Dear Seth and Chad,
Is it too late for me to withdraw my request that Lost’s characters start asking meaningful questions about the island? With just four episodes remaining before the clock runs out, Jack and others are pushing for answers—and I don’t like it.
For instance, Dr. Jack asked Smokey last night if he’d taken on the form of his dead father way back in Season 1. At first I wanted to cheer. Finally somebody was posing a basic, logical question, which, if answered, could lead to sharper questions and yet more resolution. A payoff that I richly deserve! Yes, Smokey says—surprising absolutely nobody who has followed the show even tangentially—I took the form of your father. But why? asks Dr. Jack. Because you needed to find water, says Smokey.
Needed to find water?! Needed to find water?! On a mountainous, emerald green island you need supernatural help to find fresh water? Does Dr. Jack ask a remotely intelligent follow-up? No, the interview ends almost as quickly as it began, with Smokey offering, as if he were the island’s concierge, “All I’ve ever been interested in is helping you.”
Dr. Jack shakes a few more clues loose, getting Smokey to say that John Locke was a stupid man—stupid to believe he was brought to the island for a reason. But why was that a stupid belief? After all, others were brought to the island as “candidates.” Then Smokey expands the insult: “John Locke was not a believer, Jack, he was a sucker.”
I think I know who the sucker is. His name is Jack Shafer, and he’s been watching this show for six seasons.
I’ve been complaining off-blog all season about how the show has criminally ignored such practicalities of island life such as laundry, dental hygiene, shaving, sewing, fetching water, finding Dharma provisions, growing food, or killing for meat. My prayers were sort of answered last night when Hugo, Frank, Sun, Kate, and Claire went down into the hold of the yacht to eat the miracle of Beanie-Weenies or SpaghettiOs or whatever the cupboards held. (By the way—the castaways’ newfound curiosity is obviously limited. You’d think they might have wondered aloud about the provenance of the grub. But as Smokey noted in a different context, stupidity seems abundant on the island.)
As long as I’m feeding my rage, I’d like to discuss one of your topics, Seth—namely the belief that if you let Smokey talk to you, you become his slave. This is obviously not true. Sawyer has repeatedly shot the bull with Smokey, even taking detailed instructions from him, and he seems to be bursting with free will. Likewise, Zoe travels from Hydra to the main island and delivers an ultimatum from Widmore. She appears able to conduct a full-bore conversation with Smokey without becoming his fool. Even Claire, a Smokey acolyte for three years, throws off his hypnotic charms easily enough when Kate promises to reunite her with her son. Only Sayid seems to have become a permanent Smokey captive, and he’s a frigging zombie. I write seems, because it’s obvious that Desmond talked Sayid out of executing him in the well, right? Is the smoke monster a tad overrated?
Other territories of raging stupidity: Can you kill a smoke monster with an artillery shell? Obviously not, if smoke monsters merely rent human bodies. So why are Widmore’s people, who know that Smokey fears only electromagnetic radiation, bombing him? What are they going to hit him with next? Nerf darts? If they succeed in reducing Locke’s body to a fine red mist (to paraphrase Seth from two weeks ago), there will be ample corpses for him to inhabit. It’s sloppy plotting like this that makes me hate Lost. Finally, what was with the martial music in the background as Sawyer laid out his plan to betray Smokey? It sounded like something out of the 1980s show The A-Team. I demand answers, Chad. Why are Lost’s writers treating us like morons?
The show’s title, “The Last Recruit,” probably refers to the concussed Dr. Jack, who is rescued from Widmore’s bombardment by Smokey. “You’re with me now,” Smokey says to Dr. Jack. Oh, please, god, don’t let the show end with a zombified Jack and Smokey fighting Widmore and Co. Please. Do me this favor and I’ll even start watching Vand FlashForward.
On a lighter, less bitchy note, this must be the first Lost in ages in which nobody is shot in the chest or involved in a vehicular accident. Lostpediacatalogs more than a dozen accidents in which cars plow into cars, into pedestrians, fly off the end of docks, or otherwise bend their fenders. Well, there’s always next week. Pleasant driving, and don’t forget to signal before you turn.