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MamaPop Exclusive Doc Jensen Interview!

Lost_the_incident Friends, Lost Fans, Geeks, the day we have long dreaded and anticipated in equal measure is now upon us. Yes, today is Lost Season Finale Day. And I don't know about you, but my excitement for tonight's culminating two-hour episode is definitely tempered by some very serious anxiety about what the hell I'm going to do on Wednesday nights starting next week. Should I pick up knitting? Portrait painting? cough Ship-in-a-bottle making cough? Sigh. Each time a season of Lost ends I'm reminded of how barren the televisual landscape is without the show, and just how awful it will be to see it end after next season. Oh the woe and the weeping, the tearing of clothes and wailing and gnashing of teeth... Let's hope there's a support group or something I can join, as I expect the Lost withdrawals to be formidable.

That said, tonight's ending thankfully foreshadows next season's beginning, and we still have a great big chunk of Lost ahead of us to look forward to [wipes sweat from brow]. And who better to help us navigate through the show's narrative and its complex machinations than Entertainment Weekly's Delphic-Oracle-Like Expert On All Things Lost, Jeff "Doc" Jensen? That's right, NO ONE. Which is why I'm beyond excited -- thrilled, quite honestly -- that Doc took time during what must be an incredibly busy week for him to answer our questions about tonight's finale, how he thinks the show will end, who he thinks that Jacob dude is, and more.

Full interview with Doc after the jump!

. . . . . . . . . .

MamaPop: What do you HOPE will happen during Wednesday's season finale, ie: what questions do you think should/must be answered, what issues resolved?

Doc Jensen: By now, Lost fans should know that Lost season finales never give you as many answers as you want—though they usually do a dynamite job of posing some new capture-the-imagination questions. However, I think this year’s finale owes the audience some resolution on these two concerns: Can the castaway history be changed, and can the castaways in the past be reunited with the castaways in the present? At the very least, Lost needs to give us yes or no answers to those questions.

MamaPop: Where do you fall on the Science vs. Faith spectrum relative to Lost? Do you think that everything that happens on the island is somehow rooted in science and can be explained rationally, or is there indeed an element of the "supernatural"?

Doc Jensen: I’m a mix of both. There is no question in my mind that we’re dealing with supernatural phenomenon. And I’m all for that. The question is: How much supernatural phenomenon? I do think Lost would be more interesting if the show tried to minimized the amount of supernatural stuff, because the more that the story abides in the humanity of the characters, the more relatable this crazy drama can be to the audience.

MamaPop: Who do you believe Richard Alpert to be, and why? And do you think Jacob is the ultimate puppeteer -- the "Man Behind The Curtain" as it were -- or just a great big red herring?

Doc Jensen: I have never developed a good theory for Richard Alpert. But after last week’s episode, I began to wonder if Richard may have a secret, possibly sinister agenda. I think Jacob is not a puppeteer, but rather a bizarre casualty in a war over competing versions of history. However, I don’t think Jacob is without power or influence.

MamaPop: Deep down, in that secret, self-doubting part of yourself, do you think that Lost stands up to philosophic/intellectual scrutiny? Which is to say: is it possible that those of us (myself included) who are determined to weave all of the obscure/not-so-obscure/not necessarily intentional references to philosophy and science and literature and such into esoterically-derived interpretations of the show are maybe giving Lost (its writers and creators) too much credit? Are we seeing stuff that isn't really there? And: does it matter?

Doc Jensen: I’m only going to answer your last two questions in that previous graph, because I think my answers address all of them. "Are we seeing stuff that isn’t really there?" YES! Absolutely. But the questions that Lost invites are: What’s intentional and what’s not? What’s valid and what isn’t? We really don’t know what’s "in game" and "what isn’t," and that ambiguity drives me to do what I do: illuminate the possibilities. My work isn’t about finding answers—it’s brainstorming and exploring POSSIBLE answers. But that brings me to your last question: "Does it matter?" For me, it doesn’t. I love it when Lost gives me a book reference like Carlos Castaneda’s "A Separate Reality," not just because it holds potential clues to Lost, but because Castaneda was a really fascinating figure who had some really provocative, complicated, and yes, crazy ideas; learning about this dude was fun and expanding in its own right. I’m a curious guy who likes to have his horizons expanded. I’m grateful to Lost turning me on to a great many things, from philosophers (those the show has cited and those that I’ve inferred, correctly or not) to physicists (ditto) to authors. I get to take all that learning with me, even if the story of Lost itself proves to be unworthy of its references, or just a total let-down. But I don’t think it will.

MamaPop: How much do you think the audience has participated directly in the evolution of the narrative, making the show better than it might have otherwise been? It seems to me that the writers have closely followed fan feedback/theories and either picked up some of those, or conversely gone in an  opposite, more complex direction as a reaction/response to viewer's theories about the show. Almost as if the viewers have CHALLENGED the show (the writers) to come up with something better or more complex, and so they've risen to the occasion in ways they may not have without that ongoing feedback.

Doc Jensen: Honestly, I don’t know. I know the writers certainly pay attention to what their fans think, and are not insensitive to what they want. But here’s the deal: I really hope that Lost ISN’T listening to us, at least not in such a way that we are REALLY influencing or guiding the producers' story. What I hope is that the writers are following their own vision, even at the risk of alienating a lot of fans. More than anything, I hope that Lost succeeds at being meaningful and unique. I think the best chance that the producers have of realizing that ambition is by trusting their gut and telling THEIR story, not the one they think we want to see. Besides, if I really only wanted Lost to be what I want it to be, I'd just stop watching and write fan fiction. I come to Lost the same way I come to a serious book or a serious film: I want to be told a story by a gifted, unique storyteller. When I watch Lost each week, I engage the show without filters or expectations. It's only later, upon reflection, does my Doc Jensen side come online and play with the episode like a cat going crazy with a ball of yarn. More than anything, my theories are expressions of how the show inspires me. It's not about "solving" the show--it's about wallowing in possibilities. Only once or twice have I ever written a column in which I convinced myself, "Yep, that's it, this is TOTALLY what they're doing." That confidence usually fades about 25 seconds after the column leaves my hands and gets posted. The minute it becomes "real"--i.e., public--I suddenly sober up and just laugh at myself for how this show can just drive me to think/write the nuttiest things. But that's cool to me! If anything, these columns are measures of just how much the show gets my brain working. I am grateful for that.

MamaPop: What's the one thing about the show that has pissed you off or disappointed you most?

Doc Jensen: The Jack/Juliet kiss from last season. Forcing Jack to choose between Juliet and Kate and forcing Kate to choose between Sawyer and Jack—I’ve never found those romantic dramas organic or compelling.

MamaPop: Who is your favorite character and why? Who's your least favorite, and why?

Doc Jensen: I am drawn to both Jack’s struggle to believe and Locke’s yearning to believe. I see myself in both their modalities and find their respective journeys credible and compelling; they stand for a search for truth and meaning that elevates Lost to great art, in my opinion. My least favorite? I was never a big fan of Shannon/Boone, as well as Ana Lucia. And Michael! I really do dig Harold Perrineau, but Michael bugged me.

MamaPop: How do you think the show will end? If you were given control of it, how would YOU end the show? What do you hope, above all else, doesn't happen?

Doc Jensen: What I hope for is an ending that satisfies me emotionally, not intellectually. To that end, more than anything, Lost needs to bring great, credible, powerful closure to each character’s arc. That’s the only way Lost can win for sure. I am fully convinced that many if not most the answers it will give us for its mythological mysteries will never live up to what we’ve built up in our minds and theorizing. I hope that it will try, but I’ll actually have a lot of grace for the show if it can’t. But I’ll judge the show more harshly if it can’t move us with its character stories by the end of the series. I’ve always said: I’d rather that the show make me cry than blow my mind in its final episode. All this said: I think Jack’s ultimate destiny is off The Island—but first, he must confront his father; I think Kate and Sawyer belong together, on The Island—though Sawyer must first atone for killing that innocent man in Australia.

MamaPop: On a personal level, what is it that so enthralls you about Lost? Why is the show so exciting to YOU?

Doc Jensen: I love mysteries of all kinds—the mystery of life, the mystery of life after death, the mystery of self. Lost embodies that frustrating, exhilarating, ultimately never-ending pursuit of meaning to anything and everything. That sounds really pretentious, so I’ll also add that I love Lost because it just seems to me a crackling good yarn that never fails to find new ways each week (or nearly every week) to capture my imagination anew. And one more thing: I’m really interested in the creative process, and so Lost fascinates me as a storytelling feat. People stranded on an island? How the hell do you make 100+ episodes out of THAT?! Yet they have. The show is like Richard Alpert’s ship-in-a-bottle: it’s an impossible puzzle proved possible. It’s been pretty cool and thrilling to watch the producers and cast struggle--and succeed—at the challenge.

. . . . . . . . . .

You can see more of Doc Jensen's Lost analysis on the front page of YouTube today (!), and in the Lost section of EW.com, where his famous recaps and excellent video series on the show, Totally Lost, can and should be enjoyed.

And whatever you do, don't miss tonight's finale at 8/7c on ABC! More info on ABC.com

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What are you guys looking forward to tonight? Fearing/dreading tonight?

Newest theory I'm taken with about who Richard Alpert is (because I'm fully convinced he's the key (or one of the keys) to the show)? The Egyptian god RA. Think I'm kidding? Watch the video here (SPOILER ALERT!):

Dude. Duuuude.

Momo Fali

Sweetney SCORES! This was great.

I never know what to expect from this show, so I won't make any predictions. I like not knowing. That's part of the draw for me.


"If anything, these columns are measures of just how much the show gets my brain working. I am grateful for that."

Seriously! And how rare is that? I'm all for the occasional mindless crap, but the constant guessing, combing for literary/mythological clues and crazy crackpot theorizing is part of what makes Lost awesome, and more than just an hour of TV.


I am both excited and spazzed out about tonight's episode. I know it's going to piss me off and I know I'm going to be bummed that lost is over.


Also, Ben Linus is my TV Boyfriend.

There, I said it.

And Doc--ahhhhhhhh I don't know how I feel about Kate and Sawyer together. I can kind of agree with you that it seems like destiny, and the cage sex was hot, but I actually kind of got into the whole Juliet thing this season.

I hate Jack. Everything about Jack is what disappoints me about this show.

SciFi Dad

The bigger question for me is not what am I going to do until next January, it's what will the tv landscape be like next May after the Lost SERIES finale?

(Admittedly, Fringe's season finale was satisfying, but Fox has a long and storied history of fucking up good sci-fi - *cough* Firefly, Dollhouse *cough* - that I am only cautiously optimistic.)

I think the Ra theory is interesting, but ultimately too obscure for the average viewer. Yes, people saw Stargate (the movie), but I think Richard being revealed as Ra would get a "huh?" from too many viewers.

What's more likely (at least to me) is that Richard isn't an actual person, but is the embodiment of the island... some form of corporeal projection. I also suspect there is a lot more to Jacob than him being an entity to be worshiped and/or consulted - remember when John first saw Jacob he heard him hoarsely cry, "Help me"? Remember the black sand/dust around the cabin?

Mr Lady


I am right there with you in going in to each episode with a blank slate in my mind. I ONCE made the mistake of reading on of those "This is where it's going" sites and it ruined the whole next season for me. I just want to ride the wave, you know?

And if we get a Seinfeld ending, I'll hurt someone. A Sopranos ending would probably kill me, but also be kind of awesome. That said, I just am not ready to talk about the ending of Lost yet.

Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to visit us at Mamapop and lend your thoughts. We really appreciate it!


I just want to know the secret to Bat Manuel's eyeliner.

Her Bad Mother

Lost makes me pathetically grateful for television. It *elevates* television. Because as Doc says, it makes it a learning experience, it tosses manna at the curious mind and leaves it craving more.

And Doc Jensen does the heavy lifting in reminding us all of that. Which doesn't mean that I don't kind of love Piggy, but still.


I think I remember reading (seeing? hearing? -- can't recall, honestly) that his eyes are naturally that way.

Though that look does kind of dovetail nicely with the Pharaonic look suggested by the RA theory, no? (see also: four-toed statue!!! Distinctly Egyptian in look, yo.)


More thoughts:

When I watched the special at the end of Battlestar Gallactica it kind of annoyed me to hear that some of the major crazy events in the final season were hatched up between seasons and not at the "beginning." I guess I like to think that the writers of shows like Lost and BSG have sort of an epic grand scheme or plot in mind.

That being said, I rarely embark on a work of fiction with a firm ending in mind.

My worry with Lost is that they've created too many tangles. There's something to be said for that goofy video that went around last year about the writers just coming up with random theories and plot points on the fly.

I just want the end to be somewhat satisfying. I'd like to see Kate have some sort of emotional resolution. Though she irritates me, I've grown tired of seeing her put through the wringer. A lot of her character conflicts hit me hard. The anxiety especially, and more recently, her issues as a mother.

(I didn't have kids when Lost started. GOD we've been watching this forever.)

Anyway I agree that the end just needs resolve things for the characters. I don't need a grand explanation and I don't think they'll be capable of crafting one that makes enough sense to be "satisfying."

I want Daniel back too. :(


(I knew EXACTLY when my firstborn was conceived because I remembered the night we watched Lost, then had sex. It was the episode where Kate robbed the bank to get the miniature airplane.)

(Hey! WTF ever happened to the miniature airplane?)


That's pretty much the best thing I've heard ever.

I can recall exactly where I was when Lost premiered. Because I was A. drunk and B. hiding from the television because I haaaaaate hate hate flying and it was like OH HEY HAVE A SHOW, WITH EXTRA PLANE CRASH DEATH.

So my best friend and husband watched it while I sat with my laptop and chatted on AIM, drunk, like ya do before you have kids. Or wait. I guess I still do that.



I haven't watched in a couple years, but this totally inspires me to jump back on the Lost bandwagon and catch up this summer before the show comes back.

When I was a regular viewer, Jack was always my favorite because of his struggle to believe, also. I found that pretty endearing.


Doc pretty much summed up everything I think. Which means that not only is HE a freaking genius, therefore so am I. The "who" part of the show has been neglected in all this "what/where/why/when/how" business of this season. My wish for Lost is that it embraces its "who" and lets it soar. I want an emotionally satisfying ending, too. My intellect has clearly been exercised enough already.

Also, I hated Ana Lucia and Michael bugged me too. And Jack is my favorite. See? Twins!

SciFi Dad

I remember coming home, bleary-eyed after my wife had endured 20 hours of labour and a c-section (for our daughter - our first) at 2.00am and not being able to go to bed until I watched Lost (on VCR tape): the one where Boone and Locke find the heroin plane and Boone says, "We're the survivors of Oceanic 815" and the radio voice says back, "WE'RE the survivors of Oceanic 815"


And I bet you kind of felt like the survivor of a plane crash at that point too, huh? :)

SciFi Dad

Pretty much. I was too wired and stressed to sleep BEFORE watching Lost... then the radio thing (one of the first mindfucks, if you recall... everything else up until that point had been coincidences like the numbers or Sawyer/Christian in a bar) meant I was in even worse shape.


I don't want any of the main characters to die. I want a firm idea of where things are headed in the last season. I want both Locke and Jack to succeed without wiping the other out. I want Kate to become a lesbian because I'm sick of the back and forth. I want a kick butt adventure followed by many years of peace for all the characters but mostly I want there to be lots of tackling and Son of a Bitch!'s from Sawyer.
Doc's recaps never disappoint! The combo of Jason's and Doc's get me through to the next week. Thanks, Sweetney!

Miss Banshee

Love it. And thanks, Doc, for pointing out that the whole Jack/Juliet/Kate/Sawyer thing sucks. I hate Jack up to eleventy, but I have friends that defend him to the death. Never have gotten it. I hate Jack.

SciFi Dad

There has been a lot of talk about a "major" death in tonight's episode. The way I figure it:

Sun/Jin - cannot die because they need to be reunited
Jack/Kate/Sawyer - we need to resolve their triangle
John/Ben/Richard - too tied to the mythology

Hurley, Sayid - I can't think of a reason to kill them or keep them, honestly

Juliet - her death would offer the opportunity to re-explore the J/K/S triangle
Miles - could easily die, just like Faraday and Charlotte


Great interview!


You wound me, sir!

In the possible category: either one of those will kill me. Hurley would be more tragic I guess -- like Charlie -- in that he really tried to stay out of the way... Sayid not so much.

Oh please let them kill Juliet. No, wait -- let them kill KATE. I'm sorry, since some time last season I've grown to loathe her. She's constantly doing dumb things and dumb times and generally screwing shit up. DAMMIT, KATE!

I love Miles. He's one of the best characters on the show right now, IMHO.

I'm still mad about Daniel. They'd better Pet Semetary his ass, and quick!

SciFi Dad

I like Hurley too, but his role has become comic relief more than anything else. His death would not leave a hole in anyone else's plotline. I have similar feelings about Sayid.

I don't think Kate can leave without cementing her relationships with Jack and Sawyer; it's something that has been building for too long to end now.

Miles, while entertaining, is expendable. With the incident at the Swan occurring tonight, Dr. Chang's arc closes (he becomes training video guy), making Miles irrelevant now that Daniel and Charlotte are dead.

Ex Machina

Richard as Ra, hmm, will have to check out that link when I get off office bandwidth. I initially thought Richard was a crewman on the Black Rock but later came to believe he was eft over from the Egyptian presence, but a God in a subservient role? Interesting...



I really hope Daniel isn't dead. He was my favorite character for a while there. It seems like such a brutal, abrupt end after all he did, all he went through... I just find it hard to believe his parents sent him back to the island so he could be killed (BY his mother, no less!). I have to (want to) believe there will be more to that story. I mean, clearly the island has regenerative, reanimating powers, so why not?

God, I could seriously talk about this show all day.


Killing Hurley (though I see your point) would be killing one of the most human characters in the show- I don't think they'd do that.

I have a sneaky feeling it will be Juliet because it would create a hole and be a blow but not a devastating one. For some reason I really like her and want her to get the eff off The Island so this would suck (for me).

I'm hoping for Miles but find it hard to believe they'd make a big deal out of a death if it's him as he's not really a major player.

There has been LOTS of buzz about Sawyer but I'm not going there and you shouldn't either LOST writers- DO YOU HEAR ME?

Her Bad Mother

I tried to stop my baby coming last year because I was afraid that I'd miss the finale. I should have named him Sawyer. Or Ben.

Her Bad Mother

*high five*

Suzy Q

I'd like to see some more of the ancient island. Who built that Ra statue? Was there another society entirely prior to these messed-up folks, who only go back to the '50s? Was Richard Alpert there?

Oh, so many questions and so few answers.

I love Lost.


Well you see how down in the catacomb-y underground temple areas (god could I talk around that any more? what do we call that place anyway?) there's all kinds of hieroglyphs carved into the walls and such... so yeah clearly there was some sort of Egyptian influence on the island at one time (I think? GAH, dammit Lost!).


I may be way too focused on this, but so far this season we've seen flashbacks explaining how each of the Oceanic 6 got on the plane to Guam except for Hurley. I'm really hopeful that tonight we figure out how Hurley got out of police custody and on the plane, and also that the reason has some broader implication for the plot.

Suzy Q

Yes! It's all Raiders of the Lost Ark-y down there! And, could it be only coincidence that whoever turns the Great Wheel of Mystery ends up in the Middle East? I think not.

I want to know MOAR!!


I'd just like to say that a Lost - Law & Order SVU crossover episode would probably not work.


I seriously, seriously hate Jack.

SciFi Dad

Nice play on Ken Leung's name (assuming that was intentional).

I think Daniel's death will stand because it solidifies the "evil" or at least the cold and unwavering belief that both Widmore and Eloise have demonstrated. They are the yin to Locke's yang, not Ben. Their faith in the island is so absolute that they would procreate and then raise that child like a lamb to be slaughtered. Think about it: he was born to be a brilliant physicist who would figure out time travel and ultimately die on the island BECAUSE she knew she had to kill him in the past. (OK, that reads a bit convoluted, but I think you get my point.)

SciFi Dad

I agree that Hurley is the most human character, which is why I said possible and not likely. I just feel like with Charlie gone, and Libby gone, the numbers (seemingly) identified as a serial number, his story has played out... all except for that guitar case, which supposedly is significant.

I agree that Juliet is most likely. Her death reignites the love triangle.

I've heard the Sawyer spec too, but unless there's something massive tonight that makes him stop being Jack's antithesis (or something that pushes Locke back to being Jack's antithesis), he needs to stay as a balancing point for Jack.

(Look, I don't much care for Jack either, but the fact is that he is in a lot of ways the center point on the wheel that is the plot of Lost.)


Just wanted to say thanks for the great interview with Doc....his column add so much to my enjoyment of ost, it's nice to hear his thoughts outside the context of the day job.

SciFi Dad

Sure it would!

Walt, now fatherless, turns to a life of street prostitution, where he is molested by a time-traveling Richard Alpert.

Tutuola would catch the case, and try to beat up Alpert who would just disappear back to the island.

Done and done.


Momo Fali

Just to set the record straight, my son has eyelashes like Richard's. For reals. He's seven and looks like I've swiped his eyes with Lancome.


Awesome that you got to talk to Doc Jensen. One of my favourite things to do on Thursday or Friday is read his article at EW.com - but also to come here and to see what Jason has written. Jason is really damn good at those recaps.


"Deep down, in that secret, self-doubting part of yourself, do you think that Lost stands up to philosophic/intellectual scrutiny?"

This question made me smile. Only you would ask this question!

I love it--such a Sweetney question.

I vote 1000X for mind blown over crying. I hate to be a Lost agnostic but it could have been the greatest show in history if they would have avoided the lip glossed women in tight tank tops and the romantic storylines. (Or downplayed them. Or made them less predictable and cosmetically appealing.) But it would probably have had many fewer viewers, no doubt.

I wish HBO had produced Lost sometimes.

One question I've always had is whether the director of 21 Grams was ever a consultant/writer for the show. His name is Alejandro González Iñárritu. I thought I saw that in the credits during the first season. The first season was the best season in my opinion (notwithstanding my love of Ben). I really wonder if it was because he was contributing to the storylines then and now he isn't.

Sorry if this comment is obnoxiously purist! Seriously, someday I have to write a blog post about how Lost was one of those few pleasures that kept me going during dark times! (A slight exaggeration but only slight.)

Katie Kat

OMG what a great interview - YOU F'ING ROCK SWEETNEY!

Since the show has already aired, I just want to say that I am SO happy with this finale. I feel completely satiated... completely fulfilled (for now) with a feeling that I am now back in "the loop" of what is going on. This was masterfully created to not only draw us in, but leave us amazed. Carlton and Damon used classic storytelling and mind-boggling suspense to draw us in and then leave us hanging... BRAVO!!!!!

I think I can completely be happy for 8 months now... then it's ON LIKE DONKEY KONG FOR SEASON SIX!!!!!



Congratulations on your interview!


I think Doc is Jacob. You heard it here first.


What a totally fabulous interview! Almost as much fun as watching the finales was.

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