Monday, May 24, 2010

Lost - Last One!

I would like to first thank the writers, creators, actors and whoever else worked on Lost for six years of the most involving, entertaining, thought provoking, and challenging television viewing years of my life.

No, it wasn’t always easy. At times it was downright traumatizing. Those looking from the outside of this series will usually deride Lost for the use of monsters and time travel and label it a silly and confusing science fiction show. What with the flash backs and flash forwards and flash sideways (which were anything but, as we learned last night) it was impossible to figure out what was going on.

But those people are outside the show for a reason: they never watched. Sure they may have watched an episode here and there, but never fully WATCHED Lost in the way it was meant to be watched. Namely, with others; with debate; with actual thought; with philosophical research; with occasional nose bleeds and spiraling alcoholism.

Lost was like no other television show ever. I’m fairly confident when I say we’ll never see anything like it again. Every detail from milk cartons to books to phrases to character names were created to provoke discussion. Ben introducing himself as Henry Gale, Sawyer reading ‘Watership Down’, the blood on Jack’s neck that kept reappearing this season, the psychic telling Claire her baby should be raised ‘by no other’, Sun’s infidelity all prompted excited and highly entertaining lunch time discussions.

What those outside the Lost universe will never realize was it was never about any of that. It was always about the characters. Characters who were more flawed, complex, troubled and struggling (in a word: human) than anything ever put on the small screen. We’ve been rooting for even the darkest of them to find redemption. To discover out their true purpose. Those were the true reasons those flash every-which-ways were so effective – it gave us an unflinching view into the motivations behind all these people.

Even better, it opened up doors with coworkers and acquaintances that may never have been there otherwise. Being a Lost viewer has prompted discussions and opened up larger (and I hope long lasting) friendships that surpass the actual show. Lost is simply the common ground we used to build on. How many of us have heard ‘Are you talking about Lost?’ and some stranger is now involved in last week’s episode discussion. Or ‘You watch Lost? I never knew that! What do you think is going to happen with…’

While I can’t say what will happen with a majority of my Lost friends, I do know three of them are with me for life (much to their chagrin) and I would pull a Jack to make sure they lived a long, healthy, happy life.

What other television show can say that?

Enough with the syrup and sap, let’s get to the show. I’ll assume we’ve all watched by now so will scrap the recap and give you a highlight – lowlight version of the finale. Thankfully there are many more highlights.

Highlight: All the actors who seemed to bring their A game. Hurley’s terror when he realized what Jack was asking him was heartbreaking as was Hurley’s simple request to Ben to be his second in command. Ben shocked, touched, confused and honored. Fake Locke realizing he could be hurt. Sawyer finally recognizing Juliet. Everyone nailed it last night.

Highlight: Actual suspense. Was I the only one on the edge of their seat when that knife was heading towards Jack’s neck? That it was part of an epic fight was a bonus. There were also a few moments when I thought ‘Is Fake Locke actually going to win?’ and I wasn’t just referring to the fight, but to the entire ‘destroy the island’ plan.

Lowlight: The explanation for the Real World. Not only was I referring to it completely incorrectly in these recaps, but I thought it was a bit of a cop out. Didn’t hate it, but thought they had missed a more interesting take considering it followed Ben and Hurley having a discussion about how to make new rules regarding the island. I thought Hurley creating a new rule that would give anyone who sacrificed for the island a new lease on another life would have been an option.

Highlight: Many goose bump inducing moments: Charlie seeing Claire after coming on stage with Drive Shaft; Sawyer and Juliet’s reunion; Kate’s heartfelt thank you to Charlie (and his befuddled ‘It’s just a towel’ response); Kate’s goodbye to Jack on the island; Richard realizing he got his first gray hair; even Sayid and Shannon’s forced, awkward reunion had a bit of passion to it.

Lowlight: Captain Frank still being alive. I’ve given Lost a LOT of leeway over the past six years – time travel, magical moving islands, smoke monsters who can read minds - and this was the first time I groaned ‘Oh come on!’ regarding a turn of events. Even worse was he just needed a little water and was as good as new. Maybe it was Jacob blessed water??

Highlight: Sense of humor. Usually a series coming to an end – even comedies – tend to get ultra serious, but Lost kept is irreverent charm with moments like:

Charlie waking up with ‘I was shot by a fat man’

Jin and Sun grinning like maniacs while Sawyer interviewed them.

Hurley telling Sayid ‘That’s Charlie’ after dumping his unconscious body in to the back of his Hummer.

Claire looking around wondering what the drugged out bass player of Drive Shaft was staring at.

Sawyer referring to Desmond as ‘the magic leprechaun’ and Hurley as ‘Bigfoot’.

Juliet’s ‘your English is actually very good’ after Sun and Jin became Island aware.

Ben’s ‘I guess things are progressing’ after Captain Frank angrily tells him to stop bother him by radioing in on the progress of the Ajira plane.

Kate: ‘Christian Sheppard? Really?’

Highlight: The final scene which leaves Lost in perfect symmetry.

Lowlight: Fixing the Ajira plane with a new window and some duct tape. Would it really have been possible to take off in that sand?

Highlight: Several visceral thrills that include Fake Locke’s stunning and horrifying realization he is now mortal; Kate’s ‘I saved a bullet for you’; the very final scene with Ajira flying over a dying Jack; the dread when Fake Locke threatens Desmond with Rose’s murder (‘I’ll make it hurt’); Kate and Sawyer’s dizzying cliff diving.

Lowlight: Claire’s self doubt at the exact wrong moment. While I could appreciate her self realization that she’s a loony tune, her whiny ‘I’m not ready to be a mother’ was ill timed and struck me as childish. I was hoping Kate would slap her before dragging her by the hair to the plane. ‘I just lost the man I love and am sick of you pissy attitude, missy!’

Highlight: The opening, dialogue free montage that sets up the people while reminding us Lost is also a powerfully visual show.

Highlight: Leaving the entire show open to interpretation. The entire series was built on viewer debate and theories and guessing. How could it end any other way?

What We Learned

- Rose and Bernard white flashied back to present time, got Desmond out of the well (against their better judgment), found a hair club for men on the island for Bernard, and build one hell of a hut that lasted 30 something years.

- When the golden light goes out, all the rules are off. Jack can kill Fake Locke, Fake Locke can kill Jack and the candidates, Hurley could lose some weight. Anything can happen.

- Real World wasn’t real at all, but a form of purgatory. Can’t help but think that was Lost flipping the bird to all the people who insisted the island was purgatory from the beginning.

- Oh, and everyone is dead. I should mention that.

- Bad things really do happen when the light goes out.

- Hurley becomes Jacob, Ben becomes Richard.

- Jack is not a quick learner. First he lets Fake Locke’s free hand grab a rock and bash him upside the head with it, then he lets Fake Locke’s free hand grab the knife. Diversify, Jack. At the very least kick the knife off the ledge first.

- Desmond survived the island, but not for lack of trying.

- Vincent the dog and Captain Frank are immortal.

- Kate + slinky black dress = pure awesomeness.

- The blood on Jack’s neck and stomach scar are from his fight with Fake Locke.

- Richard is alive.

- Jack’s plan to kill Fake Locke was a surprise. To even himself, it would seem.

- Juliet is Jack’s ex wife in the Real World. Um…Purgatory World?

- Shannon is Sayid’s true love which makes all this Nadia obsession that much more perplexing.

- Nothing is irreversible. Including Jack making a mess of his relationship with Kate.

- Jack was wrong. It was a habit of his.

- Desmond has literally been everywhere on that island.

- Fake Locke doesn’t like the whole ‘Wow, these punches to my face really hurt’ aspect of life.

- Jack is Kate’s true love.

- The golden light is behind a door in some Los Angeles church, too.

- Drive Shaft is a one hit wonder for a reason.

- Faraday is just as odd as a musician as when he was a physicist.

- Smokey is dead. Uh…but not dead and in that Purgatory World, just dead on the island world. Would have been awkward if Smokey snaked his way into the church at the end.

- Claire is going to be a terrible mother.

- Ben would have gone down with the island.

- Juliet knows how to steal from the vending machine.

- Ben is sorry for shooting, lying to, and murdering Locke.

- Hurley was a great number one and Ben was a very good number two. I think Hurley was referring to going number two.

According to Christian:

- Jack is real in Purgatory World, Christian is real, everything that happened to Jack is real (with the exception of those crazy tattoos – unspoken) and everyone in the church is real. This means everyone has died; some before Jack, others ‘long after’.

Unanswered Questions

- Is everyone in that Purgatory World dead? Miles? Faraday? That roadie at the concert? The nurse helping Jack with Locke?

- If everyone is dead but this world looks just like everyday life, how do you know you’re actually dead? I find it depressing that when I die my life goes on like I’m still alive until I become aware I’m dead. If I don’t have to go to work, I want to know right away.

- If everyone is dead, how could they be murdered by Sayid?

- What happens to the people left behind? Will Miles file a missing person’s report on Sawyer? Will Jack’s son wander around calling for his mother and father? Did Ben stay behind so he could nail Rousseau?

- What would Locke have done if he couldn’t walk? That church didn’t look handicap accessible by any means.

- Do you think Fake Locke was kicking himself for not planning out the possibility of becoming mortal when the light went out as he was falling down the cliff?

- What would have happened if the island sank? Would the entire world have collapsed in on itself?

- Could Locke have picked a worse place to moor that sailboat? How about at a friggin’ dock, you moron!

- Once the light was back on, why didn’t the island’s healing power take over and fix Jack? Does it take a while for that to warm up?

- How will Richard adjust to being mortal and in the real world? Is he just happy he’s normal again or will the discovery of the internet ruin his life?

- Why were Sun and Jin so happy when they shared memories of themselves drowning in the sub? That wasn’t exactly a feel good ending.

- How can you be pregnant in Purgatory? What happens if she moves on with the fetus in her belly? Will she be perpetually pregnant?

- Can you gain weight in Purgatory?

- Why did neither Desmond nor Jack turn into a smoke monster like Man in Black did? Didn’t Mother tell Jacob that anyone who goes down into the golden well will never be the same again? Isn’t that how Smokey was created?

- What were all those skeletons in the well? Were those people who died trying to steal the light?

- How long did Hurley run the island and is a spinoff in the works?

- Could Ben and Hurley have opened up the island for tourism and made a fortune by pretending the golden light was simply a manufactured product? Hide it in plain sight, make believe the stories are folktales and sell tours through the cavern for $50 a pop. Nobody would believe it was real.

- How did Boone become Island Aware? And shouldn’t he have been pissed at Locke for setting him up in that small airplane?

- Would Mr Ekko have ended this entire ordeal three years ago? Yes, I think he would have.

- Who was shooting at the boat during last year’s time traveling? Not going to tell us, are you, Lost?

- How did Captain Frank find his way out of Island airspace? Did he just fly around in circles until he got lucky? Did he run out of fuel and crash again? Does the Island mystique end at 20,000 feet?

- You notice how Jack died at the exact spot he landed during the plane crash? Even the sneaker was still stuck to the tree! Is it possible that Jack died during Oceanic 815 and this entire show was his delirious, dying dreams? Or was he revived by Jacob (or Vincent the Wonder Dog) in order to serve his purpose and die where he should have years ago?

Alternate Endings

Since I was disappointed in the explanation behind Purgatory World, here are two other options I thought would have been better.

1: Hurley is in charge and makes a new guardian rule that anyone who sacrificed for the island has a choice of staying or leading their lives in Real World.

2: Fake Locke actually succeeds in destroying the island, only this has the unforeseen effect of erasing everything that happened on it. Time reboots, he and Jacob are never born on the island, never raised by Mother Psycho, Richard never lands on it, Oceanic never crashes and this entire season for our Oceanic friends is how their lives would have turned out if the island never existed.

It also explains why the island is under water in the season opener.

Still, it’s tough to argue with a fantastic episode like last night. Sure, there were some question marks, but it was funny, touching, engaging, exciting and will provoke debate forever.

We wouldn’t have it any other way.

Today's distraction: Another viewer's take on the final episode. I'm sure we've all made up our own minds, but I enjoy another take.


A Tribute: deer a train and basketball said...

I thought the ending was awesome. I kind of predicted earlier this season that Purgatory was some how going to be involved. Either way I'm glad it ended the way it did. I will miss your posts though.

BeachBum said...

Thanks, Trib. I'll admit I might be wandering around in a daze now that this is over. Considering the amount of chatter over how it ended, the writers did their job in creating debate and speculation.

One question I forgot to add:

Why did Locke need a hairnet when he was going in for spinal surgery?

A Tribute: deer a train and basketball said...

Haha... nice!