“Lost” (ABC, Wednesday, 8 pm) has many mysteries. I’m a bit slow, but I just figured out one: Why have I been missing the last few minutes of the nail-biting endings?
Last night it happened again. Laurel and I were watching “Lost” on the edge of our seats. Then, when our digital video recorder popped up the “program over” screen, we slumped backward, cursing in unison “What the hell??!!”
I had even added three minutes onto the recording time, but at 9:03 pm “Lost” was still on. We probably didn’t miss much, since ABC reportedly is ending the program between 9:01 and 9:03 instead of on the hour. This increasingly common practice clearly should be a federal crime, so much grief does it cause people like us who almost always watch recorded programs.
But now that I’ve solved the mystery of missing “Lost” minutes (a wonderfully appropriate problem for this show), larger enigmas remain. Such as, the whole meaning of this series.
Almost from the beginning Laurel has felt that the survivors of the plane crash who are now stranded on a remote tropical island have somehow chosen their fate. Each main character is struggling to resolve thorny issues from the past. The island’s isolation, and resulting intimate interactions between the survivors, creates a cauldron where simmering personal problems boil over. Sometimes this has the effect of putting out an emotional fire; sometimes the flames are fanned.
An unofficial but highly popular “Lost” message board is filled with page after page of theories and speculation about the series’ meaning. Laurel’s theory seems to be favored by quite a few other people, judging by my quick scan of some of the posts.
One of the more active areas of speculation concerns the unseen monster on the island. I’m greatly impressed with what care and enthusiasm fans are analyzing the clues from each episode concerning the monster’s nature. The first post in this category runs through thirteen clues and a pretty decent review of Hawaiian mythology before ending with the plea, “Anybody an expert on Hawaiian mythology that can tighten up this monster research?”
This is a TV show! How can you research what springs from the mind of the “Lost” writers? Still, I do understand why this show fascinates so many people. Mysteries are a great lure. We crave to touch the unknown, while the fear of what lies hidden just beyond the light prevents us from wholeheartedly embracing Mystery.
For me, the notion of fresh beginnings is the most attractive part of “Lost.” Everyone on the island has, well, lost their previous connections with family, friends, work, and so on. While still being the people that they are, memories intact, they can start fresh on becoming the people they want to be. Titles, degrees, roles, relationships—things that were so important in the pre-crash world mean little, if anything, now.
Lost the survivors are. But what they’re finding out about themselves couldn’t have been achieved any other way.