A LOST SUPPER
Our first glimpse of the first cast photo for Season Six of LOST was just a shiny, wavy photograph that was a bit distorted, but thanks to Susan at Outlaws we've finally got a high quality scan of the US Weekly picture to glom over. I love it! I admit I was disappointed by the odd, rather ugly shot that was used for the big Comic Con poster with its bad proportions and what looked like amateur rush job photoshopping.
Pretty much the only interesting thing about it is that Locke, the central figure, has his back turned. It was a cool way of reminding us that Locke is "turned", that he's not "Locke" anymore, but seriously...couldn't they have thought of something interesting to do with the rest of the cast? Some of those photos are so old, like Boone in his leather coat, that they feel moldy.
But hey, The Last Supper! That's the kind of classic pose that feels fresh no matter how many times it's been overused and overdone. Of course it's not original. In fact, it's become almost a predictable finale bow for big ensemble casts. We all remember how it was used, beautifully, in the last season promotional campaigns of both Battlestar Galactica ...
... and The Sopranos.
But Last Supper ensembles have a much longer history than that. There's the famous scene from the 1970 movie M*A*S*H.
And my personal favorite version is this creative rendition of the inimitable Big Lebowski.
"Look, let me explain something. I'm not Jesus. You're Jesus. I'm the Dude. So that's what you call me. That or His Dudeness... Duder... or El Duderino, if, you know, you're not into the whole brevity thing."There have been mockups and parodies done of almost any grouping you can think of, from South Park
from George W. Bush's cabinet
to the Hollywood chapter of the Scientology convention
The Last Supper, aside from being the greatest example of single point perspective ever painted, has also served as a template throughout our modern Popped Culture for posing large groups of people in a cool way that instinctively challenges us to analyze their identities and positions for clues and inspiration. Finding Clues in The Last Supper has been going on since before forever. And this is Lost, man. That's what we Lost fans do! So what all are we going to make of Lost's L'ultima Cena, our Season Six LOST Supper?
Do we analyze the shirt colors? Richard is a Redshirt and Jack's a Purpleshirt. Are they goners? Does it mean anything that Sawyer wears a shirt of many colors, like Joseph the dreamer? Do we make anything of the placement of objects on the supper table that's been made from an airplane wing? Whose drinking Dharma wine, Dharma beer, Dharma cola? What do the different flowers signify?
What of the Swan Station symbol over Sayid's head? Or the skull at his feet? Is Sayid the next dead man?
And the skull and and the lilies placed in front of Hurley?
Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece depicted the moment when Christ had just informed his apostles that he knew one of them would betray him.
Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.
And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.
And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?
And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.
The apostles are grouped in threes. The first group is Bartholomew, James Minor and Andrew, brother of Peter, who is apparently trying to Stop! what's going on.
"What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Trying to make his way home?"
For us, that would be Ilana, Richard and Claire, who is, like Andrew, an important sibling in our tale.
Of this group only Claire seems to be doing anything interesting. Is it just me, or is she giving Kate the evil eye here? I mean, why is Kate the one with the peanut butter? That's Claire's special symbol! Does Peanut Butter = Baby Aaron?
At the other end of the table is Matthew, Thaddeus and Simon,
or as we call them, Sun, Miles and Frank Lapidus. Does this mean Frank, like Simon, will be the one everyone turns to for the answers?
Doesn't really look like it. This depiction seems less animated than most. Everyone is fixated on Locke and there isn't much inter-character interacting going on. However, as in most pop culture Last Supper parodies, these end groupings of the lesser apostles are used as places to dump the lesser characters from the show. Perhaps there are those who care to analyze the thematic connection betweeen the mostly anonymous St. Bartholomew and the johnny-come-lately character of Ilana, for example, but I'm thinking that's probably well past the point of diminishing analytical returns.
The important groups are always the ones in the middle. (Which, yes, does make it seem a little odd that Jin is part of this group, but since I can't think of any explanation for that, I'm going to just ignore him. Because, seriously, WTF is Jin doing there?)
The grouping at the right hand of Christ is perhaps the most important in daVinci's painting, certainly the most compelling. We have Judas, who is clutching a bag of silver and reaching for the same bread as Jesus, which clearly identifies him as the traitor. Then there are Peter and John, who are intimately conferring about this sudden accusation from Christ.
In our photo, this group is made up of Sayid, Sawyer and Kate. But who's who? Sayid is clearly in the traitor's spot, and he does look the most confrontational and demanding. But perhaps we shouldn't jump to that kind of conclusion.
Kate's arm is on the table in the same way as Jesus Locke's is. Only instead of bread, they're both reaching for the Dharma peanut butter.
So is she Judas? Will Kate finally get something really cool and pivotal, maybe even something evil, to do in Season Six? The other interpretation is that Kate is Mary Magdalen. When Leonardo painted his Last Supper, he chose to make St. John, the youngest and dearest apostle, look so soft and girly that some have surmised that the person to Jesus's right hand was really meant to be his alleged girlfriend and lady confidante Mary Magdalen.
This theory has entered pop culture through Dan Brown's DaVinci Code. It's a pretty weak theory, in my opinion, given that Leo himself ID'd the Apostle John in his notebooks and given that it makes no sense whatsoever that Mary would have been invited to this dinner and little John left out. However, in almost every parody, this position is reserved for a girl. Wonder Woman, Princess Peach, Maude Lebowski - all have been sit ins for St. John/Mary Magdalen. So I'm thinking Kate is sitting there because she's The Girl and that's The Girl's Chair.
Now what to make of Sawyer as Simon Peter? I mean, aside from Hell, Yeah! Like Peter, Sawyer is impetuous and prone to bursts of violence, but deep down he is The Rock, the most dependable hero in the bunch. Peter is the apostle that Christ appoints as his successor, even though Christ knows and accurately predicts his imperfection. In both cast photos done so far, we've seen Sawyer placed directly to Locke's right. Even if when Locke's back is turned, he's technically at Locke's left, but ... whatever. You get what I'm saying.
Does this mean that Sawyer's role as Locke's right hand man will come back into play in Season Six? Will Sawyer be the one that lives on when the resurrection allegory is complete? And more importantly, what does it mean that he is leaning on Kate?
Does he have Kate's back now? As anyone who has ever waged battle in the bloody LOST Ship Wars knows, there's no way this beautiful couple was placed together in this way randomly. So to my Jater friends and my lovely Suliet pals, all I have to say about this little bit of photographic evidence is ... BWAH!
It looks like we have our Han and our Leia. But where's our Luke and Anakin?
The grouping at the left hand of Christ in Leonardo's painting was made up of Thomas, James Major and Philip.
But we've got a big problem here with LOST's choice of characters for this final group. First of all there are FOUR of them, and that's all wrong. Maybe it's just because there will be 14 characters in the Season Six cast and none were to be left out of this promotional photo. That's the likeliest explanation and it's not as if any of the correlations are literal. They never are in these kind of parodies.
Ben makes an acceptable fit with Philip, who wonders aloud if it is him that Christ is accusing. I'm sure many would feel that Ben makes the best fit for the Judas role, since he already killed Jacob. But I think that kind of leaves out the fact that Jacob is not in this picture. Perhaps we should be rearranging some of our presumptions of who exactly is the highest Higher Power in this story. The person Ben was serving was the being that currently inhabits John Locke's corporeal shell, so unless there's another major twist upcoming with Ben (an obvious possibility) then the serene being in the middle of the picture is not the one that Ben has betrayed.
Jack appears to be in the position of Thomas, and there is probably no better fit in the whole photograph than that. Jack has been associated with doubt and lack of faith since the earliest moments of LOST. If any of us had ever managed to miss it, we had it beaten into us last season when Ben gave Jack a tutorial on the subject, via Caravaggio's magnificent painting of Doubting Thomas.
Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."- John 20:29But the name Thomas also means Twin, which is one of the subtler repeated motifs of LOST. The way Jack is holding on to Locke's chair, it's almost like he wants to pull it out and dump Jesus Locke on the floor. It reminds me of how dubious the distinction between good and evil have been on LOST, how mysteriously they've been camoflauged throughout the series. It reminds me also that we really don't know who the central protagonist of LOST really is. Most of the time it seems to me to be John Locke, and the deliberate choice to place him in the uncontested center of both major cast photographs seems to back up that assumption. But for all its Biblical imagery, LOST has always been more Star Wars than New Testament. We have our Han Solo and our Princess Leia. We have our Luke Skywalker and our Darth Vader.
Those are the four central characters. And it seems to me that one of the biggest Star Wars debates - whether Luke or Anakin is the central hero of the piece - applies very similarly to LOST. Is it Jack the Shephard or Jesus Locke who this story is really about? Or is it both? These two characters have always seemed to represent the essential duality at the core of the plot, and in this photo perhaps the explanation for the fourth man is that Jack is not part of his triad at all. He's the other half of the Christ. Jack is trying to unseat John at his own symbolic feast. But will that be possible?
Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroadMost likely, as with most such cast parodies, this is all a big steaming pile of Overthink. I've seen some fans already bitching that this isn't as artful a representation as other casts have done. Maybe so. I'm just delighted to see this first sign that the coming promotional campaign is going to have some FUN mixed into it. I'm done with the drab promos we've gotten, the endlessly recycled Season Five scenes and the badly photoshopped poster. It's time for LOST to start showing some flair as they step out into their finale season. I really hope this is the start of weeks and weeks of our appetites being whetted and our anticipation ramping up. Come on, guys, we're ready for your closeup. Bring it on!
- Matthew 26:31
ONE MONTH AND COUNTING!