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LOST Finale: What the hell, brother?

Posted on May 24, 2010 at 11:51 AM

Last night was the culmination of 6 seasons worth of one of the most daring, innovative and well-written TV shows ever. A show that wasn’t afraid to kill off favorite characters on a regular – and shocking – basis. If you didn’t watch LOST, then you missed out on a groundbreaking TV series that never pandered and dumbed it down to its viewers. A series riddled with elusive clues and pop culture references and rabbit holes buried deep inside even deeper rabbit holes. If you didn’t watch it during its network run, I almost envy you that you know have the ability to experience it all fresh by renting the DVDs (or preferably Blu-rays) of the series and enjoying it that way. In one sense, being able to watch the episodes back-to-back-to-back will keep everything fresh in your mind and help you to catch the little flashback, forward and sideways allusions that are easy to miss when waiting a week or more between episodes. Though I also think that the series will lose some of its tension and mystery when you don’t have to wait months to find out the resolution to cliff hangers like “what’s in the hatch?” or “what do the Others want with Walt?” (Much in the way that anyone watching the Star Wars Triliogy now will just jump right from Empire’s “Is Darth really his father?” to Jedi without that interminable 3 years of agony.)

 

But series finales are always somewhat of a bittersweet thing. It is kind of like Terry O’Quinn (John Locke) said in the pre-finale show, it’s like getting to the end of a great book. You hate that the book is ending, but you still loved reading it. Maybe in a few years, I’ll come to appreciate the finale for what it was – as I’m come to accept the Seinfeld finale as possibly the best wrap-up they had to offer. But for now, dammit, brother! All I’m feeling is disappointed and confused!

 

LOST was famous for maddeningly answering questions with more questions. As in you shouldn’t be asking “WHERE is the island but WHAT and WHEN is the island…” As LOSTies, we put up with this assuming that one day, we would get all of our answers and the slow burn of the wait just made the payoff that much sweeter. But, the finale has come and gone, and I don’t feel like I got the answers to some of the questions.

 

First, I *really* loved everyone reuniting and remembering their island memories. I especially liked the scene between Claire and Charlie. I liked how confident rich Hurley was. (Though, dude! Did you see the size of that blazer he was wearing in the car with Sayid? It looked like a size 75 XXL. Hurley, you're rich! Hire a tailor, man!)  I liked how they brought so many of the characters back together (and the Anna Lucia cop cameo). All the happy fun-time, feel good moments for a show that has often offered its characters double helpings of pain for each scoop of pleasure.

 

But the end-end, with Jack dying. It’s all just *so* confusing, which is maybe just what the LOST creators wanted. To me, the ending feels a bit like an episode of The Twilight Zone, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.” (This book was actually referenced in the episode “The Long Con” where we see Locke flipping through a copy of the book…) In this episode, a man is being led to a hanging. They drop him off the bridge and the rope breaks. He falls into the water and runs away, with his captors chasing after him. He finally makes his way to his wife and as he is about to embrace her, the camera snaps back to…his body reaching the end of the rope and his neck breaking. The rope never broke, and the entire episode takes place as his imagination in that second while he is falling before hitting the end of the rope. Is that what Jack’s flash sideways was? Was it all his imagination in those moments while he is dying from Smoke Locke’s stab wound? This is the only thing that I can think to *kind* of make sense of it.

 

Also, I thought that when you recovered your island memories, you recovered the whole magilla. So, when Desmond recovered all of his island memories when Charlie crashed his Mercedes in the water and then gave him the hand-on-window “Not Penny’s Boat” thing, I thought this was why he was on the reuniting everyone train. But then he meets Penny and doesn’t recognize her at first. Right? RIGHT?!

 

The people in the church, they were all dead too…right? But why would Penny have to be dead? She was never on the plane or the island? And Ben was dead but he didn’t have to go to the Great White Light now? But there was no Michael and Walt? Are they not dead or just not contractually obligated to show up to the final party?

 

And, seriously, what kind of protecting were they doing with the light in the cave? I’m guessing that leading the only person who can destroy it – or unsettle it or just move the rock a foot – is pretty much EXACTLY what Jacob didn’t want. I’m still not even sure I know if the Dharma Initiative was good or bad or if Charles Widmore was a good guy or not. I mean, he had Ben’s daughter killed – or did he? The only thing LOST here is me! – which seems evil, but then he seemed against Smoke Locke which would imply he was good, but... Ugh!

 

Remember how early on Walt’s drawings were so important? What about that giant statue? How long has the island existed? Why did the Others want to continually harass the Survivors? Why did all of the babies conceived on the island and their mothers die? Why was Erin so important to the Others? What’s with the Donkey Wheel and moving the island and then tossing people into African deserts? Are Hurley and Ben still there? Who will be bringing Hurley his 8000 calories a day?

 

So did the island exist? Did it all happen? Did last night’s episode (and more specifically the entire 6th season) just turn seasons 1-5 into a giant Bobby Ewing stepping out of the shower in an “It was all just a dream...” Dallas reset? I don’t think so. This would just be such a colossal cheat, that I don’t think LOST would pull that on us.

 

Help me out here, people! Comment long and hard about what you think happened. Tell me where I’m wrong or where you’re confused. Maybe we can build our own Flight 815 and fly off to some answers...

Categories: May 2010, TV, Reviews

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13 Comments

Reply Rob Medich
12:20 PM on May 24, 2010 
Whether everyone at the chapel was dead, whether the sideways life was purgatory or whether the island was purgatory, whether everyone died when the plane crashed or at different times during their lives--all these questions can be contemplated and conclusions can be made (even if everyone has different conclusions). However, that has nothing to do with all the craziness that happened on the island for the last six years. Even the stuff with Jacob, the M.I.B., smoke monster, the light in the water--all this had nothing to do with everyone going to their next spiritual plane. So basically, just about all the weird stuff that happened on the island was just for our entertainment and meant nothing.
Reply Rob Medich
12:23 PM on May 24, 2010 
And let me add another thing! Note to TV network execs and aspiring TV producers of future sci-fi TV series: Before you go and put a show like this on the air in the future, make sure the whole thing is planned intricately well before the first camera rolls. For shows like this, you shouldn't be making stuff up as you go along.
Reply Mike Mettler
3:58 PM on May 24, 2010 
Hey John,

Interesting post and a lot of interesting questions, to be sure, but I?m going to say here what I just posted on FB...

My short take: The show was ultimately more about character redemption -- which the creators acknowledged all along the way -- than it was about sci fi/mythology. True, a lot of mythology details (detailies?) weren't answered -- but that's ok, it really is. To some degree, the mythology was created to sustain a network TV show over the course of X years. Once the creators knew that X = 6, they hunkered down with the bigger picture. They ultimately knew where they were going with the characters, and they brought the majority of them full circle. You can't answer EVERY question, nor should you. I'm cool with some mysteries remaining... mysteries. Regardless, I really don't think you can disparage the fact that characters we've been invested in for 6+ years have been redeemed.

MM
Reply Rob Medich
4:00 PM on May 24, 2010 
Hi, Mike Mettler!
Reply Malia76
5:42 PM on May 24, 2010 
How exactly is death redemption??? I was SO disappointed, not like, "I'm gonna be late for dinner, again", disappointed, but like the DVR didn't record the finale!!! Actually it might would have been better if I just didn't see it. So many questions..... What the heck was the polar bear doing there???? Did it need redemption from some mass killing of innocent children? Why could Miles hear dead people talk on the island, everyone was dead, so no biggie......Now that I have all these questions going, I am just even more aggravated that I gave six years of my life to yet another unfullfilled relationship....and for the record that has no reference to my Jon, I am quite happy with him.
Reply Craig
6:03 PM on May 24, 2010 
I'm not even going to attempt to give my version of what I think happened...because I'm still trying to sort out what happened...instead I will tell you how I felt through it. I enjoyed the 2 hour "Behind the Scenes" retrospective. That got me fired up. And then through the first 2 hours and 15 minutes of "The End", I was like, "I'm liking this, I am really liking this, what a great finale." Then....the last 15 minutes....All my thoughts turned to, "I really don't like this."

I didn't get to DVR (because I didn't know) that the producers were going to reveal 3 different endings on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Now I'm wishing I did DVR because, GIVE ME A DIFFERENT ENDING, BROTHA!
Reply John Sciacca
8:01 PM on May 24, 2010 
Craig says...
I enjoyed the 2 hour "Behind the Scenes" retrospective. That got me fired up. And then through the first 2 hours and 15 minutes of "The End", I was like, "I'm liking this, I am really liking this, what a great finale." Then....the last 15 minutes....All my thoughts turned to, "I really don't like this."

I didn't get to DVR (because I didn't know) that the producers were going to reveal 3 different endings on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Now I'm wishing I did DVR because, GIVE ME A DIFFERENT ENDING, BROTHA!

Craig, once again, we are totally simpatico on our feelings. I also *loved* the 2 hour "let's get ready to LOST!" preshow. Then, I was loving the reunion-ings and everything. Then they pull up to the church and....queue the giant letdown! I've done some reading about other people's takes on it -- basically the flash sideways is a holding point for everyone until they day -- whenever that might be -- when they can be reunited again. The conversation between Ben & Hurley -- you were a really good #1 -- implies that many/some years passed.

I did tape the Kimmel thing and will watch it tonight and let you know if you missed anything. I bet the 3 alt endings are all jokes/spoofs, so lower -- WAY lower -- your expectations...
Reply Byron
11:09 PM on May 26, 2010 
My comment is so long it would not post. How great is that. I will try and post it in 2 sections.

I am a man without expectations. Always expect the worst and you?ll never be disappointed (Revenge of the Sith anyone - Padme died of a broken heart. Seriously? I would think that you strong heroine types would want to remain alive for say?the sake of your children. OK, I?m really off subject here, but I?m not bitter). That being said, the Lost finale was far from being the worst. I am quite familiar with the story of the man in the hangman?s noose, not as an episode of The Twilight Zone, but as a short story from Junior High. Sort of the reverse Bobby Ewing. But that was not the case here.

I really felt that going into the last show, most of the questions about the Island that were going to be answered had been answered. We knew about the candidates and the rules of selection, etc. It was a collection of flawed souls who needed redemption and an opportunity to prove there metal. We found out where Jacob came from and why he protected the island in the manner in which he did (mommy dearest anyone). We found out the origin of the smoke monster (aka Jonny Cash). Ok, so we don?t know the science behind it, but at least there was an attempt to explain it with the whole Jacob and Esau thing. I could go on, but I know a certain someone is already thinking about how long winded this is (it?s about to get worse).

I would like to respond to some of the criticisms or alleged inconsistencies. For example, you receive the ?whole magilla? of memories at once. Jack proved that not only could you receive partial memories while in contact with people from the Island, but you could actually resist the flashes or ?not let go?. Both Lock and Sawyer had similar experiences. Jack even resisted Kate and she did not force the issue. Apparently, he had to be ready. It took coming to terms with the death of his father to bring the full flood of memories back. Also, you had to connect with the right person, invoke the right memory, or both to have total recall. Des and Charlie connected on the Island, but not like Charlie and Claire or Des and Penny, thus partial memories. They needed their soul mates to remember everything (I can?t believe I went soul mates).

To be continued...
Reply Byron
11:11 PM on May 26, 2010 
Part 2

Everyone in the church was dead. In this afterlife, time has no meaning (Christian said so). It could have taken hundreds of years or more for everyone to die and come together. Hugo drank the Jacob juice and could live forever until a candidate or ?other? killed him. Not everyone who was on the island was invited to the Church. Only the people who made strong emotional connections and acted out of pure motive could move on. That is why Ben had to stay outside the church and Michael was not a participant.

Charles Widmore was bad (unless he lets me try his 60 yr old scotch). No, seriously, he was bad. He was exiled from the Island by Ben whom Jacob supported. After that he only wanted revenge. He killed Ben?s daughter who was completely innocent. He treated Desmond like dirt and didn?t really care about Penny. The Dharma Initiative was his way of exploiting the Island. Jacob only used him in the end as a tool to bring back Desmond as a part of his master plan to kill Jonny cash.

I didn?t hear anyone comment on what I considered the best part of the finale. Jack?s calm declaration to Jonny Cash, ?And then I?m going to kill you.? I thought it was brilliant that Jacob?s plan was to use Desmond to turn off the Island?s power so Johnny Cash would become mortal and Jack could kill him. I have to say that Desmond was making me flashback to Spoc fixing the warp drive on the Enterprise at the end of Wrath of Kahn while pulling out the Island?s wine stopper. The only thing I would have liked to see was Johnny Cash transform from Locke to his original form when the island?s cork was popped. It was tough to see Jack kill ?Locke ?even though we knew it wasn?t the genuine article.

I could go on, but I am sure most people stopped reading several paragraphs back. I have a few more rants and then I?m Seacrest out. I think Walt was a product of puberty and did not fit in on the story line. That?s it nothing more. I believe kids like Walt and Aaron were sought after by the others because they could be raised and brainwashed into following their ways especially sense they couldn't have children. I don?t pretend to have all the answers and I?m sure the writer?s strike had its effect on the show as well. But, all in all, it was one of the best shows of all time and I for one am glad they left some mystery. Now go get the Blue-ray discs of Battle Star Galactica and watch Lost in space.
Reply Byron
11:21 PM on May 26, 2010 
Did I just go sense instead of since? It must be late. Why did all my apostrophes become question marks?
Reply John Sciacca
10:24 AM on May 27, 2010 
Byron says...
Part 2
Now go get the Blue-ray discs of Battle Star Galactica and watch Lost in space.

Loved the long, clearly meticulously thought out post. Makes me want to rent all the Blu-rays, break out some of Dharma popcorn and beer and invite you over for an insane 6 season long Blu-ray Lost marathon so I can have a personal pop-up-Byron Lost commentary!

As I've said before -- I think talking about my cable box -- the things we love can hurt us the most. We loved Lost, and now that it is gone, it hurts. I really feel like it could have benefited *greatly* from 3-4 more episodes. The very end just seemed like they ran out of time.

The show was always about the characters; we tuned in each week to find out more about them. And the ending they gave us was all about the characters. But I still can't help feeling a little......Lost.
Reply John Sciacca
10:24 AM on May 27, 2010 
Byron says...
Did I just go sense instead of since? It must be late. Why did all my apostrophes become question marks?

This usually happens when you cut-and-paste something in. I've had things turn into hearts and smilies. I think it is a font issue...
Reply lisam
11:52 AM on May 27, 2010 
I have to say I LOVED the finale of Lost. I guess I just accepted a long time ago that all my questions would not be answered so it didn't bother me. My summation of the series came down to faith vs science and one cannot exist without the other. I heard the writers say that 'normal shows' dumb the endings down for the audience to completely get it. They purposely didn't do that and I respected it because otherwise it wouldn't be LOST. It gives us something to talk about and create theories and discussions that will last far beyond the life of the show.

On a very serious note......the only thing I couldn't get over was the god awful hair of Claire after she went crazy. It had a life of its own and pretty much freaked me right out. Other than that, it was awesome---the whole 7 years experience....good times. :)