I finished the last episode of the final season today. I know; “A little late”, right? I don’t have cable, and my preferred method of watching television is to wait until a season ends, then absorb it as quickly as possible. Fuck serialization; I need instant gratification.
Amazingly, I was able to stay away from any spoilers, except for being aware of the common perception that the ending was terrible. That perception was correct. The ending was terrible, even by (or especially by) the standards of a fun, silly, lightweight, melodramatic, sci-fi cheesefest. The whole Limbo scenario could have even worked if it had any connection to the island at all. I was actually expecting a rip-off of Alan Moore’s Superman story For The Man Who Has Everything. In that story, Superman is sucked into a fantasy world in which everything worked out perfectly for him, and he forgets his real life. Once Superman figures out that the world around him is a fantasy, he has to say goodbye to this perfect world, and the child that he never had, in order to be the real life hero that he was meant to be. Jack is in a very similar position at the beginning of the final episode, so something along these lines could easily have taken place. But no; Sometime in the future, they all die, and then go to Christian-Judeo-Buddhist-Muslim-Voodoo heaven. Whhhhaaatttt?!?!!
So, at this point, I had actually forgotten who had lived or died over the course of the season, assuming that it would eventually be irrelevant (Like with Sayid blowing up on the sub; No body means no death, classic comic book style). And it did become irrelevant, just not in the way I was hoping for. Also, how conceptually lazy is this Purgatory concept? Is Claire’s baby actually Claire’s baby? Like, as it’s being “born”, it’s actually a 90-something year old man on his deathbed? Does Jack’s child actually exist, or is he just an illusion? Unless there’s some offscreen time travel going on, he’s certainly not the child of Jack and Juliet.
This is symptomatic of the sloppy writing that has gone into the entire series. College Humor has a hilarious, and accurate, video in which a narrator lists a ton of unanswered questions that the show leaves behind. And I could think of several more that the video doesn’t even list! I’m not talking about dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s; I’m talking about serious logical contradictions in the story that, if I gave the show any credibility, I would want answers for. Luckily, I’ve never taken the show that seriously. I think the first couple of episodes are absolutely gripping, but by the fourth or fifth episode of season one, it was clear that there was very little idea of where this story was going.
Am I writing the show off due to it’s horrible resolution? Absolutely not. Taken as the pop-culture phenomenon that it is, this show is a blast. I like that every season has it’s own tone and arc, even if they don’t line up that well with the other seasons. Season one is the creepiest, where you’re not sure if this is some kind of Lovecraftian horror or not. Season Two stays just as suspenseful (even if it drags quite a bit in the middle) by shifting the focus from “What is the island?” to “Who are The Others?”. I think the ending of Season Two, with the heroes defeated and captured by Ben, was the last great moment of this show. Season Three forward, the show retains it’s charm, but you know that it’s pretty much just fucking around at this point.
Overall, I’m satisfied with the series. The flash-sideways stuff was just pointless, not necessarily story destroying. If you ignore that aspect, the real climax that takes place on the island was just fine. I’m not too broken up about the logical fallacies and unanswered questions; This isn’t that kind of show, and it’s clear to me that it never was. Could this have been done better, with tighter scripting and less “cheese”? Certainly. But what made the show successful, and unique, was the combination of creepy and commercial. If you didn’t have incredibly good looking people reuniting in slow motion every episode, this probably wouldn’t have lasted for six seasons. And the average viewer? They don’t care that it doesn’t all add up. Ultimately, this show just wasn’t made for nerds. It’s a nerd/normal hybrid, like Jurassic Park.