Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The New Man in Charge Extra

I posted this when I saw The New Man in Charge online, and then took it down when I realized the extra had been leaked illegally. Now that the DVDs are out, here are my thoughts again. A month later, I pretty much still feel the same.

When many people came down hard on the finale saying it didn't answer enough questions, I argued that the questions WERE answered, it just took legwork to actually do it. We actually knew the answers deep down, we just had to figure them out for ourselves. In my upcoming Season 6 book I have a long chapter where I tackle the biggest questions and provide my suggestions for answers. And then I watched the New Man in Charge... and the answers were almost identical to what I'd written in that chapter. Does that make me special? More intuitive than everyone else? No. It just meant I was watching the show and picking up on these hints I'd been saying the writers were dropping all along. Polar bear explanation? Check. Walt's significance? Check. Why women can't have babies? Check.

The general answers matched mine, but in each there were some specifics that differed from mine, specifics that couldn't be gleaned from the show and, to be frank, were rather disappointing. So women on the island couldn't have babies in case they got really super close to the Orchid station? Does that mean Amy was shipped off-shore? I'd always assumed it was the electromagnetic energy from the Swan, which is why women had babies before The Incident. No one had babies after the Incident. I got the part about the electromagnetism causing defects in the genetic code in the first trimester, which is why Rousseau and Claire had their babies, but to pin it on the Orchid seems confusing.

The last 4 minutes are great, where Walt is brought back into the fold, told he's special once again, and then brought back to the island with Hurley and a kinder, gentler Ben, are worth the entire episode. I love the idea of him helping his father escape Purgatory, but it once again confuses the issue of why Michael wasn't in the church. The church itself is dislocated from time, meaning it doesn't matter if people died two thousand years apart, they'd all converge on this place at the same time. Which means if Michael ultimately was freed from purgatory, he would have been in the church. Does that cast a pall on Walt going back to the island, meaning he never succeeded?

Perhaps we can assume Hurley and Ben took him to the island and made HIM the new man in charge (meaning the title wasn't meant to refer to Hurley at all), and he and Michael worked together, with one in the afterlife and one on the island, which would be the perfect leadership, I think. Michael could see things that Walt maybe couldn't, and it would free Ben and Hurley to have done their part and then move on. Or, perhaps Walt's job was to help Michael, and Hurley and Ben continued on the island and they all worked together as a group. I like the idea of Walt being the island's guardian along with his father, helping his father to redeem himself even if the island keeps him there, and they make a new world of the island. And it shows that Hurley has forgiven Michael for what happened to Libby and wants to help him. So that part, I liked.

I enjoyed watching "The New Man in Charge" (hell, I'll just watch discarded dailies if it means I can see more Lost), but I think I was happier leaving things with "The End." It just seemed like the show finished, the writers went, "Oh yeah... maybe we should jam in some of these answers because people probably won't like subtlety" and stuck them in there, rather than leaving the show the enigmatic gem I thought it was at the end of the season.


ninja raiden said...

I just have four words Nikki: Time Travel;Matthew Abbadon.

Stephen 'Socks' Bowron said...

I have to agree with you completely.

I figured that the prologue would just be 11 minutes of 'cheap' summerisation. I can't describe how I feel after watching that. I feel kind of dirty, but excited as well.

Although I wanted to watch it all along, I feel like I wish I hadn't.

Like you say, when you've settled on a particular theory that you think is right (all of which turned out to be right in the prologue) it feels good to know we were all on the same lines.

But I guess for those who weren't as mega crazy as us and wanted the little answers that were left to either logic or a variety of theories run through over the years... Those answers are solidly given for those people that 'NEED' them.
So for them, this prologue is perfect. I guess I just wanted more too much, despite knowing I wouldn't get it.

I'm satisfied though. Knowing we were pretty much right on everything. If only it had been a full episode length or something. But even then I'd still cry out for more.

Farewell, again my love.
- MrJohnFlocke

Stephen 'Socks' Bowron said...


Hahaha my comment sounds like I was just harrassed.

I just feel like everything was perfect as Jack closed his eye. I didn't need more. I wanted it - hence obviously watching - but I didn't 'need' it.

I'm not counting these as my final scenes of Lost. This was an extra. Yes. That's what it is. Mmhmmm.

- MrJohnFlocke

shobiz said...

I'm less bothered by the epilogue than some people seem to be. I liked it; I didn't love it. Mainly, I thought it had some great comedic moments. However, several times while watching I found myself thinking that part of the reason the writers did this was to say to all the haters, "See? THIS is what 'getting answers' looks like! Happy now?" So, while I enjoyed it as a little "extra" bit of Lost fun, I'm now even more satisfied with the actual ending they gave us with "The End."

shobiz said...

Nikki, I've been thinking about this, and I actually believe there is a very plausible, even likely, explanation for the problem you raised in the second-to-last paragraph of your post (having to do with certain individuals not appearing in the church). I'm not sure if I should discuss it here, in light of your desire to keep this spoiler-safe.

TresBelleKnits said...


Thank you for posting it on Facebook. I did watch it and I loved it.

The answers...well, yes...I already knew that bit.

But those last four minutes were wonderful.

I loved what was implied of Walt. I had never thought about that...and I LOVED the idea.

And, of course, the tears came again, as it does when I watch anything Lost since the finale.

I still miss it so was like being able to hug an old friend goodbye one last time before he leaves forever. :(

Nikki Stafford said...

shobiz: Maybe email me? I'm at

Nikki Stafford said...

I just added some more thoughts to the end of this post, also in white. ;)

shobiz said...

That's it! Nikki, what you just added to your post is exactly what I was thinking. Which, once again, shows us the writers don't have to be explicit about everything for us careful viewers to get it. Nice. And now I'm liking the epilogue even more.

Christopher said...

I seem to recall someone suggesting we (Nikki and Christopher) go off and write a book where "Someone" returns to the island, and becomes the new leader... Perhaps I did read the minds of the writers?

Sagacious Penguin said...

Enjoyed it quite a bit. Nothing too revelatory, but as you say, that just goes to show that most of what the world seems to think the show forgot, it actually didn't. It's not that there aren't still grey/fuzzy areas, but pretty much everything is associated enough in-show to make sense.

Nikki, regarding the Orchid's relation to pregnancy... do we know when the Hydra's orientation was filmed? Remember there was a good while in the Dharma days when the Orchid was the only source of EM Dhama had drilled down into. It wasn't until '77 when Radzinsky and company dug down into the Swan site and lit up the whole Island with EM. So at the time of this video's filming (it is for station ONE after all), the pregnancy rule would only apply to going near the Orchid. But this is enough for us to connect the Others' later pregnancy problems to the Incident (involving a much larger 'spolsion of the same energy) at the Swan site.


yourblindspot said...

I really enjoyed it. Completely unnecessary, of course (remember, I LOVED the finale), but I can't quite describe the feeling of watching new LOST content at this point. 'Thrilled' comes pretty close. And despite the scene's relative superfluousness, I can't deny that the sight of tears on you-know-who's face, as well as that spectacular beatific look on you-know-who-else's, glued a really big grin on mine.

We miss you, LOST. I'll never let go.

Sagacious Penguin said...

Forgot to say it before, but I loved how "meta" the epilogue was with Ben speaking of tying up loose ends and telling those Dharma blokes they can each ask a single question. I'm glad that rather than feeling like something that ought to have been included in the finale itself, it works as a stand-alone shout-out to the fans who want to know so many little answers, and throws them a few bones while assuring them that it's okay not having every last thing revealed.

Nikki Stafford said...

Sagacious: Agreed! I actually squealed and clapped my hands when he said that (and did you notice the first guy got TWO questions? He allowed a follow-up). ;)

I'm glad I watched it, and when the LOST came on the screen at the end with that familiar sound, there was a moment where I thought, "Wow, that's it. That is IT." Sadness.

The Question Mark said...

I think you're spot on about Walt taking over, Nikki. At least, that was the same impression i got at the end of the epilogue. He and Michael would have finally had their time together on the Island, even though Michael was already dead. And Walt's powers=new jacob totally makes sense to me.
I also agree with Stephen Socks...this epilogue (for me) is not the final scene of LOST...the final scene is Jack's eye closing. This was something I wanted to see, but didn't need to see, a cool little nod to the fans that said, "Okay, just in case you were wondering, here's what's going on."

Basically, to me, this was the equivalent of George Lucas saying, "After the Emperor dies, Luke Skywalker eventually starts a new Jedi Academy." Okay, cool. Nice info to know, but for me the story still ends with the Ewok rave on Endor.

The Question Mark said...

Also, I don't mean to nitpick, but Chang says the Hydra is Station 1. I might be remembering this completely wrong, but for some reason I thought the Arrow was Station 1...?

Joan Crawford said...

I haven't seen this yet but I do have a question: If the whispers on the island are people who died on the island or people who were on the island and can't move on- why is that guy from Australia who Sawyer shot by mistake there? He whispers "It'll come back around". Why is this?

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else randomly think at the end the Dharma van was going to disappear back to the island a la Back to the Future?

Agree with Nikki...don't care what it is, just to have a glimpse of Lost to take me back to that place again even for one brief moment, I'll watch it...over, and over, and over...

Rufus said...

I've watched "The New Man in Charge" and it was a bittersweet epilogue. I also see it as an evolution in the nature of the island. We started with Jacob's mother who was crazy, Jacob who had years to consider his place, then the passing on of the title from Jack to Hurley then perhaps Walt. I'd like to think of it as a spiritual evolution where we have the distant Jacob who wants man to think things out for themselves to the sacrificial Jack who dies to keep the world alive to the Hurley who is a very hands on man in charge. I think we get an idea of what Hurley would have been like in "Everyone loves Hugo". We see a man who wants to give to everyone and make their lives better. When his time is up the only thing he had left to learn was to find love for himself. Hugo also didn't seem to like the fate for the voices on the island. He feels that anyone can be brought back from the dark side. Hugo isn't about punishment but about the Golden Rule. If it takes Walts son to finalize his wishes for Walt, so be it.

humanebean said...

I absolutely loved "The New Man In Charge" and enjoyed how the title ultimately referenced both Hurley and, we are given to assume, Walt. This for me is the perfect explanation of why neither Walt nor Michael were in the church: the most important time in THEIR lives was spent together, before the Island, on it after the crash and then again after Walt returned with Hurley and Ben. However that scenario resolved, they would have 'made a place together' that have differed from the one made by the other LOSTaways and moved on in their own way/time.

There was a wonderful playful quality in this epilogue that had always been a part of my best LOST experiences - and was missing to a certain extent in the finale. I'm sure that some of that has to do with this installment following later and not bearing the weight of six seasons of resolution as did "The End". I just know that I'd give my eyeteeth for a weekend with Ben's satchel of DVD transfers!

"We want ANSWERS!" - and we got some; as Nikki points out, they were pretty consistent with our speculation prior to these minor revelations. How we reacted to these, and how we felt when we got some during this last season, is pretty indicative of the trouble the writers faced all along: the mysteries were just inherently cooler than the answers. Suggesting something, hinting at possibilities, burying an Easter Egg just plays so much better than explaining it - in exposition, in flashbacks/forwards/sideways or even in podcasts/extra features/interviews.

I do realize that our faith in these writers, justified so many times over as they provided some answers to older mysteries (only to deepen the mystery or suggest new ones) prompted us to hope that the most profound mysteries could be resolved in the penultimate episodes satisfyingly - but our collective reaction to each reveal (and our responses to the fresh ones in "The New Man In Charge") perhaps speaks more to US than it does to THEM.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not letting them off the hook for what I perceive to be clumsy handling of certain elements during the run up to and including "The End". As time passes, I find that I gain a bit more perspective on how truly difficult it was always going to be to solve these mysteries in as fulfilling a way as they were presented to us.

@Joan - I think that the whispers by the nature of their supernatural communication always had the ability to sound like different people, as experienced by the listener. It is natural that when Sawyer heard the phrase "... it'll come back around" that it should sound to him exactly like the guy in Australia who first uttered the words to him. Since we've seen/heard so many elements of the Island experience through the eyes/ears of our LOSTaways, it sounded that way to us, too. Am I rationalizing too much? Mebbe.

Gillian Whitfield said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gillian Whitfield said...

I don't really know what to say. Like everyone else who commented, I already had found the answers by using the tools that the writers gave us over the course of the series that would lead to the answers. I already had the satisfying, emotional character ending in "The End". I didn't really need the "New Man in Charge", but it was fun to watch. The only thing I needed help figuring out was the "Hurley bird". I liked, didn't love it. But 11 extra minutes of Lost? Happiness . . .

Austin Gorton said...

I enjoyed The New Man in Charge well enough. It wasn't mind-blowing or a miraculous answer-fest, but it was fun spending a few more minutes in the Lostverse, with Ben (I'd probably have enjoyed it less if, I dunno, Kate was the main character).

It definitely FELT like Lost, with knowing winks to the audience, the confirmation of answers to small questions while still (frustratingly) suggesting even larger questions, and they even managed a bit of character work at the end.

@Nikki: I argued that the questions WERE answered, it just took legwork to actually do it.

These is where you and I (and I and many Lost fans) differ: I believe the fan legwork should be spent figuring out themes, character motivation (why did so-and-so do this?), symbolism (what does the setup of that shot mean?), literary references, etc.

But the kind of questions they left dangling, the ones I (and some others) complained about being left dangling, were PLOT questions, questions important to crafting the narrative of Lost into a cohesive whole. And I don't think the audience should have to do the legwork when it comes to plot (just because I CAN doesn't mean I SHOULD). It's the writers' job to tell the story, not mine.

Making up the answers to dangling questions myself isn't a whole lot different than fanfiction. I don't care what *I* think the answers are, I want to know what the REAL answers, the answers the WRITERS thought of, are.

Don't get me wrong: theorizing and coming up with possible answers was a HUGE part of Lost, and I loved doing it as much as most people. But my enjoyment of theorizing was in part buoyed by my confidence that when all was said and done, I'd know which of my theories were right and which were wrong. As it stands, I still have a bunch of theories that COULD be right, but they could also be wrong.

It's like reading a mystery story and skipping the last chapter because you think you figured out who did it. But without reading that last chapter, you'll never know if you were right or not. Some people would be okay with that, confident that their answer to "whodunit" is as good as or better than the author's answer. I am not one of those people.

Austin Gorton said...

@Nikki: Walt's significance? Check.

Did we really learn anything more about Walt in this epilogue? His specialness was affirmed, but we already knew that. We learned he belongs on the island, but we don't know why. We still don't know why the Others wanted him (because of his powers, but why were his powers important to them?) We still don't know why he warned Locke not to open the hatch and Shannon not to push the button, or how/why he appeared to Locke at the end of season three.

I can certainly come up with some answers to some of those questions, but again, I don't think that's my job.

@Sagacious Penguin But this is enough for us to connect the Others' later pregnancy problems to the Incident

This was my take as well. Basically, the video confirmed that the island's EM energy=bad for pregnant ladies. Since we know the island got blanketed with that radiation in the wake of the Incident, we can then gather The Incident=no more island pregnancies, unless the early terms occurred off island.

@Joan If the whispers on the island are people who died on the island or people who were on the island and can't move on- why is that guy from Australia who Sawyer shot by mistake there?

Because character is most important!

Sorry, that was probably snarkier than I intended it to be. I'm really not that bitter. Really.

LRTFaraday said...

I enjoyed watching the The New Man in Charged. It neither added nor took anything away from my feelings of "The End", which I loved. I considered this to be "bonus material".

Not sure about the confusion of why Walt and Michael were not at the church. I thought that the conclusion was that there is a choice whether or not to move on with this particular community of people. That was my understanding of the finale, that some were planning to move on at a later time with others.
Also, Walt may be the "new man in charge" at the time Hurley/Ben died, and Michael would still be on the island if that's the case. He may have been given immortality.
Just a theory.

It's worth getting the DVD collection for the other bonus features on the DVD set. I would recommend it, it was worth $50 for another good cry!

Anonymous said...

drum and bass, badass soundsystem, disco lights, videowall, drugs, amnesia... just like when i was 23 :p

overall, not very impressed with 'the new man in charge'. only glad they took care of walt and some new LOST to remind me it was worth watching it last 6 years

-greeting from croatia

paleoblues said...

I was hoping the epilogue would be about what happened to Hurley and Ben ON the island after the finale, but it occurred completely off island.

Who is protecting the island while they are both away?

If there was an automated system that sent the teletype of the island coordinates for the drone drop, I would assume there must be a human somewhere who programmed it and always knows where the island is. (?)

I can't imagine cutting all those labels and putting them on cans by hand for 20 years.

Heard from Dharma cage attendant applicant during job interview: "I'd give my right arm to get to work with the polar bears".

paleoblues said...

I've also wondered how all those computer systems (the Swan, the radio tower, the Lamppost, etc.) continued to run for so many years without anyone to maintain them.

Marebabe said...

OK, let me get this straight. Walt looks to me like he’s 18 to 20-ish in the Epilogue. So I think this ends all the speculation about how long Hurley and Ben may have been in charge of the Island. Right after the series finale, it was fun to say, “And for all we know, Hurley and Ben remained on the Island for another thousand years!” If we’re correct to assume that the torch was being passed to Walt, then the Hurley/Ben administration only lasted a few years at most. (Forgive me, but I can’t seem to remember what year it was supposed to be when Jack died on the Island. Or how old Walt was supposed to be at that time. Further messing with my head is the fact that, in the Pilot, Malcolm David Kelly was a 12-year-old playing a 10-year-old.)

It feels weird to be puzzling out the intricacies of LOST again. I foolishly thought those days were over! :)

paleoblues said...

@Marebabe: The printout on the teletype in Guam has a date of June 24, 2010.

vw: who speaks Hurley

paleoblues said...

That reminds me of when Richard told Jack he had devoted his life, "longer than you can possibly imagine", in service to Jacob. Thinking this may have been hundreds or thousands of years it turned out to be 140. A long time, yes, but not longer than I could possibly imagine.

yourblindspot said...

Hey -- in case anyone else missed it this week, Jorge & Bethany posted up their final 'Geronimo Jack's Beard' podcast on Tuesday. It's fairly brief and not particularly revelatory, save their mention that there was an excised storyline in the original scripts that revealed Ilana was supposed to be Jacob's daughter...

LoyallyLOST said...

Well put! I loved seeing Walt again! Wow! He has really grown up! His tears were so sincere!
Did you notice that he was playing 'Connect Four'? Just like the guy Hurley got the numbers from? Why are they always playing that game there? Any significance? Everyone on the island are connected in some way, so...
LOVED that they put an extra mini eppy in there for us! Sure, it raised more questions than answers! Isn't that what is so great about this show! Well, ONE of the great things!
I'm STILL miffed that Cuckoo for CocoaPuffs mama wasn't nominated for an emmy! Soooo wish it had been her instead of Juliet! Sorry, I just never warmed up to her! Felt like she was trying to take over & be hostess with the mostess.
*Not meant to offend anyone!Just the way I feel!*
My birthday is 8/28 & wouldn't it be a great birthday present to see this show win all 13 emmy's! At least Best Drama! Can't wait to sit down with some fried chicken & ranch dressing & watch the Emmy's!!

Jazzygirl said...

I haven't gotten the DVD's yet but I did get to watch the epilogue on Youtube before it was taken down. I loved it. It didn't take away from the ending for me and as others have said, it was like seeing an old friend again.
I am not sure I'm going to buy the DVD's until Nikki's book comes out. I really won't feel right about watching it until I have that book in hand. :)
That being said, I just watched a re-run of Fringe and at the end the Bad Robot thingy in the crazy voice came on and my stomach tightened. I'll never hear that again after a new episode of Lost. Sure, on the DVD's but never again new. :(

LoyallyLOST said...

LRTFaraday~You seem to have something there! You said it was a choice whether or not to move on with this community. Look at Ben. He decided to stay behind. To try & make ammends. So, perhaps Walt & Michael chose to go to a place that meant something to them. Or, just stay on the island. That seems to be the place where they 'found' each other, so to speak.
I just absolutely love everyone's theories!

LoyallyLOST said...

yourblindspot~HOW would Ilana be Jacob's daughter? I don't think he would have had a child out of wedlock. He had the time, but yet, didn't. He was just a little busy taking care of the island. But, if this is true, who could the mommy be? Hmmmm....

Austin Gorton said...

@LoyallyLOST: wouldn't it be a great birthday present to see this show win all 13 emmy's!

I have good news and bad news. The good news: Lost already won 1 Emmy (Single Camera Editing for The End) at the Creative Arts Emmys ceremony earlier this week.

The bad news: Lost lost the other five Emmys that were presented in that ceremony for which it was nominated (Art Direction, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Music Composition (a travesty Giacchino didn't win!) and Special Class – Short-format Live-action).

So you won't get your birthday sweep, but hopefully a few more wins are forthcoming!

LRTFaraday said...

Elizabeth Mitchell also lost, however I don't think this was a surprise? She's great but didn't have enough scenes to submit for consideration.
Michael G is amazing and I believe many felt he was a shoe in to win. That's really a shocker.

Convergence said...

Anyone else notice how at the end outside the Santa Rosa (which IIRC is in Los Angeles) they're driving away on the "wrong" side of the road?

A discontinuity blooper by the director (because they were actually filming in Australia)?

Or a subtle comment about them taking an alternative, parallel path?

I prefer the latter.

WV: "Paret" - The nickname of one of the "Hybirds" on Hydra Island.

scrvet said...

not to nitpick but I thought I saw the date at the top of the printout as 'wed 24 08 10'

Funny that's the date of the DVD release although that was a Tuesday, not Wed.

yourblindspot said...

@LoyallyLOST -- These kinds of questions are probably the exact reason why they cut that storyline, which was supposed to have extended through several scripts towards the end of the last season. Seems to me like a big can of unnecessary to open up so late in the narrative. Still, it would have been nice to get some explanation for Ilana, any justification for her presence other than to serve as elaborate cannon fodder. But I, for one, am glad it didn't go down like that.

Ralph C said...

I was glad to see "The New Man in Charge" coda. I like those characters, so being able to see them again in something new was fun. The coda left me wanting more.

I noticed in my internet travels that there have been three novels written in relation to Lost. I would think that the "New Man..." storyline would be a good subject for fiction novel(s), animation or comic book series. Yes, with books you don't get to see it on the screen but, with characters as good as these, you would be able to bring out more of their qualities.

In fact, one could tell stories about what happened when those whom left on the Ajira airplane got back home. I wouldn't be adverse to reading things of that nature. Yes, I enjoyed "The End" but it would be neat-o and groovy to see where those characters go from that point, how their lives have changed from that amazing time in their lives.

For the right storyteller, there are still tales to tell.