Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse Are Not Making Lost Just For You

Tuesday's episode of Lost has fans turning on each other like some sort of science-versus-faith debate, and executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse pretty much expected it to happen. "Across the Sea" was one of the few episodes of the series that divided the show's normally loyal fan base (I enjoyed it, but its current 8.5 user rating on TV.com ranks it as the lowest of this final season), with detractors questioning the timing and placement of the mythology-heavy episode just before the series says goodbye forever.

"We kind of planned this episode to come at this period of time because we actually wanted to take a break after the deaths of these major characters," Cuse told noted TV critic Alan Sepinwall. "It felt like this was the perfect time to take a time out from the main narrative. And since this was the final big mythological episode that we were going to do, we felt like it was a good placement for it, and now we'll roll into the finale. We make no apologies."

But should even have to think about saying they're sorry? One could argue that it's their responsibility as showrunners to provide us, the lazy viewers, with a show that entertains us. After all, it's their job. One could also argue that these two are artists, and if you don't like their art, too bad. That's the curse of the position they're in, to be loved by many at one moment, only to be turned on in a relative blink of an eye.

Cuse and Lindelof have repeatedly stated that not all of the show's mysteries will be resolved. For example, the Man in Black will probably never have a name, and that angers a lot of viewers. But when Cuse and Lindelof have answered questions, the result has been less than satisfying. A lot of the revelations we've received so far, like the origin of the whispers on the island, have been delivered in clunky ways. It's a double-edged sword; if Cuse and Lindelof don't answer questions, they get slammed. And when they do answer questions, they do so a tad sloppily. And then there's the fact that new questions are are still popping up, even as Lost winds down.

"For the show to devolve into running through a checklist of answers, we would have been, honestly, crucified for that version of the show," said Cuse. "It's ironic that the episode that's generating so much controversy ["Across the Sea"] is one in which we answered questions, but it's not surprising to us. Between what the audience thinks they want and what they will find entertaining—we have tried to make the show in a way that people would find it entertaining, moving, engaging. To do that required having new mysteries. That's the way we operated."

Their interview is an interesting read, as the pair appears to be on the defensive in light of criticism over the episode (and to some extent, the entire season). But should they be? Critics of Lost have spewed hate on message boards and in comments sections this season more than ever, and the show's loyal fans have fought back with fury; Lost articles have become the most heated battlegrounds in television news.

There is one thing in the interview that I have a problem with, though, and that's their answer to the Adam and Eve inconsistency. If you'll recall, when the two skeletons were discovered in "House of the Rising Sun," Jack estimated that the bodies must have been dead about 40 or 50 years, based on the deterioration of the clothes. But the bodies were revealed to be those of the Man in Black and the Mother character introduced in "Across the Sea," who would have been dead for hundreds of years (the time table isn't clear, but it's certainly before Richard Alpert came to the island in the 1800s, and those characters could be thousands of years old).

How do the two producers explain that discrepancy? "Jack is not really an expert in carbon dating," said Cuse.



 "The other theory that I would like to throw out there is that Jacob and his mother were just expert craftsmen," said Lindelof. "They made those clothes on that loom so well, it would appear that they were only 50 years old in decomposition, when in fact it's several thousand."



"Or perhaps the fabric is magic," added Cuse.

The two are obviously having a good time dancing around that question, but some Lost fans may not find it funny. At one point there was a strong theory (it involved a complicated anagram) that the two skeletons were Rose and Bernard, who'd time-traveled back to the '70s and would reasonably fit within Jack's guess at the skeletons' age. Is it possible that the theory became too widespread on the internet, and that Lindelof and Cuse decided to change their mind?

I'm not going to throw a hissy fit for every little discrepancy in this ultra-complicated show, but the Adam and Eve thing has become kind of a big deal. For a show that boasts some of the strictest attention to detail of any show, ever, it seems like this component may have gotten away.

Do you buy the answer to the Adam and Eve question? And do you think "Across the Sea" was a mistake?


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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May 23, 2010
I think most fans will wind up being disappointed by the ending on some level. The show was put together with gimmicks, not plot, so there's no way the ending could tie up everything satisfactorily.
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May 23, 2010
(below comment was my Adam and Eve response)
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May 23, 2010
Two characters who normally would not die now do not decompose normally...makes sense to me.
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May 18, 2010
"It was not a mistake and as a writer, I don't write to please my readers. I write what comes into my mind and what I solely approve of."



Then you're not a "writer", you're a "blogger". Writers are professionals like musicians, who write to entertain the people who pay them to do so. They don't like you, they don't pay you. Otherwise, you're just a "literary masturbator". Or if a musician, Frank Zappa.
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May 18, 2010
It was an excellent episode. Sometimes I think people just want to complain.
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May 16, 2010
@wissarb

CONGRATS on being a real die hard LOST fan. One who watches/rewatches every episode to catch every little bit of info. You are right, people were just wishfully thinking it would be Rose/Bernard, but how could that be when they are still alive on the island! Check this weeks cast list.
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May 16, 2010
Kudos to "One could also argue that these two are artists, and if you don't like their art, too bad". This is their ride and, we the viewer, are welcome to come along or not. I liked this episode, nothing wrong with the placement. It's been a fun ride for 6 seasons, and I like where it's headed.
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May 16, 2010
This was one of my favorite episodes. The people complaining aren't worthy of this show.
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May 16, 2010
I'm like in the middle here. Part of me agrees that the writers wrote themselves in a mess and can't answer all the questions, but another part of me just wants to relax and let the show be the show. I mean I want some good closure and most mysteries answered which doesn't look like its going to happen. However I do agree that as viewers we should stop complaining and just watch the show. These guys have spent five years on a great show that kept us entertained. Most shows can't even do that in one season. I respect these guys but they do need to wrap up the series in a pretty impressive way to make viewers satisfied. Like I said I'm in the middle here.
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May 15, 2010
is it only me? the sack that had the white and black stone has always been there, even in the "house of rising sun" episode, they always knew it is the case!! i dont get how it cud have been at some point bernards and rose's bodies but then their was a switch in that.
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May 15, 2010
I totally agree with speedforce131. And I Loved the episode. I hope they will explain the wheel, how Smokey comes back to talk to Jacob, etc. After years, the whispers explanation was dull. And Sayid death was way too fast. Not even a littke slow-motion for a main character death!
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May 15, 2010
I buy the answer. Jack is a doctor, he usually deals with living people, I don't see any way in which he would actually have had the knowledge/education to give a clear answer as to how old the bodies were and that he just guesses it by looking at their clothes like any other person would do. In this case it could have just as wel been Kate who made the guess but since Jack's a docter he has to know everything. I seriously doubt that a surgeon would have to learn how to determine the age of a corpse by looking at the bones/clothes so I'm okay with the fact that his guess was wrong but it does make me think that they were lying about the whole "We knew who they were from the start thing". Anyway loved the episode but agree that it would have been better if this one was place somewhere more in the begining of the season
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May 15, 2010
"Across the sea" was certainly not a mistake,and surely included the answers to a few unanswered questions.But if this is indeed the last mythological episode of the season,then certainly many gaps will remain on how things came to be. For example ,how the man in black finished this wheel down in the well if he was already been killed by being dropped into that light source. Never the less i still think this is the best tv serie ever:-)))))))
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May 15, 2010
Lost is not Bones for gods sake,carbon dating?decomposition?come on.
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May 15, 2010
Lost is not Bones for gods sake,carbon dating?decomposition?come on.
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May 15, 2010
The murder in the teaser kind of hindered my enjoyment of the whole episode, but a cutaway after the previous week's deaths seems like a reasonable notion, but an episode with none of the regular characters two episodes before the series seems a little late.
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May 15, 2010
i mean. there are so many supernatural elements. people that live hundred of years, people who can suddenly walk, dead spirits...but we cannot understand Adam and Eve. It seems silly.
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May 15, 2010
Who cares about the Adam and Eve thing. i want to know what the F*** are the numbers.
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May 15, 2010
OK. I have several points to make. (1) Tim, how dare you call Lost viewers lazy!! You may be a casual viewer who watches the show, writes a half-ass article on it, and that 's the extent of your viewing experience. But for the die-hard Lost fans, we talk at length about every episode, theorize, read the books that are purposely displayed in the show, research, etc. True Lost fans are as FAR FROM LAZY as you can get. (2) Cuse and Lindelof are acting like a-holes lately. They "don't write to please their readers/fans." Excuse me and WTF? Then who are they writing for exactly - themselves? Self-important much? Lost would NOT be the huge hit that it is and the producers / sometimes writers Cuse and Lindelof would be no-names if not for the FANS of Lost. So, please show us some respect. And C & L say they are basically "going into hiding" and won't discuss Lost after the finale event. Who does that? If I had a successful show with lots of fans, I would be happy to discuss it, even years after it ended, and I would be elated that people cared so much. Cuse and Lindelof, as an intense fan from day one, I am disappointed in you both for this recent behavior and attitude. (3) @toukie_s - Yes, I dare say that I and some of the other intense fans of Lost could accomplish what these producers/writers have, and then some. (4) It's because of the LACK of answers we are provided with, that we theorize and come up with some really great explanations and answers of our own. And that is probably what we will have to do after the finale, too. That's why the reaction to some of the answers they DO give us is SO critical. Some of their answers are just lame or seem forced, and it feels like a cop-out. Now they want to blame Jack for the discrepancy in the age of the skeletons - have C & L forgotten that THEY created the character of Jack?! So the discrepancy and the blame comes back to them after all. If C & L can't be bothered to give their fans of six years a decent ending with some real answers, then why did they bother with the show if the first place?
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May 14, 2010
I would describe the episode as simply good, but not good enough.
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May 14, 2010
Darlton has been quoted saying that in the season 3 episode "Not in Portland" there is an anagram revealing the nature behind the skeletons of Adam and Eve. In the Room 23 video, there was an anagram saying something about "Two Nadlers Lie in a Cave" Clearly Rose and Bernard was too obvious and they changed it!
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May 14, 2010
AND DON'T GET ME STARTED ON HOW WEAK THE REVELATION OF THE WHISPERS WAS!
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May 14, 2010
THEY SAID HAVING ADAM AND EVE WOULD PROVE THAT THEY KNEW WHERE THEY WERE GOING FROM DAY ONE, BUT THE REVEAL OF THEM BEING THOSE TWO CHARACTERS SEEMS RUSHED AND MADE UP ON THE SPOT WITH VERY LITTLE THOUGHT.
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May 14, 2010
I'm afraid that the show's creators have gone around the bend with this allegorical episode. Now i have a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach that probably at best 75% of the show's enigmas will be resolved & the series will leave us with more questions than answers. Way to go, Damon & Carlton...
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May 14, 2010
if smokey created the donkey wheel who installed it? how did their mother (not the biological one) get on the island in the first place? how come the man in black turned into smokey when he floated into the light? HOW does jacob appear off the island to all of the survivors that he touches when his mom told him nothing else exists across the sea to smokey???? more questions from one episode - and the adam and eve reveal was weak... why? because originally the two of them said that adam and eve would prove that they knew where they were going from the begining to end! how does that work then??? jacob and MIB were only introduced last season - and the mother only introduced in this episode
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May 14, 2010
"How do the two producers explain that discrepancy? "Jack is not really an expert in carbon dating," said Cuse."



it is pretty simple actually. "lets put a male and a female skeleton here." as usual, they put that in as something of mystery; as usual; they didn't have any explaination for it at that time. then they came up with one and made an episode about it; and probably regretted the info jack gave; but hey; he's no expert right? lame. i jumped back in to lost to see how it ends after 4 years; and although it is absolutely fun to watch; these kind of things remind me why i jumped of in the first place.
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May 14, 2010
Tim, This article made me realize we share similar feelings towards LOST. It seems like a lot of your articles are attacking episodes of LOST, but I think I see past your ploy. Your articles are more of an echo on what the general public feels towards LOST, but not your opinions. This latest article seems to show your true feelings and I like what I read. You should stick to putting your true thoughts into your articles as it makes a much more enjoyable read. The LOST bashing articles are more or less your way of bringing light to the complaints the general masses have. Kudos for this article. I would take that as a great compliment as I have attacked you in almost every comment section. LOST is about forming your own theories after compulsively watching every episode 3-4 times lol. Then getting to see how you stack up against the writers. It is really enjoyable that way, just take it as it is and enjoy the ride. 3.5 hours left!
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May 14, 2010
"Across the Sea" a mistake? No, it's a great episode and I'm happy with the Adam & Eve explanation, although there are major misteries and thing on the show that I'm sure we won't know, for example how was Smokey trapped under Dharmaville? That's something I need to know.
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May 14, 2010
i see a problem with the hole thing. they fueled the show with misteries cause fans wanted them to be there but its ok to put 10 misteries in and resolve 3 and 2 in crappy ways cause "thats the way we operated". i think thats wrong, the show started lets say slow, couple coincidences, some little misteries, but ppl liked it, they saw this, they saw that in detail the fan bas grew stronger, they even created an online game for the off season, with websites, clues etc etc. But now that we are out of time "its ok to be crappy". All the times shows put this light episodes after a big death or announcement or cliff hanger, they episode is trashed because it actually is trashy, the episode offers virtually nothing, it takes 60 minutes to build the caracter of 3 persons that 2 we kind of already know since they are basic good and evil. good strays from the path a bit, evil explains his plan. And we have the mother thats the oracle that sets them on the path. you could have done this in15 minutes as an intro for something else to happen.

Question, if MiB was digging the hole to set the wheel (which had no reasonal logic to put a wooden/iron wheel on a beam of light) then the mother colapses the hole without the wheel set... how is later set in place? or did the dharma ppl set the wheel in place but never used it? (to then build a transporter "near" it for study purposies)
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May 14, 2010
It's already been established in previous seasons that time moves slower on the island. And Jack is just a doctor, he is not an expert on determining the age of the fabric. Complicated tests required for that. Anyone in his place would've said the same thing because it's impossible to know. He said 40-50 years to make his point and acknowledging the fact that the fabric is old.

Across the sea was a good angle to the past of the island but it didn't really answer any other outstanding question.
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May 14, 2010
I don't get the big deal over the unanswered. The show definitely answered the biggies. I, admittedly, forgot about the dead bodies in the cave and when I watched "Across the Seas" I had an "awwww" moment when it tied that up. I wasn't expecting it... that's good television. It answered the origins of the smoke monster in a very straight forward way. The good son did some completely against his nature, and this example something evil, which birthed generations of consequences for those actions ("Smokey"). Does anyone need to know how Mother killed all those people? And is it really a big deal that the bodies were said to be "40-50 years old" or that the clothes were not deteriorated enough to fit the timeline. The answer is a resounding NO. LIke Lindelof and Cruse stated "Or perhaps the fabric is magic." Perhaps the fabrics were bathed in the stream of the White LIght. Who knows? And more inportantly, who cares? On a island where dead people walk around with the living, a smoke monster kills people for play and the entire island can jump through time, does these little things really detract from the experience?
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May 14, 2010
Obviously MIB's "name" is unimportant to the "story". People are over-analyzing every little detail, rather than sitting back and enjoying what it is, TV entertainment. And the writers have never made ANY implication that the skeletons were "Adam and Eve". That was pure fan speculation from the day after "House of the Rising Sun" aired. It's one of things that seemed cool at the time (long before the writers knew when and how the show would end), and the myth surrounding these skeletons has festered for years in fan's minds. That the writers were able to give us a plausible explanation this much later in the show, I applaud them.

Stop reading so many fan site speculations and attempts to "explain" everything but folks all over the internet who have NEVER had a window into Darlton's minds and surely don't have one now!
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May 14, 2010
So, we all believe the time travelling, the smoke monster and his body snatching, an ageless man, and a magical hatch but this inconsistency is "too much"? Sci-fi fans are a special bunch! The island time travels and heals broken spines...2 really really REALLY slowly decaying corpses doesn't seem so far fetched. Instead of trying to write your own show, maybe we should all just sit back and enjoy the ride. And if they don't answer all your questions, hit up a forum and make up answers for yourselves. Oh wait, that's how we ended up here in the first place...
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May 14, 2010
I liked Across the Sea. I don't think it answered any questions at all. Mostly just created new questions that one hopes will be addressed in the finale. Like how did "Mother" kill everyone in the village? Is the Smoke Monster the Man in Black or just using his appearance? What is the Light? I don't care about the Adam & Eve corpses not being a 100% consistent match or that they have to answer every single question completely. Let there be some mystery. As long as the finale is a good episode with a good story that has an end, I'll be happy.
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May 14, 2010
Honestly, the writers could have said Adam & Eve were any of the characters in the show and under normal circumstances I would believe it without question. The problem for me was that I just didn’t believe the rest of the episode. Since day one I have believed everything Lost has thrown at me. Smoke monsters, time travel, men who don’t age, you name it. It felt believable and I just accepted it. Then we come to this episode, and for the first time it felt ridiculous, at times it didn’t feel much like Lost at all. It was like watching the first episode of a B grade Sci Fi series that I would never watch again.



I don’t blame the writers. With the pressure of the highly anticipated series finale breathing down their necks it’s seems understandable that they couldn’t give it 100% and it shows in the episode and their sensitive reaction to the feedback. Was Across the Sea a mistake? I think it was a filler episode, with the expectation that it would excite its audience with a few reveals and clues while cast and crew focussed on the main event. There may be perfectly logical reasons why some things were left out or avoided (they might be important to the finale) so I don‘t think we can answer that until the story is complete.



With that in mind I have confidence that the finale is going to be amazing, and we will all be able to look back and laugh at all the hours we have spent analysing every detail trying to make sense of Lost.
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May 14, 2010
if you're not going to answer all the questions...then why keep raising new ones all the time???...all a ploy to keep viewers glued to their TV sets...lost has just been a brilliant way for these guys to keep viewers interested all the time by throwing something weird and interesting all along the way...it has never been good storytelling!!!
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May 14, 2010
I agree with you, Mr Surette,some questions are better left unexplained. But I somehow understand the timing of the episode : after the tragic events of "The Candidate", it was not such a bad idea to take a break from the main characters, just to process the shock ... although I missed them ( mere human, relatable characters were what was lacking in the episode ). As for the skeletons, it was supposed to prove they knew what they were doing right from the start ... and ultimately it turns out to be the proof they didn't ( even if I had theorized one of them could be the MIB's original body, given that time is so wacky on the island that Jack's estimation had no meaning ) . But you know what ? I don't care if they hadn't planned every detail from the start. The broad lines ( i.e. good vs. evil ) were there ( the backgammon game ) , everything else doesn't matter that much.
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May 14, 2010
I didn't believe it until this season but they are definitely making it up as they go along.
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May 14, 2010
This episode was amazing and great, it explained a whole bunch. For those who believed the adam and eve stuff, i mean come onm who actually thought that this puny miserable island could have been eden, lol. Get real people, and don't look for god or holyness in this show, you people have the bible for that, so get thumping. Noobs. Anyways steering off. This episode was just great, no arguments or hissy fits.
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May 14, 2010
The episode was excellent. Those complaining are asking the creators to write a show the way they want it to be. It's not your show to write. The Man in Black was never given a name by his mother, and thus remains nameless. It is part of his personality. To name him would be trite and cheap.
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May 14, 2010
I liked "Across the Sea" i dint think it was bad at all.
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May 14, 2010
I don't think Across the Sea was a mistake. It was poorly executed, that much is certain, but ultimately we did find out the story behind Jacob and his brother, how they came to the island, how they become who they are and a vague answer to what Jacob's really protecting.
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May 14, 2010
well i liked the episode. although the whole light in the river tunnel was a tad bit too unicorn-rainbow looking for my taste..
but i like the way they answer questions. it's not what you have expected or simply to easy (numbers are candidates, whispers are dead people who are stuck)..
but overall i'm satisfied the way the handle things and keep the drama up. but i guess there are people so involved who will always find a hair in the soup..
who cares how old they were?
why is the fact that jack was simply very very wrong, when he stated this fabric-theory, not a good enough answer?
but i guess for some people the answers will just never be good enough..
peace out!
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May 14, 2010
I think people should stop whining about this TV show. I'd like to see most people try to accomplish what these writers have, which is entertained millions of people for 5 years straight. Create something that keeps us on our toes, season after season. So what if they don't give the MIB a name. Maybe that's part of the mystery. So what if Jack said they died 50 years ago? Jack has never been wrong before, right? Come on, guys. Stop trying to hang the writers at the stakes and enjoy the show. That's it. At least we GET a finale, we get SOME of our questions answered, unlike a LOT of shows out there that were cancelled before they could wrap a pretty little bow around the ending.
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May 14, 2010
How could they NOT take TWO SECONDS and give us a character's NAME? Especially one so important to the entire show? THIS IS JUST LAZY!
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May 14, 2010
Stick to the main characters and to a little bit of logic, even in a Fantasy/Sci-fi plot ... How should we care for characters who kill each other or perfect strangers saying "sorry" ? I only watch the show to see what happens to Kate, Jack , Hurley, ...
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May 14, 2010
In the cave, there are these three golden orbs, which produce light and life and energy... and do time travel, and ...um...

uh... wait a minute, that's the Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.

Oh, there's the Rimbaldi machine, that produces light, and life, and energy and time travel...

... no, that's Alias.

Oh hell, it's all in Hugo's dream. Or maybe it's in Locke's mind. damn.... that's Dallas and Rosanne and St. Elsewhere....

Are there no original ideas any more? Geez...
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May 14, 2010
Wow. Actually, now that you mention it... forget Rose and Bernard (much as I love them). It would have been amazing if the bodies were Jin and Sun, since the very episode "House of the Rising Sun" was about them. None of us would have seen it coming back then (since we didn't know about the time traveling yet), and the revelation hitting us NOW would have been a big wallop to the head. THAT'S how you reward your audience after 6 years.
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May 14, 2010
Dr. Jack Shephard - CSI Island.

NEW next Fall!!
Every Episode Doctor Jack investigates a crime scene and he always gets the time wrong because he just can't grasp how long it takes for clothes to decay. Luckily he gets assistance from a college forensics expert nicknamed Bones (in a crossover with the Fox series)
Premieres right after dancing with the stars! Be there!
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May 14, 2010
I'm way more lost than the show itself. I can't wait to see the finale and be done with it.
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