This illuminating guide to the award-winning television show helps "Lost" fanatics piece together the latest additions to the puzzle from season four with detailed discussions of the characters, their backgrounds, and the mysterious islands. 50 b&w photos.
About the Author
Nikki Stafford is the author of six books, including the first two volumes of Finding Lost, Bite Me! An Unofficial Guide to the World of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and is co-author of Uncovering Alias: An Unofficial Guide. She blogs at nikkistafford.blogspot.com
Read an Excerpt
Season 1 of Lost was immensely popular. But by season 2 the ratings had begun to decline. This was either thanks to the inefficient scheduling of episodes (a couple of weeks of new episodes followed by a month of reruns, then three weeks back on and three more weeks of reruns) or thanks to the exposition of the story lines and the deepening of the mysteries (with no answers) that had fans scratching their heads. By season 3, when the network aired six episodes that were heavy on the Others, Kate, Jack, and Sawyer, and very light on everyone else, and when they ran the rest of the season a full three months later, those fans who were already frustrated by the show jumped ship, which left only the hardcore fans behind.
Thank goodness we stayed. We’ve loved Lost unbendingly from the beginning, but season 4 was mind–blowing.
In fact, the fourth season won back many viewers. Reduced to a mere 13 episodes due to the WGA Writers’ Strike, this season was short, but packed with intrigue, drama, mysteries, and answers. During an interview I did while the Writers’ Strike was on, a journalist asked me why I thought season 4 was getting great ratings and was so critically acclaimed. Was it because of the strike?, he asked. I said the answer was manifold. Yes, the Writers’ Strike (which lasted from November 2007 to February 2008) created a dearth of new programming in January and February, precisely the time Lost began rolling out brand new episodes. Or it could have been the timing of the DVDs. In previous seasons, new fans of the show would buy the DVDs when they came out — usually around September 7 or 8 — and try to make it through the episodes in two weeks before the new season started. But unless you’re a die–hard television viewer, such a schedule could be tough. When some viewers couldn’t finish the season, they wouldn’t dare begin the new one. So, they’d wait for the next season’s DVDs to come out a year later. These fans wouldn’t be counted in the ratings for that season. For season 4, however, the previous season’s DVDs were released on December 11, and the new season didn’t begin until January 31, giving new fans plenty of time to watch not only season 3, but the first two seasons as well.
But in my opinion, the main reason the new season was so good is because showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have an end date. ABC has done the unthinkable and given them an end date of 2010, with three seasons of 16 episodes each. Knowing there are 48 more hours in which to tell the story, “Darlton” (as fans like to call the two men) have mapped out a plan. They know how to answer certain huge questions, when to drop the clues in there, and when they should start on the big reveal. This plan has allowed the storytelling to be smooth, it’s given us so many answers, and the new questions seem to be leading into more obvious territories than in previous seasons.
In other words, it’s starting to unveil itself like a beautifully told fairy tale, one where the writer already knows how it’s going to end and how many pages he has left in which to tell it.
If season 1 was about trying to be rescued, season 2 was about learning to live with each other on the island, and season 3 was about dealing with the native people on the island, then season 4 is about the invasion by the outside world into the microcosm of the island, and what that does to the people on it. Do the freighter people come in peace? Do they want to rescue the Losties? Or, as Ben famously says in “Through the Looking Glass,” is making contact with that ship “the beginning of the end”?
Table of Contents
How Not to Get Lost vii
"The Beginning of the End": Season 4 1
Season 4 January-May 2008
The Beginning of the End (Hurley) 7
Confirmed Dead (freighter folk) 18
The Freighter Folk Lance Reddick Jeff Fahey Jeremy Davies Rebecca Mader Ken Leung 26
Find815: The 2008 Lost ARG 31
The Economist (Sayid) 35
Funny Lost on the Web 41
Eggtown (Kate) 43
The Invention of Morel 55
The Constant (Desmond) 60
Wormholes and Time Lags and Course Bearings, Oh My! 63
The Other Woman (Juliet) 74
The Tempest 82
Ji Yeon (Sun, Jin) 86
Get Lost on YouTube 91
Meet Kevin Johnson (Michael) 94
The 2007-2008 Writers' Strike 103
The Shape of Things to Come (Ben) 107
"Let's Do the Time Warp Again!": The Time Loop Theory 117
Something Nice Back Home (Jack) 121
Missing Pieces: The Lost Mobisodes 131
Cabin Fever (Locke) 141
John Lock and Ben Linus: Cain and Abel? 150
Abaddon: The Destroyer? 153
Mystery Tales #40 155
There's No Place Like Home, Part 1 (Oceanic 6) 159
Sawyer's Nicknames 166
Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall 169
There's No Place Like Home, Parts 2 & 3 (Oceanic 6) 170
Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) 195
Flashforward Timeline 199