Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Decoding LOST...

I realize that, even years later, a lot of people are still struggling to decipher the endless symbolism buried within the smash-hit "LOST".  Strangely, the show's writers insist that the overarching themes of life, death, and religion are purely ad hoc and devoid of any greater meaning.  This belies the awful truth. 

Herein I attempt to gently uncover some of the show's fundamental ideas and, in doing so, allow the reader to disarm the many spiritual booby-traps that lurk right beneath the surface (or sands) of LOST.

The Most Important Players:

Jack wrestles with alcoholism and a 3-day beard, even on an island with virtually no alcohol or razor blades.  Develops a serious Electra complex after he loses his wife to his drunkard of a father.

John cannot escape the jungle's calling.  He doesn't represent religion so much as "pagan naturism", banging sticks and bones together so that he might discover the inspiration to write an angry manifesto on "Sovereign Man".  He's the kind of guy who would throat-sing the songs of Mother Nature until his eyes vibrated and he threw up on himself--Mother Nature would reject him.

Hurley challenges himself to eat an entire bush, but quits halfway through because he realizes it is a vegetable.  He is cast as a statistical anomaly...on an island full of plane crash survivors.

Charlie waves "goodbye" to everybody after eating an entire baggie of cocaine.  He dives into the ocean and proceeds to swim away.

Adebisi builds a church to his God (a palm frond with a face drawn in feces) and forcefully converts the other survivors to Islam.

Kate takes her top off and cracks a coconut over her head.  Coconut milk dribbles over her nubile frame.  She bites down on her lip, closes her eyes, and makes a quiet, deep, animal sound.

Michael is the perpetual worry of a doting parent:  Constantly sabotaging his own efforts through self-doubt, and lashes out blindly at others.  He flaps his arms and shouts, "My son!  My son!  My son!" until his brow is slick with sweat and blood runs down his nose.  Finally he builds a complicate glider, launches it off of a mountain, and drifts around the island for several days, throwing spears at people below.


~* --- *~


S1E6:  In this scene, we see that purgatory is inhabited by polar bears and bees.  

"Don't move," the bald man (John) hisses.

Charlie Pace stuffs a statue of the Virgin Mary (made of pure heroin) into his baggy pants.

"Beeeeees," the bald man explains.

Charlie's eyes widen.  He looks down at his naked, hairy feet.  Fat toes and dirty, unkempt nails dig into the husk of an exposed hive, and bees are pouring out of it.

"Wot's uh bee hayve doin' down 'ere!  Bee hayve's s'posed to be in ta trees!" he cries.  There is a massive gap between his two front teeth; A bee flies out of it.



~* --- *~


Michael Searches for WALT:  In this scene, we see how the embodiment of the "bad parent" tries to compensate for his failings by turning to overly-complex solutions:  Hand-built technology and magick.  

After Walt disappears, Michael builds a "Little Boy Detector" out of bamboo and airplane pieces.  He turns it on and it begins making noise.  

"Feedback is good, yeah?" Charlie asks, sticking his face right up against the device, breathing it in. 

"Not on Little Boy Detectors," Sayid clarifies. 

"Yea," Michael whispers, holding the detector out in front of him like a giant metal phallus.  "Yeeeaaaaa..."

"I must admit I am jealous of your newest invention," Sayid says to Michael.  He reaches out to caress the machine but Michael slaps his hand away.  Sayid can't even suppress his sheepish smile as he wrings his hands restlessly.  

"Gonna find me a little boy," Michael growls, thrusting the device back and forth.  All three cackle in unison:  Weh Heh heh heh!

"WALT!  WAAAAAAAAALT!"

"LOST"


~* --- *~


Time Travel (Part One)

"What does this have to do with time travel?" Jack asked, exasperated.
Using a single finger, Linus gingerly pushed his glasses further up on his face and cleared his throat.
"The Jews," he began, "Had a word for this:  Zman, meaning 'time'."
"So are you telling us it will work?"
Linus giggled.  "I'm telling you that without any Jews, nothing will work."


Time Travel (Part Two)

Faraday wriggles his fingers like an octopus' tentacles; his eyes roll into the back of his head as he performs a mental mathematics marathon.  "Three...uh...err...seventy-six-point-six...mmmhmmm...yes, but, ah, we--" he mutters.

Then, suddenly:  Clarity.  "It is a machine.  A boat, as it were...but for the waters of time."   To punctuate the statement, he spreads his arms wide like a messianic figure.

"A time machine!" Miles exclaims.

"No...no, no," Faraday corrects him.  "A time machine would control time.  My machine passes through time."  He climbs into the machine as if to demonstrate, but nothing happens.  "As you see, by simply existing, I am passing through time.  The waters of time are passing over us, coming from 'before' and departing for 'later'."  He grips the wheel of his machine tightly and stares straight ahead.

"Outta mah way, faggot!" Charlie exclaims, slapping Miles to the ground and climbing onto the machine. "I've gotta date with with a bloody dinosaur!"

"No!  No, you'll ruin everything!" Faraday cries, but it is in vain.  The machine begins sputtering wisps of black smoke.  Sparks shoot off in all directions as flames erupt from underneath.

Charlie cackles, eyes wide, teeth popping out of his mouth like uneven pebbles.  His lips and nostrils are caked with saliva and drugs.  He throws his weight back and forth, trying to tip the machine over.  A jet of flame leaps out and consumes him, and he falls from the machine.  Faraday's lip quivers as he makes the expression of a child who is about to be hit in the face.

The machine explodes violently.

"LOST"



~* --- *~

S4E11:  This scene can be reinterpreted a few ways:  The most obvious is that John is a sort of Jesus figure.  But think about John's reputation as a pagan naturist, constantly searching for meaning and reading signs in the ash and animal bones.  From this perspective, our mysterious visitor is using John as the ash and animal bones, consulting the cosmos for insight into the future.  John is a primordial political pundit.  




The year is 1958.  A boy sits in his room, using colored pencils to sketch a picture of a fat, grotesque man with wild, unkempt hair.  This man's name will be...Harley...he thinks to himself.  No, not Harley.  Close, but no cigar!  Then what?

Before he can figure it out, he is interrupted.  "Hello, John," somebody calls out in a low purr.  John looks up and sees a handsome man standing at the window, watching him with an intense, unblinking gaze.  The man is so close to the glass that his hot breath fogs it up, even in the warm weather.

Before John can react, the man pushes the window open and climbs inside.  The smell of clove cigarettes instantly permeates the room.  "My name is Mr. Alpert," the man says as he unties a bindle and begins to gently arrange a series of items out across the floor.  Pictures of two strange men sit before John.  "Which one is it, John?"

John thinks about it and finally points at a picture of a Muslim man who is smiling.  

Immediately Mr. Alpert's expression shifts from optimism to devastation.  "No, John," he growls and begins shoving the objects back into the bindle.  "That was not the right choice."  He stands up, adjusts his bright blue tie, and exits the room.

Exactly half a century later:

John Locke trembles and begins to weep as he watches the final results of the U.S. presidential elections.


"LOST"



~* --- *~


S2E20:  Pretty obvious if you ask me.


Libby stares wordlessly, expectantly, like a startled doe in a field of morning glories.  "I--I love your hair-smell, dude," Hurley stammers, using a line that Bernard sold him for a can of Dharma tuna.  He blinks rapidly and paws at the sweat on his forehead.  "Like, up until now, I've felt like Han Solo without a Chewbacca.  And I'm like, 'dude, I need a co-pilot if I want to get off this island'.  And...here you are, you know, with your hair and everything," he reaches out to touch her hair, but she backs away.  "And you could be my Chewbacca, right?  Dude:  Be my Chewbacca."

He grabs her hands and she winces.  "Please, please, please," he mumbles.

"I...just came for a book," she nervously explains.  "Sorry...I really don't want to give you the wrong idea."

"You gotta give him a chance," Michael lectures Libby with a smile.  The smile immediately vanishes when he realizes she disagrees.  "Look:  He's been nice to you.  You're like, 'Hurley, gimme some peanut butter' and what does Hurley do?  Gives you some peanut butter.  Now Hurley's asking to smell your hair.  Ain't cost you a goddamn thing!"  Like a switch being flipped, Michael has become visibly upset.  He paces back and forth like a tiger in a cage, shaking his head furiously.  "FEMALES."

Libby backpedals.  "Look, I don't know if I gave you the wrong idea, I just wanted something to rea--"

"I do not believe this shit!" Michael screams like a woman, kicking a chair over.  He claws at his hair and growls.

Attracted by the commotion, Ana Lucia enters the room like a Latina Gunslinger.  "What're you queers doin'?"

Michael spins around, fumbling for his pistol and firing wildly.  One, two, three rounds miss her by several feet.  Everybody is stunned.  Michael then takes more careful aim and shoots her in the stomach.  She grunts and falls to the ground.

"Dude!" Hurley cries.
 
"She...startled me," Michael explains halfheartedly.  He turns to the other two and says, coldly, "No witnesses."

Two more gunshots.


A copy of The Feminine Mystique falls from Libby's lifeless hands.

"LOST"

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