Does “Lost” Have a Point?

How many of you are hooked on the TV series “Lost”? It’s easy to get roped in. It’s a riveting mystery that raises profound philosophical and theological questions. Can we change the future, or is everything predetermined? How do we know what we know? Faith or Science?

Devoted fans await the final episode which is supposed to solve all the mysteries and answer all the questions. Oscar Dahl, however, says that is not what is going to happen, and that is not the point of “Lost.” He writes:

“Over six seasons, the [creators of the program] have sprinkled little bread-crumb trails leading fans to philosophies and theories that may or may not have anything to do with what is actually happening on ‘Lost.’ As such, many fans assume that the mysteries will be solved by the end of this final season. They are wrong. Mysteries will not be solved. Answers will not be given. And that’s just fine.

“At its basest level, ‘Lost’ is about life. The island is a microcosm of our everyday existence… but the feeling of not knowing anything, of being entirely confused, of struggling with meaning, of searching for answers to unknowable questions, is universal. Life is like being on the island — we don’t know why we’re here, we don’t really know what to do, but we still search for answers. And we often fail, even with the best intentions in mind.”

Dahl’s suggestion may be correct, and it would be very post-modern of the producers if they do in fact leave the questions unanswered. Nevertheless, I feel certain that I won’t be the only one who will be disappointed if they do.

10 Responses to Does “Lost” Have a Point?

  1. Michael D. March 17, 2010 at 2:14 am #

    I think Dahl may have a point, but it does seem like it is building toward some climactic ending. With that ending I doubt I will really care if all my questions are answered.

  2. El Bryan Libre March 17, 2010 at 6:30 am #

    I love that show and am bummed this is the last season. At least next week it seems they’re going to answer the questions about Richard. My wife and I are really excited about that episode.

    I think it’s interesting how the show does seem to answer question but then it gives you knew questions. If you think about all the different plot lines that have happened and all the questions you’ve had, they’ve answered them, but then they introduced other plots and questions. That’s why the show is so addictive. Many of the questions I have now are not question I had at the beginning or even last season.

    Have you seen that Onion thing about annoying Lost fans? It was pretty funny.

  3. Lucas Knisely March 17, 2010 at 9:09 am #

    Yeah, count me as one of the fans who will be pretty mad if they don’t explain and answer questions.

  4. Dave Woodbury March 17, 2010 at 9:09 am #

    There was an episode several seasons ago which revealed that one of the Darma Initiative “experiments” involved people sitting in an isolated chamber, printing out data, stuffing it into a container, and sending it, via tube, to an undisclosed location, all the while being told that their work was vital and meaningful. Only later did we find out that these containers were being dumped into an open field, never having been opened.

    I have suspected for awhile that the producers of the show were performing a similar experiment on the viewing audience. “We will tell them that each episode reveals critical information. We will keep them hanging on with the promise of answers. We’ll see how long they will continue to watch and hope and buy in.”

    Well here we are in the final season. I wonder if, in the very last scene of the finale, the producers will take us to an open field where we will find all our containers of time, unopened.

  5. Dave Woodbury March 17, 2010 at 9:21 am #

    *Dharma…sorry

  6. David (Not Adrian's Son) Rogers March 17, 2010 at 11:18 am #

    I won’t be upset if they don’t answer EVERY question. I hope they present a mythological plot structure for the LOST universe (sub-creation, cf. Tolkien) that has coherence and consistency with what has been presented in the episodes.

  7. Ryan K. March 17, 2010 at 2:26 pm #

    LOST is the best show to be put on TV possibly ever. No show on TV is allowed the freedom to become more complex and explore deeper roads of theology, while losing viewers, than LOST.

    It is truly a show that would betray its very character if it took an encyclopedia approach at the end and wrapped up every loose end. BUT it does have a major theme of redemption, and change that it will fully play out for its audience. Will we find out how the polar bears got to the island? Probably not, but the writers will reveal the meaning of this entire journey, and that is what matters.

  8. DennyReader March 17, 2010 at 4:14 pm #

    I would be disappointed if they don’t at least try to answer some of the questions. The theme seems to have evolved into a dualism, so I don’t expect it to answer any of the philosophical questions like where did Jacob or the smoke thing came from, or why Jacob can be killed but not the smoke thing.

    I do think they should at least try to answer some of the technical questions such as, scientifically how is the parallel reality created? Why is there time fragmentation? How did Faraday and Desmond shift through time? I am pretty sure any answer with not make much sense, but at least they should try because they have created this conundrum.

    The most interesting aspect of the show seems to be how Jacob interacts with the characters and the smoke thing interacts with them. Jacob’s actions appear to be not beneficial but presumably it is for the greater good, contrast to the smoke things deceptive manipulation of offering what each person desires the most but presumably it will lead to greater evil. The best point in the show is the redemption of Linus.

    However, if you are into scifi and manipulation of timelines, the new series Flashforward also on ABC quite good.

  9. Derek Taylor March 19, 2010 at 12:32 pm #

    I predict that there will be two ultimate messages:

    1) There are no ultimate answers or ultimate Truth
    2) There are many “truths” to be celebrated and embraced

    The composite picture of all of these narratives will be a mosaic of “truths” that don’t have to necessarily point to some elusive, overarching Truth. The love story between Jin and Sun, the persistence of hard-luck losers like Locke and the redemption of villains like Ben Linus and Sawyer, etc, will bring tears to our eyes and we will celebrate the courage and triumph of the “human spirit”. That is the only truth that we will be able to hold in our hands, but it will be more than enough. The end.

  10. DennyReader March 23, 2010 at 5:31 am #

    I agree, a postmodern truth is much more PC.

    And then there is this “The Gospel According to Lost“… can you believe it?

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