Discuss Lost

I am interested in hearing from others which characters they hated the most, which were most annoying, which ones they liked the most, etc.

For example, I hated Benjamin Linus, the leader of the 'others'. I don't know what kind of mental disorder is required for someone to justify his treatment of those crash survivors, e.g. sending Ethan to kidnap Claire to steal her baby, murder random survivors, etc. What kind of mental damage allows someone like Linus to speak of Ethan as an innocent? How could he view his actions and those of the 'others' as essentially blameless? Who could watch a plane crash, and not be concerned about the welfare of the passengers? Who when learning there were survivors would not offer them all, all the help and aid he could give? Ben Linus, that's who.

I liked Sayid. Despite his background, he was a decent person. He hated what he had done, and he showed compassion, loyalty, and courage. He had a solid sense of fairness.

I loved Kate, in no small part because she is a good looking lady. The same goes for Shannon. I know Shannon was a pampered, conceited, manipulator of men when she landed on the island, and for a short while afterward. But she changed fairly quickly, her better self coming out, especially after she and Sayid fell in love. Maggie Grace is a beautiful lady, with a very attractive body, like Evangeline Lilly. I may have male bias here, but I like them.

Sawyer had major character flaws, and a past nobody could respect. Anyone who preys on and steals the life savings of people, as he did, should be in prison (as he was). On the island he was often times a heartless thug. But this character was also shown to have compassion at times, courage, loyalty, and self sacrifice. I grew to like him for that reason. He could be depended upon when needed, most of the time. He was not meant to be as noble and self sacrificing as some of the others, but he showed he could be a decent stand up guy.

Charlie Pace: I could not stand that guy. His speech was loud, his dialogue was fatuous, vacuous, passive aggressive, and attention seeking. Like many addicts he was a manipulative liar. He became angry when his manipulations failed, or when he was caught in a lie. Locke tried to help Charlie get clean, and gave him advice when he felt Charlie was sincere in wanting it. Charlie resented Locke. He sometimes took pleasure in sarcastically goading Locke. His personality, wow. He was one of those guys who knows others don't respect his life choices, and that he isn't really all that competent at most tasks, and he resents it. He is insecure and fears he won't be accepted if people see him for who he really is, so he intentionally makes himself an irritant in a passive aggressive manner, then acts insulted that others are put off by him. This gives him a fake reason for being rejected, which is easier for him than being rejected for who he is. Charlie was hyper excitable, sometimes almost to the point of being hysterical. I know this character was redeemed at the end, giving up his life to save others. He had his good points. But he was so annoying to me that I found it difficult to like him for his good points.

Also, Michael; I just could not stand him. "WALT!" he shouted ad nauseum. Michael was suspicious, and way too quick to assume the worst about others. He murdered Ana Lucia in cold blood, and murdered the psychologist too. Of course he betrayed his fellow survivors who were trying to help him. He tried to justify all of that saying he had to save his son from the others. He committed premeditated, cold blooded, murder of people who had done nothing to him, and betrayed his friends as they tried to help him. Michael had his good points, and he tried hard to redeem himself, giving up his life while trying to save the friends he had previously betrayed. So he redeemed himself at the end, like Charlie. But as far having an annoying and strident voice, and personality, Michael was right up there with Charlie.

Ben Linus was a pathological liar, a mass murderer, kidnapper, and master manipulator. He always called himself and his people "the good guys". Many times he and his people claimed they didn't kill people, but this was one of his big lies, sold through repetition. On Ben's orders Ethan ordered Charlie to turn Claire over to him, threatening to kill one person for each day they failed to do so. And he followed through on his threat the first night, killing one of the flight 815 passengers. Ben himself participated in a genocidal gas attack which killed off all the original Dharma people; Ben personally murdered his own father with deadly gas. Ben shot John Locke through the stomach because John was able to hear Jacob! Ben Linus was like the devil incarnate.

Hurley aka Hugo was cool, though a bit neurotic sometimes. But he was a likable guy. Like the man said, Everybody likes Hugo.

Claire was alright, except when she was crying. Wow, I just could not listen to her voice when she was crying.

Desmond was a cool guy, another one of my favorites.

Jack was a dependable, solid character, though sometimes too naive.

Locke was a bit weird. I liked him overall, mostly because he was an interesting character. But when I watched him strike Boone in the back of the head, tie him up, and tell him it was for his own good, and that Boone would thank him for it some day, I thought to myself "your time is coming". If I had been Boone, I would have left a lot of knots on that bald head of his for doing that to me. Locke became even more weird as the show continued, and there were times when I would have been tempted to put him down, had I been on that island. He had an irritating habit of believing intently that he knew the right thing to do, even after events proved him wrong many times. The writers had him sometimes displaying wisdom and good sense, and other times acting like a fool. For example, at the communications station where they found that Russian claiming to be the last survivor of the Dharma Initiative, Locke began following the commands and entering numbers on the computer. When the directions said "If there has been an incursion of the station by the hostiles, enter 77", John Locke mindlessly entered 77 which resulted in the time delayed detonation of the C4 in the basement of the station. Locke later complained to Syad that he should have been informed about the C4, saying if he had known about it, he would not have entered 77. But that is stupid. What was the point in entering it in the first place? Locke knew it would alert the "others" of their presence and their location, tipping them off that they were coming.
Sometimes the writers made Locke an absolute idiot, other times they had him displaying good sense. In this scene they showed Locke mindlessly following the directions of the Dharma man on the film.

Locke and Jack both had a tendency to be paternalistic, assuming they had the right to decide things for everyone else. They were outraged when others failed to share everything with them, but assumed the authority to withhold information from others at their discretion. Of the two of them, Locke was worse in this regard.

Locke especially felt the authority and the need to tell others what to do. Remember when Echo was pushing the button and Locke thought it was pointless? Locke couldn't stand it. He told Echo not to push the button. Echo told him not to tell him what he could do. Locke told Echo that he had to stop so he wouldn't be a slave to the computer. Echo told him he wasn't a slave and told John Locke to mind his own business, basically. Locke tried to force Echo to give up pushing the button. Eventually he enlisted Desmond to help him do just that, resulting in the destruction of the Swan station. Locke had a fatal combination of traits that made him dangerous to those around him. He was naive, gullible, easy to manipulate. Once sold on an idea, he believed it completely, fervently, without question. No matter how many times he followed his belief without question and found out too that he had been lied to, Locke was just as gullible the next time around. This fatal flaw was compounded by Locke's tyrannical belief that he somehow had the right to dictate to others, to decide their fates for them. He had a kind of savior complex, minus the love. He was perfectly alright with abusing people "for their own good".

Still, Locke was an immensely interesting character, and the show could not have been the same without him.

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That's not a bad summary if you're rating the characters on a moral scale. But for me, at least (and I think for a lot of other people), when it comes to fictional characters, the most interesting ones aren't the most admirable. Jack may be the most heroic of the characters, but that's just the problem--he sometimes is too much of a conventional, goody-good hero type; in a way, his most interesting moments come during his downward spiral as a depressed drug addict in the flash-forwards in Season 3.

Sawyer is a far more interesting character, and he probably has the best arc of all the characters. He starts out as basically a jerk, but he really matures in the course of the series and becomes something approximating a decent human being. It's interesting to speculate what he'll do after leaving the island: will he return to his criminal ways, or forge a more honest path? Either is fairly plausible, and that's what makes him compelling. Jack is a lot more predictable.

As for Ben, yes, he's a lying, murdering sociopath, and even his apparent redemption at the end is questionable. But he also has some touching human moments, like when he cries over Alex's dead body. He's never a cartoonish sort of villain like the MiB, but a believable and engaging character who is anything but predictable.

All that said, my favorite character was still probably Locke, with an inspired performance by Terry O'Quinn. I agree that the writing of him wasn't totally consistent, but he always remained a fascinating and compelling figure.

@Kylopod said:

That's not a bad summary if you're rating the characters on a moral scale. But for me, at least (and I think for a lot of other people), when it comes to fictional characters, the most interesting ones aren't the most admirable. Jack may be the most heroic of the characters, but that's just the problem--he sometimes is too much of a conventional, goody-good hero type; in a way, his most interesting moments come during his downward spiral as a depressed drug addict in the flash-forwards in Season 3.

Sawyer is a far more interesting character, and he probably has the best arc of all the characters. He starts out as basically a jerk, but he really matures in the course of the series and becomes something approximating a decent human being. It's interesting to speculate what he'll do after leaving the island: will he return to his criminal ways, or forge a more honest path? Either is fairly plausible, and that's what makes him compelling. Jack is a lot more predictable.

As for Ben, yes, he's a lying, murdering sociopath, and even his apparent redemption at the end is questionable. But he also has some touching human moments, like when he cries over Alex's dead body. He's never a cartoonish sort of villain like the MiB, but a believable and engaging character who is anything but predictable.

All that said, my favorite character was still probably Locke, with an inspired performance by Terry O'Quinn. I agree that the writing of him wasn't totally consistent, but he always remained a fascinating and compelling figure.

I agree with all you said.

I actually found some similarities between Jack and Locke. Both of them were a bit paternalistic, a bit dictatorial. Both wanted and expected to be obeyed, Locke more so than Jack. Jack was not quite as demanding as Locke in this regard. Both wanted to control the guns, trusting themselves to carry them but not others except on special occasions, and they expected them to be turned in afterwards. Even when they were aware that others were proficient in the safe and accurate use of firearms, and after Ethan had murdered one of them, tried to murder Charlie, and threatened to murder them all one by one, Jack determined that no one should be allowed to have a firearm, keeping them locked and in his possession instead. It was only when he formulated a plan and needed an armed team that he would dole them out. In that regard, he was no better than Sawyer, who assumed the right to hoard resources, and determine who got them. Of course for Sawyer this was done for profit. Jack was just anal.

Both Jack and Locke saw nothing wrong with keeping secrets from others, but Jack especially seemed offended, almost outraged, if others kept secrets from him. Jack sometimes expected even to be told personal information which people normally keep secret. So I didn't find him to be as righteous as some might have. And there were other flaws in his personality, from my perspective. He had a tendency to become emotionally out of control, or at least highly emotional, without being able to calm himself or temper his emotion. He often made poor decisions at these times. Both Locke and Jack were stubborn. Both of them could become so gripped with the sense that they were right that no one could reach them. They were very emotional in their insistence that they were correct. Of course, actors frequently display hyper emotional states in order to induce a sympathetic state in the audience, to invest them in the story. But in these guys it was a character flaw.

I also thought the Locke character was extremely interesting, and the show could not have been what it was without him. Other characters could have been left out of the show, but not John Locke. Jack was also central to the story though in a different way. I couldn't help noticing that the show began with his eye opening in the forest, and ended with his eye closing in the same forest.

There was a theme in the show of characters being redeemed. With Sawyer, as you mentioned, it seemed to take place over time throughout the show. Charlie Pace also grew in character over the course of his character's run in the show. I didn't like watching and listening to Charlie though. He was irritating and annoying. Other characters did worse things than he did, but his personality, his intentionally irritating way of speaking, just got on my nerves. I am not sure what message the writers intended by showing us the ugly sides of characters, and then redeeming them, but I noticed it throughout.
Yes, the scene with Linus at his daughter's death, and and at certain other times, revealed a genuine affection, concern, and love for her. It humanized him somewhat.
Maybe the writers were saying "nobody's perfect", and 'even the worst monsters may have noble emotions and actions', or maybe they didn't intend a particular message.

I can see your point about the similarities between Jack and Locke, though Locke is more of an antihero, as it shows he's willing to hurt or even kill people because he believes he knows what's best; he's sort of like a religious fanatic, albeit not from a traditional religion.

I didn't find Charlie especially likable, but his traits did tie into the theme of paternalism that you mentioned, particularly in the way he related to Claire. He felt it his responsibility to "take care of" Claire and her baby (and there was that flashback suggesting he'd taken that attitude in past relationships with women), but he never bothered to first try to get to know her on her terms; he just sort of inserted himself into her life and acted like he was suddenly her husband, and it made it seem creepy. But he does mature and begin to develop a healthier relationship with her, and of course he's awesome in his final moments on the submarine.

@Kylopod said:

I can see your point about the similarities between Jack and Locke, though Locke is more of an antihero, as it shows he's willing to hurt or even kill people because he believes he knows what's best; he's sort of like a religious fanatic, albeit not from a traditional religion.

I didn't find Charlie especially likable, but his traits did tie into the theme of paternalism that you mentioned, particularly in the way he related to Claire. He felt it his responsibility to "take care of" Claire and her baby (and there was that flashback suggesting he'd taken that attitude in past relationships with women), but he never bothered to first try to get to know her on her terms; he just sort of inserted himself into her life and acted like he was suddenly her husband, and it made it seem creepy. But he does mature and begin to develop a healthier relationship with her, and of course he's awesome in his final moments on the submarine.

Yes I think you are right about Locke. I also saw him as a kind of island religious fanatic, even though he had no traditional religious inclinations. It's not hard to understand why he became a believer in the spooky powers of the island, having been healed of paraplegia upon hitting the beach. But his actions afterward often illustrated the limitations of human perception for spiritual realities, as he jumped from one conclusion to another with dogmatic intensity. As you indicated there was a big difference between Jack and Locke re their paternalism, as Locke felt totally justified in hurting or killing people to force others to go along with him "for their own good". We first saw this side of him when he hit Boone in the back of the head with the butt end of his hunting knife because Boone wanted to tell Shannon about the hatch. (If I were in Boone's shoes, when I got the chance I would have taught Locke a lesson, leaving knots on his bald head.) When Jack became a 'believer' that he had an island related destiny, and in the powers of the island he also tried to convince others, but he never felt compelled or justified in using violence to persuade or force them to obey him or see things his way. Of course Locke also had a good heart and did care for the others. But he had that almost messianic sense of destiny which allowed him to rationalize acting like a mini dictator.

Charlie had so many issues I could go on about him a long time. He was creepy. He was needy too. He was insecure. I wondered if the reason he scolded Claire on her parenting was to boost his own ego. Charlie enjoyed pointing out others' shortcomings and failures because of his own insecurities, and his awareness of his own weaknesses, screw ups, and irresponsible behavior. Locke confronted him over his drug use and his lies, and Charlie went out of his way to make Locke look bad. I couldn't stand Charlie because he was a liar, and wouldn't own up to it. And when he was busted for lying he was unrepentant. Instead he either became angry, loudly accusing the person who exposed his lying of bad behavior of some sort, or he tried to manipulate them further. Charlie always seemed to see himself as the victim when he was caught lying.

In one flashback Charlie met a girl, and her father gave him a job selling business photocopiers, and Charlie royally screwed up his first sales presentation, apparently on purpose. When the girl asked him why he took the job he said: "I guess I wanted to be respectable. I wanted you to think I could take care of you." Charlie was simply admitting that taking the job was just another lie, probably to himself and to the girl. He wanted to put on the facade of a respectable person. But inside he knew he really wasn't respectable, he was a burnt out, 3rd rate rock star has been, heroin addict. So he stole from the girl's family to buy drugs, and then he made a mess of things on the job so he would get fired. Because he knew he could never take care of her from the start. It was all another lie. Yet afterward he went back to her unrepentant, saying "I know, but let me explain", as if there was some explanation which could absolve him.

Charlie was almost as big a liar as Ben Linus for the first month or two on the island. Like the others Charlie changed over time. As you indicated, his underwater sacrifice to save Desmond was brilliant. I didn't like Charlie but had to appreciate him for that.

I didn't care for Michael or Charlie. Every other character I could find something that made them tolerable.

@MirrorMask said:

I didn't care for Michael or Charlie. Every other character I could find something that made them tolerable.

I get that. Michael and Charlie had the worst personalities. Which one was worse than the other? Hard to say for me. I would say Charlie but Michael's betrayal, including that double murder, was unforgivable to me.

Michael and Charlie had the worst personalities. Which one was worse than the other? Hard to say for me. I would say Charlie but Michael's betrayal, including that double murder, was unforgivable to me.

I think the basic difference is that they went in opposite directions. Most of Charlie's problems stemmed from immaturity (and heroin addiction, of course), and then he basically grew up and ended the series as a hero. Michael's flaws were more subtle, but they were there from the start, even before his murderous breakdown. For instance, consider his behavior on the raft after his son got kidnapped. Sawyer got himself shot trying to rescue Walt and then literally revived Michael from drowning, and instead of thanking him, Michael just lashed out at him and absurdly blamed him for the kidnapping. And he never apologized for his behavior later, either. Now, granted, Sawyer himself wasn't exactly the most likable fellow (and that's not to mention he was a bit of a racist), but at that moment he had behaved admirably, even heroically, yet Michael didn't even seem to notice. Michael was from the beginning extremely self-absorbed, and in many ways it was a far more damning trait than Charlie's annoying arrogance.

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