Monday, 24 May 2010

Lost, 2004-2010

Lost season one
Early on, during yesterday's two-and-a-half-hour Lost finale, I realised I didn't want the answers to the show's many mysteries to be revealed because knowing would mean that the show would, after six years, finally be over. And I didn't want it to be over because I loved the intrigue, the mystery, the cast, the game of tease that the show's makers had been so expert at would be at an end.

Yet, by the end of The End, I was so drained, emotionally speaking, having been put through the emotional ringer, that I wasn't sure how I felt come the closing credits. Sad? Elated? Distraught? Relieved? More than that, it took me a while to process what I had just seen meant in relation to the previous six years of Lost watching and theorizing.

Certainly, the series finale was emotionally satisfying — Sawyer and Juliet! Hooray! Daniel and Charlotte! Hooray! Hurley and Libby! Hooray! — and had me gasping with joy and awe and crying more times than I care to recall, mainly due to the wonderful relationship resolutions thrown up by the flash-sideways world and the sheer I-don't-have-any-idea-what-the-hell's-going-to-happen-next nature of the finale.

But how about intellectually satisfying? And narratively satisfying?

[Spoiler alert... read no further if you didn't see the finale.]

Did any one else feel slightly letdown that the flash-sideways world was some kind of limbo/purgatory/way station on the way to heaven for the passengers of flight Oceanic 815? Which presumably meant that everyone died when their plane crashed on the island way back in the pilot. So everything we watched on and off the island over the last six seasons — including the time travel, the polar bear, the smoke monster, Widmore's obsession with the island, the Dharma Initiative — was what, exactly? A dream? Their imaginings? Jacob's Ladder Part 2?

And therefore, by that reckoning, the island was just an island after all. (The writers hadn't been lying when they said it wasn't purgatory.)

I am, I must admit, still wrestling with the enormity of it all as I write this... It may take me a while.

Trust Lost to not be over when it's finally over.

[Deep breath... Long beat.]

Thanks guys, for six wonderful seasons. Can't wait to see what you'll cook up for us next...


J.D. said...

I quite enjoyed this finale as well and wasn't prepared for how emotional it was. I also liked how Jack handed over the Jacob mantle/powers to Hurley. That was nice touch and one of the episode's emotional highpoints. I also like how the last image of the show was Jack's eye closing, bringing everything back to the beginning.

As for the ending, well, the way I interpreted it was that there two separate ones - the end for the sideway reality/universe where they go to heaven and the other, regular reality that we've been watching from Season 1. As for the alt. reality ending, the one thing that didn't sit right with me was that if that was supposed to mean that everyone died on the plane where were the other passengers? The flight crew? Why just the immediate cast members?

Mark Salisbury said...

I, too, loved the last image being the same as the opening one.

However, I'm still wrestling with the two realities thing and how the "heaven" ending pertains to both this season's end (ie. the island folk and those that escaped) and what we've seen in previous seasons.

I had assumed, throughout this final season that both strands would dovetail and one would explain the other but why do we, say, have Sawyer in the church and on the plane.

And why's Penny there with Desmond? She never made it to the island as far as I can recall.

It's so typically Lost — they give you answers but each comes with a multitude of further questions...

Mark Salisbury said...

Then again, maybe the "sideways" world has been one big red herring all along...

Now there's something to think about.

Mark Salisbury said...

Or it really was "heaven" and as Christian says, Everybody dies sometime. Or something.

And Kate says she missed Jack and there's Hurley's comment to Ben outside the church that he'd "been a good number 2".

So they are all dead but they all died at different times — Jack on the island at the series end, Hurley and Ben at some undetermined place and time. Ditto Kate, Sawyer, etc — and they all go to "heaven" together because, again, as Christian said "it was an important time for them".

Still, why did Jack have a son in the flashsideways and not the real world? And why was Desmond married?

Must stop thinking about this...

Nick Tierce said...

Mark, the relation of the "side-flash" to the main timeline that you are looking for is a metaphorical one.

It certainly does not imply that the ENTIRE series has been a dream, or anything of that nature. The linear reality still has it's end, but the "construct" provided a way of literary juxtaposition to explore the trails and arcs of the characters by way of visual metaphor.

It was a more complex and beautiful ending than I could have ever hoped for.

Nick Tierce said...

Also, I think it should be said that the show certainly made a point to not be religiously specific. Even down to the stain glass window during the "Explainer" scene depicting the iconography of SIX separate religions.

The dual narrative ending really brought to a head the show's interest in the relationship between faith and science. (Empiricism, whatever you want to call it.)

Mark Salisbury said...

Thanks for that Nick.

Although I didn't really believe that everything was necessarily a dream, despite my ramblings earlier. My tired brain was simply trying to ratify both sides of the Lost equation.

I always, in my heart of hearts, knew the flash sideways weren't meant to be "real" but the emotional impact of that side of the equation was both moving and affecting and in many ways presented a more through solution than the island side which left many questions unanswered ...

J.D. said...

Nick Tierce:

"It certainly does not imply that the ENTIRE series has been a dream, or anything of that nature. The linear reality still has it's end, but the "construct" provided a way of literary juxtaposition to explore the trails and arcs of the characters by way of visual metaphor."

Yeah, that's the way I interpreted as well. Those 2 realities exist separate and in relation to one another. I mean, we see that in the sideways reality, the main characters get flashes of their life in the other one but that seems to be the extent of it.

To me, that ending seemed to be a have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too for everyone involved. They had the one reality that we've been following since day one where some people died, some people lived, etc. and then the sideways reality where all the main characters got to achieve some kind of peace and resolution in their lives.

Mark Salisbury said...

I don't know where you're based Nick (JD, I know you're across the Atlantic from me) but last Friday on British TV saw the end of Ashes To Ashes, an excellent 80s-set series which culminated with the revelation that "it-was-all-a-construct-in-the-mind-of-the-lead-character-who-died-many-years-before-and-therefore-everyone-in-the-cast-is-actually-dead-too"!

All of which probably feed into my question "was it all a dream etc" that was meant to be rhetorical but, clearly, didn't come across that way.

Just wanted to clear that up...

Gina Sackman said...

I never thought the alt timelines we'd been seeing this season was real. I mean... it was real, because I believe everything in LOST to be real... but I knew it wasn't an alternate reality produced by Jughead. I assumed it was something made up by someone; Though, my assumption was that someone being Smokey or Eloise Hawking. So I was off in the sense that one of them produced it, but Eloise was certainly trying to control it.

I, too, loved Hurley taking over. I actually called that when the candidate thing was announced. Jack was an obvious choice as this season carried on, so that remark by Smokey was quite amusing. Heh. And once he got it, I told someone "Eh, I have a feeling he won't have it for long." But it just made sense for Hurley to be that guy even though we could all safely assume he wouldn't want it. (And once again, Hurley made a comment referencing this. "At least it's not me." Jinxed yourself, buddy!) Then again, Hurley's willing to recognize what's for the best, making good judgment calls - so it was very fitting that he took it from Jack. And then the stuff Ben said to Hurley about his character was just the icing on the cake!

And right, everything happened. Nothing was a dream or any of that. Christian was pretty clear about that.

As for feeling let down or anything by the alt reality ... nah. Going back to what I first said, I always thought it wasn't a real life for our characters [and I would have personally felt so cheated had it been], so I wasn't feeling strange about it. My initial reaction was a little "what? really?" just because I didn't think the show would go there. But it certainly makes sense and brings it back to "Live Together or Die Alone". And well, they didn't die alone. :)