This Bird isn't even going to try and explain the last few minutes of ABC's Lost series finale. Warning, spoiler alert -- the church, the chat Jack had with his dead father, and so on? Let's just leave that one up for debate on Lostie message boards for the next thirty years before someone has the bad idea to try and remake this series. What I will say is, while I'd hoped that the seemingly independent timelines of "Island" time and their "Flash-Sideways" sequences be mashed together in a PBJ sandwich of laws of pseudo-physics happy endingness (with a much smaller body count), the final scene of the series ended nicely. It was a proper bookend to our first look, from the opening of a single eye six years ago, to the closing of that same eye. And by the way, I totally called that one, predicting we'd get the same closing shot as the opening scene, so gimme a Gold Star, dammit.

Setting aside plot holes and questions of whether or not the fabric of time and space will collapse as a result of Lost, it took a good overnight mulling of the final episode, as well as a trip down memory lane, watching their two-hour retrospective prefunc show to make me realize, "OK, I liked it." I didn't like the messy, confusing issue of whether or not Jack Shepherd is having a Jacob's Ladder/Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge moment of Newhart-finale proportions. I did like that even though it was a little sentimental, seeing everyone together, for whatever reason the Fates divined, was a good thing. Television series have the daunting task of wrapping up not just a show's overall arc, but addressing the genuine affection the fans have with characters and where their destinies will lie after the final credits roll. Straightforward series that have a clear destination can provide a resolution, like The Fugitive -- one-armed culprit? Caught! Everyone's happy, roll end credits. Lost was tricky because it was a parable for the human condition, wrapped in a chocolate-caramel coating of sci-fi/genre to make it more tasty. It threw in incredible things like secret research communities gone awry, pseudo-science that moves people and whole islands out of linear timelines, and the most sticky of conundrums -- the physical embodiment of Good and Evil, and its application towards faith and free will. Dang, producers of Lost, why you gotta be so complicated?

Watching the prefunc retrospective, I was reminded why I've stuck with the show, even in those seasons where it was beyond Lost, and just plain Dumb (Tail Section anyone? Nikki and Paolo?!). The heart of the series was always the original cast of characters, a random band of people from varying backgrounds, but having a shared experience of feeling very alone in this world, devoid of purpose. So it took a plane crash, a scary smoke monster and rogue hippies to get to the core of the human condition -- people need to feel connected, to discover genuine love, and from that, learn true sacrifice and touch the fingertips of destiny. The first season of Lost was absolutely the best because it was all about how different each character was, how fractured their lives were, and how being stranded on an island was an opportunity to start over. They got overcomplicated with drama to hurtle the series through TV Land, but their best episodes were always centered on personal victories, where a character is given a choice to change their life and accept the outcome of that decision. Meandering in somewhat Biblical territory, each character's tale was a lesson in cause and effect, but also the constant driving force to face personal fears and to let go of the anger and guilt we feel so compelled to clutch to our chests. These episodes were where Lost shone as a series, because we didn't just fall in love with the characters, we fell in love with the notion that our own paths were yet unwritten, and no one was beyond the reach of redemption.

When Jack and Locke, the series' poster-dudes for Men of Science and Faith argued, with Jack shouting why it was so easy to have blind faith and Locke desperately answering that having faith isn't easy, it was like two opposite sides coming together in the middle. The pursuit of faith is no more easy or simple than the pursuit of a scientific fact, and Lost was always at war with itself on this front, thankfully never coming to an easy resolution, as there really is no such thing. I don't think the series finale really provided anything beyond a love letter to its die-hard fans, showing a rare glimpse of happiness for characters who have long-suffered these last six years. Instead, I think it left an overall feeling that as individuals, we take up where characters left off, moving forward in our own lives with choices we make and the faith that we did the best we could in the time given. For myself, I  keep the sequence from the first season's finale as a beloved snapshot in my mind's eye, with the raft made of crash debris, put together by the castaways and set off with endearing hope, and not letting doubt or fear of an unknown sea deter the human spirit from pushing forward.

Jaunty Fine Print: photos from Lost page on ABC.com and New York Times article

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1 comment:

  1. I like your post. but I must say I was a bit surprised watching the last 2 episodes. I don’t know why but I expected something more spectacular and although I didn’t dislike how it ended I was quite disappointed. If there was heaven they all went to, then what where the other people doing there? Was the island a crossing point to heaven? To test people? I am Lost … Nether the less, I enjoyed it a lot!!!


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