Posts Tagged ‘john locke’

Getting Lost: The End

It’s time for the final installment of “Getting Lost,” where John S takes you through all the questions, answers, themes, motifs, mysteries, ideas, propositions, and quandaries raised by last night’s series finale of Lost:

“What if a demon crept after thee into thy loneliest loneliness some day or night, and said to thee: ‘This life, as thou livest it at present, and hast lived it, thou must live it once more, and also innumerable times; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and every sigh, and all the unspeakably small and great in thy life must come to thee again, and all in the same series and sequence-and similarly this spider and this moonlight among the trees, and similarly this moment, and I myself. The eternal sand-glass of existence will ever be turned once more, and thou with it, thou speck of dust!’- Wouldst thou not throw thyself down and gnash thy teeth, and curse the demon that so spake? Or hast thou once experienced a tremendous moment in which thou wouldst answer him: ‘Thou art a God, and never did I hear anything so divine!’… The question with regard to all and everything: ‘Dost thou want this once more, and also for innumerable times?’ would lie as the heaviest burden upon thy activity! Or, how wouldst thou have to become favorably inclined to thyself and to life, so as to long for nothing more ardently than for this last eternal sanctioning and sealing?” —Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science

A lot will be and surely has already been said about the Lost finale, specifically the final scenes. People will say that the ending is a cop-out, that the ending is overtly religious, that ultimately the writers did provide a “the Island is the afterlife” or “the Sideways stories are purgatory” answer. They will say that there was not enough discussion of “the rules,” and that countless questions about mythology were not answered sufficiently. Some will say it was too slow; some will say that not enough characters got closure; some will say it was too sappy; some will say that it ruined the whole series. And someone somewhere will probably say that there wasn’t enough Libby.

It was basically preordained, in other words, that this episode would be controversial. But the question to keep in mind in judging it, though, is: Did the finale provide consistent and compelling closure for the series? Continue reading

Getting Lost (Redux): The Incident

One of the raison d’etres of “Getting Lost (Redux)” has been to help see how Lost got from where it was to where it is now. “The Incident” is critical to that on a very basic level, having triggered Season Six’s controversial and polarizing Sideways stories. It is also critical on a more complex story level, having been the first episode to introduce us to Jacob, in all his splendor.

“The Incident” opens with a scene, which I feel like I’ve linked to a dozen times already but here’s one more, that fundamentally changed the tenor of the series. Not only did it confirm that Jacob was in fact real (it’s almost hard to believe that this was ever in doubt), but it also introduced us to the Man in Black. This was the first real indication that Jacob had a rival, and was not the sole entity of power on the Island. The final season has made clear that the characters were brought to the Island as part of a power struggle between Jacob and the Man in Black—a struggle that will ultimately end with Jacob’s death. Continue reading

Getting Lost (Redux): The Life And Death Of Jeremy Bentham

John Locke is a very intriguing and unusual TV character. Before I started watching Lost, when my only real exposure to the show were the promos and the summaries I got from my AP Calculus teacher (who was the first real Lost fan I knew and, come to think of it, kind of like Locke), I remember thinking it was very strange that this new television phenomenon had, as one of its central characters, a rather elderly, bald gentleman.*

*It’s very strange to think back to my perception of Lost before I started watching—which was fairly recently. For a while, I wasn’t even sure of the characters’ names. At various points I thought Lost featured a character named “Jack Locke,” that Locke was the first name of Matthew Fox’s character, and that “John Locke” and “Jack” were in fact the same person (since “Jack” is often considered a nickname for “John”**). It’s worth remembering that this is how Lost is perceived by those on the outside of this “cultural phenomenon.”

**Although how you can have a nickname that is the same length, in both syllables and letters, as the actual name is another question. Continue reading

Getting Lost (Redux): There’s No Place Like Home

The Season Four finale opens with the Oceanic Six, as well it should. The Oceanic Six were the story of Lost’s fourth season: Who were they? How did they get off the Island? What happened to them after they left? Why do they want to go back?

The first scene of “There’s No Place Like Home” takes place as the Oceanic Six—Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sayid, Sun, and Aaron—are flown in from the remote island they were found on. As Jack reminds them of the agreed upon lie, he tells them not to worry if they can’t answer any questions. “They’ll think we’re in shock,” he tells them. To which Sun replies: “We are in shock.” Continue reading

Getting Lost: Season Six Thus Far

In the absence of a new Lost episode last night (ABC ran a rerun of “Ab Aeterno” instead), this week’s “Getting Lost” will look at where the show’s final season stands now:

Given the hype and anticipation for this season of Lost, has it lived up to the expectations? That, of course, is the big question. I think the obvious answer, at this point, is “No.” We still don’t know how the alternate timeline plots will ultimately resolve themselves into the main narrative, and this season has seen its share of dull episodes, like “What Kate Does,” “Dr. Linus,” and “The Package.”

But it’s probably unfair to judge the whole season as of yet. Lost has always been a show that has made its reputation primarily with premieres and finales. That’s not to say that character development doesn’t play a key role on the show, just that the show has made a habit out of sandwiching some dull episodes with strong beginnings and thrilling endings. Fans tend to forget this, but with the exception of Season Five (which I called one of the best television seasons of the Aughts), every single season of Lost has had a pretty noticeable slump in the middle.*

*Some people would probably object to the inclusion of Season Four, which was only 14 episodes, but I would say that episodes six (“The Other Woman”), seven (“Ji Yeon”), eight (“Meet Kevin Johnson”), and ten (“Something Nice Back Home”) were pretty forgettable. Continue reading

The U.S. Census

As a general rule, the Founding Fathers get way too much credit. The Declaration of Independence was basically plagiarized from John Locke; a lot of the Constitution is downright awful, either from a moral standpoint or a procedural one. Let’s not even get started on the Bill of Rights…

One thing the Founders do not get enough credit for, though, is the Census. In Clause 3 of Article I the Constitution mandates: “The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.”

It’s not flashy or glamorous, but it’s hard to understate its importance. People so often recall the grand philosophical ideas espoused by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, et al., and as a result we tend to think of them more as political philosophers than as actual policy makers. This is understandable, but not really accurate. What the Founders were doing, after all, was establishing a country. So while Josh may be thrilled that the Founders decided to prohibit government regulation of speech, I’m more impressed by whomever stood up and said, “It would probably be really helpful if we counted each other every ten years or so.” Continue reading

Getting Lost: The Substitute

It’s time for another installment of “Getting Lost,” where John S takes you through all the salient questions from last night’s episode of Lost:

Hey! A Locke episode! Yeah, after an episode that left him out completely, we get an episode totally centered on John Locke, who I’ve already called the show’s most important character.

And were you super thrilled with this episode? It was a pretty good, wasn’t it?

Well, it still had those dumb alternate timeline storylines… Well, here’s the thing with those. People have complained that the 2004 stories are pointless, or a distraction from the on-Island stories that people care about. There is definitely some validity to that when we have to watch a whole episode of Kate trying to run away from US Marshal Edward Mars again. But this episode worked the John Locke storyline in pretty seamlessly, in a way that actually added to the on-Island story. Continue reading