Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Lost Finale- Echo calls it

Don’t worry. I’m not going to go into some epic rant about Lost and what it meant to me, and then analyze the finale down to the tiniest detail. Simply (and sadly) put, I wasn’t that kind of fan.

The fact is, I should have been on board with Lost from day one. Being the nerd I am, everything about the show screams “watch me.” I missed the first several episodes six years ago, though, and simply never took the time to jump on the bandwagon.

This January, however, I began to fix all of that. I ran through everything available in record time and, halfway through this sixth and final season, I was finally watching as it aired on television.

The ability to move from a cliffhanger to its resolution at the push of a button has its advantages, but I believe there’s a lot to be said for a show that keeps you excited through the week, eager for that special day to roll around so you can settle down into your favorite chair and find out what happens to your favorite characters next.

I feel it’s important to let you readers know how I watched the show simply because, on such a polarizing topic, it’s worth noting what type of “fan” I am and how much time I actually invested in the series.

That being said, I went into the finale certain I would hate it. I had heard through the grapevine that the writers had been quoted as basically saying “it’s a bit of a ‘decide for yourself’ ending. We don’t answer a lot of the questions, so it’s up to the fans to decide what certain things mean.” That felt like the laziest load of crap I had ever heard.

While I’m sure a vague roadmap of the show was decided from day one, anyone who has watched events unfold on the island knows countless decisions were made on the fly.

I like to imagine a writer’s room where conversations went something like “Okay, so this time, we actually see what’s been making those noises and moving trees and, get this, it’s a giant cloud of black smoke.” The next writer asks “Black smoke? But what is it really? Where did it come from?” To which the first writer responds “Not sure yet, but we’ll get to that later.”

It’s easy to imagine. Why was there a giant Egyptian statue on the island? What is the time-traveling wheel? What is the light at the heart of the island? Why couldn’t the man in black leave the island?

The answer to those questions are that someone said, “You know what would be cool?” and then followed it up with one of the many bizarre scenarios that kept popping up in the show. They figured out how to explain several of these along the way, like the polar bear, but others were simply situations where the team had written themselves into a hole and had no idea of how to get out of it.

I’m not justifying the lack of answers in the finale. I’m simply saying, to me, the mystery was half of the fun and I don’t mind not being spoon fed an end-all, be-all conclusion. Who cares where that giant statue came from so long as it kept me intrigued every time I saw it? I feel like I’m forgiving a great narrative no-no, but that’s how it goes.

I suppose there are two camps; those who feel the show was primarily about the island and those who feel the show was about the characters. Both views are valid, but I fall into the camp of people who think the characters drove the show and the island and all its wonderful mysteries gave us a chance to explore each of them more thoroughly.

For that reason, I will say that I was a hundred percent pleased with the finale simply because it ended with me feeling happy for every major character. Too many stories these days seem to end on a dark note simply because it’s the hip thing to do and somehow carries more meaning when the characters don’t ride off into the sunset.

I only spent a few months catching up on six years worth of shows, but I loved these characters and, unbeknownst to myself until the final moments of the final show, wanted them to have their freaking sunset.

Sure, it was a bit overly sweet with everyone smiling and hugging at the Lighthouse reunion, but I don’t see how that can take away from the integrity of the show. The bad stuff still happened. The people who came to an untimely or sinister demise still blew up, got shot or what-have-you.

The finale simply gave its characters what most of us want to believe happens in the end. The lighthouse is a church of sorts, but to claim it’s a Christian ending is ridiculous. A character flat-out says nobody knows what’s going to come next. They could all be on their way to a spaceship or Kansas for all we know.

The point is, the jump-sideways was simply a place where all of these characters we loved could meet up and face that next step together. Whether it be heaven or an eternal nothingness, they were given the opportunity to go there as one.

So we didn’t find out what the island actually was or about a billion other things. For me, they were all a means to tell a story about the passengers of Flight 815 and, in the end, I felt their story was well told and well ended.

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