THE VAULT

Hopelessly Lost
January 9, 2006 by The Colonel

Lost fever is sweeping the nation like a screaming bubonic plague of theoretical guano. As you may already know, it’s a bit hard to keep up with all of the characters and events. If you’ve missed so much as two seconds of any given episode, then you’re likely further behind than a fat asthmatic running a hundred-meter dash.

Whether you’re new to Lost or just in need of a refresher, the staff here at Slantmouth have tasked me with preparing a brief, damn-near spoiler-free synopsis of this hit show before the latest episode drops this Wednesday. Enjoy, and try to keep up, will you?

In case you’ve been living in the belly of a whale with no cable or bad reception, we’ll start at the beginning. Lost revolves around a group of people who miraculously survive a horrible plane crash and must scrape together an existence on an island without combs, brushes or styling gels of any kind. This brings us to one of the most perplexing mysteries on Lost- how do they keep their hair looking so chic?

Luckily, skill sets and ethnic backgrounds are quite diverse on the Island, thus greatly increasing the odds of survival and hilarity! There’s a doctor, a Korean couple, a Black construction worker, his big-headed son, a sad clown, an Iraqi communication specialist, a survival-expert/meta-physicist, a whiny rich girl, her rich whiny brother, a funny fat guy, a chimpanzee named Scatters, a pregnant lady, a heroin-addicted bassist, a dog, a hot chick and a bad-ass renegade from the south who hates both people and things. I can’t help but notice the lack of Philosophy Majors, but perhaps the show is complex enough as is.

There is also a polar bear. And some sort of a smoke monster or metro bus or tank… or something. It knocks over trees and appears to be made of chimney soot. It may or may not enjoy chocolate pudding. The details are foggy, as I was deeply embroiled in a Mario Kart DS battle at the time. Great game.

Every week, we delve deeper into the back-story of each survivor. Well, each important survivor, because there’s at least 723 people that we’ve seen maybe twice. Incidentally, you can tell who’s important by gauging how interesting they look, whether they used to be a hobbit, or if they were one of five people that formed a party.

Of course, each back-story ties in to what’s going on with said survivor during each episode. This makes for either a bunch of insane coincidences, or they’re all dead and the Island is actually some sort of really sexy Purgatory.

Mysterious things happen gratuitously on the Island. Like people get eaten by the monster and guys hear whispering in the woods. Somehow compasses don’t work. Horny people fall in love. Etcetera.

To further heighten all of this mysterious mystery, a crazy French lady, ironically named Crazy LeFrench, tells them of this other group on the Island called; you guessed it, the “Others.” Creepy, but is it true?

Crazy informs our dear survivors that the Others have been on the island for a long time and are up to no good. She also provides them with a handy pie chart that details the Others’ interests:

This last revelation gave rise to the most recent and plausible Lost theory- that the Island is actually the “Pirate Island” attraction located at the infamous Neverland Ranch. What kind of Pirate is still unspecified. Personally, I find this guy a lot creepier than any gargantuan, tree stomping, pilot eating, smoke-bodied beast of doom.

And if all of this intrigue isn’t spellbinding enough, wait, there’s more! We’re built up all Season One about the mystery of the Hatch. They tried countless times to get it open. The most memorable effort was a massive wooden trebuchet, which, had they known as much about trebuchets as I do, would never have happened. Heed this warning; trebuchets are nothing to but trouble. They finally manage to blast the Hatch open in an impressive explosion with some dynamite found in a wrecked slave ship. What’re the odds?

As expected, the Hatch turns out to be a groovy, underground 70’s lounge. It has all the amenities that make a hatch a home, such as a record player, a reel-to-reel film projector, a shower, a Mac, some magnetic walls and a cozy pantry. The jug marked “Jesus Juice” on the back shelf further proves the previously mentioned Neverland Theory.

They do some totally far-out things in the Hatch. Like watch film reels about awesome foundations, snort coke off of decorative mirrors, dance all night to the hits of “The Mamas and The Papas” and reset the aforementioned Mac every 108 minutes or something bad will undoubtedly happen.

Theories on what resetting the computer actually accomplishes range from connecting with a satellite uplink to dropping another seal cub into Star Jones’ feeding trough. Frankly, I think the 108 minute reset gives another angel its wings, but then again, I’m capable of tying together several completely unrelated events into stunning conclusions in ways that defy mortal logic. I shall call this ability “Enhanced Postulation.”

While all of this other stuff is going on, the construction worker builds a raft and sets out to sea with his big-headed boy, the southern hard-ass, and the Korean gangster/hubby. They sail off the island only to have the kid kidnapped and the raft blown up by some jerks in a boat. Near-tragic incidents ensue with ferocity. After the “Rafties” are almost eaten by a shark, they wash up on shore to have Korean gangster running out of the woods screaming, “Others!”

This group turns out to be the “Tailies,” who proceed to lock up the Rafties in a dug out prison. Vietnam, anyone? We learn more about the Others, who sound more and more like a bunch of hippy flower children out for revenge.

The Tailies also miraculously survived the crash, only they were in the tail end of the plane and wound up dumped on the other end of the Island. The Tailies end up with all of four people left out of an original survivor stock of 23! Pretty pathetic, right? I mean, that’s not even one in six. They would’ve had more success surviving a midnight run through a den of crack-addicted lions.

The remaining Tailies are the Hispanic drunkard, the annoying blonde drunkard, Bernard, and Mr. Eko, cool dude from the beyond. To make things more interesting (and more complicated) than they already are, the Rafties lead the Tailies back to their camp (this is starting to sound like Westside Story).

Now that everyone is in one place, someone dies and nothing else happens except back-story, back-story, back-story. Suddenly, ABC decides that we can’t watch anything but reruns for a month. My guess is they’re having the Lost season finale during sweeps to compete with Fox’s latest wholesome endeavors, “Ninja Monkey Knife Fights Gone Wild” followed by, “The World’s Craziest Cripple Cage Matches.

So, until Wednesday, we all wait to see what’s in store for our dear, dear Islanders. Have no fear about what you have learned here today. Although I have summed up a good deal, I can assure you that I haven’t given away anything regarding the seemingly most important themes and symbols that dwell in the land of Lost. There are still the Numbers (4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42), which, if dialed in the dark on a rotary phone, will take you to the voicemail of Satan himself.

Other things to watch for:
The black and white themes
The religious themes (Catholic mostly, and we’re not talking Priests)
The literary references
The fact that most Survivors have dysfunctional parents
The sick fascination with eyes
Anything green

Those should keep you busy noodling for quite some time.

To your advantage, I’m sure I’ve left something out, gotten something wrong or completely fabricated a character or two. Regardless, you should be well on your way to being a Level 1 Lost fan. If you master the Numbers and reach Level 2, you will receive a decorative name badge, a bumper sticker, and cluster of J.J. Abrams’ hair in a vile to wear around your neck.

Enjoy Lost on Wednesday, and try to pay attention.
We don’t want to have to do this again.

~The Colonel