Lost's Why Problem

Now that I've caught up in my viewing, I'd like to associate myself with Peter Suderman's remark that the most persistently irritating thing about Lost is that "it asks 'why' but answers 'what' and 'how.'" This problem, obviously, is built into the show's architecture, since it's not knowing the "why" that keeps us coming back for more. But it was one thing to consistently withhold the why across the first two seasons, when all the characters were more or less just as in the dark about it as the audience. Now, though, the show has reached a point where certain characters know the why - or at least some of it - and others have good reasons to want to know the why; moreover, the in-the-dark characters often have the means to force the in-the-know characters to explain the why to them. Which means that to keep the audience guessing, the in-the-dark characters have to act ridiculously, implausibly satisfied when the explanations they get stop with the how and the what.

The show is still crackerjack, mind you, but only in those episodes when everybody's too busy doing things to ask questions - as at the end of last season, and the first few episodes of this one. When the pacing slows, as it inevitably must, and the characters have time to sit around and talk things out, things get really irritating really fast. This problem made the middle of last season an enormous drag, and I'm worried it's going to kill the middle of this one too.