Lostpedia recently published an interview with Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse – or ‘Darlton’ as they are affectionately known. The link to it is here, if you haven’t read it.
This interview got up my nose and I’m going to spend a couple of minutes telling you about why. No fancy pictures here. I’m in no good humour. First this question and answer from the interview, that I have edited in places for brevity without skewing the meaning.
Question: In the special alternate reality game The Dharma Project from last year, since funding was pulled out of the project, what was going to be the final revelation? Since The Lost Experience was about the numbers and Find 815 was about the fake wreckage, what was going to be the final act of the The Dharma Project?
Damon: Essentially the whole idea was to signal to the audience, to strongly imply that our characters were going to appear in Dharma times. So that would be something that would be sort of set up in the Internet experience. I think some people believe that they hear Faraday’s voice in the Comic-Con experience. These events are sort of partially canon but more promotional than they are canon. Giving the audience a sneak peak as to what the season is about.
Take a deep breath. Count to ten.
OK. Done that. And I still want to tell Damon to fuck off for being a fucking cheating fucker. That business with the Comic-Con film suddenly being termed “promotional” rather than canon. Hang on a minute here. What the fucking fuck does “sort of partially canon” mean? Is that even possible?
This film, as you may remember, was the one where Pierre Chang revealed his true name (verified on the show) and delivered a message to camera where he revealed he knew about the future, and about the fate of the Dharma Initiative, and from behind the camera a voice that sounded very much like Daniel Faraday encouraged Chang to hurry.
This video was shown before Season 5. It’s true that it did clue in fans of the show to the idea that main characters would end up back in Dharma times on the Island. But I can’t be the only one who feels disgruntled about the idea that this video was nothing more than promotional material as opposed to canon.
“These events are sort of partially canon but more promotional than they are canon. Giving the audience a sneak peak as to what the season is about.”
That’s a roundabout way of saying it’s not fucking true and it doesn’t count, which is something Darlton didn’t fucking say when they were smugly grinning at Comic-Con, pleased as fuck about what they were unleashing.
Jesus, if they had said the Pierre Chang film wasn’t canon at the time, then fine. Great. I’ve no issue with them producing stuff like this during season downtime to keep fans fuelled. But that was never stated anywhere and I’m crying foul. There’s playing a game with fans and there’s outright cheating – and on this one they crossed that line.
Fact is, for being a fan, I had my enjoyment and understanding of The Variable impeded by what I thought was extra awareness. My previous analysis skirted with the idea that Faraday somehow, in some way, survives in time after being shot by his mother in The Variable. That notion of survival stemmed from me remembering that he was surely behind the camera, making this Pierre Chang film, which had to have been made after the events of The Variable. I got tricked by “promotional” material and it spoiled the show. I’ve got the right to be pissed off about that.
But wait. Here’s another tasty piece of shit from the interview.
Question: One mystery that you said you were not going to show us is Libby’s backstory, yet two seasons ago you basically said there was one significant missing piece from her story which is how she got from Desmond to the mental institution, and you also added that to know the answer you had to show her story through another character’s flashback. So, now that you’ve said her story is done on the show, can you tell us her missing piece and which character would you have told it through?
Carlton: You know, these are not questions that we are going to answer. I think the point we were trying to make with the Libby story is that everything is graded in terms of importance for us and, as we are doing the last season of the show, it’s not going to be sort of a didactic list of a thousand questions that we’re going to answer. That would not make for a very entertaining show. We are focusing on what we consider to be the significant questions, and mysteries, and character relationships. That’s the story we’re gonna tell. I think that the reference to Libby was more illustrative of the fact that I think we accept that in the end it’s impossible to tie up every loose end, and we don’t really consider, honestly, Libby’s story is incredibly tangential to the principle action on the show. For us, the focus of the final season really has to be on the main characters and what would generally be acknowledged as the most significant mysteries.
To cut a long answer short then: Fuck Libby. We don’t give a shit about her any more. Stop bothering us with crap.
Again, I feel entitled, as a long-serving Lost fan, to say fuck you! How many times have we heard Darlton bang on about how the show is all about the characters? The characters are the important thing? And so they gave us Libby. A character. They ended an episode with a shock twist based entirely on her having previous links with Hurley (a main character).
They had Libby show up in a season finale, presenting Desmond with a boat that would deliver him to the Island. They can cry claims of how she’s not important, but that’s just plain fucking rude after they thrust her character into such intriguing plot lines and created mystery around her. Having her crop up in season 4 visiting Michael, again, since they don’t give a fuck about her, is just another two fingers from them to us.
What’s really annoying is that the question actually gave Darlton the opportunity to explain themselves. You can’t show the business with Libby? Fine. But you had the chance to tell us, let us know where you were going with that. If the show took on a different direction and dictated you had to abandon the idea of Libby, like Nikki and Paulo were ditched, then I'll understand - but you have to explain your reasons. Instead it was total deflection. Batted away like a bothersome fly.
It seems to me that they made the mistake of setting up the mystery and then leaving it hanging for too long. It seemed important back then, but they moved on and let it grow cold and dropped it. Same goes for Ben being caught in a net. We were promised information that would explain why he got caught – if he did it deliberately or not – and what did we get? Fuck all.
Probably this is another one of those issues that’s not a “significant question” any more. Just another one of those loose ends they aren’t going to tie up. Like an imploding Swan Station that spits out people and objects. How does it do that? What happened to Desmond’s clothes? It’s not significant. Fuck off, Lost viewer. We are Darlton. We can tell you what matters.
For the first time, they’ve got me worried. To steal parlance from another show, I worry Darlton are fucking the dog on this one. (Phrase from The Wire - an admirably consistent show that, for its five season run, didn’t leave any stupid loose ends or short-change their fans.) Darlton spent all these years tearing up the place, uprooting mystery and suspicion and intrigue all over the garden, and now they’re only going to go back and tend to one or two of their crops and leave the rest to rot?
I’ve staunchly kept the faith with Darlton. I’ve understood their talk of “no time travel on Lost”, accepting where they were coming from when they said that compared to where we are at today. I’ve given them some leeway and a lot of faith. After that interview my faith is a little shaken.
I worry they’re going to fuck the dog on this one. I worry they’re going to frak the show up. (Again, another frakking reference from another frakking show that managed to go through its whole lifetime without giving it to the fans up the ass.) Get your fucking house in order, Darlton. Get your shit right. You’ve talked a good game and made a lot of promises – now’s the acid test, the time to deliver, and we get to see if you are as clever as you made out. After an interview like this? Yeah. . . I worry.