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Doc Jensen has not Forgotten LOST – Have You/I?

By docarzt,

  Filed under: Lost
  Comments: 67

Jeff Jensen thinks there is still plenty of `splaining to do.  Do you?  Jeff released a must read theory that seeks to provide an explanation for the island – amongst other things:

I’m sure the day will come when I will stop thinking about Lost. That day has not yet arrived. My mind keeps whirring with ideas, observations, and elaborate theories…not to mention plots for the first six episodes of the Hurley-Ben spin-off! Here’s the synopsis for the pilot: While Ben transports Jack’s body back to Los Angeles for a proper funeral and burial (special appearances by all the Ajira-escaped castaways!), Hurley must stay behind on the Island after Jack’s ghost tasks him with two urgent missions: properly disposing of Fake Locke’s enchanted corpse by obliterating it with Charles Widmore’s electromagnetic woofers and preparing for the imminent arrival of Number 108 on Jacob’s Lighthouse sundial, the mysterious ”Wallace.” Admit it, kids! You want that story, like, now!

Read the whole of it here.

This makes for a perfect segue to a concern many of you keep raising with me: wtf have I been doing throughout season 6, and what does the future hold.

We will continue to post on the site, but we’ve been taking a break.  We’ve learned to “let go.”  Temporarily, at least.

The number one question I get these days is:  what did you think of the finale?  My answer:  adequate.  I always bristled when anyone, at any level of the LOST scene from creators to fans, split hairs over whether the mythology or the character story was more important.  The only valid answer, in my book, is that both were equally important.  To say one was more important than the other is, in my opinion, a cop out;  it says you are uncomfortable with your ability to explain or digest the other aspect.  Character is, of course, the most important element of any story, but when you say that the world that has served as the platform for your characters’ life altering journey is not important to the conclusion of the story … that is just wrong.  (You particularly don’t get to say this when the central object of your mythology has been adamantly called a ‘character’ in your story from the beginning.)

That said, I’m not really disappointed with the finale.  I take a more pragmatic approach: whatever Damon and Carlton gave us is, without question, the ending.  So we can’t apply, logically, our own expectations as to what elements the ending needed to contain as a measurement of whether it was good or bad.  The breadth of the LOST story has been less like a TV show and more like a novel, and I suspect that if we arrived to the ending more with the pace one would in a book – ie without gulfs of anticipation between the chapters – their would be much less disappointment in the fan scene.  When you read a book, you are along for the ride and willfully cruising to whatever resolution the author has in store;  when it is over you reflect on the story as a whole.  You do not get to dictate what direction the story goes in as you go along.

LOST suffered a lot of undue fan criticism over the years that no other show would be subject to for the simple reason that it is a big story.  LOST has momentum, and at times it has felt like the fandom has been trying to steer that momentum furiously, emitting seething frustration at their inability to change the course.  LOST has changed course occasionally at the kvetching of the fan base, but not in the big picture – always in ways that ultimately turned out to be finite, save for the decision to end the show.

Where am I going with all of this?  The LOST finale didn’t meet my expectations, but that is no reason to dislike it.  The fact is, I loved it.  I loved it because it didn’t meet my expectations, but it has taken a little bit of time for me to realize it.   More on the meat of the finale, and the ‘big story’ in coming weeks.

Namaste

Doc


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From TVFrenzy:

  • BasiaK

    I LOVE the Ben and Hurley show. LOVE IT! And Hurley will be so much better as the island’s protector than poor Jacob, who was raised by a nut-job murderess. Jacob was an “end justifies the means” kinda guy. Hurley won’t kill people unless it’s the last resort. Which will make Ben crazy, as he IS a nuke em, nuke em all kinda fella.

    It wouldn’t be LOST, but it would be fun. A slightly more serious version of Fantasy Island. Just imagine Ben yelling “Dee Plane, Dee Plane, Boss!”. :-}

    • whaaaaa?

      Where did you get the idea that Jacob is an “end justifies the means” kind of guy? Just because he lost his temper with his brother (and, yes, killed him) doesn’t mean he was that way all of his life/existence. Jacob was young at the time that happened, and that was also because his brother had murdered his mother and Jacob was young and acted impulsively. An older, wiser Jacob would not have acted in this way. He had learned.

      Personally, I am not excited by the Ben and Hurley show. I see nothing new there.

  • Amanda

    Forgotten LOST? Like Doc said there will come a day when I will not think of LOST but that day hasn’t came yet. Random events in my life will bring the show to mind and that almost always leads to theorizing of some sort. I am so glad Team Darlton gave us the story that they wanted to tell and didn’t let fan pressure change it. It is a story that won’t be leaving my brain anytime soon.

  • Long live Fishbiscuit!!!

    • RodimusBen

      Fishbiscuit is the LOSTian equivalent of the screaming housewives who go ballistic when their favorite American Idol contestant gets voted off. Only in FB’s case, she tries to hide her shipper angst behind quasi-intellectual “analysis” that conveniently ignores anything on the show that contradicts her tunnel vision. That last “recap” was a total joke to anyone with a brain.

      • Paul G.

        Fishbiscuit said what we were all thinking… nothing less.

        • dd

          FB is saying what the illiterate fanbase is thinking. Nothing more. She is the voice of the thoughtless masses.

          • bplenc

            there you are – we missed you!

      • MeriJ

        Whether you agree with Fishbiscuit or not, she has consistently been one of the smartest people recapping this show. I spent four weeks and many, many lines of text defending the finale in my own circles. I found what she wrote extremely insightful and, to be honest, terribly unsettling. To write off the substance of her challenge with the word shipper tells us all we know to know about you, my friend. Sure she’s ticked off. A lot of people are.

  • Leon

    The way you put this to words is pretty clever – I’ve been having trouble really finding the right words. But this is it! The finale didn’t exactly meet all my expectations, but I still loved it every minute of it.

  • Ben’s Glasses

    I like how mass murderers Ben and Richard get to live and be accepted while almost all the women get killed off. Lost warms the heart.

  • domcruise

    lostpendium?

    • docarzt

      It’s coming!

  • DRush76

    [““LOST suffered a lot of undue fan criticism over the years that no other show would be subject to for the simple reason that it is a big story.”]

    I can think of a good number of other television series that had big stories. But the writing for some of them were not as convoluted as “LOST”.

    • docarzt

      Not challenging you, but name them. My point here is that LOST is a big story with some big gaps in the telling that allowed the fans to practice building anticipation. I can think of other big story shows that simply didn’t live long enough, and frankly weren’t successful enough, to have to endure the scrutiny that LOST did.

  • Beena

    Something to share:

    I spent most of my day today in jury duty, only to be let go at the end without needing to serve. But while I was sitting there, I was talking to this other woman about everything under the sun even though we never actually introduced ourselves to one another. Then, after lunch , the court jury duty manager did roll call. The woman who I had been talking to all day had the last name “Shepherd”. I swear I could hear LOST music in the room after that…(laughing)

    LOST is a part of me now. I know it may fade over time, but I also know it will always be a part of me, too. Things like what happened to me today show me that so clearly.

  • Michel

    I am one of the many who was completely satisfied with the finale, but like it anyway. I like how almost no answers were given, how that reflected on life, on its messy and convoluted nature. But, even fervent and acid as it was, I gotta admit (hurtingly) that Fishbiscuit is right. She looked back at what the finale did for the series, and it wasn’t a pretty picture. Not a pretty picture at all. At the end, she convinced me that, not unlike the Harry Potter series, the story had its final greatest enemy in the hand that wrote it. It hurts to admit it, but the evidence is gigantic. We should all look at the bright side, though… all the wonderful things LOST gave us… but don’t tell me FB’s point of view is “putrid”. That’s the real disrespect.

    • Beena

      Here’s why I’d call that write up putrid: because any intellectual morsels that might have been in there, were lost and buried beneath a lot of vulgarity and one too many belly flops. Yes…what she showed wasn’t a pretty picture, all right. In fact, all I saw was just a whole lot of trashy pictures. And maybe that’s her own personal rendition of the LOST finale. But it wasn’t the one I watched on my television. If someone wants to convince me that they think the finale of LOST sucked, that’s fine. Everyone is certainly entitled to their opinion. And if I think a whole bunch of ugly pictures are putrid, I’m entitled to those thoughts, too.

      • Michel

        Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. I don’t approve her harsh words for Jeff Jensen, for instance. There she was wrong. That’s okay. But she’s entitled to bash Darlton as hard as she wants because she suffered the dissapointment of the finale as much as the most diehard fan. The head writers disrespected many of us and she’s entitled to point it out and strike back.

        She did not call YOU anything. She did not disrespected YOU. DD is right, her style shouldn’t be something to lets one avoid talking about the content. That’s what I think you were doing, thrashing the style because it’s better to talk about. So here I am exercising my right to have any kind of opinion… criticizing you. Nobody’s imposing anything on anyone. Fair game.

        • bplenc

          i disagree and here is why:

          first off, despite dissing Doc Jensen, she also writes an entire paragraph dissing Andy from Darkufo including taking his picture and putting onto other bodies – like a 12 year old would do.

          and yes, she is dissing us too bc she calls the whole show stupid and a waste – so what does that make of those that actually loved it?

          also, give me a break: Darlton disrespected their fans? that is just your opinion – I feel that I was given an incredible experience in the finale and throughout the series. no disrespect at all. in fact, a lot of respect bc they thought their audience intelligent enough to continue watching a show with such themes.

          and disagree again about her style: it is so negative, so dark, and so childish, that it ruins anything interesting or well thought out in her recap.

          and as said many times on here: shutting off the comments is the icing on her sick cake. BARF.

        • Beena

          I’m not so sure if it isn’t a matter of both content and style that put me off about that article. But let’s be clear. What I can tell you, is that I am not criticizing her personally (because I don’t know her to be able to that). It is the post I have a problem with. Because I have visited this site often in the past few years, I know this couldn’t be the first article of hers I’ve read. And I don’t remember having any previous objections to anything I found on this site prior to this, including anything she’s written before. But this particular piece just seems raunchy to me, Michael. You can criticize me if you wish, for that opinion about a post. But you don’t really know me, either…so I won’t take that personally (wink).

          But you seemed to have totally overlooked a point I was originally trying to make. So permit me a second time around at it. I don’t think people should be upset with Doc for having published the piece on his site. Raunchy or not. Doc seems to let the chips fall where they may, without censoring any of us. I call that fair. I don’t think it is right, that just because someone didn’t like FB’s piece (myself included), they should diss his site or never come back here. There were some comments to that effect above.

          Anyway, nice chatting with you about it all. I mean that! I hope to bump into you again around here.

    • dd

      Well said, Michel. I’m not sure why everyone is being such a-holes about this. Regardless of what someone might think of her posting style, she was right. The ending shat on the fans, shat on itself, and shat on television. What’s putrid isn’t FB’s post, but rather those carrying on like rabies-infected lunatics about it. Grow up, kids.

      • THE REAL ((guada_lupe)

        The ending shat on the fans, shat on itself, and shat on television.

        talk about melodrama.

        • Silas

          I thoroughly enjoyed The End. If that’s what being shat on is like, then by all means let’s all keep shatting these kinds of stories.

  • Rams

    The comment threads in this site are broken.

  • Kate’s Perfect Butt

    What the heck? The comments are completely out of order! What happened??

    • ELAINE

      LMAO!! Yeah! What happened?! I just posted my comment and it went smack in the middle of everyone’s comments! LOL!!

      • bplenc

        what happened is Doc is doing this so that people cannot find the comments bashing FB article or him for posting it. he is scrambling them and removing them and banning IPs from even accessing this site.

        in a few words: being controversial to get page hits.

        isn’t thinking about you the fan at all.

  • ELAINE

    LOST will forever be imbedded in my mind. I just hope that you guys won’t get tired of posting anything, something, just whatever LOST you come up with.

  • Henry Holland

    To say one was more important than the other is, in my opinion, a cop out; it says you are uncomfortable with your ability to explain or digest the other aspect

    I call: bullshit. If there’s nothing else that FB’s last few recaps have driven home more than anything, it’s that LOST was NOT this totally profound, deep, intensely intellectual exploration of *anything*. All those literary references, characters named after philosophers, the pan-religious clues that somehow boiled down to being about feel-good Christianity etc.? Window dressing, no more, no less.

    Let’s be honest here, Doc. If, after the first few episodes of the series, all we had going on was plane crash survivors on a tropical island with some very pretty people, i.e. the TV show Survivor crossed with the Tom Hanks movie Cast Away, WITHOUT tropical polar bears and cripples who could suddenly walk and pilots being savagely killed by something that can deposit bodies high up in trees and on and on, would the show have lasted 6 seasons? Of course not, to say otherwise is folly.

    As we know, the story of the Island has been going on for thousands of years, it goes on forever. They could have dropped in to any point in history –918 AD, 1850 or 2375– and told character stories, the only thing that would change is no planes in 918 AD, we live on Mars in 2375 and other technological advances. It didn’t HAVE to be 9/22/04 > forward, the characters are utterly replaceable. They could have written 5 different sets of characters and it wouldn’t have affected the show in any way, we’d still see their lives played out. It didn’t HAVE to be Jack, Kate, James, Ben and all them.

    So, if the characters are interchangeable, what’s left is what kept 9-11 million people watching to the bitter end: the mysteries. I and a bunch of other people have no problem explaining the characters, but we were screwed when it came to the mysteries, full stop. How can I be expected to begin to explain or digest the mysteries when they left so much of that on that unexplored?

    • dd

      If you don’t think the show was an “intellectual exploration of anything,” you weren’t paying attention or you don’t know/understand the source material.

      The second part about the characters having the possibility of being anyone: That’s how it always is. In history or literature. Things could have happened in 918 AD, but they didn’t. It happened in 2004. It’s such an irrelevant point.

  • dd

    augh. remove “is” from that sentence.

  • spacebender

    Regarding the Doc Jensen “Final Super-String Theory” that is the subject of this thread, I was very intrigued even though it took a couple of re-readings to digest due to his use of an entertaining but distracting writing format. His description of the Island as a protagonist (“Carrie”) ensnared in a fateful “time travel loop” that warped her personality and intertwined her destiny with the “…personal histories and collective history of the castaways” elegantly interprets some of the aspects of the LOST story I have pondered often since I first began watching in Season 4, such as: what is the nature of the Island and why does it appear both antisocial (hiding itself from people and/or killing them when they arrive) and relationally needy (not allowing people to leave and/or compelling them to return)?

    To me the Island has definitely had the feel of what Doc J. describes as “. . .a living, thinking, willful entity, more like a person than a thing. . .” including “consciousness” and “. . . a desire to protect itself”. With the assumption that “. . . the memories of Jack and all the various human characters were always accessible to the Island,” he takes the next logical step of viewing all the stories as told ultimately not only from the human characters’ perspectives, but from the Island’s perspective. (For example, in “A Tale of Two Cities,” the “voice” of what is represented as Jack’s father but is ultimately an echo from a distant destination urges the compulsive Doc Shepherd through a vestigial intercom to “let it go”.) It’s intriguing to imagine how the Island would have “felt” when it learned (from Ben, Jacob, Daniel, Sawyer and the rest of the characters) all the messy history “. . . leading up to a point in 2004 when they would begin to time travel.” Just as each of the human characters would naturally interpret their experiences through the lens of pivotal (often traumatic) events in their past, the Island would have viewed all these events through the lens of (for example) the trauma that created the Smoke Monster.

    I appreciate Doc J.’s thesis that every episode of LOST from the beginning has offered rich insights not only into the origins and trajectories of the human characters but glimpses into “. . .the Island’s experience of the present” and its internalized “memory”.

    From that foundation, Doc. J. makes his next leap. The time-travel at the pre-existent Well (below which the “Frozen Donkey Wheel” awaited John Locke) reveals that “… some 2,000 years ago, the Island had the ultimate flash-forward — a vision of the events and people that would shape its history in the future, comprised of memories from each of the time-traveling castaways.” As a result of the cardinal Rule that the past was unchangeable and ”whatever happened, happened”, the Island itself was forced to fulfill a fate it would not have wanted or chosen. That is, both the Island entity and every human character had been struggling with a difficult “problem” of history: “. . . to be free from the legacy of painful, unchangeable pasts that diminished their ability to flourish in the present and grow into the future.” But for the Island, this history was “. . . exponentially greater and more complex” than that of any one individual — not to mention inhabited for a prolonged era by a violent Smoke Monster.

    As the Doc describes it, it was ultimately Desmond, the “uniquely and miraculously special” individual to whom the rules didn’t apply, who offered the “Island” an escape from its predestined future to a future in which there was freedom of choice. Therefore, redemption occurred on multiple levels — interior and exterior — and was experienced by both the human characters and the Island itself.

    I very much enjoyed reading Doc J.’s theory, and later his entertaining series of video featurettes on the finale (popwatch.ew.com/2010/06/24/totally-lost-finale-michael-emerson/). Thanks for pointing us in that direction, and (in fullness of time) I’m looking forward to reading Doc Arzt’s thoughts as well.

  • spacebender

    NB – some comments (even non-indented ones such as the “superstring theory” reflection just added above) are still posting out of chronological order.

  • MeriJ

    spacebender: well at least your comment went to the end. I tried responding to my own post, and that didn’t work. Which is odd, because the first reply I posted today did appear properly.

    Thanks for the welcome!

  • MeriJ

    Regarding Fishbiscuit — Forget the continuity errors mentioned in the Gatesby thread. That’s not a big deal. It’s not whether everything was answered. It’s not that Jack ended up being the big dog. He was always the big dog.

    What struck me most from Fish’s critique was the dawning realization that Darlton had no clue how to tell a story on the epic scale. Many of us trusted that they knew what they were doing despite evidence to the contrary, because without them needing to resolve anything we could choose to believe that. Because we loved the show.

    Turns out they were indeed masters at making each episode great, but the epic storyline ended up being shockingly thin. All tactics, no strategy. If they had been brilliant at either the mythic storyline or the individual character arcs, I would have been happy. But they don’t appear to have had a clear mythology at all – just a series of wonderfully tantalizing ambiguities which the rest of us filled with meaning. On top of that they wantonly abandoned the rich potential in so many of the character arcs they’d built up in the early seasons. In retrospect, it feels like they were driven only by the weekly ratings.

    I loved the finale and loved it even more the second time I watched. Hell, I cried like a baby. I spent countless hours over six years, like the rest of you, analyzing this show and loving every minute. My sons grew up on Lost. It was an anchor in our family.

    But when a truly great show ends, you come to love it even better as the months or years pass. I loved Lost through every season, but the more I think about it now, the more shocked I am at how they blew it.

    I liked Season Six as it played out. But now that the nature of LA X has been revealed, I can only say WTF. Nothing that happened in LA X prior to The End mattered? They were just sleepwalking, waiting to awaken before they left? I loved the “leaving together” part. But why spend hours of time on the prologue activity while not finishing up the richer storylines from earlier seasons?

    It feels to me like they decided to finish with the original ending that JJ and Damon wrote (allegedly from the church scene on) because it would be cool to say they had. And then they built a contrived sixth season just to get there, abandoning the earlier storylines just to set up that last 15 minutes or so.

    And then you start thinking about the key character arcs and how extraordinarily promising many of them once seemed. I guess I was expecting resolution in the quality range of A Tale of Two Cities –- amazing interaction among this complex web of storylines plus redemption tales to make a hard man weep.

    Instead: the real Locke turned out to be merely a weak fool?! Both Ben and Widmore ended up being inconsequential?! Sawyer ended just being dumb eye candy? Yes, Sayid did get a redemption arc, but it was hardly epic. More like an aside. Sun and Jin became throw-aways, after years of interesting layers of potential being built?

    Go down a list of your favorite 5-10 characters, think about the intriguing backstories Darlton told early on and then ask yourself if the potential you saw was fulfilled. If you are still happy after that, then all the more power to you.

    To be honest, I wish I hadn’t read Fish’s recap. It was much better when I was joyfully looking for new explanations to make the show seem as brilliant as I once thought. And it’s not like I agree with everything she says. But now that she’s pointed out that the Emperor has no clothes, the blinding obviousness of it keeps coming at me during odd moments of the day – just like all the meaning I used to find/create used to creep up on me after a new episode.

    I loved those characters. With a few exceptions, they deserved much better than they got.

    • spacebender

      MeriJ, I am sorrowed to hear of the effects of her “take” on things, and I relate in the following sense, that fishbiscuit’s recap was to my soul like a splinter – a foreign object that caused irritation. Like a splinter, I looked at it closely and carefully, but precisely because it didn’t belong, it was removed shortly after and its remnants naturally ejected.

      • MeriJ

        Well if you looked at it carefully and it felt like a foreign object, then that was the right call, for sure! Maybe I’ll switch back someday. I wouldn’t be passionate in my disappointment if I didn’t care so much in the first place.

  • bplenc

    merij, bygones.

    • MeriJ

      Bygones back at you, bplenc.