Monday, May 24, 2010

LOST: More than ever

I’m not sure how to feel about last night’s series finale of LOST. Judging by the early scuttlebutt on the interwebs, there are a lot of people out there who are pretty confused about just exactly how they should feel too. The problem is that last night’s episode was amazing. It was a great episode. It gave you all the happy, sad and triumphant moments you wanted and needed as a fan. It was perfect—except for that one pesky little problem.

Don’t confuse that empty feeling in your gut with a sense of LOST being over. That empty feeling is a six year investment with no clear cut payoff. The season that promised to answer all, instead chose to answer little. It’s supposed to be artistic. We’re supposed to be thrilled that we get to choose our own interpretation of it all. I call bullshit. Writing is about making choices and the failure to choose is the sign of a cowardly writer. The writers of LOST failed to choose.

Oh, they made some choices and they even ended things with an important choice. The famed “flash sideways” portions of this season were shown to be a purgatory-like existence where the castaways were not enlightened to the fact that they were dead until they came into contact with a fellow castaway and in a flash got their enlightenment.

The last one on board was Doc Jack, of course. He of little faith refused to give in until he touched the empty coffin of his dearly departed dad Christian Shepherd (yes, Kate…Christian Shepherd, really). Now don’t get me wrong. This was brilliant. It was a great way to end...a season. That’s why it was so satisfying to so many. The problem isn’t with what we got, the problem is with what we didn’t get.

What IS the island? What IS the light? Who put Jacob’s momma in charge of guarding it? Why? WHY???? What difference would it make if the island had sunk into the ocean years ago, before Jacob and Smokey were even born? What was the point of the Dharma Initiative? Why were they brought to the island? What happened to Walt? Why were women unable to have babies on the island for so long—couldn’t Jake and Smoke’s REAL mom have uttered a curse before she croaked to wrap that one up at least?

What irritates me most is the audacity of the writers to come on in the pre-show special and almost foreshadow the fact that they were cowards by suddenly saying that it’s not about the island, it’s about the characters. Oh! Well thank you! The island was just coincidental to the six years of buildup huh? All along, it’s all been about the characters? I call bullshit again.

I don’t disagree that the show was about the characters. I do. However, they made the island a living, breathing thing, they gave it life. They made the island a character in this show and not just a minor character. I’m not sated by a little Anna Lucia cameo to end the show with, I want to know about this character! I want to know why it can jump through time? I want to know about the light that sustained it and needed protecting. It’s all fine and well that the time spent on the island was the ultimate test for Jack and all the others that allowed them to reunite in their own little heaven after they died, but what about the island itself? Islands don’t jump through time! Islands don’t evade detection by the uninvited.

If a LOST fan tries to explain it all away to you today as this having always been a character driven show and tell you that what the island might be is only peripheral and beside the point, slap them in their pretentious faces. They are sheep and were herded into that opinion by the cowardly producers who pulled off an amazing bait and switch last night. And somehow, they got us to take what we didn’t want and think it was the greatest thing since sliced bread—or Dharma peanut butter.

No. Look at last night for what it was my friends, a brilliant and amazing season finale, and a disappointing and cowardly series finale. From one point of view, it was an amazing accomplishment; on the other, it was an unparalleled disaster. For all of the great buzz about last night’s finale that’s out there today, eventually, it’ll come around and people will realize that they were cheated, bamboozled once again, and this time it’s permanent…well, until/unless the movie comes out in a few years.

For six years, LOST has left me and fans around the world, hanging. We were left to hang after each episode and after each season and we loved it because it propelled us to what came next. It’s what gave the series constant new life and energy and made it so unpredictable. They could have chosen to tie it all up and make it all pay off, but they didn’t. They left us hanging again.

They say that its not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Well, the journey way amazing, right up to the very last scene, but the problem is that after over 120 hours of viewing, our journey, it turns out, had no destination. It was just a bunch of aimless wandering. Jack said, “it all matters.” I hate to disagree Doc, but that’s not true. I could have missed an episode or two and it wouldn’t have made a damn bit of difference. It wouldn’t have mattered at all.

In the end, none of it mattered.


ryan said...

i feel you... i was overall pretty satisfied, though. i do feel like it was a 3 season show, that was split and opened up to give way for over-explanation of detail/characters/backstories that are more ancillary than main story. the first and last season were told by someone who can get a story out and the other 4 years were told by someone who can't leave any detail out, but gets really sidetracked. it makes me think of 1984 and having to go through The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism or go along with all the plotting and planning of revenge in the Count of Monte Cristo.. when you finally get through you wanna ask... did you really need to go that in depth on that?

secondly, i felt like the finale made the story a huge parallel to The Great Divorce by CS Lewis. (note: Charlotte Staples Lewis; CS Lewis went by 'Jack') which makes me wanna call bullshit on them saying that the island wasn't any case... i'm not pissed. i loved all of these. and the story of LOST goes up there with my favorite classics.

Anonymous said...

I just want to say, Bravo, everything you said is completly true. Your post has left me satisfied moreso than the documentary, the websites explaining the final, etc. Cowardly is the word and the mumblings of the cowardly creators is definetly bullshit. In one word Plagersim. The ending in the church reminiscent of Titanics dream sequence ending. The creators either bit off more than they could chew, or are to be comended. Why comended you may ask? They have created a situ where fans will purchase DVD's and tv stations will make a fortune on reruns. All because fans will rewatch and rewatch trying to figure out what the hell was going on.