Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The End - My Take on the LOST Forever Finale

LOST ended on Sunday. Boo.

Then 24 ended on Monday. Double boo.

While I'm mostly sure that these big time TV people have better things to do than throw a huge wrench in my life, part of me thinks that they did this just to annoy me. 2 of my favorite shows - poof - gone.

Anyway, since I'm currently an emotional mess because of this new gaping hole in my life, I thought I'd blog about these finales to hopefully provide me with some sort of therapeutic something-or-other.

Let's start with LOST.

**Side note: I'm going to talk about this straight up, so if you don't want to know what happened for whatever reason...don't read this. (AKA spoiler alert!) Also, if you don't care, don't read this. Here - here's a link to my Facebook photo album full of adorable pictures of Madelyn: Facebook photo album full of adorable pictures of Madelyn. Do that instead. You're welcome. Side note over. **

Katie's Thoughts About the Forever Finale of LOST

I'm glad that Smokey aka the Man in Black aka John Locke's Possessor was actually bad. My brother-in-law hypothesized that they were going to switch that around on us and present him as "misunderstood." Meh. They kind of did that in the whole Jacob & Smokey focused episode, but not enough to redeem him. He was evil, and he needed to die.

BUT why exactly was he evil? This brings me to an important point that has to do with the entire finale. While I certainly was not expecting this episode to answer every question the series presented, I was at least expecting some more meaningful explanation of the important concepts this season has focused on. I can roll with the idea of "that's just how it is" about some things, but these are things that, to me, needed to be answered to give the series some real meaning.
  • The Light. What - exactly - is it? Apparently, it's something that exists inside everyone, keeps the island above water, turned the Man in Black into Smokey (but didn't turn Jack into anything), keeps Smokey from leaving the island, and keeps all the joy and happiness and love and people in the world alive. Is it a religious thing?
  • Smokey. Is he supposed to be, like, the Devil? If he is, wouldn't that make Jacob Jesus? That makes zero sense, since Jacob created Smokey, killed his brother, etc. And what exactly would happen if Smokey left? Would he kill everyone and everything in the world? That seems to be what the protectors of the Light think.
  • The Rules. Smokey couldn't kill Jacob...but anyone else could? Smokey couldn't kill candidates, but didn't kill anyone else once Jack had taken the job, hence eliminating the idea of "candidates." So...???
  • Protecting the Light. I'm pretty sure Jacob said that the Light needed to be protected from Smokey. So...once Smokey's dead...who is the Light being protected from? Anyone that might stumble upon it? Even though we're pretty sure you can't find the place where the Light is unless a Protector shows you where it is?
Anyway, my point is - as the story stands, there is a Light at the heart of the island that needs to be protected at all times, even though it can't be found. There is this one bad guy that really wants to find it, because if he turns it off, he can leave. Also, if he turns it off and leaves, it means terrible, terrible things for the entire world.

Seriously. It's just a little too much for me to just "accept." Something - some kind of explanation, or allegory, or something - was really needed. Knowing why it would have been soooo bad if the island was destroyed and Smokey had left would have gone a loooong way in justifying the entire series.

My other major beef with that finale is that little surprise twist at the ending. I think I was even more disappointed with this than with the unanswered questions thing. So, at the end, Jack's dad reveals that all these Flash Sideways things we have been seeing have actually been scenes of some kind of (unofficial) Purgatory - everyone's dead, no one really realizes it until they are touched by something that was especially meaningful to them during their life, and everyone needs to let go and move on.

First of all, the whole idea of the Flash Sideways was that it was supposed to be showing what would have happened if the plane had never crashed. This was supposed to have been caused by the detonation of the bomb at the end of the last season. So...if the bomb didn't create this alternate reality...what did it do? I guess it just transported the survivors from the 1970s (when the bomb went off) to the present. OK. Weird, but OK.

And then...we haven't been watching an alternate reality this whole season. We've been watching a place in between life and afterlife that the survivors created for themselves to let go of their issues and regroup after they die. But, honestly...who actually cares? We've only been watching this storyline for one season, and so the "big shocker" is just turning that one season upside-down. What is the point of showing us what the Losties do after they die - especially when there are so many other things that the time could have been spent on?

I do like that the ending placed a lot of focus on the characters. It sent the message: what really matters is that they met each other, learned from each other, helped each other, and loved each other. That's not a bad message to send. But I really think this message could have been conveyed in a way that was more supportive of the entire series. This seemed like more of a cop out the writers decided on when they realized they had created something so complex that even they couldn't understand it.

So yes, even though I do think that it was deep and meaningful in it's own way, I don't think it was a fitting ending for the series. Thumbs down.

Here are some other random thoughts I have concerning the finale:
  • I'm pretty sure I could have created better looking earthquakes than they did. Seriously. You could totally tell the camera was shaking, and not the ground. From a show that is usually visually stunning, this was totally weird.
  • SO glad Jack and Kate ended up together. I was pissed when Sawyer entered that equation. And he and Juliet were cute in their own way.
  • Baby Aaron basically jumped out of Claire. It's not like I wanted to watch her labor for hours or anything...I'm just saying. Also, with all the blood and gore that has been on this show before, you'd think they could put some red goop on the kid. Because trust me, there is red goop on kids when they are born.
  • Ben was bad, Ben was good, Ben was bad, Ben was good...seriously, wasn't it just last episode that he was totally on Smokey's side? Killing Whidmore and all? And then he becomes Hurley's number 2. I mean really - I know the guy was supposed to be a conundrum and all, but it got a little ridiculous.
  • Desmond is very cool.
  • The Target commercials during the show were funny.
  • I'm so glad Claire left with Kate. That made me happy. She gets to go be a mommy!
  • I'm glad that Jack wasn't actually left alive as the protector of the Island. As Smokey said, he was the predictable choice.
  • Loved that they ended with Jack's eye closing in the same place it opened in the pilot. Very Circle of Life-esque. I had predicted it would start with Jack's eye opening. Oh well. Can't win 'em all.
So anyway, there are my thoughts. I thought it was a disappointing ending to a really great show.

What did you think?


  1. So glad I didn't give this series a chance :)

    When is the 24 blog post coming??

  2. I was satisfied with the finale. It's not high on my list of favorite episodes and did leave a lot unanswered, but I thought it ended well.

    The show became pretty spiritual, but avoided being religious. So for me things like the Light and the roles of Jacob and Smokey don't need any real-world parallels for explanation. Maybe a little more history.. but I guess to counter your point I can just "accept" what we have.

    Also, they said the finale on the dvd release will be 20 minutes longer. Hopefully that will include a few more answers. And I like reading through lostpedia.wikia.com, they have a ton of info that is gathered from official podcasts, Q&A's, and other confirmed sources for answers.

  3. I like the way this guy put it: http://ask.metafilter.com/154834/The-end-of-Lost-in-a-paragraph#2219987

    As we talked about yesterday it was a good end to the season, if not the whole series. But looking at the "birds-eye" view of the whole thing helped me to like the finale more.

  4. Joe's comments (1 of 2 posts):

    I have so many problems with the LOST finale that I don’t know where to begin. So, instead, I’m gonna make a few positive comments.

    For years now my bet was Hurley! Even after Jack was appointed, I was holding out for him. Hah! And I was actually right! It’s nice to be right about one thing, at least. More on that at the end of this post (actually the next post).

    But first, a word on three (of many) great character arcs: Jack, Sawyer and Linus. Let’s start with Linus.

    Ben (a.k.a. Henry Gale) was unquestionably interesting form the get go. I loved when he conned Sawyer with the rabbit. But my interest in him was peaked when he did NOT kill Bernard, Sayid & Jin at the end of Season 3. Killing his father was no fun to see. However, while seeing him lose his daughter and seeing his shock at the moment was the most potent death, seeing the events that lead to him adopting her made her death and his pain even more… amazing (not quite the right word).

    But I consider Ben’s scene with Ilana (at the climax of “Dr. Linus”) to be the greatest singular moment of… humanness or humanity or redemption (not to mention acting) or something like that. It was something so good I find it hard to describe. Ben’s plea for understanding and Ilana’s “I’ll have you” line (legitimized even more by the fact that she still did not trust him after that) made me cry like a… church-crying person, which I am not! (Yea, I don’t cry in church but I cry at comic book movies. Figure that out.) Anyway, that scene was so bitter-sweet and, for whatever reason, it brought to my mind this phrase from The Lord of the Rings: “…they passed in thought out to regions where pain and delight flow together and tears are the very wine of blessedness.” Bhah! Every attempt at description is inadequate. In any case, as I experienced it (notice I didn’t say “in my opinion”), of all the scenes in the entire series, that scene between Ben and Ilana was unequaled in its pure per-second emotional potency.

    That said, up until Jack volunteered to be the next Jacob, my favorite arc of the whole series was Sawyer’s. We meet him as Sawyer, the con man who wanted to be hated by people but had his soft spots, like when he told Jack about meeting his dad in a bar in Austrialia at the end of Season 1. But the “Sawyer” alter-ego ended in almost the only way it could have: exacting his revenge and killing Locke’s dad, a guy who really did “have it coming”. I was so glad to see Sawyer puke after that. Then he was back to James Ford who was still an angry guy and I worried about him as a person, with stuff like killing Mr. Friendly the way he did and angrily slapping Daniel Faraday during the flashes. Ah, but then came LeFleur, head of security for the Dharma Initiative. His leadership was foretold by Hurley, of course. The fact that Sawyer grew into LeFleur said a wonderful thing: People can change. They can be redeemed. They can redeem themselves. They can become better. That was something you’d always hoped with Sawyer from day one, and the writers pulled it off brilliantly. It was real, not a cheat.

    -to be continued…

  5. Joe's comments (2 of 2 posts):

    I was surprised to find myself appreciating Jack’s arc as the most satisfying of all. When Jack became the new Jacob, it made more sense than just being “the obvious choice”. Being Jacob’s successor might have been “the obvious choice” at other times in the past I would have been totally disappointed. But, by the time it actually happened, it made perfect sense because of what Jack had evolved from. His evolution as a character surprised me, in that way. I always hated Jack. But he became something. His ups and downs weren’t for naught!

    First, we know him as “the obvious” most natural choice for a leader. But soon we saw how sour he was. He was the frustrated (and frustrating) overly-stubborn leader for most of the series. After leaving the island, he becomes completely broken and pathetic. Then, he gets back to the island and lands in Darmaville as the still frustrating person who is just as overly-stubborn but in a passive sense. Then, he becomes a near psychopathic overly-stubborn nuclear suicide bomber. Ah, but after the bomb went off, after it didn’t work and his efforts killed Juliet, he is humiliated but starts to actually become truly humble, a guy who is finally ready to be told that he's "got what it takes".

    And finally, after getting that last bit of anger out of his system by busting up Jacob's lighthouse, he started to truly become a man of real faith, as illustrated by sitting with Richard while that fuse burned toward the stick of dynamite. He was a man of humility, as shown by following Sawyers orders and getting his group to that boat. His faith was so certain that he was calm. He seemed in tune with right and wrong (this Jack would have saved young Ben Linus) as well as the higher bits of intuition that came to him, like when things didn’t feel right on the way to Hydra Island on Sawyer’s boat. He told Sawyer how he felt but didn’t put up a big fuss about it and just hopped into the water. At this point, Jack was a main of such confident faith that, unlike Locke, he was completely fearless about it. Think about Jack’s demeanor when he told Sawyer not to touch F-Locke’s bomb. “Trust me,” was all he said. Now compare that with Locke’s demeanor back in Season 2 when he told Jack to push the button. He said that Jack needed to push the button for himself but the more accurate truth is, Locke needed Jack to push that button.

    It all became so clear after the sub sunk, as Jack and Sawyer walked through the jungle to find Desmond. Sawyer was so obviously humbled. “You were right,” he said. Jack’s reply: “I’ve been wrong before.” There was simply no competition between them, none whatsoever. Look at where they were when we first met them. Look at what they became, all of them, at that point.

    And now… Hurley. As I said, I have always thought Hurley would be the next leader of the Others. While Hurley was so lovable from day one, I realized he was definitely more than that when Hurley took his own initiative by pulling the ultimate con on Sawyer, back in (I think) Season 3. "You mean you conned me into being decent!" said Sawyer. "That's the lamest con in the history of cons!" Hurley’s confidence grew from his Jacob sightings and other dead emissaries. It was fun to see him stand up to Dogen, of course. But, his confidence truly broke through to a “Jacob-potential” level when he was not told by anyone else (dead or alive) to go to Locke. And yet, on his own initiative, he led the group to Locke. The fact that the results were disastrous is not as relevant as the fact that Hurley had the confidence to execute his own idea. Being the next Jacob isn’t about being right, obviously, because we know now that Jacob was flawed. Being the next protector of the island (or the heart of the island or the cork) is about being man enough to make decisions and, right or wrong, taking responsibility for the results.

    Go Hurley!


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