Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Around 23 to 42 Questions That Lost May Never Answer

When I think back on the days when The X-Files was on the air, I have positive emotions. For nine seasons that TV show intrigued me, entertained me and even frightened me. However, it also left me kind of confused. As much as I loved the X-Files, they did not answer every question that they presented - and I'm ok with that because it was a fun ride. I can only hope it will be the same with Lost.
When I began the roller coaster of watching Lost, I thought I was going to be watching a show about a group of people trying to survive on a deserted island. I also thought that if and when they got rescued then that would be the happy conclusion to the series.

Boy was I wrong.

(for episodes previous to the series finale)

Since the beginning of Lost I have had to wrap my mind around things like the constant character twists, flashbacks, polar bears, the hatch, the Others, the other Others, kidnappings, talking to dead people, romantic anomalies, visions/dreams, tail section survivors, faith vs. science, shape-shifting black smoke, miraculous healings, flash forwards, electromagnetism, the time/space continuum, quantum physics and, of course, flash sideways. Wow. I wonder how many people would have gotten into this show if they knew how much would be required of them, mentally.

However, that's beside the point now. We're here. We've arrived at the end. We've held on and watched Lost no matter how much the creators have tried to confuse us. However, we do have a lot of questions. Will they ALL be answered? Probably not - and we, as viewers are going to have to deal with that. As a fairly new character wisely stated on Lost, "Your questions will only lead to more questions." That seems to be the case in this post as well - the questions keep on coming.

So below are some (around 23 to 42) questions that I've compiled after talking to my faithful readers. Some of these questions may, in fact, be answered during the series finale, and I hope they will be, but there is no way that every single one of them are going to be resolved, so some of the following questions will remain a mystery forever (and be discussed endlessly in fan forums). Here we go:

Why does the statue of Taweret only have four toes?
Honestly, I don't care about this one, but Sayid seemed pretty intrigued by it. If you recall, he said "I'm not sure which is more disturbing; that the rest of the statue is missing, or that it only has four toes." It's that the statue is missing, Sayid. That's the disturbing part. It's just easier to carve four digits than five. Also, as far as I can tell, four toes isn't a requirement when depicting the goddess of birth and fertility.

What is with pregnant women and the island?
Yes, we do know that Taweret was the Egyptian goddess of birth and fertility, but even after the stone statue was destroyed in 1867 (by a wooden ship, I might add), women were still able to have children even until at least 1977. So maybe it was "the incident" that created an infertile environment. Perhaps the combination of nuclear fallout and electromagnetism is bad for a womb. It's frustrating to not know what it is about the island that causes women who got pregnant on the island to die before they reach full term - especially since the island seems to make men (like Jin) more fertile. Speaking of moms and babies. . .

What is with Claire and Aaron?
Did the psychic know Claire was going to get stuck on the island - and, if so, why was that her destiny? Why did he trick her into going? And what is so important about Aaron? The others seemed so interested in Turnip Head and Claire, but after an injection or two, they gave them both back. In addition, is Aaron doomed because he is being "raised by another?" Or was that just an empty threat? And why did no one explain to Claire that SHE was the one who abandoned her baby (or "BAY-BEE!" as she exclaimed in every episode) that night in the woods when she walked off with Christian.

Where is Christian Shephard's body?
We know that Christian was a manifestation of the black smoke at least some of the time - the Man in Black admitted to that, but why isn't his body in the coffin that Jack found? Did the airline really lose it like they did in the LostX world? And why did Christian appear in the cabin when Hurley was looking in the keyhole?

What is with the cabin?
We know that Horace built the cabin, and we know that Ben faked talking to Jacob in the cabin, but that's about it. But who was the one who said "Help Me?" while Locke and Ben were in the cabin? The black smoke would have just manifested himself and spoke normally and Jacob wasn't living there at all - he was in the foot of Taweret. And why was there an ash circle around the cabin? Who put it there? I believe it was to keep the Man in Black there, but I could be wrong.

What is the Man in Black's name?
Yes, it matters to me. Although I'm pretty sure that if we do learn his name, it will be a moment like in Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy when Slartibartfast reveals his name and it turns out to not be that important. But who is he? And why can't he kill Jacob? Especially since it seems that both the Man in Black and his "mother," who said he couldn't kill Jacob, are dead - so that promise/curse should be null, and yet the black smoke seems to stick to it.
What, exactly, is the black smoke?
Why does it hate high-frequency sonar? Is it a security system of some sort? Or is it the evil held in the bottle by the cork/island? And how does it know the past and future of the people on the island? Also why couldn't the black smoke enter the temple as long as Dogen was alive?

What is with the temple?
Why is it that the black smoke can be under the temple walls, but not within the temple walls? Is this where the black smoke lives? What happened to Sayid in that bubbling red water? What did those temple people expect was going to happen? And who were those people, anyway?

Who are the original "others?"
This whole history is confusing - a clarification would be nice. What is with The Others "recruiting" people that they felt were good? How and why has Cindy (the flight attendant) been "converted" by the Others? And where are all those people now? Where's the Teddy Bear kid? And why do they wear all those old clothes if it's all for pretend anyway and they have homes and showers? How did they find their way to the island?

How did the US Army/The Dharma Initiative find the island?
If the island is so hard to find that you need a quantum physicist and a fancy pendulum to find it (maybe), then how did the US find the island for nuclear testing? They didn't seem marooned on the island, they seemed stationed. And what about the Dharma initiative? How did they get the right to go back and forth from the island? And how does the Hanso Foundation fit into all this? And why is it that only some of them are worried about "the sickness?"

What is "the sickness?"
Is it related to the vaccine? Is there really a reason why radiation suits and shots are necessary? Or is that all a scare tactic? And is this "sickness" the same thing that Dogen said had claimed Sayid and Rousseau said her group contracted? And is the vaccine contained in the Dharma drop?

Who is making the Dharma supply drop and why?
If, after the purge, the outside world stopped getting information/visits from the island group, why would they keep dropping supplies and not come investigate? Plus, once again, if they're able to find the island each time without the help of Eloise Hawking and her magic pendulum why can't others?

Why are the numbers 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42 magical?
They drove Leonard Simms crazy just by hearing them repeated over and over. The numbers gave Sam Toomey bad luck when he used them to win a bean counting contest. The broadcast of the numbers brought Rousseau and her crew to the island. And, of course, these numbers made Hurley a multi-millionaire when he used them in the lottery. But why? We know that they correspond to candidates chosen by Jacob (4 is Locke, 8 is Hurley, 15 is Sawyer, 16 is Sayid, 23 is Jack and 42 is "Kwon"), but is that it? What about all the other numbers that were on the list? Why were only those six broadcast? Why would numbers on a list suddenly gain magical powers? And why would they "curse" Hurley?

Why can Hurley can see dead people?
Miles can hear them, too, yes, but he has a connection to the island because he was born there. Hurley has no connection to the island that we know of. In fact, his "Jacobian visit" was after he left the island - not before like many of the other candidates. So when did he first get this power? And why? We knew he was in a mental institution and made a friend (Dave) there, but was Dave dead or just a figment of his imagination? Will we ever know?

What is Libby's story?
Even though Hurley didn't really see her at Santa Rosa, Libby was there. But we still don't know why she was in the mental hospital. Or why she had a fixation on Hurley. Plus, why did she decide to give her late husband's sailboat to Desmond? Did she know he would get stuck on the island because of it? And why was she on Oceanic Flight 815? I feel like her story got cut short. I wonder if the creators of Lost had more in store for Libby Smith, but they had to kill her off so they could get some sort of emotional response, because no one cared when Michael shot Ana Lucia.

Why does every actor from Lost who gets a traffic violation in real life die on the show?

Yes, the actress who played Libby (Cynthia Watros) got a DUI in Oahu - she was killed shortly after. The same thing happened with Ana Lucia (Michelle Rodriguez) who got a DUI (and refused to do community service) and Mr. Eko (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) was busted for driving without a license. I thought that Jin (Daniel Dae Kim) was immune to this rule, since the other DUIers were secondary characters, but sadly it caught up to him in this last season. Moral of the story? Don't drink and drive, kids, or you'll die in a TV show.

Why did Charlie have to die for them to get rescued?
Short answer? He wanted off the show. But I still don't see why his death was a requirement for everyone else to get off the island. First of all, not everyone got off of the island. And secondly, he could have just as easily closed that door from the other side when the grenade was about to go off. Plus, he also could have swam out the hole and up to the surface instead of just giving up, crossing himself and dying. So I can't help but wonder if it was actually necessary for Charlie to die. Especially since he hasn't done much of anything since he's been dead.

Why does whispering accompany the dead appearing?
Apparently the dead in limbo are a talkative bunch, because everytime one of the deceased is about to appear, my surround sound speakers go crazy with mumbled whispers, or maybe it's just parseltongue. But it seems that the whispers happen when the dead appear, they happen when the black smoke appears, they happen when characters are in danger and they happen when the writers want the viewers to be a little creeped out. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to these mysterious whispers.

What is up with Walt?
The whispers also happen when the non-dead, like Walt appear. How does Walt "appear," anyway, if he's not dead? Where did he find a computer that had HatchChat on it? Why did he say "Don't push the button, the button is bad?" And why did he say it backwards so that no one but online bloggers could decipher it? He sees a bird in a picture, a bird hits the window. He sees a polar bear in a comic book, a polar bear appears. This boy was special. The Others wanted him so bad that they kidnapped him in the season one finale to create a cliffhanger. But then, after extensive off-screen testing, they gave up on Walt? Why? Well, maybe it was because they knew that a teenage boy would soon look much older than he was supposed to on this magical island. I think the writers had much more in store for Walt Lloyd, but puberty stopped their plans dead in its tracks.

How is Desmond resistant to electromagnetic forces?
But Walt wasn't the only special one on the island. When the hatch imploded Desmond wasn't hurt- his clothes just got knocked off of him and he became a prophet. Why didn't this happen to Locke or Eko? They were both in the implosion and they both retained their clothing and got no special powers. Has Desmond always had this power in him? Or did this implosion make him resistant to the glowing purple/white light? And why does it enable him to jump through space and time like Dr. Sam Beckett?

Why does Eloise Hawking always seem to know what is going on?
Desmond jumps back in time, Eloise is there and thwarts his plans of having a happy life with Penny. Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sun and Ben need to get back to the island? No problem. Eloise is there to tell them where they can find the island and how to get onto it from a plane in mid-air. What if Desmond is in an alternate reality? No problem. Eloise still is wise to what the writers are up to and tries to steer Desmond away from the love of his life. What is with this woman? If she turns out to be dead like she did in the movie The Others, then I'm going to be very disappointed. It seems as if she is the only one who is aware of what is going on.

What's the deal with Jacob?
Well, Jacob may know what is going on, but he still seems shocked and surprised by things. But how does Jacob grant immortality? And does he truly know what is going on? Or is he just acting on faith, too? And why are Ilana, Richard, the Dharma initiative, the Others and (at one point) even Ben so loyal to him? Is he really someone we should trust?

What the #$*^@% is going on?
Who knows? I don't know if the writers and creators even have all the answers. We may never get a full explanation of it all. Maybe, like the X-Files, we'll have to just be content with theories and speculations on the majority of these "major" questions. They may answer some of the question mentioned above, and I hope they do, but they most likely will not give us everything all wrapped up with a beautiful bow. We can only hope that we'll be satisfied with the answers we are given.

I can tell you that most of the minor questions most definitely will not be answered - no matter how much we'd like an answer. Such questions could include: Who's bright idea was it to write in Nikki and Paulo and pretend like they were there the whole time? Who is the mother of Jack's son in the alternate world? How is it that hair growth seems to be at a standstill on the island for both men and women? Who is Penny's mother? Was Harold Perrineau (Michael) contractually obligated to constantly say "my son," and "my boy" in every episode? If the island heals bullet wounds, why doesn't it heal Locke's scar on his eye? Where did Hugo get the nickname "Hurley?" Did anyone actually LIKE Ana Lucia? Why doesn't Daniel have an English accent if both his parents are British? Is Ben a good guy or a bad guy? What did Daniel see in Charlotte? Why did they bring Ana Lucia back for the second-to-last episode when no one likes her? What is with Kate and that horse? Finally, why does no one on the island give direct answers to ANY question they are asked?!?

Let us all hope that the Lost series finale on Sunday, May 23rd will bring us answers, knowledge, explanations and, most of all, satisfaction. After all, we deserve some sort of resolution for tuning in and hanging on for the past six years.

I want to believe!


Zufelt said...

Awesome post. Unfortunately you reminded me of more questions that will never be answered.

Also this: Jack is #23? Unsurprising.

Maren McCaleb said...

I am probably the only person on the planet who liked the Nikki and Paulo episode(s). I only recently started watching LOST, so to catch up, I watched maybe four episodes a day for a month. When the Nikki and Paulo episode came along, I thought it was so funny and strange, I laughed the entire time. Every scene from a previous episode they re-shot from N&P's POV was hilarious. The characters were so unlikable, I can't imagine you were supposed to feel anything but delight when they got buried alive. It was a very welcome light-hearted respite from some heavily dramatic episodes prior to that one. That is, if you consider being buried alive light-hearted. And who doesn't?

--jeff * said...

"lost" is rather high on my list of "shows that i would watch if i wanted to watch more tv." when i talk with people who are fully invested in it (like the former 786), i wish i would have jumped in when season 1 was just out on dvd.

but i remember feeling somewhat miffed when i heard they didn't explain much of anything by the end (season 6 kind of let me down and then i ran off to japan for a few years and never got back to mulder and scully). so, if lost is much more frustrating, then maybe it's best that i didn't hope on the train.

i'm still plenty pumped for the 24 series finale, anyway!