An Open Letter to Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse

Dear LOSTerminds Cuse and Lindeloff,

Here stands a TV Addict divided.

On the one hand, I would like to take this opportunity to wholeheartedly applaud you guys for sticking to your creative vision and seeing it through to the end.

On the other hand, I’d like to remind the two of you that you are not running BATTLESTAR GALACTICA. You don not have a mere 10 episodes remaining to wrap up your story (you’ve got 30.) And more importantly, not everybody who watches your show shares Jeff Jensen or Dr. Artz’s encyclopedic level of knowledge when it comes to everything Dharma.

Again, allow me to reiterate: Across the board, from acting to writing and every department in between, I lack the superlatives to properly express my appreciation for the sheer brilliance and creative audacity that is LOST.

But to borrow a phrase from last night’s Hurley-centric story-line, “Actually, I was kinda confused by that part…”

Or to be more specific: Benjamin Linus’ true intentions! The deal with Charlotte! Ms. Hawking! White flashes! Time travel! Parallel Narratives! Flash-forwards! Flash-backs! Jill the Butcher! Ghost Anna Lucia! Marvin Candle! Daniel Faraday! His rules! Wait! What? Everybody is a Cylon… sorry, wrong show.

Well, you get the idea. My head is still spinning. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After-all, good, sorry great television should challenge, should get you thinking and most of all should generate discussion. An assessment echoed by BSG showrunner Ronald D. Moore when asked in an interview posted on yesterday if he was pleased with the fan reaction to Friday’s huge Cylon reveal. “I’m pleased. It got a huge response and that’s what you go for. You try and get a response our of your audience. You want them to feel something, have a reaction, think what it means when Dualla blows her brains out. Whatever their specific reaction is is fine with me as long as they have a reaction and it means something.”

But the question remains: Is it too much to expect the average viewer to remember that the entire series now hinges on a warning (“If you don’t do those things, Desmond David Hume, every single one of us is dead!”) Ms. Hawkin (Fionnula Flanagan) gave to Desmond in an episode that aired almost two years ago?

With two seasons remaining, would it behoove Cuse and Lindeloff to keep in mind that not everybody watches the show with LOST co-producer and longtime script coordinator Gregg Nations at their side to remind them of the hilarious irony that was the death of “red shirt” Neil Frogurt.

This TV Addict certainly thinks so.

Agree, disagree, post away.

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  • BJ

    Thank you! Like you said, LOST is definitely a AAA show on all fronts but even before the time and day change and the writers strike the show was losing viewers because of it’s overly complex nature.

    I understand that it’s a serial and I need to be paying attention but please don’t expect me to remember EVERYTHING so that when we are treated to a reveal that is supposed to make sense to us or shock me I have no idea why.

  • Josh Emerson

    YES. I’ve watched most episodes of Lost, and I had absolutely no clue about this warning that happened two years ago until you said it in this post. I can only imagine what casual viewers are thinking watching the show.

    Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed the episode last night and all the questions raised. But I can see the show just bleeding viewers this season, especially if Fox schedules Idol in the 9PM spot.

  • Annabel

    My issue wasn’t really with Desmond’s warning…I caught on to that pretty quickly. The time travel thing is what has my brain fried…
    So from what I understand, the castaways are travelling through time uncontrollably….
    IF this is right, then I have 2 questions:
    1. why would the island physically disappear? If only the castaways are time travelling, why would the island move…and even if it were moving back in time, wouldn’t it just splat on top of the past island???
    2. why are only the castaways affected by the time travel? shouldn’t everyone who was on the island at the time of the move be affected?

  • Hil

    With an end date in place and relative assurance they will get to finish their story the way they want to I don’t really think they are overly concerned with casual viewers being confused. The casual viewer has been confused since day one and either watch or don’t already. I don’t really want them to write to the lowest common denominator anyway. Would BSG turn the show into a lighthearted comedy just because the casual viewer thinks it is too depressing? Forget the story, make it lighthearted fun. Right? I’d hate to think they’d dumb it down and tell a different story after coming this far.

    Can we just stop being concerned with the average fan? I have not rewatched LOST since season one, didn’t watch a single episode at all over the hiatus, and I wasn’t confused on who was who. Even if you don’t recognize someone at first I don’t think it really detracts from the show. I am watching 24 this season and don’t know who all the recurring characters are and can still figure it out enough to watch.

  • TVFan

    Having seen every episode I still had trouble following last night’s premiere so I’m going to agree with you TVA. It’s one thing for a show to have layers and depth, it’s another for it to be indecipherable.

  • bws

    I would agree with Hil, sometimes 24 is a lot harder to keep track of the characters. People shouldn’t be too concerned with the level of confusion going on last night. We weren’t supposed to understand it. Really. Not even Jensen or Arzt were supposed to get it. It was only the first two segments of this season’s story. It was deliberately confusing and mind-melding to make reveals 4,5,6 episodes later even more astounding. This season, even more than the others, is a giant jigsaw puzzle. We take pieces from the upper left, a corner here, a piece in the middle… but we don’t know what it is. The story telling method of LOST mimics the story and that’s what’s important to remember. It may not be always obvious but answers are coming very fast now and I expect LOST to continue its breakneck pace. Seventy hours, Ben? GET GOING! The event window is closing!

  • Amelia

    no i didn’t have any problems.
    maybe because i watched it in a group and we could help each other. but at no point last night was i like wtf is going on.

    i’ve maybe seen reruns of a handful of episodes, and read recaps as the shows happen in some seasons. but i didn’t even watch the recap episode last night.

    what specifically confused other people? the time travel?

  • Hil

    Perhaps you all are just trying a little too hard. I don’t think we are supposed to know what everything means quite yet. If you get the fact that a) the oceanic six have fractured since being rescued b) they have 70 hours to get back and are not even close to succeeding and, c) the survivors on the island are frakked then you are doing pretty good.

    The rest of it seems like a series of questions we will get answered this season as things unfold. Why is Charlotte getting the nose bleeds while no one else is? Is Locke going to stay dead? Why has Sun seemed to turn so cold to her friends? What is all the time jumping leading up to? Why don’t the others time jump as well? What is the mysterious power source? Is that old lady also Faraday’s mum and what does she have to do with Ben? Was that baby Miles there? Not knowing the answers at this point doesn’t detract for me because they will likely continue to be fleshed out. Did we really expect to see Charlotte get a nose bleed in one scene and have the answer to that given a few minutes later?

    Is this how it is going to be post-Lost every Thursday here? The show has always been like this. Why start complaining now?

  • Jillian

    Like Amelia, I watch LOST with my friends and as a community, we usually can remind each other the pieces that we’ve forgotten. I think that’s part of the fun of LOST for me is when someone says, “That’s the lady who Desmond met!” while I’m saying, “I bet that’s Faraday’s mom.”

    We usually spend a half hour afterward unpacking things together and then going online to see what else we might have missed. The next few days we shoot e-mails to each other… the online water cooler.

    I think LOST viewing says something about how the next generation can interact with TV shows.

    It’s fun. 😀

  • Kara

    I can’t say I agree with you. The episodes I most recently rewatched were Season 1, I’m pretty sure I’m not entirely getting the time travel rules, and I didn’t recognize the flambéed redshirt at all, but that didn’t keep me from enjoying the premiere quite a lot.

    I thought the first episode in particular was well structured, with something like a flash forward in the beginning, and the island slowly being revealed to be skipping around, with Faraday at hand to explain at least the basic rules. Meanwhile, we got caught up with the off-islanders one by one, culminating in Desmond being the connection between off- and on-island storyline. I don’t know, didn’t seem that extremely complicated to me. *shrugs*

  • Nate

    Okay, first of all where are you getting the idea that the entire show hinges on that one line? even if one did not realize that that woman was Ms Hawkings it did not ruin anything for them, they just didn’t get the ‘holy sh!t’ reaction that the rest of us did. There is nothing anyone can do about that. Secondly why in the world would us loyal fans want the show to be dumbed down just to appease the so called “casual viewers”, the Frogurt joke, the Ms Hawkings reference are a reward to us true fans who have stuck with the show all the way, who stood by Lost and watched each and every episode during season 2/first half of season3 when everyone was taking a dump on the show and before it was cool to love LOST again. One didn’t have to be DocJensen or DocArzt to get those references. It is the writers’ way of thanking us for having faith in them for 4 seasons, and now that we are finally getting the payoff, you want them to back off? Damon and Carlton you kicked ass with these episodes, don’t change a thing!

  • I have to defend the TV Addict here, I don’t think he was expecting to get answers to everything and not get any new mysteries. I think the issue here (and I agree) is that the writers expect fans to remember characters we met two seasons ago or things that were said a year ago. I personally have a hard time remembering what happened last season, so the whole shocking ending was lost on me (pun not intended). I didn’t realize who that lady was until I read this post and I still don’t remember what she told Desmond.

    As for the new “mysteries,” time travel and stuff, I didn’t have any issues with that because it was introduced in the episode, so I wasn’t expecting answers.

    So I feel you TV Addict 🙂 and of course I still love Lost none the less…maybe I should go watch the first 4 seasons again.

  • Amelia

    oh i always was thinking about it today.
    and there is nothing so far we’ve learned to say that the others aren’t unstuck in time. we didn’t see any clips of the present others, only the past others. it’s likely they’re skipping time too and they just didn’t show it to us.

    because they thought you’d realize and they just didn’t have the time to explain that.

  • Ace

    I finally had a chance to watch last night and it was AWESOME. I love LOST and feel so sorry for the people who gave up during season 2. If they had just stuck around for like 3 more episodes they would realize that they are missing one of the best shows on TV!

    I think the creators only expect you to remember really big moments from previous episodes. How could you forget that a random woman told Desmond that everyone’s fate depended on him? That was a woah dramatic moment!

    Your “red shirt” comment is funny b/c as soon as Neil came on screen I turned to my husband and said “that guy is just like one of those characters that pops in a Star Trek episode and you just KNOW that they are there purely to die some horrific death so they don’t have to kill a main character.” Poor Neil, I was so right.

    Can’t wait for next week :).

  • Hil

    Amelia, Locke was hanging out with the Others when the time skip first started and they vanished along with the island and left him by himself. Implying that they stayed with the island while Locke traveled through time along with the rest of our Losties. So the present Others are not affected like our Losties and are not skipping through time but sticking with the island. Perhaps because they have deeper connection to the island or are native to it.

  • SimplyKimberly

    I agree. I feel like I just finished watching half a season’s worth of plot in two hours time. There was so much to digest and recall that I am sure I missed a heck of a lot along the way.

    My brain is quite thoroughly scrambled now, but I love it. And one thing is clear to me now, Michael Emerson is perfection. Benjamin Linus and all of his complexities is quite simply the most perfect character ever conceived for television and Emerson delivers every single time.

  • I’ve seen every episode but one Season 2 episode and I was definitely confused. I just expect it with LOST now. It frustrates me, but it won’t stop me from tuning in.

    I do hope, however, that, in the end, I don’t look back on the years of LOST and think “Man, that was a huge waste of time.”