"Thanks and thanks again to Him who offers to the man whom the sorrows of life have assaulted and left naked–offers to him the fig leaf of the Word with which he can cover his wretchedness." -Søren Kierkegaard


Posted in Day-To-Day by matt on Saturday, September 4, 2010

Cayla and I watched the last few episodes of the award-winning TV series, LOST, a couple nights ago, and I think it merits a response.

We were in Bangkok when the finale aired, so it took a considerable amount of rudeness to keep friends and family from spoiling it. I even resorted to the juvenile fingers-in-ears-while-making-noise-thing a couple times. But thankfully nothing was spoiled, and we made it all the way to the end as clueless as when we started the series.

I know this is a little belated, but I’m joining the countless bloggers by posting my reactions to LOST.

**WARNING: There are spoilers ahead. If you’ve seen it or don’t care, read on.

(1) LOST isn’t consumable. The show’s plot was an ever-widening series of concentric circles with the plot-progression going something like this: there are castaways on an island (simple enough), there are Others on the island along with the mysterious Dharma Initiative (hmmmm), there’s a power struggle between the current and former leader of the Others (well, OK…), and, finally, the dualist mythology of the island is revealed to be a metaphorical stand-off between two brothers – good and evil (say WHAT?!). And I’m not even sure if that accurately describes the last ‘concentric circle.’

Now, this progression wasn’t as ‘consumable’ as most people prefer. Or a better way to say it might be that the show wasn’t something you just watched casually and then walked away from. It’s not as light ‘n fluffy as Friends (which, admittedly, I also liked) or as neatly gift-wrapped as Family Matters (also a great show!), which leads me to my next reaction.

(2) LOST is messy. The writers allegedly wanted the show to have a more real-life feel, so they intentionally made it a little messy. This must also be why they put a death-dealing smoke monster in the story; doesn’t everyone deal with that in real life?

Regardless, they succeeded at leaving loose ends in the story, and they definitely left us hanging. But I appreciate that they crafted it in a way that forced the audience to think for themselves. You had to be OK having to think about – and sometimes never get – all the answers.

In fact, Jack, the hero of the story (or at least one of the heroes), actually starts out being called a “man of science.” He only believes what’s right in front of him. He has trust issues, and he has this compulsive, controlling urge to fix everything. But the transformation from that to a man of faith who ends up saving the island (and maybe the world?) is pretty radical. His science evolves into faith. It reminds me of a Kierkegaard quote (are you surprised?):

Faith is the highest passion in a human being. Many in every generation may not come that far, but none comes further.

Now, I might be wrong, but I think the writers practiced what they preached. Life’s rarely neat and tidy with all the answers, and they didn’t present it that way. Jack had to “let go” and just trust that things would work out. It was his “highest passion.” Likewise, viewers had to relax and enjoy the ride while trusting that, in the end, the story would work out.

Of course, having faith in a TV show and having faith in something worthwhile (like Jesus!) are very different things, but you get my drift.

(3) LOST is beautiful. There’s nothing quite like a well-told story, and, to me, LOST was that times 10. The cinematography, the themes (redemption!), the music, the character arcs, the references to philosophy and religion – I loved it all!

The consistent onslaught of goosebumps and clogged tear ducts made the show’s confusing plot-line seem like no big deal. I was too mesmerized by the quality of the show to worry about everything fitting together.

So I guess t his is my ultimate ‘reaction’ to the series: BRAVO.

Because I’ve never seen a show quite like that, and I sincerely doubt I ever well.

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