Sunday, May 30, 2010

The End

So it's been a week since the series finale. There are two reasons why I haven't written an episode recap before now. One is that I feel like there are 300,000 different people out there who have posted their thoughts already and I'd just add to the noise.

The second is that I'm not quite sure how I feel about said finale yet. Before the last episode aired, Cruse and Lindelof essentially said that if you like Lost for the people and the relationships, you'd like the finale, but if you liked Lost for the mystery and you're expecting every single question to be answered, you'd be disappointed.

Put me in both camps. I loved the show for both of these aspects, and I feel if that Lost was missing either one it would be inferior to what it was.

Immediately following the finale, I felt that I liked it. As time has gone on, however, I've become more annoyed at certain mysteries were never addressed, let alone resolved. But then that annoyance is calmed as I realize that some of these questions just don't matter. And then I get annoyed because I feel like I'm being manipulated into thinking that.

This makes it hard for me to cohesively put down my thoughts on Lost as a whole. But today I figured I might as well give it a shot, so here goes.

Reality A

1. Desmond's ability to withstand electromagnetic power means he can remove the plug at the bottom of the Light well. Esau wanted him to do this so Esau could leave the Island. Jack wanted Desmond to this so that Esau could be killed. Turns out both were correct.

2. Kate kills Esau.

3. Lapidus is able to fly himself, Miles, Sawyer, Claire, Kate and Richard off the Island. They probably make it.

4. Jack is injured during his fight with Esau and is dying. He passes the Guardian position on to Hurley, and then replaces the plug in the Light well.

5. The ensuing electromagnetic energy shoots him out of the Light well, where he stumbles back to the bamboo thicket and dies. Vincent is there.

6. Hurley guards the Island for an unspecified amount of time. Ben is his second in command for a while. It's a good time.

Reality B

1. This entire reality is a place in the afterlife constructed by certain of the Losties so that they could find each other after they'd died. There is absolutely no precedence set in the Lost universe that deals with anything related to this concept.

2. Desmond gets the ball rolling for most of his buddies to realize where they are and get them prepared to leave the aforementioned construct.

3. Eventually, a lot of characters from the show end up in a multi-denominational church where Christian is in charge. The only three people there that were not on Flight 815 are Penny, Desmond and Juliet.

4. From Lostpedia: "Christian explains that they are real, Jack's life was real, the people in the church are real. Jack becomes upset, but Christian reassures him, explaining that "everyone dies sometime, kiddo. Some before you, some long after you. When Jack asks why everyone is here now, Christian responds that 'There is no now, here', and that this is a place they all made together to find each other, because the most important part of Jack's life was the time spent with these people. They made it so they could find each other, remember, and 'move on."

5. They all move on.

I enjoyed the concept that, in the Lost universe, there is life after death, and you end up with your loved ones eventually. Seeing Penny and Desmond, Sawyer and Juliet, Sun and Jin, etc. was awesome and very touching. (The Sayid and Shannon relationship is dumb and I refuse to accept it.)

So on that front, I liked the finale. I liked that most of the people ended up happy and with the ones who mattered to them (but are we sure no family members were important to these people?).

I also believe that we have been given the answers to many of the mysteries of Lost, in a roundabout way that requires some work to decipher. For example, the Others.

We know the Others were formed as Jacob attempted to actively meddle in the affairs of those on the Island. Richard was his intermediary, and for a while, things may have been good. But eventually, the Others lost their way. Jacob's list of candidates were used to target new arrivals to the Island for kidnap, torture and other manipulation. Their actions are merely examples of how arrivals to the Island eventually succumb to evil and kill each other, as Esau and Kidnap Mom believed is inevitable.

Jacob likely became disenfranchised with "his" people and eventually abandoned them altogether, leaving them wide open for guidance and manipulation from Esau. In one way, Jacob caused his own death... as he neglected Ben, he created the conditions whereby Ben became angry and easily able to be controlled by Smokey.

Now, not all mysteries can be solved this way. Christian left Claire a music box in Reality B. This is never referred to again. It's a mystery with no answer.

Other questions in this category: why the infertility issues on the Island? What was the deal with Walt? What exactly was the deal with Sayid and Claire after they die and are "claimed" by Esau?

Now, if I think about it long enough, I become frustrated that the Lost writers clearly introduced mysteries without giving them an accompanying answer. I doubt even Cruse or Lindelof know the answers to the above questions.

Yet, I think I'm okay with this. Creating a network television show is far different from writing a book or filming a movie. The writers dealt with uncertainty as to whether Lost would exist past a single season. They had to work with actors leaving the show and cutting their character's storyline short. They wrote some episodes in as few as two weeks.

Yet, even with all these limitations, they set the bar really high. Higher than any TV show before them. And if they didn't quite clear this bar, they at least created a work that was highly entertaining and engrossing.

I'll take that. It was a good ride, and I don't regret watching a minute.

Over the next few weeks I'll tackle a few of the bigger mysteries that we've only recently been given the means to answer.

As always, feel free to contribute your own thoughts.

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