Last Sunday, Annie and I were the last two people admitted into the Baghdad Theater in SE Portland, where the finale of LOST was playing on the big screen for free. We grabbed a pair of seats, a pitcher of beer, and bravely faced the end of a television era, an event six years in the making. So, how did it go?
In many ways, LOST was the quintessential TV show. It contained a little bit of everything. It had character driven drama. It had mystery, intrigue and more cliffhangers than Stallone could shake a stick at. It gave us everything we wanted in good television, except the answers. And the finale was no different.
But before we could even get to the finale, we had to sit through an exhaustive retrospective of the LOST universe in the form of a two hour recap. It was another in a long list of recaps that have preceded season openers and closers, as if everyone watching the last episode ever were just a bunch of newcomers looking to be a part of this whole LOST nonsense. For me, the recap kind of killed the finale in terms of emotional resonance. I know I didn’t really have to watch this recap, but if I wanted to see it on the big screen I did, and by the time the finale really got under way I was already dipping into my ‘sappy TV montage’ reserves, as the whole 2 hour recap served as a “sweetest memories” collection from the last six seasons.
As for the finale, it worked and it didn’t, in very much the same fashion that the series itself did/did not work. I was simultaneously satisfied and bitter about the end. I felt it was at once an inevitable conclusion and a far reaching desperate grab at sentimentality. And that’s the way the show has worked from day one.
On island: The conclusion to the Locke vs. Jack story was perfect. We finally get to the light in the island, and predictably, it’s powered by a random stone stopper in a well. Desmond can go down there because of his electromagnetic abilities (why?) and pulls out the cork. As Jacob explained earlier, that cork is supposedly what keeps evil at bay in the world. So, the light dies and a red crimson glow engulfs the waters. This act nullifies, basically, everyone’s supernatural ability on the island, making Locke mortal (as well as Richard) and also begins the act of destroying the island.
Now, see how none of that is really explained or logical? Why is a cork causing light? Why does the uncorking mortalize otherwise immortal beings? No answers, but like the rest of the show, it’s still compelling – and it sets up the best fight sequence in LOST history. The final showdown between Jack and Locke was spectacular, simply put. All in all, I loved everything that happened on island. Six great characters lived to escape, Hurley became the island’s defender, and asked Ben to help. Kate and Jack expressed their love for each other. It all ended as it should have. The other reality? Well, that’s still under debate.
Off island: The reveal at the end that the sideways reality was a purgatory state for our now deceased characters was both overly predictable, and I think less impacting than it was meant to be. It tried to hit too many emotions, and tried to incorporate too many minor characters.
The sentimentality is something that’s just overplayed in this show. Too many montages, too many long goodbyes and tears welling up, too much sad piano music. It’s the same stuff we saw all season, all six seasons, especially in 2 hour recap extravaganzas. We are all waiting to say goodbye, just walk into the fucking light already!
Alright, here’s the thing. The creators, Damen Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, knew there was no way to fully wrap this up. LOST, like other great TV shows (cough cough X-Files), just opened up too many doors and left them open, went sideways both in reality and tone too often, and overall dragged on too long as it was. It’s inconsistency in plot and development was it’s hindrance.
Yet the genius move in this last season was how the show told us all, directly told us, to let it go. Let it be the mystery. Let it end. And I think this season has been a cathartic end to the journey. I’m sad in some undefinable way that it’s over and I will miss it as a show, but I have truly just let it pass on, and I think that’s the ultimate victory in this finale. It says goodbye and tells us not to mourn. I certainly won’t.
But, if you guys do decide on some spin offs here’s a Quick Top 5 choices you could make.
1) Fantastic Island. The continuing adventures of Hurley and Ben Linus. They could just call each other number one and number two the whole time. That and Ben saying, “The plane, the plane” really ominously when another jet liner crashes.
2) Frank Lapidus-Pilot for Hire. An Indiana Jones style adventure series starring everyone’s favorite fly boy, Frank!
3) Richard Alpert is Lost in New York City! A 17th Century man transported to modern day city living. Keep an eye out for crazy Miles, Richard’s neighbor with a chatterbox ghost for a room mate.
4) My Two Mommies. Kate and Claire team up to raise baby Aaron while struggling with the every day pressures and still being kind of crazy from living on that fucking island so long.
5) Law and Sawyer. I would actually love it if Sawyer really became a cop. He’s a reformed con man gone straight. And since Law and Order is also ending, maybe this is just the show to fill that court room procedural hole in your heart.