Category Archives: LOST

Mostly these posts were my attempt to read and analyze every book that appeared on ABC’s LOST. A complete list of the 43 books I read can be found here.

One More Post about LOST

LOST ended a little over 3 years ago and with it much fodder for this blog and my personal reading lists. It was unique in television, I think, because the producers negotiated a fixed end date for the series, which allowed it to have a true story arc. Their intention was to create the TV equivalent of a Dickens novel, an author whose work they referenced more than once on the show.

So why this post? The past few months R and I have been re-watching the series and finding that it holds up well over time. As with rereading a favorite novel, the early seasons resonate more with the knowledge of how things end and the later seasons are more satisfying as well with the earlier episodes fresh in memory. It was a great show, and a good one for revisiting. We got to “The End” the other night and I realized it has one of my favorite endings ever, up there with Watership Down, another book referenced several times on the show.

The most exciting thing, though, was the epilogue “The New Man in Charge” included as a bonus item on the last disc of Season 6. It resolves just a few more island mysteries and completes Walt’s character arc, one of the few big unresolved issues on the show. It was also a real treat to find just a bit more LOST 3 years after it ended.

I don’t have anything wise or profound to say about it now that it’s all over and the mysteries resolved and island dust settled other than Damn, it was a good show. I don’t watch much TV anymore, a side effect of parenthood, but I do still watch The Office and Modern Family. Great shows, both, but it’s hard to get too excited about shows without smoke monsters.

Any LOST fans out there? Have you re-watched the series? How does it hold up for you?

LOST – Reflections on “The End”

Seeing Jack dying alone in the jungle in the same spot where he awakened in the pilot was heartbreaking, but in one of the best moments I’ve ever seen on TV or in movies, out of the thicket comes Vincent (does Man have any better friend than Dog?) to lie down near him so Jack wouldn’t die alone. I couldn’t help but think of the Lost writers’ love for anagrams and remember that the mirror spelling of dog is God. The man of science found faith. Or perhaps, faith found him.

I was wrong in the details of my predictions for the end of Lost. I’m glad to be wrong. I was too cynical. I was right that the LAX/flash-sideways reality was an illusion to be transcended, but it played out better than I thought. It wasn’t the real world; rather, it was a mirror world beyond time and space in which characters could meet up, let go and move on. A little bit Limbo, a little bit Purgatory, a little bit death/rebirth/transcendence cycle.

That’s the genius of Lost and what makes it so different from most of what I see on TV: it is open to interpretation. Lost wrestles with the mysteries of life and in the end, does not explain those mysteries. We are left to work those out for ourselves so it is quite fitting that Lost ended in a sort of Universalist church.

I’m reminded of a metaphor for Universalism I read in A Chosen Faith by John Buehrens and Forrest Church that describes a “Cathedral of the World” in which people in a church gather around stained glass windows. There are windows for every religion and windows for those who subscribe to none.  People gather around these windows in an effort to make sense of the mysteries, to find the light of truth. Depending on the window, different truths are revealed, but it is still the same light shining in through all those diverse windows.

Lost‘s mirror reality is a purgatory where characters can seek final redemption, it is a cycle of death and rebirth where characters can attain enlightenment, it is beyond space and time, it is where we go when we die, it is an illusion and when we see the truth, we are free. It is Hindu and Buddhist and Christian and Jewish and Gnostic and Humanist and Muslim and Universal.

It is a world of illusion. A savior comes and reveals the illusion for what it is. Freedom from this illusion, from cycles of death and rebirth, comes when eyes open. In that mirror world, Desmond is (sort of) a Gnostic Christ who shows the way to the light and salvation. He is a Buddha, smiling that odd smile ever since he learned the truth, who will show others the way to Nirvana by helping them let go.

The mirror world is always happening. “There is no Now, here.”  It lies beyond time and space and even though all the characters in the mirror world are dead, they died at different times. Kate and Sawyer after a normal life in the real world. Hurley and Ben after, perhaps, thousands of years. Jack, Charlie, Sayid, Boone and the rest during their time on the island.

They come together. They let go. They are free.

Some will stay behind, lingering in the mirror world. Ben Linus sits outside the church. It is not his time to enter. Perhaps, he must finish cleansing his soul in the sideways Purgatory—a word that doesn’t exactly match what we’ve seen—but I prefer to see him as a bodhisattva, the Buddha who knows the way to Nirvana, but chooses not to enter so that he can show others the way. I suspect he will lead Rousseau, Alex, Dogen, Tom, his father and all of his people to that church one day.

Some characters weren’t there, but they’ll find their way to other churches or meeting places when their time comes, when they’re ready to let go.

I imagine the Ajira plane landing and somehow Kate, Sawyer, Miles, Richard, Frank and Claire will live out ordinary lives. I suspect Hurley and Ben will run the island in gentler manner, one worthy of Rose, Bernard and Vincent. I should have seen Hurley as the future protector considering all the Star Wars references he’s been throwing around the past 2 seasons. As I suspected, the island requires balance between forces, and Hurley was the one to do that, though from a different direction than Anakin Skywalker. I suspect even that Hurley and Ben will come and go from time to time and the island will be a good—possibly even fun—place. Good because of the real sacrifices made throughout the show, but ultimately because of Jack’s self-sacrifice, though I can’t help but wonder if Jack too will live on for a time as a benevolent smoke monster since he appeared exactly where the man in black appeared after he fell into the light cave.

I like that all of this is left open, and having the show end in that church, where many go to know the unknowable, is a perfect ending for a show that created so many questions, many of which are unanswerable. I love that Lost, left so much unanswered, so much unsaid, allowing each of us to gather at one or another of those stained glass windows or perhaps to just sit back and wonder at the beauty of the light shining in through all of them.

At the heart of the matter, though, is finding others to love and share this time, this light, with. Those who complete us. And in the end, after much thinking about (and reading of) all the books that have been on this show, I keep coming back to Of Mice and Men, first referenced in season 3 and again in season 6. Specifically, this:

George’s voice became deeper. He repeated his words rhythmically as though he had said them many times before. “Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world. They got no family. They don’t belong no place.”

[…]

Lennie was delighted. “That’s is—that’s it. Now tell how it is with us.”

George went on. “With us it ain’t like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us. We don’t have to sit in no bar room blowin’ in our jack jus’ because we got no place else to go. If them other guys gets in jail, they can rot for all anybody gives a damn. But not us.”

Lennie broke in. “But not us! An’ why? Because … because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that’s why.

More than anything, Lost reminds us that we need each other. That we can “live together or die alone,” but that if we live for others, recognize that light that shines in all of us, perhaps we never really die alone just as Jack didn’t die alone.

That’s just my interpretation, though. We all gather at different windows, don’t we?

Some LOST Theorizin’ Before “The End”

It’s hard to believe Lost will be ending on Sunday. I’ve been blogging the books that have appeared on the show and their connections with Lost for four years so I figured I should post a final theory of what might happen when the show ends.

I predict people will throw their TV’s away. I mean, what will be the point of owning one after Sunday night? Sure Longhorns football will still be on, but you can catch the games at a bar.

As far as my predictions for the show, it all comes down to two books shown this season, Shusaku Endo’s Deep River and Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories (follow the links for my posts on them), which form the basis of my half-baked, out-of-my-arse prediction, which is by no means a logical well-thought out theory. It’s just me brainstorming.  I’m probably wrong. I hope so. One of the best things about Lost is how consistently I’ve been surprised.

I still think the sideways reality is going to end, but I think it’s going to have to hurt. It’s a manifestation of anti-Jacob/Locke’s power triggered by the detonation of the jughead. It’s a big bang (see my post on Brief History of Time) that suggests echoes between Lost and Gnostic Christianity. I can’t help but think Desmond will emerge as a savior of sorts, the Christ who will show everyone in the sideways reality that it is an illusion (or a “black iron prison” as Philip K Dick put it in VALIS—see my post). This is how jack will know to kill Locke. Of course, for Jin and Sun and others it’s a pretty happy illusion. It probably will be for Sawyer when he meets Juliet (who I think will be making a final appearance) and they make a date for coffee.

This illusion will have to be destroyed to defeat Locke, and it will probably be done by Jack who will in effect be killing nearly everyone he knows to save the world in the crash reality. It’s a burden he’ll likely have to live with for the rest of a very long life. My guess is that Jack will do it when he operates on Locke. He will let him die on the table or kill him in a scene that will echo what he did to blackmail Ben in season 3. When Locke dies in the LAX reality, this will end it. This will also end any chance for happy endings for those characters whose lives are good in the LAX world. This is the sacrifice Jack will make, the sacrifice the island will demand to save the world, and to paraphrase Ben in season 5, dead will be dead.

Once the sideways reality is gone, Locke will be defeated, though I doubt he will be dead. Lost has always suggested a need for balance between opposing forces (see Deep River and VALIS again), thus Locke will not be killed. He and Jack will be stuck on the island, playing backgammon for all eternity while Locke cooks up another 1000 year loophole to kill Jack. Look for a sequel to Lost sometime around the year 3004.

So many of the Lost books suggest endless loops of cause and effect, death and rebirth, that I can’t help but feeling Lost will end circular in some way. It could end at the beginning or perhaps the LAX reality is actually happening after all of this, though I hope those aren’t the answers as either would feel like a cheat of sacrifices made by the characters. I suspect, we’ll see Jack as the island’s new protector largely escaping that cycle only to watch it all come back around.

And, I still say Ben’s a good guy, putting the long con on dark Locke.

Here’s the list all the Lost books I’ve read along with links to my posts about them. Here’s a link to the LA Times article in which I was interviewed. Here are links to EYE M SICK and Lost…and Gone Forever, true Lost blogs, and the best ones around. Not having them to read each week is almost as sad as Lost ending.

The LA Times Asks Me About the LOST Books

Last week someone from the LA Times asked to interview me about the Lost book club project I’ve been doing on this blog for the past few years.  The article is here, and she even included some of my theorizin’ about where the show might be headed in these last 2 episodes.

I’ll be coming up with a final theory after the next episode and have it up in time for the series finale. As much as I like trying to predict Lost, though, I really love it when I’m wrong if only so I’ll be more surprised by how things play out.

If you’re one of the many people suddenly showing up here today, welcome and thanks for coming by. My Lost reading is only a minor part of this site so I hope you’ll have a look around while you’re here.

The Lost Book Club: Notes from Underground

Sometimes details can hang up a whole story; for instance, in Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s Notes from Underground, I could never quite get past the fact that the unnamed narrator, the underground man, was a retired civil servant looking back over his life from the vantage point of forty. I’ll turn forty this year and don’t feel the slightest bit old or ready for retirement, though such is one of the big differences between living in St. Petersburg, Russia in the mid-nineteenth century and living in the United States in the early twenty-first.

The underground man’s life goes something like this: I’m superior, more refined, more aware of lofty ideals and beauty than my contemporaries and peers. Because of this they are not worthy of my time and attention, yet I need these people I loath to accept me. I’m humiliated by my need for acceptance and so I attempt to show I am better than them by humiliating them, but I lack the courage to do even this and so I make myself feel better by hating them, yet I crave their acceptance all the more. It goes round and round leaving me trapped in my hole like a mouse underground.

But I kept thinking… you’re only forty, man, you’re still young, get over it. Still, there’s real psychological truth to Dostoyevsky’s portrait of the man, unable to change and therefore stuck in the circular thinking that his moral superiority over everyone in his life is the cause of his debasement which in turn causes that sense of superiority. It’s a kind of hell, really, and the circular nature of hell is a recurring motif on Lost, a concept first introduced to Lost with Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman (back in Season 2):

Hell goes round and round. In shape it is circular and by nature it is interminable, repetitive and very nearly unbearable.

And that is a perfect description of the underground man. Despite any amount of free will he may have, he’s trapped by his ego in a hell of his own making from which he’ll never escape. Of course that not escaping and instead choosing, against reason, a path that leads to destruction is exactly what the underground man is doing in order to prove his theory that human nature is to exercise free will even against the interests of oneself. In essence we can, and often do chose to destroy ourselves against all reason and opportunity to do otherwise.

So we make our own hells and dig our own graves. Isn’t that one of the themes of Lost, which constantly reinforces the notion that the characters’ exercise of free will has created the destinies from which they can’t seem to escape? Isn’t it the stubborn pride of Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Sayid and Ben that forces them to continue on paths they know to be unreasonable? Who on Lost can actually break out of his self-created destiny? Will that person be the candidate to replace Jacob?

In Lost, Notes from Underground appears in the Season 6 episode “Everybody Loves Hugo.” Hurley finds it among Ilana’s things after she accidently blows herself up. I didn’t see it pertaining to one individual character or storyline in that episode so much as it reminds me of the whole situation on Lost, in which each of the characters is trapped by his or her own weaknesses. It makes me wonder if anyone on this show is going to find a happy ending and some kind of redemption or if they will all, like the underground man, wither away in their holes, forgotten by an uncaring world.

Or maybe they’ll end up on the bottom of the ocean as hinted in the Season 6 opener wherein the island was shown on the bottom of the Pacific. Perhaps one or more of our characters is doomed to become an underwater man before this is all over.

Notes from Underground is the second Dostoyevsky novel to appear on Lost, the first being The Brothers Karamazov back in Season 2, and it’s a tough book to enjoy, though it is good. Whatever that means.

Be sure to check out the rest of my Lost book club posts.

The Lost Book Club: The Chosen

One of my favorite episodes from Season 6 of Lost was “Dr. Linus,” which was the first one that made me care about what was happening in the mirror reality for its own sake. Any episode that centers on Benjamin Linus is going to be intriguing, and happily it included another novel for the Lost Book Club: The Chosen by Chaim Potok.

Right up front, I found the book an ironic prop in the show since its title seemed a direct affront to Ben, who despite years of service and loyalty to Jacob and the island doesn’t appear (at least as of this writing) to a “candidate” to replace Jacob. Despite his tireless efforts on Jacob’s behalf, Ben Linus is not the chosen, and it was in “Dr. Linus” that he had to finally come to terms with that fact.

The book itself is remarkably compelling. It’s a simple story, really, but it’s gripping in the depths of understanding and compassion Potok has for his characters. Potok’s story examines the friendship between two teenage boys from very different Jewish families in 1940′s Brooklyn. Danny Saunders is a brilliant young man from a Hasidic family. He has a photographic memory, and when he isn’t studying Talmud with his father, he immerses himself in “forbidden” knowledge: Darwin, Freud, Einstein. He forms an unlikely friendship with the novel’s narrator Reuven Malter, a modern Orthodox Jew who would like to become a Rabbi despite his father’s hopes that he will become a mathematics professor.

Driving much of the plot is Danny’s relationship with his father, the leader of their sect. Their relationship is one of silence. The only times they talk are when they debate issues of Jewish law. Danny wants nothing more than to speak with his father, but his father has made a decision to raise his son in silence so he will learn compassion to balance his intellect.

That silence should resonate with anyone who has been watching Lost. Ben’s greatest frustration with Jacob—and ultimately why he killed him—was the silence Ben got from Jacob. He never once communicated with him except through Richard, and when Locke appeared to be talking with Jacob in Season 3, Ben was thunderstruck and angry.

So why did Jacob treat Ben with silence? Was he attempting to teach Ben something… is Ben the chosen one after all? The silence led through Jacob’s death to Ben’s redemption. Perhaps that is what Jacob saw all along.

For more of my Lost theorizing and attempted analysis of the books that have appeared in the show check out the Lost Book Club index page.

Next up: Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

The Lost Book Club: Deep River

Shusaku Endo’s Deep River appears in the Season 6 Episode of Lost, “Sundown.” Now that Lost is winding down, I can look at all the books that have appeared on the show and find myself amazed by how many great reads the show has given me since I decided to read all the books that have appeared. How much I’ve discovered. Deep River is another of the great ones.

Deep River is about a group of Japanese tourists on a pilgrimage of sorts to visit some of the Buddhist shrines in India, but most of the characters aren’t going because they’re Buddhist; they’re going to free themselves from their pasts and, like the Hindu pilgrims all around them, their paths lead them toward Vārānasī and the River Ganges.

There is Isobe whose wife has just died from cancer, but in her final moments told him she would be reborn; Numanda who wants to repay a debt owed to a bird whom he believes saved his life; Kiguchi, tormented by memories of his service in World War II; and Mitsuko, a loveless cynic who struggles to understand Ōtsu, the longtime target of her cruelty and derision who is also a troubled and heretical Catholic priest.

Life has not gone according to plan for any of these people, but in India, they are able to find not what they are looking for, but for most of them, perhaps, something deeper. Kind of like a group of flawed people who crash land on an island and find purpose and meaning in their lives.

As I read Deep River, I kept seeing parallels to Lost. Both works exist in a world between Christianity and Buddhism, and like Endo himself, who was a Christian but struggled to make that Christianity work in his Japanese mind, Lost has always hovered between these similar, yet divergent belief systems. In the end what moves Deep River is its recognition of a deeper spirituality that transcends the human construct of religion and points toward a pantheistic Christianity. As Ōtsu explains:

I can’t help but be struck by the clarity and the logic of the way Europeans think, but it seems to me as an Asian that there’s something they have lost sight of with their excessive clarity and their overabundance of logic, and I just can’t go along with it.

Sounds like Jack, Lost’s “man of reason.” Ever since Season 1, the Jack vs. Locke conflict has been built around Jack’s reason and Locke’s faith. For each man, his rigid ways have proved his undoing. Locke’s absolute faith led to his manipulation and death. Jack’s unyielding reason destroyed his life. The thing both men lacked was the balance between the rational and the mystical that Ōtsu seeks.

As for Lost, reading Deep River has convinced me that defeating the so-called evil anti-Jacob / Locke / smoke monster is not the point. As Ōtsu says:

God makes use not only of our good acts, but even of our sins in order to save us.

[…]

I was scolded for this notion at the novitiate; they told me it was dangerously Jansenistic or Manichaeistic (‘heretical,’ in short). I was told that good and evil are distinct and mutually incompatible.

Deep River asks us to consider the issue of good and evil from Ōtsu’s perspective, and I think it tells of an endgame. The “evil” being inhabiting Locke’s body is a manifestation of something greater, and its destruction is not going to be the endpoint of Lost. It will need to be balanced not defeated. The question, then, is who is going to spend eternity on the island as a counterweight to the anti-Jacob? I’m guessing it’s going to have to be Jack and wouldn’t be surprised if he and Locke spend all eternity on the island arguing the relative strengths of faith and reason.

The index of all of my Lost book club posts is here.

Next up: The Chosen by Chaim Potok

The Lost Book Club: Haroun and the Sea of Stories

Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories is the book Desmond was reading on the plane in the Season 6 opener “LA X.” The scene occurred in the alternate reality timeline, and the book provides some insight into what is going on.

Haroun’s father Rashid Khalifa, The Shah of Blah, is a master storyteller, but when Rashid’s wife leaves him for another man, he loses his ability and desire to tell stories, especially after Haroun disparagingly asks, “What’s the use in stories that aren’t true.” One night, the water genie Iff comes to disconnect Rashid from the Source of the Stream of Stories by a P2C2E (Process Too Complicated To Explain) but before Iff succeeds, Haroun steals the genie’s disconnection tool and demands that his father be allowed to continue telling stories.

Haroun joins Iff on a journey to Katani, Earth’s hidden moon, where the Ocean of Stories (from which the streams flow) has been contaminated by the cult master Kattam-Shud who leads the silent Chupwalas and their shadow warriors against the good story-loving Guppees. Haroun, Rashid, Iff, Blabbermouth and Butt the Hoopoe must stop the cult master, rescue an annoying princess and purify the Streams of Story so that Rashid can have his gift back.

The book, which was a thoroughly enjoyable work of magical realism aimed at young readers (Rushdie wrote it for his son), provided some interesting insights into Season 6 of Lost, though it would have been more helpful to have read it sooner.

The main thing I keep thinking about is the idea of pollution in a stream of stories. The flash-sideways reality we’ve been seeing on Lost all season is a version of reality that isn’t quite what it should be, a situation similar to what Haroun finds in the various polluted stories he encounters. Ultimately, his adventures take him to the source of the Streams of Story from which all stories originate. If he can prevent Kattam-Shud from plugging this source, the stories will cleanse themselves and all will be right again.

This is a notion strikingly similar to the idea of the universe course-correcting, a notion Lost has been playing with since Desmond slipped out of time in Season 3. At this point, I’m thinking that the flash-sideways reality is a stream of story that will probably correct itself when Locke, Lost‘s own Kattam-Shud, cult master and lord of shadows is defeated. Perhaps the island is some kind of spacetime source for various realities and existences. Or something.

Haroun and the Sea of Stories is at heart about the balancing of opposing forces—speech and silence, light and darkness—and how that balance is necessary to life. Lost has played with these ideas since its very first season and while Anti-Jacob/Locke has thrown the Island and possibly the world out of balance, it seems likely the rest of the series will focus not so much on destroying Locke but on balancing out his penchant for destruction in much the way that Jacob maintained the balance prior to his death at the end of Season 5.

The only other thing that leapt out at me was Haroun’s question to his father about the use in stories that aren’t true. That’s one that many of us viewers, confused by the role of the flash-sideways storytelling, have asked this season. It’s a fair question to which I think Brian at Lost…and Gone Forever has presented the best answer thus far in his excellent analysis of last week’s “Dr. Linus”:

Seeing Flash Sideways Ben choosing Alex’s well-being over gaining power for himself reminds us that he did the exact opposite the first time we saw him faced with the same situation. Seeing him making friends with Arzt and having a – well let’s call it “decent” – relationship with his father makes us realize just how alone he is on the Island right now… which made his breakdown scene with Ilana all the more powerful. He gave up everyone and everything for the Island – and look where it left him. Alone and lost in life (pun somewhat intended).

In short, the Flash Sideways actually served to make the On-Island storyline better, just like the original Season One Flashbacks did. By learning about our Survivors’ pasts, we understood their presents much better. Likewise, by seeing “what could have been” with Benjamin Linus this week, understand his present condition much better.

Which is, I think, the “use of stories that aren’t even true.” Perhaps that’s why “Dr. Linus” is my favorite episode (so far) of this season and one of my favorites from the series.

Next up: Deep River by Shusaku Endo.

Be sure to check out the rest of my Lost Book Club posts.

The Lost Book Club: Fear and Trembling

I didn’t read it.

Back when I started the Lost Book Club and decided to read all the books shown and referenced on Lost, I made a decision to focus (mostly) on the fictional/literary works and leave the philosophical and religious works to others and since the philosophy was referenced mostly in certain characters’ names (John Locke, Desmond David Hume, Danielle Rousseau, and Mikhail Bakunin) and the books didn’t actually appear, it was no problem.

The Season 6 opener “LA X,” however, introduced two books to the Lost Book Club: Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie, the book Desmond was reading on the alternate reality Oceanic 815, and Fear and Trembling by Søren Kierkegaard, which is the book found with the one-armed skeletal remains of the French guy beneath the temple wall.

I will, of course, read the Rushdie book, which I’ve got on hold at my library, and I will post my thoughts on it once I’ve read it. As for the Kierkegaard book, I don’t intend to read it (at least not now) since it falls outside the purview of my Lost book project and I had to draw a line somewhere, but I figured I’d at least try to find and post some information about it for those who may be curious.

From Wikipedia (source of all knowledge):

Fear and Trembling presents a highly original and provocative interpretation of the Binding of Isaac story as told in Genesis Chapter 22, and uses the story as an occasion to discuss fundamental issues in moral philosophy and the philosophy of religion, such as the nature of God and faith, faith’s relationship with ethics and morality, and the difficulty of being authentically religious.

[…]

In Fear and Trembling Kierkegaard introduces the “Knight of Faith” and contrasts him with the “knight of infinite resignation”. The latter gives up everything in return for the infinite, that which he may receive after this life, and continuously dwells with the pain of his loss. The former, however, not only relinquishes everything, but also trusts that he will receive it all back, his trust based on the “strength of the absurd”.

From Lostpedia (source of all Lost knowledge):

The book encountered in the Temple is “Fear and Trembling” (original title: Frygt og Bæven), an influential philosophical work by Danish philosopher, theologian, and psychologist Søren Kierkegaard, published in 1843 under the pseudonym Johannes de Silentio (John the Silent). In the book, through alternative retellings of the Biblical story of the Binding of Isaac, Kierkegaard examines the role of faith and its relationship with morality and ethics. The title is a reference to a line from Philippians 2:12, “…continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”

The story of Abraham’s near-sacrifice of Isaac has been referenced on Lost several times over the years and almost works like a background hum meant to remind viewers of how far certain characters will go to protect the island. It also reinforces the tension between faith and reason, one of Lost‘s central themes.

Based on this limited reading about the book, it seems a logical book for Lost considering that we’ve now delved into at least one alternate retelling of the story. Perhaps we should be expecting a few more alternate realities? I hope not.

The Knight of Infinite Resignation and the Knight of Faith read like descriptions of Jack Shephard and John Locke.

That’s probably enough for a post about a book I didn’t read.

Here’s a link to a post on The Fish: A Christian Look @ Pop Culture about “LA X”  that includes excellent analysis of the episode as well as some more thoughts about Fear and Trembling.

Enough about the book I didn’t read; it’s time for some half-baked theorizin’.

For nine months, Lost fans wondered whether the show would reboot to an alternate reality after the detonation of the jughead or if the 1977 survivors would be blown back to the “present.” I don’t think I’m alone in being surprised by the writers’ dispensing with the or and doing both.

Here’s my half-baked theory. In the alternate reality, the jughead destroyed the island in 1977, thus leaving the Dharma Initiative’s save-the-world work unfinished and undone. Ben, Widmore and Eloise all died, which means Penny and Daniel are never born, which means Desmond never sails around the world, winding up “just saving the world, brotha.” Come to think of it, nobody is saving the world from whatever electromagnetic anomaly now lies at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, which means someday (I’m guessing someday soon in the alt-reality of LA X) something will happen that effectively destroys the alt-reality world because Dharma hadn’t been able to do whatever it was it was supposed to do.

The alt-world ends, but not before alt-Juliet, who will have memories of both worlds just as Desmond did when he detonated the Swan Hatch at the end of Season 2, explains to the alt-survivors that there is something that must be fulfilled by them to help Jacob. After that, the two realities will reconcile with the end of the alt-reality and everything that has risen will converge.

Maybe, that’s only a quarter-baked theory. Hell, it’s barely cooked and you’ll probably wind up with some kind of mental salmonella poisoning, but that’s what I’ve got and it reminds me why I love Lost so much. It’s one of the very few TV shows I’ve ever watched that has consistently surprised me and kept me guessing. I love not knowing. I hope I’m wrong. I hope I find out how wrong I am after tonight’s episode “What Kate Does,” so I can come up with a new theory.

Here’s the link to the list of all the Lost books I’ve read. Look for my take on Haroun and the Sea of Stories in the next few weeks. I intend to read that one.

The Lost Book Club: Everything that Rises Must Converge

It’s hard to believe that Lost will begin its final season with tonight’s premiere. Even harder to believe I’ve stuck with the commitment I made at the end of Season 2—way back in May 2006—to read and blog about every book that appears or is referenced on the show.

Now that I’ve finished reading Flannery O’Connor’s short story collection Everything that Rises Must Converge, I am caught up. That’s 38 books I’ve read to better understand this show, but it’s also 38 (mostly) really good books I’m glad I was encouraged to read. The full list along with links to my individual posts is here.

O’Connor’s stories are exquisitely crafted slices of southern life in the 1960s. Her characters struggle to understand and make sense of a rapidly changing world full of astronauts and civil rights, but change never comes easy. Many of the stories center on generational conflicts wherein strong-willed characters attempt to bend others—usually loved ones—to a “better” or “more enlightened” way of thinking. Sometimes it works, but the cost is steep and many of the stories end with unintended consequences for the protagonist: often violence or the death of a loved one. Often those who would teach a lesson are forced to learn the most painful lessons of all.

The book made its appearance in “The Incident,” the Season 5 finale. The mysterious Jacob was reading it in a flashback scene just moment’s before Locke was thrown out of the window by his father where he would break his back and eventually become lame and the first to enter Jacob’s home many years later, which was what was playing through the back of my mind when I read “The Lame Shall Enter First,” a particularly devastating story of the terrible toll on a father and his estranged nine-year-old son when the father takes in and attempts to save a juvenile delinquent.

The manipulation of Locke’s good intentions and pure faith by evil men is one of the central tragedies on Lost, and “The Lame Shall Enter First,” reminded me of how often he has tried to do right and how his core goodness has always blown up in his face. If Lost follows the trajectory of this or any of these stories, a happy ending isn’t likely.

With its focus of family conflict, many of the stories mirror the arcs of so many characters on Lost, particularly in the relationship between Jack and his father, Christian. Jack taught Christian a hell of a lesson back in Season 1, and it ultimately led to Christian’s death and copious guilt for Jack. That is, in essence, the plot of the title story “Everything that Rises Must Converge,” in which an earnest young man attempts to teach his mildly bigoted mother a thing or two about racism.

Considering the role that the dead Christian Shephard has had on Lost, I can’t help but wonder how much of Season 6 will be driven by a convergence and reckoning between Jack and whatever it is that has been animating his dead father all these years.

We also see a parallel in that O’Connor’s protagonists, especially Mrs. Turpin in “Revelation,” are so convinced of their moral superiority and their role as “good guys” that it genuinely shocks them when they are forced to confront their misdeeds. As I read, all I could think about was the number of times we’ve heard various caharcters on Lost, most recently Ilyana claim to be “the good guys.”

The final story, “Judgement Day,” features a protagonist who imagines himself shipped from New York City back to Georgia in his coffin only to jump out and surprise his friends with the fact that he still lives. Again, his fantasy sounds like the one that anti-Jacob has pulled off.

Finally, there’s the title itself. According to Lostpedia (take it for what it’s worth):

The book’s title is a reference to a work by the French philosopher Pierre Teilhard De Chardin titled the “Omega Point”: “Remain true to yourself, but move ever upward toward greater consciousness and greater love! At the summit you will find yourselves united with all those who, from every direction, have made the same ascent. For everything that rises must converge.”

This convergence could mean many things, but I think the writers are hinting toward the convergence of the time-traveling survivors of Oceanic 815 and the survivors of Ajira 316. They will come together, and I think the mechanism for that will be Jacob’s touch as revealed in the flashbacks in “The Incident.” I think that’s what he meant when he said, “They’re coming.”

Juliet will not converge since Jacob never came to her.

Then will come judgement day and the last battle (to take it back to all the Narnia references).

That’s about all I’ve got.

Be sure to check out Lost… and Gone Forever and EYE M SICK for more serious Lost theorizing, and don’t forget to check out my Lost Book Club Index for all the books on the show and my posts about them.