Saturday, May 29, 2010

More thoughts on "Lost," from me and from others

We're nearly a week out from the controversial "Lost" series finale, and I thought I'd share some more of my thoughts on what I think the series ender was about. (Click through to read more).

First, let's give a big thumbs down to ABC for airing those images of the ravaged shell of flight 815 over the closing credits. The shots led some viewers to believe that the characters died in the original plane crash. If there's anything  I know about this show, it's that the characters survived both the plane crash and everything we've seen on the island over the past six seasons. They had to. While I accept that this season's "sideways" universe was a sort of purgatory state (or an afterlife "waiting room," if you prefer not to use terms that apply a specific religion), I'd be kind of upset it turns out that NONE of the events of the series actually happened. I'm all for spirituality, but I also think you need something tangible to hold on to. If I don't feel like I was part of these characters' lives, then why should I care what happens to them?
The addition of the crash images, though intended to be some sort of send off, were needlessly confusing. Especially since "Lost" is complex enough on its own -- we don't need the network adding more layers of mystery to wade through. Uncool.
Next, lets talk a little bit about two topics that have particularly interested me: what the Island is, and why certain people made it to the church and others didn't. On the second score, there's a prevailing theory that the scene in the church was a send-off for Jack and Jack alone and that the people in the church were only the ones important to him. If so, then why did we see other characters "finding" people who were important to them (Juliet and Sawyer; Charlie and Claire, etc)? If not, then why did characters important to the other "Lost"-ies (Hurley's mom, Locke's girlfriend, etc.) not make it to the church? And why are none of the freighter folk there?
I don't know that I have a satisfying answer for this and, I assume, when the show's creators finally open up about the ending, we'll hear something lame like "It wasn't their time." And maybe it is as simple as that. Maybe, for example, Daniel couldn't move on because his mother still hadn't made peace with the fact that she killed her son and wouldn't allow either of them to leave until her soul was satisfied. Maybe Ben's decision not to leave was that he needed to make peace with Danielle and Alex. And, even though we didn't see much of Miles and his dad in the sideways world, maybe they stayed behind because they're still making up for lost time with each other.
As for Richard, my theory is that, since he fended off death because of his tortured, sin-stained soul, a different set of rules applied to him. Maybe he hasn't made it over to this world yet, because Greater Forces are still deciding whether his soul is worthy. After all, not only did he kill someone (heck, half the characters have killed SOMEONE. Not that big a deal in the "Lost"-verse), but he prolonged his life so that he could avoid judgment. I imagine that in the eyes of God (or whatever your prevailing force of choice is), that's a sin that's difficult to forgive.
So, you might ask, why did Mama Reyes, Katey Sagal, Nadia and others not show up to church? Well, that goes to my second question -- what is the island? My theory? It's a sort of Garden of Eden -- a place where humans are placed by a powerful, all-seeing force (Jacob) and given a choice to be good or to give in to temptation (Smokey). Many of the people who have entered the Island (the Dharma-ites, the Others, Frogurt, Nikki and Paulo) have failed the test. Our "Lost"-ies, though not always behaving admirably, at least took their time on the island to reflect on their sins (i.e. the flashbacks) and most of them ultimately chose the path of righteousness. Sayid sacrificed himself to save his friends. Jin sacrificed himself to be with his wife at the end of her life. Sun sacrificed herself so that Jack et. al. could flee the sub. Jack sacrificed himself to save the Island. Kate sacrificed Jack to find Claire and bring her back to her son. Hurley sacrificed a normal life to stay behind and protect the Island. Even Ben ultimately put his quest for power aside to help Jack, then Hurley, in their quests to protect the Island.
That's why (maybe) they are in a different category than the other souls in the sideways world. The passed the cosmic "test" that is the Island, so their souls are out of the ordinary. The only one who doesn't quite fit into that theory is Penny. She never went to the Island, though she was involved in the rescue of the Oceanic Six. Also, she's tied to Desmond, who's "special," which I think puts her in a different category.
Anyway, I'm sure I'll have a zillion more theories as I continue to think about this. In the meantime, here are a few other links to check out.
If you haven't yet, you should absolutely read "Lost" guru Nikki Stafford's site Nik at Nite, which has been loaded with "Lost"-tastic stuff for the past several days. She's also the author of the "Finding Lost" series of books. "Finding Lost Season Six" is now available for pre-order on Amazon.
Also, my good friend The Colonel over at the blog Cynic by Trade, Romantic by Nature, has a post from a guest blogger offering a really detailed theory on what happened after the show ended. Also, if you haven't read this terrific Time magazine piece, written by someone who watched "Lost" for the first time on finale night, you owe it to yourself to check it out.
Good stuff.


Bill Scurry said...

The simple, sad fact is, no matter how much we enjoyed the finale (and the series for that matter), the ultimate episode does not add up as a series finale. I think given a bit more time, the tide of sentiment will switch to disapproval -- not over the quality of the show, but over the ability to manage it, which is a huge task of you're going to craft a story as ambitious as this one.

SonshineMusic i.e. Rebecca T. said...

The more I think about the ending the more I am sure that they could not have ended it any other way - not that this was the perfect ending, but however they chose to end it would have vastly dissatisfied a group of viewers. Could they have rearranged things earlier in the season to make more time for answers? Probably - but an emotional completion satisfies a lot more of the viewers on at least some level.

A lot of people still want answers and a lot of people wish they had done x, y and z, but a LOT of these people say, It was satisfying on a character level.

I don't know - I'm still chewing on it myself. Haven't had a chance to rewatch yet (curses to real life for getting in the way!) but thanks for the invite - I'm "following" now, so I'll hopefully make it by occasionally :)

TV Writer said...

Thanks, Rebecca -- and welcome.

AchingHope said...

I still haven't decided what I think about the Lost finale, but thanks for posting some thoughts. :)