Thursday, December 02, 2004

We're hopelessly "Lost"

My wife and I have been hooked on the ABC series "Lost" since the first episode. Last week's episode added a new twist to the ongoing mystery with the revelation that Delenn--er, I mean, the French lady they heard on their radio--was still alive on the island. Last night's episode twisted the plot like Chubby Checker having a seizure.

Dan at Scofflaw's Subsidy (formerly County Trunk T) has a few thoughts about the show and points us to this post on the subject by Jollyblogger. I made note of the fact that one character is named John Locke, and he's certainly the most philosophical of the bunch. I completely missed that Mira Furlan's character is named Rousseau. Good catch! (I assume we'll see her again.)

Here's Jollyblogger:

Another thing that intrigues me is that we have two important characters in the show who are named after famous enlightenment philosophers - Locke and Rousseau. There is all kinds of wild speculation I could get into on that. It does seem apparent that Locke and Rousseau have knowledge about the island that others don't, so they are there to "enlighten" the rest of the castaways. Both are famous for their political theories and if you are interested in a comparison/contrast in their political theories you can find it here. What is also interesting is that, though neither directly caused a revolution, Locke's ideas were very influential in the American Revolution and Rousseau's ideas were influential in the French Revolution. But I don't think the characters in the TV show represent competing political philosophies, although who knows what could happen as the season(s) go on. I'm thinking we should be looking at some of their basic ideas to understand their roles on the show.

I don't want to assume too tight a correlation between Locke and Locke and Rousseau and Rousseau, I do remember reading a TV Guide article that said that all of the props have a purpose. Wouldn't these names possibly have a purpose. There are two avenues for undersanding Rousseau. If we think about the "big idea" one of Rousseau's biggest is his is idea of the "noble savage." My friend Terry touched on this here. Rousseau's idea was that man was basically good and pure and that society corrupted him. If man could detach from society he could be restored to his pristine purity. This much would fit with Danielle Rousseau's appearance in the former episode. She lives alone, by herself. She doesn't want to go back to "civilization" with Sayid and in fact warns him to beware of his fellow castaways. She has attained a kind of purity of existence and nobility living alone in the jungle that would be corrupted if she were to go to the castaways.

Another possibility for understanding Rousseau is to see her not as an embodiment of Jean Jacques Rousseau, but maybe as his mistress. Rousseau had a mistress with whom he had multiple children. And, he is known to have put them out as soon as they were born to be raised by the state in orphanages. Remember how Danielle is looking for her lost child "Alex?" Also, Rousseau left his mistress just as Danielle has been left. I know this is a stretch but could it be that she is more representative of Rousseau's mistress than she is Rousseau himself. Another reason I suspect this is that the "Locke" in the show is named John Locke, hence we have a one to one correlation in names, leading me to believe that there is going to be some kind of tight connection between the two. This Rousseau doesn't have the exact same name as the philosopher Rousseau, which makes me think there could be more of a disconnect. But again, this is pure speculation and I know I am giving this way too much thought.

No, no! Keep thinking! Television that makes you think is a rarity these days, and we should applaud it when it happens.

As for the plot, my assumption is that whoever took "Alex" from Delenn--er, sorry, . . . I mean Danielle--will probably take Clare's baby from her just as soon as she gives birth. (That solves the problem of having to have an infant in the main cast, too.)


At 11:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looking forward to the next show and getting down a few more pieces of the puzzle. Jolly Blogger does a weekly speculation after the show airs so be sure to check back at his blog.

Hope all is well with you, your wife and baby (babies?).

Dan Cummings


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