What I’ve learned from watching ‘Lost’

I have watched “Lost” faithfully since the very first episode. But for the past couple of seasons, I felt like I was just watching it because I had to, not because I wanted to. And that’s how I felt when the sixth and final season premiered… until the two-hour episode was up and I didn’t want it to end.

Maybe it’s because I know that this is the final season, and, that for better or worse, whether questions are answered or not, it will finally be over. And I want to know what happens.

In the six years I’ve been watching “Lost,” I’ve learned several valuable things about life along the way.

1. Expect the unexpected.

Granted, I’ve learned this from watching way too many seasons of “Big Brother,” too. But the lesson was driven home when the polar bear showed up. The dead don’t stay dead. The infirm can walk. Time travel without a DeLorean is possible. Men can wear eyeliner and manage to somehow pull it off. I know I shouldn’t be surprised when the show manages to surprise me, but I am. Constantly. Because I have no idea what’s going on.

2. The Devil is in the details.

Don't worry, Hurley. We're just as lost as you.

I used to think I was an observant person. I mean, I got the connection between Walt’s comic book and the polar bear. But more serious “Lost” fans notice what I never would have, even if I’d seen an episode more than once. For example, the season 6 premiere was titled “LA X.” I never even noticed that there was a space between “LA” and “X” until I read it on a blog. Is this significant? How could it not be? The Internet is teeming with sites devoted to these little clues in each episode, some of which are significant, some of which are red herrings. Most of which, I missed.

3. Don’t get attached.

Actually, I’ve learned this lesson from many of my favorite shows over the years. My favorite characters have a bad habit of dying on me. And “Lost” doesn’t pull any punches. Take the death of Charlie. Arguably one of the show’s most popular characters. One of mine, too. And then, he was killed in the third season finale. Though it wasn’t the last we saw of him, the show was a little less fun without him. Other characters I liked, Boone, Daniel, Charlotte, Claire… though, technically, I guess Claire isn’t dead… have met their end in one form or another. Which is why I’m very worried about Hurley, Jin and Sun during this final season.

4. Don’t go into the woods.

Seriously. There’s crazy stuff in the woods. Giant birds. Spiders that can make you only mostly dead. Polar bears. Smoke-monsters. ‘Nuff said.

5. Don’t mess with time travel.

Never a good idea to begin with, but even attempting to keep the timeline on “Lost” straight without extensive charts and graphs would give me an aneurysm faster than a time-hopping Charlotte. I have given up trying to remember who did what to whom and when they did it. I have learned to just go with the flow and hope that the writers will remind those of us with minds like Swiss cheese will explain some of this stuff.

6. Questions will not be answered.

Remember a few years ago when we were told we would finally learn about the numbers and the smoke monster. And… we didn’t? Yeah, totally not holding my breath for any real answers from this series. I have a feeling that when the final episode airs, “Lost” fans everywhere will turn to each other and go, “…What the fuck was that all about.” And the die-hards will get online to scrutinize frame by frame to come up with their own theories. And I’ll just shrug and go with it.

Perhaps we’re not meant to ever learn all the answers because the writers are totally making this crap up as they go along. Maybe detonating a nuclear device over a mysterious and powerful energy pocket can create alternate realities. Maybe it’s just one big, vague allegory on good and evil, life and death. Maybe it’s all a dream. And maybe a polar bear is just a polar bear.

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