Samuel Walters wrote:
Seriously, though, who's enjoyment of the series was critically dependent upon knowledge of the four-toed statue? Or any single mystery?
That's not the point. The point is that above all else, LOST is still a dramatic story. And in storytelling, you simply do not introduce plot elements that are ultimately unrelated or never referred to again. It's called a Chekhov's Gun. It's evidence of bad writing.
I would have been unconcerned with the statue if it had the requisite 5 toes. The statue is later shown in flashbacks, and is where Locke kills Jacob. Sufficient foreshadowing. But by deliberately taking time out of the plot to have Sayid point out that it only has four toes? You better be prepared to explain later why it was important enough to mention.
So ... creatively interesting settings can be on-screen so long as the characters never acknowledge them? Perhaps four toes was introduced purely for atmosphere and mood. Maybe it was a red herring. Or maybe it's just not worth obsessing about years later since it was never a central, integral element of the overall story to begin with.