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The Great Redshirt Massacre

Celebok October 4, 2009 User blog:Celebok

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"There were 40 other survivors of this plane crash, and we are all people too." --Dr. Leslie Arzt

I'll be posting my thoughts about some of the more interesting remaining mysteries of LOST in the upcoming weeks leading up to the Season 6 premiere, but first I'd like to take the time to explain why I was bothered by what I call The Great Redshirt Massacre -- the fact that all of the remaining unnamed background survivors of Oceanic 815 were killed off by the third episode of Season 5. (This was basically confirmed in The Incident, when Rose and Bernard were revealed to have been living by themselves for three years on the island, and nobody questioned the whereabouts of any other survivors.) I suppose we can still theorize that some of them took the Zodiac raft off the island (the show never did explain what happened to it after Sawyer's group noticed it missing in The Little Prince), but it's highly doubtful that Damon and Carlton have any interest whatsoever in revealing that from this point on.

So most of you are probably asking, what's the big deal? Who cares about all these unnamed background characters? Redshirts are supposed to die, right? Sure, I don't mind a few redshirt characters dying here and there as part of the story. Even a large handful of people dying can have a good impact on the plot, like in the mercenary attack on the Barracks or when the freighter exploded. So here's the thing. Since the beginning, I've always felt like this series was about the entire group of plane crash survivors on the Island, with a focus on a specific handful of them, the main characters. To me, these main characters merely represented a cross-section of the entire group of 48 survivors (or 71 if you count the tail section). Jack, in his leadership role, always tried to do what was best for all of the survivors. So whether we ever saw them with speaking lines or not, they were all part of the same group. I didn't necessary want to see background characters suddenly come into the foreground like Nikki and Paulo did. Just being aware of the other survivors' existence was good enough for me. What I don't like is the implication that most of them lived as a community on the island for 100 days, only to be killed by flaming arrows. It makes it seem like the overall group's goal of getting through their ordeal on the Island was mostly a failure. If Damon and Carlton needed to get rid of them for plot purposes, they've could've added a line or two explaining that they left the island somehow. Then we could focus on the remaining survivors and the Island's mysteries knowing that everyone else at least had a happy ending (like Rose and Bernard).

Anyway, now that we're more than halfway between the end of Season 5 and the beginning of Season 6 (woohoo!), and I already gave my redshirt eulogy a while back, I'm ready to move on from their deaths and have accepted that the main focus now is on the Jacob-touched characters who have a true destiny on the Island. I'm really looking forward to seeing how the rest of this epic story plays out.

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