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Some spoilers below:

Hello everyone. I had to take a few moments to put down some thoughts about the TV show LOST before it all goes away. I watched the finale with a large group and I enjoyed it very much. That didn't seem to be the consensus of the room around me, and it actually made me a little mad feeling like I had to defend my like of the finale, and the season, and series as a whole.

I think the big conflict depends on how you saw the show. If you saw it as a science fiction show featuring a mysterious island that had strange properties and although it was isolated had an effect on the world. Sure there were miraculous forces and strange groups that wanted to harness it's power, but in the end, the show wasn't about that, that was just a backdrop and a catalyst, so those who looked there would not find what they wanted in "The End."

Even from the start the show was a character show. The show started with the characteristic flashbacks right away, and took a little bit of a twist of the disaster movie. Instead of spending most of the movie learning about the characters before the doomed plane takes off, or the earthquake/asteroid/tsunami hits, we get right to the disaster, then learn about our characters.

And learn about them we did, for three seasons. If the show was about the Island and not the characters, then we would have been able to drop all of the flashbacks and strictly deal with the island storyline. The brilliant part of LOST's storytelling is that the island story isn't everything, but the audience is revealed bits and pieces of information as we go along. Heck, we didn't even know Locke was in a wheelchair for a few episodes, but how much did that affect his character and his actions?

It seems obvious to me that the depth of character, and the connections between the characters is what was the core of the show was about. Sure, the island was a character in itself, but only in the sense that it helped generate conflict, strife and plot.

A side note, LOST's brilliance is how they used the plot device of flashback in a way no other show has. Flashbacks are nothing new, but to make it such a large part of the storytelling was a risk. i'm often annoyed by episodes of regular shows that start with the ending, and then show you how they got there, but Lost didn't do that. lost used the flashback, and later other devices to really tell one linear story of the characters on the island, and then flashed to stories off the island. Even when characters had left the island in flash forwards, the story on the island continued in a continuous line (one could make a mention of season five, where instead of flash backs or flash forwards it was the characters following a linear story, but in different timelines. Still Sun and Locke stayed in a fixed, present day island timeline).

if you think about it, from Jack opening his eye on the island at the beginning to closing it at the end there was one timeline to the entire show, just there were lots of branches from there that explored more about the characters, their flaws, choices and actions, many of them that affected their time on the island.

I see the whole show has one overarching theme, and that's best expressed by the episode title "Man of Science, Man of Faith." Jack starts as a doctor, a man of science and needs empirical evidence and reasons for what is happening on the island. He comes into conflict with Locke who is the man of faith, who believes in the islands mysteries and embraces them. Locke dies, and is replaces by the Man in Black, a being who was a man of science, and the opposite of Jacob, the man of faith. As the show comes to an end, Jack must become a man of faith to save the people he cares about and eventually takes Jacob's place, and embraces the island's need for him.

Still, our castaways are flawed, Jacob even tells some of them that he chose them to come to the island because they were flawed. Since 80% of the characters died on or near the island in this show, the "flash sideways" was a fine way to have these characters, living or dead in the regular storyline, come together, come to grips with their flaws, reconcile relationships, and eventually move on. It was a nice plot device to provide a relatively happy ending. they did this because they had the time to do it. If they were never given that ending date by ABC, it couldn't have worked out like this.

I know many people said that the writers had no idea where they were going, and in some ways, especially in the third season, I agree with them. but I think the final season was well thought out. How would the show seem if the ending was Jack dying on the island, Hurley the island caretaker and Kate and Sawyer flying away and that's it? It would have been a very empty ending. The show would have felt more like Flash Forward where you gave up on the characters because it was all about the events and the causes, not about the people working together.

Looking back at the little changes in the "sideways" world, you see how things were designed to make some resolutions for the characters, Kate was needing to prove her innocence, Locke had to accept help from Science, and Jack had to heal Locke when he couldn't help on the island but also had to reconcile his father issues (and worked through them by having a son, as well).

Most shows would have had the reboot after the bomb in season 5 be the rest of the season, and like Dallas, would have made the whole previous 5 seasons be a dream, but not LOST, the time spend, the connections and relationships made while on the island did matter, and continued until Jack's (and each other character's death. But then those actions and connections affected the core characters in death too, and they needed to work out those issues, and recreate those connections before moving on.

It was a fitting tribute to those characters and a nice reward to those of us who enjoyed them.

I can understand the frustration for those who came looking for a different resolution, I guess for those who were men of science, but I feel as if I read a great novel that still allows you to debate it and speculate about it, and that's why I loved it.

P.S. I do agree with the people who are upset that the whole "Walt is special" thing never worked itself out. That was a production problem when the actor went through puberty when he would have only aged a few days on the island, so there was no good way to reconcile his character. By the time we come to the "sideways world Michael and Walt weren't involved enough with the core group to make them a pert of the congregation (one could say Shannon and Boone were gone even earlier, but i think that was more for the fans). I't the one big question I think would have been nice to have a real resolution.

P.P.S. I do kind of wonder what the show would have been like if Jack would have died in the pilot as was originally planned. Would Boone been the counterpoint to Locke instead? Boone's character seemed rather unnecessary after a while, and then he was killed. Someone would have had to been the sceptic and the leader. Would the show have been nearly as good?

Date: 2010-05-26 11:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm delighted to see a post from you! I never watched LOST, but I know Tim will enjoy your analysis. He really enjoyed the finale, too.


Date: 2010-05-26 11:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks for posting this. I'm definitely on the same page as you... I thought the ending was beautiful and perfect. I even channeled my inner Locke and said to someone, "Did I want it to end that way? Maybe not. But that's the way it HAD to end!" LOL.

Date: 2010-05-26 01:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I agree with you pretty much the whole way, aside from the Walt thing. Even though his storyline was cut short for technical reasons (holy crap he got tall quick) he still served one incredibly important purpose: he was our introduction to the notion of "special" people, with "special" powers. Had it not been so mysterious and been presented as "hey this kid is basically an xman" we would have totally rejected it, and then later rejected Hurley, Miles, and Desmond. Am I missing anyone? Who else had special powers that weren't granted by Jacob/MiB? (and " the island healed me" doesn't count)

Date: 2010-05-26 01:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
If it makes you feel better, I enjoyed the end too.
I also feel a mite pissed having to defend such, but what bothers me more is people who watched the last 5 minutes, or who lack plot comprehension, and say "see the island was a metaphor for purgatory" causeing everyone to start spewing the same falseness.

Date: 2010-05-27 01:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well I'm kinda seeing why that's being said since the only reason the island was part of the show was just to give them a powerful experience that would warrant them all wanting to pass-on together.... if that is the case, then ANY tv show can have this same ending, and that's why people are trying/wanting to tie the two (ending/island) together.

Discussions of meta plot not withstanding...

Date: 2010-05-27 02:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Look, I hate the "They woke up and it was all a dream" plot device as much as the next guy. This is because it negates the entire story you have spent the past however long watching. If it was all purgatory, then their experiences don't mean squat and all 6 seasons were useless. Its only saying that the "flash sideways" was the dream, or afterlife waiting room, but the experiences on the island were real.

Re: Discussions of meta plot not withstanding...

Date: 2010-05-27 03:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, I understand everything. I'm saying that the island had nothing to do with the ending other than brining them together. The island didn't create the church, therefore this could happen to any of us. So in the end the island had nothing to do with the ending other than it just being a place that all these folks met.

It would be like the Tony from the Soprano's ending with him going to a Community College for a TV/VCR repair certificate... what would have been the point of him ever being a hitman? There has to be a tie-in, and that's what folks are trying to look for.

Date: 2010-05-26 06:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
You're gonna want to read this link. It's by one of the LOST writers (anonymously), and it sums up everything beautifully.

And for the record, they wrote the last 10 minutes of the show (everything from when Jack enters the church and touches the coffin) IMMEDIATELY after the pilot. They knew exactly where they were going.

Me, I absolutely loved the episode. In terms of sheer poetic rightness, it's up there alongside the finale of "Quantum Leap" - and I have no higher praise than that.

Date: 2010-05-26 07:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I liked the ending too. I watched it twice, and it was even more emotional the second time since I knew what everyone was smiling about. :)

The sideways universe can still be interpreted in a scientific way...Faraday had something about "Imaginary Time" in his notes.

Also, everything in the sideways universe played out as if the Island wasn't above water when they flew over it. All the changes Locke made (starting in 1955 during the time jumps) and the fact Sayid would have never shot Ben...everything in that universe still made sense in context of the plane never crashing.

It also seemed to prove that despite the plane not having crashed, these people were still destined to be together.

Desmond also traveled there and came if his consciousness traveled, where did it go to?


Anyways, I think the biggest problem people had with Lost was the fact they spent more time searching for answers than they did watching the story. I've seen places on the web where people are still wondering where the polar bears came from.

I think asking for an answer about the Island and where it's power came from is similar to asking the writers to tell us why the universe exists. Its unanswerable...and there isn't a made-up answer that wouldn't sound cheesy. I think that is the point...the Island is an enigma and was always meant to be an enigma.
Edited Date: 2010-05-26 07:06 pm (UTC)


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