Inconsistencies, Inconsistencies, Inconsistencies!

Many, many Lostpedians are discovering and remarking on inconsistencies. And for good reason; any devoted supporter of any piece of fiction would and should expect consistent occurences and rules from season 1 to season 6.

No doubt Lost has fallen victim to inconsistent facts, although I would say this happens extremely rarely. What happens more often is either a failure to keep with audience expectation or a deliberate straying from audience expectation. As the story develops new elements, characters, settings, and mysteries, old ones are often underplayed or quickly wrapped up. This is might be called inconsistent writing; a plot introduced is expected to eventually be a plot concluded after going through standard intermittent stages.

This "inconsistent writing", to be honest, doesn't bother me, though I recognize that to many of my Dear Lostpedian Peers, it does. Now, I have a philosophy that any true realization, change of mind, or mental paradigm shift, as it were, arrives internally; the way you view and appreciate Lost is the result of an internal process of your own values, expectations, appreciations, etc. Therefore, to try to convince anyone of one disposition to appreciate Lost with my own by trying to inflict it on them through argument or reasoning isn't gonna work out. It will doubtlessly fuel some interesting debate, which I love, but I also very much want to see all you guys appreciating the show, without getting hung up on the "inconsistencies". This may appear arrogant or condescending, which I don't mean to be, but I think everyone here, including me, wants everyone else to appreciate Lost from their perspective. I do not want anyone do this, but merely understand my perspective, which, as I've said before, can't really be attained by external argument or reasoning.

So, I basically want to share with you the thought process that brought me out of my original expectations and conceptions of the show, thereby saving my immense involvement and complete dedication to the show.

  • When confronted with what seems like inconsistent writing (whether it actually is or whether the writing merely interfered with your expectations in some way), one has three choices:
    • Choice 1: Within the parameters of the show, address the issue in your own way: fill in the blanks left by the writers; imagine SOME conception of what might have happened to bring about this change in behavior or conflicting line of dialogue or unsolved mystery.
    • Choice 2: Without actually inventing something, merely acknowledge that there IS a mystery; acknowledge the blanks; know that whatever happened happened, and acknowledge that wherever something seems inconsistent, something happened to make it that way. Acknowledge that, and move on.
    • Choice 3: Attribute it to the writing; break the fourth wall. Allow that the writers had a change in conception and go along the ride with them. (This one is very unsatisfying to me personally)
  • A few examples:
    • Walt. As they were developing that character, I imagined that he would play a very "special" role; that his powers would play out in the plot somehow; that we would find out more details concerning what the Others did to him and indended to do to him; to realize his potential. Obiously, none of this happened. But that doesn't hang up my appreciation of Walt's place in the story, his following absence in the story, or his awesomeness and relevance to the show. Because I have coarse corrected my entire conception of Walt as a mythological figure in the story of Lost. Instead of someone who's significance would become huge, I re-imagined Walt as a more minor catalyst; influencing Michael's betrayal and eventual redemption. As for his powers, I attributed them to a more subtle place in the story. Rather than a plot tool, they became a cool story point; a strange, enigmatic power that, in Lost's tale, brushed by the more relevant and plot-purposed powers of the island. Now I find this very cool and it almost makes it better than having Walt be a major plot point for me, though certainly it won't be satisfactory to many others; so design your own conception of Walt, so long as it's not merely a failed plot point.
    • The Others. The others filled two extremes during the show. First, they were savage yet jungle-wise people that were ruthless murderers and hostile in nature. Then, they were normal folks, trying to help out and living in houses with book clubs and football. My solution to this was that these guys were a small society, taken out of a much bigger one, and put in isolation, and given a lot of power and freedom. They're bound to get weird, and, yes, a little hostile. Hostile enough to hang Charlie from a tree and kill Scott in cold blood. Yet, as they came from a moderately civilized culture, they will naturally try to appropriate a facade of self-justification and normalcy. Basically, the Others were taken away from society and became a very different and weird culture, even if, on the surface, they maintain motifs and images of their old culture.

I think the writers of Lost have done a fantastic job of not only manifesting their vision, but also appropriating what the viewers want it to be. So to let the show lose its integrity for you on the basis of some diverted expectations and abandoned plot points will, in my opinion, get in the way of appreciating this. More and more the concept that Lost CAN be appreciated fully and wholly, as a solid and complete sci-fi drama, is failing, though I very much hope that this is the general and lasting opinion of Lost after it's finished. I'm not trying to impose my values of the show on anyone else; I'm merely offering a humble request that you attempt to develop your own values of the show while acknowledging that just because the writers didn't answer all the questions, solve all the mysteries, fill in all the blanks, that the show is riddled with holes and inconsistencies.

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