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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    A complete newcomer’s guide to ‘Lost’

    “”Lost”” was a television phenomenon that I completely missed until it ended on May 23. According to the TV Nielsen rating group, 13.6 million Americans spent two-and-a-half hours in front of their televisions watching the finale. I watched the finale because public opinion said “”Lost”” was awesome, with incredible plot twists — there’s a polar bear! — that keep you wanting more. It was the first and only episode of “”Lost”” I ever watched.


    I start the finale and within minutes I know it’s about several plane crash survivors on an island. I learn there’s a villain who uses a wheelchair, sometimes. The good guy is a surgeon, sometimes. Sometimes people are on the island, sometimes they’re in a hospital, in a police station or at a concert. I give characters nicknames to help keep track of who’s who: “”Doc,”” “”Lady,”” “”Blonde Lady,”” etc.


    Cut to East Asian people who don’t speak English, then do. People cry while having soft-focused flashbacks to the island set to overwrought music. I thought people enjoyed this show because it was mysterious and had plane crashes, explosions and polar bears. But so far, it’s just flashbacks and feelings. It’s sweet, but dull after an hour.


    The finale picks up when the villain and good guys get confrontational. The bad guy’s wide-eyed sidekick gets elbowed in the face and the villain doesn’t feel bad about it. Later, a tree falls on top of him. Pseudo-sidekick can’t catch a break. They don’t say how his buddies get the tree off of him, but they do and they catch up with the doctor. He says he’ll “”protect the island.”” By “”protect the island,”” he means plug a stone into a hole at the bottom of a bigger hole, which makes a light called the heart of the island. When he’s finished, he dies. His friends get sad. I get sad. The man saves everyone, including the island, and he dies next to a dog. It was touching.


    Meanwhile I was still confused and not all that clear on the characters. But I didn’t need to know their names or how they lifted the tree off that guy or what a “”smoke monster”” is. The characters had me genuinely curious about them, their relationships and their lives on and off the island. I was actually sad for Doc. “”Lost”” had potential.


    Then I learned that everyone is already dead and has been for some time. In a universe where the hospital, police station and concert are, they are all dead. What a letdown.

    Each flashback was a “”flash-sideways,”” a ridiculous word the writers invented to describe the jumping between universes. It would be more accurate to call it a “”flash-to-death”” because everyone’s dead and nothing I watched before the last 10 minutes mattered anymore. In the end, Doc, Lady and company meet up in a church for dead people to finish dying themselves. Life wasn’t life so much as some strange purgatory they’d created so that each dead character could be neatly coupled off in bliss.


    I was flabbergasted. If the finale had ended 10 minutes earlier, I could have bought into the whole everyone-found-true-love crap. TV characters are supposed to fall in love and find happiness in the end. It’s formulaic and stale, but it’s got that TV-flashback glow, all soft, warm and familiar.


    But warm and familiar also describes pissing all over yourself, which is kind of what the “”Lost”” writers did when they got too lazy to write an ending that required some thought. People waited six years for this, and I was disappointed after just a couple of hours. Everyone was hyped up for a marathon of drawn-out “”flash-sideways”” asshattery just to learn these guys were dead and none of it mattered. Yeah, asshattery, because if the “”Lost”” writers can cop out on endings and make up words, I can too.

    — Kristina Bui is a political science and journalism sopohmore. She can be reached at

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