Monday, May 24, 2010

Lost Finale Further Thoughts: Why I'm growing to love the ending.

Hey guys, been thinking a lot about that ending.

Hands down, it was an unsatisfying ending to the flash-sideways storyline OF THIS EPISODE. They'd been building up to an unbelievably awesome climax, and then suddenly seemed to throw it all away. It felt weird. But I'm starting to come around that it was the right way to end the series as a whole. Everyone awakening to a perfect new world time line which they got to keep living in would have been an awesomely satisfying ending in a Shawshank Redemption kind of way. But would it have been real? It would have negated the time line that we originally knew and it would have ultimately cheated the Losties out of the realest parts of life: That there are consequences for your actions, you have to own them – and every choice you make matters. What the flash-sideways showed us is that everyone we love eventually made peace and were able to go to Heaven. But their choices on earth during their life on the island and in their past were not without weight or import. This is the right way to go. The fairy tale perfect ending that they teased us with throughout the episode would have felt right, but in retrospect have just been wrong. So, it was the right way to end, but in the context of the episode it felt like someone pulled the rug out from under our feet emotionally.

That said, upon reflection, I think the SATISFYING ending is actually in the REAL time line. Let's think about it. Jack made the ultimate sacrifice to save the world from evil being released, and died content knowing that his friends got off the island. (In my interpretation, which is the right one.) Frank, Miles, Richard, Sawyer, Kate and Claire flew home, and lived out the rest of their lives somewhere off screen. Claire probably reunited with Aaron in the real world, and worked hard to heal her relationship, and mentally recover from years of axing dudes in the chest. Frank saved them all, and made up for the time he overslept and sent another pilot to his death in the original crash. Miles was able to cash in Nikki and Paulo's diamonds and buy as many fish tacos as he wanted. Richard got to live out the rest of his life, having made peace with his past. I'm assuming he got to die a noble death, complete with gray hairs. Kate and Sawyer probably ended up together, but apparently made the switch back to their true loves in the afterlife. And best of all, Hurley and Ben protected the island together for an untold amount of time. Given that they can both have immortality, I'm assuming they lived there for a long, long time and met many new people and fought new and interesting battles together keeping some new form of an old evil at bay. Imagine the cool fan fiction and graphic novel ties-ins possible there. Pretty sweet. Even Rose and Bernard got to stick around and die of old age. It's a pretty awesome wrap-up, with not as nearly as many deaths as you would expect. I'm guessing even Michael and the other whispers were released when the Man in Black was killed, or when the cork was pulled.

On top of that, we got to see all the characters reunite right as they go into Heaven. Like I said, it felt like a let down in the context of the dramatic arc of the episode, but when you think about it, that's a pretty great ending.

It even makes me want to go back and watch all the flash-sideways again. Christian said that our Losties "created this place". Since they all teamed up to help blow up the hatch and reboot time, I think it makes sense that they would be convinced in the after life holding room that they had succeeded. Knowing that they "created this place," you can really start analyzing the entire season's worth of flash-sideways in a new way. Was David actually young Jack himself, dealing with his own father issues? Locke did say, "He looks just like you." Was Aaron actually there, or just in Claire's mind to help her deal with what happened? Was Keamy actually there, or just an apparition to help Sawyer work through who he really is? And Sawyer apparently still had issues to work out with the death of his parents, but because of his time on the island in the 70s as head of Dharma, he now viewed himself differently – a hero instead of a villain. Locke's purgatory is also very interesting. The fact that he had created a world where he was punished for killing his father in a plane crash was very interesting. Because 815 did crash in a place where he would eventually arrange the murder of his father. It was like he was trying to forgive himself for that. And Anthony Cooper's state in this inbetween place, to me, suggests that his actual soul is somewhere else, somewhere much hotter.

There's so much to analyze, and really, it's great that all our beloved characters not only got a chance to live a full life on earth after the island, but we also got to see that they eventually all found redemption – and they were so connected in life that they ascended to the "other side" together. Pretty cool.

Or, you can be a cynic and think that the ENTIRE thing was in Jack's head. And that there's nothing to believe in at all. The writers gave you that option with the ending, but my guess is that they cast their votes on the "faith" side by having the plane fly overhead. It certainly didn't have to, if they were trying to say it was all in Jack's head.

What I'm saying overall is don't discard the ending just because it didn't feel right in the flow of the episode. They made a bold move and ended it the right way, in my opinion. And we all have to deal with it, just like the Losties themselves.

20 comments:

Andrea said...

I really enjoyed the episode. But I just can't get behind the afterlife thing. I can accept the sideways as a "ghost of christmas past" kindof thing, to help the losties and us realize that not landing wouldn't answer their probs either. But I think a better ending would have been Jack making his sacrifice by plugging the hole, then a white flash and whoosh, reset! Everyone is back on the plane, but retaining ALL their memories of both worlds and realizing they get a fresh start. 815 lands in LAX and they truly get to live out community. happily ever after.

It is after all, television. And I don't watch for reality.

Jack Pendarvis said...

I like your description of the real time line. You are so right: that would have been a great show. But instead everybody went to heaven.

Travis said...

Maybe purgatory a reward for the sacrifices they made on the island?

For the most part all of their lives were better in the flash sideways, with the exception of Jin and Sun, but maybe the secret lover's life was better anyways.

Also just terrible parenting all around in this show.

Andrea said...

not that heaven is a bad thing :-) Just didn't see that one coming

Erin said...

Andrea -
That would have been an awesome ending! If only.

Stef said...

I have to disagree with the purgatory theory...

Theory: Lost was about decisions being made and whether they were the right ones to lead a happy life. Each character has one significant decision in his/her life that lead to them either having the sideways life or the life that led them to being called to the island by Jacob. The island represents the internal struggle that the characters have over this decision and whether it was the right one. Each person had to come to a realization of overcoming his/her problem. For example Jack needed to "let it go", Sawyer needed to understand that it wasn't his fault, and Claire needed to have faith that she would be a good mother. Once they were able to overcome their problems, and they encountered someone who significantly helped them do this during their internal struggle (i.e. Kate helping Claire become a mother), then they remembered the internal struggle and were able to be at peace with the decisions they made.

Also along with what you were saying, another main theme was the idea of redemption. Jacob's game was all about the possibility that people could make good decisions and redeem themselves. In order to redeem themselves they had to perform a selfless act for the good of the island/community. Each character that did this was able to enter the church at the end. Ben did not because he still has not really redeemed himself but can continue to try (perhaps with Danielle and Alex like you said). Jacob had been calling people to the island to prove the MiB wrong and give people a chance to redeem themselves, which all of our main characters did... thus Jacob wins. Game. Set. Match.
p.s. LOVED the ending scene with jack looking up and closing his eyes.

Erin said...

Stef,
I think what you just wrote might be brilliant! Re: folks helping folks.: John Locke helped Jack. The last episode Jack mentioned several times that john Locke was right and he wished he could have told him so. He went from a "man of science" to a "man of faith." In the flash sideways Jack got to "fix" John Locke. Miles didn't know his father, Pierre Chang, but Hurley encouraged him to initiate a relationship with him.
I think what you wrote makes perfect sense! and it makes me hate the ending much less. So, you're right, Jacob does win.

Angela said...

I have a problem with the whole Shannon/Sayid reunion. So...they knew each other for a couple of weeks, slept together a few times, so they're destined to spend eternity together. Lame.

What about Nadia?!?!?!?!? They were MARRIED for crying out loud!

Angela said...

I think that's my problem with the ending. Yes, it was lovely and happy and sad and beautiful, blah blah blah. But come on! There are so many open-ended "problems" and it was wrapped up a little to cutesy for my liking. It just didn't seem to fit the show.

Stef said...

I actually loved Sayid and Shannon together. I think it also goes along with the theme of helping each other overcome their problems. Both Sayid and Shannon dealt with constantly being stereotyped but they were able to see the good in each other and fall in love.

Also I loved the ending in that the characters were able to overcome their problems and move on to be happy. I thought it was fitting they all came together to ultimalty be there for Jack and help him overcome his problem of letting go. Very lost-fitting ending, leaving it open to interpretation with some things we may never understand.

Angela said...

Just saw this on someone's Facebook comment regarding the finale: "They may as well have just put together a montage of cute kittens!" Ha! I thought that was brilliant. And it helps me clarify what I've been thinking as well: That the finale, while satisfying on an emotional level, was not at all satisfying on an intellectual level. And maybe that is indeed the point. That some things in this life are just unexplainable. But then that just makes me think it's poor and/or lazy writing. How convenient to wrap it up with "Oh, you're not going to get it because it's too deep." I'm not buying it.

Do people give birth to infants in the afterlife? That's totally creepy.

Wes W. said...

I stand by the finale being great, intellectually and emotionally.

Infants aren't born in the afterlife. In face, we didn't see the afterlife, we just viewed a spiritual construct that the Losties needed to move on. THEN they went to the afterlife. In this construct, Claire and Kate needed resolution over the Aaron storyline, and more importantly, they needed to be there to help Jack move on. I believe the island created the construct to help him (after he helped it), to give him closure with all his friends and to help him let go before going to the "other side." Aaron lived his own life and eventually made it to the afterlife. Not as an infant. We have no idea what the afterlife through the church doors looked like, but I'm guessing everyone was as they should be and not stuck as infants and not making out as couples, at that point. Walking through those doors they all became as we will all be, in our eternal form, the one most God's, who created us.

Wes W. said...

I meant "in fact" not "in face". Those are very different.

Angela said...

Okay, Mr. Smarty Pants, what say you about why Sayid ended up with Shannon and not Nadia (AKA, THE LOVE OF HIS FREAKING LIFE)???

Angela said...

Okay, so infants are NOT born in the afterlife, just in Purgatory. Sorry for that mix-up.

Sorry, feeling especially punchy today. I think it might have something to do with how disappointed I am with a certain finale...

Wes W. said...

I actually always claimed that when Smokey promised to bring someone back from the dead for Sayid, that Sayid was thinking of Shannon, and not Nadia. He was really broken up after Shannon's death, probably the longest grieving period shown of anyone on the show. Hard to fathom, I know, but given that Christian said that the Losties made this purgatory themselves, I think that the Losties in the church at the end all got to contribute to how this fake sideways world was formed. And Sayid's contribution was to make Nadia NOT with him. I think Nadia got to the afterlife in her own way. I think a lot of the people we saw in this "purgatory" were not really there, like perhaps Keamy and Nadia and that roadie backstage who Claire asked directions from.

Given that last sentence, I acknowledge others may have a problem with how things went out, but I'm digging it.

Angela said...

I will say that yesterday, I was growing to accept and even like the ending. But today, I hate it again. A friend told me I needed to "let go." I suppose she's right. *flash, light, memory, memory, memory, flash*

Andrea said...

I am starting accept the finale but agree that it was intellectually deficient. The mystery was a character and the fact that they left so much unacknowledged was disrespectful of the fan base. I agree with the person who said it was emotionally satisfying but that was it. I don't want every answer, but the show was about faith AND science. And they totally crapped on the science.

Amy said...

I, for one, seriously enjoyed the show. The title means so much more to me then "lost castaways on an island." They were folks who were LOST in life. They learned to sacrifice and to help one another -- no longer alone. They found joy in each other. I could have done without the stained glass, but I just loved they way they wrapped it up. The old saying is true here as well: you really CAN'T please everyone. (Ange, I am with you on the Sayid/Shannon reunion instead of Nadia ... lame-o). I acutally appreciate that some of it was left open ended. That's their style. It leaves stuff for us to think about (read: obsess) over for the next ... well, forever!

That being said, a friend of mine just posted this on FB and it CRACKED me up. Well, and frustrated me a little, but it was crazy to listen to. Here are ALL of the unanswered questions from Lost: http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1936291

Wes, I am mourning the loss of your blog. We would watch the episode every week and then RUN out to the computer to read your take on things. You have been fun to obsess with. Thanks so much for keeping us guessing and making the puzzle more fun.

Amy said...

Okay -- something else we (and by "we," I mean Brendan):
I was talking to him about the whole Shannon v. Nadia debacle. He pointed out that when Sayid was on the island, Nadia was already dead. So, it was all about Shannon at that point. The deal is that anyone who died on the ISLAND, ended up in the church, but no one that died before the island, which would explain why Locke's chica wasn't there, as well. I'm okay with that, since it is consistent.