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Ethan: ‘Lost’ and found

Chris Hine | Monday, September 29, 2008

Ethan, I thought you were out of my life forever.

Last year, over Christmas break, I had my tonsils removed and a deviated septum fixed in my nose. For a few weeks, I couldn’t do much except eat soft food, pop Percocet like it was candy and watch “Lost.”

I never got into “Lost” when it first premiered, but when I was stuck at home in the recliner, I decided it would be a good time to check it out.

Like millions of others (no pun intended), I became instantly hooked, and stayed up late at night watching the DVDs.

For those of you who aren’t fans of the show, Ethan was an “other,” or someone who was on the island before the plane crashed in the first episode.

He gave me nightmares. He tried to abduct Claire, a pregnant woman on the island, then, he tried to kill another character, Charlie.

But what really got to me was his face.

Ethan just had this face that scared the crap out me. And when you’re watching TV at 2 a.m., all the lights are off and everyone’s asleep, seeing Ethan’s face, full of mysteriously bad intentions, is enough to send chills up your spine.

When I was younger, I hated the dark. I dreaded having to turn off all the lights and walk up our stairs by myself, completely in the dark. I never felt that way for years -then I saw Ethan. For about a week, as I walked up the steps, I was afraid that Ethan, his creepily grinning face illuminated by the glow of a nightlight, was waiting to kill me at the top of the staircase.

Then, (spoiler alert) after a few more episodes and few nights of waking up in a cold sweat, Charlie killed Ethan. Now, even when Ethan shows up in a flashback, I don’t care because I know he gets killed. So no more worries – until now.

Ethan is still alive. How do I know? I saw him getting lunch in South Dining Hall on Friday.

I was walking out of the DH with two friends, both of whom are also “Lost” fans, when we spotted him making his way around the stations. I have trouble with faces, but not his. The second I saw it I knew it was him and so did my friends. But why would he be at Notre Dame?

It turns out Ethan is played by an actor named William Mapother, who, according to his official website, graduated from Notre Dame in 1987 with a degree in English Literature. Dan Murphy, an Observer sports editor, told me Mr. Mapother spoke to one of his classes last week, and I’m sure he stayed for the football game.

I regret this now, but I didn’t approach Mr. Mapother to say “hi” or tell him about all the nightmares he gave me a few months ago. Plus, I’m sure he’s probably tired of people saying “Hey, are you Ethan?” I’m sure he’ll be hearing enough of that the rest of his life.

Thankfully, I’ve slept the past two nights without any problems, but my mind will never be completely at ease.

Even if he is a Domer, Ethan is still out there.