So over the past few years I’ve written several times on the show Lost. I never wanted to be “that guy” who found meaning in a T.V. Series, but for those of us who have watched for the past 6 years, we know that there was something unique about Lost. I know that it ultimately had the same goal for revenue that all TV shows have, and that if the ratings hadn’t been good the plot would have run dry. But underneath all of that was this epic, beautiful story.
I heard one of the producers say something about the show that I thought was interesting. He said that it didn’t feel as though they created it, as much as it was just connecting to something that was already there.
And I think he’s right. Since no story is written in a vacuum, I’d like to ask what cultural ethos produced Lost?Think about it Romeo and Juliet was written in the context of religious tribalism between the Protestants and Catholics, The great American novelists wrote stories shaped by the American Frontier. So what made the smoke monster?
I have a theory.
One of the things that has both frustrated me about Lost, and kept Leslie and I tuning in, is the mystery. Lost has gotten a reputation for raising more questions than it answers. And I don’t think this would have been very successful a few decades ago. The generation that fell in love with I love Lucy probably wouldn’t have to spend a summer wondering who the heck was in the hatch. But think about this. Our world has spent the better part of a century being in love with answers. We’ve tried to figure out everything by dissecting, prodding and explaining. Everything has a reason. But I think Lost is a great example of a cultural kick back against this.
While I’m glad that we discovered pennicilin and figured out indoor plumbing, one of the things that I think Lost (or rather the culture that produced it) is reminding us is that there is limit to what we can know. There are mysteries that are out there that are beyond us, and maybe that’s not such a bad thing. I’m not saying that we should try and learn and grow and expand. But to acknowledge that we haven’t mastered the universe is pretty refreshing. That there are things beyond our explanation, and they inspire a kind of holy curiosity.
But the biggest thing Lost reminded me of was Redemption.
I think the reason that movies like Slumdog Millionare and Life is Beautiful resonate so deeply in me (and so many others) is because they tap into the awareness that we are deeply broken. But that is not the end of the story. Because there is something behind the scenes at work. Something I believe to be the God revealed in Jesus, that is drawing all things back to Himself. Piecing the individual brokenness we all bring to the table into something beautiful.
Without giving the Lost finale away, I think that the way that story ended was pretty gospel. It was really a picture of what I think the New Heaven a New Earth is like. Death gives back what it owes. Forgiveness runs like a broken faucet, and the Locke lays down with the lamb.
Okay I made that last one up, but it really was a great ending.
For those of you that don’t watch Lost. You can just skip over this blog and wait for tomorrow’s on the poor in Spirit, but for those of us who have spent the last few years engaged in this story, what did you think of the ending?
Did you see any of the same themes? Or others? What kind of culture do you think was necessary to produce a show like Lost?
See you in another life brutha…