If you’re tuning into “Lost” for the first time tonight, some advice: Don’t. It will make no sense. People who’ve watched the show since day one are still confused.
When it’s all done, you’ll ask “but what about …” and then your head will start to ache, and you’ll hit the Internet, where someone must know the answer. Better that you accept it as the grand sweeping wrap-up and tell yourself: It’s done.
Oh, people will pick “Lost’s” bones for years, but it’s all guesswork after this. We’ve loved “Lost” because it raised two questions for every one it answered. We’ve hated “Lost” because it raised two questions for every one it answered, and also made us rethink the previous answered question.
Mysteries alone don’t make for a rabid fan base, though. “The X-Files” piled mystery on top of mystery, and ended up boring everyone who’d cared in the first place.
It’s the nature of “Lost’s” mysteries that drew us in. Here are some of the reasons we love “Lost.”
One: From the start, it played out on parallel tracks. There was the story of the castaways, which was both a contest of personalities and a supernatural mystery, and the story of the Oceanic passengers before they got on the plane. We forget how cool those flashbacks were: Someone stopped, looked alarmed and confused — cue the whoosh! — and then we were back in time to events that had nothing to do with the Island. Or so it seemed.
Two: The sheer number of inexplicable details: the Numbers. The whispers. The dad. The hatch. The ship in the jungle. Locke’s legs.
Three: The characters. Deep bench. Admirable Jack, Reluctant Alpha; Devious Sawyer, Outlaw with a Good Streak; Kate Freckles, who looks fetching while being stern and sweat-drenched and caught between two male archetypes. Locke, who radiated strength and resilience.
Four: Villains: Ben Linus was simply one of the best bad guys TV produced. Cold-blooded, controlling, dead-eyed. An inscrutable man with a mission, but what? Over the years his character deepened, and he became more sympathetic. You want him to be redeemed.
Five: The music. The music is forgettable when it’s busiest. But there’s a simple two-chord theme that sums up the show like few others; it has regret, resignation, acceptance. Lonely, but never bereft. It reminds you that the quietest moments on the show are the most powerful.
Six: The Island itself. Lately it’s gotten a will of its own: Someone dies, “The Island was finished with her.”
We will learn what the Island is, and it’s probably a prison for the Smoke Monster, to keep him from escaping into the world and killing everyone. From the third-to-the-last episode we know that the Island is the Source of Life and Death, which pretty much covers it all without telling you much. Just like the show itself.