Lost Exegesis (Pilot Part 1)

Hello, I’m Jane, your stewardess for the Lost Exegesis, a flight of fancy that explores the esoteric mysteries of LOST, an American TV show that ran on ABC from 2004 until 2010. It’s a show that had a significant impact on TV at the time, and still does to an extent.

But the Exegesis isn’t going to be about charting any of that, or commenting on the value of individual episodes; we’ll not be diving into fan rankings, outside critical acclaim, comments from the showrunners, or how the show fit into the televisual landscape at the time. Rather, the primary focus will be on interpreting the text regarding the show’s esoteric elements (as you might have suspected, given I’m calling this an “exegesis”) through a thorough close reading. This will include an examination of the show’s intertextuality: if Watership Down shows up in the text, we’ll take a look at Watership Down.

Every few weeks or so we’ll examine one episode from the series, in order. With 121 episodes, we’ll be at this for quite a while. There’s no rush. We might even cover what we need to cover by the end of Season One, which is only 25 hours of TV.  So there’s that.

So, a note about the ground rules regarding these essays. Each one will be divided into two parts. The first part will examine the show as if we were watching it in the present tense, without reference to future episodes. In other words, no spoilers. The bottom line is, if you haven’t seen the whole show yet, you can follow along through the first half of each essay as the Exegesis unearths the buried treasures of the Island.

The second part will take a different approach – it will reexamine the episode with particular consideration for future events in the show, and testing various theories of the Exegesis along the way. It’s here that we’ll be looking at the show’s ancillary materials. This portion of each essay will begin with a picture of the standard LOST title card and a subtitle of “LOST Through the Looking Glass” to warn off anyone who doesn’t want to know what’s going to happen next.

Finally, the Comments section is not spoiler-free. Most people have already seen the show (it’s been around for quite a while now) and you’ve probably heard all about it anyways. Besides, I don’t want to be in the position of policing the comments. That said, I do ask that we try to stay focused on the episode at hand, a place to talk about the episode’s quality, other themes, whatever suits your fancy.

Okay, let’s go back!


Opening Eye

LOST begins with a starkly visual image, an Opening Eye. The eye is clearly reflective – we can see the trees and sky above. A man in a suit is lies on the ground in a bamboo jungle. He’s disoriented. He looks around, and sees a dog saunter by. He gets up, wincing, and is almost puzzled to find a small bottle of liquor in his pocket.…

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