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Lost: The Rewatch Thread
Speaking of the Others:

Does the show ever give a clear, comprehensible reason for their ongoing hostilities towards the survivor tribe? Why were they trying to kill/abduct/etc. them without making any attempt at peaceful contact or cooperation?

I asked the person I was watching the show with that question repeatedly and could never get a straight question.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
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They attempt it at points, but never to an extent that can really reconcile the clearly malevolent actions of the first season or two with any sort of genuinely reasonable motivations.
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That was my impression, but appreciate the confirmation.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
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(02-21-2021, 10:54 PM)farsight Wrote: IIRC... In the DVD epilogue (I wonder if that's in the streaming version?), Hurley gets Walt out of the asylum and brings him back to the Island to help his (dead) father.

It basically sets up Walt to be part of another generation of people tied to the Island, like numerous other parent/child pairings before him.

They dropped Walt to allow the actor to age w/o breaking the show's timeline. But then when they opted to write out Michael, there likely wasn't a compelling idea to bring Walt back. Plus, they had introduced Desmond, who had similar powers and a much better story and actor.

The show had to do a lot of pivoting on the fly, as actors quit, got arrested, just didn't work out (like Rodriguez having zero chemistry w/ Fox), or worked way better than expected (like Ben going from short-term nobody to series regular). Overall, I think most of those pivots ended up improving the show.
So basically no good reason that they didn't bring Walt back after the flash forward.

They didn't recover from Mr. Eko leaving and having to give his storyline away. The drunk drivers-Libby and Ana Lucia were no big losses. But didn't most of the cast get a dui in Hawaii?

From What I remember Ben should have died at least a half a dozen times but they never pulled the trigger.
AIt's just tits and dragons. - Ian McShane on Game of Thones
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(02-22-2021, 12:15 PM)MichaelM Wrote: Speaking of the Others:

Does the show ever give a clear, comprehensible reason for their ongoing hostilities towards the survivor tribe? Why were they trying to kill/abduct/etc. them without making any attempt at peaceful contact or cooperation?

I asked the person I was watching the show with that question repeatedly and could never get a straight question.

The Others had a mythology where they were the protectors of the Island, and it was their job to keep it safe and keep people away. They did it in Jacob's name, but the orders actually came down from Ben and Smokey.

They had access to the survivor's records, so knew which ones were criminals (a lot!). This made them understandably leery of just welcoming them all with open arms, especially since they were weaker than they let on, and there were a LOT of survivors. 

Early on, the only people they abducted were the ones they identified as "good" (like the children), and Claire, because they really did want to save her child (remember that the Island's radiation tended to abort pregnancies). Otherwise, they were just trying to scare the "undesirable" survivors into staying away from the Dharma facilities and other areas where they could wreak havoc.

Once Creepy Ethan went nuts and the survivors unlocked the hatch, things escalated. The Others believed (correctly!) that the survivors were now a threat to the entire Island.

So you have a mix of sound logic, bad leadership, and belief in a false mythology. Also, most of the Others were assholes.
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My take on the Others, and much of the island mythology, is that the island basically functions as a prison for the Man in Black.  There are some esoteric rules/loopholes that he wants to use in order to leave, but until that happens he's a malignant, corrupting force juxtaposed against Jacob.  Various groups (Dharma, etc.) come to the island, and they get caught up in this ancient battle.  The Others, whatever their intentions might have been originally, and despite Jacob trying to put them on a righteous path, constantly have their motivations and even their personalities twisted by the efforts of The Man in Black down through the years.  While never mentioned overtly, thinking of the Man in Black as a Satan-esque figure of temptation worked for me in terms of interpreting the actions of those who have been exposed to him for long periods.  

Now, this is my vague recollection, and it may very well change as I continue this rewatch, but this was the sense I got back when it was first airing.



(02-22-2021, 12:30 PM)schwartz Wrote: They attempt it at points, but never to an extent that can really reconcile the clearly malevolent actions of the first season or two with any sort of genuinely reasonable motivations.

That's the problem with Satan (or analogues for him such as the Man in Black); he ain't reasonable.

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I loved Lost overall, but it had a bad habit of holding information back (like what the Others were and wanted) way beyond the point it was dramatically warranted, and then only coming to a confusing half answer.

Season 3 ought to have opened with the Others saying, 'Yup, we're a cult, and we follow the orders of this poltergeist who can perform miracles', which is clearly what they were hinting at. But then the waters got muddied, and it became, 'We protect the island on the orders of an invisible ghost only our leader can see. Richard can speak to the real guy, so we're not sure why we listen to Ben when he's receiving contradictory, malevolent orders. Anyway, we've calmed down a lot off screen since we murdered, kidnapped, and tormented you - don't you realise how hypocritical it was to assume we were the baddies?'

Like, as a writing technique, holding back on delivering exposition meant that concepts always remained elastic, and that meant inconsistencies as the Others went, behind the scenes, from: spooky island natives; organised cultists; to domestic weirdos.
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(02-23-2021, 04:34 AM)rexbanner Wrote: I loved Lost overall, but it had a bad habit of holding information back (like what the Others were and wanted) way beyond the point it was dramatically warranted, and then only coming to a confusing half answer.

This might be a great nutshell statement of why I stopped watching. In the first two seasons, for the most part, I felt like the show rewarded patience, and wasn't too convoluted for its own good. We got answers, some of them, and so as new mysteries unfolded, we naively assume more answers - clear ones, that made sense - were forthcoming.

But by S3, especially near the end, that system of posing a mystery and satisfyingly answering it stopped. The show got...lost...up its own mystery box ass, and had to continue spinning more and more complex and borderline nonsensical "answers" (which were themselves deliberately designed to pose more questions).

Another way of putting it: the first couple of seasons felt like confident, directed storytelling, with the twists and structure serving a purpose. By the end of S3 and beginning of S4, it felt cynical and schticky - a calculated approach to endlessly tease viewers without having to solidly answer anything and stick to that answer.
"Nooj's true feelings on any given subject are unknown and unknowable. He is the butterfly flapping its wings in Peking. He is chaos and destruction and you shall never see his true form." - Merriweather

My Steam ID: yizashigreyspear
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(02-23-2021, 04:34 AM)rexbanner Wrote: Season 3 ought to have opened with the Others saying, 'Yup, we're a cult, and we follow the orders of this poltergeist who can perform miracles', which is clearly what they were hinting at. But then the waters got muddied, and it became, 'We protect the island on the orders of an invisible ghost only our leader can see. Richard can speak to the real guy, so we're not sure why we listen to Ben when he's receiving contradictory, malevolent orders. Anyway, we've calmed down a lot off screen since we murdered, kidnapped, and tormented you - don't you realise how hypocritical it was to assume we were the baddies?'

This was where the show started to lose me. I had patience with the mysteries for a long time, but the haphazard portrayal of the Others planted the suspicion that there was no real plan at work.  I could see how they wanted to make them into actual characters who believed they were the heroes of their story and to complicate the dynamic with the castaways.  But they never really figured out how to do that, because that perspective and their goals were entirely based on mythological juju that the writers' room had never actually ironed out.   The result is that the Others go from feeling malevolent to utter morons, people whose society is built around conducting insanely intricate experiments in theoretical psychology but seem genuinely unable to understand just why greeting the castaways with a shadow campaign of terror, abduction, and murder made them so darn resentful.

Again, I see what they wanted to do with dynamic, and even why it would be better for drama. But they didn't actually figure out a way for it to make sense with what had come before, and then just did it anyway. Which would sort of become the story of the show in the later seasons.
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Yeah, there was a point in Season 2 - when the Others, imo, were their most interesting - when their insistence that they were doing good lent a really cool, horror vibe to them.

Then, in Season 3, I think the writers fell in love with that idea - 'What if they actually were good?' - but it couldn't gel with what they'd been shown as. The reveal that they lived in the barracks still feels like something that was done to set up a cool season opener than something they'd thought through all the ramifications of. The Others became a lot less interesting when we found out they were just a bunch of suburbanites.

Ultimately, the following things never really made sense:

- Why did the whispers accompany them?
- Why were some of them suicidally intent on not being captured by the Losties?
- How come they were able to creepily move through the forest when it turned out most of them were just a bunch of average schmoes?
- What did they think their purpose was? (Never making this clear was a damaging failure on the writers' part, if not *the* biggest misstep in the show)
- What the fuck did they do all day?
- Why, given that Juliet turned totally against them, did the Losties not ask her directly who the Others were, what they wanted, and everything she knew about the mystical nature of the island? As I recall Sawyer tried this once, and she just smirked and gave him a glib answer. But then they were a couple for 3 years!

As I said, I loved Lost, and am impressed it hangs together as well it does, but I don't think I'm being unfair or nitpicking when these ideas were never incorporated in a way that makes a lick of sense.
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(02-23-2021, 01:48 PM)rexbanner Wrote: - What did they think their purpose was? (Never making this clear was a damaging failure on the writers' part, if not *the* biggest misstep in the show)

I dunno, with the way Ben was lying/manipulating/compartmentalizing literally everything during his reign in order to consolidate power, I don't think any one Other would know the Big Picture plans. If you were to ask Juliet what her purpose is, her answer would clearly be 'fertility research'. I'm sure all the other Others, from MC Gainey down to Mac, all have their own idea of what their purpose is based on what information Ben selectively feeds them.

I always thought the show did a pretty good job in the later seasons of showing us how each regime approached the question of 'what are we doing here?', with young Widmore being more blindly invested in the mysticism, only wanting island-born people there, living off the land, and protecting Jacob and the pee fountain or whatever, and then there's the Ben era, where, aside from the consolidation of power, he seemed most interested in co-opting Dharma research and bringing in outsiders to do science stuff.

I guess I'm saying that the writers just used Ben as a shortcut to never really have to address the Other's Big Picture plans, but I'm actually fine with that.
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(02-23-2021, 01:48 PM)rexbanner Wrote: Ultimately, the following things never really made sense:

- Why did the whispers accompany them?
- Why were some of them suicidally intent on not being captured by the Losties?
- How come they were able to creepily move through the forest when it turned out most of them were just a bunch of average schmoes?
- What did they think their purpose was? (Never making this clear was a damaging failure on the writers' part, if not *the* biggest misstep in the show)
- What the fuck did they do all day?
- Why, given that Juliet turned totally against them, did the Losties not ask her directly who the Others were, what they wanted, and everything she knew about the mystical nature of the island? As I recall Sawyer tried this once, and she just smirked and gave him a glib answer. But then they were a couple for 3 years!

The Whispers didn't always accompany the Others. They could also be heard during other dangerous moments (like before Smokey attacks). With the revelation that they were the voices of the dead (dead Michael says this directly), it's pretty clear that they were trying to warn people of danger. Interestingly, the Lostpedia has transcripts of what the actual whispers were, and you can see that this answer was probably decided on in season two. In season one, the audio they did for the whispers is pretty malevolent, but in following seasons it becomes more inline with that answer. We already knew there was no grand plan during season one, but I think a lot people assume Cuse & Lindelof made up their answers about five minutes before they were filmed, so it's fun to see evidence of one answer getting pegged down five years before it was revealed.

I'm not sure which Others were suicidal?

The Others could move through the jungle quickly because they had access to Dharma's stations and tunnels.

The Others' purpose pre-crash? They followed Ben, who was pretending to be getting orders from Jacob. Ben's purposes for them were to keep Widmore away, and solve the Island's pregnancy issue so that their group could live there beyond one generation.

What they did all day? Their jobs in support of the above. Otherwise, book clubs! 

Juliet didn't know jack (not Jack) about the mystical nature of the Island. She knew the smoke monster was real, and that's about it. Remember that The Others knew very little, and most of what they "knew" was wrong. Juliet was a scientist and knew Ben was a liar, so she wouldn't believe much of The Others' mythology anyway.
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I've done a very odd 180 on this shows mythology. I hated and resented the show at the time for the mystery baiting and for having relatively loosey goosey lore. When I look back on it knowing what the Island actually is, what the light is and why everyone cares so much I enjoy it a lot as basically the best Stephen King book of all time Stephen King never wrote. It's the same strong character work, intriguing but frustrating mythology as ever.

The others stuff works sooooooo much better if you don't really care about it. Dogan and his people? The Dharma initiative?
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(02-24-2021, 08:59 AM)freeman Wrote: The others stuff works sooooooo much better if you don't really care about it.  
Hell of a pull quote.
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