DarkUFO - Lost

Two-Faced Liars by Luhks

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Since the first season, honesty has always been a scarce commodity for Lost characters. For every instance of a character’s confession, it seemed that a few more buried secrets took its place. For every example of sincere cooperation, you could guarantee that a handful of cons, deceptions, and betrayals would soon follow. Things started on a small scale in the first two seasons, with petty crimes and infidelities scattered throughout the flashbacks and island interactions. Benjamin Linus, Juliet Burke, and the rest of the Others escalated the level of deceit as things moved into Season Three, and made the crash survivors look like amateurs by comparison. Season Four then introduced two massive global conspiracies into story: first, the staged flight 815 wreckage at the bottom of the ocean; and then the Oceanic Six cover story (a lie to conceal the other lie). Misdirection has become a way of life both for the characters and the Lost writers, who manipulate perceptions of truth with more skill than Anthony Cooper himself.

The second episode of Season Five, with its decidedly straightforward title The Lie, offers perhaps the series’ most thorough examination of this recurring motif. The episode begins by sending the story back to the formative stages of the Oceanic Six Lie. Kate, Sun, Sayid, Hurley, and Jack all respond in subtly different ways to the situation, and each one participates in the scheme for deeply personal reasons. The conversation arrives at a unanimous conclusion: they need to lie, because it’s the only way to protect those left behind from Charles Widmore. In those immortal words once spoken by Dr. Shephard (perhaps the only good thing ever to arise from Stranger in a Strange Land): “That’s what they say. That’s not what they mean.” As Hurley points out straight away, the logic behind their Lie never even made much sense; Widmore would seem to be just as likely to find the island no matter what story they told. The reasons stated on the surface serve as a mere pretext to disguise their true motivations underneath. These five co-conspirators are even incapable of being honest with each other about their collective dishonesty.

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