Last night’s other Major Event, for those who could pry themselves away from the presidential debate long enough to realize it, was the return of ABC’s stranded-crash-survivor series, Lost. Now in its fourth season, the show made an exciting reappearance — thankfully providing a brief reprieve from the ongoing new-episode drought and making good on the promise of last season’s finale. These flash-forwards are gonna be wild (and not a moment too soon. If we had to sit through another one of Sawyer’s cons or Kate’s narrow escapes from the law —like we get it: they’ve all got checkered pasts —we might not have made it to the series end).
But we’re not here to recap Lost. Rather, we’d like to chime in on a trend we’re beginning to notice as we continue watching it. It seems that, like George W., the Lost writers don’t care about Black people.
Now before you protest too soon, on the grounds that part of the show’s appeal is that “no one is safe” and any of the regulars can go at any time, we’re going to concede that we agree. Killing off Boone in Season 1—a dark-haired chap with alabaster skin, cerulean eyes, and no acting charisma to speak of —definitely set the “Game on!” stage for what’s followed. The writers also killed off Boone’s blond sister (as soon as she began “dating” the brown-skinned Iraqi), two other blond survivors, Libby (as soon as she started getting next to the lovable, light-skinned Latino), and most recently, Charlie, the heroin addict with the heart of gold. And, of course, there’s the various and sundry other white extras from the both sides of the island who’ve bit it since the show began.
That’s great, but to that we say, it’s a predominantly white cast. In that case, since careless gun- and knife-play, wild boars, ruthless villains, and a black “smoke monster” are daily threats, killing off whites is rather inevitable, isn’t it?
To date, there’ve only been about eight Black non-extras (and by non-extras, we mean people with speaking roles *and* storylines) on Lost. As of last night, only one remains. Let’s take a look at them and their status below:
1. Michael Dawson (Harold Perrineau) – one of the original series regulars whose initial claims to fame were his carpentry skill and preoccupation with his formerly estranged son (for whom, we found out before the end of the first season, he relinquished his parental rights to his ex’s new fiance). By the time we saw him last, he’d turned into the wild-eyed liar who murked the aforementioned blond Libby and an (unlikable) Latina character, Ana Lucia. Rumored to be returning as a “regular” some time during the current season, we have this craaaazy feeling no one will be happy to see him. We smell decomposition in his future.
Status: Written off, soon to return. Alive, but likely not for long.
2. Walt Lloyd (Malcolm David Kelley) – Michael’s mind-controlling, teleporting, sort of bratty son. Last seen escaping the island on a nifty little speedboat his dad purchased with the lives of two other survivors, as well as his credibility with his former crew. On occasion, Walt returns as an apparition. Usually, these reappearances amount to very little. There’s been no word on whether he’ll be written back into the show when his dad returns.
Status: Alive, but likely too far into puberty to be written back on.
3. Susan Porter (Tamara Taylor) – Walt’s mom. Though she only appeared in flashback for two episodes, Susan and her new white husband whisked Walt away to Australia to begin a new Michael-less life in Season 1. But maybe she was a bit too hasty yanking Walt away from his daddy. The boy creeped out his stepdad to such a degree that the latter desperately called ol’ Mike after Susan’s sudden death (for which he considered ol’ think-it-and-it-happens Walt responsible) and begged him to take the boy off his hands.
4. Rose Henderson (L. Scott Caldwell) – One of the few middle-aged cast members and currently the sole Black series regular, Rose has become the resident Big Momma of the crew. Every now and then, she sidles up to some other regular and spouts platitudes and scriptures (both of which she has in vast supply). She is a few steps away from hugging folks to her bosom and cooing, “Momma knows,” though we suspect that’s more to the actress’s credit than to the writers’. Rose’s cancer was supposedly “cured by the island,” so she’s not likely leaving it any time soon. But there’s no end of ways the writers could pen her demise. And let’s face it: it’s only a matter of time, isn’t it?
Status: Still a series regular, but there’s not much more to do with her, if they’re not going to turn her evil. Death’s imminent.
5. Mister Eko Tunde (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) – In one of the more frustrating developments of the series, Eko was introduced as a “Tailie” (a survivor from the assumed destroyed tail end of the plane) in Season 2, only to be killed off before the end of Season 3. The writers went to the trouble of giving him an excruciating backstory which included his being a child soldier, drug runner, and ruthless adult murderer. On the island, though, he carried a scripture stick and donned a cross necklace, letting slip on occasion that, yes, he is a priest, thanks for asking.
Status: Dead at the hands of the “smoke monster.”
6. Yemi Tunde (Adetokumboh McCormack) – Remember that jungle-tangled aircraft of dead Nigerian heroin traffickers? The one with the baggies of heroin stuffed into Virgin Mary statues? The one Boone crawled into and died? Yeah. One of the corpses on it turned out to be Eko’s little brother, Yemi. Turns out Yemi was the real priest; his brother stole his identity in order to run the heroin on the plane. Yemi was gunned down in the federal agent crossfire.
Status: Dead, but briefly emerged from the afterlife to aid in killing off his brother. He was one of the figures who “appeared” within the smoke of the “monster” before it bludgeoned Eko to death.
7. Bea Klugh (April Grace) – Bea was part of the team who kidnapped Walt. A creepy lady in her own right, she was best known for ticking off a series of questions about Walt’s background? (i.e. Does he often appear in places where he shouldn’t be?) Aside from weirding us all out, she was a gun-toting, bonafide member of the Others. She was offed by one of her own in the Season 3 finale.
Status: Riddled with bullets, never to return.
8. Naomi Dorrit (Marsha Thomason) – Naomi was relatively new to the crew. She showed up half-dead already, impaled by a tree branch while parachuting onto the island. Her claims to fame: seemingly arriving to rescue the crew, then later having her true motives and identity questioned… in a mortal wound-inflicting kind of way. The cast went to the trouble of bandaging her up… only to have her knifed in the back by Locke in the Season 3 finale. We thought that was it for her. Then in the premiere, she “crawled off on her own” (highly improbably, with the knife still in her back) only to die a few hours later, after telephoning the rest of her people to the island. Last words: “Tell my sister I lurve ‘uh.” (She was British.)
Status: Deceased, ol’ chap.
Let us know if we’re forgetting anyone. Last night, a new Black character surfaced and he’s eeeevil. In a shout-out to The Wire fans, he also played menacingly by Lance Reddick. So far, IMDB only has him down for one episode, so we’re not prepared to list him as a surviving black cast member just yet. Besides, does anybody think that, if dude ever resurfaces, he’ll see the end of two seasons?