Jeff Jensen
January 13, 2006 AT 05:00 AM EST

We have looked into the face of the Monster and have seen The Abyss — cinematically speaking. Lost‘s Jan. 11 episode finally gave us a body shot of the show’s man-chomping peekaboo boogey-beast. Meet Smokey, a billowing coil of seemingly sentient black haze, a shadowy cousin to the morphing ETs of James Cameron’s sci-fi opus. In the movie, the aliens were so alarmed by mankind’s potential for self-destruction, they resorted to drastic measures — the threat of annihilation by tidal wave — to save us. On Lost, we’ve learned that the island has been/is host to gonzo experiments funded by Alvar Hanso, a munitions mogul/philanthropist dedicated to ”a brighter future for all humanity.” (See: thehansofoundation.org.) My theory? Twilight Zone isle is being used by Hanso’s ”Dharma Initiative” as a sort of spiritual salvage yard, designed to either rehabilitate damaged, fallen people — or junk them. Smokey functions as quality control. Kinda like another cult-pop alien, the Marvel Comics scourge Galactus. The planet-chomping leviathan serves an elusive celestial purpose: Galactus might be the embodiment of random catastrophe — an essential Lost theme. Yet he might also exist to test the mettle of living beings. Fend him off, you deserve to live. If you can’t, you don’t. Chomp! Hyperlink back to Lost: During Smokey’s stare-down with Mr. Eko, the monster appeared to scan the former Nigerian warlord’s personal history, then retreated instead of eviscerating him. Why? Because the born-again Eko was deemed worthy. (For now, at least.) But I could be wrong. After all, we’re talking about a creature made of smog and reflective properties — in other words, smoke and mirrors.

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