Sunday, May 23, 2010

"The End"

It has all been building to this and, no doubt, there will be people that will be disappointed with the final episode of LOST.  Granted, there were things that I was still hoping for but in the end, what we were given was a beautiful finale that moved me to tears on more than one occasion.  My sadness was certainly related to the fact that the series was ending, but there's more to it than that.  Before the sci-fi and mystery, this show was about characters and the resolution of some of these stories was so touching after all this time that I couldn't hold back my tears.  Even when I was crying, I was laughing at myself for being so broken up about these fictional characters, but for the record, I also cried when characters died in War and Peace.  And truly, two out of my three crying jags during the finale were actually out of joy rather than sadness.  There will be many who consider this finale a failure on par with The Sopranos (which I liked, by the way) but I consider it a success.


Let me start by saying that there is no way that I will be able to say everything that I should in this single blog post.  Roxi is out of town right now and has been intentionally putting off watching the last few episodes of LOST so that she can have a nice marathon to finish off the series.  I plan on watching the finale again when she watches it later this week.  For tonight, I will hit on the high points and post as many companion entries as are necessary in the next few days.

In the past few weeks, I have started to enjoy the flash-sideways storyline more and more.  It started with "Happily Ever After" and has continued ever since.  For a plot device that I was suspicious about in the beginning, I was surprised how much I've ended up enjoying it.  I specifically liked the emotional experience of "Island illumination" that the characters were having.  So that brings us to tonight.  As much as I enjoyed seeing the Island story come to a close, I was mostly effected by flash-sideways illumination events.  And even though they all had strong emotional resonance with me, two of them in particular brought me to tears.  The first was the interaction between Sun, Jin and Juliet.  It was great seeing Juliet again and it made sense that she would be the OB/GYN attending to Sun in the sideways world.  I was surprisingly not very sad when Sun and Jin died in "The Candidate," but I guess it had been pent-up all came out when they had their simultaneous flash of the Island in tonight's episode.  I was overcome with emotion but also found myself laughing when they started speaking to Juliet in perfect English.

The second time that I became emotionally devastated was when Kate, Claire and Charlie had their flash when Aaron was born.  I was okay until Charlie came back with the blanket and then the waterworks were unstoppable.  I suppose it was residual emotion from Charlie's somewhat untimely death in "Through the Looking Glass," but I just couldn't stop crying.  Like I said earlier, I actually started laughing out loud at myself for being so effected by these scenes but I was just so happy for Sun, Jin, Charlie and Claire!

As expected, the concert at Pierre Chang's museum was the culmination of sideways Desmond's work to get most of the Oceanic 815 passengers together.  Of course there were the stragglers like Sun and Jin; Sawyer and Juliet; and Sayid and Shannon but thankfully they had other help in experiencing Island enlightenment.

On the Island, things played out mostly as expected as far as the Jack vs. Locke storyline went.  It was a pleasant surprise to see that both Jack and Locke were humanized as a result of Desmond's extinguishing of the light in the cave.  It certainly made killing the Man In Black a lot easier.  I only wonder why Jack didn't become a new Smoke Monster after reigniting the light in the cave.  I was really expecting Jack to be the new Smoke Monster to Hurley's Jacob.  Many of us have been expecting that Hurley would be the actual replacement for Jacob and it was very sweet to see him ask Ben to become his equivalent of Richard.  It was even nicer to see him thank Ben for being the best Number 2.  Here's a thought about Ben: when he didn't join the Oceanic passengers in the church, I don't think it was because he was not welcome.  Instead I think it was because he was still alive on the Island as the replacement for Hurley after he died in some future time.

The obvious big topic of controversy and discussion will the be final few minutes of the episode;  Namely that Jack went to his father's coffin only to find it empty...again.  The revelation that Jack was dead initially caught me off guard and my mind race to explain how and why all the other Oceanic passengers were in the church.  But as Christan explained, everyone dies sooner or later. Everyone was gathered together because they were so important to each other at that time in their lives.  That is quite a change from what Jacob said about their lives in "What They Died For."  They went from being flawed and alone in life to having an extended family on the Island. 

So what are we to make of the presence of Hurley, Kate, Sawyer and Claire in the church?  As I said earlier, I feel that this gathering occurs sometime after Hurley has passed on the stewardship of the Island to Ben in the future.  Kate, Sawyer and Claire were seen escaping the Island with Frank, Richard and Miles.  But they may not have ever made it home.  The plane may have crashed.  Or on a lighter note, they may have made it home and lived out their lives.  But in the end, they too died (will die as the case may be).  The point is that at some point all these Island souls meet up in this church as they move on to the next life. 

My third and final bout of tears came in the ending moments of the series as Jack stumbled his way back to the bamboo forest where he first awoke on the Island.  As he laid down, I was fine but when Vincent came out of the jungle and laid down next to him, it brought up memories of "Jurassic Bark," the most touching and cry-inducing episode of the Futurama ever.  As Vincent laid down and rested his head next to Jack, I couldn't help but cry.  And as the corporeal form of Jack closed his eyes for the last time, I felt that it was a perfectly poignant ending to such a fantastic television series.

Of course there were open storylines that I knew would never be closed and others that I thought for sure would see resolution, but like life, some things are just left as questions.  It has been a hell of a ride.  There were some down times and things that I would have done differently, but I don't think I ever would have come up with some of the amazing stories that the writers of LOST have crafted for the past six years.  All good things must come to an end and I am at peace with that but I will miss seeing these characters in new adventures for a few weeks every spring.  So long LOST.  Thank you for such a great story that has made me think and kept me guessing until the very end.  It has been a pleasure.


Bubba's Sis said...

I am satisfied with the ending, but still confused. Someone told me this morning that they think everyone died in the plane crash and that everything that happened was Jack's "test" before he could move on. But I don't necessarily agree with that, do you? I think the island life was real, and the "sideways" universe was like Purgatory - a holding place before they moved on. But why didn't they recognize each other in that universe? Why did it take an overwhelming rush of love to make them remember? And why did I bawl every time that happened?!? I did take notice that neither Aaron or Sun and Jin's daughter were in the church - leading me to believe they were still alive. And Locke's comment to Jack "you don't have a son!" makes me think that the sideways universe was not real - because in real "island" life, he was not with Juliet, therefore there would be no son.

Thoughts? I wish the writers would just issue a statement saying, "THIS is what it all meant!"

Bubba's Sis said...

Was Richard Alpert at the church?

Stacy said...

I made the mistake of watching Good Morning America this morning, thinking that ABC would have a piece about Lost, and they did. Unfortunately, it was the tiniest of blubs and the featherheads that host GMA said, "Spoiler alert: all the characters of Lost were dead and in purgatory the whole time, as was suspected by many." Arg, I was reminded why I don't watch morning shows or the news.

Amanda Monteiro said...

Wes Raine said...

Jill: Based on what Christian told Jack in the church, I agree that Oceanic 815 did crash on the Island and everything that we saw up until this season really did happen. The H-bomb didn't spilt reality as we were lead to believe but rather only put everyone on the Island back in the same time, 2007. The on-Island stuff this year also actually happend while the flash-sideways stuff was some pre-afterlife holding area. Cynics might call it Purgatory, but I don't think it was because it wasn't a place where people were necesarily atoning for their sins in life but rather served as a place to gather together as they once did on the Island before makeing the move on to the great beyond.

Aaron was in the church but Ji Yeon was not. This may be because a case could be made that what we were seeing was Jack's perspective before they moved on. Everyone present in the church was how he remembered them on the Island; Aaron was still an infant and Ji Yeon was not yet born. I don't think that Richard Alpert was in the church and there could be a number of reasons for that. Mine is that he was a much less important part of Jack's Island life the the other people in the church. This gathering of souls were those people that "lived together" for that time on the Island and were the most important part of Jack's life and survival there.

I wish I could tell you why you cried during the Island enlightenments in the sideways world, because then I'd know why I cried so much! Maybe it was catharsis for seeing characters that we have generally grown to love finally finding ultimate happiness. Or maybe it was just part of the greiving process as the show ended. Whatever it was, I was still struggling with my emotions when I though about those scenes again on several occassions on Monday. Roxi hasn't seen the episode yet and I know that when I watch it with her, I will be a blubbering mess once again.

I've been in your position with a TV series before (Twin Peaks) where all I wanted was a statement of meaning, but as the years have passed, I have realized the beauty in an open-ended story. Life is one big open ended story where there are a lot of unanswered or unanswerable questions. People come in and out of our lives randomly and we may never learn their backstories and motivations. People die unexpectedly and for no reason. I know that LOST was an escape for a lot of viewers but for its creators it was a study of life itself and of the human condition. I don't think there could have ever been a satisfactory statement of what LOST was supposed to mean. Sure they could have given us more answers with respect to the mythology but anything beyond that would have probably rung hollow and taken the emotional heft out not just the ending but the series as a whole.

I will cherish the time I have spent watching LOST as well as the hours I have spent researching and thinking about what it all means. It was the most fun I've ever had with a television show and I will always remember it fondly. Like I've done several times with Twin Peaks, I plan to watch the series again and relive the amazing stories and moments that we were given. I'll miss LOST but the finale made me realize that it is time to let go and move on to another life.

Wes Raine said...

Stacy: It is unfortunate for the legacy of the series that it's parent network would actually promote an idea that is exactly opposite of the true ending of LOST. I recommend that you stay away from discussion boards as well because they are full of cynics and haters gloating that they knew that everyone died in the plane crash and have been dead the whole time. They have no listening comprehension skills and should be ignored for missing the point.

Stacy said...

Wes, I took the same away from it as you, for the most part I believe. I do not like reading what most have to say about it on the internet, because they have missed the point. I saw the sideways world as a little more than just simply a holding area. They weren't just atoning for their lives, but rather kind of making things right in their own minds. James was on the right side of the law, for instance. Hurley was lucky. Ben sacrificed himself for his daughter. Locke had a good relationship with his father. The most important was Jack having a son. It rectified for him his relationship with his father, which has haunted him since the very beginning. They could have easily extended this season and further explored all of the characters. But in the end, hinting at all of this should have been enough to get the point across and it was. I too, was moved to tears at times and it bums me out to have the show reduced to just a sentence or too in the news, especially when it is improperly reported.

Wes Raine said...

That is such an excellent point Stacy and honestly I didn't process all those connections. So the sideways really could be viewed as a Purgatory of sorts where they are coming to terms with their shortcomings in life. I love it! I feel kind of silly for missing that but at least I didn't think that they all died in the first plane crash!

Stacy said...

Rewatch the first real episode of Jack with his son, the one about the piano. That one really hit me. I thought it was real at the time, but I knew it was no accident that Jack was having these conversations with his son. Look at Desmond with Charles Whitmore. He loved him like a son in the afterlife. You get emotional watching stuff like this because you relate it to yourself somehow, whether you know it or not, you are experiencing it with the characters. People who don't get emotional either don't get it or they have never had anything of substance ever happen to them before. But then, what do I know??