The Darlton Rant (6th May 2009)

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.


Acharaisthekey said...

Nice Rant! That interview was by far and a way the worst interview they've done since i've been following them. Coupled with there Charlotte mess, this season has been horrendous for them...they can make it all right with a good finale, and let us steer towards season 6, but their interviews/podcasts have been a mess.

Now, I will forgive them on the Faraday thing...not there explanation, but that we all assumed it was Faraday, I'm o.k. with it not being Faraday (though cheap...I only hear the name I can accept it).

The Libby thing...for reasons's you've laid out...UNFORGIVABLE. I don't remember off the top of my head but they handled another question in similar matter.....

I personally think this whole season has been a mess. I can't stand how they've handled Walt, Desmond, Jin, Locke's conversation off island with the 06 and let's face it, the 06 stories were all VERY VERY WEAK!! They can still tie some nice mystery loose ends and make it all work with the finale. However, the nail biters or SHOCKS have been NO SHOCK AT ALL SHOCKS (Young ben wasn't going to die, locke would find a way to live, Pierre is miles dad, Charles was Daniels dad, etc...). Just a mess.

I think the island events have been good...but honestly, I expected the complete PAST of the island and 815 stories to PAST to be wrapped up. This crap with Walt, and now saying Libby wasn't important is horshit!! like you said she gave Des the boat to get to the island, her husband was named DAVE? and they made her Hurley's love interest...anyways...

All can be forgiven with a good solid final 3 hours of Season 5...however, what I fear the that EVERYTHING CHANGES! I will have a hard time watching season 6 if 815 does not crash on that damn island!!

I like your RANT here...that interview just seemed very rushed and like they didn't want to DO IT. They should know it is those interviews and interactions that keept he show afloat...not screw us over like they are with the Libby deal (and walt...have I said how they've screwed us with walt...) is very dissapointing!!

Garett said...

Yeah, I'm with you. Its complete bullshit! They're either canon or they're not. There's no 'kind of canon.' This is an either/or, true/false, black/white situation. There are no shades of gray. If they were meant solely as promotional tools, I have to say they failed miserably. Ask the average viewer about this the Lost Experience or Find 815, and they'll have no idea what you're talking about. These "promotions" were meant to give clues to the serious "Lostites." Now you're saying that the people who spend time on these games were wasting their time? Because I guarentee that the vast majority would not have bothered with it if you said from the outset that they weren't canon.

And why bother saying it was promotional and not really canon? The video hasn't contradicted anything we've seen so far, unless that really was Daniel's voice. As of right now, we're to believe he is dead, so that couldn't be his voice. So there was either a change in direction with Daniel's character or they're trying to cover up that Daniel is alive. Reading the entire interview, they're definitely trying not to give anything away. And the best way to keep something secret is to not say anything at all. Neither confirm or deny ANYTHING. If you deny some things, but refuse to talk about others, then you're basically admitting that the refused subject still has a part to play.

I'm very disappointed that they won't explain Libby's backstory, but I also understand that they can't tie up every lose end. I think the writer's strike really hampered how much they were going to tell. One can only hope that after the series ends that they'll produce a book or have a special feature on the DVD that explains all the lose ends.

Assuming that Ilena's group is the advance guard for the war Widmore mentioned and the writer's follow that storyline, we only have 17 episodes to start and resolve the war, tie up the important lose ends, and conclude the series. That's quite a bit to cover in 17 episodes! What do you think are the most important lose ends to cover? In no particular order, I hope they cover the following:

The Black Rock
Richard Alpert
Adam and Eve
Christian (and by extension, Claire)
The Whispers
The Statue

I would also like to know more about Jack's tattoo from Achara and the mystery of the numbers, but I don't think they'll cover them. What mysteries do you want revealed and which do you think won't be?

Acharaisthekey said...

I'm guessing and feel confident the Statue will be wrapped up by the finale and that Adam and Eve will be solved in the final scene of the show.

Alpert, Jacob and Christian should all have major fill ins by the end of this season. I worry about how cheap they make the Black Rock story!!

My big question is WHY ARE THE 815rs there in the first place. If they fail to make that important tie in to all of the show, I'll be pissed!

AngeloComet said...

Not interested in learning about the Black Smoke, Garrett? Heh!

I would also add in the purpose of The Others (though this could tie in to Alpert/Jacob0.

And, perhaps most importantly, what the Island is.

I wouldn't mind a full explanation about The Swan Station - why entering the numbers was used, what would have happened had the Fail Safe not been pushed, and what occurred when Eko, Locke and Desmond were in there when the Fail Safe did get turned!

Achara - Completely agree with you about the NO SHOCKS, thing. If anything, I have felt like Darlton have actually pandered more to Lost fans than ever before - throwing in fan-pleasing moments and obscure characters coming to the fore (NO ONE gave a shit about Ms. Hawking before Season 5!). So their snub of what the fans are clamouring after seems even more bizarre. If they wanted to be single-minded about it they shouldn't play to that crowd.

Garett said...

With so many questions, I was bound to miss a few! Give me a break! =^)

I've often wondered about why they have someone push the button. It would be very easy to write a script that outputs the numbers and 'presses' Enter and set it in a loop to occur every 108 minutes? It would be more reliable than a person, unless there's a power outage. And if that happens, they're pretty much screwed anyway.

Somewhat off topic: I read an interesting theory about Richard on Lostpedia. It suggested that Richard's role is similar to the Panchen Lama, who is second only to the Dalai Lama in their sect. The theory goes on to suggest that he has been seeking Locke as his replacement and Jack is in fact the true leader. (no, I'm not giving up on Jack being the leader) =^)

Acharaisthekey said...

All in all Lost is my favorite show. It will probably go down as my favorite FICTION televesion show ever (Nothing will ever beat Band of Brothers for me) all ranting aside, I still have faith in the end game.
However Darlton is part of what had always drawn me to the show....they seemed in control, seemless and very true to there fans...however, not the case this like you concluded...I'm a little worried too

Anonymous said...

good rant,ive thought about lost a lot for the past few years and now that were getting these half assed/ and sometimes no answers for things i spent weeks thinking about is pissing me off and making me dislike the show.. -troll

Corellian said...

Man, i´d spent the WHOLE FUCKING WEEK talking about Lost with my friends saying that Faraday can´t have died (although I think it would be much better for the story if he did) because of that damn video. And now they say it's promotional?!?!? Oh, fuck off. Will they have the guts to create another ARG after this?! Because, if this video doesnt appear on the series, they just lost ALL the credibility they had with information outside the tv show.

So far we got:

-The Black Rock
-Richard Alpert
-Adam and Eve
-Christian (and by extension, Claire)
-The Whispers
-The Statue
-Swann related stuff
-Why 815
-What the fuck do the Others want (reminds of a fraking series that used to say "And they have a plan!". I still waiting to know what plan was that...)
-What is the Island

I would like to add:

-What is up with the child abucdtion
-WALT!! (and if they don´t give one hell of a plot to him, i'll be fucking pissed off)
-The other special powers (Desmond, Miles, Hurley...)
-That "game" between Widmore and Ben

I´m probably missing something...

Corellian said...

There's also the food drops.

Oh, and I woudn't mind to know more about Radinzky and the crazy stuff he did on the Swann (like cutting movies, painting maps and, why not, killing himself...)

Anonymous said...

Well I never trusted these guys and always looked at the stuff they did away from the show as hearsay. I find it productive to read into peoples body language more than the words that come out of there mouth and these guys body language screams out that they thoroughly enjoy messing with the people that enjoy the show the most. As matter of fact they relish in it. This show (if we all want to get real honest with ourselves for a moment) has gone absolutely nowhere this season. The only real episode that gave me that old whats in the hatch lost intrigue was 'The Life and Death of JB". Anyway IMO these two have not handled the success of the show well at all and hopefully they have a big rabbit to pull out of a big hat. #8 rabbit preferably.

Corellian said...

I was thinking here...what about the numbers beeing related to the Valenzetti equation. Was that just a bunch of crap also? Just promo to tease the fans and have they creating a hell lot of theories for nothing?

Because, i mean... so far, they have NEVER mentioned anything about this at the show. There was never not even a beginning of a plausible explanation for the numbers. And even now, when we saw they forging it into the hatch, it was like it was any other sequence of numbers, and not the parameters of an equation that predicts the end of the world.

AngeloComet said...

Corellian - Good news about "the plan". There's a one-off BSG special called 'The Plan' in production - due to be aired towards the end of this year. It features a lot of the main cast and is even being directed by Edward James Olmos (Admiral Adama to you!) so I have high hopes for it. You can no doubt look it up for more info.

And yeah, those food drops do need explaining. And the child abduction. Though the way they left Walt last makes me wonder if they're ditching him (which is RIDICULOUS if so).

As for those numbers - it would have been better for them to never have tried to explain them. They worked better as an unexplained fateful force in the Lost universe hanging in the background.

Anonymous - I've always liked Darlton, their mischievous qualities and wry humour. They work well together and it shows. But I think you're right - somehow they've managed to deliver a Season 5 that has the 'wow' factor on paper every episode, and somehow it's missing the mark on screen.

I've also had enough of people being revealed to be someone's mum or dad. It's actually becoming a joke. And when it's revealed the person usually deliberates over it, and some bizarre music cue plays as they deliver the 'surprise' as though we're supposed to fall off our sofas in astonishment.

The biggest failing for me is having the characters split for so long. The show works best when our main characters are altogether and either creating drama between themselves or having outside influence bring about new intensity. This Season we've either had some of them on the Island and the rest of them in the real world - or they've all been on the Island, separated by thirty years. As such, we know they'll get together eventually (looks like Season 6 now) so until that happens the show is spinning its wheels, farting around with the idea of whether or not you can change history - a scientific argument that better have a major payoff in the finale otherwise they've really wasted a lot of time. (Pardon the pun.)

Ah, nothing like a good rant to unite disgruntled Lost fans!

Anonymous said...

I guess I enjoy those same qualities in Darlton too but if your gonna get up there and shit and giggle and tease fans with what turns out to be non truths at least deliver shows that we can get excited about. I like your spinning the wheels analogy. How cheesy are the gun fights and no new characters are interesting. Rad and chang are boring. The only guy I got interested in was that dude that slipped Sayid the sick LSD that had him talking. Most disappointing for me so far is no Black Rock this season. I thought they would go there this season and possibly to Egypt for the final season. But we got stuck with jumpsuits instead. The way the show paces itself I wonder how many Major mysteries they will leave to us to figure out.

And a good rant does unite and help to purge the bad stuff. I feel much better now thanks AC

Adam said...

I think they screwed themselves by wanting to end the show at Season 6. If they included another season, then they could have easily tied up all the mysteries/missing information that all of us want answers to. No way can they address the 8-10 major mysteries (what is the island, smoke monster, food drops, whispers, Richard, Jacob, the Black Rock, statue, child abduction, Walt, etc.) we want answers to. They would need to answer 2 mysteries an episode over Season would be watered down and suck in my opinion.

shamballa said...

Damn, I don't think I've ever seen such hostility from you, AC.

We may never find out all the answers. At this point I don't care.

I've invested a lot of my time into this show as have many others, and I too get a little miffed at "Darlton" for their flippant attitude.

Will I quit watching? Hell no! I mean, I stuck with BSG until the bitter, dumb, convoluted ending (my opinion). So I won't give up on this show either.

"Show" is the keyword there folks. It's just a show.

Anonymous said...

On board here with the rant, and the rants in the comments. I'll still watch the remainder of the show for whatever answers we get, because I've already invested years in watching. The letdowns and unanswered mysteries they insisted on introducing but not wrapping up, is a damper on the total impact.

Emzi said...

Ugh - I'm seriously dissapointed that that video wasn't canon.

Now that Daniel is dead I was perhaps thinking it was Miles' voice that was heard in the background, but now that I know it's not canon it's really annoyed me. I mean, what was the point of them showing that to us if they weren't going to use it?!

Grrrr :(

I won't even start with the Libby thing...