Warning: Spoiler Alert. Do not read this if you haven’t watched the finale yet!
The first 140 minutes of the LOST finale: absolute and pure brilliance.
The final 10 minutes: what the %^(!$!? Seriously?
Realizing after a restless night pondering everything in the LOST universe that most of your questions were, and now will never be, answered: a tactic that should be used on captured terrorists to make them talk.
I don’t think I can count the number of times I turned to Shelly during last night’s finale and said, “I love this show!” The levity was mixed to perfection with the drama. The plot progressed at exactly the right pace. The characters were, well, they were the characters that we had all come to know and love and grow together with over the past six years.
Emotions were incredibly powerful as each of the characters in the sideways reality “remembered” their time on the island and were reunited with their true loves and their true destinies. I’ll admit, there was more than once when water somehow started getting in my eyes. The most powerful moment had to have been with Charlie, Claire, and Kate backstage as Aaron was born. The scene with Sun and Jin in the hospital room was a close second for me.
Just when I was marveling in Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse’s masterwork and was ready to anoint them the geniuses of TV drama writers, though, came the ending.
Throughout the past six years as we wondered how Lindelof, Cuse, and (earlier on) Abrams were going to write their way out of the complex mysteries they had created, we fans hoped against a few “easy way out” options that would be cheesy disappointments — led by the worst two: this was all somebody/something’s dream or all the characters had died and were in heaven/hell/purgatory.
To start season 6, the writers gave us two parallel realities to deal with, which was pure awesomeness. We got to see how exactly the island affected the characters’ lives – what would have happened had Jacob not “called” all his candidates and gotten involved. We got to see flight 815 land at LAX and watch the “original” storylines unfold. And we got to see the beginning of the lines between the two realities be blurred – an exciting development with a lot of potential.
Last night saw that potential dashed as the sideways reality was revealed to be… wait for it… dead characters in a purgatory-like reality they had created without knowing it.
Seriously? That’s the most amazing ending to the amazing past 6 years they could come up with? A cop out “everybody’s dead and waiting to move on” scenario?
I would have so hated the finale if the first 95% of it wasn’t 6/5 stars material.
And I knew going in that they were going to leave a lot of questions unanswered – that’s the way of LOST (and, by the way, a very postmodern thing to do. Embrace mystery!). But… there are several things I was really hoping they’d explain that they never did (and probably never will). Maybe you can help me with some of them! For instance:
- The Widmore/Linus storyline. What did Charles do to get banished? How did Ben get the power to banish him? Why did Charles leave? Was revenge against Ben really his driving force in finding the island all these years? And what about their “rules”? Who came up with them? Why? How were they enforced? For example: when Ben showed up in Charles’ bedroom, why could they not kill each other? And then why could Ben so easily and quickly kill Charles two episodes ago? This was a major part of the story I kept hoping against hope would be fleshed out.
- So if Benjamin was being advised by Richard Alpert and working for Jacob, does that mean Jacob approved/condoned/ordered The Purge? Hardly seems like an activity for our Man in White to undertake… along those lines, how did Ben ever get to work for Jacob anyway when he was such a power hungry, manipulative, twisted, lying, evil bug-eyed man? You’d think Jacob would have chosen a leader of more, oh, I don’t know, integrity?
- Why and how did Richard Alpert get tied in with the Others anyway? Let me get this straight: Jacob brings people to the island. Richard Alpert, Jacob’s right hand man, also co-leads a band of folks who have as one of their main purposes in life to kill anyone who comes to the island. Seems a little contradictory to me… shouldn’t Jacob have known the people he was bringing to the island were all going to be killed by Smokey or the Others?
- Even more importantly and more fundamental of a question: when we first meet Jacob and the Man in Black on the beach, watching the Black Rock be drawn to the island (because of Jacob somehow — how is it Jack didn’t have super powers like Jacob?), the MIB repeats his island mother’s warning: people come to the island and they kill, steal, destroy, etc. etc., and it always ends the same — to which Jacob replies, “Yes, but everything before that is progress.” Two major questions jump out that are never answered then: why does Jacob keep “drawing” people to the island? Is it really simply to fulfill the purpose of finding his replacement? Is killing hundreds or perhaps thousands of innocent people truly worth what is essentially a glorified and mysterious job interview? And secondly: progress toward what? What kind of progress is made by bringing the Black Rock to the island, only to have every single one of its passengers except for Ricardo Alpert slaughtered by the smoke monster? Progress on what level? Meta-progress for the island? For humanity? For Jacob? Micro-progress in the lives of the people Jacob brings to the island only to be brutally murdered?
- The magic box. Ben made Anthony Cooper, Locke’s father, appear in a Dharma station after telling Locke he had a magic box that could deliver to you whatever you asked of it. What was this box? Was Ben pulling Locke’s leg, or was it a real deal? If so, how did it work and why was it not used more often? If he was lying to Locke, how did Anthony Cooper get on the island? Why make up a story like that for Locke?
- The bearings. Why did you have to have one specific bearing to get on or off the island, and why did that bearing change before the island ever moved? And who told people what the bearing was? You can’t say the copout answer of “Jacob” because not only did the Others know the bearing when they sent Michael off with Walt (Waaaahlt!), but Widmore, working against Ben, knew the bearing to get back to the island later. And it happened to change somehow in between those times. What’s up with that?
- Speaking of Walt, how the heck did John Locke see Walt while he was lying, shot and dying, at the bottom of the Dharma mass grave? Walt could not have been the MIB because he was a)not dead, and b)not on the island anymore.
- If the Man in Black ever had managed to get off the island, what would have actually, truly happened? Would loved ones die? Would people have simply ceased to exist? Would everyone die? These were all suggestions made by various characters who were supposedly “in the know”. And by everyone, did they mean everyone associated with the island, or all of humanity?
- What is the deal with the whole birth/pregnancy on the island thing?
Okay, there’s a ton more than that (the blast door map? the food pallet drop? the US Army?), but you get the picture. Like I said, I knew they were going to leave some things unanswered. I just wish it wouldn’t have been some fairly major plot points. Now those questions will haunt me the rest of my life. Please help me bring closure to the past six years! What are your thoughts on those and other mysteries of the LOST universe?
I’ve heard that Lindelof and Cuse shot a bonus feature for the Season 6 DVDs with additional answers to some unsolved mysteries, but I’m not holding my breath for anything important to be revealed through that.
In the end, though, I have to give the writers of LOST credit and some major kudos. They managed to pull off what very, very few television writers have ever been able to do: make a highly entertaining, engaging, intelligent and thought-provoking show. Even if they made it up as they went along, they managed to keep our attention and capture our hearts over the past six years. Thank you, LOST folks, for one heck of a wild ride. TV will not be the same without you.