We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Programming….

After seeing this past Wednesday night’s episode of Lost (Nov. 1) I had to interrupt the series I’ve been writing on the spirituality of the show to comment on this episode. All I can say is, Wow. Or maybe it should be, “Huh??!!?!???” I thought it was very strange (weird would be a better word).

This episode was also related to spirituality. And at first I thought things were headed in a positive direction. At the beginning Ben (a.k.a. “Henry Gale”–someone on another blog jokingly referred to him as “Benry”), the leader of “The Others,” marvels that Jack, who is a surgeon, showed up on the island just when Ben needed surgery to remove the tumor on his neck. Ben comments that “if that doesn’t show there’s a God, then I don’t know what does.” (Of course, I’m wondering whether Ben really has cancer or is–once again–only playing with Jack’s mind. Also, a statement like this coming from Ben is replete with ironic undertones in light of Ben’s sinister actions towards Jack and the other castaways captured by The Others. But all that’s a discussion for another blog.)

Then later in the episode we’re taken once again back into the past of Eko, the African drug lord turned Catholic priest. At first I thought the story was going to move in a redemptive direction here. We’re shown more of Eko’s past sins (and the characters actually use that word to describe them), as well as the remorse he felt many years. Clearly he’s been wrestling with these demons for a long time. Perhaps he’s finally going to be able to lay them to rest and find peace?

But then toward the end it all takes a very dark turn. (If you haven’t seen the episode yet and you don’t want the ending ruined, you might want to stop reading here until you’ve had a chance to watch it….) Eko finally claims he hasn’t sinned at all, he’s just done what he needed to do to survive; so he claims he has nothing to repent of.

Next thing we know, Eko is confronted again by the strange black fog-entity that has appeared in a few earlier episodes. The last time it confronted Eko he was able to send it on its way through something resembling spiritual warfare. When the entity appears again this time, Eko tries to rebuke it again as he did before. For a moment I was wondering if this might provide a good example or symbol of spiritual warfare.

But once again, the expected (or hoped for?) outcome was not to be. The black fog-entity grows very large and then takes a shape resembling a huge black hand, picks Eko up, and begins to smash him violently against the ground, until he’s finally near death.

So what are we to make of this bizarre twist? Is this supposed to be some kind of judgment on Eko for his refusal to repent? I’m inclined to doubt it, since the show doesn’t normally move in the direction of traditional Christian interpretations on spiritual matters.

A friend tells me some Lost enthusiasts speculate that the black fog-entity is actually a man-made creation using nano-technology, and is perhaps being manipulated by whoever is still on the island related to the Dharma initiative. Could be, I suppose….

Then there’s John Locke’s statement at the close of the episode. Eko whispers something just before he dies, and John leans down to hear it. Another character asks him what Eko said, and John replies, “He said that we’re next.” This would seem to imply that whatever the fog-entity is, it’s an evil force on the island that’s out to harm (kill?) the people there. This would put the entity in the “monster” category….

I must say, though, that whether the show’s writers mean it or not, to me the black entity seems like a representation of the demonic, specifically in terms of how the devil would like to be viewed–powerful, life-threatening, unstoppable, and arousing fear. Is the message of Lost that evil is stronger than good and will prevail in the end, despite all the efforts of human beings to bring about good?

It’s too soon to tell. But I will say I’m starting to wonder. Every time it looks like something good is about to happen on the show, there’s a sudden twist and evil happens instead. Think about how many key characters have been suddenly and cruelly murdered so far. Is this what we have to look forward to? Is this the answer the writers have to the mysteries of the show–that slowly all the characters are going kill each other off one by one? Is this what we have to look forward to? As I said, it’s too soon to tell. But I’m starting to wonder. (From what little I’ve read on the internet, apparently others are wondering, too….)

I read part of an interesting blog about this episode by a couple of writers for the Washington Post, which you can access at this URL (you can copy and paste it into your web browser, just be sure to remove the hard return before the word “lost_” so it all goes onto one line):

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/celebritology/2006/11/
lost_episode_5_dueling_analyse.html#more

The views expressed there are not necessarily my own. But it provides some helpful background in terms of better understanding the Nov. 1 episode for people like me who’ve missed some episodes along the way.

One interesting thing they point out is that one of the co-creators of Lost has ties to Tom Cruise, and that the teachings of Scientology may influence the spiritual themes presented in the show. If this is true, it might explain some of the things I’ve been pondering in my other blog entries….

Well, I have a little more to say about this episode, but it’s past my bed time, so I’m going to sign off for now. If you saw the episode in question feel free to post a comment so we can get your take on this bizarre plot twist on Lost.

P.S. – My work schedule has changed, so I may have less time to work on these posts, meaning they may become more infrequent. Please keep checking back, though, because I will continue posting. Also, I’m hoping to add a link on here soon where anyone interested can subscribe to my blog and receive notice when I make a new entry.

Blessings! ~ Morgan

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