Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What once was Lost now is found

I needed some time to reflect on the Lost series finale. I'm not even sure this has been enough time, but I must react.

Here's the thing, the finale wasn't that bad. The episode itself, if it could stand alone, was actually very entertaining. Without the last half hour, I would consider it one of the better episodes there has been. But, that would be like awarding the Larry O'Brien trophy to the Cavaliers because for 80 of the 100 total games (regular season and playoffs) they were the best team. But we have to count that last 20%. And with Lost, I have to adjust for that last 30 minutes. The sad part is, the last 30 minutes of the very last episode in a great series may have totally ruined everything that came before it.

The funny part about the ending to Lost was how ironic it was. Throughout the entire six years, season after season, Lost had us hooked and frustrated because of how confusing and unclear it was. And ultimately, the thing that may have ruined the show for good was how perfectly translucent and clear they made the end. There was pretty much no room for interpretation. People will argue other theories, but they are just pulling at straws. The creators made the ending very clear, with the objective being to wrap things up in a neat little package. They actually needed the ambiguity though. They needed some level of confusion to remain in order for people, like me, not to be pissed at it. I would rather have been confused. Sadly.

When Jack walked into the church and talked with his father, Christian Shepherd just came out and explained to him he was dead too. Everyone was dead. They were waiting to reunite and move on into the afterlife. That was it. That's pretty much all he said. And that is pretty much all there was. Jack went and met everyone else; there was plenty of hugging, etc. Then they were all headed into the light. The end. Come to think of it, it may have been less than 30 minutes. It may have only been the last 10 minutes that ruined the other 120 hours. What a powerful 10 minutes it was.

By explaining to Jack that they were all dead, it made the entire sideways universe irrelevant. It was officially a fake world where anything could happen and nothing that did happen mattered. Jack had a son that he loved, I guess. But as soon as he met his friends, he and his ex-wife abandoned their son. They both left. See ya kid. Because he didn't matter. It was a purgatorial world. Locke was with his love, Helen. In this life, they finally were able to be together and were going to get married, but once he got his back fixed and met his buddies in the church, she didn't matter. He left her behind. Abandoned his fiancée. Sayid, who through different times and different worlds and different lives, was always searching to be with Nadia. But what happened to reunite Sayid with his friends in purgatory and move on to heaven? He saw Shannon, a girl he knew for like a month on the island before she got shot. Sayid went with Shannon into the afterlife instead of Nadia. Nadia didn't matter.

So, in just a few examples, essentially everything that took place in the sideways universe was irrelevant and pointless. The objective was simply for Jack to meet his island buddies in the church and they would spend eternity together. We didn't need half of the scenes in season six.

But that's not all that the last 10 minutes of the finale ruined. For you see, it kind of ruined the entirety of every season prior as well. Essentially every single story line that took place, other than Jack dying, became irrelevant. The 'others' in the temple didn't matter. The birth defect problem didn't matter. The Dharma Initiative didn't matter. Ben and Widmore didn't matter. Not even Desmond mattered. Anyone could have removed the plug in the sink drain of life, they just would have died where Desmond survived. But Desmond died anyway, because we saw him in the church in purgatory. The entirety of every plot was rendered irrelevant and it's hard to think otherwise. The grand scope of the show turned into Jack growing as a person and getting to fix something, this time it being the island and the human life stream. Once he fulfilled his purpose, he was ready to move on with his friends into the afterlife. Nothing else mattered in the grand scheme of the show. In fact, I would argue that the show would make much more sense if you simply watched the pilot episode, so you can be introduced to Jack and the people he will learn to care about, and then watch season six. Don't watch anything else. There's no need. The rest of season one, and all of seasons two through five add nothing to the finality of the plot. Nothing.

So this is where I'm at right now. I'm obviously a little disappointed. Some people have said how you can throw out 30% of a show as episodes that aren't needed. Even for a show like The Sopranos. It could be cut down a bunch, trim the fat if you will. And this same thing has been said of Lost now. But 30% is wrong. What isn't needed for the way the show was ended is really more like 70-80%. Most everything that happened didn't matter. Remember Walt and Libby and Mr. Eko and Eloise Hawking? Yeah, you do now, but think back on Lost in a few months and you won't remember a single scene they were in because none of them mattered.

The reason I started by saying I needed time to reflect was because it didn't have to be this way. They were so close to a fantastic series finale, as I stated. If they simply changed the ending somehow, the show becomes a smashing success in my mind. Let's pretend they made the ending really sketchy and confusing, like old times. What if we didn't understand that the sideways universe was purgatory and they were all dead? Just simply making the ending unintelligible, the rest of the series is suddenly fantastic again. It all matters because we don't know if it doesn't. We are left with a ton of unanswered questions, but can at least speculate on why they weren't answered and what was left. What's the point of speculating now when the end result is all the characters die and we were watching them all after they had been dead? What they accomplished while they were alive suddenly becomes not as important.

To sum up the unimportance of everything once believed to be integral, just think about the character of Desmond. In the real world, as I already established, he was a pointless character. He had these special powers that ended up being of no use to anyone. His work could have been done by any other character. So, what about Desmond in purgatory? He was, again, pointless. His huge, special duty was to reunite everyone and connect the worlds. But many of the characters did this without his help, and the ones who needed his help were really just guided to events they needed to witness or people they needed to meet. Desmond was a chauffeur and nothing more.

I guess the saddest part is that Lost quickly entered the world of being impossible to re-watch with any enjoyment. I was looking forward to that the most: going back and watching a random episode from season three and connecting pieces I had previously not understood. Now, if I go back and watch pretty much any episode from any season, the only thing I will realize is how much story ended up not mattering in the least.

So, yeah, the creators tied up all the loose ends that needed tying. The show is definitely wrapped up. There isn't really anything to speculate on. Mission accomplished. I just wish, for once, I hadn't understood what had happened on Lost.

1 comment:

  1. You got it all backwards. The show is symbolic of life itself. Everyone dies at some point. Not everyone was dead at the end of the show, but ultimately they all will be and that's why they were together in the after life. In life, your experiences matter, but to understand them is virtually impossible. Everything that happened on the island mattered to those people experiencing those very things. Yet they didnt try to explain any of what the island was, leaving it all open for your confusion and enjoyment. All they explained was the flash sideways and how these people, via their experiences, were forever connected. Perfect.