Episode 21 cleverly titled: ? , definitely left anyone who watched it with many unanswered questions On the 22nd September 2004, a global phenomenon struck America – Lost. Observing the success of the programme, forty four other countries soon followed the Lost trend. The cult circled the planet, influencing everywhere from the UK, Australia, Poland and Israel. A quick synopsis for anyone (isolated enough to be) unfamiliar with Lost: Forty-eight survivors of a near-fatal plane crash must learn to fend for themselves and solve the mysteries and unusual occurrences on a deserted island.
As an avid fan, I must admit that I have never failed to tune my television in to watch the weekly instalments of LOST. Each episode bombards me with talented actors, brilliant camera techniques and breathtaking scenery. Season 2: Episode 21: ? , did not fail to meet my high expectations either. Tension was built up from the moment Lost crashed onto our screens with its intriguing advertising, gaining viewers’ attention before the first episode had even aired and audiences were not disappointed. As the series developed each episode commenced with the usual ‘Previously on Lost’.
I am reminded of the unbelievable, unanswered and unfinished events from the previous episode. I feel like rather than watching a weekly drama I am viewing a blockbuster film each week. The tension in Lost is what keeps not only me, but the other millions of faithful fans hooked on Lost; in the same way that you get hooked on a cheesy song with a catchy chorus. Unlikely tendencies and supernatural themes ripple through Losts crystal blue waters. At a glance the island is seemingly pure and serene, but if you scratch the surface a little, the islands secrets start to taint its crystal blue waters.
Watching Episode 21, the sheer genius of how the camera is used to create different effects startled me. One of the most common techniques is what can simply be described as the ‘over the shoulder technique’. When two people are having a conversation a shot/reverse shot is used, but the unusual thing is that it is done from just behind the shoulder of the person who is speaking. It is an intricately thought of and subtle detail, but it emphasises the idea of the plane crash survivors always being watched and monitored. This idea of being watched and observed is used again at a different stage in the episode.
While Mr. Eko and Locke are in the jungle they are filmed through the canopy of trees, and you can literally sense someone actually hiding behind the bushes watching them. In the ‘Previously on Lost’ section of Episode 21, light is used very sophisticatedly to create moods. Natural light is what is seen on the beach, but in ‘the Hatch contrasting expressive lighting is used to create an eerie and strange feeling. Electric blues and sunburnt oranges are just two of the atypical colours used to show how similarly out of place ‘the Hatch’ is on the island.
The sound is always intelligently synchronised in Lost, its main use is to act as something to accentuate moods, feelings and tension relating to characters. A beautiful type of sound – silence – is also used to stress tense moments within each instalment. In this episode silence was used effectively; during one scene the only noise was of the character breathing. The silence captured and crystallised a magical moment within the scene. What I really do admire about Lost is the depth that the writers put into each script to make the result so interesting.
Have you ever received negative criticism from someone you know, telling you that you watch too much television? That you need to watch a little less of ‘Sky One’ and a little bit more of ‘Sky News’? Well, they have no reason to nag you for being addicted to Lost, or say that you need to watch a more educational programme. It has been a long time since I’ve watched a television programme that is intellectually stimulating, but Lost is. This is because Lost is an educational programme in a twisted sense. How you may ask, is that a lot of the ideas in Lost stem from mythology and philosophy.
As Lost fans try to unravel the programmes complex mysteries and invent new theories about why everyone is on the island, they meet these new ideas. One of the protagonists, John Locke, is named after a famous British philosopher. The philosopher wanted each of us to “use reason to search after truth, rather than simply accept the opinion of authorities or be subject to superstition”. Lost fans, does that sound slightly familiar to you? Although Lost is known for its complex mysteries, intense secrets and abundance of unanswered questions, I must confess that after watching Season 2: Episode 21 some of my questions were answered.
For anyone who is absurd enough not to have seen the episode (here is a little de-briefing) we have finally, and I stress finally, learnt something more about Locke’s question mark and Mr. Eko’s past. What have been the contributing factors to Losts success are: great advertising + a brilliant team of actors, writers, producers and directors + mystery and secrets = success! Surprisingly, it is an equation that no television programme has managed to figure out before. No, I haven’t just based Losts success on my own opinions (in case that is what you were thinking), I do have proof!
Lost has won numerous awards for categories including Best Television Drama, Best Ensemble Cast and Outstanding Drama Series. It has also been concluded that next to CSI Lost is the second most popular TV show in the world. Lost isn’t just a soap opera on a desert island. There are rich metaphors and themes to be found, such as the functioning of the mind and philosophy; on the challenges of morality and religion; on the nature of civilization and mankind; and on inner strength and spirituality. Episode 21 brings all of these thought-provoking ideas together; the ? could leave anyone theorising for weeks.