I’m not really jiving with this season of Lost. For me, it’s just gone too far. I could accept the time travel thing. At least they were mindful of the paradoxes involved. But the alternate reality thing is just too much. It makes no sense, and the show has shown very little interest in having it make sense soon. As such, it’s just not that engaging for me. Jieun and I are essentially pot-committed, so we’re still watching, but we end every viewing with simultaneous, audible “tchs!”
That said, I don’t know if you read Jeff Jensen’s Lost columns on ew.com, but you should. If you’re still into Lost, you’ll resonate with him – he’s a complete Lost geek and deconstructs almost everything involved with the show to an absurd degree, writing multiple thousand-word treatises weekly (he wrote 5 columns in the past week). If you’re not connecting with Lost anymore (like me), it’s still worth a read because it almost redeems the show, imbuing it with interest and meaning I’m not getting from the show itself.
What’s particularly interesting about him is that he’s a Christian. He hasn’t said this explicitly, but he’s alluded to it – in a recap last season he mentioned that he talks over Lost with a group from his church. More importantly, familiarity with Christianity permeates his Lost analysis (as it should, since the show makes fairly explicit allusions to Christian ideas), and it’s pretty interesting .
For example, in his countdown to this week’s episode, he cogitates on how a theme of Lost is balance, between being too fatalistic and wanting to change everything. And he cites the Serenity Prayer. It’s an interesting perspective.
His other column related to last week’s episode is particularly interesting. He hypothesizes that Lost is an allegory for the contemporary spiritual experience, He references several passages from the Bible, including Job, which is an interesting synergy because our church just finished reading Job. And I think there’s truth to what he’s saying.
I’ve never really understood Job, and I still don’t, but as I read it, what Job seems to want more than anything is to know why. He wants to experience God face to face and present his case and have God explain why everything that happened to him did. What frustrates him is that God is simply not there, and he can’t know. At the end of the book, God shows up, but he doesn’t really address anything Job wanted – He simply says, who are you to demand anything, I’m God. And that’s pretty much it. No justification. No explanation. Just who are you? I’m God.
I think Jensen is right that Lost is pointing to this. Increasingly, all the characters this season want to understand their purpose, to know why it is they’re there and what they’re supposed to do. They’re increasingly frustrated that the person that seems to know the answers to their questions (Jacob) isn’t there, or won’t tell them everything they want to know. And I do think this is intended to be a modern spiritual analogy. In the end, God doesn’t tell us everything. He just tells us enough for us to do what we need to do in that moment. Nevertheless, He does have a plan. Lost is emphasizing this idea not just through the characters but by the structure of the show itself – everyone who’s watching wants answers, resolution, but the show resolutely refuses to give them but at its own pace, giving only enough to drive the show forward. It’s almost certain that when the show ends, we won’t know everything. We’ll have only been told enough. Because that’s the spiritual point.
Well whoop-de-freaking-do, Lost. It may be a valid spiritual point. But to me, it’s not very entertaining to watch. So let’s have a little more resolution, shall we?