So long, Lost, and thanks for all the fish-biscuits!


Last night culminated a six year journey a lot of people went on together. I know some people dropped out, some joined late (such as myself), and others watched diligently through the years, even dealing with commercials! But no matter where you stand, last night a program ended that will rank in television history with such greats as M*A*S*H*, Dallas, Seinfeld, Sopranos, and BSG. This isn't to compare such programs, but Lost told a character driven story of people you could easily be friends with, related to, or hate, and through their adventures, we all got a vicarious dose of pure awesome.

I'll preface this entry with the fact that I was, for the most part, satisfied with the series and its ending. So this will be a largely positive review and reflection. Naysayers, haters, and disagreers are fine, everyone is entitled to their opinion...this just happens to be my own. Spoilers abound from here on out!

Finally, we learned what the LA-verse really was: not a flash-sideways, back, or even future, but a flash-elsewhere, to limbo, purgatory, the afterlife's way-station. And at the center of it all was Jack. Upon realizing this was an afterlife where everyone was making connections to remember their lives and deaths, I was very pleased. I've actually written a short story that dealt with the same issue of not being able to move on without accepting one's own demise and understanding the life lost, flaws and all. I wrote Deadworld in '98-99 (you can read it at scribd.com) and find its similarities with Lost not disparaging, but that this idea holds water with other creative thinking individuals as well. I can only hope that upon death I find myself surrounded by revered friends and loved ones in a place that has no "now," a heaven of our own devices.

Some might find it a cop-out, that it really didn't deal with the issues the show presented at all and that a lot of the mythology was left unverified, and perhaps more disturbingly I read it from a commenter on io9 that the wreck montage over the credits revealed that they all died in the plane crash. God I hope not! I saw that as a final goodbye to something familiar. Again, focusing solely on Jack, the show delivered a personal tale of human caring. The flash-sideways, admittedly bothered me throughout the season, but upon gaining clarification, I was satisfied.

How did these people make their connections and regain their memories? Did they have to find their true love or be in some particularly stressful situation like the gholas of Dune? I think it was a little bit of everything and I'll elaborate on John Locke, because of all the characters I thought he was one of the most robbed there by the end. I thought John regaining his memories wasn't necessarily due to a true love, but to let go, as it was said over and over again. In the limbo-verse everyone created what they thought they wanted, but something was just missing, most of them were happy, but simply incomplete. Locke in life blamed himself for all his problems. I believe he really thought it may have been his fault he was in a wheelchair for confronting the father Locke thought he had ruined the relationship with. Locke was your quintessential guilt guy. No matter what bad shit happened to him, he found a way to blame himself, until he was on the Island (and even then, still yet, as he was willing to take his own life over a perceived failure). It wasn't Helen or even the Island he needed to reconnect with, he needed to reconnect with himself and letting go of his guilt and grabbing what was rightfully his: his life back, in a sense wrestling it from the self-imposed prison of his chair.

I applied this same view for the limbo-verse to all of the characters, especially Jack with his son. This purgatory is what they thought they wanted, what they thought "Heaven" should be. And Jack wanted a son so he could do what he thought his father hadn't. Television subterfuge? Of course it was! But finding out they were in some sort of afterlife where they only thought it was what should have happened in 2004 made it all the more powerful that they had to accept their flaws and misdeeds, or even lack of action and failures, before they could gain that missing piece to finally be able to move on into the light. And yeah, the light may have been heavy handed, but I appreciated the main idea they were portraying: *cue Beatles* All you need is love!

I find that true even for Sayid and Shannon. Everyone wants to root for Sayid and Nadia, as did I, but the realization came to me when they shared their memories, that Sayid was chasing a dream with Nadia. That he thought he should be in love with Nadia, that he owed her a life for everything he had done. But on the Island, where his past meant nothing and everyone got their reset button, Sayid was allowed to fall in love on his own, not out of obligation or some apologetic need. Shannon presented a fresh new opportunity revealing that you cannot be in love with the past because nothing can ever be taken back, you must move on. Weak last minute cameo? I don't think so, just a reminder that holding onto your past means you can't grow and that even pretty fluff has its place.

There was some dreadful symbology that went beyond WTF'ery, including the Smoke Monster, the Island itself, and the stone plunger. I thought Across the Sea was going to answer such questions. But instead we just got that the Smoke Monster is menace incarnate and the Island is just a place that the light of hope and love is kept safe. That's hard to accept with only a few episodes left. But once they introduced the plunger, and the pool producing the light, I realized that all the characters and viewers such as myself are/were facing a task like Sisyphus: that of the meaningless task of pushing a boulder up a mountain. Desmond thought for sure he would go to Heaven if he did what the Gods told him to do, but nothing happened, because in real-life there is no magic or heaven (on Earth to be clear, I'm not calling your faiths into question here), there's only the happy bits of life (Penny and Charlie) between the utter chaos of life constantly falling apart around us (the Smoke Monster fucking shit up and the Island literally falling apart). Jack realized that it's not us that need to change the situation, but accept that situations change us, so let's leave things be and just try to keep floating on.

This was not a bad ending for me, the story has mostly focused on Jack throughout so that at his death the show ends is fine for me (though I would seriously love to see a Hurley/Ben spin-off!). This was not the major WTF of Sopranos or BSG, and thankfully it was no St. Elsewhere. I've said I wanted to see Sun & Jin, Charlie, and Locke redeemed for their cheap deaths, but the truth of the matter is, death is rarely vindicated and fucked up deaths get no resolution, so in a way, I'm happy Lost kept it real as it were.

In closing, I would like to say that I nearly lost it when Vincent laid down with Jack. I've never cried at fiction, I'll get goose-bumps, maybe misty, and Lost is one of the few that produced some of those misty moments. So long, Lost, and thanks for all the fish-biscuits.

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