the answers I've been waiting patiently for. See ya! Di