Have you bought your lottery ticket today? This afternoon, Lost fans the world over celebrate the mysteriously magical, Hurley-related moment we’ve been waiting for since we were first introduced to those blasted “Numbers.” Today, 4/8/15 at 16:23:42 marks full use of all the digits that haunted the islanders (and us) throughout the series. From that “bad luck” ticket Hurley bought, to their repetition in the castaways’ candidate numbers; from the flight identifier (Oceanic 815) to radio transmissions, DHARMA videos, door, hatch and rabbit markings; from time of death notations and asylum ramblings to the buttons Locke *had* to push on the Swan station computer every 108 (their sum) minutes, those numbers became as significant to us as they were to the show. So, let’s raise a glass and toast Lost day with a look back at all the reasons we still miss it.
Few shows have swallowed me whole, the way “Lost” did. As the first season aired, I became unable to simply watch an episode and—as with many other shows—move on to the next thing. Wednesday nights, my head would be left spinning and my emotions, aflutter, I would immediately run as fast as my fingers could carry me to Television Without Pity, read what other people were thinking and throw out my own barely coherent ramblings. By the time we were a few seasons in, there was a group of us chatting through every episode, from eight or nine o’clock on. Some nights, it was impossible to find sleep— my mind would keep racing. The next morning I’d get up and read multiple recaps and discuss further on forums or facebook, my private messages and emails bursting with this theory or that. I can’t recall ever being so completely immersed in a program’s mythology or culture before or since. I was strung out, hanging around The Fuselage squinting at screencaps, then Wikipedia, looking up literary or musical references…replaying key scenes, analyzing facial expressions, or trying to figure out who was sitting in that rocking chair in Jacob’s cabin. And you know what? I really miss it. Television doesn’t hold much challenge since “Lost” signed off.
There are shows that bring us in emotionally to connect with its characters (“Six Feet Under”) or to study them in their habitats (“The Sopranos”). Others like “Doctor Who,” give us mysteries and a rich, mythological history spanning over many years. “Battlestar Galactica” set us down in a science fiction universe and gave us incomprehensible beings in a strange new world—infusing the show with religious undertones. But “Lost” delivered us all those things, mixed together so furiously, we sometimes didn’t know which way was up. How many nights did we sit with our mouths hanging open, punctuated by that knowing *thump* that left us either enthralled, or in despair. Its visceral two-part opener exploited our collective fear of plane crashes; it exploded onto our screens, leaving our hearts in our stomachs and filling us with the same terror the Oceanic 815 passengers were experiencing. We were introduced to unforgettable characters, our impressions were gathered, and then tossed to the wind as people we thought we knew were exposed to be someone else entirely. The island’s would-be mystical shaman John Locke hid his gullibility and shame behind bravado and a box of knives. “Rock Star,” Charlie Pace tried to conceal his struggles with addiction and spent his life trying to convince everyone—including himself—he could be a worthy human being. Sawyer played bad boy to shield his own heart; Henry Gale was a bad, bad man. There were horses and monsters and polar bears (insert obligatory “Oh my!”). We flashed forward and backward and sideways, we traveled time and the island skipped. We saw heroes and killers, doctors and priests, scientists and Others, Tailies and Dharma drops and therapists and book clubs and Stations, experiments and torture, duplicating bunny rabbits, killer fences and a Purge. And that’s only scratching the surface. As each episode would start this funny feeling would come over me—some strange sense of wonder—as I’d feel myself sinking completely into this other world, like the way it feels as you go under anesthesia. “Lost” was taking me somewhere I’d never been before. I was sure one day everything would all come together like the tiny pieces of in impossibly complicated mosaic; little bits of smashed tile would suddenly begin to make sense as they magically fused into the finished picture. *I* couldn’t figure it out because these people running the show were just that much smarter than me, but when the picture was complete, all my synapses would suddenly fire and I’d have a sort of full-body knowledge orgasm.
All those years ago when J. J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof went in and cobbled together some starting bits of a story, working it into the thing it became—I truly believe their intentions were good. So
even though they promised everyone wasn’t dead or in purgatory, on this second anniversary of “The End,” let’s remember all the things and people we still miss.
Thank you “Lost,” for…
108. A lasting first image.
107. Drawing us right in with this chill-inducing crash aftermath.
106. Filling our hearts with fear, early on.
105. Terry O’Quinn’s glorious John Locke.
104. Don’t tell him what he can’t do.
103. A spoiled, screaming girl to dislike…
102. Who knew enough French to decode a terrifying transmission.
101. Her pretty, pretty brother.
100. A former Iraqi Republican Guard man, who’s good with a radio.
99. A snarky con-man with a quick wit and a killer smile.
98. Couples to root for and against.
97. Sun and Jin
96. Rose and Bernard
95. Kate and Sawyer
94. Juliet and Sawyer
93. Jack and Kate
92. Jack and Juliet
91. Locke and Helen
90. Hurley and Libby
89. Sayid and Shannon
88. Desmond and Penny
87. A haunting.
86. A successful language immersion program.
85. A drug rehab (and anti-smoking) retreat.
84. Good prenatal care?
83. Saving Charlie so many times.
82. Giving us (and them) hope and anxiety when the survivors began building a raft.
81. Lottery numbers for life.
80. Sawyer in glasses.
79. A poignant, yet not-too-painful first major character death.
78. The birth of Aaron Littleton.
77. The Smoke Monster.
76. Experienced islanders with helpful information.
75. One of television’s most awesome, cool, intriguing first season finales.
74. Walt’s kidnapping.
73. My Constant (not yours), Desmond and this glorious introduction to Season 2.
71. Dr. Marvin Candle.