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Monday, May 24, 2010

The Televangelist: 'Lost' Series Finale

click to enlarge DUDE: Dude ... Dude?  Dude!
  • DUDE: Dude ... Dude? Dude!

Two words: it worked.

... Right?

Where to begin? To give this Epic Event its due, I need to break it down into three parts:  Reunions, The Plug and The Last 10 Minutes.  In retrospect I should have done a photographic timeline to show my changing moods, but in any case, I'm trying to get this post out as fast as I can so let's roll!

Reunions

This worked for me.  Every time people in the sideways timeline became aware of their island selves, I was pleased.  Yes, it's true ... I might have even shed a few jears.  As couples and friends were reunited, it reminded me who these people were and why, at least at one point, I cared about them.  The timelines effectively merged (despite Eloise's warnings - why was she against this?), so that our alt-timeline quasi-strangers remembered their other lives in full and in one fell swoop so that we got a double emotional gratification - that Dead is not Dead, and nothing was a waste*.  I don't know who made me the most emotional - Jin and Sun finally coming together with their baby, Claire and Charlie finding each other a la Penny and Desmond, or Juliet and Sawyer in the Apollo-bar-of-destiny "it worked" moment.  Or was it John Locke, who finally caught a goddamn break?

Of course, easily annoyed viewers like myself will be quick to note the absence of so many of our favorite cast members like, say, all the black people - where was Eko? Walt? Michael? all those other randoms we met along the way?  I won't harp on this, though - at this point in 4.5 hour finale event I was pretty satisfied with the emotional payout, while simultaneously raging against the suffocating amount of commercial breaks (without one "True Blood" promo as had originally been promised!)  And then came ...

The Ancient Unexplained Plug of Yore

So not only is the island a cork, but there's a cork IN the island.  After the "glowing toilet of magic" episode, I gave up on the island mythology.  This had been my favorite part of "Lost," and the least-considered by Darlton (in my mind).  If you're looking for plot holes, confusion and contradiction, the Plug welcomes you to its lair.  For one, apparently being Jacob is no big deal.  It doesn't afford you any special powers or protection, and you can pass it along without any incantation.  Jacob had no idea how much trouble he was going to over nothing!  Also, if he hadn't been such a 'fraidy cat, he could have gone and pulled that plug LONG ago, therefore rendering MIB human and able to die.  Or something.  (I mean, how understated was Kate shooting him and that being it, after all this time and all the trouble he caused?)

It seems that, ultimately, none of that mattered, which is a shame.  I do believe that Darlton had a clear idea of how they wanted certain key characters to mature and where they were ultimately headed - that you can make your own choice to be a force for good and awaken to your potential at any time (this is starting to sound like the basis of an Oprah Book Club selection) - but as far as island mysteries go, I can't help but think every episode was a surprise to them as much as it was to us.

The Last 10 Minutes

Finally, we come to the moments that will divide fans forever. It's the "Who Shot JR? moment, the "Seinfeld" ending, the "Sopranos" cut-off all over again.  Either you loved it or you hated it or you will be confused and somewhat annoyed for the rest of your life.  I'm not even entirely sure what happened, to be honest.  Was it heaven?  Purgatory (except probably not, given that extremely heavy-handed non-denominational stained glass behind Jack), is it just Jack's heaven?  Or a collectively-created heaven where people go to "remember and let go?" Why are only couples invited?  Why is Christian alive?  Why did Dharma/ the time travel / the Freighter / Widmore / Abaddon / Dharma Sharks / Smokey / Walt / Polar Bears / etc matter?  To address my asterisk from earlier about whether their island lives were all meaningful or a waste (I'd like to think they meant something, or at least lead to off-island growth and happiness), it depends on how you interpret this last scene.  Believe me, I am looking for theories in the comments (at the moment of trying to post this as the episode finishes up, my brain is more than fried).

To quote Band of Horses, "the end's not near ... it's here."  Folks, I guess that's it.  I want to thank all of you who hung around this season and experienced "Lost" with me - It's been an amazing journey and I loved discussing it with so many of you.  This is actually the first finale of a major show that I've caught as it happened (finally).  I cannot wait to hear your thoughts / feelings / impressions on the series below - it may be the last time any of us discuss something so endearingly ridiculous (or ridiculously endearing) for quite some time.

See you in another blog, Brothas.

Musings and Miscellanea:

  • "... This would be so sweet if we weren't all about to die" - Hurley to Jack and Kate
  • Lapidus: can survive a sinking sub and fix a plane with duct tape
  • Did the Ajira plane leave the island?  What happened to those folks for the rest of their island-timeline life?  Do I sense a movie?
  • In "heaven," surely Sayid would be with Nadia, the love of his life rather than that vapid trollop Shannon.
  • Jack and Juliet seemed to have a rather amicable divorce.
  • I did like the eye opening to eye closing ... full circle.
  • Is it in "Lost" actor's contracts that they have to show up whenever the show needs them, even for a 5-second camera pan? (Looking at you, Liam Pace of DriveShaft)
  • I missed Smokey dying for many reasons, but especially because he had all the best lines - I loved the "old times in the Hatch" convo.
  • I really loved the "Lost"-themed Target commercials, especially the smoke detector.  As my friend Dekalb noted, the CGI Smoke seemed better on the commercial than in the show!  Speaking of, I couldn't help but laugh at those fakey styrofoam rocks during the island-quake.  Same goes for that amazingly bad  jump cut from the Ajira flight soaring off with uplifting music, then cut to Jack, "Meanwhile, back in Hell ...."
  • If the cabin really belonged on the MIB rather than Jacob, did he paint that portrait of Vincent?  Who do you guys think Vincent really was?  I think he was connected to Christian in some way.  Also, why was MIB such pals with Claire?
  • Locke forgiving Ben was a big moment - two fantastic actors sharing the screen one last time (sniff).  I was sure someone from the Emmy committee was going to walk out and give both Terry O'Quinn and Michael Emerson their due right then and there!
  • "See you in another life, Brother" - Jack to Des.
  • How did the MIB get flushed down to the magic light and shoot out as a Smoke Monster almost instantly?  There was an entire cavern down there!
  • "Jacob being who he was ... aren't you kinda the obvious choice?"  - Flocke to Jack, in yet another perfectly quotable moment.
  • Whatever happened to Richard?  Why did he say he finally wanted to live?  He's BEEN living for centuries - his people are all dead, what does he have to go back to?  I would think once he found the gray hair he would have wanted to slip, finally, into the sweet release of death.
  • Just as we always suspected, Desmond appears to be the key to everything.
  • But, in case we forgot it was still The Jack Shepard Show, the number 23 was all over the screen last night, from the table at the concert to the fateful Apollo Bar of Destiny's number choice on the vending machine.

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