‘Lost’ (S3): Two words will change Locke’s life
In which the producers of Lost provide a cryptic tease about this evening’s newest installment of our favorite pop-culture frustration.
Tonight: Ben. Locke. Call it ”When Weird White Men Clash!”
Tonight: The Secrets of The Dharma Initiative.
Tonight: Illumination and answers… to be followed by even more questions and delighted bafflement.
By means of tease, I would first like to share with you this very, very, very timely theory that I received just yesterday from a reader named Wes, who wrote to me via the Doc Jensen hotline at JeffJensenEW@aol.com. Wes says:
”For the longest time, my roommate’s been saying that Ben is essentially based on Emperor Palpatine [from the Star Wars movies] and that Locke is based on Anakin Skywalker. Personally, I’ve always asserted that Locke is Luke Skywalker, not Anakin. After ”The Brig” episode, I thought the argument had been solved. To me, the scene in which Ben tells Locke to kill his dad was the third act of Return of the Jedi. In fact, I was just waiting to hear Ben say, ”Fulfill your destiny,” or, ”Your hate has made you powerful.” Thus, I was wondering, what are your thoughts? Is John Locke a tragic hero like Anakin or is he the official hero like Luke? Or, is there any way to really know at this point, given the fact that [the producers] keep tossing us plot twists like hand grenades?”
Well, Wes, perhaps some insight can be provided by the high priests of the Jedi Temple themselves, executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse. Yesterday, in EW.com’s exclusive Q&A with the executive producers, they had this to say about tonight’s episode:
CUSE: Well, it’s a Ben flashback, so it kind of really roots into the mythological history of the show and answers some important questions about the relationship between The Dharma Initiative and The Others.
LINDELOF: More importantly, we meet Jacob — the elusive, unseen, presumed leader of The Others — for the first time. This is a character who is every bit as significant to our universe as the Emperor was to the Star Wars universe. Jacob is a guy who is going to have a very significant ongoing sort of story value in our show.
And lest you thinking I’m wussing out by just giving you reheated goods — here’s a dish of freshly caught coy, just for you:
”Locke will hear two words tonight,” says Lindelof. ”Those words, and the fact that he hears them, will change his course on the island forever.”
As for my opinion, I think all of you Star Wars theorists out there are missing the obvious:
Bug-eyed Ben = Admiral Akbar.
ITEM! For those of you who’ve come here today looking for the winner of my ”Why was Sawyer barefoot?” candy-bar challenge in last week’s TV Watch column: I’m still sorting through and grading the 200-plus entries I received. I’ll have the results next week in my all-reader mail edition of Doc Jensen.
ITEM! Speaking of reader mail: Next week, I’d love to hear your reaction to the big news that Lost will be ending in 2010, after three more shortened seasons of 48 total episodes. Personally, I think it’s an awesome move, even if 2010 feels very far away; while we may have more episodes of Lost behind us than ahead of us, we still have more days of Lost ahead of us than behind us. Still, I think the announcement puts Lost in a position to do something that The X-Files or Twin Peaks never could: the chance to go out strong. I’m willing to be patient for greatness. And now, we have assurance that at the very least, greatness is possible. Now let’s relax, sit back (or lean forward, as the show demands), and see if Lost‘s storytellers can pull it off. Please send your reactions to: JeffJensenEW@aol.com, or fill out the form below.
My fellow Lost freak Doc Artz over at thetailsection.com posted a cool interview recently with Francois Chau, who plays my favorite fringe character, the nebulous Dr. Marvin Candle (who makes a return appearance in tonight’s episode). Last week, Doc also posted a controversial essay in which he questioned the practice of deconstructing Lost along literary lines as a means of searching for the show’s meaning. (Why is my face suddenly turning/burning red?) But I dig and heartily endorse the good Doc. Make him part of your routine Web scrounging for Lost news and views.
I’ve recommended him before, but in case you missed it: J Wood posts the best Lost analysis on the Web. His assessment of ”The Brig” last week — particularly the symbolic collision between philosopher namesakes John Locke and Anthony Cooper — was top notch. You can find him at powells.com. A couple weeks ago, J sent me a great e-mail offering an intriguing take on the nature of time/space on The Island; I’ll include it in next week’s reader mail. Speaking of which:
LETTER OF THE WEEK!
I got this letter from Tim, in an e-mail slugged: ”Don’t force sci-fi on Lost fans.” In addition to taking me to task for likening the Kate/Sawyer relationship to the Buffy/Spike relationship in Buffy The Vampire Slayer (see: my review last week of ”The Brig”), Tim tells me:
”In light of [EW’s] recent Top 25 Sci-Fi Moments of the last 25 Years [in which Lost was ranked Number 11], I fear that you are taking Lost too far down the sci-fi road. If Lost wants to regain its Nielsen ratings and place on the American TV forefront, it is going to be done by die-hard fans such as yourself. It is not going to be done by making oblique references to sci-fi pop that mainstream fans don’t know of and don’t want to hear about. That said, your writing and dedication to the show have kept me fully invested, and for that I thank you.”
DOC JENSEN REPLIES: Tim must be hating all my Star Wars talk today. Maybe you are, too. This isn’t the first time that I’ve heard people wring their hands over the possible sci-fi nature of Lost. There seems to be two camps: people who strongly insist on ”rational” explanations of Lost, and those who are open to taking the leap into fantasyland. Those who adhere to the former love to cite the well-traveled Lost myth that once upon a time, the producers of Lost said the answers to the show’s freaky mysteries would be grounded in sound science. (Those people should know that last year, this column reported Damon Lindelof’s denial of that myth.) I also wonder how those who clamor for sensible explanations from Lost make sense of stuff like Smokey. Is there some Einstein essay on billowing sentient haze that has escaped my attention or Wikipedia roaming? Still, the argument rages. And you may have an opinion. Let’s debate. Send your comments to JeffJensenEW@aol.com.
Okay. Ready for some brain-imploding, quasi-intellectual, Let’s Piss Off The Sci-Fi-Hating Readers Doc Jensen insanity/inanity?
Okay then! LET’S RIP INTO IT…
See, originally, this column ended with my elaborately researched theory of The Dharma Initiative. It’s called ”No Mo’ Pomo: The ‘Think Global/Act Local’ Theory of Lost.” The theory puts forth:
*that The Dharma Initiative came to The Island to save the world by addressing the malaise of mankind’s ”Postmodern condition;”
*that Dharma intended to harness the psychic power of The Island and introduce a new idea into the collective unconscious of mankind — an inspiring new myth, modeled upon Plato’s ”Allegory of the Cave,” that would counteract the fundamentally pessimistic myths that are believed to be encoded in our DNA and explain our penchant for self-destruction (see: The Fall of Man, Freud’s Oedipus complex, Hegel’s Master/Slave dialectic);
*that everything we basically know about Dharma was bogus — fictional elements in an elaborate psychodrama — but they became nightmarishly real thanks to the psychic properties of The Island;
*that Dharma’s plan went horribly wrong because the unwitting Dharma volunteers didn’t act as anticipated — specifically, instead of questioning the experiment and revolting against it (which is what they were supposed to do), they did exactly as the Orientation Films instructed them to do, blind obedience that had unexpected, tragic consequences;
*that as a baby, Ben Linus was imprinted with the dark, demented psychic residue generated by The Dharma Initiative;
*and that finally, Ben is attempting to salvage the doomed Dharma mission — and save the world — by staging a redemptive mythic saga of his own creation, one in which the heroes are the castaways and the villain is none other than himself.
I’m really proud of this theory. I spent three weeks writing it. The problem: it’s like, 2200 words long. So we’re saving it for Friday.
And if turns out tomorrow night’s episode completely invalidates my theory…
Well, then, I’ll see you next week!
Until next time, whenever next time comes,