How to be Conversant in ‘Lost’
As much as I try, even I can’t watch all the television there ever was. Personally, I despise the moments where I admit I haven’t seen a show and the person I’m talking to freaks out. “How can you claim a television obsession and have never seen [Insert title]?!?!” I’m sure you have also had a moment like this and I’m here to help. Here’s everything you need to know to have a conversation with someone about Lost. [SPOILER ALERT]- I would think this is obvious, but I just wanted to cover my bases.
Plane crash. Island. Somehow lots of people are ok. We only care about 10 or so of the supposed 40-ish survivors. Jack has doctoral/control freak skillz so he becomes the leader. Other important names: Kate (nice hair), Sawyer (also nice hair), Jin & Sun (married, Korean), Locke (bald), Michael & Walt (father son duo, have anger issues), Claire (pregnant), Charlie (heroin addict, not a hobbit), Sayid (Iraqi), Shannon (blonde, annoying), Boone (that guy from the vampire show). Also Hurley. Hurley is your favorite. Make a face like your heart is melting when you talk about Hurley. There’s a smoke monster- literally a monster of smoke that makes noises like ‘a roller coaster going up a hill’ and ‘a New York City taxi printing receipt.’ Boone dies. Claire gives birth. Shannon and Sayid shack up. Walt is kidnapped. There’s a hatch. They open it. Season ends. Make a remark about how cool the shot was at the very end of the episode.
Oceanic Airlines- The only one that exists in the Lost world and thus it was Oceanic flight 815 that crashed on the island.
A man named Desmond is in the hatch. There’s also a button that needs to be pressed every 108 minutes. Locke has faith in the button. Jack does not. Existential questions. There are others on the island. They are called ‘Others.’ Others have been on the island and are very protective of it. They kidnap children and sometimes adults, depending on their mood. They walk creepily through the woods. Our people find a man in the woods. He claims be be called Henry Gale and has come to this island via hot air balloon (*cough* Wizard of Oz reference *cough*). They think he is an Other. They are correct. His name is Ben but you called him Benry Gale until season 4. Benry and Michael make a deal. Some people die. Michael sells Jack, Kate and Sawyer for his son and drives away on a boat, never to be seen again… until later. Locke loses faith and doesn’t press the button. The hatch blows up. End of season.
Dharma Initiative- Science commune that came to the island in the 70s. They built the hatch. Others may or may not be remnants of the Dharma Initiative.
Others- Explained above, but this is what they are called and its very important. If you do not use this term, your cover will be blown and you will be discovered as the poser you are. You may be mocked. I don’t know your friends, so I can’t say for sure.
No one died in explosion, except Desmond’s clothes. He can now see glimpses of the future. Jack, Kate and Sawyer are held captive by the Others in New Otherton. Ben is King of the Others and Evilness. Season is spent trying to get them back. Deception. Intrigue. Fish patties. Cage sex. A blonde Other Juliette enters the picture. She was kind of kidnapped from America and brought to the island. Kate and Sawyer escape. The episode “Tricia Tanaka is Dead” exists. No one will agree with you, but this is your favorite episode. Nikki and Paolo suddenly are there. You hate Nikki and Paulo. Mutter “I hate Nikki and Paulo,” take a sip of your drink and stare off at nothing in particular. Nikki and Paolo die. Some shuffling happens and Jack, Kate, Sawyer and Juliet are all returned to the castaways. Locke ends up with the Others. His father is inexplicably there as well. Locke has daddy issues. Well, they all have daddy issues. Locke is ‘introduced’ to Jacob. Jacob is complicated. Just shiver when you hear his name. In a flash from the future, Desmond sees Charlie die. Charlie dies. You are very upset by this. You cried. You still tear up a little when talking about it. There’s a freighter off the coast of the island. They are saved…? Season ends.
Flashforward- Up until the season finale of season 3, the back stories of the castaways have been told through flashbacks. In the finale, we are given a flashforward of Jack off the island. This ends in a delightful bit between him and Kate where he drunkenly tells her they have to go back. Please watch. Feel free to shout that at random at any point in the conversation.
This season is all about getting off the island. You would think that would have been the main goal before, but they had Others and smoke monsters and bears (oh my!) to deal with. This season is told through flashforwards as we slowly discover who got off the island. They are called the Oceanic Six- Jack, Hurley, Sun, Sayid, Kate and Aaron (Claire’s baby). The boat people are mostly evil and eventually dead except for Daniel Faraday. Faraday is a scientist who works in time travel and other things that have fancy two word names where the second word is usually ‘physics.’ Michael is on the boat. Michael dies. You really enjoy the episode “The Constant.” Say, “Awww Penny and Des,” and make another melt-y face. You cried again during this episode. Ben is afraid of the boat people (mostly because they are trying to kill him) so he goes to an underground donkey wheel and moves the island in time. It literally disappears. Your mind is blown. Or this is where you feel they jumped the shark. Feel out where your conversation partner lands on this before making a decision.
Constant- If you somehow get caught up in the wibbly wobbly timey wimey and your nose starts to bleed, you need a constant. It is usually a super important person that keep you grounded in time so your brain doesn’t explode. Penny is Desmond’s constant. Desmond is Faraday’s constant. Joss Whedon is mine.
Like Jack said, they have to go back. But because Ben unstuck the island in time, the remaining castaways were transported back to the 1970s and have joined the Dharma initiative. Sawyer and Juliet are a thing. Jin learns English. Oceanic Six return. Heartfelt reunion. Lots of time travel science-y non-science happens. Whatever happened, happened. Faraday says they have to set off an atomic bomb in order to save everyone. I’ve seen the whole thing several times and I still am not 100% sure how this all goes down. If this person you are speaking to really wants to dwell, this would be a good time to go to the bathroom or suddenly get a phone call or be attacked by bees. Faraday dies. Juliet dies. You are sad. Explode. Season ends.
Flash forwards became flash sideways. Sideways world was basically purgatory until they are all dead and can meet at church. Like ya do. You can go one of two ways with this- you loved it or it it literally the worst thing to ever happen to you. Worse than when your dog died as a kid. Worse than when you got your iPhone stolen right out of your purse. Worse than all natural disasters combined. I don’t agree with it personally, but I recommend you go with the latter. It is far easier to just spew out words like “Man in Black?! Jacob?! Light in a cave?! ALLISON JANNEY?!?!?!” than to actually defend something you care nothing about.
Obviously, this isn’t everything that happened in the series. When in doubt, just agree with everything they say. Also, it would be helpful if you maintain that you haven’t seen the show since it aired. This will give you a built in excuse for any overlooked mythology. Or you could just invest the time and watch the show. The choice is yours.
For more pop culture musings, follow my blog or on twitter @caitlinvanmol.