Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pondering About Lost: Red, the Third Symbolic Color???

If you look up black & white at, there are a lot examples of the use of black & white. But, some examples introduce a third color... Red.

  • There’s the joke Michael's nurse tells, “What’s white, black, and red all over?”
  • There are three cars, one of each color, in Locke’s dad’s driveway.
  • In a Desmond flashback, he & Eloise Hawking witness a man in red shoes getting killed. The man’s other clothing was black & white.
  • I don’t remember this, but according to Lostpedia, Ben’s kitchen is red, white, and black.
  • There are numerous examples of one character in a scene wearing black, another white, but sometimes a third character in the scene is wearing red.
  • The creators of the show obviously make a big deal out of white & black, but as an homage & in-joke, they have also adopted the Star Trek tradition of “red shirts” being easily killed off.

So, what does the red mean? It could represent yet a third major entity, like Jacob & Smokey, that we still haven’t met yet. It could represent the blood that will be shed in the conflict between the two opposing sides. It could represent the survivors of Oceanic 815 being the variables in an equation that has constants on either side.

On another of my favorite shows, Babylon 5, “understanding” is one time described as a three-edged sword -- your side, their side, and the truth. I believe that’s what’s going on in Lost.

Smokey is angry, jaded, alone, single-minded, obsessed with getting home. He justifies his actions by advocating free-will. Jacob is entrenched in the island, paranoid about its protection (warranted or not), willing to observe & manipulate the lives of hundreds of innocent people and entrap & endanger them over his own beliefs. He’s set in his ways, and he’s brainwashed the Others with his philosophy. They’re the black & white, but I don’t think it makes either of them right.

I think our main characters represent the color red, the third edge of the sword, the truth. They represent a mix of good & evil, a mix of fate & free will, a mix of faith & rational thought. They are caught in the middle. And, either that means they will bring compromise & balance to the island, or they’ll be forced to choose sides in a battle that will end the conflict once & for all -- and only half will survive.

...Or, maybe, red in Lost doesn’t mean anything at all. :(

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