I didn't know what to expect Thursday night. All I knew is that there isn't much LOST left, so even if it cost me $12.50 and I had no guarantees I'd actually learn anything, I was totally going to attend Times Talks Live: LOST, broadcast via satellite to a local movie theater.


Lorne Manly, an entertainment editor with the New York Times, interviewed LOST's executive producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof for an hour and forty-five minutes. I had told friends I wasn't sure how the time would be filled - surely they wouldn't spoil the ending that is now just two days away, and what could they tell us that we who obsessively study the show wouldn't already know?


Plenty, it turns out.


I attended the event with two co-workers, Kelly Good (and her brother Justin), and John Sizemore (and his wife Kelly). We laughed a lot, we said, "wow" several times, we left the theater electrically charged over the flat-out-awesome several-minute clip from the finale we were shown as the event ended.


We were also, I must say, rather blown away by the number of times the topics of faith, the Bible, redemption, the Garden of Eden and other religious themes were discussed by the producers, many times even without a question directly soliciting such an answer.


During the show, actors Michael Emerson (Ben) and Jorge Garcia (Hurley) did walk-ons (admittedly, these were rather cheesily set up with scripted answers that cued the entrance of the actors), and contributed to the questions and answers. Manly asked several questions from his own cards, plus several more that LOST fans around the country had submitted. At the end, audience members there in New York were given the opportunity to ask their own questions.


Some of the program involved technical details of how a show like LOST is written and produced, but even these less-revealing moments were enjoyable, mostly because of the hilariously "on" Lindelof and the eloquently-interesting Cuse, who have said they will be going into "radio silence" for a good while after LOST's finale this Sunday night. Why? They want to let the show settle with folks. They believe they have crafted an excellent ending to their tale, one with plenty of answers, but if some questions remain unanswered it is because they did not want to answer them and prefer to let people have something to debate. Kind of like… religion? Yep, like I said, that theme was omnipresent Thursday night, all the way down to the young lady in the NYC audience who credited the show for returning her to faith in God and people, and to church.


We saw 4 clips during the evening:


The first was the Season Two scene where Locke and Jack debate whether to push the button as the timer ticks down. This is the one with Jack wondering why Locke finds it so easy to believe, and Locke screams back that it's never been easy. They pointed out how they loved that scene for the way Locke needed Jack to agree to push the button with him. He could do it alone, but ultimately, this faith journey thing isn't a solo sport. We need to take it together. And practically, if Locke could convince Jack that they were going to spend a season pushing the button, that is what would convince the audience to go along with that storyline as well.


The second was the beloved scene from "The Constant" where Desmond and Penny finally talk to each other over the telephone from the freighter. This established that Desmond would not only be healed from time travel sickness, but that a Constant could be a person (hence, people still are constant presences in everyone's lives in this final season), and that Penny would be the one to rescue the Oceanic 6.