Thursday, May 27, 2010

obligatory lost post (but i'd write it even if it wasn't obligatory)

I've been putting this off for a couple of days. Hopefully I get all my thoughts in, but it's not super long. I don't think it'll be super long. I'll just say the important stuff this time.

First of all let me say that watching the Lost finale reminded me how much I love the show. Now I'm more interested in watching the whole thing over again than I was before. I've quibbled on the technique by which they're shown, but I love these characters. I love these people.

That said, I still stand behind what I previously said about the legacy of the show becoming a disappointment when looking back on the finale. I still love the show, but that's the way it is. I think I can still love a show and also have mild disappointment at the same time.

Everything matters. That's what was told to us. We got to see Boone and Shannon there in the temple and I thought the same thing I thought way back in season 1 when Boone died, do they matter? At all? Kate's horse? Tall, wet Walt? (Although seeing Nikki and Paolo in the temple would have been AWESOME.)

Let me take a paragraph here and say something positive about this same subject. Throughout the series many many many people died. Eventually I think I tended to get the infantry soldier's "thousand-yard stare" when I thought about how useless it is that these people are dying. For what? What's the big secret? What mystery is so important that so many innocents die? I found it very troubling. Now, with the finale the big thing they addressed is death. Death wasn't the finality presented to us in the 120 previous episodes. Everybody dies. That's not important though. What's important is whether or not you're able to "move on" once you're there.

I am not saying they needed to cover a laundry list of answers and just check them off. What I'm saying and what I tried to say in the previous post is that I feel they needed to at least more ambiguously connect some answered questions to each other so that it doesn't look like they simply forgot most of them. And it DOES look like that. It's my opinion, but I would venture that MOST people who watched the entirety of the show now feel like many of the mysteries weren't just not answered, but blatantly swept under the rug hoping we won't notice. My opinion. Let's address these things one by one later.

So as I mentioned in the previous post, Carlton Cuse has stated that the final image of the show is the same final image they discussed for ending the show way back in season 1. As I watched the finale I had this in my mind. So the final image is... a hugfest in a church in purgatory. Okay, fine. I especially liked that it was six seasons worth of hugging and not just one. Too bad Eko wasn't in there. I'm sure he was supposed to be, but I hear the actor doesn't want anything to do with the show, so that's a big loss (of course maybe he wasn't "ready" -- he was religious, but also a killer).

Anyway, I get the sinister feeling that the plan from season 1 wasn't to have them get off the island, then struggle to get back on, then struggle for and against the two island "deities," then split into two realities, then pick a new "Jacob," etc. BUT I do believe that they planned on ending the show in the alt-reality purgatory church. I may be a negative nellie on this one, but I think it's obvious that the creators decided very early on that the island was, indeed, purgatory, but were miffed that the fans guessed it so incredibly fast. They then thought of the sideways universe as the new purgatory and ended the show as originally planned. I guess it's not that horrible. I just can't wait for them to admit it five years from now.

I see this attitude with a more minor plot point. Is there a good reason why we don't know the Man in Black's name? It's not just that his name is a mystery, it's that nobody on the show even bothers to wonder (see, this is the under the rug sweeping I kind of mean). We learn later that Jacob and MiB are brothers. Was MiB's name going to be Esau? Seems like an apt moniker right? I think the creators never mentioned his name because they were miffed that the fans guessed it TEN MINUTES after the character was introduced.

Okay, getting into the details again. I apologize.

Actually one more detail. Did the hydrogen bomb do anything? I'm not complaining, just wondering. Did the show use the bomb as a misdirection to make us think it caused the sideways universe, but the sideways universe was actually just a perception of the afterlife? I actually sort of like that idea. That means when Juliet said "it worked" while dying in Sawyer's arms, she wasn't speaking of the hydrogen bomb working, but of their whole lives -- because she was speaking as someone who was able to find Sawyer again in death.

Anyway, the creators were smart to make the ending about the relationships of the characters rather than answering some big huge mystery. I think it's short-term smart though because the sentiment won't last and won't be as legendary as the more mysterious aspects of the show. One thing they could have tried would be to pull a 180 and pose the biggest question ever right at the end and then finish it. That may be seen as a giant "screw you" to the fans though.

So mysteries aside. It's about the characters. And that's where I think the finale really... failed.

Now on to character nit-picking. At least that's what this will be viewed as. I won't go through everyone, but I struggle a lot with the show's presentation of the "goodness" of Locke. This was the biggest answer I've been waiting for on the show for the past three years.

I'm incredibly surprised I seem to be the only one who feels this way, but the instant Locke finagled the morally-struggling John Ford to do his dirty work and kill "the real Sawyer" in order for Locke to be properly initiated into the others; my impression of the character was embittered in totality. I find this action worse than murder. I hated how Jack came to the conclusion that Locke was "right." Perhaps Locke was right in believing in the island and its importance, but Locke was dead wrong in his actions that carried out what he believed. Just believing in something doesn't validate actions. Locke was right. Ben was wrong. They were both Machiavellian in their pursuits, but Locke doesn't get a free ride for his actions just because of his thoughts.

Obviously the creators and the fans feel differently. That's too bad. It's a taint I guess I'll always see and I'll keep it with me forever I guess. If what I'm feeling was more fully illustrated in the show, I think it could have made a great point. Science and faith can BOTH be wrong when carried into the extreme. I do like the character that Jack becomes because of his faith/science struggle though. It's quite the best of both worlds plus I find the guy far more... "good" than either his past self or (of course) Locke.

I guess I've written enough. It was a great show with a good finale. Could have used more punch outs or baby-throwing, but I'm content and exhausted and sort of glad it's over so that I don't get Lost anxiety every week. Quite a ride.

Please stay-tuned to one last Lost post about what spin-offs I want to see happen.


Blogger Saule Cogneur said...

I agree with most of your points. I'd forgotten some of these details about the show. The whole "the island has a will, and we must appease it" thing kind of evaporated.

Even "the island must be preserved at all costs" thing wasn't very well elucidated, and Across the Sea only made things even MORE horribly convoluted.

All that said, I still really loved the series finale. I always believed the billions of details and "things that mattered" that the writers put in the show was just a ploy to hold my attention and keep me watching. I never believed the claims that they were that important. As such, I wasn't too bugged that the final episode was all about big picture stuff. I was impressed that the writers managed to make the series as a whole have any cohesive meaning at all.

As always, low expectations are my saving grace.

May 27, 2010 4:08 PM  
Blogger Annie said...

I really enjoyed the finale too, and I missed Eko in the temple at the end. Maybe he wasn't prepared, or maybe he went ahead. He wasn't ever really part of the group, so maybe it wasn't important to him that he find them.

I am seriously considering investing in the entire thing on DVD so I can watch it again.

And by the final shot I assume they meant Jack's eye closing. And I called that, but not vocally so I guess it doesn't count.

May 28, 2010 10:45 AM  
Blogger Craig Barlow B. said...

I didn't read any of this, because I'm going to try and avoid having this spoiled for me for the next several years it takes me to slog through LOST on DVD. But I appreciate the effort that went into writing this.

Also, I'd like to see the sequel to Take On Me. Where is it?

May 31, 2010 6:13 PM  

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