‘Lost’ (S2): Part 3 of Doc Jensen’s diary
EDITOR’S NOTE: We sent our resident Lost-ologist to Hawaii to visit the set of the series, and he never came back. But he did send us his notes, which included this provocative Q&A with Matthew Fox. You’ll find that the former Party of Five star has interesting and pointed things to say about grumpy Lost fans, spoiler-hounding Lost theorists, the alleged Jack-Kate-Sawyer love triangle, and those who are aching to see some, uh, jungle love. The interview with Fox was conducted during a rain squall under a wind-whipped tent shortly before Fox shot the opening scene of the May 10 episode, in which Michael tells Jack that Ana Lucia and Libby have been shot. Like his character, the star is frank and intense but generous. And as you’ll soon realize, the man knows far more than he’s telling. By the way: The interview was interrupted once by a visit from Desmond himself, Henry Ian Cusick. The two men exchanged pleasantries and then proceeded to discuss elements of the season finale that, alas, must remain off the record. If only we weren’t so darn honorable!
DOC JENSEN: How would you characterize the difference between the first season and the second season?
MATTHEW FOX: Season 2 has been quite a bit different. Thematically, it’s really dealt with the relationship among the core group with the Tailies. It’s been a little more Lord of the Flies-ish. The first year was really about these people getting their bearings, getting blown back by some of the really odd things on the island. But the second year, there’s been some alliances formed and broken, betrayals, and deception — a real ebb and flow in who’s trusting who. That’s been really cool, but it’s definitely created a different energy among the cast. The first year was all of us transplanted here and getting to work on this thing and none of us having any pre-existing relationships. We were sort of bonding and hanging out a lot. But the time demands of the show, publicizing the show, and our outside interests have cooled that a bit — along with the kind of stories we’re telling, which have portrayed us as a sort of fractured, frictional group of people. I think that builds toward the end of the year. It’s mind-blowing. It leaves us feeling scattered and vulnerable in the face of a larger — or who we believe is a larger — foe, and walks us right up to the start of the next season.
Are you saying the second season hasn’t been as much fun as the first?
I don’t think so at all. It’s just a little different. The show is a fun show to do. It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s really fun and interesting. Equally as fun, a different kind of fun.
This season has focused a lot on the island’s mythology. What do you make of it?
I love it. I love what the producers are doing with it. I’m like the audience: I’m very excited to see where it’s all going — and I’m looking forward to when it starts to congeal. But I’m also a huge fan of the story, and I’m going to be patient with that, and I hope the audience will, too. It’s like a good book. I savor a good book. I don’t want to speed through it to get to the end. As excited and anxious as I am to find out what’s going to happen next, I still savor the experience. I look forward to these scripts with great anticipation. It’s really building up. It’s going to be a really cool ending. In fact, they’re withholding from us how the second season is going to end. I look forward to reading those pages.
Are you seriously trying to tell me that you, Matthew Fox, have no idea how the second season will end?
[Smiles coyly] I have a pretty strong idea of what that’s going to be and where that leaves us starting off in season 3. It’s going to be a really exciting year. I think season 3 has this amazing start-off point.
So you do know how the second season ends and how the third season begins.?
[The smirk becomes more pronounced.] I’m very much looking forward — I’m pretty sure I know how the beginning of the third year is, and it’s going to be awesome. [Straining to be both confidently conclusive and teasingly vague:] Let’s just put it this way: I know enough about how this year ends, and I know enough about what the circumstances of that ending are going to be, to anticipate that the beginning of next year will have certain elements that are going to be neat.
New subject. What was it like shooting the scenes in which you discover Ana Lucia was dead and Jack struggles to help Libby?
It was intense. There are two sides to that question. There’s the side of me that says it sucks to see people leave the show who really want to be here. It’s also difficult dramatically to create those scenes. At the same time, I’ve always maintained that it’s really important to the show that people perish. You can’t create the kind of world that we’re existing in and tell the story we’re telling without people — the main people, the people you’ve gotten to know and the people you’ve fallen in love with — perishing. It’s necessary, but it’s hard. The Libby stuff — my character basically euthanizes her. It was an intense thing, for any doctor…
Speaking of intense: Jack seems to have gotten even more intense this year. He’s showing so many rough edges, some fans have found him a little unlikable.
I really believe that Jack has this enormous sense of compassion, but an almost inflated sense of the value of life….He’s also so phenomenally consumed with a need for revenge and anger and rage that he’s almost numb to the whole experience in some way. It’s tricky stuff, not easy.
Do you follow all the fan theorizing that takes place on the Internet?
No, I don’t pay attention to it at all. Honestly. I think it’s really cool; to me one of the most amazing things about this story — the way it’s been told, the format and the structure — is that it provokes thought. It’s a show that leaves people every week really hypothesizing and creating and imagining and spinning off scenarios and completing story lines in their heads. I don’t personally pay attention to it because I don’t think there’s any value to it personally. I think there’s probably an enormous amount of value in paying close attention to it for people constructing the story. I just try and stay focused on the things that help me do what I need to be doing. I don’t have people throwing theories at me. I have people asking me what’s going to happen — but they don’t really want me to tell them. If I were to start to tell them — which I wouldn’t — they would stop me. I’m pretty sure. So I have a pretty pat answer for those questions: ”I don’t have any idea, and I’m not going to tell you if I did.” [He flashes a small, mischievous smile.] But most of the time, I do know.
Let me ask you this: Do you know enough about the show and where it’s going to have a definitive theory?
I think there’s definitely enough of it that’s still open to me where I have to be open to several different options. But I do have my own fairly concrete theory. I think I will ultimately be right — but I wouldn’t want to go on record with it.
Are there any theories you think this season has effectively debunked?
I honestly think the purgatory theory has been debunked. That is the most prevalent and most widespread theory of the show and I think anyone who is really paying close attention to the show can safely say this is not purgatory.
Next page: Will Jack and Kate get jungle fever?