“Franz Kafka, call your office.”
That was my first thought after watching the season premiere and first regular episode of Lost recently. Lost started off as part jungle adventure, part Star Trek-like plea for racial and ethnic harmony, and part philosophical/theological meditation on issues such as sin and redemption and the role of divine providence, blind fate, and random chance. Lately, however, the show seems to have veered off into this uber-creepy, super-paranoid territory. I watched Season 1 pretty faithfully, and missed much of Season 2 for one reason or another, but this seems to be the upshot:
In season 2 we learned the hatch that Locke and Boone discovered at the end of Season 1 leads down to a vast underground complex housing a vast underground, computerized, electromagnetic something-or-other that plays havoc with navigational equipment and was responsible for all the castaways being marooned on the island: the survivors of Flight 815; Danielle the crazy French scientist; Desmond, the British soldier turned round-the-world sailor; and Mr. Eko, the African warlord/drug smuggler turned faux priest. From the looks of the computers used to run the whatever-it-is, all this stuff was built in the ’70s by some outfit called “The Dharma Initiative.” Who they are, and why they built all this, we still don’t know.
In Season 2 we also learned that there’s a second group of Flight 815 survivors who apparently have their own agenda. Or is there in reality a third group that’s manipulating everyone? Members of this third group kidnapped Michael and his son Walt and forced Michael to spy on Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Sayyid, et al. Michael murdered two of the second group when his spying was discovered. Jack, Kate, and Sawyer went to find Michael and get to the bottom of all of this but promptly got themselves captured by this mysterious third group. In return for their cooperation, Michael and Walt were placed on a boat and given a compass bearing that they were told would lead to rescue. Meanwhile, Locke, Eko, and Desmond tried to destroy the gianormous, computer-powered, electromagnetic thingamabob.
Now at the beginning of Season 3, it appears that this third group was on the island all along, and the crash of Flight 815 was deliberately induced by their super-duper whatchamajigger. Jack wakes up in a cell in an enormous underground–nay, underwater–complex (Must be one big frickin’ island!) being interrogated by a lovely but cold-hearted woman named Juliet. She has a full dossier on him. How did she find out all this stuff and why? What does she want to know? Meanwhile, Sawyer and Kate are being held above ground in cages that look as though they were originally built for animals. Sawyer can get “fish biscuits” only if he works levers in the correct sequence, and gets an electric shock if he does not. Kate is treated to a lavish breakfast with the leader of this third group (Henry?), but she refuses any of it when he refuses to release Jack and Sawyer. He promises her “the next two weeks will be very unpleasant.” At the end of last week’s episode, Henry reveals that he and his group have been in contact with the outside world all along and offers Jack a Faustian bargain: if Jack will cooperate with him, Henry will release him and allow him to go home. Will Jack take the deal? Stay tuned.
Now you see why I’m confused? I suppose part of it is my own fault for missing some episodes, but Sheez, Louise! J. J. Abrams & Co. could make things a teensy bit clearer, ya know. Will somebody please explain what the funk is going on with this show?