Some say television will rot your brain, but Jeff Jensen has turned it into an intellectual exercise, getting thousands of Lost fans to read 10-page analyses of a one-hour show. ABC's hit show, which ends Sunday (7/6 Central), has raised theological themes about faith versus reason and fate versus free will. Jensen, who writes a column called "Totally Lost" for Entertainment Weekly, says that fans have had to take a leap of faith that the finale will satisfy. He spoke with Sarah Pulliam Bailey about why he's not concerned with finding answers to the show's questions, the relationship between faith and Lost, and the writers' portrayal of redemption.
You've written such detailed recaps of each episode. Do you think you'll be satisfied after watching the finale?
I am different from a lot of other Lost fans. People want answers. They want Lost to put specific names to all sorts of philosophical concepts and themes that are swirling in the text and subtext of the show as metaphors or abstract ideas. The producers have made it clear that they're not going to do that. One of the most polarizing episodes, "Across the Sea," made it clear that Lost is going to explain itself metaphorically through story. It wants to be studied. It wants to be a text that people enter into, find clues and ideas, and apply them to all of Lost and come to these answers themselves.
One of the executive producers, Damon Lindelof, told me recently that one of the formative texts of his youth was Encyclopedia Brown. They're 5-page mysteries loaded with clues, and at end of every chapter, Encyclopedia Brown solves the mystery. The author asks you, "Can you find out what Encyclopedia Brown found out?" You turn upside down or go to the back of the book and find ...1
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