Friday, May 28, 2010

LOST Tells Us To Put a Cork In It

WARNING: If you have not yet seen the Lost Finale or you think that the show is the most idiotic story ever told please stop reading now.

Whether it's a stingy vending machine or the power source to a mystical island, the secrets of LOST boiled down to my only I.T. advice:

Unplug it.
Plug it back in.
Hope the problem goes away.

This is the hieroglyphic-covered stone that was unplugged and replaced to solve all the problems on LOST.
In "Ab Aeterno" it was described as a cork holding back evil from taking over the world.

In "Across the Sea" the glowing electromagnetic light of the pool surrounding the cork was described as "the source of all life."

Good versus evil.

In some ways it was disappointing that a show with such murky morality ended up being blatantly concerned with a simple, black and white, Star-Wars worldview. But this image of the cork hides a more intriguing depiction of the interdependence between these forces.

What did you expect to happen when the stone cork was removed? I expected more smoky evil to be released. Desmond expected more time travel inducing electromagnetic light to be released. But the actual result when the cork was removed was...nothingness. Nothing came out of the opened hole, the glowing light (which seemed to be the source of the island's magic) disappeared, and both the smoke monster (Locke) and the protector (now Jack) were rendered mortal, enabling them to kill each other.

Removing the cork didn't release either good or evil, they negated each other. This seemed to imply an interdependence. Good is the result of suppressing evil, and evil is defined as the thing that good is keeping at bay, and neither can exist without the other. When good and evil annihilated each other, the island started crumbling because it was a magical place and no more magic could exist without the tension between good and evil.

This is also a statement on storytelling. Story is conflict. A protagonist (or group of protagonists) struggles against an obstacle, but as soon as the conflict is removed (rolled away like the stone in the cave) the story ceases to be. Without this magical tension at the heart of the story, the narrative comes crumbling down around the characters like our island did and the story comes to an end.

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