Well, last week, we took a long hard look at the Island, and what a wonderful week it was no? Full of amazing and insightful commentary about the place Lost calls home, if I do say so myself. And while we could look at every nook and cranny and hatch on the Island, let’s tear ourselves away for now and move onto another topic. I know, copious tears might be shed, but it’s for the good of all. Or at least The Others.

That’s right, Topic #2 in this three-week experiment of looking in-depth at reader-selected topics are The Others, who for the first three seasons formed the primary antagonist to the Lostaways. Although they were largely decimated by the end of Season 3, their presence is still largely felt, both from a current narrative standpoint and as a way to understand the current antagonists to the show, The Freighters. While we sorta know who the Others are, we still don’t know precisely what they represent, and that’s what we’ll focus on uncovering this week.

When I say that we know who the Others are, I mean that from a name-face recognition perspective. We can look at once guy and say, "Hi, Richard Alpert," and look at another and go, "Hi, brainwashed stewardess Cindy," and so forth and so on. But what’s the connective tissue between these two? One is a seemingly ageless wonder with a particularly keen affinity for both the Island and eye-liner; the other is someone who ostensibly knew nothing of the Island, Jacob, or The Others prior to capture on the Island.

And yet, these are both Others, for the intents of our discussion today. I want to look at them from as many angles as possible: biographical, anthropological, sociological, psychology, just to name a few. All this in a way to answer one question that still eludes us as viewers to this day: What do The Others want?

Before we can answer that, we have to identify what an Other truly is. Who is an ideal Other? Ben? Juliet? Richard? Karl? If Season 3 showed us anything, it’s that not even the Others can decide what they really want. On one side is Ben Linus, and on the other Richard Alpert. And the difference between what these two sides both want might give us an insight into the true, original nature of the people we now know as Others.

But all that’s to come this week, along with a few, if not all, of the following topics:

  1. Are the Others at least partially composed of people who arrived long before the Dharma Initiative?
  2. What is the Temple, and what purpose does it serve?
  3. On what basis are new people recruited into The Others?
  4. What role does Room 23 play, if any, towards the conversion of people into Others?
  5. What does the word "Others" mean, in terms of narration, especially in light of how Team Locke has acted so far during Season 4?
  6. Are The Others in fact "the good guys?"

All this and more in a jam-packed week here on the Lost blog. The show might be on temporary hiatus, but we’re not. And I do mean "we," as once again I am asking you for your input into this week’s entries. And you can do that in one of two ways.

  1. Posit an angle I can take in terms of analyzing The Others this week in the comments section below. It can take the form of a theory or a question.
  2. Drop me a question for Thursday’s "Letters From the Flame," in which you can ask me anything Lost-related and I will answer come Thursday. You can email me your queries/insights or simply leave them below with a big ol’ "WAAAAAAALT" atop your comment so I know it’s "Flame"-related.

Good? Good.

Ryan also posts every 108 minutes over at Boob Tube Dude.

Posted by:Ryan McGee