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Yes Really, Lost

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This is a response to User blog:OA815/Really Lost? Really?.

I know I'll be disappointed with the ultimate ending to Lost, because it's impossible to raise expectations to the level that the last six years have and then not have everything come crashing down to earth with the final reveal. They have only two choices: leave too much as unexplained faith-based mystery and disappoint the viewer, or explain things in unbelievable pseudoscientific babble, and disappoint the viewer. Worse yet the inevitable compromise will be that the Island is left half unexplained mystery and half poorly explained science.

Nevertheless, as a long time fan of the Original Series of Star Trek, I have vast experience in what is called in that fandom "Treksplaination." I practice the art of filling plot holes, backfitting continuity errors and coming up with explanations and excuses that are far more convoluted than any plot. I will now apply this technique to the blog post User blog:OA815/Really Lost? Really? You are welcome to help stuff the holes or to point out any we have missed, but try to be more creative than vindictive.

I'm going to rebut each of the arguments in the blog post and some of the comments, even though I agree with and am disappointed by some of them. I just find it more fun to rebuild than tear down. You may want to pull that blog post and this one up in separate windows to see each argument in order.

  • A bright light has pretty much been all the physical manifestation we've had of the island's power. It seeps out from behind the frozen donkey wheel and from the depths of the hatch, and it fills the sky when the Island's powers are at their most active. Bright light has long been the cinematic representation of ultimate power, be it divine or manmade. Lost hasn't shown us the source or identified it, just let us know that it has been there, under the Island, for a very long time.
  • Adam & Eve did have to be dead, or at least no longer corporeal, and they had to have been cared for by someone who was alive and present at the time of their deaths. Rather than two characters who were introduced a few episodes from the end of the series, think of it as the character -- Mother -- who represented the so-far unbroken succession of island protectors and the one -- Smokey/MiB -- who was their source of fear from the very first night on the island. Good and Evil, Light and Dark, side by side for all eternity.
  • The wine is not magic, it's just the medium of transmission. The island protector can probably convey his power to his successor with any offered symbol that the protege accepts. Wine is a symbol viewers are familiar with, and it echoes the "cork" shown earlier.
  • MiB didn't know that the protector could leave the island, and he does know something that isn't quite clear to us yet about the relationship between people on the island and his ability to escape. He was quite happy with the Romans being there and worked with them. Perhaps he did so again on many other occasions before he gave up and determined that they were of no use.
  • The Roman stuff wasn't entirely out of the blue, as we've had Latin as the official language of the Others for a while. The idea is that throughout human civilization, people have been brought here and tried in their own way to make something of the island.
  • Given that the Source is all power, finding some way to interact with it would be the logical first step in doing anything. Who knows how many generations of smart people the MiB brought to the island before something useful came out of it. It was obviously unfinished at the point that Mother stopped him, but he was free to return to it later.
  • EZamor: I can't argue with that one. Seeing the numbers on the hatch was gripping in a way this definitely was not. The numbers opened an expectation of interesting complexity, while the light in the cave leaves us with a fear of handwaving simplicity.
  • I really don't think we're through with learning about that source. Just because all that a really old Roman woman knew was that it was the source and must be protected doesn't mean that we won't learn any more.
  • I don't agree with the Clue analogy, because the main thing that this episode reveals is that there is an ancient chain of succession of island protectors, and they all have different twisted motivations and ideas of what they are protecting. The envelope is not revealing that Bob protected the island with a screwdriver, but that as Bob didn't have a clue what he was doing, why should we believe anything any other protector thinks either?

The popularity of the show may tie into the faith-science split in American society, and it has been leaning more towards faith as we wind down. I still think it's possible that we could get a 180, and what appears to be faith will be revealed to be science. I guess it's a little like continuing to cheer for your team when they're behind and the last seconds tick off the clock in game seven. Maybe Lost will pull the goalie, tie the score in an offensive rush and then put it on the scoreboard for rationality in overtime. We certainly have overtime coming! But even if "a wizard did it," Clarke's Third Law applies.

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