Lost: Still Trying To Wrap My Brain Around It

10 07 2010

I guess that means I am still LOST?  Har.

Also: Thar be Spoilers here! Consider ye’self warrrrrned!

For the last sixish weeks, I’ve been struggling with feelings that the finale was somehow inadequate. I was always a Very Good Little Fan, never complaining when they gave no answers, always having faith that Darlton (Damon + Carlton) knew what they were doing and where they were going. But I can’t help feeling like the finale left me stranded. I haven’t been able to put my finger on it until this week, when The Husband said something about how he kept hoping he’d find more meaning if he went back and watched the earlier seasons. Meaning. That’s it! In the end Lost didn’t have one great meaning, after all. It had a lot of little important meanings, scattered around like the luggage of Flight 815, but nothing cohesive to pull the whole series together.

I can’t help relating Lost to the entire Harry Potter series, but when I do, it doesn’t even begin to compare. Rowling HAD A PLAN the whole time. She had a message in mind – one great meaning the story was intended to relate. She conveyed it with one storyline and got us to the end gracefully, like a beautifully choreographed ballet. Like Heroes after Season 1, in the end it seems Lost sort of jumps around, changing the rules when the plot doesn’t work anymore. It is clear that the writers did know, ultimately, where the show was going. Not only Adam and Eve and the black and white stones, but also the backgammon game and, especially, the book Bad Twin prove the existence of Jacob and the Man in Black way back in the first season. There was a time when the writers were fighting for an end date so they could stop stuffing random details and endless mysteries into the show for no reason. I respected that and was glad the show was going to be able to end with integrity. The only problem is that the writers didn’t stop adding meaningless fluff until it was too late and the show had a cluttered and disjointed feel to it. Certainly the essence of the show, the good vs. evil, the faith vs. science, and the musings on destiny and time have remained constant (har!) through the whole thing, but all the random mysteries just add confusion to what should have been a fully beautiful piece of art.

In their defense, I know that working on a 6-year-long TV show comes with hazards of its own – like working with the schedules of the actors (or, you know, the DUI’s of the actors), for instance. I’m not unforgiving. But I do feel that the final season, while awesome on its own (and I will go into that later), and clearly closely linked with the first season, leaves the show as a whole with a scattered feeling and one main question that never did get answered: What . the . fuck??

Christian Shephard ~ (By the way, Kate’s line in the finale about his name was teh awesome.) Years ago during one of the summer hiatuses, the creators released some “mobisodes” which they swore up and down were canon. One of them shifted the entire show’s premise by about one degree – not so much as to change what the show was about, but certainly enough to change what I felt about it. It was exciting. It made Christian’s character far more important than I had ever expected. And it, ultimately, went nowhere. The mobisode was from before we had ever met The Man in Black (turns out his name was totally Samuel, btw), of course, but by this point we knew that Smokey had the ability to impersonate people so that question was raised very early on in the show’s lifetime – was the Christian that Jack chased in Season 1 actually the Smoke Monster? I felt this mobisode gave a very clear answer on that – NO. Why on Earth would Smokey choose Christian’s form to appear to a dog who not only never knew the man, but who could not tell Jack who had sent him? There’s no reason that doesn’t involve some serious backpedaling. I believe the writer’s original intent was that Christian was separate from Smokey, something different, something intriguing.

During the final season, they were obviously as desperate to give answers as the fans were to learn them. They doled them out by the handful, in brief conversations that could be missed if you blinked. Utterly uninspired. In Christian’s case, Jack met The Man in Black, asked him if he’d impersonated his father, MIB said yes, and jears ensued. And that was that. End of story.

The Husband believes Christian had never actually died (apparently they mention in the show that he was never embalmed), and I think, at the very least, he was intended for something greater (or perhaps just different) than what they had time for.

Some of the other answers they tossed out haphazardly in the final season were about the whispers and about the Black Rock/Statue/Richard Alpert, the latter three being all answered in, literally, one fell swoop in a scene which may very well be, in my opinion, the lamest scene ever in Lost. (I take that back – it’s second only to Jack’s DIY beach surgery. Nothing can top that!) The fact that the whispers on the island were the souls of those “stuck” there (but the island was totally not purgatory) was an acceptable answer to me, but I didn’t care for the way it was handed out in a two-line conversation starring the ghost of Michael.

Adam and Eve ~ Yes, Darlton, we see that you did, indeed, come back to the skeletons from the cave. But rubbing it in our noses like that just looks desperate.

Sideways World ~ I love what they did here. Completely. In fact the entire final season had what I wanted from Lost in general – a meaning. It came back full circle, the one big point of Season 6 was Sideways World and what it meant. It was beautiful, emotional, and well-crafted. The entire final scene had me glued to the screen, crying. There is a general belief that Sideways World was similar to Tibetan Buddhism’s idea of of the afterlife. That only serves to make it more beautiful. Despite the parts I am frustrated with in this series as a whole, I would not change the ending for a million dollars. (Well, OK, maybe for a million dollars. What? I could really use a million bucks.)

Other thoughts:
Shannon & Sayid – REALLY? Oh, barf. I have heard people say that the reason Shannon triggered Sayid’s awakening was because the Island was the only place they could ever truly be themselves. Anyone else she had been with in her lifetime only knew the superficial snotty Shannon (although one can ask: was there more than that to her? doubtful.) and, of course, Sayid had shitloads of baggage regarding Nadia, even though she was clearly the love of his life. So, despite the fact that the idea of Sayid falling for someone like Shannon makes me vomit a little in my mouth, I guess I can see the theory that they were more purely themselves while together. (Even so, can’t he have gone back to Nadia once he was “awake?” Please?)

Sawyer & Juliet – On the other hand: *SWOON* I love Juliet so much. And I love Sawyer so much with her. I never shipped anyone before these two, but I seriously LOVE them. LOVE. One more time: LOVE. I also love how they tied in her conversation with him from the first episode this season with their vending machine scene.

Walt – I never expected much in the way of answers about him. I kind of liked the mystery. I wish they had gone into WTF Taller Ghost Walt appeared at all or the astral projections in general, but in the grand scheme of things, I’m OK with speculating.

Jacob – Honestly, I expected him to be a little older. And more magical.

Jack – I kind of ended up liking him. I’ll wait until you have all recovered from fainting. Better now? OK. Sorry to have sprung that on you. Anyway, for five and a half seasons he was an asshat. Whiny, bitchy, jearey, completely dysfunctional. As a written character he is a work of art, multilayered and complex. But as a person I just want to smack him. And, yet, at the very tippy end of the show, he goes into that dark place, he finally makes his damn Hero’s Journey, and he comes out wiser and actually finally heroic.

Kate – I still don’t like her.

Hurley & Ben – Perfect ending. Perfect! I had been saying that I felt Hurley would make a better protector of the Island than Jack, and precisely because he’d never ask for it. And I’m so glad they heard me because I turned out to be so right (no surprise, really, I’m often right). And I am glad he brought Ben along because I grew to really love Ben. I also love that Ben knew he wasn’t yet ready for the church. He had more work to do either in seeking forgiveness or in forgiving himself.

But the biggest question of the show: WTF is the Island, man? Part of me wishes they had been more specific about it. Part of me wishes I was OK with them handling it the way they handled it, because it was kind of beautiful. But, while it’s obvious that the Island is the source of humanity’s essence – perhaps the place our souls came from, a sort of Garden of Eden (totally Summer’s thought there) – it’s not really clear what the scientific properties of the island have to do with that. And, perhaps more disturbing to me, the fact that this Island is so largely populated throughout time, the fact that people come and go from it, the fact that people have wars to try to get to/save/use the Island and yet it’s not known, even in distant myth, to the the characters of the show. As viewers we have speculated about it being the fountain of youth, a sacred Egyptian spot, or one of a few other ideas, but it’s not really any of those things (of course, it could be argued that it is all of those things). I think it might have been a little more grounded if the writers had more clearly alluded to whatever source or sources they were pulling from, even if they were to make up their own mythology, as Rowling did with her Hallows. In other words, if you are going to write a myth, it makes for a far greater and more believable story if you mark clear boundaries for the tale. And if there is one thing all the fans of Lost agree upon, it is certainly that we like a believable story.

While looking at Lost as a whole story, it appears that it is muddled with too many random details and too many false starts. I certainly don’t regret spending the last years of my life on this show, as some fans have complained, and I still love the show, its characters, its secrets, and its mythology (however convoluted and incomplete). And where they had worked to create an end date so the show didn’t wind up being some anti-climactic X-Files, due to poor planning they fell short at least a season in having enough time to follow through on what I feel were some of the most promising story lines. Lost is incredible. Literary, fantastical, spiritual, full of broken people trying to find themselves along their path. No, I value every hour I put into the show. And now I shall re-watch it from the beginning.


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4 responses

10 07 2010
chasingthefirefly

I was sooo disappointed with the finale. I felt like Kathy Bates in that twisted scene from Misery when she was talking about cliffhangers, “He didn’t get out of the cock a doody car!!!!!” They definitely wrapped it up much like a soap opera, with a hell of a lot of artistic license. Even though I understand WHY that happened, it was frustrating that they just continued to throw in scenarios that they knew they would never answer and we just had to accept it. How insulting!!

Your, “Kate – I still don’t like her” killed me, hahahaha.

I have a few favorites from the show but I think my ultimate favorite character would have to be Hurley. I just love him.

I too, will still like the show, for the stories and characters that I enjoyed, I just can’t say that I like the show as a complete series.

10 07 2010
ZebraBelly

Hah. Yes, well there’s no redeeming Kate.

13 07 2010
Katherine

Oh, man, I loved LOST. I realize it is a TV program, but I loved it, and before we had the kids my husband and I used to put ourselves into what we affectionately called ‘Lost Comas’ by renting the entire season and watching it in one sitting.

I had to work an overnight the night of the finale, and so we DVR’d it, and we have yet to watch it. I keep promising Andrew that we will, with excuses like ‘saving it for a special occasion’ and ‘not now I’m tired’.

The truth is that I heard it was kind of, errr – lame?, and I know I am going to be disappointed so I keep putting it off. I can’t help but think the writers where just MESSING WITH ME this ENTIRE TIME, by me thinking there was some COSMIC IMPORTANT CENTRAL meaning behind everything. Boo.

14 07 2010
ZebraBelly

There will probably be disappointment. But there is also a lot of emotion. And excitement. It was beautiful in and of itself. And if you cut out seasons 4 &5 probably a perfect finale. lol

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