Well, kids, this is it. The end. Tonight was the last-ever episode of Lost. Right now I'm writing my last-ever Lost recap.
But it's not the end of the questions--no, certainly not. I've spent the past few hours mulling over the finale. I've watched Jimmy Kimmel, hoping that someone--anyone--could offer some useful intel on the finale. And you know what? I still feel lost.
The reason I love Lost is because is does two things that are very tough to do: have a fantastic plot, and have fantastic characters. Most things have a noticeably better plot than characters, or vice versa. For much of the six seasons of Lost, I felt like both plot and characters were equally lights-out.
I think I've changed my mind on that viewpoint.
After seeing the entirety of Lost, all six seasons, I'm going to say that the thing they did best was, undoubtedly, character.
At this point, I'm really, really, really (x 1,000) iffy on the plot.
From what I've gleaned from various blogs/commenters/Facebook friends/etc, it seems like what happened was the island timeline was real, the sideways timeline was purgatory, and *this* group of people was so intensely connected that they all needed to move on together--after working through their emotional stuff and redeeming themselves as good human beings, of course. There is no "now"--as Christian Shepherd said--and they didn't all die at the same time (some before Jack, some many years after), but they all needed to move on together--as shown in the church scene near the end of the show.
Standing on its own, that's a decent explanation. But what I don't like is that, if that explains the entire show, there's a lot of shit that was pretty pointless over these past six seasons. I'm not going to bitch and moan about wanting answers to every little thing--but I feel like the writers failed at creating a wholly convincing story. They could have done this story in, like, three seasons. Cut out the freighter (even though I'd miss those folks). Cut out a lot of the Dharma crap. Cut out the time-traveling. In the end, did we need all this stuff? Nope. The writers could have conveyed the same message in less time and with far fewer distractions. And looking back on the last several seasons, I feel like we saw a lot of distractions. So my stance, really, is that could be a decent explanation for a show that isn't Lost. But I think Lost deserved more than this. I think we as viewers wanted to know that a decent amount of what we saw over the past few years mattered. We wanted to feel confident in the knowledge that the writers had their shit together. I'm not entirely sure that's the case.
What they did do well--really, really well--is character. We've cared about these characters for so long, and during the finale, we saw these characters at peace (well, mostly--but I'll touch on that later. We saw them reconnect with the souls who were important to them. We saw many of them, these flawed souls, strip away some flaws to become more giving, more whole. I think all of those moments were incredibly satisfying. I'll argue that those moments were what saved this finale. Do I care enough about these characters to overlook the shaky overall plot/story and simply focus on the individual characters' stories? Yes.
The recognition scenes were incredibly well done. Many of them brought me nearly to tears, and I'm the anti-cry. The Claire/Charlie one--wow. Just wow. I think that one was my favorite, with the Sun/Jin one being a close second. I'm not the hugest Suliet fan, and yet I liked their recognition scene a lot, too. And Locke wiggling his toes after Jack had done his surgery--and then, later on, with Ben telling him he didn't need that wheelchair anymore...awesome. These are the moments that make Lost special. These are the reasons we still care about this show. These are things that, in my mind, even a flawed storyline can't ruin. We saw Kate and Jack each being very heroic, and we saw Hurley stepping up into a leadership role even though he was clearly nervous about it. We saw the characters we've loved for so long finally grow, and I think each character arc was really done right. It's just that, in my opinion, those arcs were then inserted into what I feel was a flawed, distracting, and needlessly confusing overall storyline. The only character whose arc I'm not sure I liked is Ben's--I'm not sure they wrapped him up the right way. I loved, absolutely loved, that he was Hurley's #2 guy, helping him protect the island. I thought that was fantastic. But I wish he'd have gone in the church with the rest of the Losties we know and love. I'm thinking perhaps he stayed back, knowing his time to move on hadn't arrived, that perhaps he had some more redemption to do. But you know what? If he stayed on the island helping Hurley for a good, long time, isn't that enough to earn him some redemption and a ticket to heaven with all the folks who beat the hell out of him at various times on the island? (And it's not like it was just 815'ers who were in that church, either--Penny was there, and she was never on that flight...same deal with Juliet...so why was Ben excluded? On that note, what about Richard Alpert? I wish I understood how--or even if--Guyliner's character arc was tied up...)
One thing I love about Lost is that it always gives us things to think about. We've seen The End, but it's not the end for us, really. We have blog posts to read and write and comment on, character arcs to consider, water-cooler chatter to engage in--simply put, these characters and this story will be on our minds for a long, long time. None of our questions are easily answered, and if you don't have a million questions running through your mind at this point, you must be a much smarter person than I am. ;) Not only do I have questions, but--as a budding novelist--I have praise and criticisms for how they approached this finale and this show as a whole. I've learned a lot from Lost in terms of how to create characters that audiences can connect with, how to enhance a plot with flashbacks, and how to build a linear storyline (obviously Lost didn't do that--they were nowhere close to a linear storyline--that's one of the lessons I learned from what I felt like Lost could have improved upon. I knew that going into this finale, I've already taken away so many good writing-related tips that, no matter what, even if the ending was unsatisfying, I had soaked up so much good stuff from Lost that I, as a future novelist, found this series meaningful and enlightening and educational.
I still don't know if I'm satisfied. I loved so many moments of this finale (from the "Awww" moments like Vincent laying down with Jack during the last on-island scene to the funny moments like Miles saying "I believe in the power of duct tape"), and so many character arcs, and the recognition/connection scenes for these characters. I'm still struggling with the big picture. Maybe sleeping on it will help. Maybe not.
In the end (and, literally, in "The End") I think that the characters not only find redemption themselves, but they redeem this crazy-ass storyline. Without these strong, emotion-evoking characters (and the superb acting, especially by Michael Emerson, Terry O'Quinn, and Josh Holloway), I think this story would have fallen flat on its face. We started out this series caring about the characters and not knowing what the hell was going on plot-wise, and I think that's how we--or at least I--have ended this series.
Fellow Losties, how did you like the finale? Did you like it at all? What were your favorite moments? And for goodness' sake, if you can make me like the storyline better, please throw your best theories out there. :) I wanna hear 'em!
10 hours ago