I’m going to take responsibility for my actions, but I’m also going to bitch. First, a concession: Not watching Lost from the beginning was the biggest mistake of my television watching career (just ahead of not being born soon enough to understand Twin Peaks during its original run). I could have at least paced myself, starting to plow through the DVDs during the 4th season or so, and been ready in plenty of time for last night’s final season premiere. Instead, I waited until Friday night to watch my first episode of Lost. I’ve seen 12 more in the days since, meaning I am 90 episodes — about 4,050 hours — behind. And it’s ruining my internet life.
I scroll through Twitter and Facebook with eyes on high alert, setting off a mental alarm every time I see the names Jack, Kate, Sawyer etc., which are easier to spot than words like “smoke monster,” “LAX” or “island.” Tumblr is worse, because there are photos. On each social network, it happens about every third post or so, for the last 48 hours. It’s making me hate the show and loathe its fans, mostly because I want to be one. But as it is, my time-wasting mechanisms have been compromised and I feel ostracized socially. I know it’s only going to get worse in the coming weeks and it is my fault, but I have my reasons. Chief among them: J.J. Abrams betrayed me.
I admit: I’ve seen every episode of Alias. Stupid, right? I followed the adventures of Sydney Bristow for five years of my life, loyally, though I stopped enjoying it sometime near the end of season 3. The original SD-6 arc is classic, underrated television; Arvin Sloane began as a brutal and complex villain; and even The Covenant was kind of cool. But somewhere between the Mueller device, Prophet Five and goddamn Rambaldi, the show became an enigmatic mess. Frankly, it sucked. How many signals can you really triangulate, y’know? It was clear that Abrams never really had a plan and was too lost in his own mythologizing to care a whiff about continuity or years of character development. By the end, it was sub-par sci-fi. And so I vowed never again. Fool me once, fool me twice, shame and all of that. I wouldn’t start Lost until I knew it was not only ending, but still watchable. Today, people are equally enamored, if more frustrated, than they were in 2004, so I gave in. The buzz was like The Others’ whispering, and I cracked. But now, I dodge hashtags and Spoiler Alerts like early season Sawyer dodged responsibility. Even Lost-themed jokes are potentially season-ruining.
I should shut up, I know. I brought this upon myself and can just as easily start watching now, in season 6, and fill in the gaps later, when this storm blows over. I’d have more fun in the midst of the groupthink and speculation, plus I’d be able to read the internet again. It’s futile really: I think I already know Charlie’s dead; there’s something about time travel; and I remember the commercials from when a few people actually made it home. (I think they go back to the island?) But I just want to do this right. I spent so many years being mad at J.J. for scrambling Sydney into an unrecognizable waste of programming space, and only now do I realize it was destructive. He had bigger things on his mind and I should have just stopped watching. Lost seems like a life-defining work and I even thought Cloverfield was great.
You know how after a bad break up, there’s a lot of time spent being bitter, but eventually you just forget the bad and all memories of the relationship are suddenly like that choreographed dance or the karaoke scene in (500) Days of Summer? The first 13 episodes of Lost have brought me there. And so I’m going to give the social networking a little break, close the blinds, hunker down and catch up like a champ. I’ll see you all for the series finale.