LOST Exodus from Season 1

I just finished watching season 1 of LOST. What a marvellous bit of television LOST is! Just like the Black Rock made us presume there was a rock rather than a boat out there in the “Dark Territory”, the naming of Aaron and the naming of the three-hour, two-part season finale “Exodus” was a false clue, pointing to the expectation that those on the raft were leading the survivors across the waters to freedom.

But in this exodus, we find a ship of slaves left on the boat to die, rather than slaves set free. And the one potential escape hatch, as it were, leads down into the depths of the island, deeper into the mysteries rather than away from them.

The contrast between two Johns, between Jack Shepherd and John Locke, is drawn in terms of “man of science” and “man of faith”. But anyone who watched the Matrix trilogy knows we need to be wary of the language of fate, destiny and prophecy. There it turned out to be just another method of control.

So who is in control, behind the scenes? If we say “the island”, then perhaps we’ll need to think in terms of the supernatural for the unravelling of the mysteries.

But so far, all the clues point in a different direction.

As we caught the first good glimpse of the smoke monster, we were told that it is a “security system” that protects the island. It has made mechanical sounds from the beginning, and resembles the nanobots from the cover of a Michael Crighton novel.

So more likely is that the island is the remnant of some superior technology, whether of human or alien origin. And so the question becomes who wields that power?

They left who carried the dynamite up to fate, drawing straws. But in the end, Jack determined the outcome, and the straws could have been manipulated. Just a couple of episodes earlier, Sayid’s arrival in Sydney and meeting with his old friend (played, somewhat unfortunately, by an actor with a strong Scottish accent, although maybe we’re supposed to notice that…) at the Mosque is attributed to “fate”, but in fact it has been arranged as part of a CIA operation.

It may seem that there was an element of sheer luck involved in who ended up on the plane. And that may have been true of some passengers. But they are just the crewmembers in red shirts whose job it is to blow themselves up with dynamite to keep the mood tense.

In most cases, powerful individuals were involved in deciding who ended up where and when. So an important question is who was pulling the strings (and paying the Oceanic representatives around the airport) to get certain people on board?

Also, was there an intentional attempt to use the numbers in connection with the flight (815, departing from gate 23, etc.) so as to have it discover the location of the island?

There were enticing big questions left at the end of season 1 of LOST. Now that we’ve had several more seasons, we have some answers and many more questions. But it is helpful to go back and examine early clues, because this show keeps using sleight of hand to try to set up expectations that we can see were misguided if we go back and watch a second time. It isn’t like Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons or countless other mysteries, where the author simply chooses whoever seems least likely to have been the murderer at the end of the book and then creates a back story to provide motive. In LOST, the clues are there, but they mislead through double entendre and vagueness.

I think one big clue that sets us off on a false trail from the most recent season will be the message from Charlie for Jack, “You’re not supposed to raise him”. We are encouraged to think of Aaron, and the psychic’s warning that he must not be raised by another. But Claire and Christian are trying to keep the baby away from the island, and the psychic’s words may have simply been part of the plan to get the baby to the island in the first place.

So who isn’t Jack supposed to raise? Given the way the last season ended, one possibility that needs to be considered is this: he’s not supposed to raise John Locke…from the dead!

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  • One of the frustrating things about Lost is that answers can take a long to come along. Such as Charlie’s message to Jack. I read that and thought, “Ahhh!”. Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait until season 4 to find out what he’s talking about.