Rewatching LOST with some O.G. LOST podcasters…

Posted: November 3, 2019 by patricksponaugle in Blogging, Diary, Lost, Podcasts
Tags: , , ,

I recently had the great honor (at least, from my perspective) of being invited to record an episode of a LOST re-watch podcast, covering two of LOST‘s near-the-end-of-the-first-season’s episodes.

There will be spoilers for LOST, the TV show. This is your final warning.

LOST aired its premiere 15 years ago – a story of nearly half-a-hundred strangers marooned on an island. As one of the crash survivors, roguish con-man Sawyer/James Ford, might describe their setting, it was an “island of mystery.”

I was not as relentlessly on-line at that time as I am now (honestly, I’m not really all that much on-line now that Game of Thrones is off the air) and so I missed out on the on-line communities that were covering the show: forums and message boards and the like. But, I did get heavily into listening and engaging with podcasts focused on the show, one podcast in particular.

This was the mid 2000s and podcasts had been around of course, but I was not an immediate adopter. I had started listening to science podcasts based on a recommendation from a friend, but at my office many of my co-workers were listening to podcasts covering LOST. LOST, as a TV show, lent itself to endless discussions. The show had no lack of mysteries as well as the habit of constantly producing information that would repudiate our earlier assumptions about characters on the show without contradicting what we’d known.

Wanting to fit in with my LOST-watching office mates, I started listening to the LOST Podcast with Jay and Jack, a father-and-son podcasting team. LOST was their first time podcasting, but they seemed like old hands at it. This was surprising since Jay might not yet have been in college when they started, and Jack was not what I’d call in the entertainment industry. But somehow they were very good at this.

(Quick sidebar: times have certainly changed. Back in the old days my children, podcasts were almost exclusively a domain of the amateur. It’s different now with celebrities and corporate sponsorship getting involved and competing for their niche in the podcast eco-system. I’m not saying that that’s bad, but I am saying that everyone should try to support the efforts of mom-and-pop podcasts.)

Listening to the Lost Podcast with Jay and Jack was a great experience. Typically they would podcast immediately (or thereabouts) after an episode, the two had a great chemistry and especially a great bickering chemistry as they’d debate their competing interpretations of what was happening. Then a few days later, they’d follow up with a feedback episode where they’d discuss listener emails and tweets, as well as play voicemails from callers. (I remember how they’d practically sing their phone number, punctuated with Jack warbling “CALLLL ANNNYTIIIIIIMME”.)

That provided a lot of LOST post-episode content, keeping things hyped for the next episode.

Jay and Jack went on to cover many TV shows. They grew a large community on Facebook, and hosted annual get-togethers in their homebase of Raleigh, North Carolina where they’d do twenty-four hour podcasting for charity.

In the final season of LOST, the podcasting team had secured corporate sponsorship (that was a pretty new thing at the time) which allowed them to host a show-watching party in Los Angeles at the Orpheum theater, for fans who were able to attend. It was a lovely communal gathering (I was not there, but I’ve talked to friends who went and confirmed my assessment of the experience.)

Recently, Jack (from Jay and Jack, obviously) began a LOST re-watch, celebrating the show’s 15th anniversary. His re-watch episodes have been running on his CrazyHankTV YouTube channel, where Jack has been joined by fellow LOST podcasters and other associates from his community.

A few weeks ago, Twitter user @StephaniePersephone asked Jack (via Twitter, obviously) just when she’s going to be on CrazyHankTV talking about LOST. I’ve never met Stephanie (or Jack) in person, but I replied to the tweet, asserting that Stephanie would be a great guest. (I began to follow her on Twitter because she’d often be on Podcast Winterfell back when Matt Murdick was covering chapters from A Song of Ice and Fire. Look, all of my stories end up about Game of Thrones or the source books.)

Jack lined Stephanie up to record with him, and sent me a message asking if I wanted to join in. (Having more than two people is critical for good discussions.) I was felt honored to be invited, and was pleased that I had supported Stephanie in her request.

Unfortunately, Stephanie caught the flu before we could record, and didn’t get better in time for the rescheduled recording session. Rather than having it just be the two of us, Jack pulled in a last minute substitute of Ralph Apel from the Dharmalars podcast, another old time podcast covering LOST. I’d been a Dharmalars listener as well, so from my perspective I was clearly the odd man out.

But I’ll just dispense with my Imposter Syndrome. Because I’d watched both of the episodes we were going to cover on the re-watch, and that’s pretty much the only requirement to be in the room.

We’d been tasked to watch the last two episodes that aired before the two-part, three hour finale of the first season. We’d watched The Greater Good (a Sayid episode) and Born to Run (a Kate episode.) Don’t worry, I’m not going to recap the episodes here, other than to say that The Greater Good featured Sayid interrogating John Locke while getting John to take him to the Nigerian drug-smuggling plane in which Boone had become fatally injured. The backstory dealt with Sayid being forced by the CIA and Australian security services to infiltrate a terrorist cell.

The stand-out moment for LOST lore in the episode was that Locke surprised Sayid by telling him that Locke had knocked Sayid unconscious when Sayid, Kate, and Sawyer were trying to triangulate the position of the mysterious distress signal from the mad Frenchwoman, Danielle Rousseau. This was a shocking moment for viewers, since it had been a mystery. Locke just unloaded that factoid on Sayid as a means to gain trust, and it reminded me of a similar moment from the TV show Black Sails (I will not spoil that moment here.)

Oh, and Shannon tried to get Sayid to kill John Locke, blaming him for her step-brother Boone’s death. Shannon eventually almost shoots Locke in the head. (This wouldn’t be the only time on LOST where someone has a goal of manipulating someone into murder.)

Born to Run deals with Kate’s complicated relationship with her mother, but the island storyline is mostly focused on Kate trying to get a place on Michael’s raft, and Michael being poisoned for which Kate is eventually blamed. The stand-out creepy-island-mystery moment of that episode is when Michael’s son Walt, obviously having some kind of psychic intuition, warns Locke NOT to open it (the Hatch.) And asserting to Michael that they had to get off the island.

The two episodes offered up fruitful discussions of Kate-Jack-Sawyer dynamics, the problem with our theories relying on information provided by secondary sources and unreliable narrators, and how the show constantly played with our assumptions.

I even got to express my crazy and probably dumb theory that the literal Magic-Number-Stamped Hatch that John had been trying to get into had been actively trying to stop him with the vision that led to Boone’s death, or the warning Walt received via his extra-sensory powers.

The end of the podcast flowed into a discussion of the LOST finale. Jack was closing out the podcast talking about his YouTube channel, Ralph did likewise, and since I don’t really have things to plug, I just mentioned that people can find my Game of Thrones coverage on Watchers on the Wall. I was asked how I felt about the Game of Thrones finale, and I sang my usual song that although I was fine with absolutely everything that happened, Dany burning King’s Landing, Bran becoming King, etc., Game of Thrones would be forever plagued by the last two seasons being short and rushed.

Ralph spoke about how he was relieved that Game of Thrones at least was distracting people away from using LOST‘s finale as a punchline. I have complicated feelings about that. People don’t have to like everything, but if they don’t like LOST, then there’s just something wrong with them. (In my humble opinion.) I mean, I’m happy to defend LOST and its final season. (I’ve gone on record.) I’m less interested in defending Game of Thrones‘s conclusion if someone didn’t like it, because in general people are too passionate about it and arguing against passion is hard and probably counter-productive.

After we finished recording, I tweeted that I had just been recording for a LOST re-watch, and my on-line friends got a bit over-excited thinking that I had been interviewed by Joanna Robinson of the Storm Podcast. No no no. I mean, that’s a GREAT LOST re-watch podcast and I definitely love that podcast as well as the hosts. But lets keep things in perspective.

I was very pleased to participate in a LOST re-watch with someone I consider the Godfather of television podcasting.

If anyone is interested, my episode of CrazyHankTV should be released on YouTube on Monday, November 4th. (Same day HBO is airing the premiere of His Dark Materials, a show that – like LOST – will feature unusual polar bears.)

I apologize in advance that since YouTube is a visual medium, you’ll end up seeing my face. (There’s a reason that my wife is the actor in the family.)

Namaste.


Images are from ABC’s LOST (as well as the LOST Podcast With Jay and Jack.) Photo of the Orpheum theater was taken by Juan Monroy, who I assume attended the performance. The original can be found here on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/juanomatic/8475723985/

I make no claims on any of the images, but some claims on the text here. So there.

© Patrick Sponaugle 2019 Some Rights Reserved

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