I liked it.
I was pretty skeptical for much of the final episode – over the course of it I was becoming increasingly worried that what they were building to was an alternate Universe where everyone from the show would get to live happily ever after together – the dead resurrected, the bad redeemed and the flawed perfected. Perhaps it was simply the fact that I was wrong that made me like it?
No, I think it was something more.
Of course fans are going to be divided down the middle on this. Of course many of the folks who have spent six years deriving a charge each week from trying to read and interpret clues and then deduce the general weirdness into a plausible theory that explained, among other things, A) just what the hell the island is, B) who Jacob is, C) why Jack cried constantly for three years, D) and of course, what the hell the black smoke monster is, were going to be pissed. I was right there with y’all each week – pondering the giant leg*, running the numbers in the Goetia, arguing that the island is Atlantis. To finally get answers – that takes all of that exiting conversation away now doesn’t it? But seriously, how many of you out there who didn’t like the way Lost ended also didn’t like No Country For Old Men because of the ending?
I thought so.
I’ve loved the entire series. Sure, at times it did falter a bit (parts of ssn 3 almost made it over the shark with a barrel-roll to boot) but in the end the writers always made up for it. I learned through repetition to simply sit back, jot my criticisms or annoyances down and tuck them under my pillow, because again, they always turned it around. For example, when those who made it off the island met up with Faraday’s mom and had that ridiculous pendulum ritual to go back I rolled my eyes so hard I almost fell out of my chair.
But they made up for it.
To those who didn’t like the season finale I would like to posit this: Are you blaming the baby for the mother’s shortcomings?
What I mean by this is in a way the entire final season, while in my mind really good, still betrayed many of the earlier aspirations of the show simply because in order to end the freakin’ thing the writers had to narrow it’s focus and actually answer some of the questions they poised over the course of the show. Any time mysteries are solved many of those who have spent years pondering and pontificating on them are going to rue the answers – what in life ever lives up to our imaginations? Perhaps the trick to reconciling our expectations with the weighty theoretical fiction that captures and incites our imaginations is to back off and remember that even though we think we know what’s going to happen (or think we know what should happen) in the end characters have a way of writing themselves.
But I’m getting abstract. For me, I thought the end was pretty damn endearing. Of course my mind reels for someone to have jumped up and confirmed my obsessive belief that YES! The island is Atlantis** – but no one did and what I was left facing was a terminus point to a story I’d always kind of secretly feared would never be able to live up to my expectations. Then the creators did the smart thing and didn’t even try to live up to my or anyone elses’ expectations. Again, like the Coens’ No Country, Lost frustrated many with its ending because we, like Jack, close our eyes before everything is explained and are left with a void.
But ain’t that life? The day you die no one is going to hold your hand and tell you Oppenheimer’s secret, why Twin Peaks was canceled or just where in the hell Jimmy Hoffa is.
And lastly, I’ve never liked Jack so much as those last five minutes. Folks of a more bitter persuasion would suggest this is because I got to see one of my least favorite characters die but that’s not it at all. I thought, despite the ‘how did he get out of the cave?’ thing that Jack’s final moments – staggering through the jungle, mind reeling into an post-life*** of his own design, only to finally collapse and look up to the sky just in time to see his friends finally accomplishing their goal – well I thought it was grand, to use a fairly out-dated word. Grand, endearing and ‘right’ for the conclusion. And despite the presence of the church, the christian iconography and the blinding white light I did not feel that the show was preaching faith at all. Not religious faith at any rate. I’ve read elsewhere on the internets where folks have insisted that the entire show has had a ‘faith-over-science’ theme running through it but to this I say there was never an ‘over’ in that equation. In many ways Lost has all along been about striking a balance between the two – science for the more practical or ‘Earthly’ matters and ‘faith’ for the more metaphysical stuff (remember Ben turning the wheel and moving the island? Or the whole ‘push-the-button’ thing?). The casts’ faith was in one another and the light, to me at least, was the answer to everything for them. We simply didn’t get it because, well, if I’m writing this and you’re reading it, we’re still alive.
* ‘Pondering the Giant Leg’ – my favorite song by Neil Diamond’s little-known side project ‘Affiliates of Assholes’. Good stuff!!!
** IT IS GODDAMNIT!!!
*** I don’t want to commit to the use of the word ‘afterlife’ because it implies things I think were not really implied by this ending. And the church as the place they chose – it’s the church where the aforementioned pendulum ritual took place (I think) – obviously it has some sort of significance in that regard to the series, even if everyone there at the end hadn’t been in it before. I chalk this up to the general spookiness and/or coded significance of some of the more arcane elements of the entire Faraday family and their dealings. Only time, and by time I mean a good straight through re-watch of the entire series, will tell for sure.