Lost in Memoriam: 2004 – 2010

24 05 2010

“Every question I answer will only lead to more questions.” – Mother, and the writers of Lost speaking directly to the viewer.

Last night I watched the last episode of Lost, one of the few shows I have followed from pilot to finale without missing more than one or two episodes (I was thankfully spared the Nikki and Paulo episode “Expose”). I can’t say it was perfect, but I can say with all confidence that it was worth following for six years (my marriage outlasted Lost! Hamlins – 1, Lost – 0) and I would recommend the whole thing to anyone who likes a good story. I described the show to my wife last night thusly: It’s the best Stephen King novel that he never wrote, in televised form. Granted, the producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have both professed their love of King, and I myself am a pretty big fan of his work, but I feel I must explain this a bit further.

Unlike how LOST never fully explained this.

The thing I love about reading Stephen King is the characters; I could give a flying rat’s ass about whatever (monster/psycho/townspeople/vague spiritual mumbo-jumbo/immortal personification of evil) is bedeviling them. They seem like real people that you could know, that you do know, and I embrace them wholeheartedly. That’s not to say that the characters of Lost were realistic, they were just people I loved to watch have adventures on this crazy island.

Yes, even Jack.

So the comparison to King is this: I watched the show for the characters, and what happened to them, not what new mystery we would be pondering this week. It was fun, theorizing and discussing what the polar bear skeleton meant, or who Eloise Hawking really was, or what the hell happened to Walt; but when it came down to it, I just wanted to see what happened next. I hated it when Charlie died, I hated it when Libby died (mostly because of the effect I knew it would have on Hurley), and it killed me to watch Jin and Sun die, especially when they had gone through so much to get back together. I cheered every time Ben said or did something horrible to someone, and I cheered again when he inevitably got his ass handed to him for it. And yes, I misted up during the finale. I got a big lump in my throat like a little girl with a skinned knee because I cared about these people, and what happened to them, no matter how goofy their plotline or how melodramatic their lines. The cast of actors gathered for this show (especially Terry O’Quinn and Michael Emerson, who need to work together for the rest of their careers because my god those guys killed their scenes together) is full of top-notch talent, and no matter how weird things got, they still made me care about their characters.

Except Kate, until "I saved a bullet for ya."

The finale itself I like much better than another recent sci-fi show that ended controversially, namely Battlestar Galactica. I did like how Galactica ended (I know I’m like one of three people that did), and watching “The End” reminded me a bit of “Sunrise”. They were both sci-fi shows that made a hard left turn into spirituality in literally the last episode, and I’m sure that is what turns a lot of people off of both finales. I for one am fine with it. In fact, I came away from “The End” with the feeling that while we’ve been watching the “man of science vs. man of faith” battle play out (rather self-destructively for most characters) over the last six years, what the show was really trying to tell us is that the two can and should co-exist.

Unless that "man of faith is Pat Robertson. Seriously, fuck that guy.

“But Charlie, what about all of the unanswered questions and unresolved plot points,” you wail? Well, we’re never going to see those come to light (except in fanfic, (and if you’ve read any online fanfic, you know those answers will probably involve a sweaty, torrid three-way between the smoke monster, Richard Alpert, and the polar bear) and I personally am okay with that. Most of the big questions were answered, and the one that weren’t…well, a little creative discussion with fellow fans can probably sate your curiosity. They dropped a big chunk of mythology on us with the ill-timed “Across the Sea”, and a lot of you cried for blood. I wasn’t blown away by the episode, but as I alluded to, I think this was just a matter of too much information too late in the game. But looking back on “Across the Sea” after seeing “The End”, I can see why it had to be the episode it was, and why it needed to tell the story of Mother, Jacob, and the Boy/Man in Black.

The End”, in my opinion, wrapped up the best way a show with big ideas could, and although there were some miss-steps (the last 10 minutes were a little hammy, I would have liked to see Desmond get back to Penny), it delivered a “happy ending” while not undoing all of the blood shed and lives destroyed over this island. As Jack said, “Whatever happened, happened. There are no do-overs.” And the creators held to that, while still letting us see these people we have watched for six seasons have a bit of personal closure and bliss. I had a feeling going in to this episode that was all the closure we were going to get, that the writers/producers had told us everything about the island they had to say, and as I said before I was and am okay with that. Perhaps you disagree, but the show for me wasn’t about the island. It was about Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sawyer, Locke, Sun, Jin, Sayid, Claire, Charlie, Desmond, and Ben, their personal journey towards salvation or damnation, and the words Jack spoke in Season One:

"We can either live together, or die alone."

Follow me on Twitter! @CharlieHamlin

P.S. – Quick laundry list of awesome things in the finale:
1. The confrontation between Jack and Not-Locke, on the grassy hill. One of the most badass exchanges in Lost:

The Man in Black: So, I suppose you’ve come here to stop me?
Jack: I can’t stop you. In fact I wanna come with you.
The Man in Black: I think you might be a bit confused about what I’m trying to do.
Jack: You’re going past the bamboo forest, to the light at the center of the Island. You’re gonna try to put it out and you think you’re going to destroy the Island.
The Man in Black: “I think?”
Jack: That’s not what’s going to happen.
The Man in Black: Well than, tell me Jack. What is going to happen?
Jack:[Smiles] I’m gonna kill you.
The Man in Black:[Visibly intimidated] And how do you plan on doing that, Jack?
Jack: That’s the surprise.

2. Ben apologizing to Locke in the afterlife, and Locke forgiving him.
3. The “awakenings”, especially Claire and Charlie, because I’m a great big sap.
4. Locke’s line to Jack after his “awakening”: “I hope someone does for you, what you just did for me.”
5. Lapidus and Alpert live!
6. Not-Locke to Jack in the cave: “If there was a button down there, maybe later you and I could fight about whether or not to push it.” Jack: “You dishonor his memory by wearing his face, but you are not John Locke.”
7. Jack and Locke’s battle on the cliff side.
8. Hurley and Ben become the new Jacob and Richard.
9. Kate on the cliff “I’ll see you on the boat!”
10. Vincent the dog, and the last shot of the show.

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