I promised to be done with the last post but I just wanted to pass along some final thoughts. I don’t want to come off like one of those fanboys that spend WAAYYY too much time analyzing something but I gotta put on the whole BIG DORK button and wear it proud for this show. LOST spoke to a need in the television landscape. It was one of those shows that redefined how a story could effectively be told with compelling characters and intricate plot lines. The fact that it bordered on Science Fiction, Drama, Comedy, and Fantasy all made for a nice blend of genres that could attract any number of fans. At times it was tedious and I know a few people who gave up along the way.
However, like the island, the show had a source, a bright warm light that represented life, death, redemption, corruption, pop culture, religious themes, mysticism, literature, science, mathematics, logic, and plain old pulp. It went beyond its 60s and 70s B Grade predecessors like Lost in Space, Gilligan’s Island, Land of the Lost and even The Prisoner. It also combined elements of shows from the 80s and 90s like The X-Files and Twin Peaks to give it that edge. It was as ground breaking as Star Trek for including characters from all walks of life on the show as well as the people who portrayed them. You had actors from England, Australia, Canada, Korea, Brazil, Croatia, Scotland, Venezuela, and of course The U.S. There were social and ethnic issues surrounding the castaways predicament. LOST encapsulated a lot of the world we know into a microcosm of isolation and constant threat to survival, doled out in 121 hours, over six seasons spanning over 2000 years of storytelling. That’s quite an accomplishment for a show that was worried about being picked up and even proposed killing off it’s man character in the pilot. How ironic would that have been?
When I first posted my thoughts about the finale I ran down the pilot and much of the first season in order to wax nostalgic. Here I thought I would speak to the finale, "The End", and pass along a few of my personal insights, because, as you know, I am the pinnacle of compelling bloggers… pffft!
On the island we have a final standoff. Jack believes that Desmond is the key to killing Locke (MiB) and MiB believes that Desmond is the key to destroying the island. Desmond thinks he is going to go down a rabbit hole and meet up with his sideways self. This is one of the big problems I had with the whole coming together of both timelines. Desmond admits to Jack that he’s going to go to a place where everything is peaceful and he’s with his loved ones. And you and I were sitting on Oceanic 815 and we had a conversation, and you were there, and you were there. But Desmond was wrong. He simply pulled the plug on the island. So, did Desmond have an out of body experience when he was subjected to Widmore’s experiment?
Soon, the island began a quaking as if the source of the island’s life blood was the waters themselves. Pulling the plug left the island and its inhabitants vulnerable. The ultimate question of bragging rights was about to unfold. MiB revels in his premature victory telling Jack he was wrong. Jack, pissed off as hell tackles MiB and punches him. Blood shows up. He’s human again. Without the island’s source he’s just a man. He quickly makes his escape where Jack and MiB fight until MiB delivers a knife to the ribs, another Christian image. Then, Kate shoots him in the back. Jack kicks MiB over the cliff just like MiB kicked Jacob into the fire. MiB’s… err Locke’s body falls, as if out a window, to the rocks below. However, this time, no one is around to touch him, resurrecting him as it were. MiB is finally dead. Plans are changed, last minute escapes are made, people stay behind. Ben chooses to go down with the ship, as does Hugo. Jack decides that his reign as King of the Island is short lived and passes the torch to the rightful heir, Hugo. It was always meant to be Hugo. He said he didn’t want it, but it needed to be him. He just needed to be persuaded. Jack was dying and the island needed a protector. Jack and Hugo both let go. Jack took the baton from Desmond and plugged the whole. “You have to lift it up" would have been a great line from Desmond at this point or from Jack, even, trying to help Desmond get into the rope sling. In any case, Jack did what he had to do and was now free to die. So, he made his way back past his father’s shoe, still hanging in the tree three years later. He took his original spot on the ground with Vincent, again, by his side and with witnessing the plane with his friends leaving for good, he realized his death was not for nothing as MiB told him. He could die, he finally fixed everything. Hugo, now King of the Island chose Ben as his number 2, a fitting redemption for a man who did everything he did, good and bad, for the island. He finally got his shot to be special. He was never meant to be a leader but someone willing to show from experience how things should be done. If anything, I fully expect the Harlem Globetrotters to show up not that Hugo is in charge.
I said before that I really loved the finale as a standalone episode. The afterlife, flash forwards, sideways world, etc. was a great complimentary bookend to the pilot episode. But coupled with the action of the island coming apart and the final battle for the lives of the castaways and perhaps the world as MiB tries to escape was all caddywampus. Don’t bother looking up that word. It only exists in Colloquialville. The two halves did not make a symmetrical whole. The ending was like Chinese food. I liked it. It filled me up, and then I was pissed because I was still hungry and it was all gone.
Often times shows become self aware of their impact and their own existence. Sometimes they end up playing off of that vibe and become self referential or a parody of themselves as the go to lengths to break the fourth wall. To give an example, two of my favorite shows, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Supernatural make references to them ‘being’ a television show with nearly the same line. Buffy’s sixth season made the quip, “Dawn's in trouble. Must be Tuesday." Supernatural’s latest season dealt with Christian religion and the apocalypse and one of the characters said, “Another Horseman. Awesome. Must be Thursday.” Both shows aired on days listed in the quotes. It’s all rather Brechtian or Pirandelloesque, I suppose. Sometimes the breakdown of what is fiction and what is real becomes silly as such was the case with an episode of Charles in Charge where Scott Baio’s character walks off set in one direction only to reenter from outside the “house” in an admittance that the entire house is simply a set with a backstage area beyond every door and that this is indeed a television show. To another end with LOST's farewell tour, people speculated the “Christian” implications of the publicity stills showing the cast in a sort of Last Supper scene, having dinner and breaking bread. “Oh his leg is hidden” or “She’s giving a look downward.” "These things must mean something." Nope. It was just what it was, the last supper for the cast, a nod to their fate as well as the show.
But in this episode the characters all experience a moment of realization where their lives in the world of the island connect the dots back to their time in Purgatory. It then becomes a sort of nod to the show ending as characters kind of reminisce with each other in their new found ‘awakening.’ The characters seem to detach themselves from the action and wax nostalgic with each other as if they were the actors playing them instead. When Jack finally gets it, he joins the others in a gathering, a sort of farewell tableau in the church, which incidentally looked much like the seating on a plane. As Christian Shephard opens the doors at the back of the church, it sets the tone for the cast to be captured one last time on screen together, like a yearbook photo. The show was ending and we were seeing their lives play out as characters and actors in a show that had a huge cultural impact. It was a chance to let them accept their fate. The remembered connections which allowed the characters to move on could have just as well meant the actors remembering their greatest hits on the show. Sometimes, for an actor, it’s hard to let go of a show or project that you’ve worked on for a while. You become so intertwined with the characters, the fans, the media, and the impact that you find it hard to separate from the role and move on to a new life. For some, they feel as if they aren’t ready to move on and kind of linger in that nostalgic place that they created, kind of like Ben choosing to hang out a bit and work on some things. He probably meant atonement for Rousseau and Alex.
I fought long and hard to understand why certain people were in the church and others weren’t. I especially had a hard time realizing what Desmond and Eloise were speaking of in regards to his meddling and her son. I think she knew all too well what she was experiencing and was afraid that moving on would leave her and her son in a fixed state, still broken. After all, she shot him in the past and even sent him to his eventual death in the present. Maybe she just wanted some time to enjoy the reunion. As it was, Daniel and Charlotte didn’t have that moment like Sawyer and Juliet or Charlie and Claire. Maybe they weren’t ready to take that next step. They certainly weren’t ready in real life as they never got together before Charlotte died. And where were Miles and his father? They weren’t in the church and neither was Michael or Walt. Miles didn’t have his moment of enlightenment. Not sure when he would have had it since he already had a pretty decent relationship with his Dad. Perhaps that was by design. Michael was not in the church because he is still a whisper on the island, unresolved in his sins. Walt… who knows? There is supposedly going to be a 20 minute extra on the DVD that kind of wraps things up. Sounds like a patch or a hot fix to satiate fan ire.
So, this is it. Time to let go. I could speak forever about LOST and this episode; good and bad, but I think it’s time to move on. Thanks to the cast and crew for some of the best television I’ve had the pleasure of watching. Maybe, with it over, I can supplant LOST with something else that is worthy of the mysteries and theories and wasted hours of blogging. Perhaps Flashforward… um, Happy Town… um never mind.