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Lost: "The End" has come

I liked it.

In this sixth season, Lost returned to what it was focused on in the first season: these people and their journey. The concluding twist left me somewhat unsatisfied at first, but I’m digging it more with each hour. Like Desmond, I had expected that the Sideways events would have had a direct impact on the Island plot. But as Jack told Desmond, “Whatever happened, happened.” There are no shortcuts to salvation or to answers. As suggested last week, “The End” gave us a resolution without resolving all the questions. It stayed true to the concept of Lost, reminding us that the series was ultimately about the characters, not the Island. I know that there are folks who didn’t like the finale because it didn't provide satisfying answers about the nature of the Island. But any big answer to that question would likely have disappointed many. Really, what answers would have been acceptable? Was there a buried spaceship underneath? Was the Island the lost continent of Atlantis? Lost chose not to tell us. I think back to Stephen King’s “It,” one of his most terrifying stories, where the immortal demonic spirit/clown Pennywise is ultimately revealed to be [SPOILERS!] a giant spider from outer space. Once you open a present, the reality rarely matches the promise of the wrapping, and Lost wisely kept some secrets to the end.

One thing to get out of the way: Yes, the Island was reaI. Everything that happened in the first five seasons - and the non-Sideways stuff this year - DID happen. So what was the Sideways stuff? Doc Jensen promises to have his ideas up tomorrow, but to me that story - and "The End" overall - brought to a head the series-long battle between Faith and Science. My pet theory about Sideways: We've already seen that Jacob had some powers. He was able to manipulate lives from afar, grant immortality to Richard Alpert, etc. Once Jack became the new Jacob, he gained those powers, too, and Jack - being Jack - wanted his Island friends (and himself) to be relatively happy or at least at peace with themselves. So, whether consciously or not, he created a fantasy place for their spirits and his to be able to achieve that goal in the afterlife. A spiritual fishbowl, in other words, or a slice of Purgatory, where they could work out the issues that had plagued them in life. It wasn't perfect. Many of the Island folks got what they wanted, but with a Monkey's Paw twist, as I've mentioned before. And Jack got his perfect fantasy. He had always been tortured by his bad relationship with his father. And in the Sideways world, it was the same, yet now he had a son, and their relationship was similarly bad at first. But here, he got a chance to fix it, which he never had the opportunity to do with his own dad. That's why Sideways Jack was the last to come over. He had the most invested in the Sideways world, and it was probably his own creation, at least in part.

(After I came up with this, the LA Times’ TV blogger came up with another idea: It was Hurley. The Sideways world was a final gift from the Island’s newest protector – great twist, by the way – to the people that he loved. It was a chance for him to do what he does best, as Ben said: Take care of people. I think I like that idea better!)

The Sideways world represented a chance to make amends, rejoice in the past, and then … let go, heading off in a new direction. Tellingly, it seems that those who hurt innocents weren’t invited (Michael) or chose not to make that final trip, at least not just yet (Ben).

The discussion about the last ten minutes will continue for a long time, as it should. As promised, it was, after all, an episode of Lost. The two-plus hours before that were exciting, tense, and emotional. We were treated to a romp through the highlights of the past six seasons, as every Sideways “awakening” triggered misty-eyed nostalgia – yes, I teared up like a girlie man at the Charlie-Claire-Aaron reunion – and the fight between Jack and NotLocke took on an epic scope, complete with a brutal Holmes-vs.-Moriarty fight on a cliff. (The cuts on Jack’s neck in the Sideways scenes did indeed foreshadow bad stuff for Jack, and … well, now we know where that “appendix scar” came from!) It certainly wasn’t flawless – for instance, I didn’t buy that seeing Shannon would trigger Sayid’s awakening (even though it was good to see Maggie Grace again) and I regretted that temporal guru Daniel Faraday wasn't more involved – but enough about the finale worked. Ben's apology and Locke's forgiveness. Kate and Jack’s last kiss. The Sawyer-Juliet “we’ll go dutch” payoff from her death scene in the season opener. And Vincent with Jack in the final scene...! Excuse me, I have something in my eye.... I'm going to miss these characters.

Thanks, Lost.

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Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
mythfish
May. 25th, 2010 05:47 pm (UTC)
I'm still of pretty mixed feelings about it. I really feel they lost sight of their good character driven stuff the last couple seasons, and the finale did little to change my mind about it. Two and a half hours of tromping around the island accomplishing little...with very little character development or revelations. This entirety of this last season could have been condensed into 2 or 3 episodes without losing much, and the finale could easily have been a regular 42 minute episode. Hell, the entire episode of Jacob and Smoke's backstory could have been accomplished more effectively with 5 minutes of dialog...except that no character on Lost can ever actually say what is going on even when they know what is going and trust the people they're talking to (probably the most frustrating thing about the series for me...why is every single character paranoid and secretive from the beginning? Why didn't Jacob just sit everyone down and tell them what was going on, oh, I dunno, in season 3 or so?

And I was disappointed we never got to see Eko again. The show hasn't been the same for me since he died.
ken_of_ghastria
May. 26th, 2010 01:27 am (UTC)
If you go by developments in the plot, yeah, it certainly could've been whittled down quite a bit. And the addition and quick departure of the Temple folks was pretty much useless. But I think the Sideways stories were meant to remind us of what was at stake for many of these people. That is, by showing us this near-perfect life that many of their Sideways selves were living, we remembered how each of them was emotionally or spiritually lost in the first place and got a better appreciation of their joy when things came together at the end. So while I agree that the writers had lost sight of some of the character stuff in Season 4 and 5, they used the Sideways story as a way to get it back. And it worked for the most part.

But yes, I would've chopped off two or three hours and inserted the Jacob/Man in Black story earlier in the season.

As for Eko, yeah, the whole Tailies saga didn't amount to much, in large part due to drunk driving arrests and tetchy actors in the real world, unfortunately. Mr. Eko was a great character.
emeraldlich
May. 25th, 2010 09:27 pm (UTC)
I had a long response written out, but I decided not to spew my venom on your site. I like it (your site, that is; not Lost anymore) far too much. And I've wasted way too many words on this show over the past few days anyway.

Suffice it to say I hated this far more than I hated the Battlestar Galactica finale. And I *really* hated that one.
ken_of_ghastria
May. 26th, 2010 01:18 am (UTC)
Yikes! Dude!

Well, I'm sorry you didn't like it. It's been interesting to see such a wide variety of opinions and to also understand how each of those opinions formed.
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