Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse were surprise guests at Jeff “Doc” Jensen and Dan Snierson’s “Entertainment Weekly Presents Totally LOST One Year Later” panel at the 2011 San Diego Comic-Con yesterday afternoon.
Darlton said they had a scene from the Season 1 finale that had never been shown before — and that it would prove, once and for all, that they had planned the ending from the start.
It was actually a joke, as the footage was shot last week. It’s pretty funny, though:
“Yahoo for you and your light.” LOL.
The new footage was shot by Jack Bender on a back lot at Disney.
Almost two months ago, I got a question (actually more like a comment) on the Ask a Question page from Mark Stouffer. I’d been feeling so traumatized by the finale that after my initial flurry of posts, I didn’t want to think about it any more.
Time heals all wounded expectations, and now I’m ready to talk about it again. Here’s what Mark wrote:
Is this blog about the reason of LOST?
I thought the show was about reason, rational thought. The light was identity, expressed by the identity principal a=a, the primary example of which is existence exists. The narative is the continuity of the rational mind. The source is identity and the river is the river of individuals who have preserved the human race and rational thought. The island is reality. Everyone arrives there ‘by accident’ from ‘accross the sea’. False Locke is mysticism and collectivism.
Am I way off base? Why is no one talking about the reasons? The rational view that ‘everything that happens here happens for a reason’ and that we needed ‘everything that happened’ to get where we are, talking about LOST.
This blog was about the reason that the LOST-ies were brought to the Island, something I believed we would find out at the end. Instead, I believe, the show dodged the question.
We got two answers, both highly unsatisfactory.
The first answer was that the LOST-ies were brought to the Island to meet each other, to find the (literally) undying friendship and love they hadn’t been able to find in their previous lives. This had the unfortunate effect of reducing the whole amazing Island experience to the equivalent of a college mixer. If it was all about finding each other, there was no need for the Dharma Initiative, or the Island’s healing powers, or the dying pregnant women, or the Others, or Ben, or Jacob, or Widmore or any of it. They could have all just gone on match.com.
Also, even if it were true, as many fans of the ending say, that the show was “all about the characters,” the characters were so badly misrepresented at the end that it negated much of the emotional impact of what had happened before during the previous six years. Pairing Sayid with Shannon, in Heaven’s waiting room, rather than with Nadia, could only have been done by a writer tone-deaf to the emotional truths of the show.
The same thing about making the ending so Jack-centric. While the image of Jack closing his eyes was beautiful in its symmetry, in its mirror imaging of the opening, it was the wrong ending for the way the show had evolved over the years. After the pilot, Jack was never again credible as a hero or a leader, and his character quickly became less interesting than many of the others.
Sawyer, in a way perhaps unexpected by the writers when the show first started, showed himself to be both a better leader of the LOST-ies and a more credible romantic leading man than Jack. The extraordinary acting of Terry O’Quinn and Michael Emerson made their characters far more surprising and interesting than Fox’s. Most of all, the show was an ensemble effort, and turning the finale into Jack’s story missed the essential aspect of what the “character story” was all about.
The second unsatisfactory answer the show gave us was that the LOST-ies were brought to the Island by Jacob to keep the light going. But this doesn’t even make sense. If Jack was destined to save the world by putting the butt-plug in the light socket, then what were all the rest of the LOST-ies there for? Were they all just substitutes in case Jack got sick? And why these particular individuals?
Remember, Locke was always saying that they were ALL brought there for a reason. EACH OF THEM was brought there for a reason. It was their DESTINY.
In the end, though, it was all about Jack’s destiny, and the rest were reduced to supporting players, hanging out in church waiting for Jack to show up.
Mark wrote, “I thought the show was about reason, rational thought.”
I thought the show (up until, but not including, the ending) was about the tension between rational thought and faith.
“The light was identity, expressed by the identity principal a=a, the primary example of which is existence exists.”
Sorry, that’s over my head.
“The narrative is the continuity of the rational mind. The source is identity and the river is the river of individuals who have preserved the human race and rational thought. The island is reality. Everyone arrives there ‘by accident’ from ‘across the sea’. False Locke is mysticism and collectivism.”
I thought that Real Locke was the one who represented mysticism and faith. I don’t really know what False Locke was supposed to represent. The Devil? Non-denominational evil?
I don’t think the show was saying that collectivism is bad — in fact, just the opposite. The LOST-ies went from unhappy lonely individuals at the beginning to a happy group, all together at Heaven’s gate, at the end.
The source could be identity, but I think it was supposed to be something larger than that — I think it was meant to be whatever force breathes life into us. It might have been more convincing had it not looked so cheesy. 😉
Anyway, at this point, I’ve only seen the finale once, on the night it was aired. I turned on the rerun for about 10 seconds just to see if they had put on the “pop-up hints,” which they had, and then I turned it off.
But who knows, now that I can talk about it again, maybe I’ll be able to rewatch it some time soon-ish.
Is there anyone reading this who still cares about any of this? Do you still think about the finale, or have you put it behind you and let it go, as Christian Shephard urged us (via his speech to Jack) to do? Or maybe Christian’s advice was only meant for people who are already dead.
Screenshot from lost-media.com. Click on picture for original, then click through that for larger shot.
(Warning: This post contains a brief quote of the dialogue from the sneak peek, and a discussion of the scene.)
In this scene from 6×14, Jack and Flocke are disagreeing with each other. Watching it, I got a feeling of deja vu, because we’ve become so used to seeing similar scenes of Jack and (real) Locke disagreeing about similar issues. But this time there’s a twist:
The twist is that Jack and (F)locke have reversed positions. In “There’s No Place Like Home,” the Season 4 finale, it was Jack who wanted to leave, and (real) Locke who urged him to stay::
(REAL) LOCKE: But you’re not supposed to go home.
JACK (shouting:) And what am I supposed to do? (A little calmer:) Oh, I think I remember. What was it that you said on the way out to the hatch — that crashing here was our destiny.
LOCKE: You know, Jack. You know that you’re here for a reason. You know it. And if you leave this place, that knowledge is gonna eat you alive from the inside out until you decide to come back.
(Real) Locke of course, had been right. Jack had to come back. But now Flocke is trying to get Jack to leave:
Jack: (Referring to Sawyer’s group:) They’re not my people. And I’m not leaving the Island.
Flocke: Well, Jack, I’m hoping you’ll still change your mind about that.
Is it possible that both (real) Locke and Flocke were/are right? That Jack had to come back when he did, but now it is time for him to leave?
I also wonder why Jack is turning his back on Sawyer, Kate, and the rest of the group. Is he that miffed about his argument with Sawyer on the boat? I wouldn’t expect someone who has anointed himself the Bearer of Destiny, as Jack seems to have done, to be so petty. So maybe it’s something else.
Then again, this is Jack, so maybe he really is being that petty.
One other thing — Terry O’Quinn’s performance continues to amaze. Compare him in the 6×14 sneak peek to the way he was in the Season 4 finale. Flocke and (real) Locke are distinctly different in their expressions, and their manner, and in the type of energy they project. Yet, in some ways, they are similar, as if they were not really two totally separate people. Somehow, O’Quinn manages to convey the differences and the similarities at the same time — something which can’t be easy.
You know the show must be getting very close to the end when we start getting some answers!
Of course, Flocke might be lying, in which case his answers wouldn’t really be answers.
We’ll find out soon enough.
There’s something in this clip I found especially interesting because it relates directly to the central question of this blog (why John Locke believed the LOSTies were brought to the Island for a reason), and turns it on its head:
Jack: Why John Locke?
Flocke: Because he was stupid enough to believe that he’d been brought here for a reason …
“For a reason” is the catchphrase that inspired the name of this blog, the one phrase that seemed to best capture the central mystery of the show.
Originally, it was a phrase associated most strongly with Locke, something that Locke, as the man of faith, would say to Jack, the man of reason. Jack would always brush Locke off, too skeptical to listen.
Now we’ve turned a corner. Jack is no longer skeptical. But neither is he relying on blind faith.
In last night’s episode, 6×07 Dr. Linus, the phrase “for a reason” was spoken twice, once by Richard Alpert and once by Jack.
You can see both those moments in the “Quick Cut” video below:
Alpert: “I devoted my life in the service of a man who told me everything was happening for a reason. And now that man’s gone, so my entire life had no purpose.”
Jack (as the flame approaches the dynamite): “For some reason Jacob had been wanting me to know that he had been watching me ever since I was a kid. I’m willing to bet you that if Jacob went to that trouble, that he brought me to this island for a reason, and it’s not to blow up sitting here with you right now.”
"Jacob brought me to this island for a reason"
That’s a big shift. Originally, in Locke’s formulation, the explanation for the reason they were brought to the Island was mystical and abstract. It was fate. It was their destiny. Locke was speaking the language of abstract religion.
But now we’re getting more concrete. It was Jacob, a specific person, who brought them there, for his own reasons.
Since Jacob, presumably, is just a person, not a god, we have now left the realm of abstract faith. Perhaps God or fate or destiny may work in mysterious ways that humans cannot fully understand, but Jacob’s reasons can and will be explained.
Because the reasons originate from within the mind of a specific person, the explanations will be concrete and non-mystical — the type of explanations that even a man of science can accept.
And, in fact, Jack is looking at Jacob and his reasons with a scientist’s eye, drawing a link between cause and effect: “I’m willing to bet you,” Jack says, “that if Jacob went to that trouble, [then] he brought me to this island for a reason.”
In the lighthouse, Jack observed evidence that showed him that Jacob had been watching him since he was a child. From that, Jack infers an explanation: That Jacob must have had a reason to bring him to the Island. It’s a logical and rational inference — and a testable hypothesis.
Jack tests it by lighting the fuse on the dynamite. The flame fizzles out. The hypothesis is confirmed.
“For a reason” has become a mystery that will be solved not by faith, but by science.
I missed the big group rewatch put on by DocArzt and Lostpedia, but I’m going to be starting my own little private rewatch this week, when I’ll be getting the DVDs from the library and watching LOST all over again from the beginning. I probably won’t be writing a lot of commentary (see Fishbiscuitland and the sites listed on the Lostpedia rewatch page if you want to read some terrific rewatch analysis), but one thing I want to do is keep track of all the references that are made to the LOSTies being brought to the Island “for a reason.”
“For a reason” is the phrase that inspired the name of this blog, and I think, more than any other LOST catchphrase, it captures what the central mystery of LOST is all about.
Whenever I come across a character saying that phrase while I’m rewatching the show, I’ll make a note of it here on this post.
I’m curious to see how many times the phrase will pop up.
We first hear Locke talking about “destiny” in his flashbacks in 1×04 Walkabout. It’s not quite “we were brought here for a reason,” but it’s working up to it.
1×05 White Rabbit is the first episode where the actual phrase was used, when Locke asked Jack “But what if everything that happened here happened for a reason? ”
“Everything happens for a reason” was the official slogan of Season 2! You can see the full Season 2 poster (from which the image on top of this post was taken) on Lostpedia.
This post is a work in progress. Check back for updates.
TV Overmind has posted a transcript of the July 3 London panel discussion with Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse, and Jack Bender that I mentioned in my last post.
Season 6 will have 16 episodes, with the first and the last each being two hours.
They will start shooting Season 6 soon — on August 24.
Producer/writer Damon Lindelof
Damon, on Jack and Locke and things happening “for a reason” (give that man a duck with $100):
I’m a huge fan of whenever Jack and Locke talk to each other. We’ve been very judicious in having those guys talk to each other. It happens very rarely. I go back to White Rabbit and that six or seven minute long scene where they’re just sitting in the jungle. And Jack says he’s following the impossible, and Locke says what if it’s not impossible and we were all put here for a reason. And that scene is the genesis for those guys’ relationship. And if you think about how that was the third episode shot out of the pilot, here we are now, 100 episodes later, and now Jack is finally saying “Y’know, Locke might be onto something.”
(I think this is the scene in White Rabbit that Damon was talking about):
Producer/writer Carlton Cuse
Carlton, on how they write an episode (I love these little glimpses into the screenwriting process):
We spend a lot of time breaking each aspect of the story, and once we have the story worked out from beginning to end, we’ll put it up on whiteboard and then pitch it back to ourselves. And we’ll have scenes in different colors, with an on-island story, an off-island story, and a C-story, split it into six acts for the commercial breaks, and structure it so you’ll want to come back after each act. Then we’ll give it to some writers to rewrite and send back, and we’ll give our notes, make some changes.
Carlton, on destiny and how it relates to the writers themselves:
Q: You make a lot about the characters searching for their destiny and their purpose. Do you feel that you yourselves had a purpose in your own lives being involved in the show, or you’ve learned something about life from doing it?
Carlton: I think as writers we use the show to explore personal issues, spiritual or otherwise. We’re mainly concerned by how much faith and how much control do you have over your own destiny, something which is very fascinating to us… The writers’ room is diverse and that diversity gets worked out in the characters.
Damon, on the ending:
Q: I want to know about the end of LOST. Michael Emerson said in an interview this week that he suspects it will be quite bittersweet or melancholy. Is it going to be an upbeat ending or ambiguous? Just any kind of hint to the flavor of the ending.
Damon: All of the above. We are aspiring for an ending that is fair. Bittersweet comes with the territory. The ending will be different as for once, we won’t leave you on a cliffhanger. You will stay on the cliff this time.