Early Saturday morning weary journalists assembled for the junket for We Are Marshall, the upcoming film based on the true story of Marshall University, which had its whole football team wiped out in one plane crash. Matthew Fox was there; he plays Red Dawson, a coach who survived only because he gave up his seat at the last moment. Fox also happens to play a certain Dr. Jack Shephard, the buzz-cutted hero of Lost.
Lately a lot of fans have been griping about the show’s pace, but Fox thinks that the thing is going along just fine. “I’m happy where we are now,” he told me. “I hope the show stays on as long as it takes to tell the story. Ultimately that’s all I care about. If it feels like it’s because we’re so successful around the world and kind stretching it out, that would be a bummer. But I don’t feel that way. I feel like Damon and JJ and all those guys over there that are creating this thing – it began with a plane crash on an island and they know the final conflict, and they’re getting from A to B, and at this point they’re getting there as quickly as they want to get there, as quickly as the story dictates they get there.”
But it isn’t like Fox is insulated from the way fans feel. When asked what fans say to him on the street, he said, “Right now it’s like, ‘What, you guys have to go off the air for a couple of months and now I find you in New York? Why aren’t you in Hawaii making new episodes?’ And I’m like, ‘Actually we’re still shooting, the break didn’t mean anything to us. Everybody’s shooting, I just happen to not be shooting. I won’t tell you why.’”
I think that the complaints about Lost have gotten even more boring than the show supposedly has. I’ve loved the first part of this season, even if it didn’t end on as earth-shattering a note as the creators may have claimed it would. But that’s where you have to draw the line between what the creators say and what happens on the show – if you’re going in to an episode with the vague promises of Damon Lindelof as the guide to your expectations, you’ll be disappointed.
The one thing I wish I had a chance to ask Fox about was the idea that the mysteries aren’t being solved fast enough. If you watch the first three episodes of Lost and the last three episodes, they’re like different shows. The questions do get answered, and they often bring with them some fundamental changes to the basic set up of the program. Sure, they’re still stuck on a desert island, but now there’s so much more going on.
The problem for many people is that the show answers questions with things that raise new, different questions – which I think is just about half the fun. I don’t want to watch an episode of Lost and at the end of it think, ‘Well, now I know everything there is to know about The Black Rock.’ I want new mysteries and new avenues of storytelling to open up.
I can’t wait for Lost to come back from the hiatus, and I hope that we learn more about Ben and Juliet and the Others. And I hope that everything we learn about them creates ten more questions, because there’s something else Fox said that I completely agree with: “The show isn’t just about the 43 minutes someone is getting an installment of, it’s about what they’re talking about after.”