Doc Jensen sheds some light on a much-belabored issue. Plus: Tonight's episode, ''Enter 77'': is it all about forgiveness and redemption? Or something much darker than that?
‘Lost’ (S3): Fans ask where the show is headed
THE 10 WORD TEASE!
In which we ask the executive producers of Lost to give us a tantalizing tidbit about tonight’s new episode.
This week, the focus is on Sayid (pictured) — tortured torturer, master military tactician, lover of irritating semi-incestuous blondes. You will meet Sayid’s cat tonight. And according to previous statements made by the producers, you will also see what happens when an ex-solider is held accountable for his brutal wartime actions.
DOC JENSEN FUN FACTS! The episode is entitled ”Enter 77”; according to Numerologists, 77 represents ”spiritual wisdom” and ”mystical powers in action.” And in Christianity, ”77” is also a number closely linked with forgiveness and redemption.
Anyway, your exclusive EW.com tease from Damon Lindelof is this:
”For those of you wondering about the Others’ relationship to The Dharma Initiative, we require only a ONE word tease: ‘Purge.”’
TRICIA TANAKA EXPLAINS IT ALL! (PART 1)
In which Doc Jensen addresses fan frustration with Lost, opines for an end to the show, and reveals what if anything last week’s episode has to do with any of this ”behind the scenes” stuff.
”Enter 77” sounds like it could be an essential episode for theory-mad Lostologists everywhere — the kind of episode that many of you thought last week’s Hurley-centric outing wasn’t. Here’s an email I received from a reader disappointed by ”Tricia Tanaka Is Dead:”
Tell me how ”Tricia Tanaka” advanced any storyline. If it’s the story of his father running off for 17 years only to show up [when Hurley won the lotto], then honestly that’s pretty poor and juvenile at this stage in the game. If it’s the story of getting [that] VW bus running, then who gives a rat’s arse? I don’t need a pointless feel-good story. I need this show to go somewhere. Please tell me I’m being too shallow, and that there is, in fact, a mind-blowing silver lining in the offing. — Martin
Martin, I would never tell you that you’re ”being too shallow.” However, I can’t promise you ”a mind-blowing silver lining,” either. But I can tell you that talks are underway between ABC and the show’s chief storytellers about coming up with a happy ending for Lost — and by that, I mean actually ending the show. The producers, who see Lost as an epic novel, want to write the final chapter sometime in the next two years. ABC, which is in the business of creating and sustaining hit shows, wants Lost to last as long as possible. Both are reasonable positions, but the tension between the two poles is producing an increasingly unreasonable and untenable position for viewers. There is good audience anxiety (”I have no idea what’s going on and I love it!”) and bad audience anxiety (”I have no idea what’s going on and I hate it) — and the tide is rapidly turning toward the latter. Viewers are jumping ship — and if they aren’t, then they’re on the decks wringing their hands and eyeballing the lifeboats.
The producers bear some responsibility for bringing Lost to this perilous point. What ABC wanted from them was a long-running, high-yield delivery system for its advertisers, not an unconventional self-terminating piece of artistic ambition. Surely one solution ABC might be tempted to pursue is tapping new producers willing to give the company what it wants. But as a fan of the story that Lost‘s founding fathers are telling, I hope ABC will allow them to fully realize their vision — and that means publicly declaring an End Date. Doing so would send two positive messages to viewers, including those who’ve recently drifted away: 1. It would assure them that Lost really is heading somewhere; and 2. It would reassure them that everything they have seen actually meant something.
What I’m hoping for — ending a profitable business enterprise; leaving money on the table for the sake of creative integrity — is unprecedented. And everything that I know about the history of broadcast television suggests that I should be very, very, very pessimistic. But I’m going to put my faith in the hope. You might say that it’s just like the situation Hurley faced in ”Tricia Tanaka Is Dead.” Hurley desperately needed a miracle. Yet everything in his life had taught him that miracles are for suckers — especially if you’re counting on other people to make them happen for you. Fortunately, in the fantasy realm of Lost, Hurley’s prayers were answered, and The Island gave him glorious reason to hope that his doomed life could be redeemed and have a happy ending. Hopefully, what happened to Hurley can happen to us, too.
See, Martin? ”Tricia Tanaka Is Dead” DID have a point, after all.
THIS IS PROBABLY JUST A (CLUE!) COINCIDENCE, BUT…
Remember when Ben told Michael ”We’re the good guys?” And remember when Juliet told Jack that killing people is a big no-no in Others society? And remember how the Others actually really resent being called ”the Others”? Well, I recently discovered a group of people over at Wikipedia.org (Official Research Tool of Crackpot Lost Theorists everywhere!) that could really relate to Ben and the rest of his misunderstood friends. Meet the Cathars, a Gnostic sect of Christianity considered heretics by The Roman Catholic Church and were horribly persecuted. Like most Gnostics — Christians who really want to be Buddhists — Cathars believe that God is actually bad; that human beings are spirits trapped inside the corrupting matter of flesh; and that Satan is actually Good for wanting to liberate us with enlightenment. Cathars don’t view death as a punishment for sin, but a natural part of an individual’s spiritual progression. Not incidentally, Cathars took a dim view of murder, as it had profound consequences for a soul’s journey. And Cathars didn’t call themselves Cathars. ”Cathars” was a derogatory term, imposed on them by their enemies. Instead, Cathars called themselves by another name: The Good People.
Could the Cathars = the Others?
(Do you have a (CLUE!) Coincidence you’d like to share? Send it to Doc J at JeffJensenEW@aol.com.)
TRICIA TANAKA EXPLAINS IT ALL! (PART 2)
In which Doc Jensen tells you what you really want to hear — that last week’s allegedly mythology-deficient episode of Lost actually reveals the truth of The Island, The Dharma Initiative, and the Others!
THE BIG CLUE? ”The Road to Shambala,” Three Dog Night’s feel good hippy-era anthem from 1973, which figured prominently in Hurley’s intertwining flashback and island stories.
COINCIDENCE? Is ”Three Dog Night” a coy nod to Smokey The Monster? After all, according to The Map found in The Hatch, Dharma referred to the black-as-night jungle beast as Cerberus, the three-headed hound who guarded the gates of The Underworld. And what do the Egyptian hieroglyphics in The Hatch spell? According to the producers, the word… is UNDERWORLD!
HMMM? According to Wikipedia (Official Research Tool For Crackpot Lost Theorists Everywhere!), Shambala is ”a hidden mystical kingdom” in Tibetan Buddhism. Various Eastern-infused esoteric traditions in the West (read: New Age, Occult, ”Mystery Sect” religions) consider Shambala to be ”inhabited by a mystic brotherhood whose members labor for the good of humanity.” Even more provocative is this: ”Some early twentieth-century occultists… view Shambala as a source of negative manipulation by an evil or amoral conspiracy.” Shambala lore is linked to Agartha, a mystical lost city at the center of world, inhabited by enlightened, possibly eternal beings known as The Old Ones who — get this — KIDNAP HUMAN CHILDREN AND RAISE THEM AS THEIR OWN!
THEN AGAIN… As Wikipedia points out, Three Dog Night’s song shouldn’t be taken so literally; think of it more as an ode to brotherhood and seeking spiritual enlightenment. Truth us, ”Tricia Tanaka Is Dead” works best as a thematic allegory for the mythology of Lost. A rusted VW bus, a Flower Power-era icon; a map for an unfinished road; a dead driver — taken together, they represent a nifty allegory for the radical, idealistic and failed (?) ambitions of The Dharma Initiative. Factor in Hurley’s success in restarting the bus via the power of positive thinking (clearly, The Dude has read The Secret), and you also have an allegory for how a damaged past can be redeemed in the present.
DOC JENSEN SAYS: Oh, but who are cares about thematic odes!? ”That ain’t no way to have fun,” as Three Dog Night sang in their hit ”Mama Told Me Not To Come.” So let’s persist in the delusion that Shambala is truly a marker on the road to Lost enlightenment. The Island = ”mystical hidden land,” possibly a gateway into The Underworld, protected by Cerberus. Dharma = ”evil or amoral conspiracy” whose faithless ambitions represent a ”negative manipulation” of this ”Shambala.” Their plan: to cheat death by sealing up the gates of The Underworld and transplanting souls into new bodies! The Others = ”mystical brotherhood whose members labor for the good of humanity,” who like the Gnostics believe that humanity needs to accept that death is a natural part of life, and therefore are committed to protecting the power of The Island and stopping Dharma!
See, Martin! ”Tricia Tanaka” DID have a point after all!
More fun next week — and I mean that in a Three Dog Night kinda way,
PS: Come back on Friday for a special edition of Doc Jensen that will feature reaction to ”Enter 77” as well as a round-up of YOUR theories!