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Episode: - LA X Part 1

Commentators: Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse


Carlton Cuse: "Previously on Lost. " That's not me, though.

Damon Lindelof: It... You... It's never too late to get the job, Carlton.

Carlton Cuse: I'd like to say that... I'd like people to remember that it was me, even though it wasn't.

Damon Lindelof: Speaking of you...

Carlton Cuse: Hi, Damon.

Damon Lindelof: Of these two men, which are you, Jacob or the Man in Black? Before we begin.

Carlton Cuse: I'm going Jacob.

Damon Lindelof: Excellent. I'm glad you did.

Carlton Cuse: Should we introduce ourselves?

Damon Lindelof: You just got stabbed.

Carlton Cuse: That was a mistake there.

Damon Lindelof: This reminds me of the time l kicked you into a fire. Hi, I'm Damon Lindelof, executive producer of the television program that you are now watching, Lost.

Carlton Cuse: And my name is Carlton Cuse, and l am executive producer of the television program you are now watching called Lost, also.

Damon Lindelof: Watch out, Sayid. Aw.

Carlton Cuse: Oh, jeez!

Carlton Cuse: There's a lot that went on before this episode, which l think would be very hard to summarize.

Damon Lindelof: Well, it involves dropping an... ...an atomic/nuclear device into this hole. And Juliet is gonna fall into it. We're gonna see this happen about nine more times.

Carlton Cuse: Profound electromagnetic effects that are... That's gravity, though, that's just taking her down there.

Damon Lindelof: And let's very quickly talk about, um... ...why is Juliet hitting this bomb? Hopefully, she's gonna try to prevent Oceanic 815...

Carlton Cuse: We have this big white flash. Obviously, when the season premiere starts, in our minds there was sort of a big question, which is when she hits that bomb, one of two things should happen. That was, basically, what all of season five was postulating. That basically... Damon, would you like to talk about what the two things were that could have happened?

Damon Lindelof: Yes. It'd seem that thing A would be that this plan that Faraday hatched in the previous season to create some form of paradox in which Oceanic 815 never landed on the island, never crashed, but instead proceeds on its way to LAX. A series of events, the hatch never existed, Desmond's never in the hatch, he doesn't forget to push the button and then Oceanic 815 sort of proceeds along its merry way. That is thing A. It would appear, Carlton, that we are watching that right this very minute, as Cindy hands Jack this bottle. But this is the first aberration. She only hands him one bottle. As we know in the original pilot, it was two.

Carlton Cuse: The thing I'm still wondering, well, what if the bomb, you know... I'm actually a little shocked here because l was hoping that the bomb didn't actually flash them back into their life where 815 didn't crash, and that they would still be on the island. I'm surprised, here, to look at the beginning of the show and see that apparently l was wrong.

Damon Lindelof: First off, you shouldn't be surprised because you wrote the script with me. But you'll get over that soon and something tells me that you might get your version of the show, too. And, of course, let's talk for a minute about this conversation that Jack and Rose are about to have with each other. This conversation, this moment when the plane, in fact, does not crash is confirmation that something is definitely amiss. This dialogue that's about to take place is some of the most significant dialogue in the series.

Carlton Cuse: And with those words, we started a new paradigm on the show, one in which flight 815 didn't crash, where our characters actually landed in Los Angeles. This was incredibly exciting for Damon and me because this was unexplored territory. We had done flashbacks on the show, we had done flash-forwards on the show, but now we were doing something that we affectionately liked to call "flash-sideways," which was sort of the, "What happens if this timeline played out and there was no crash of flight 815?" And it was really important to us that the final season of the show not just be a didactic recitation of answers to prior questions, but that we establish an important central mystery for the final season. And that mystery, for us, is what is up with this timeline, and how does it reconcile with the timeline of our characters on the island? We're gonna be getting back to that story after this teaser.

Damon Lindelof: Right, exactly. And here we have another critical moment in the series. lf the fundamental mystery becomes what is this... What's going on here, in this plane? ls it a what-if story? ls it a paradox? Here is your first clue, ladies and germs. This mark on Jack's neck. Clearly, we're up to something here. It's going to come back. But it is your first sense that maybe it's a little bit more than what you're getting. And, of course, just in case that wasn't enough, here's Desmond Hume sitting next to Jack on the plane. And this is a very significant aberration from everything you've ever seen before. We're saying that Desmond is not not only in the hatch because it was never built, but somehow he has found his way onto this plane, too. So is it...? What does that mean, and why don't these guys know each other?

Carlton Cuse: Yeah. The thing that we... We tried to design these flash-sideways so that they work on two levels. On one level, if you were not a hardcore fan of the show, you could watch the flash-sideways, and they were a self-contained narrative. They'd tell a story from beginning, middle and end. But, more significantly, if you were a fan of the show, you are freaking out right now because you go, "Oh, my God! Desmond Hume is on this plane. He wasn't on flight 815." He's never met Jack in this scenario. Along with, as Damon mentioned before, the liquor bottle and a number of other subtle things that you'll witness in this teaser. It's not an actual recitation of what took place in flight 815 in the pilot of the series.

Damon Lindelof: All due respect, Carlton, l am a fan of the show and I'm not freaking out right now.

Carlton Cuse: Oh, OK. Well, that's probably 'cause you also wrote it. So...

Damon Lindelof: Here is our first big effects sequence of the season. And...

Carlton Cuse: These fish coming up l really love. There you go.

Damon Lindelof: You love lots of fish.

Carlton Cuse: l like that fish thing.

Damon Lindelof: This is ambitious...

Carlton Cuse: Sonic fences.

Damon Lindelof: Sonic fences.

Carlton Cuse: New Otherton.

Damon Lindelof: New Otherton. There it is.

Carlton Cuse: Swing set.

Damon Lindelof: There's Alex's body. l just saw it out of the corner of my eye.

Carlton Cuse: Uh-oh.

Damon Lindelof: And one last cameo from an old friend, Ezra James Sharkington.

Carlton Cuse: The Dharma shark!

Damon Lindelof: It's nice to know that he, somehow, made it into this sideways.

Carlton Cuse: Yeah. People wanted a repeat performance. That's the foot! It's underwater! Does that mean, in these flash-sideways, the island is sunk?

Damon Lindelof: That's an excellent question, Carlton. And l think, you know, clearly one that we do not wanna spoil for people listening to this commentary, but have not yet experienced the season as a whole. We're trying to... lf you have seen the season as a whole, and you're looking for explanations as to what the sideways are, how they connect into the show...

Carlton Cuse: Go elsewhere.

Damon Lindelof: Yeah, go elsewhere. We'll be talking about that kind of stuff in our finale commentary. But this commentary is really just a lot about talking... And we'll get back to the sideways in a minute. But now, here...

Carlton Cuse: l was right!

Damon Lindelof: Yeah.

Carlton Cuse: God. Thank God. It does appear now that when she's tapping this bomb, it goes off.

Damon Lindelof: Tapping the bomb. That's gotta be a euphemism for something.

Carlton Cuse: That's right.

Damon Lindelof: When you wanna go back in life and change something, "Man, l gotta just tap the bomb, and never have married you." [laughs]

Carlton Cuse: Well, yeah.

Damon Lindelof: I'm talking to you.

Carlton Cuse: l hope that isn't my flash-sideways, you and l are married. That's a whole other story. But Tapping the Bomb might be a good title for your autobiography.

Damon Lindelof: [chuckles] Wow.

Carlton Cuse: We'll get into that later. Oh, my God! Kate's hanging from a tree. So in this scenario, apparently tapping the bomb has basically jumped Kate to some other place on the island. And it went from day to night. And so, obviously, things are different here. Again, this was... This... Our goal here now was to basically set up the essential mystery of the season, which is, OK, in one scenario our characters are on a plane, flying back to LA. And in this scenario, our characters seem to be still on the island and the bomb has basically kind of created a continuation of what we were watching last year, which has zapped them through time. We'll learn about that in a minute.

Damon Lindelof: Obviously, the big challenge here is that the characters on both sides of this coin are not aware of the other side. Normally, when we did flashbacks or flash-forwards, the character... When we were doing flashbacks, the character on the island would have a flashback and clearly they were aware, "This happened in my past." "I'm Sawyer. l know that l was in Australia hunting down this guy." When we did flash-forwards, the characters in flash-forwards were aware of their island past. There was a continuity set for the audience. "l know this happened before this or this happened after this." This season, for the first time, the characters on the island have no awareness whatsoever of what's happening in the sideways and vice versa. At least, so far.

Carlton Cuse: By the way, Kate actually climbed that tree. Evangeline Lilly is, like, an amazing athlete. She actually... She had a safety wire on so she wouldn't plunge and die, but she literally did all that tree climbing stuff herself. That was not a stunt person. She's an amazing tree climber. l just wanted to say that.

Damon Lindelof: Any excuse to get her up in a tree. And, you know, obviously, when a hydrogen bomb detonates and that kind of energy throttles you through time, it can physically move your body slightly. And in this case, Kate's, significantly. But we'll see soon that some of the other characters have not traveled as far. Here is our attempt as writers... Scenes like this, when you hear three or four lines of dialogue, you basically go, "OK, they're trying to explain what's going on here." We must have spent five days in the writers' room just sort of...

Carlton Cuse: And then about five more days in the editing room adding ADR.

Damon Lindelof: How do we explain what's going on here that is subjective to the characters, 'cause they're gonna be confused, but we don't want the audience too confused.

Carlton Cuse: You know what the answer is, Damon? Commentary.

Damon Lindelof: Nice.

Carlton Cuse: DVD commentary. That's how you explain it.

Damon Lindelof: Right.

Carlton Cuse: They've actually zapped through time and they're back on the island in sort of island present after the Swan hatch has been imploded by Desmond. And now they're realizing, "Oh..." [censor beep] Whoops. They're realizing that...

Damon Lindelof: Oh, phooey.

Carlton Cuse: "Oh, phooey." That the... [chuckles] The bomb didn't work, and as opposed to basically sending them back on flight 81 5, they are now... they're on the island. But they've zapped through time again on the island. Now they're realizing it. But it was incredibly hard to articulate that without using dates or reference points. And, you know...

Damon Lindelof: Or the "s" word. If you could use the "s" word on this show, that's all the characters'd ever say.

Carlton Cuse: Exactly.

Damon Lindelof: This is a perfect scenario for the kind of "s" word they're in.

Carlton Cuse: Damon, l would bet that if we were allowed to use the "s" word, there would've been at least 10,000 "s" words over the course of Lost to this point.

Damon Lindelof: Oh, easily. Sawyer would only be saying the "s" word right now.

Carlton Cuse: Imagine how much easier it'd have been to write the scripts. It would have been like setup, setup, "s" word, "s" word, "s" word, boom. Lost.

Damon Lindelof: There you go. Now, one of the things that l really love about this premiere, and the season as a whole, is Matthew's performance. l mean, l think he's been incredible all along, but the fact that he is now humbled, that he knows that he made a mistake, that he's sorry, and he just gets the "s" kicked out of him all season long. Especially in this premiere. You just feel so bad for the guy because his intentions were good. But then he's being told that it didn't work, that he failed on the island. But then the audience is actually seeing these sideways, they're going, "Wait a minute, did it also work?"

Carlton Cuse: l don't know.

Damon Lindelof: Kate took the pen. That's the moment where she gets it.

Carlton Cuse: Took the pen from his pocket. Right there. But l mean, he's had a lot of "s"-ing things happen to him all year long, and... That's a pretty "s"-ing looking meal.

Damon Lindelof: "F"-ing things. OK, lasagna. This is a great shoutout to the show, because in the original pilot, Hurley brings Claire lasagna. So we know that lasagna was served on the flight, but it's also a reference to one of our favorite movies, and a movie that was sort of integral in Carlton Cuse's early career, Airplane! When people are getting sick and Leslie Nielsen is saying... They're trying to ascertain if the pilot had the chicken or the fish, 'cause everybody who had the fish is getting food poisoning. Leslie Nielsen goes, "Yes, l had the lasagna."

Carlton Cuse: That's right. Do you realize, there are some profound influences... People think the Bible influenced the show. No, it's really the movie Airplane!

Damon Lindelof: And speaking of comedy...

Carlton Cuse: Dr. Arzt.

Damon Lindelof: Daniel Roebuck.

Carlton Cuse: Yeah. We just really loved... One thing we really wanted to do in the final season of the show was basically give the audience the thing that we just love as television fans, that sort of curtain call phenomenon. That is, basically... There are certain characters on Lost who we really adored. The idea of the sideways giving us an opportunity to bring someone like Dr. Arzt back, it would have been hard to do that on the show since he had blown into a billion pieces. He exploded.

Damon Lindelof: It'd take so much time to glue him... [both] Back together.

Carlton Cuse: So we were able to bring him back here. That was fun.

Damon Lindelof: Not just for comedic purposes. The cool thing about Arzt being the first guy that you see who is dead is to begin to prepare the audience for the fact of, "Oh, my God, that's how these sideways are gonna work, too." People who died on the island, we're actually gonna get to see again. We're gonna see a couple more of those guys coming up on the plane before it lands. But Hurley, obviously, said he's the luckiest guy in the world. That's another slightly significant deviation, 'cause he's not looking lucky right now.

Carlton Cuse: He wasn't lucky in his flashbacks and he's not lucky here. He's got Sayid, who's almost dead.

Damon Lindelof: Good old... Here you go, Daniel. Here's the script. You have to say the line "l think we moved through time" and sell it.

Carlton Cuse: He does incredibly well.

Damon Lindelof: Yeah, God bless him. In English, which, you know, this is one of the great things about Jin on the island this season.

Carlton Cuse: English is Daniel's first language.

Damon Lindelof: But Jin's second language.

Carlton Cuse: But Korean, which he speaks on the show, is his second language. So he's actually pretending to be a native Korean speaker, but he's actually an English speaker, but he's playing a native Korean speaker as an English actor who's now pretending to be an English speaker, who now is an English speaker once he spoke Korean.

Damon Lindelof: l don't want to embarrass you, but l feel like this is a fun fact. Carlton's first language is Esperanto. It's a true story. For those of you who want to hear the commentary in Esperanto, please...

Carlton Cuse: Go to another show immediately.

Damon Lindelof: Yeah, exactly. Get season two of Supernatural.

Carlton Cuse: That would be awesome to actually raise your children to speak Esperanto. They probably would take your children away from you if you raised them to speak Esperanto.

Damon Lindelof: I think you should see the movie Mosquito Coast, and then we'll talk about what happens when you do things like that to your children.

Carlton Cuse: That movie would've been better if they'd spoken Esperanto.

Damon Lindelof: Here's something we were excited about. l think it's worth talking about on a story level, which is last year when she hit the bomb, we had to... And then Elizabeth went to go be on V. Everybody was saying, "Juliet's dead. You've killed Juliet. Blah, blah, blah." It was very hard for us to say, "Well, we have this plan for her where she's going to be in the premiere." It's really important... l think when you watch this premiere and you realize, at the end of it, l don't think it's a spoiler to say Juliet does, eventually, pass on. She does die. But people would say to us, "Why did you bring her back in the premiere, just to kill her all over again? l felt like l already dealt with that." It's because of what she says before she dies.

Carlton Cuse: Also, just on a narrative level, we thought it was important to basically give her a death scene, to basically just have her tap the bomb and not see her anymore just felt like it wasn't doing justice to the character.

Damon Lindelof: I've copyrighted "tap the bomb" since earlier in the commentary. You'll be hearing from my lawyer if you use it again.

Carlton Cuse: OK.

Damon Lindelof: Thank you.

Carlton Cuse: So when she tapped the bomb, tapped the bomb, tapped the bomb...

Damon Lindelof: I'm gonna sue your ass.

Carlton Cuse: Seriously? That's good. I'm looking forward to it. Bring it on, Mr. Bomb Tapper.

Damon Lindelof: All right. We can negotiate. Seventy cents per usage of the phrase "tap the bomb."

Carlton Cuse: I'm willing to spend at least nine dollars and whatever 70 cents goes into nine dollars worth to use it in order to make this commentary as good as it can be.

Damon Lindelof: Apparently, I've received a call from Mos Def to record a song called Tap the Bomb, so...

Carlton Cuse: Good. You go do that while l point out to the audience that Jacob is showing up here.

Damon Lindelof: You wanna talk about the show?

Carlton Cuse: l wanna finish about Elizabeth. So we wanted to give her a death scene. And so... and really allow the emotional death of the character to be something that resonates for all the other people on the show. Anyway, now we're back in the flash-sideways here. And...

Damon Lindelof: Now the audience is playing a fun little game, because Desmond's on the plane, we saw Hurley talk about how lucky he is. Now, here's Sun and Jin. They're speaking Korean to each other. We're wondering, is Sun... Does she speak English? Does she secretly speak English? What have they changed up on us?

Carlton Cuse: This is my favorite thing ever coming up here, which is... OK, here's another... OK, we have Boone back on the show, which is awesome. lan Somerhalder is so good, and it was so great to have him back again. Literally, when we were watching the first cut of this, l was like... This is one of those moments where l was like, "Wow." It is so great to see Boone back on the show. But along with that is the extra, unbelievable thing that... There's Frogurt, who is this character, a creation of Eddie Kitsis, one of our writers, who basically fought for Frogurt's existence tooth and nail for three seasons. And here he is sort of dominating the scene by doing nothing but sitting in the middle of Locke and Boone with a sleep shade over his eye.

Damon Lindelof: No idea he is about to be spared the horrible fate of being shot in the chest with a flaming arrow. l think what's great about Somerhalder's performance here, and it is so great to see him as... This is the first time, in the sideways, that we start to take advantage of character dynamics. If you are a huge fan of the show, you know Locke got Boone killed. The idea that Boone basically listened to this guy, believed in this guy, had faith in this guy and ended up dying as a result of it. Now... So when Boone says at the end of the scene, "If this plane goes down, I'm sticking with you," it has such enormous resonance. This is one of my favorite scenes in the show.

Carlton Cuse: It's a critical setup for his appearance in a subsequent episode... So the audience goes, "OK. When Frogurt appears, it's not like he came out of nowhere. He was there."

Damon Lindelof: Right. And now, you know. We started doing this interesting thing in the sideways, which is we will go off of John Locke in the sideways, and that's John Locke. That's the John Locke we knew and loved. But this dude, this is not John Locke at all. The John Locke we knew and loved is currently out in the sand wearing a suit, quietly decomposing.

Carlton Cuse: One of the things that we...

Damon Lindelof: Or loudly decomposing.

Carlton Cuse: As we were basically laying out the architecture for this season, we made a very fundamental decision, which was we were not gonna basically hold all the mysteries until the finale. We were not gonna wait until the end of the series to answer important questions. So we thought one of the things that'd be great, right in the premiere, was to let us know who this guy masquerading as John Locke was. We'd basically tell the audience that right from the get-go and answer, what we considered to be, a really big question in the premiere of the final season.

Damon Lindelof: We'll be getting that shortly, but it wouldn't be Lost if we didn't tantalize the audience a little bit. And clearly, this man wants to talk to Richard Alpert. Here's sort of a fun fact. You know, this dialogue that you're not really hearing, Nestor had to improvise, because he's sort of off-camera. We're really focused on Sun and Lapidus. And it was some of the filthiest...

Carlton Cuse: It was blue. So many "s" words.

Damon Lindelof: ...language I've heard in my life.

Carlton Cuse: And "f' words.

Damon Lindelof: If there are any lip readers there, turn down the volume and see what it is Nestor is really saying, because we would love a transcript.

Carlton Cuse: And it's awesome 'cause Alpert's kind of doing his own little HBO version of the show there.

Damon Lindelof: He does not want them to go into the foot.

Carlton Cuse: Yeah, exactly. OK, Frank Lapidus. [Lindelof chuckles] What can l say? l mean, he's just one of those characters that, again... What's really fun as a writer on this show is basically the idea that we're not completely in control of our universe. Yes, we steer the narrative of the show, but it's a very collaborative process with the actors. And basically we write things, but then the actors actually interpret those words in concert with the directors of the episodes. And, then that in itself, the show takes on a life. Then we, as writers, have to respond to what the organic entity of the show is. And characters like Lapidus are characters who came on to the show with a limited purpose. That guy was basically part of the freighter folk. But he just had such an interesting quality and dynamic that here he is now, in the final season of the show, and he's... Every time l go to him, l get a smile on my face. l love everything Lapidus says.

Damon Lindelof: Why are you unbuttoning your shirt when you talk about Lapidus? First off, it's bad enough that you got the Lapidus calendar. I'll be quite honest with you. April is just offensive to me.

Carlton Cuse: l will say that...

Damon Lindelof: Now, you're going on and on about it in the commentary.

Carlton Cuse: Very few people have more chest hair than me.

Damon Lindelof: You love Lapidus.

Carlton Cuse: Lapidus is one of them.

Damon Lindelof: Wonderful.

Carlton Cuse: That's something which I'm very happy to have just said for posterity.

Damon Lindelof: By the way... One of the great things about this show is you look at this stuff and you go, "Here are five of the leads of our show, they're wearing Dharma jumpsuits. They've traveled through time. And they're so invested in just getting Juliet out of this hatch wreckage that was created by a nuclear bomb." You go, "If anyone ever tried to explain this show to someone who wasn't watching this, you'd say it's the most absurd thing you've heard, and it's absolutely ridiculous." But the actors are so committed to the reality of our show. It makes me feel so blessed. Look at Josh. He's just spectacular.

Carlton Cuse: This shot is actually an amazing bit of work that's a combination of Zack Grobler, our amazing production designer, who really takes these crazy ideas and gives them life and believability. But also part of that hatch was a visual effects shot. It was green screen. Part of it was actually a matte painting built and designed by our effects company. It's kind of that ability to meld technology of visual effects and computer imagery with actual sets that helped us enormously in being able to create scope on the show that is much more like features than what you traditionally would think of as television.

Damon Lindelof: This relationship bears talking about just a little bit. The relationship between Hurley and Jacob is a real cornerstone to not just this season, but the series. Clearly, this idea that Hurley has always been able to communicate with the dead...

Carlton Cuse: l have a question for you.

Damon Lindelof: Shoot.

Carlton Cuse: ls there significance that we should take in the fact that Hurley is the person Jacob communicates with?

Damon Lindelof: Yeah. l think it is hugely significant. Not just the fact that Hurley communicates with Jacob and Jacob is gone now, because... One of the big questions the audience is gonna be asking about this season, and probably still asking even if you've seen the entire season is, "How extensive was Jacob's plan? Where did he improvise? How much of this was based on the free will of the people involved, and how much of it did he think he knew was gonna happen?" Literally, we're talking about a guy who had the Others building a runway three seasons ago. So this seems to be a guy who knew everything that was gonna happen. So, clearly, the fact that he singled out Hugo here, Hurley, to be his emissary and his sort of compadre, and of course Reyes is a very significant name on a list we will be seeing soon in the near future. l think the answer to your question, Carlton, is an undeniable yes.

Carlton Cuse: You know, what's also interesting is that it doesn't seem as though Jacob is an infallible deity. That was something that...

Damon Lindelof: Or a deity at all.

Carlton Cuse: Which is something that was very... What exactly is Jacob? ls he man, is he half...? ls he sort of a demigod? ls he a god? And what is his level of fallibility?

Damon Lindelof: And, most importantly, as you asked in the writers' room one day, who would win in a fight between Jacob and Aslan?

Carlton Cuse: Yeah, that was tough.

Damon Lindelof: Winner? Aslan.

Carlton Cuse: Clearly. Because Jacob does not have teeth

Damon Lindelof: nor sharp claws.

Carlton Cuse: Yeah.

Damon Lindelof: And tends to let you kill him, which is not much of a fight.

Carlton Cuse: Aslan is more of a traditional all-powerful deity. That's... Jacob isn't... He's no match for that guy. But it's an interesting point because an all-powerful deity like Aslan is not as engaging as a... As a mythic figure that actually is somewhat flawed and more complicated, and that was kind of very central to our conversations about Jacob right from the get-go, when we actually introduced him into the show.

Damon Lindelof: You know what Aslan needs? Daddy issues.

Carlton Cuse: [laughs] He would be far better if he, you know, had a papa lion who told him that he never had what it takes.

Damon Lindelof: We need to talk to the Disney people about doing a Narnia commentary. But barring that, we should, probably, get now to...

Carlton Cuse: Could you imagine a Narnia movie through the filter of Lost? That'd be quite something, wouldn't it?

Damon Lindelof: If by "quite something," you mean "completely unwatchable," then yes. Here's Sayid making his appearance. And now...

Carlton Cuse: Kicking a door.

Damon Lindelof: Here's a great moment, because we haven't... Of the most iconic characters in the show, one of the most beloved characters ever is one Charlie Pace. And here he is introduced back into the show. And he's... We're telling the audience, "Oh, my God. He's dead again." Now, what's gonna happen?

Carlton Cuse: l wouldn't imagine that we'd bring him back to play a dead guy. l think there's more to this. But you what's cool is... Now, you've gotten Arzt. You've gotten Frogurt. You've gotten Boone. And now you're getting Charlie. Again, we're trying to give the show... There was a real intent on our part to create a sense of circularity about the series. And that the first season and the sixth season... The sixth season should come back around and have a feel much like the first season. And that we wanted there to be this sort of, kind of, sense of... ...the end of the journey really echoing and resonating from how this journey began.

Damon Lindelof: One of the things you will find very important about these sideways is there are moments in the sideways that clearly emulate things that happened on the island. And you have to... This particular moment, obviously, where Jack is saving Charlie's life, sort of doubles back to All The Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues, where he finds Charlie hanging in this tree. And the idea that none of this means anything to either of these characters at this point, that they're not remembering or having any sense of their island existence is relevant in terms of what it is we're doing. Charlie asks, "Am l alive?". Good question.

Carlton Cuse: What's interesting, Damon, is that we're... we're seeing that these characters, even in this scenario, are establishing relationships and connections despite the fact that flight 815 never crashed.

Damon Lindelof: Right. They are... It seems that the story we're starting to tell is they are drawn to each other, that they are helping each other, and they have some significant role to play in each other's lives completely independent of the island, which now sits on the bottom of the ocean.

Carlton Cuse: That's a very important thing. The fact that there is this kind of... That they are connecting with each other in new and interesting ways, but they are connecting with each other, is a really important part of what we were trying to establish right from the get-go in the sideways. And... And, obviously, as the season goes along, you'll see much more, in the sideways, about how these characters kind of find ways of meeting each other and getting involved in each other's lives. That, obviously, is a very important part of the build to...

Damon Lindelof: Desmond's exercise bikes. Sorry to cut you off. l just love that Easter egg. One shoutout worth giving before we talk about this scene is to Jack Bender, who is sort of our third partner. Not just sort of, very much our third partner. Who directed this premiere so beautifully. And, you know, to not mention him is neglectful. We just kind of take it for granted, but... Carlton, tell us a bit about the scene. This is a cool, sort of... This is something that we haven't really talked about, but if you're listening to this commentary, it's worth noting. What's special about this scene in terms of the way it was produced?

Carlton Cuse: The thing is this scene is an unbelievable testament to the acting abilities and tenacity of Josh Holloway and Elizabeth Mitchell because we shot this scene, and there was a problem and the film was ruined. So imagine these actors, who as you watch this scene, as you watch without commentary, 'cause we're ruining the emotionality of it, it was really an incredibly powerful culminating moment for these two, as basically this... This relationship became something far more significant than we ever even imagined when we put these characters together. Which goes back to what we were talking about before, the organic nature of TV. Here they're saying their final goodbyes to each other. And the actors had to come down and do it again.

Damon Lindelof: Elizabeth flew all the way back to Vancouver, went back to V, and then we had to call her and basically say, "Hey, that work that you did down there? It was spectacular. But we can't see it."

Carlton Cuse: Because the film was not... The film was wrecked.

Damon Lindelof: "Will you do it again?" And God bless them both. This is the second time they did it. And it's even more devastatingly heartbreaking. l mean, just awesome. So big props to them.

Carlton Cuse: Yeah, and she was unbelievable. She was like, "Whatever it takes." She got back on a plane and flew out there. She's the lead of another television show, which is hard a job as there is in the world because you're basically... She's working from crack of dawn Monday till the middle of the night on Saturday morning... ...most television schedules. On her day off, she flew back down to do our show, so...

Damon Lindelof: It's incredible. That's what happens to you when you tap the bomb. Copyright Damon Lindelof, 2010.

Carlton Cuse: Pay yourself 70 cents, friend. Treat yourself to an extra-large soda at lunch today.

Damon Lindelof: I'll take it out of one pocket and put it in the other.

Carlton Cuse: So, uh, one thing that's interesting here is this sense of responsibility that Jack is feeling for what's going on. Now we're moving storylines.

Damon Lindelof: Seriously, enough about responsibility. Now, we're getting into the nitty-gritty of... There are scenes in every premiere and ever finale that dominate the majority of our time and effort. l feel like... Carlton, you and l have probably seen this scene 7,000 times. Somewhere in that neighborhood.

Carlton Cuse: Yes, l would. l would say that 7,133 exactly.

Damon Lindelof: But... But just in terms of figuring out this... ...the action, the effects and the idea that we are about to do a major, major, major show reveal. So now, clearly, one of the questions we got asked most often in the wake of the pilot of the series was what is the monster? What's that noise we hear out there in the jungle? And it's amazing that, 100 hours later, we're finally answering it here in this scene. We're actually saying, "You had the question slightly wrong. It's not, 'What is the monster?' It's, 'Who is the monster?"'

Carlton Cuse: Again, for us, it was important that we didn't put ourselves in a situation where the end of the series was about answering the questions of the series, because, you know, yes, is it engaging to learn that Locke is the smoke monster? Absolutely. But is that emotionally powerful and resonant? Well, not as much as other things. So we felt like part of our job, as storytellers, was to dish the answers to questions out over the course of the season so that we'd be building more to an emotional resolution to the series rather than a sort of... ...I'm gonna go back to the phrase "didactic recitation."

Damon Lindelof: You can have that, I'll have "tapping the bomb." You have "didactic recitation." We'll see which one ends up on a T-shirt. So here comes Smokey and...

Carlton Cuse: Didactic Recitation is the name of my band I'm starting after Lost.

Damon Lindelof: l can't wait to see you play. This is great because this is where we say to the audience, "This is what our good guys are gonna be up against this season." This is what it's capable of.

Carlton Cuse: OK, look here. Here's Bram, and he's putting a circle of ash around him to protect himself. This is an important piece of setup.

Damon Lindelof: That's the name of my band. Circle of Ash.

Carlton Cuse: Circle of Ash. That's good. Now, look. The smoke monster's stymied. The smoke monster can't violate the circle, but he comes up with plan B. Plan B is not very good for Bram.

Damon Lindelof: He's sort of like a MacGyver of smoke monsters. Just give him a paper clip and chewing gum.

Carlton Cuse: Knock him out of the circle, and now... l guess the end looms for him, doesn't it? [both laugh]

Damon Lindelof: You were sitting on that all commentary long.

Carlton Cuse: No, it literally just came off the tip of my tongue.

Damon Lindelof: That's not bad.

Carlton Cuse: Not too bad.

Damon Lindelof: And here comes, you know... This is a line where you just basically say, "Thank God for Terry O'Quinn." You put it on the page and say, "It could be the worst thing ever, but we have such faith in our actors' ability to deliver it." We have one line of dialogue for him to basically confirm that what you just saw, the smoke monster, was in fact John Locke. We're not gonna Clark Kent/Superman you and say, have him come back and say, "What happened in here?" We're gonna have him admit to the fact he's the monster. Here's how we do it.

Carlton Cuse: Here it is. Awesome.

Damon Lindelof: The way we came up with this line is that we walked in on Carlton and he was wearing a bathrobe in the writers' room that was sort of slightly revealing a lot of leg. We looked at him, he looked up and he said...

Carlton Cuse: Something comfortable about it.

Damon Lindelof: ..."Sorry you had to see me like that."

Carlton Cuse: There's something comfortable about a sheer bathrobe that is conducive to the creative process, and l'm sorry that some people found it offensive.

Damon Lindelof: OK. Well... So we're now...

Carlton Cuse: OK.

Damon Lindelof: Guys, we're actually not gonna do commentary on the second hour of the premiere. This is...

Carlton Cuse: Because you can only endure so much pain.

Damon Lindelof: What we think is cool about this act is you just had the action, monster attack, hardcore adventure Lost. Now, we're gonna play pure emotion all the way home. Sort of culminating in this beautiful Giacchino-scored, Bender-directed montage, which we haven't done in a very long time. All kicked off by this incredibly important piece of acting.

Carlton Cuse: And also an incredibly important piece of dialogue. Basically, when you listen to what they say here, you know, Juliet seems to be kind of...

Damon Lindelof: In and out of it.

Carlton Cuse: In and out of this space. And mark her words here. As you watch the series, you'll see this was an important piece of setup for us. In this, we are planting the seeds here for how these two storylines connect. And...

Damon Lindelof: Here it is.

Carlton Cuse: Here it is.

Damon Lindelof: She doesn't get to say what she wants to tell, but we find out in the second hour that she says, "lt worked." But she doesn't actually say it here. She doesn't actually say it.

Carlton Cuse: Miles tells us.

Damon Lindelof: Miles says that's what she was thinking after she died.

Carlton Cuse: So the audience is left, "It worked? How is that possible?" Because, clearly, she must be referring to the bomb. But they're on the island. For them, it didn't work. Yet she is saying it did work. That was... That was part of acknowledging the conundrum of these two timelines.

Damon Lindelof: It worked for her, somehow. l think it's worth, certainly, keeping in mind why it might have worked for Juliet and not for these other characters who are still stuck here on this island.

Carlton Cuse: And now, here, again, we just felt this character was so significant on the history of the show that she deserved this moment, a moment of mourning, a moment of recognition for her role and importance. But not... it's not... It's Lost, so we don't do things in the completely traditional way. It's not like they're gonna stand and cry over the body. In fact, this is now, the moment of her death, we see the impact it's had on the faces of the other characters, but its real narrative impact is to show this conflict between Sawyer and Jack, because Sawyer blames Jack for getting the woman that he loved killed.

Damon Lindelof: And l love that line from Dom there. "l was supposed to die," 'cause he's basically saying to the audience, "This is not the show that I've been watching for five years. The show that I've been watching, l died at the end of the third season. I'm very unhappy about the sideways," because before we go into this montage, it's actually... Carlton, you and l and all the writers knew that we were gonna eat a lot of "s" when we did this storyline. And lo and behold, we were right.

Carlton Cuse: Well, l think the problem is that the audience really starts the season kind of confused. We tried, actually, to get out in front of it and say, "Let's give you a little bit of... Here's a little framework to understand the sideways, that basically, yes, you are meant to be a little confused. Yes, there are intentional differences. No, you don't need to fully process every difference between the sideways and the flashbacks, for instance, to understand the sideways or to watch them or get value out of them." But it's obviously frustrating, but as the course of the season goes along, our hope... We did the best we could, as storytellers, to tell the story that we wanted to tell. The introduction of these sideways was completely central to the ultimate message of the series.

Damon Lindelof: And one of the questions that we get asked about very often is, "When did you figure this out? When did you figure that out?" When we started planning the ending of the series, and we knew exactly how many more seasons we had, we had to meticulously say, "From the end of season three, we'll introduce this idea of flash-forwards. All of season four is gonna be flash-forwards. Season five is gonna be an intercut between the island, the Oceanic Six trying to get back, there's gonna be time travel. Then season six, we're gonna do this." And so these... The execution of this plan was a long time coming, you know. We're really proud of it.

Carlton Cuse: Yes. And here we have Oceanic Six touching down. This is...

Damon Lindelof: Oceanic 815.

Carlton Cuse: Oceanic 815. I'm sorry. Lots of numbers.

Damon Lindelof: This is why we can't do commentaries for two hours. That, and the drinking and the Lapidus calendar hanging over there. Very distracting.

Carlton Cuse: l told you we should've stopped after two margaritas. You're doing better on your third than me. It's 11 in the morning.

Damon Lindelof: I've got a high tolerance. What are you gonna do?

Carlton Cuse: Anyway, again, we just wanted to play the emotional value of these characters, resonance of the fact that they're now touched down in Los Angeles. They've actually completed a journey that the show has denied them for six years. Yes, l was thinking about the Oceanic Six because we did bring the Oceanic Six back, but that was a different scenario. This is a scenario in which the island never was a part of their existences. This journey, this sideways is valid. It is relevant. We'll see, by the end of the season, how these two timelines fuse.

Damon Lindelof: Absolutely. We talked about Jack Bender. We talked about Zack Grobler, all the people who make the show so amazing. Jean Higgins, among them. Our producer who figures out a way to get all this on film. But the other character in the show is Michael Giacchino's score. To think about these kind of sequences, these image systems without this beautiful music, l can't imagine how Lost ever would have been Lost without him.

Carlton Cuse: It's rare that you actually can turn a TV show on and instantly recognize the show by its music. That is a testimony to Michael, who at the time we're doing this commentary, has just won the Academy Award for the movie Up. His talent is broad and wide. We just knew we could make this thing work by just basically showing these evocative images, having Jack direct them, seeing our incredible actors and have Michael play it, and that there would be real value in that. And that this is really the commencement of this storyline for the entire season. We'll be back to you in some later commentaries to talk about it more.

Damon Lindelof: Yeah, we're about to sign off. But this moment, right here, between Jack and Locke, Jack sees Locke getting into the chair, something he never, ever found out on the island, that Locke was in a wheelchair. And this idea that these two men are somehow going to help each other before all is said and done is laid right here. So keep that in the back of your brain pan. And enjoy the rest of season six.

Carlton Cuse: With that, we shall bid adieu. Thank you, Damon. It's been a pleasure.

Damon Lindelof: That means... "Adieu" l think actually means see you again in hell.

Carlton Cuse: Or at the finale. Or sooner.

Damon Lindelof: "Adieu" is what you'd say when you never wanna see someone again. ls that what you're saying?

Carlton Cuse: No. I'm just saying I'll see you soon.

Damon Lindelof: I'll see you soon.

Carlton Cuse: Auf Wiedersehen.

Damon Lindelof: You know what that means?

Carlton Cuse: Bye.

Damon Lindelof: It means "a pox on your family" in German. It's true. All right, bye, guys.

Carlton Cuse: All right, bye, guys.