Monday, May 24, 2010

"Lost" series finale recap: "The End"

Spoilers for the gut-wrenching, brain-bruising, heart-breaking series finale of "Lost" after the break. Don't click through if you don't want to know.

"There are no short-cuts, no do-overs. Whatever happened, happened."
-- Jack
"None of this matters, you know."
-- Desmond
"I want you to know, Jack: You died for nothing."
-- Locke
"The End."
It seemed like such an obvious title for a series finale. But the title referred not just to the final chapter of one of TV's most surprising, talked-about and imaginative dramas. It referred, seemingly, to death -- the ultimate end. What else could we make of those final moments in that church (did you notice that nearly all religions were represented in its iconography?), but to presume that the so-called "sideways world" was a sort of purgatory that the Lost-ies had established? A place, as Christian Shephard explained, where they could all find each other? How else to interpret that image of most of our people eagerly huddled together, ready to move on? I'm sure this will be bandied about for weeks, months and years to come, but I'm convinced that the place they were moving on to was heaven -- a place where they could be together once they were ready.
And maybe that's what the Island was all about. Maybe it was about preparing these damaged souls for the afterlife. Maybe it was about allowing them all a second chance to fight and (seemingly) prevail over evil. Maybe it was literally about taking a bunch of people who were, to steal a phrase, "lost," and helping them find peace -- with themselves, and with those they could love.
This being "Lost," there are still a lot of unanswered questions. First and foremost, how did they "make" the purgatory world? Did it somehow involve channeling the power of the island? Was it pure will? How did it happen?
And when is this purgatory world? I guess it's timeless, and ageless. After all, Christian said some of the people in that church died long after Jack. How long? I hope it was a pretty long time, as Aaron is one of the people in the church. I'm hoping the baby Aaron isn't the one who died, but maybe it's best not to over think it.
Also, there are a lot of people who weren't in that church -- some without explanation. Ben declined to move on wanting, I believe, a sort of second chance at happiness with Alex and Danielle. Desmond pretty much promised Eloise that he wouldn't take Daniel away yet. But why wasn't Miles there? Why wasn't he allowed a chance to "see" his Island life? What of Charlotte? She might have awakened Daniel's memories, but hers seem to still be dormant. And what about Michael and Walt? True, there might be a non-canonical reason for their absence (read: maybe the actors weren't available), but it seemed odd for them not to be present.
And freakin' Richard! We did see him starting to age -- he must have died. Was he not ready to move on? How could he not have been ready to see Isabella again?
And what of Frank Lapidus? Will no one think of Frank Lapidus?
Still so many questions. And yet, I'm satisfied. After all, you can't say this isn't a complete ending. What could be more complete than death? What can be more satisfying than transcending to paradise?
This does seem to be a natural end to the show, with its themes of faith and good versus evil. Yes, it's an unapologetically spiritual ending. But since when does "Lost" apologize for anything?
And frankly, could there be a more perfect final image to this show than Jack's eye closing for the last time? It's a perfect bookend to the series' first shot of his opening eye.
But I'm sure there are some who will disagree with my assessment. Isn't that the beauty of this show? That it defies easy explanations? That everyone interprets it a different way? Regardless of how you feel about the ending, that will, I believe, be the legacy of "Lost" -- this was a show that made us think, argue and feel. And that is a very important thing.
Anyway, my last ever (!) set of "Lost" bullet point on "The End" are below:
* So many beautiful, emotional moments in this episode, and so many opportunities to cry. I did, indeed, shed tears twice -- when Jin and Sun "saw" their island lives, and relived their whole tragic love story in a minute before our eyes; and when Claire and Charlie (the sweetest and most innocent of the Island couples, in my view) finally saw each other. I'm sorry. I'm a sucker for that "imaginary peanut butter" bit every time I see it.
* Also cry worthy? All that bromantic stuff with Jack and Hurley. Hurley has had faith in Jack for so long, it's been nice this season to see that faith reciprocated. And can I say that Jorge Garcia has been nothing short of outstanding this season? When that man breaks down, it is absolutely CRUSHING!
* Speaking of crushing, that battle royale between Jack and Locke Mess was pretty rad -- even if my husband did ruin it by quoting lines from the Eric Roberts karate classic "The Best of the Best." And I liked Kate's super macho kiss-off to Locke Mess: "I saved a bullet for you." Just call her Dirty Freckles.
* Let's visit one more moving moment, shall we? Juliet and Sawyer. "Maybe we could go Dutch." So that's what Blondie was seeing in her final moments. Swoon!
* Hey Boone. Hey Shannon. Welcome back, for exactly one (maybe two?) minutes a piece.

* I read an interview with Jeff Fahey in which he claimed that Lapidus's head bump on the sub was the last we'd seen of the character. Jeff Fahey is a flithy, dirty liar. But I forgive him, as it meant a few final glimpses of Lapidus.
* So what exactly did it mean that Jack turned the Island light back on? Is anyone else still unclear on what was at stake? We know it's the heart of the Island, and that, without it, the Island would be destroyed, but what does that mean? How is the Island important to humanity? Is it a place where souls can be saved for all eternity? I mean, I assume it wasn't just this group of people. What happened after Jack died and Kate et. al. hit the friendly skies? I know there wasn't enough time to show us, but I am still curious.

Thoughts? Know you got 'em!


Bill Scurry said...

They played the dog card. They had to, didn't they?

My biggest question is what was the point to Desmond pulling the toilet plug on the island anyway, and what good did it serve? Was it the mechanism that rendered MIB mortal, and susceptible to attack? And Jacks sacrifice, it seemed, was not so much dying in the aftermath of replugging the island's cosmic toilet, but rather from not seeking medical attention for his stab wound. A little silly, but I can go with it.

Looking at the sideverse as a red herring, not really having anything to do with present island time, makes the situation a little easier to digest. While it seemed to reach into "Six Feet Under" territory, my initial reaction is that Darleton did a fine job wrapping up the series. But I guess I can reserve deeper comment upon further consideration.

The Colonel said...

All season long I had a feeling the sideways world and all the interactions therein were a little too "perfect" or "coincidental" because it was some kind of artificial reality. I'm glad to see I was somewhat vindicated!