Tuesday, May 25, 2010

LOST finale thoughts: the last big reveal

Before getting into the spoilers, I'll start off by saying I loved the Lost finale. I found it enormously satisfying, touching, rewarding to those who had spent the last six years watching, and entirely emotionally satisfying. After the paragraph break, I'll get into details, talk more about what I liked, and what you didn't.


First of all, I can't believe how many people posting online that in the end they thought they learned that everyone's first theory was true: that all the castaways died when Oceanic 815 crashed and the island was purgatory. What show were you watching? Did you make it to that scene in the church when Christian appears, hear the word "dead" and then turn off your TVs? There's absolutely no room left in the end to believe the castways died in the plane crash. Christian explicity states that everyone died, as everyone eventually does, some before Jack, and some many years later. Did you actually need him to speak the words "and most certainly not all at the same time in a plane crash."

This was not a cop-out ending. The dead-in-the-plane crash ending probably would've been. It would've meant nothing we watched for the last six years really happened. It woudl've invalidated the events on the island. Instead, what we learned was through the hardships on the island, these people who had been lost and alone forged real bonds, fell in love, and grew into a community - a community so strong that when they all eventually died, they created a new dimention - a sort of limbo (but not a purgatory) in which they reconnected, helped one another accept their deaths, and moved on to the next stage of existence. Far from invalidating the story we've been watching, it actually validates everything that happened. Every story we were told was a step they took closer together. Every hardship they endured strengthened the bonds they were building.

To paraphrase Lost: "Everything that happened, happened" and "everything that happened happened for a reason."

We didn't learn all of those reasons in the smaller sense, and for some that's going to sour the whole soup. For me, learning most of those smaller things was enough, since we learned bigger answers, including some that we didn't even realize we were asking. I can let go of not knowing why Kate was seeing horses on the island in exchange for learning the meaning of life. It's a fair trade for me.

Having heard in recent weeks that the producers intended to end the series in a way that left things open to intepretation, I was a little worried. I did not want a wholly ambiguous ending, though I didn't mind (and probably prefferred) and ending with some ambiguity. When we got what we got, I was actually surprised with how direct it really was.

There are still some things left to think about, though, and I'm glad of that too. The thing I'm thinking the most about now the makeup of the people in the church in the finals scenes of the sideways world, who was there - and who was not.

Michael and Walt: My wife and I were both fully expecting these two to show up, but why didn't they? Michael, we were told, was stuck on the island amongst the whispers. Since time was immaterial to the sideways world, I guess he remains there forever. Sad, but a fair explanation. As for Walt, Christian also stated that for everyone in the church, their experiences on the island were the most important of their lives. I'd like to think that with Walt leaving the island when he was so young, he went on to have more important experiences in his life, and forged greater connections with other people than he did with these castaways.

Miles - had it been up to me, Miles would've made it into that room too. The other freighter bunch I can understand were not as connected to this group, but Miles lived with some of them for years in Dharmaville. Surely Miles and Sawyer were tighter than, say, Sawyer and Boone, right? Perhaps the Walt explanation works for Miles too. As one of the few to survive and escape, he want on to forge more imporant bonds.

Vincent - Vincent 100% should've been in the church. I feel so strongly about this that I'm going to have to write another whole seperate piece about it later. Stay tuned!

Ana Lucia, Daniel Faraday/Widmore, Mr. Eko, Charlotte, etc. - I tottally get it. They just didn't have as strong a connection with this group.

Penny - But Penny makes the cut! Strange that. Sure, her connection with Desmond is totally strong enough for them to need to be together, but she's the only person in the room based on the connection she had with only one other person. What makes her the exception? Could we argue that somehow Penny had some degree of connection with other members of the group too? We could, but it would be a stretch.

Libby - Libby, similar to Penny, had a strong connection to only one other member of the group: Hurley (though she at least knew most of the others). Not a strong enough connection, I guess. Having been an important part of Hurley's earlier sideways epiphany, I would've expected her to be there.

Benjamin Linus - we'll get to, but first let's adress this question:

Who was really in the sideways world, and who wasn't?

Christian also explained that the sideways world was a world created by the castways so they could meet one another again and help prepare one another to move on. The place itself was not real, in the literal sense, and the places and some of the people there (such as Jack's son) were not real at all.

Still, I think that some of the people who we met along the way in that world really were real (at least in the same way out castaways really were there - in spirit form - as pure souls). Based on the conversation Desmond and Eloise had during the concert, I have to conclude that Eloise and Daniel were both real. From there, I'd have to guess Charlotte was too. From there, though, it gets really murkey.

What do you think about Nadia? I say not real. No sparks with Sayid and no connection to the group means not real for me. What to think, though, about his epiphany with Shannon? Was Shannon his true love after all? Sure looks that way.

what about Miles? Was that even him at all? Did he have enough of a connection to the group that his sideways limbo-whatever at least overlapped a bit with theirs? Is that the case with others we saw? Desmond's line about Ana Lucia not being ready certainly implies that she was real as well. Will Miles/Daniel/Charlotte/Eloise/etc eventually ascend together?

What about Benjamin Linus? No doubt that was really him, the onetime grand villain of Lost. For Benjamin, perhaps the sideways world was kind of a purgatory, though I think that if it is it's because that's what he's decided he deserves. Locke invites him in to the church, but it's Ben himself who decides he needs more time. I think he'll get there some day, and I'm surprised the series was able to get me to the point where I'd be glad for him about that.

And since I've gone on so long about the Sideways reveal, I think I'll end this post and write more about everything else later. The last big twist wound up blowing my mind one last time, just as I hoped it would, but it also left me with a great feeling about life and my own connections with friends and family, and thinking about who I'd be likely to meet again in my own sideways world before the next departure.

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