Lost: Life, Death, And Everything In Between (My “Review” Of The Lost Finale)
And it’s over.
Whoa. Wow. Huh.
That just happened.
Oh — just in case, this post needs a big honking SPOILER WARNING all over it, which at this point I feel should go largely unsaid. If you still need a spoiler warning about the Lost finale, you might want to… well, avoid the Internet today. And maybe tomorrow. Actually, just come back next week. Ironically, you’d do well to find yourself a distant island.
If you want to review my “thoughts of the moment,” you’re free to time travel backwards and check out my semi-drunken (read: semi-coherent) live-blog of the finale.
To be clear, it’s not like I’ve had a lot of time to process this thing. I’m not hungover or anything, but I am damn tired, and this coffee hasn’t kicked in yet (read: hasn’t kicked my teeth in yet). So, my thoughts on this finale are likely to evolve and change. My thoughts on the Sopranos ending ping-ponged wildly, and I ended up liking it a lot less once David Chase opened his mouth about it.
It’s possible I’ll end up really disliking this finale.
I know a lot of you probably do dislike it. I don’t necessarily blame you. It’s a different ending. It’s heavier. Meatier. Cheesier. Those who watched the show for the geek side, for the mysteries only, will be more disappointed than fulfilled — the finale failed to really address any of the little mysteries, instead choosing to focus on the big mysteries (by which I mean the Big Mysteries we all as people deal with). Y’know, it’s not like we had a finale that ended up, “Holy shit! Eloise Hawking is actually Claire! And this is Victorian England! It’s been aliens this whole time!” And the people who were looking for that kind of finale, well, you’re going to be disappointed.
I get it.
Alternately, I’ll be a bit of a dick and ask: what show did you think you were watching?
Anyway, what I’m saying is, this finale was really all about the characters, and for me, that’s as it should be. My very initial reaction to Christian Shepherd telling his son that they’re all dead was a burst of anger and incredulity, but that was a really short sharp shock that quickly faded. And as the episode went on and I thought about what it all means for the show, for these characters, and for me as the viewer, well, dang. I started to get this kind of warm glow about the whole thing. My reaction, in the evolution of one-word bursts would be: “Hey! Huh? Oh. Oh! Ohhhhh. Yes.”
Five stages of grief. Really, really fast.
At present, I loved it.
I reserve the right to change my mind. This isn’t an election. I’m allowed to flip-flop.
But right now, I feel this was the right ending to that show. Brave, bold, a bit maudlin, and answered the biggest mysteries while leaving the little mysteries as naught but crumbs to be swept under the rug.
You want more specific thoughts? Well, here they are — though, again, these are basically uncooked blobs of cookie dough. They’re not done in the oven, but here they are, regardless.
• I’m a bit surprised that some people think they all died in the plane crash. Like, the original pilot episode plane crash. Are people saying that? What’s your evidence? I don’t buy it. If that’s the case, then this entire show didn’t make sense, because… how’d these people all find one another? Why is the ending, in which they lurk in purgatory, about them all coming together and once more realizing their connections? If they all died in the pilot episode, then those connections were meaningless. And thus, the entire show is meaningless, and it might as well be a retarded kid dicking around with a snowglobe. Unless there exists some evidence that I missed (which is where my view of the finale could turn surly)? To me, Christian Shepherd made it clear that Jack’s life happened — all that stuff with the island was real. It’s just… y’know. Well…
• Everybody dies. You can say that about this finale. “Oh? The Lost finale? Yeah, everybody dies.” Except, that’s only because this takes it to a very long view. The Sideways world was never really sideways (told you!). It is, in its own weird way, a very, very, very forward flash-forward. You could make a reasonable guestimate and say that Hugo served the island for a long period of time — a lifetime or two at least considering how long Jacob did the job. And if Ben lived as his second in a way like Richard did, well. So, they all die, but they all die eventually, and when they do, they’re here. In this place that is both later and between.
• Differently put, in the finale, everybody lives until they die.
• And that’s kind of the message, isn’t it? We all live until we die. It’s about the choices we make. It’s about the journey. It’s about the life. It’s about what we do with it. The choices we make for good or ill.
• I saw that Cuse and Lindelof a few days back had said that the final images of the show are meant to be a head-scratcher. At the time I thought we’d catch a glimpse of like, another island or something, but this time, we were treated to images of the — or a — plane crash. Not sure what that means. Did Lapidus crash the plane? (Lapidus! Noooooo!) Are we just getting one last look at the wreckage? Is this a hint that another plane crashed on the island? I dunno. Oh, and the first person who says, “It’s proof that they all died in the pilot because there’s the plane in pieces and nobody’s walking around” gets a boot to the trachea. Except, I just said it, didn’t I? Damn. It’s really hard to kick myself in the throat.
• What was with the shoe in the bamboo when Jack was walking? That was weird. Wasn’t there something about his Dad and shoes?
• That ending — the very ending, Vincent, the eye closing, the plane overhead, that’s a great ending. That’s some full-circle shiznit, right there. Equal parts “gut punch” and “unclenched sphincter.”
• Obviously we’re still treated to quite a few unanswered mysteries. I’m okay with that. We can intuit answers, or we can make up our own. In a weird way, the bold stroke of “everyone lives until they die” (or, put differently, live together, die alone, except then die together again) obviates the need to answers in a grand sense. It’s like, “Why did Walt have powers? Does it matter?”
• Even still, I do wonder if those 20-30 minutes on the DVD will answer some of the more niggling mysteries. What’s up with Walt? What’s up with Eloise Hawking? Is she actually forestalling her son’s journey forward? Lots of little outstanding mysteries. Any questions that bother you?
• One of the questions or memes going around is, “Well, I guess so-and-so [Walt, Michael, Mikhail, Mr Eko, etc.] didn’t deserve to move on and is in Hell.” I don’t know that this is it, exactly. I did like Harold Perrineau’s answer that Michael is still on the island, trapped there — but even still, we could assume that one day he’s going to make it to this Sideways purgatory. On the fiction side, all those people maybe just haven’t finished their journey yet, haven’t reconciled their sins and successes, haven’t scoped their life in light of death. On the reality side, hey, it’s a TV show. They juggled a helluva lot of people in that situation. I’m sure it wasn’t easy making that all happen, so, let’s remember that making a television show is like juggling cats. Cats that are on fire. And shoot bees out of their mouths and kitty buttholes.
• Interesting irony that all along, the creators have been saying, “The island isn’t purgatory.” And they’re right. But that was a good distraction, a clever magic trick, because while the island isn’t about purgatory, the entire sixth season damn sure is, and the Sideways world is exactly that. They juked us. They juked the stats. Nice work, dudes.
• Long show, but never felt it. By the time the end came, I was like, “It’s over?”
• So, was the Sideways world about the characters reconciling guilt and such? My wife points out that Locke’s scenario about his father actually mirrors what happened to Boone in some ways — must Locke first work through that before he can “let go?” Jack’s journey in this regard is clear: he’s a man with Daddy issues, and so he becomes the Daddy and gains a son with those same issues, and he must work through them. If you look hard enough, will you see this journey for all of them? Maybe not. Hurley’s isn’t clear — then again, Hurley isn’t a guy with a lot of guilt, and maybe it’s not just about working through guilt but working through your own failings and frailties. Kate’s is a bit more clear — she ends up incarcerated, and also must reconcile with Claire and Aaron.
• And yet, what’s Desmond’s role in all of this? He’s an active participant. He’s actively going around and trying to get them to all move on and let go together. It’s more than just, “These characters need to come together and undergo the revelation of life to pass through this place of death.” Desmond is actively trying to force it. That’s interesting. There’s something there. I don’t yet know what it is.
• I do have a few disappointments: Ben as a character still pinballed around the place. I wanted to see more of his con against Smokey — or, was he even playing a con? Was he really suckered in by Smokey’s promises? He was obviously hiding that walkie, so it feels like he was maybe trying to get one over. He so swiftly goes from, “I’m with Smokey!” to, “I’m Hurley’s number two!” that it felt like he didn’t earn that pivot.
• We missed out on the Desmond and Penny reunion, and that stings a little bit. The other awakenings were so sweet, I really wanted to see the one where Desmond undertakes that most personal of awakenings, the one where he goes to Penny. I hope this is a deleted scene. Because as it stands it’s like, “Boop! Hey, look, they’re together in the church. Okay, it’s over!” These two were the romantic rock of the show. Kind of wanted more there.
• Smokey was a bit easy to dispatch. Not that I necessarily wanted that slasher, “Oh holy crap he’s not really dead!” moment, but the “grand battle” was given a bit of short shrift. It’s okay, I guess — it ends up not being the point of the episode, really, but even still. You want a little meat on those bones.
• I do like that, in a way, I can imagine how the show goes on. In a way, the time between Jack dying and the actual Sideways world could be equivalent to years, decades, even centuries. We still could imagine a world where Lapidus’ plane makes it off the island, where Hurley and Ben have wacky island adventures, where Eloise Hawking and Desmond are still active vibrant forces in the island culture and the mysteries surrounding it. I don’t know that we need to see these addressed; I just like that the end is a long con but the short game is still being played.
Anyway. Them’s my thoughts for now. A very successful finale, suited to the show. It’s always been a show about life and death, hasn’t it? At its core? The journeys of these characters mattered, and here we see why.
Sound off in the comments. What did you think? Now that we’ve all had a (little) time to process, how’s the finale look in your head? How’s it feel?