LOST Theories - DarkUFO

(and you can figure out where it went!)

Lost had some ways of pointing to its source material that were on one hand obscure but on the other very direct and graphic. I usually find thematic relationships long before I find the corresponding graphic ones, as for instance following the perceived thematic relationship of the show to Watchmen, it was some time before I realized Terry O'Quinn's face had been made up to resemble that graphic novel's bloody smiley logo. Similarly, nearly right from the start of Lost, I saw its thematic resemblance to "One of Our Aircraft Is Empty", an episode of the British TV detective series Department S, but it was only much later that I realized Lost's makers were cluing us in to that via Charlie's "DS" signet ring, and it was only very recently that I made the connection illustrated by the paired logos above. "Dharma" sounds like "department" with a mouth full of something, and the swan silhouette looks like an S.
Likewise it was only after I'd made the thematic connection between Lost and Arthur Conan Doyle's short story "The Lost Special" that I realized that's where the TV show got its name, as well as the name of the season 1 episode "Special". It took a good while then to realize that the comic book put before the ostensible young John Locke, Mystery Tales #40, was a related clue. Other fans tried to connect the show with the contents of that issue, but the actual connection was on the cover, via the title of the series, which harks back to the "Tales of Mystery" in which "The Lost Special" appears as part of Tales of Terror and Mystery, one of the collections it's in, as well as via the scene depicted in the cartoon, which, absent the particular view from the train window, fits the story's theme.
The paradox of Lost was that it presented an especially challenging mystery by persistently putting the audience off from the very view of the plot as that of a mystery, rather than one of adventure, sci-fi, or fantasy, while at the same time giving the audience innumerable clues as to its real nature. What would one expect from a creative team that had been known for detective drama? Among the clues were many more pointing thematically to numerous episodes of Department S and to material connected to that A.C. Doyle story via its adaptations, other Doyle stories collected with it, and its probable historic inspiration: the loss of Engine (locomotive) 115 into a sink hole in Lindal on Sept. 22, 1892.
Many similar albeit less important connections are there between Lost and several other works in writing and drama. The skein of allusions can be followed in both directions, because the makers of Lost were saying, "Regardless of how it may seem, this story is about a caper, using methods similar to ones that have been used elsewhere, for motives that have been used elsewhere, and you can solve it if you're enough of a nut about detective stories." Many viewers caught that at the beginning, gathering that we were supposed to disbelieve the phony evidence of a plane crash with survivors on an island where things behaved mysteriously. However, as the program played out, more and more viewers were willing to swallow the ostensible rules of SF/fantasy to explain what we were seeing. They also dismissed visual clues as mere production errors in continuity, and ostensibly unmotivated or inconsistent actions by characters as the consequence of writers having gotten trapped in corners due to insufficient advance planning—or as mere sloppiness. Their assumptions seemed to prove out when the show ended its run without the denouement that a proper mystery story would require.
Why the makers of Lost went that far in hiding their brilliant mystery-writing handiwork, I don't know, because it made them look incompetent to everyone who didn't either solve it or at least realize there was something to solve. Study the source material, and then try watching the serial again in view of these considerations:
  • With the technology to knock people out and induce a little retrograde amnesia, you could convince them of an awful lot.
  • With magnetic levitation, holography, and just plain traditional stagecraft and stage magic, you can convince them of even more.
  • With big enough databases of faces, you can find people who look very much alike; a little plastic surgery, and you can make even more of them.
  • The enterprises controlled by Alvar Hanso would be a very big prize.
  • Supervillains and even sometimes their henchmmen traditionally have a fabulous sense of humor.
  • It was always zombie season.
  • The makers of Lost really sweated the details.

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