Tuesday, June 08, 2010
Lost: The End
I'm way late talking about this, so just some quick thoughts on the end of Lost.
I've held off buying the DVDs because I wanted to see how the show ended before deciding if I wanted to own the whole thing. I won't be buying the DVDs.
The SPOILER-filled why not, after the break.
I haven't been an obsessive Lost fan. I haven't been one of those folks who kept a notebook by the TV to track every hint and clue. That said, there were a couple of huge mysteries early on that really captured my imagination and I wanted to know the answers to: Walt's superpowers and the prophecies of doom surrounding Aaron. Neither of which (unless I've missed something) have been explained. Disappointing.
But yes, I understand that for the show's producers, it's all about the characters and the drama. I heard that message loud and clear these last couple of months and adjusted my expectations accordingly. And for the most part, the finale delivered on that in spades. How cathartic to see Sawyer and Juliet together again. How perfect to have Hurley become the island's protector with Ben as his second. How wonderful that Sun and Jin have a second chance at life with their daughter. How awesome that Locke's alive and walking again. And I freaking cried when Claire and Charlie reconnected. I guess I'd forgotten how much I'd invested in them as a couple.
But, oh wait. None of that actually counts (except for the Hurley and Ben part). Because the "sideways" world, that I was so loving and becoming invested in up until the last few minutes of the episode, isn't any kind of reality at all. It's some kind of after-life meet-up spot outside of time that the characters have created for themselves so that they can enter the real after-life together. In other words, everyone's dead and we've been watching them in Heaven all season as they start to remember their physical lives.
I wanted more for them than that. A lot more.
So, yes, I get that it's all about the characters and their relationships. But that's exactly why I'm disappointed with how it ended. Jack died alone on the island. Locke was still strangled by Ben in a hotel room. Charlie's still lying at the bottom of the ocean. Who the hell knows what happened to crazy Claire when she got home? Or to Kate? Or Sawyer? All I know about Sawyer is that he spent the rest of his life mourning Juliet. Knowing that he found her again in Heaven doesn't make that better for me.
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I don't know, I liked it. And I really didn't think I would, considered I don't believe in any sort of "afterlife". I just liked it as a great ending for this show.
The stuff they went through on the island (and off of it, sometimes) mattered, made them help others and in the end, themselves.
Yeah, I guess that is more character-based. But when the show runners were unsure of an end date, maybe they tried to add stuff to push future story. But when they knew it was all finite, they let some stuff go by the wayside. I am okay with that.
Liked it, a lot.
"The stuff they went through on the island (and off of it, sometimes) mattered, made them help others and in the end, themselves."
That's true. And maybe that needs to be enough for me.
Ironically, I think it would've been had the final episode not gotten my hopes up that everyone was going to get to have swell lives together.
The morning after I watched the finale I could remember NONE of it. I think it was my mind's way of dealing with all the unanswered stuff that had been building up from January since I started watching the show from the beginning.
Ashes to Ashes ended the same way but better: In England, Heaven is in a pub.
Cal, I was sort of jealous of your getting to consume it all in one big chunk, but I can see now that that would've made the finale even more frustrating.
Sleestak, I've been wanting to watch that show. How does it compare to the British Life on Mars?
For what it's worth, the "official" answer to Walt is that he has special powers (because people in the Lost world sometimes do, like Hurley and Miles), was taken by the Others (either because of his powers, or because they just take kids for reasons that have been lazily left to us, the audience, to decide) and then released when he turned out to be more trouble than he was worth (because of his powers).
As for Aaron, apparently, we were supposed to believe the psychic when he told Eko he was a fraud in season two, so there was no prophecy of doom surrounding Aaron, despite the fact that his insistence that Claire TAKE FLIGHT 815 AND NO OTHER TO LA suggested he wasn't a fraud, and that another character later said he wasn't a fraud.
So after training us to believe the show and not what characters say, the whole Aaron prophecy/"Was the psychic a fraud?" story was left dangling and now Darlton is saying "yeah, he was a fraud, why didn't you believe him when he said as much in that one episode, despite us all always saying 'don't believe what characters say?'"
As you can tell, I'm still a bit frustrated at how the show ended, not because I needed every mystery or question answered but because there are a TON of dangling narrative threads, and before all this "character first" BS they were spewing throughout season six, the producers had led us to believe that Lost was a show that WOULD tie up all those dangling threads. So I enjoyed all the seemingly random and dropped threads throughout the years, content that eventually, it would all come together, and it turns out, I was lied to about that. Which really grinds my gears.
I enjoyed the final episode itself enough, though. I knew going in it wasn't going to miraculously tie up all those dangling plots so I wasn't upset when it didn't.
The flash sideways reveal definitely makes 1/2 of season six more or less pointless, but having never really invested much in it in the first place (I was always more interested in what was happening on the island) I wasn't bothered by the confirmation, in the end, of what I'd felt all season: that the sideways stuff didn't really matter that much to the overall narrative.
Sorry, double posting to get comments emailed to me...
Move along, nothing to see here...
Thanks for that about Walt. It helps me to remember that Hurley and Miles' powers have never been explained either. When Walt's were originally revealed, he was the only one, so I guess it stuck in my head more, but I can let it go knowing that powers like that just exist in the world of Lost.
I'd forgotten all about the psychic's claiming to be a fraud earlier. Probably because I was like you and didn't believe him, so I dismissed it.
I wish I was like you and hadn't gotten so wrapped up in sideways time. It really pulled at me when the characters started remembering the island and I imagined the possibility that they could have these wonderful, normal lives AND their memories of their relationships with each other.
Your reminding me about some of the earlier seasons brings to mind another loose thread that I didn't mention in the post. I've been trying to let it go because they at least addressed it this season, but I haven't been satisfied with how they wrapped up Cynthia Watros' storyline.
I'd been expecting a much bigger reveal than, "Yeah, she was crazy." I knew that already, guys. What I didn't know was how much she knew about Hurley's time in the hospital, how much she'd been cured, and whether it was the island that cured her or if she'd gotten help before getting on the plane.
My memory of her last days with Hurley are fuzzy though, so a big part of me does want to go back and rewatch that part. I still don't think I'll want to own the series, but rewatching it front-to-back would be interesting, even if I'm filling in big holes myself. There's fun to be had in that too.
I just don't think I want to relive those last ten minutes though.
but I haven't been satisfied with how they wrapped up Cynthia Watros' storyline.
Ditto. She's another huge dropped/dangling plot. And it was one thing when they had the excuse "well, we want to tell her story, but we can't get the actress back"; that's understandable, like Walt's story getting downplayed because the actor hit puberty, grew eight feet and started sounding like a grizzled longshoreman.
But then they actually got Cynthia Watros to come back, but couldn't be arsed to find a way to resolve her story.
The "official" jist of her story is that she was married to a man named Dave, who bought a sailboat and named it after her. Then Dave died and Libby went a little crazy with grief and ended up in the same mental hospital as Hurley, which was just another example of the coincides of life that pop in so many Losties' stories. She got better, randomly gave the boat to Desmond (coincidence, again, and not for some plot reason) and then ended up on flight 815 with a guy she was once in the mental hospital with, who, after crashing, she shared a brief romance with before getting killed in the place that was once manned by the guy who reached that place thanks to her boat.
I was planning on doing a rewatch when the show was over, and still will, at some point, but I'm certainly less excited to do so now.
When I still believed the producers were intent on crafting a coherent narrative, I was excited to do a rewatch to see how it all fit together.
Now, I'll do a rewatch, but it'll probably just frustrate me because I'll be reminded of even more pieces that didn't fit then and still don't (or don't fit unless I make them fit, which, as a member of the audience and not the show's creative staff, isn't my job).
"Now, I'll do a rewatch, but it'll probably just frustrate me because I'll be reminded of even more pieces that didn't fit then and still don't (or don't fit unless I make them fit...)"
That's exactly where I'm at.
So I used to watch your blog ALL THE TIME but I haven't been paying attention to LJ, where I've been importing it, so...
A few things: Jack didn't die alone. He died with Vincent. And he died flashing over to the Sideways world realizing that he was wrong all along: they don't live together or die alone. They live together and die together. Why else would that final scene in the Sideways world be so important? Jack died for something MORE than himself, and that coupled with the shot-for-shot parallel of the beginning was really powerful.
In hindsight, and there's only so much I can say about this until I watch the show back in its entirety, which I will be doing, I think the writers could've done a better job answering questions. I think they could've done a better job with pacing of the Temple scenes and I also think they could've structured the Sideways world so that it was obvious that SOMETHING WASN'T QUITE RIGHT with it, because the little clues were so very easy to overlook.
That said, whether they all went to heaven or just moved on to a new portion of their lives, I think them all meeting there, and remembering their real lives together, they were getting that second chance so many of us were hoping for. Because who's to say what's next when we die? I think Lost was trying to show us that ultimately, death isn't the end, and for that matter, neither was the Sideways world.
Regarding Walt and Aaron: I think Walt's been explained in the above comments, but I think Aaron kind of turned into a recurring motif of kidnapped babies (look at Alex) and the product of demented mothers. That "Across the Sea" episode gave us quite the template for showing us what was the start of so many themes in the show, and Aaron became a motivating factor for a lot of people, and in the end, a way for Kate to get Claire off the island.
That said, one thing to remember is that when this show started, it was SO EASY to latch onto certain mysteries, and they still seem SO IMPORTANT because those were the first set of mysteries we received. I'm not saying the writers did a great job answering questions, and I may very well change my mind once I get to watch the show knowing its ending, but I was beyond satisfied. However, I still can't answer for people whether or not the LOST journey will be worth it for them. It's not a polarizing show so much as it is, well, maybe a reflection of who the viewers are and what they want? That's not right either, but how one feels about LOST is so much about the individual experience that I can't easily recommend it to people who gave up on it. Not yet, anyway.
First of all, thanks so much for the comment. That's what I miss most about LJ: talking to you about TV.
I'm re-watching Alias on DVD (building up to Season Five, which I've still not seen past the first couple of episodes) and it's reminding a lot me of those days. :)
"...whether they all went to heaven or just moved on to a new portion of their lives, I think them all meeting there, and remembering their real lives together, they were getting that second chance so many of us were hoping for. Because who's to say what's next when we die? I think Lost was trying to show us that ultimately, death isn't the end, and for that matter, neither was the Sideways world."
This gives me some hope that I'll one day be able to re-watch the last episode with a more optimistic perspective. I'm hoping that the Out of Nowhereness of Christian's explanation caught me so off-guard that I wasn't able to consider more subtle possibilities, like their actually getting to live and spend time together in whatever next afterlife they went to.
There's a big part of me that would prefer the writers had spelled that out, but I'm willing to imagine and believe it as long as the loop-hole is there.
I miss it too! I'm just so wrapped up in book blogging that I've gotten away from talking TV, and since I watch so much of it, it's just hard to keep up. Also, I refused to talk LOST during the final season, because I defended BATTLESTAR GALACTICA up until the final five episodes or so, and that show let me down so badly on an intellectual/story-telling level that I didn't want to jinx myself with LOST. :)
Ah, ALIAS: Greg and I started re-watching that last summer. We got through season three, and will pick it up again this summer, I hope. :)
Here's part one of a fantastic article form one of my FAVORITE LOST critics. Some of the stuff he says is insane, but some of it's pretty interesting. I highly recommend reading just for giggles and brain-twists. :)
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