Part 4 – Where the Wild Smoke Monsters Are – Establishing villains

From the beginning the smoke monster was established as the ominous adversary.  The castaways saw it from afar ripping entire trees out of the ground, probably just going for a walk.  It was an unknown ‘thing’ that would randomly pop into the camp and terrorize, kill, and drag people off.  From a writing standpoint it seemed to be a Deus ex Machina given form, which is pretty funny.  It did become more.  It was given a face.  Actually it was given many faces over the course of the show.  Best of all, it was given motivation.  It was given a reason to be so angry.  It has been a prisoner for thousands of years.  A lifetime sentence has to be pretty rough when you are an immortal sentient cloud.

The purpose of the monster was to act as the antagonist to a group of people that would need to face the greatest threat that not just the world has ever faced, but all of existence.  Their test was such a mind-bogglingly huge task, that people will talk and write books about it for years to come.  Many people seem to see the conflict as being one of good versus evil, as Locke hinted at during season one while teaching backgammon to Walt.  “Light versus dark” was the exact phrase Locke used.  I do not think that is the correct phrasing for this conflict though.  It would be accurate to call the Lost conflict of the Castaways Vs. Smoke monster ‘People versus Evil.”  None of the Castaways were what anyone religious, agnostic, or atheist would ever call ‘good.’  Sayid was an interrogation torturer, Shannon slept with her half brother, and Jack was so conflicted that it drove him nearly to suicide.  The fight in Lost was one of human beings banding together to rise above their vices, prejudices, and petty hatreds to fight something that is beyond even their understanding.

Why did the monster choose Locke?  The monster chose John Locke’s form because very simply, it was a good fit.  John was an adamant believer in all of the goodness of the island and what it could potentially be to him and all people.  This steadfastness made him perfect for a guise that would allow the monster to enact his final gambit to get off that rock.  It is a slippery slope when you believe as strongly as John Locke.  It raises philosophical questions that people constantly ask themselves with regards to whether or not there is a god, like “If god loves us why is there war, famine, disease, hatred, guns, etc.?”  If Jacob loved them, then why was there a smoke monster?  When the resurrected John Locke appeared with a more extreme viewpoint, it was completely believable to the Others.  He was a new kind of leader that wouldn’t take Jacob’s ‘Look-at-me-I-live-in-a-foot-and-tell-you-what-to-do’ crap anymore.  Little did they know, that they were following their sworn enemy on a mission to kill the protector of all that they loved.  Locke’s likeness was a flesh-suit that the smoke monster wore with ease and died even easier while wearing.

“These pretzels are making me thirsty!”

There were other monsters to contend with on the island as well.  Greed.  It is man’s nature to want more than they have or need.  The source represented something that men would kill for.  It was a modern (and also ancient) fountain of youth, that men would travel time and space to acquire.  Men and women have died trying to discover trading routes across the sea.  What would they do to live forever?  Vices.  Charlie literally could not get away from heroin.  It was rather hysterical how much heroin was on the island.  Just when you thought he was clean and sober, another bag of heroin would pop up.  Jealousy. Jack loved Kate who slept with Sawyer who lived with Juliet in 1977 for three years, who fell for Jack.  All four of these people would live and die for each other, but they will always be looking at the other woman or man and wondering ‘what if?’  Infidelity – Sun was on her way to another man when the plane crashed.  Cruelty – Boone’s constant belittling of his sister. 

MURDER!

Murder – How many people did Jack kill on his rampages through the Other’s camps.  What about the people in the past that died in the bomb he dropped down that hole in the ground?  Sawyer was on his way back from Australia where he committed murder.  Kate killed her stepfather.  Charlie killed Ethan.  Desmond killed Kelvin.  Michael killed Ana-lucia and Libby.  Locke’s doubts all but killed Mr. Eko.  None of them were angels.

They all had a monster within, and that is what made them all so fascinating.  They had the capacity for true evil, but chose to fight it within themselves while fighting it externally on the Island as well.

I’m not quite retiring this site yet.  There is more to say, and I will be purchasing the season 6 set in a few short months and re-watching.  I’ll probably have some new thoughts at this point.  In the next few days I will have a new site up (URL TBA) and will post and link to it here.  I’m going to open up my reviews to encompass more than just Lost.

Keep an eye out for one more Lil’ Ben strip in the next few days!

Absolute favorite Finale moment: When Ben apologizes, and he means it!

And lastly, Links to the OTHER parts of this series of thoughts, recaps, reactions, sweet nothings, etc. about the final episode of Lost, “The End.”

And They All Existed Happily Ever After Part 1 – THE SOURCE

And They All Existed Happily Ever After Part 2 – Desmond is the Metal Fork in the Microwave of the Universe!

And They All Existed Happily Ever After Part 3 – The Peripeteia

Thanks for reading!

-Rob

ialwayshaveaplan.lee@gmail.com

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