Friday, November 19, 2010

Lostaholics Anonymous: The Finale

Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s Lostaholics Anonymous (LA). As I mentioned, I wrote most of this earlier this week, but this is an important entry for me, so I wanted to make sure it was OK, and this week has been a busy one. My book continues to sell well on Amazon (yay!) so please go here to check it out or to leave a review if you’ve already got a copy. I apologize for the EXTREMELY slow mail service... I sent one out on Wednesday this week and was told there’s some “delay” going on at the border, where the border police are searching all packages... ugh. (That, of course, doesn’t explain why the Canadian copies are taking so long to get there!)

Anyway, I do hope you’re enjoying the book if you have one already. I also want to mention that I’ve decided to undertake another initiative on this blog, and I’ll be announcing it next week. I hope some of you are interested in taking part! LA will continue, but I’m going to start focusing on another show, and I hope you’ll like my choice! I owe you guys SO many blog posts it’s ridiculous. I swear every day I’m cooking up blog posts in my head, but never find the time to actually get them onto the blog itself.

OK! And now... it’s time for the finale! Now, I could talk about this endlessly (ask anyone who’s spoken to me since May 23) but I’d like to direct you to the 50-page analysis I have included in my season 6 book.... I wrote 22,000 words (and have to write a much shorter piece for an upcoming book on TV finales I’ll be telling you about soon), and yet I still feel like it’s only the beginning of everything I want to say about it.

I know the finale was polarizing. In the days following the finale, I excitedly took to this blog, talking about various aspects of it and why I loved it, I began to notice certain regular posters had gone silent. And that’s when I realized that while I love the fact that we don’t tend to break out into hostile fights, or people aren’t dismissive or rude to others (which is typical of most other commenting forums), the people who didn’t like the finale had decided to go silent rather than cast a pall over the blog. I felt uncomfortable about that, and welcomed varying opinions. But even when those people began weighing in, they did so with some hesitancy, again worried about offending people.

When I was working on the book, I was concerned about writing the finale. It hung over the writing of the entire book (because, yes, I wrote almost the entire thing after the finale aired... I’m apparently a masochist) and I was at once excitedly anticipating getting there (making notes the entire time I was working on the other episodes) and intimidated about taking on such a huge task. When I’d finished a first draft of it, I sent it to one of the regulars who hadn’t been thrilled by the finale, and asked if he might read it for me to make sure I hadn’t been dismissive of those who didn’t like it, and on the second draft, I infused some of his comments back into it to make sure I was giving weight to both sides of the argument. I was helped, too, by the fact that my editor was among those who didn’t like it, so she was able to challenge me on some of my comments. But in the end, I loved the finale, and wanted to let people know why.

Since the book has come out, many people have sent me personal emails and messages telling me that they didn’t like the finale, and after reading my analysis of it they’ve come around to liking it, or to at least understanding it. One woman told me she went back and rewatched it after reading my analysis, liked it, and watched it again, and loved it. I was absolutely delighted to read this.

But it’s not for everyone. The reasons I loved it are many, and listed in my book. Yes, it had Christian overtones, and I do understand why many people were turned off by that. But I saw it as being in keeping with everything that had come before it: I will admit up front that I’m a Christian (I’ve never denied it) but Charlie and Rose prayed to God, we saw Charlie as a practising Catholic in Manchester, and his heroin was hidden in Virgin Mary statues; Eko had biblical verses on his stick, built a Christian church, was a priest, said the 23rd Psalm after burning his brother’s corpse, wore Yemi’s cross; the missing Orientation reel was found in a bible; Ben analyzed the painting of Doubting Thomas; Richard Alpert was a religious man who wears his wife’s cross to remind him of her; Desmond was a monk who made “Moriah Vineyards” wine, named after the mountain where Abraham almost sacrificed Isaac; biblical references abound in every season of the show... for it all to come down to some sort of Christian-seeming reference shouldn’t have come out of left field for anyone.

However, Christian references throughout are things that any fan can handle, Christian or not... using Christian iconography in the finale was less palatable for people. I said at a fan convention in the summer that perhaps if Christian had said to Jack, “Let’s go find out” and they opened the door and walked out onto the beach, where everyone else would be standing, that might have worked better. There were some gasps, and “Aahhhhhs” from the audience, until one woman raised her hand and said, “But if they did that, wouldn’t a lot of fans immediately assume that if the afterlife is the beach, then that means they’d all died in the plane crash after all?” Oh. Right.

So there goes that idea.

But, church aside, I felt like the message being sent out at the end is that the purpose of life is to know who your friends are, who is with you in the end, who was most important to you, who affected your life, and only then will you discover who you were. It wasn’t about being at one with a higher power, but about finding that higher power in friendships and the connections we make in life. It all came down to love... loving each other, loving ourselves, loving our parents and children.

That’s what I took from the show. It’s OK if you didn’t. Because the important thing about Lost was how personal it was. What I took from it and what you did are probably two very different things – it spoke to each of us, and that’s why the reaction to it has been so wide and varied.

The other major criticism of the show: It didn’t answer all of the questions. I’d like to hold off on this one for another post, and instead focus on the aspects of the finale that I’ve talked about here (unless, for you, it was the lack of answers that made you dislike it).

So here’s my questions for you: did you like or love the finale? If so, why? If you didn’t like it, why didn’t you? And now that it’s almost 6 months after the finale aired (Tuesday will mark half a year!), have your feelings about the finale changed at all?

70 comments:

Convergence said...

I very much liked the final episode as a stand-alone episode. It was quite beautiful considered in isolation.

And I felt that I fully understood what the writers were trying to get at very soon after its airing.

But I was very much disappointed in it, and in the final season, as any kind of wrap-up of what came before.

So is it fair to say I both loved and hated the final episode? Because, I did.

WV: shumize --> To shyly surmise while looking down at your shoes.

Dusk said...

I liked the finale. I don't personally identify as outright Christian but I do believe people that haver died do still watch over us. Think Hurley seeing Charlie in Season 4. My belief for the show is that all the sprits "hung out" until they all died and then discussed how they wanted to run the Sideways then started their Sideways paths. It explain Isabella too.

I also like to think Michael got to move on because Walt also has Hurley's ability and made peace with Michael on the island and maybe even Libby too, and Libby would tell Hurley through Walt her past so their wouldn't be a secret between them. So then she got to be part of the core group in the Sideways. Michael killed Ana intentionally though so he'd need the Sideways with her. Based on the implications of The New Man In Charge Walt will be Ben's friend and Ben will have issues with Michael so maybe's he part of the group that Ben starts to "wake up" and then they go the Church. Ana Lucia, Alex, Danielle, Roger are all on Ben's apology list, so should the freighter/DHARMA people be.

Dusk said...

One thing I also like to think is that Sun and Penny bonded breifly on her boat. Sun left custody of Ji Yeon to Penny. I have reasons: Sun being bittersweet about 1 couple being happy on the boat. Seeing Penny love Desmond the same way she feels for Jin. Also they both have tyrant buissnessmen for fathers and know how to deal with them. Penny has money to look after herself and a child, and likley speaks another language or two, why not Korean? And Sun would hate the island and would see Penny would never go too it. She would never leave her baby to her parents if she died I feel.

AEC said...

I liked the finale, almost loved it.

I'm not religious at all- I'd classify myself as agnostic if I needed to pick a label, but the religious overtones of the episode didn't bother me at all. That was a theme of the show, and I'm okay with it.

At first I didn't fully understand the finale. I liked it, but was a little bit confused. However, after spending hours the night of the finale reading about other's opinions on the episode, I began to understand it more. Once I did, I loved it. The last few scenes are some of my favorite of the show. Everyone was back together again, as it should be.

I bought the 6th season the day it came out. I was excited to watch the new footage that was included. But, I haven't been able to bring myself to take the plastic wrapping off the case. The last moments of Lost really stuck with me. I'm scared to watch the new mini episode on the DVD set and hate it. I kind of want my last 'new' images of Lost to be everyone reuniting in the church.

Lisa(until further notice) said...

I loved the finale. I love that it made it possible to still speculate about what happened to the Ajira 6. How did they live, love and die??? I love that there was closure with the "main" characters and their saga. I love that we got to see John as John for the entirety of season 6, even though it was only in the sideways world. I love that Sayid redeemed himself and Ben was still working on that. I love that Kate admitted to loving Jack. It was obvious that she always had, she just couldn't bring herself to let go. I love that Jack was the last one in the sideways world to understand where they were and why they were there. Just like him, isn't it? He always needed it to be right there in front of him for him to make that leap of faith. It was also a nice juxtoposition with how zen and full of faith Jack on island had become at the end.

I am disappointed with Juliet's sideways story, however. They never gave her an episode for us to figure out why she would be married to Jack, have (not)David, and be divorced from Jack. I understand WHY the writers did it that way...they couldn't let us in on the reveal too early. They wanted to keep us guessing. I am happy that she ended up with Sawyer. We just never got to see her work through her issues like everyone else. No mirror moments, etc.

That's my only beef. I'm ok with not having all the answers to the burning questions. Too many answers would have led to disappointment. Maybe it is because Darlton didn't really have all the answers. I'm alright with that. But I don't think they copped out by not answering everything. I think they really had this big idea in their head about the direction of the show and there were mysteries along the way for our characters. But the characters didn't need all the answers. Just like they never really shared too much of themselves with eachother while they were on the island. Hurley told Charlie that he was a millionaire, but Charlie didn't believe him. Sayid admitted he was a torturer, but for the most part, they kept their inner demons to themselves. These characters were flawed and had their own agendas both on and off the island. The ones that ended up being there for 3 years (1974-1977)seemed to come to some sort of personal understanding and grew during their tenure there. The ones that returned did so for different reasons, and Sayid did not go willingly. Those two groups ended up in conflict initially, but they eventually worked together. The finale just served to prove that they all needed eachother and they all meant a lot to eachother. Live together, die alone. I have never had such an emotional response to a show and I doubt I ever will again. It was special and I will forever cherish it.

Dusk said...

@ Losa she had a son to finally expirence motherhood after she couldn't save the mothers and unborn babies on the island, the hints she was pregnant when she died by Sawyer, and never meeting her nephew. Also it was a nod to Jacket not working as a couple.

asiancolossus said...

Just got your book Nikki from Amazon. Looking forward to sitting down and reliving such a wonderful show. Sigh...I still can't believe its over. Hope it does well for you Nik!

Marebabe said...

Nikki, thanks for the recommendation to check out your 50-page analysis on the finale. I’ve been busy with other things and haven’t done more than skim through your S6 book, but given this week’s discussion, reading your thoughts on the finale is the obvious thing to do!

This topic is hard for me. Right now I feel envious of LOST fans whose opinion is: “Loved the finale when I first saw it. Today I love it even more!” Alas, I can barely articulate how I feel about “The End” (maybe conflicted?) but I’ll take a stab at it.

Maybe the best place to start is to share some excerpts of an email I sent to Nikki on June 15th. It had taken weeks of processing to even get to this point:

So, the sideways world was a creation of our favorite Losties. How “real” was it? How big was it? Planet Earth-sized? Was it populated with billions of earthlings, like the world we know? And among those inhabitants, there were familiar characters like Dogen and Ethan and Arzt, who crossed paths with our Losties. By whose design did these connections come to pass? Back when I thought the sideways world was supposed to be a parallel universe, I didn’t question the appearance of Ethan GOODSPEED, or Dogen with a living son instead of a dead son, etc. etc. Things were different because, in parallel universes, things are different. Simple. I have finally put my finger on the main cause of my confusion and frustration following the LOST finale. The idea of a group of friends being able to cook up a sideways world, a place where they can all meet eventually and then “move on” together is a brand-new concept. (At least, I’ve never heard of it before.) The viewers were expected (in an instant) to put the whole story into an alien and ill-defined context. How did the sideways world actually come into existence? Did the principal characters spend a timeless time around a cosmic conference table, hammering out the details of this world, and then somehow get dropped into this place of their creation with absolutely no memory of how it came to be? Did they all arrive as newborn infants? Locke was born in 1956. (He’s my age.) How many Earth-years did everyone kick around in the sideways world? And if they weren’t born in the sideways world, did they suddenly materialize into a “world in progress”? What would that look like? What would that BE like, for them? Because we grow up with stories, many of them with fantasy or magical elements, we become more or less expert at suspension of disbelief. Superman can fly? No problem. Richard Alpert never ages? Just go with it. Dr. Horrible has developed a Freeze Ray? Cool! Most make-believe scenarios work with audiences because they combine familiar elements in new ways. I think that, for a lot of fans, the problem with the finale of LOST was that no one had ever heard of this moving-on-together doctrine. For me, it raised a host of technical questions at a time when I just wanted to be moved by the emotional resonance of the ending. I thought it was beautiful, but the confusion clashed with the beauty. Please forgive my ramblings. I’m just pleased that I can finally articulate some of the nebulous confusion I’ve been trying to deal with ever since the finale. The first tumbler clicked into place this evening when I thought of Dogen in the sideways world. It’s a start.

From June up until now, I haven’t managed to unravel the mysteries of LOST, or come to a better understanding of the finale. I just found other things to think about, as real life demanded my attention and time marched on. When I bought my S6 DVD set, I rapidly watched every bit of it, as I always do with new DVD purchases, to make sure there are no defects in the discs. I was aware that my level of enjoyment was down somewhat on that rewatch, not because I had a checklist of questions answered or story threads left dangling. It was because I felt that the finale was ultimately unsatisfying, and my dissatisfaction colored my experience of the entire season. (Although there were plenty of scenes and moments that I truly loved, as always with LOST.)

Marebabe said...

When the discussion of the finale got going here in Nik at Niteland, I barely participated. (There were 288 comments under Nikki’s first post, and I only weighed in once, more from a sense of community than from having anything much to contribute.) A few days ago, I skimmed through all the comments for all of Nikki’s posts from May 24-31 to jog my memory for this discussion, and here’s one of Nikki’s comments that really jumped out at me:

Teebore: I think you’ve made some very excellent points, and the moment it ended, I was caught up in a deluge of emotion, but there was definitely that simultaneous nagging where I thought, “But... did they just leave all the work to us? WAS that a cop-out?” Time will tell. I love open-ended things like that... Memento is one of my favourite films, The Sopranos one of my favourite series. But I do remember going to see Lost Highway and coming out of the theatre and my brother said, “So basically the filmmaker had all these crazy ideas, threw it up on the screen and said, ‘I COULD make sense of this... or I’ll just throw it up there, let people dissect it and make sense of it themselves and I’ll call it ART.’” And that is very much what could be lobbied against this ending. The thing is, I liked it. BUT... I’m not frowning and shaking my head at people who didn’t. I understand wholeheartedly how they’re feeling right now. 24 May, 2010 4:16 PM

In the aftermath of the LOST finale, I browsed far and wide across the Internet, reading all sorts of opinions about it, hoping I could hop aboard someone else’s train of thought. I found lots that I could agree with, and some people here and elsewhere made some very good points and cleared away some of the fog. But in my reading, I also came across some very unhappy and/or angry fans. I must admit that, even when reading Fishbiscuit’s post on “The End” (the ultimate disgusted, angry rant!) I found myself nodding in agreement at times, thinking, “You’ve got a point.” How I wish that were not the case! I still love LOST, and I love this amazing community of LOST fans, but I feel let down by the finale. (Make no mistake, I loved all the awakenings and reunions in the finale, just like the rest of you did. And Vincent lying down next to Jack, and LOTS of things!)

AEC said...

Marebabe brings up some really good points- and they were/are all concerns I had with the finale as well. I still don't really understand the sideways world, or why it happened, or how it worked.

I guess I should point out that I really *wanted* to love the finale. I loved the show so much, that to hate the finale would taint all of it for me, and I'm not okay with that.

I think in some respects, I just decided to accept some of the things I didn't understand or like, simply so I could be happy with the finale.

The Question Mark said...

I loved the finale when I first saw it, and (so far) my opinion of it hasn't wavered.
I did have very tiny nitpick questions after it ended, the most obvious being things like "So where's Walt?" and "So what WAS the Man in Black's real name?" But the Walt question ended up being answered in the epilogue, so I was satisfied.

The church scene, along with its dialogue and the music that plays during it, is one of my favourite scenes in all of pop culture history.
I can totally understand how people were a bit turned off by the Christian overtones; but on the flip side of the coin, it was very wise of the writers to accompany the infamous Amalgamated Stained Glass Window of Non-Biased Super-Karma (copyright: Question Mark, 2010). And, like Nikki said, the nshow was very Christian to begin with.
I think that, in the grand scheme of things, LOST's finale affected people in so many different ways because the concept of afterlife, faith, and a celestial way station will obviously differ from person to person. Death is a personal thing for everyone, and it's totally understandable that people would disagree with how Darlton chose to portray it.

The Question Mark said...

Basically, a better way of saying what I just tried to say is:
"Heaven" or "Nirvana" or "Shangri-La" is supposed to be a place of eternal happiness. Well, what brings some people eternal happiness obviously won't do the same for everybody. Fluffy clouds and cherubs might sit well with old ladies and Renaissance artists, but a man like Jack Shephard would not see that as "heaven".
I think "heaven" is something that is unique to each person who experiences it (the way it was described in The Lovely Bones was very cool, check it out).
So the fact that so many people had so mnay different reactions to an episode that was, essentially, all about "heaven" couldn't have been more fitting.

Fred said...

I must admit at the time I did not love the finale. It was overly sickly sweet, and in many ways it avoided the major thematic plot lines that had been developed in previous seasons. The fact Darlton put a 12 minute clip in the DVD/Blue Ray collection of Season 6attests to the fact they themselves felt somewhat uncomfortable leaving many fans high and dry with the ending they did.

Nevertheless, the finale did strike a chord in many fans hearts, and still proves attractive even so much later. Is this because the finale presented an emotional argument that summed up the meaning of the show, or do many fans experience a kind of nostalgia akin to loss? I do not believe the answer to such a question is either-or; however, the ending did prove a bonding experience for many fans, as the many reviews and blogs attest to, and that feeling of bonding is a feeling of nostalgia associated with watching the finale.

So in the end, the finale wasn't bad, at least. It contained a certain emotional power that most of the audeience felt deeply, but it suffered more from a poor Season with lackluster episodes that preceded it (perhaps too much was expected of the finale). As a result, we and I think most fans tend to talk about the finale as a stand-alone episode, as they do of Ab Aeterno, Across the Sea, The Substitute, and Dr. Linus (while I certainly think of key episodes in previous seasons, I tend to have a sense of each Season as a whole rather than in discrete episodes).

Fred said...

This is a season of endings. This November we begin the end of Harry Potter, and the conclusion of that epic comes down in a gloomy atmosphere with a great many sacrifices. The Potter films have been building up to this more "adult" conclusion, and in turns showing the sacrifices to be more demanding of those called upon.

It is of interest to contrast the two shows. Damon Lindelof in an editorial piece commented on his speculations of the end for Harry Potter. His argument was that Harry should die in the conclusion as this would be a fitting and poetic end. Clearly Jack's death is the ending Damon would have ascribed for Harry.

But the two shows are divided not only by an ocean, but by a cultural difference. Harry's story calls upon the cultural memory of the Second World War and the frightening fear of a fascist conquest of Europe. That cultural experience does not ascribe a poetic ending in the death of a hero. There is more of the reality principle in Harry's tale and what to make of one's life after the end of war.

LOST calls upon the American myth, the tragedy of the hero's death, such as at the Alamo. But it also references Gilgamesh whose death comes at the end, or that of Moses, who dies before the Israelites enter the Promised Land. LOST has a strong sense of these myths, as Damon's editorial on Harry Potter attests.

There seems to be a prohibition against letting heros live: they age, grow paunches and their hair turns grey, otherwise. To bring our LOST heros back in this transcendent alternate universe is not only a bit of wish-fulfilment but also an avoidance of the nitty gritty of the everyday life that follows on the completion of the adventure. In the end, did LOST fail in conveying more than its meaning? The clean surfaces of television are represented in the opening of the church doors, which seduces us as viewers by its magical unreality. It is the last trick of the magician that is self-satisfying for the audience, wonderous even with its promise of redemption, love and friendship. Harry's tale, I expect, will end, equally, with the meaning of friendship and love, but with a feeling of having survived the terror. It will be less aesthetic (less spiritual) as it engages with the materiality of daily existence (in new families). That is an answer to Damon why Harry cannot die, because life is not a screen of images, but an actuality of being here (not there) among others.

LT McDi said...

Here's what happened when I saw the Finale..immediate reaction was "huh?"...followed by thinking about the line "some died before you, some long after" and realizing...yes Lost did what I really hoped they would...not negate 6 years of story telling with a time jump...alt history twist.
I've been doing my own rewatch and find I'm enjoying it so much..a little walk down memory lane.
But I wouldn't enjoy it as much if I knew Boone's death wouldn't matter, Michael killing Libby and Ana Lucia wouldn't matter..Ben killing John wouldn't matter..because hey, here's a cool twist that fixes up some of the bad stuff.
Lost stayed true to What Happened Happened and that what the characters did mattered

Something I noticed during all the criticism was a real lack of clear workable ideas on how Lost might have ended better. I've read stuff that revolves around plot points but an end is more than just a bunch of resolved plot points.
If I'd been queen of the Lost set for the Finale about the only change I'd make is to chuck those two angels positioned by the large doors Christian opens at the end.
After the lovely multidemoninational symbolism of the stain glass window...I thought the angels were kind of in-your-face Catholic or Anglican symbolism that I found off putting.

I found the Finale a fitting end to the story Lost told. I still love it.

Ali Bags said...

When I first saw the Finale I was upset by the fact that I didn't feel any emotion at all except slight disappointment and apathy. This was somewhat disturbing considering I loved the show so much I actually visited Oahu last year (and I don't live in North America).

However, a few months down the line I can now step back and analyse my response more rationally - and yes, Nikki, your comments in 'Finding Lost' have helped me a lot.

I think my disappointment was due to my own tastes and beliefs. I don't like religious sentimentality, I have no belief in an afterlife whatsoever. This shouldn't have bothered me though, because as a teacher of literature I know how to suspend my disbelief! I think I was just didn't like what the Sideways world turned out to be and as I've Nikki mentioned in her book, the fact the one of final scenes was set in a church was a real turn-off.

Fortunately I LOVED the very last scene with Jack. None of it made me cry though, which made me steer clear of the initial discussions on the web because I felt really left out! I usually cry at the drop of a hat.

I watched it again last week for the first time, and this time felt a little more of the emotion. Watching the special features on the DVDs has really helped me too. I have fallen back in love with Darlton. I've just tonight watched the pilot with the commentary again and it truly was a remarkable piece of TV. The Finale was never going to be good as the Pilot but I admit, it isn't as bad as I originally thought.

Quarks said...

I absolutely loved the finale; it's one of my favourite episodes of Lost ever (for that matter, it's probably one of my favourite episodes of any show ever). I felt so many emotions watching it, from happiness at seeing all the characters reunited in the end, to sadness at never being able to watch a new Lost episode again. I did have a few niggles with the finale, which I will go into later, but overall I thought it was a fantastic episode.

At it's heart, Lost was always a show about the characters first, and then the plot (which is perhaps why plot-driven shows like Flashforward and The Event aren't quite as good (although The Event is grwoing on me)). The finale resolved most of the characters' feeling and emotions, and provided them with a happy ending, which really I was always hoping for. Watching the reunions of Charlie and Claire, Sawyer and Juliet, Sun and Jin, etc. and watching them remember their lives was so emotional. Even when I watch the finale back, I can't help feeling happy when I see the montages of memories. Those moments could well be my favourite in the entire series.

As for the Christian overtones, I didn't really have any problems with them. Personally, I am an atheist and I do not believe that there is any afterlife, but I do like the idea, and hope I am wrong. I have no problem with the characters moving on to the afterlife at the end of the show, as it creates the idea that they are all going to be happy for the rest of time, and Lost has really made me care for the characters in it. The show never specifies that they are going to Heaven, or Nirvana, or any other religion-specific place, and one of the things which I particularly like in the final scenes of the finale is the stained glass window which represents all the main religions. Not all of the people in the church at the end believe in the same things, or have the same opinions, but they are all good people. They all have the right to be happy, regardless of who they are or what they think. As for why they are in a church at the end, I think that is more for Jack than for anything else. As I mentioned in a earlier comment, Jack was essentially their leader, and he needed to be able to move on before they could all move on together. While it is never explicitly said that Jack is a Christian, he was going to have his father's funeral in a church, and I think this event, of laying his father to rest and finally being able to let go of him, was what caused them to be in the church at the end, not because of what it is, but because of what was going to happen there. Christian Shepherd was who turned Jack into who he was, the man who saved so many lives and the Island, and it was him who needed to guide Jack to the afterlife. And where better for him to do that than where Jack could finally let go of him.

Quarks said...

Continued:

Now for those niggles I mentioned earlier. The first is that I don't think Claire was used as much in the finale as she could have been (in the original timeline at least). She was brought back for the final season, yet she didn't really do much there. I think the writers could have done so much more with her, especially what with Richard Malkin's 'prophecy' in the first season, and I think its a shame that she wasn't utilised more.

Another niggle I have with the finale (well, the whole season really) is that some of the lines in it seem more like 'fan service' (for want of a better phrase)than anything else. For example, when Kate says "Christan Shepherd? Seriously?" it feels like the writers are saying "Well, we've given you six seasons to work out where we got Christian Shepherd's name from, but if you still haven't worked it out, let's draw your attention to it so that you can finally see it". Also, I think the viewers are intelligent enough to notice the similarities between the Man in Black and Jack looking down into the source and Locke and Jack looking down into the Swan, without the Man in Black having to spell it out for us. Throughout the whole season, in the flash-sideways (especially in the conversations between Locke and Jack) it seemed sometimes as though the writers were trying to fit as many significant lost phrases into one conversation as possible, and it started to get annoying.

But these are just minor niggles. I absolutely loved the finale, and I don't think I'll ever change my mind about this. In my opinion, the finale of Lost will remain one of the greatest episodes of one of the greatest shows ever, forever.

Susan said...

Nikki I appreciate your comments about the people who didn't like the finale. I am one of them, but when Lost ended, I didn't express my disappointment as much as I would have liked. On Lostpedia there was so much hatred and anger directed at people who didn't like it that many people left the site for good. Here, though, posters treat each other so much better; in this case I didn't want to express my dislike because so many people loved it that I didn't really want to bring the conversation down.

I've been told that I "didn't get it" or "wanted everything answered." But the reasons for disliking season 6 have nothing to do with these reasons. If you take away the whole FS, season 6 fits in well with the other 5. But the FS don't fit in, and Lost becomes something different from what I thought it was. D&C introduced so many elements that they later abandoned, with the excuse that "we want to leave some mysteries for the viewers." There are also so many little contradictions that they never explained (Charles's motives, Danielle's history, etc.). In my opinion, they wasted too much of the season on something that wasn't real. Like LT McDi said, things that happened didn't matter. To me the FS, which comprise about half of season 6, were just an excuse for D&C to bring back some much-missed dead characters.

Fred I enjoyed your contrasts between Harry Potter and Lost.

Lee said...

My feelings about the "Lost" series finale have not changed one iota since it originally aired. I loved it then, I still love it now, and thought it was the perfect ending to the show.

Marebabe said...

@AEC: I agree with your statement of really wanting to love the finale. Because of my deep and abiding love for LOST, I just couldn’t stand the thought of not loving the finale. And when you get love and hate together in the same room, that spells conflict! (Actually, in my case, it was love and confusion and frustration and even some feelings of betrayal. Where Nikki and legions of fans were in floods of happy tears following the finale, even days later when I was at work, I was struggling to suppress tears of frustration over LOST. It sucked, believe me!)

So I can relate to how you decided to accept some of the things you didn’t understand or like, so you could be happy with the finale. In my rewatch of S6 right after I got the DVDs, I found myself thinking, “Fine, whatever” on numerous occasions. And that’s such a far cry from how I used to watch LOST. “Ruined” is too strong a word to use. I would not say that all of LOST has been ruined for me, and I’m sure that I will rewatch the series again in the future. (I’m not going to use the discs for target practice!) But I think you chose an appropriate word – my experience of the entire series has been somewhat tainted by the finale. And because this experience has been so unpleasant, I’m sure that any future TV projects produced by the team of Damon and Carlton will hold no interest for me.

A note to Nikki: Last night and this morning, I read the whole 50 pages on the finale in your S6 book. Very good stuff, as I knew it would be! I really loved how you took the time to pull together events from the entire series to make sense of some of the things that happened in S6 and the finale. And it’s a minor detail, but I especially liked your explanation of why Aaron was still a baby in the final scene in the church: "...they look the same as they did when they were on the island, because that’s the last place where they were all together. Aaron left the island as an infant, and that’s why he looks like one in the church. Ji Yeon is still an unborn fetus, just as she was on the island.” This now makes total sense to me, it’s logical, and it works. Thanks for that! Thanks for every illuminating bit of information and analysis that you have ever crammed into your amazing Finding Lost books!

Jen said...

I have never been so overwhelmed by emotion as I was by this finale - I LOVED it. I threw a LOST series finale costume party, and was shaking and sobbing so hard throughout it all, in my crazy jungle Claire costume, that my friends sitting behind me asked if I was laughing or crying.

I agree with you Nikki, that the Christian imagery should not have come from left field for people. Jack was named "Shepherd" after all, and in case their was any doubt or confusion, his father's name was "Christian Shepherd"! I thought it was beautiful that Jack was trying to be a leader the whole first season, but was leading with his rationalistic mind, out of his insecurities, to prove himself. But he could only TRULY be a leader when he embraced his place in a larger Story, the one of the Island, where it wasn't all about HIM and his insecurities or trying to prove himself to his father. It was all about selfless sacrifice for those he loved, which was the most pertinent (but most beautiful) Christian imagery. To lead is to serve, to give your life for your friends, to kick yourself out of the centre of the universe and to contribute to a Story that has gone on long before you and will continue after you.

As for those who didn't like it, I get it. If it was about the answers, then this episode didn't deliver. But I think that the whole of LOST was a critique of this way of thinking - A critique of the modernist quest to master the unknown. Jack went from a character who needed to master the unknown - to understand everything rationally - to one who realized that the deepest truths of being human cannot be understood with our reason - they are to be understood by understand what story we are a part of (for Jack, the story of the Island) and embracing our place in it. The meaning LOST was in the realm of the non-rational, (not to be confused with the irrational), the spiritual.

I wrote a whole thesis on this for my Post-Modernity class in grad school last year, and I wrote it as a giant defense of the series for those who didn't like the ending.

It's called "LOST: A Critique of the Modernist Quest and Prophet of a Better Way" and you can check it out here: http://sacredimperfections.wordpress.com/2010/07/08/lost-a-critique-of-the-modernist-quest-and-prophet-of-a-better-way-part-i/

Great job on this Nikki, I loved the finale, and am missing LOST so much!

Marebabe said...

The timeliness of this is freaky, considering that we’ve just started our frank and honest discussion of “The End”. Do check out Damon Lindelof’s review of the new Harry Potter movie, which was posted on The Daily Beast yesterday, November 19th. The title is “Oh No, ‘Harry’ Bored Me!”, and at the end, Damon makes this incredible apology: I sincerely and genuinely apologize to all those whom I have stripped of their Lost fandom just for complaining about the stuff you didn't like. It doesn't make you any less a fan. In fact... It just makes you honest. I respect that. And I'm genuinely sorry for ever feeling otherwise.

Here is the link:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-11-19/harry-potter-and-the-deathly-hallows-part-1-reviewed-by-damon-lindelof-of-lost/

Marebabe said...

Oops! I should've put Damon's words in quotes. My bad!

Jen said...

oops. here's the link to my thesis again!

LOST: A Critique of the Modernist Quest and Prophet of a Better Way

Rick Rische said...

Count me in the group that loved the finale. As an atheist, I wasn't put off by the climactic scene in the church. Season 6 was full of symbolism, and I loved the symbolism of the Losties gathering, not at just ANY church, but that particular church. The Lamp Post, where the Dharma Initiative found the island. So it was fitting that the Losties would gather there when they had remembered everything that made them a community.
The great thing about the message of the show is that you don't have to be a believer to understand the wisdom of it. It's true no matter what particular religious beliefs you might hold, and it was definitely thematically on target with everything that had come before.
Rather than looking at it as a happy ending, I found it incredibly bittersweet.

After the finale aired, the only lingering nitpick I had about the flashsideways was that everyone started at the default position that they had forgotten their lives. I felt that the concept of "forgetting" wasn't embedded thematically in the show prior to the beginning of season 6. Then I got Nikki's books, and she helped me see that "memory" is a strong running theme throughout the show- with the importance of the flashbacks being the biggest expression of that. And culminating with Jack's enthusiasm for setting off Jughead to reset the timeline and avoid all the pain he had experienced since coming to the island. So yeah, it's definitely in there.

And those last 10 minutes are brutally emotional, raw in some places. The scene where Jack and Christian embrace in one of the most powerful scenes I've ever seen on television.

LT McDi said...

Susan I'm sorry...I must have worded my comments clumsily. I actually said what the characters did, mattered.
I actually believe the only reason the Sideways world exsisted at all was because of the time the characters in the Sideways, shared together on the Island.
If the Losties had landed in LAX as just a bunch of Oceanic passengers there would have been no reason for Sideways meeting place after all the same characters had died.

Pamalamb said...

Wow! great discussion so far. Nikki I received your book this week, and am so excited to read it! Unfortunately, I have not had time this week to do more them skim through it. I wanted to make my initial comments now and maybe say more later, after reading your chapter on "The End."

I truly loved the finale on first viewing it and have not change my view in the months since. What has changed for me however are the reasons I loved it so. At first it was more of an emotional response to the reunions of the characters, their flash back flood of memories, the heroic actions taking place on the island, and the final moving on together of our losties at the end of their collective lives. But Lost was not just a show about emotion to me, it was a show that made me think and question. So for me "The End" had to go beyond the emotion, and satisfy me intellectually as well. I found that satisfaction in looking beyond the minutia to the 'big picture.' Lost, like life, was full of minutia. Don't get me wrong the minutia was a hell of a lot of fun and made up a lot of Lost, but like life, in the end the minutia is not what matters at all. Our lives are full of the little things: some happy, some sad, some joyful, some tragic, some difficult, some easy, but in the end it is the 'big picture things' that matter and the little things fall away. Big picture things like who and how we love, how we treat our fellow man and other creatures that share this life with us, and what we have learned from the life we've led. This is what the characters came to realize in the end -- getting answers for everything that happened to them in their lives was not important. The important thing is what these experiences had done to change them and those they love and to make them the person they were in the end, the person they were meant to be. I believe this is true for all of us in real life as well. In the end so much of what is important to us day to day will mean nothing, and the bigger picture of who we are as human beings will emerge as the true measure of our lives. I think this is true of everyone, if you believe in an afterlife or not. If Lost were just any ordinary show I think the details of it all would have been much more important to me. Lost was so much more then an ordinary show; it was a show about so much of what makes life important, and in the end I think it was true to that.

LittleMo said...

This discussion is great - because some of the people who didn't like or maybe understand The End have now come out and said it.

I am a very scientific and logical person. And some of the things in the last 10 minutes of The End are not logical and do not explain what happened.
When we discussed The End previously I asked the questions that were illogical but never got either any or satisfactory answers.

I am happy with the concept of the parallel universe where people have happy endings and are nicer people (Ben) etc. I am a sucker for a happy ending and this satisfied that need.
But the explanation given by Christian just doesn't hold up with the events we saw earlier.

Its quite a shame for me really to be left with what for me is an illogical and unsatisfactory ending where only minor changes to those last few minutes and what Christian said could have (in my eyes) 'fixed it' - or at least made it more logical and consistent.

In the lost Encyclopaedia in the foreword Carlton and Damon say that they have deliberately not answered all the questions, and left many things open because they know they will never please everyone, and its a way of allowing us to put our own interpretation on things - so maybe be happier.

Well in this case is hasn't worked for me and I am just having to 'live with' the illogicality (my that sounds dramatic)

But I am glad to have had this opportunity to say so and now know that I am not alone either.

I love all the rest of lost - its just the last 10 minutes that don't work for me.

LT McDi said...

with all due respect to a fellow Lost fan...LittleMo..minor changes that make the end of Lost better in some eyes could very well destroy the end of Lost for others.

When I (tongue in cheek) said for example I'd pitch the angel statues in the church..I'm sure somebody somewhere was saying "but I like those angels statues"

Everyone can't be pleased...that's not just an old saw...everybody can't be pleased. So..what's a writer to do??

Approaching the end of Lost there were three things I knew would satisfy me...hearing some version of the music from season 1's Raft Launch..(and we heard strains as Kate looks out the window of the Ajira plane), I really wanted events that had happened to stand..no do overs..no somebody getting to "pick a timeline" to change their choices. And I wanted the last shot to be Jack's eye...not necessarily closing but Jack's eye because we started with Jack..to close the circle I hoped we ended with him.

I got what I wanted..a well told story..a little heavy on the religious imagery but ..OK..and those three little things.

I know others were very disappointed and I get that.

There have been plenty of fictional stories that I haven't liked how the ending went down.

But this one I did.

lostinyoureyes said...

At first viewing I liked the finale but was somewhat disappointed at times. I have watched it again many times since and like it better now, especially after watching the entire series start to finish in a short time.I now see that the producers were going someplace and, it seems to me, went there.

I am religious (well, I try, anyway), but for a period in my life was fairly agnostic. So I felt very comfortable with the religious overtones in the show in general, but do sympathize with those for whom the finale was a turnoff because of that.

In my view, the finale brought closure to the series and I do feel a sense of integrity, rather than, as others feel, that the finale was a departure from the show.

Nikki, I loved your explanation of the finale in your book. At one point you said you were bothered by the dropping of accents, but I have a different take on that. To me, it seemed that the actors were being encouraged to shed their characters and present themselves to us, much as in a curtain call, as they really are. In that final church scene, they were even facing us. All they needed to do was take a bow. Bravo! Those hugs were real. Loved the Hugo/Jorge-Jack/Matt lift off!

As to what it all represented, what Christian meant, why they were there -- I liked Nikki's explanation of the Bardo. I just thought they were going to heaven, but it wasn't sitting quite right. Realizing that this is just this particular group of people, not meant to represent the whole dang world, was enlightening to me.

My nitpicks had to do more with quality than anything else. I said I liked the church meeting, but I did not like some of the facial expressions at the end. I realize they were supposed to be expressions of rapturous anticipation, but on some (Sun in particular), it was just silly. And the Suliet church hug was just gratuitous. By the vending machine it was touching. In the church, enough already.

The second problem was during the fight scene. I've never strangled anyone, but how long does it take, really? Turns out Ben is a much better strangler than Jack. Fox has large hands, but Jack was squeezing Locke's neck forever. Die, Monster, die!

I wish Matthew Fox had not stated on a talk show that he had known ahead of time what the final image would be. As soon as he said that, I figured it out and that was ruined for me. On that topic, I wish there had been less hype ahead of the finale, especially all the Darlton comedy routines. Ruined the mood, a bit, and caused some Lost exhaustion.

The most moving scene for me was the Christian/Jack hug. That was when I cried. More so than with Vincent. Other moving scenes were the Jack and Kate meeting ("No, Jack. That's not how you know me," Sob,) and oh! Charlie bending over Claire after she gives birth (again). Cried hard there.

All told, this was a great finale. I have seen finales in my life -- Newhart, Seinfelt, Sopranos -- but none of these has generated such deep, thoughtful, heated, loving, long, and long-lived, discussion. People are really thinking!

This finale was fitting, beautiful, and very well done.

vw: brati -- More than one German sausage.

Convergence said...

"But I think that the whole of LOST was a critique of this way of thinking - A critique of the modernist quest to master the unknown."

Jen, your post was one of the most insightful viewpoints I have seen about Lost, and its finale.

You really made me think. Thank you for that.

WV: gerbe --> Just a single one of a pair of gerbil

Joan Crawford said...

I both loved and was disappointed by the ending. These two halves exist simultaneously and fiercely independent of each other inside my body. In the head area.

I cried like the girl that I am during the finale. I pretty much just caught my breath and did really unflattering hiccups while waiting for the next thing to make me cry. I insisted on being alone. My husband came around during it a few times. Here is why I made him go away:

Joan: (bloodshot eyes and a little drooly, in a nest of Kleenex and sadness) Bah-huck, bah-huck - these things all happened!
Husband: Yes...
J: I can't stand it! I love it! *cries piteously*
H: Really, Joan, really?
J: Shut up! You don't know what love is!
H: It's just a T.-
J: If you say that, I will implode and die.
H: Okay, okay. Anyway, where's that Lennon guy?
J: Are you screwing with me!? *crying* Are we going to meet up when we die?
H: Oh, Christ, knowing my luck...

I have tears in my eyes when I think about the end! Bah, such weakness!



VW: "Eurandru" (stage name)

Eastern Europe's Newest Singing Sensation: Andru! "Hey, all you partying peoples! Did the hamburgers and cola wash away all your rock and roll feelings!? Get up to make dancing!"

Efthymia said...

Ah, the finale...
I was crying during probably most of the episode. It had such an emotional impact on me that even reading and talking about it the next couple of days had me in tears. I think they pulled The Long Con on us, giving us few answers and having us somehow ignore it because we were getting too emotional over Charlie and Claire remembering each other, and Vincent sitting next to the dying Jack etc (I think I'm about to cry again...).
My answer right after I watched the finale was "yes, I liked it" and it still hasn't changed. I did like it. I even stopped worrying about geting the answers on some of the mysteries and was very happy with my own explanation. Still, when I think about LOST as a whole, there are gaps that I would have liked to have seen filled, but this was a problem with the entire series and I can't blame solely the last episode.
Now, the church thing, it didn't bother me at all, and I'm an atheist. They didn't label the "moving on" as Paradise -as far as I'm concerned, they may as well have moved on into inexistence- and I believe they were very careful not to favour any religion. Like you said, it was just a convenient place where all these people could meet. Plus, it wasn't any old church, it was a church we were familiar with, a DHARMA station, so its symbolism might not have been religious at all.
Therefore, any problems I have with LOST (lack of answers, faith's prevalence), I have with the show in its entirety; the issues that bother me are issues that should have been taken care of before the finale. So, yes, I liked it.

JenniferS said...

I'm in the "loved it" column, though I'd be lying if I didn't admit there were still things I wasn't satisfied about.

Most of the unanswered questions I was OK with solving on my own. Some issues that deserved more resolution: WHAT was the deal with Walt? After setting that one up, I felt the writers were really copping out by resolving it. Many of the second-season events are driven by Walt's absence! I was happy that Walt was part of the DVD feature, but I REALLY needed more on that. Second, I was left with too many questions about Claire. Someone else mentioned the psychic's warning and I agree: tell me more! Last, Charles Widmore and Eloise Hawking -- that would be the one more episode I'd want to see, giving me their story.

On the other hand, I know a lot of people have been troubled by Michael's absence in the church, but I thought that all the people in the church represented those Jack had felt responsible for saving on the island. Jack wrote Michael off when he watched Michael steer that boat away, leaving the others to their fates. Ergo, no Michael in the church.

On an emotional level, I was deeply moved and very satisfied by the ending. The memory of Vincent lying down with Jack still makes me tear up. Frankly, I'm glad the writers left us a few things to chew over -- think of the withdrawal if we had nothing to puzzle over!

Teebore said...

did you like or love the finale? If so, why? If you didn’t like it, why didn’t you?

First of all, I should say I've watched the finale once since it aired, and my feelings on it haven't changed much.

For me, the finale was intended to accomplish three things:

1. Conclude the narrative arc of season six.
2. Conclude the narrative arc of the show as a whole.
3. Conclude the character arcs of, at least, the major characters (Jack, Kate, Locke, Sawyer, etc.).

In that regard, the finale succeeds on points 1 and 3, and utterly fails on point 2.

BUT it was made perfectly clear to anyone paying attention that Darlton had no intentions of using the finale to address #2 (that, in fact, after several seasons telling us otherwise, they no longer cared at all about concluding the show's overall narrative), and so even before it aired, I did my best to tell myself not to fault the finale for failing to do so, and to enjoy it as a wrapup to the season and to the characters.

And I did.

The major narrative arc of the season involved the Man in Black plotting to get off the island and the machinations of Jacob to prevent that and appoint a successor, and the finale concluded that story with gusto (and while Darlton did their best to convince us this was the arc to which all others were leading and thus, was the conclusion of the SHOW'S arc, they failed to convince this viewer of that).

The finale also did a good job of bringing closure to the character arcs, thanks in large part to the resolution of the flash sideways, a device which did for the character arcs what Darlton had hoped the Jacob/Man in Black story would do for the narrative arc: provide a backdrop against which, over the course of the season, each of the main characters could reach the apex of their development.

What the finale didn't do was bring to a close the show's overall narrative. It was a conclusion to a chapter (the final one, granted, but still just a chapter), not a book. But because it was never intended to provide narrative conclusion, I tend to consider that a fault of the show overall rather than the finale specifically.

And that's all I'll say about that for now, for fear of turning this into a "they didn't finish the story!" rant. :)

So, to summarize: I liked the finale as a conclusion to the season and the characters, but felt it failed to adequately conclude the overall narrative of the show. However, that failure sours me on the show as a whole rather than the finale (which was never intended by the producers to conclude the show's narrative), so I liked (and still like) the finale just fine.

Fred said...

Teebore brings up a good point in that point 2 failed overall with the airing of the finale. In this sense, there is amongst a lot of fans a sense of incomplete closure of the series, in a sense that there are still narrative knots left tied and awaiting unraveling.

There is also another way of approaching this question of whether the fianle succeeded or failed. If on a rainy or snowy night, you pop in the DVd of LOST for watching a single episode or two, what do you select? I'll bet for most people it won't be the finale. There are so many other episodes which seem that much more satisfying. (For myself, I would only watch the finale in a rewatch scenario. As a single episode, it just doesn't have that much weight for me to view it in isolation).

Thankfully, as Marebabe has pointed us to, Damon has seen the light that some fans may be disgruntled with the concluding episode and yet remain fans. Largely because there is enough of the show that we would return to time and again without grousing about the finale (that rainy night viewing, for example). Agreeing once more with Teebore, there is unfinished business the show never quite concluded, and I cannot believe the writers would have mishandled the wrap-up of the narrative had they been given the luxury of an additional season.

Teebore said...

@Fred: you pop in the DVd of LOST for watching a single episode or two, what do you select? I'll bet for most people it won't be the finale.

Good point. Again, I liked the finale, but I have to agree with you. When I watched it a second time (after the DVDs came out) it was as a stand alone, and I found myself more or less bored with the flash sideways stuff and resisting the urge to fast forward through it, at least until everyone got to the church).

(Which is a larger problem with the flash sideways and season six as a whole; knowing what they are leading to and knowing they have no impact on the narrative robs them of some of their punch; I might go back and watch Sawyer being a cop or Ben being a teacher cuz that's kinda fun, but those stories lack the narrative punch of most of the finales, or the character punch of The Constant, or the seamless blending of narrative and character like in some of the early episodes. As a result, the flash sideways as a whole feel kinda disconnected from the show's narrative. But that's another discussion...)

Damon has seen the light that some fans may be disgruntled with the concluding episode and yet remain fans. Largely because there is enough of the show that we would return to time and again without grousing about the finale (that rainy night viewing, for example).

Again, agreed. I'm definitely one of those fans for whom the whole left me wanting even while I still love the pieces.

I've honestly found myself with little desire to go back and rewatch the entire show (though I probably will at some point) because it's been made clear that Darlton never intended for all the pieces to fit into one complete narrative (or changed their intentions in that regard at some point).

If they didn't create it that way, I'm not going to bother trying to watch it that way, and that leaves me with watching it the way you describe in your rainy day viewing: single episodes, arcs or character moments that I enjoy on their own merits.

Would the finale (he says, desperately trying to bring the conversation back on point) meet that rainy day/best of criteria for me? ...in all honesty, probably not.

paleoblues said...

I was watching one of my all time favorite movies the other night, the original King Kong. I started wondering:

How did Kong get so big?

If there’s one giant gorilla, there must be more; ie at least a mother and father. Where are the rest of them?

Why are there still dinosaurs on the island and how did they get there?

How did the natives get to the island? What is their back story?

How did they build that wall?

How did they learn to make a sacrifice to Kong?

Wait a minute. The writers didn’t answer any of my questions.

Maybe I shouldn’t like the story as much as I do.

But the story wasn’t about the island. It was about the relationship between Anne and Kong (Beauty and the Beast).

Similarly,for me, Lost was never seen as an historical documentary about the island or its past inhabitants. The island was merely the setting in which the story about the characters took place. Actually, time wise, it was only a small part of the story, as most of their lives were lived before the island and in the “afterlife”.

I wasn’t crazy about the finale at first, but I wasn’t crazy about the Beatles when I first heard them in ‘64 either. After some time and reflection, in both cases, I came to understand their importance and the powerful impact they had on me.

I rewatched the finale twice, then rewatched the complete Season 6, then the complete series and I am now rewatching it all again. For me, it is a perfect package with a perfect ending that I will treasure the rest of my life (along with the Beatles).

JS said...

@Quark - I like the idea that the end had to happen in the church Jack was planning to use for his father's funeral. If they couldn't move on without Jack, and he was the most stubborn of the bunch (no surprise), then it needed to happen in a place he would accept, and where he would finally be able to let that one last thing go. Makes a lot of sense.

Oy I have so many contradictory thoughts and feelings.

I didn't cry when I watched the finale live. I was too hyper to do anything but pay very close attention to every detail. After the ending scene, I said "huh?". Out loud. To myself. I was thoroughly confused, and then went online and got more confused. I watched it a second time after much internet cruising and more understanding, and was relaxed enough to let it wash over me. I cried with every awakening and particularly at the end. The third time I watched it I cried some more. It was a strong emotional experience I didn't expect. In that sense the finale was very satisfying.

But, as many have said here, and as only a true die hard fan would know, I believe season 6 was the weakest, by LOST terms. The inconsistencies seemed even more glaring, and many actions did not make sense in context of the story. I won’t even get into the open questions that didn’t get answered, like how Eloise Hawking knew EVERYTHING – I can come up with my own explanations for things like that. But there were things that were wrong within season. One example - Charles Whitmore's true motivations for coming back to the island. If we weren't supposed to believe anything he said before season 6, why would we start believing him now about his conversation with Jacob? Are there any other off screen conversations with Jacob with any other characters besides Richard? Hiding from the most powerful evil on earth in a closet is just dumb. Did Charles really believe that the evil that would kill all life as we know it would really spare his daughter? C'mon. But that isn’t the finale.

I am hesitant to take on a full re-watch (technically, it would be a third and fourth re-watch) and have actually tried to get into other good shows, though none have brought about the level of possessiveness I have/had about LOST.

So my point, I guess, is that the finale elicited a very emotional response, and as a fairly jaded television viewer, that is more than any other show has ever done for me. Even listening to the music from the final episode just brought it all up for me, and I started crying, again.

The finale is one of those things I only discuss with other die hard fans. Like religion or politics, it really is pointless to discuss with anyone who doesn’t understand the entire landscape.

JS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
humanebean said...

Ah, yes - The Finale. The mother of all LOST episodes. The omega to the Pilot's alpha. The most eagerly anticipated conclusion to a TV series since ... Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. I kid!

Thanks, Nikki, for giving us yet another opportunity to mull over our individual reactions to "The End" and come together to share and reflect upon the ways in which our own responses intersected with others - and at times differed sharply. As ever, I am grateful to be part of such a community and thankful for the intelligent, thoughtful and articulate comments made here. Not for the first time (nor the last, I'm sure) have they helped me put my own thoughts and feelings in clearer light.

I was among those who found themselves a bit at sea when "The End" first aired, and struggled to put my emotions into words. I thought that I had held my expectations in check enough so that I could just let the events of The Finale wash over me without being disappointed that my favorite bit of business wasn't addressed or explained or squared away to my tastes. I was melancholy, to be sure, that the show was ending and sorrier still that this would mean an end of sorts to the hours/days of speculation, theorizing and discussion of the show's mysteries and meaning.

I did enjoy many pieces of the show although some parts really left me cold. I greatly enjoyed the final scenes, particularly the inter-denominational elements of the church and the moving exchange between Jack and Christian that had me crying like the girl that Joan Crawford is. The meaning of the ending seemed perfectly clear to me and, while I was left feeling a bit empty at how other elements of the sideways world had been resolved, I found a rightness in watching Jack move through the bamboo and lie down for what he thought would be a lonely death; buoyed by the vision of Ajira flight 316 taking off overhead and carrying his friends to freedom ... and then joined by Vincent for one last moment of connection.

Imagine my surprise, then, to awake the next morning and read that so many viewers had either found The Finale a superb conclusion to the show in toto or soundly rejected the very things that I had enjoyed most of all! Many showed resistance to the religious symbology, many more claimed to be confused about what the ending meant at all and the general tone of discourse was rather fractious. I found that I was a bit conflicted and confused about my own reactions and needed some time to process.

After some time had passed, I watched "The End" again to see if my feelings had changed significantly. I found that some pieces I had not enjoyed the first time played better upon review although some sideways resolution struck me as ham-handed and gratuitous. I recognized an odd feeling of guilt that I did not respond to these emotional scenes as had others whose opinions I respected. I still felt that, while at times inartful, The Finale did a decent job tying up the Season 6 strands and resolving Jack's story in a meaningful way.

Reading Nikki's monumental section on "The End" gave me a great deal of enjoyment and gratification that the show itself did not provide nearly as well! No surprise, here - Ms. Stafford has an unparalleled skill at synthesizing disparate elements and conveying her own heart and mind clearly. I have no doubt that her love for The Finale measurably increased my own level of satisfaction with it and removed for me lingering feelings of dismay and disappointment.

humanebean said...

(cont'd)

While I enjoyed reading everyone's comments here on the topic, I'm particularly grateful for remarks by Marebabe, Fred and Teebore - you guys rock and I find much to agree with in your perspective.

One final thought on the religious aspects of the show and The Finale in particular: from my view, LOST, for all of its references and imagery, was never so much about the content of the various religions alluded to as it was about the reasons why people turn to religion in response to the mysteries of their own existence. Just as some will turn to charismatic leaders, good and bad, to give them direction and validation, many seek the ritual and continuity of religion to address their emotional needs. For Jack to find himself in a church so blatantly invoking ALL major world religions rather than one in particular, even as he came face to face with his own emotional totem - his father - presaged the pseudo-mystical opening of the doors to the church and the show's ending to his personal journey.

It occurred to me that the timeworn analogy that the LOST experience was akin to working on a jigsaw puzzle had one rather large divergence: one usually works on a jigsaw puzzle by attempting to assemble the outer edges to give the picture within a meaningful frame. LOST, rather, was a bit like assembling bits and pieces of the inner picture without ever really having an outer framework to go by - we were always speculating and theorizing as to what that framework would turn out to be. While I greatly enjoyed the picture that was revealed over the six seasons of the show - and enjoyed even more discussing the missing frame - I think that I find myself in the Teebore Camp (Hey kids! Bring your sleeping bags!) in concluding that "The End" was never really meant to offer a definitive boundary for the show's Bigger Picture.

Finally, I'll say this: some of my greatest enjoyment of LOST came from re-watching earlier episodes and re-contextualizing what was shown in light of what I later learned about the characters and their place in the evolving storyline. Perhaps the most telling criticism of Season 6 and the series finale is that I don't yet feel that this is as true of this season as previous ones.

Of course, ask me again when I've finished my Season 6 re-watch, Finding LOST by my side. ; ]

Kevie said...

Dunno if you covered this in the book (going to order it soon -- I promise!), but one thing about the finale really nagged at me the more I thought about it: the last image in the church as the golden light streams in. It seemed to me upon reflection that they were going for an 'aha' moment there that perhaps didn't quite fire for the audience as was hoped. It was meant to provoke a shock of recognition.

What was the major unanswered question throughout the series? Of course it was: “what exactly is the island”. This mystery went unanswered in a literal sense, because the reality of what the island was could only be diminished by any attempt to quantify it. I am COMPLETELY on board with Jen's brilliant suggestion that Lost was constructed partly as “a critique of the modernist quest to master the unknown.” A critique, in other words, of those of us who put our attention entirely on quantifiable answers to the mysteries, rather than allowing for the deeper lessons of ambiguity to kick in. What happened throughout Lost’s history each time a group of people arrived on the island and set to work trying to deconstruct its secrets and tap its power for their own use? They always ended up slaughtered. The island is not a tool for the convenience of us tiny little primates, to utilize for the attainment of our pathetic earthly desires. The island is indeed a place of miracles, but the true miracles are the transformations that can take place within a human heart.

(continued below)

Kevie said...

(continued from previous)

Look at what Jacob put his candidates through in search of a successor. He tortured them through his manipulation of fate, put them through all kinds of hell, and by and large they were rewarded only with brutal deaths. But by subjecting them to a crucible, he offered them something far greater than a successful human life: he gave them a rare opportunity to free their immortal souls. They were all, as he stated, broken people. If you accept the Eastern notion of the soul taking multiple births, then these were people who might live thousands of lifetimes and continually find themselves in the same traps of their own devising. (The sideways world hinted at this: Sawyer might be a criminal or he might be a cop, but he’s going to be a prisoner of the same obsessive rage either way.) Jacob offered his candidates a ticket off the wheel of karma, by utilizing the island for its true purpose: as an engine of personal transformation, a gigantic stage on which people play out the defining dramas of their lives and hopefully transcend them. And after they died they were allowed to shuffle off to their little LA pocket universe, tie up the remaining loose threads of their mortal existences once and for all, and freely relinquish them.

Thus when the golden light streamed into the church in the sideways realm, it was more than poetic symmetry that saw the characters arranged in the church pews looking much like passengers on an airplane. The message was: they’re going back to the island. But the island as it actually is, not the harsh realm of struggle and death that they experienced on the mortal plane. Perhaps the island is a twilight axis between this life and the beyond, between light and dark, good and evil. (I’m of the opinion that Smokey was not actually MiB but a manifestation of primal evil that Jacob had released through his act of wrathfulness, and was powerless to put back in the bottle due to it taking the shape and persona of his brother.) Perhaps the island exists on many planes simultaneously. The living humans who wind up there are dimly aware of the next closest spiritual plane; i.e. the Whispers, the people who are incapable of moving on. But perhaps there also exists a higher plane, a pantheon of souls who learned the lessons the island had to teach, and perhaps our Losties joined them in the end.

Thanks for the awesome blog Nikki!

Convergence said...

Nikki, I wonder if you could slow down your posting of new blog posts and let this one hover near the top of your page for a while. This is the best exchange of ideas I have seen yet on this forum.

I think the passage of time has really helped people articulate and sum up their complex thoughts and emotions and view the show as a whole. Kevie, Marebabe, Teebore, Humanebean, Fred, Jen, you are all offering EXCELLENT insights and I am enjoying this immensely.

I started off the comments by noting the finale both pleased and disappointed me, but I didn't go into the reasons because I was having trouble articulating it.

FWIW, you can put me in the Jen, Teebore, and Kevie camps - you have all summed up my thoughts really well.

I really, really hope people keep posting here. And Nikki, it would be fun to hear your reactions, too.

(I know you wrote many pages on the finale in your latest book. But I hven't read it yet :-( I'm going to be buying it in the bookstore for the holidays, like I did all the other ones).

Thank you to everyone who took the time to write their thoughts here. I know it feels difficult to make a long post, but rest assured others of us are reading them and really loving them - thank you!

WV: dessly --> How one of the Harry Potter movie characters uses their lax jaw and mouth muscles to describe the "hallows" in that movie after having been hit by a stunning spell.

lostinyoureyes said...

@ paleoblues, Thank you. I've wanted to post this same observation for some time. Since when have we needed all our questions answered about a work of science fiction!? With that demand, could I have enjoyed Star Trek TNG as much as I did? No. Stephen King is off the radar with the weird and inexplicable. Love Stephen King.

@Convergence, I agree the discussion of the finale should be given more time. That's why I'm back here (and NOT because I unexpectedly was not needed to work today and so am using this gift to procrastinate even though I'll be hosting Thanksgiving in a couple of days).

Regarding the critique of the modernist quest to master the unknown: I mentioned before that I am religious. Here's my spiritual journey in a nutshell: Raised in a nominal church, in my late teens went "Jesus freaky" and joined a bible church, then tried Buddhism, now belong to a church so liberal, we are told not only to NOT take the bible literally, but that it is wrong to do so, because you miss the heart of the story worrying about such things. Gotta love those Presbyterians!

Back to the discussion: The alternate world gave our heroes a chance to experience their lives from a different perspective. It was, I thought, a wonderful narrative device. At its best, the presentation of this idea should trip in each of us the realization that our own lives could have been very, very different if only we had been able to let go of the issues that tied us down. That's true for me, and I loved the FS for that insight.

I do have a question regarding people's dislike, not only of the finale, but S6 as a whole. Was it really weaker than the rest of the seasons? Much different? I liked S6the same as other seasons. There was the usual Lost action, intrigue, emotions of love, loss, regret. Some of you gave your opinions on this here and I found them interesting. I wonder if, on another rewatch, I will agree with you.

Again, though I loved the finale, I admit I found it somewhat lacking in the usual quality. Perhaps it was not Bender's best directorial work, or the editors were at fault. Some long camera shots would have worked better close up, for example. Some scenes should have been redone.

OK, now I really have to go out and buy stuffing mix. And for all those this side of the pond, and this part of this hemisphere, Happy Thanksgiving!

vw: mobnyist. A large, out of control crowd that aproaches congresspeople for favors.

Quarks said...

I think that one of the most telling things about the finale (and Lost as a whole) is that even six months after it was shown, we are still able to have a full discussion about it. Whether you loved the finale or not, one could argue that it has achieved one of the main aims of a finale: it got people talking about it.

I think that it would have been practically impossible for Damon, Carlton and all the other writers of Lost to create a finale that pleased everybody. If they had answered more questions, then some people would have been frustrated that there was nothing more to discuss about Lost, and no more theories to develop about the show. I did quite like "The New Man in Charge" but I feel as though the writers are going through a checklist and just answering as many easy questions as they can. I think that if the finale had been more like this, there would have been more complaints about the finale than there are currently.

I appreciate that some people's complaints about the finale were that it didn't answer the big question of "What is the Island?". I'm in several minds about this question and the way it has (or hasn't) been answered. On the one hand, I am slightly disappointed that there wasn't a massive revelation about what the Island actually was. But at times I also think: can't it just be an Island? An Island with a magic light at the middle which provides goodness to the whole world? An Island which has the ability to cure people of cancer, paraplegia, and all variety of wounds? An Island that can teleport throughout space and send people through time? But, at the end of the day, just an Island?

Also, I can't help thinking that if this question had been answered, however it had been answered, it would have disappointed a lot of people. So many people have spent 6 years theorising about what the Island is, that whatever Damon and Carlton had come up with would have paled in comparison to what they had hoped, or imagined. Also, however they had answered the question there is probably no idea which hadn't already been floating around the internet for years, in which case they would have been called predictable (which, to be honest, many people called the finale anyway). Overall, I think I'm happier developing my own theories about the Island, instead of risking being disappointed by the actual answer.

Several people have said that the finale would have been better without the flash-sideways. I can't help disagreeing with this. While I loved the on-Island parts of the finale, in some ways I almost enjoyed the flash-sideways story more. As I said in an earlier comment, Lost is at heart a show about the characters, and their lives, hence why there are so many flashbacks and character-centric episodes. Without the flash-sideways, any resolution of the characters would have been limited to the ones still alive (which is quite a small amount, comparatively). The flash-sideways allows us to see many of the characters, including dead ones, being happy and with the people they cared about. I think that in general, most people want all the characters (except perhaps Nikki and Paulo) to be happy, but also want bad things to happen to them to create drama and emotion, and all the other things which make a good show. The flash-sideways give us the opportunity to see them be happy overall, but also allow bad things to happen to them in their lives to give us as viewers an exciting and enjoyable experience.

I loved the finale, and I thought it was the perfect way to end the series, even if not all the questions were answered. This discussion is fascinating, and I think it is a testament to Lost as a show that it is able to generate such debate.

bowlhed said...

Convergence hit the nail on the head for me.

Season 6 as a wrap-up to what came before was so disappointing, for many reasons, but not least: the treatment of Sayid's character, the fact Locke was only truly involved for the last 30 secs, the insignificance of Ben, the anti-climax of Ben v Widmore, etc. So much of what came before was not capitalised on, in my mind, and unfortunately, this has forever soured my view of the show (it pains me to say).

But the Finale still hit some great emotional beats.

bowlhed said...

p.s. I was actually really annoyed that the Finale revealed we had jumped ahead to everyone's death through the flash-sideways. Whilst I realise that the whole point was that the Losties were the most important people to each other, I would have liked to have seen events post the Ajira 6 flight, e.g. Sawyer bond with his daughter, or Clare reunited with Aaron.

The Pacific is a good example of a show that allows time for you to understand better the impact events had on the individuals once they had returned to life in the US. I think Lost should have made time for this. Particularly since some of the choices on who left the island were a bit odd/appear incidental, e.g. Frank and Miles. Their getting off the island would have had much more power, I feel, if we had seen them go onto to great things post Island. Otherwise, it was a bit, meh, really.

Anonymous said...

Yes it would have been interesting to learn what happened to those who got off the island and returned home, but since the story was basically about Jack's journey the island timeline story ended with his death.

Convergence said...

Upon reflection of the new, thoughtful comments, here's what I really would have liked from Season 6...

The idea that there can be some value in not tying all the strings together, leaving some mysteries, I get it. Fine. No problem.

But the Classical world of ancient peoples like the then-Greeks and Romans are such a compelling and fascinating theme in humankind's history, the whole idea of the birth and growth of civilization, early sophisticated political and religious structures, amazing art and culture, very different language from ours, and amazing monument building (e.g. pyramids) meeting and exceeding our own (e.g. skyscrapers).

It's not surprising that the LOST writers included some classical iconography and allusions in the show.

But then ... that was it? Over, finis, done? A few pretty pictures of old temples and sayonara? Look, nobody was asking for EVERY question to be answered. But couldn't they have spent an episode or two about the peoples of the island who built all of its marvelous structures, its Statue of Taweret, the Temple? At least give a hint what their lives were like, what their culture was like, how THEY approached the magic of the island? In all of the bloody-nosed time travel, just once couldn't the Losties have accidentally traveled back to that earlier, much much earlier, time?

That is the main thing that disappointed me. The lack of "going there" through the time travel was a "lost" opportunity. So was having Richard's story turn out to be one of only a hundred years' duration or so - the writers could easily have placed his backstory earlier instead, but didn't avail themselves of the obvious opportunity.

So, that's where I felt cheated the most. History. The back story of Jacob and MiB was given very short shrift. So was the back story of the original peoples of the island, the first to find the magic. I am firmly in the camp of those who believe the writers could have, and perhaps intended to, do an awesome job with the history of the island, had they had more time.

WV: thypon --> A typhoon with winds so strong it jumbled even the lettering of its own name.

Rick Rische said...

Convergence, I feel your pain. But I look at it this way- LOST created a universe for the show that was as large as the Star Wars universe. From what we saw during the series, there are a multitude of untold stories based on things that we only glimpsed on the show.
But the series LOST isn't "the story of the island", it's "the story of the 815ers". And that's the narrative the series followed, all the way through to the finale.

LOST is over, but it doesn't necessarily mean there are no more stories to be told about the island and its history, and the various people who found themselves there, or the adventures they had. It wouldn't surprise me if we see novels that take place in the Lostverse. I could definitely see a graphic novel approach, lush and painterly and high end. Google "Lost Via Domus concept art" to see what I mean.
If we do see further works about that crazy mystical island, I just hope they're good! ;)

Teebore said...

@Humanebean: some of my greatest enjoyment of LOST came from re-watching earlier episodes and re-contextualizing what was shown in light of what I later learned about the characters and their place in the evolving storyline. Perhaps the most telling criticism of Season 6 and the series finale is that I don't yet feel that this is as true of this season as previous ones.

Agreed. When season six ended, I felt little compulsion to "watch that again" and see how the pieces fit together because, by the end, it was made clear not all the pieces would fit together.

@Rick Rische: But the series LOST isn't "the story of the island", it's "the story of the 815ers". And that's the narrative the series followed, all the way through to the finale.

I wholeheartedly agree with you, but still feel that narrative (the story of the 815ers) was given short shrift.

I don't want to turn this thread into a "what I wish Lost had done" thread cuz that's not what Nikki intended it to be, but for me, the story of the 815ers was left incomplete.

We don't need to know where the island came from or who built those ruins, but we do need to know the stakes for the central characters, the details of the plot in which they've found themselves embroiled. The story of the 815ers starts with Jacob (Darlton agrees with this assessment: that's why the furthest back we went was to him) and that story was left with plenty of dangling threads.

And that's on a macro level; on a micro level, Lost introduced dozens of relatively minor plots throughout it's run that never went anywhere, were never paid off, or were addressed through omission.

If Chekov said that if you introduce a gun in the first act it had better go off in the third, then Lost is a series with far more guns that were introduced but never went off than it deserved.

Sagacious Penguin said...

I loved almost all the finale and just liked the ending. It seems like a bit of a slap in the face of the show to say that, but I'm a person who's okay with just liking something. And the fact that the last ten minutes weren't on par wit the majority of the show, certainly doesn't spoil the rest of the show for me.

I don't mind not getting all the answers. I don't mind Christian overtones -- as really, it was spiritual overtones anyway. (Yes it was in a Christian church, but where else would Jack be holding a funeral for his father?) We're given an Island-infused epilogue for all the characters and their baggage with the Sideways world, but the afterlife itself is wisely left a mystery. And I don't even mind the Sideway world not being a Happily Ever After....

So my issues? Entirely with execution. Darlton shot themselves in the foot by saving the true nature of the Sideways world for the last ten minutes of the show. It's a matter of thwarting expectations. The audience is loving every minute of watching the characters reunite, and their expectations for a happy ending with everyone reunited in an alternate reality is high. But with the revelation that everyone is dad, we're robbed of that happy ending -- and it's not that the sad/bittersweet ending is bad even. It's NOT bad -- it legitimizes everything that came before -- but by revealing it in the form of a last-minute "Ah-ha!" twist, the writing alienates the viewers rather than luring them in to accept something "absurd" -- a feat this show has executed brilliantly over and over again with other "absurd" concepts/ideas.

So how should it have been handled? I'm not entirely sure, of course, but I feel we ought to have been eased into it a bit slower and more gently and we ought to not have been led so overtly astray by false clues like the jughead detonation, Juliet's "it worked," et cetera.

Still love the show though!

Sagacious Penguin said...
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Sagacious Penguin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rick Rische said...

SP wrote- "So my issues? Entirely with execution. Darlton shot themselves in the foot by saving the true nature of the Sideways world for the last ten minutes of the show."

FWIW, I had been slowly figuring it out over the course of the episode. It started with the Jin/Sun realization scene- after remembering their "island selves", their reaction was calm happiness at being reunited, and Jin's speaking without any trace of his Korean accent. I realized that these weren't "alt" versions of Sun and Jin, these were the actual Sun/Jin, and they had died on the sub.

By the time the Jack/Christian church scene rolled around, I thought everyone had figured it out by then. In fact, if there's any one thing I would change about the finale, I would edit out Jack's line "I died too" because it feels unnecessarily expository, and because the scene would play even better than it already does to just show Jack silently realizing it on his own.

paleoblues said...

I thought the whole point was that there is a life after death (at least on Lost) and they are now moving on to what ever comes next together. For me, this IS a happy ending. (As opposed to "You're all dead. The end.)

TM Lawrence said...

I'm breaking resolutions and the year hasn't even ended.

I feel like a eugooglizer guilted into standing up from the middle seat of the middle pew of the church long after dear friends and family of the deceased have exhausted their parting words. Nikki has graciously hosted the wake, fellowship sponsoring as always, but has herself now returned to the fray of the slay, and I am compelled to stand in support of Marebabe, Teebore, HumaneBean, Kevie, Joan, Fred, and others in reminding the congregation that we are here to celebrate the life that was, rather than to commiserate in the grief and anguish of the final failing days.

We fell in love with a brash, handsome, mysterious, dark youth, apparently sprung full-grown and potent from hammer-struck temple or burst deific thigh, on a tropical shore, a stranger unlike any we had ever met, and basking in the singular light thrown off in cinematic, literary, mythologic, philosophic, and spiritual flashes (back, foreword, and sideways), we found ourselves unanchored from prior comfort, questioning our creed, expanding our horizons, and huddling by a fire for communal warmth and reflection when our new love would desert us for a week or sometimes months at a time. We were granted only cursory and irregular explanations of the absences, erratic behaviors, and nocturnal sleeptalking, and we actively ignored the mounting internal sense of discord and accumulating evidence of chaos in our beloved's continuity and integrity, breathless and lucky to be granted companionship on the next wild ride.

The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and Lost's candle burned so very bright! We saw the end approaching and knew The End would catch us before we could extract the hidden secrets; in fact, we had elevated so many of the secrets during our fireside huddles into fantastical proportion and individualized pertinence that when actual answers were revealed, we often recoiled at the anemic and mundane nature of the reveal itself, and preferred the shine and polish of our own private Idaho. We stopped asking for answers, only reassurance in the waning days that we had not been taken in by an insubstantial confidence grifter or a spiritual charlatan.

We stood vigil on a Spring evening as our love passed on: some saw only a chest deflate for the last time and grieved in the wake of a death-rattle long foreseen but denied, feeling cheated of answers and meaning in the darkness of an extinguished flame. Others wept and opened themselves to a brilliance that emanated in steady glow from the Cave of omphalic wonder and from a Church of Universal Truth, and wished their beloved peace and light in an unknowable beyond, confident that answers enough await in a place where there is no here and no now.

Some of us, myself included, reflected on both the magnificence and the warts and liverspots of the fading body in uncharacteristic repose supine in front of us, and have taken longer to move from anger at the neglect and potential unrealized, through bargaining et al, into the acceptance that may be still to come. On our plighted path together in health we grew brighter and saw the puppet strings and threads of human connection more clearly, but in the solitude of Lost's passing we came to manifest understanding that Lost itself had been only a spark and a catalyst to our growth. The brighter light and more focused rays of illumination had been thrown from the lanterns of the others likewise enamored of this dark, mysterious stranger we were jointly laying to rest.

And so, I would only recommend this for any still struggling with the finale of Lost: consider how you respond to the loss or fear of loss of anyone you hold dear in real life. As for rewatching the finale, maybe once of morbid curiosity or twice for closure, but I imagine most of us keep a hale and hearty rather than declining portrait of our loved ones on display.

TM Lawrence said...

I'm breaking resolutions and the year hasn't even ended.

I feel like a eugooglizer guilted into standing up from the middle seat of the middle pew of the church long after dear friends and family of the deceased have exhausted their parting words. Nikki has graciously hosted the wake, fellowship sponsoring as always, but has herself now returned to the fray of the slay, and I am compelled to stand in support of Marebabe, Teebore, HumaneBean, Kevie, Joan, Fred, and others in reminding the congregation that we are here to celebrate the life that was, rather than to commiserate in the grief and anguish of the final failing days.

We fell in love with a brash, handsome, mysterious, dark youth, apparently sprung full-grown and potent from hammer-struck temple or burst deific thigh, on a tropical shore, a stranger unlike any we had ever met, and basking in the singular light thrown off in cinematic, literary, mythologic, philosophic, and spiritual flashes (back, foreword, and sideways), we found ourselves unanchored from prior comfort, questioning our creed, expanding our horizons, and huddling by a fire for communal warmth and reflection when our new love would desert us for a week or sometimes months at a time. We were granted only cursory and irregular explanations of the absences, erratic behaviors, and nocturnal sleeptalking, and we actively ignored the mounting internal sense of discord and accumulating evidence of chaos in our beloved's continuity and integrity, breathless and lucky to be granted companionship on the next wild ride.

The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and Lost's candle burned so very bright! We saw the end approaching and knew The End would catch us before we could extract the hidden secrets; in fact, we had elevated so many of the secrets during our fireside huddles into fantastical proportion and individualized pertinence that when actual answers were revealed, we often recoiled at the anemic and mundane nature of the reveal itself, and preferred the shine and polish of our own private Idaho. We stopped asking for answers, only reassurance in the waning days that we had not been taken in by an insubstantial confidence grifter or a spiritual charlatan.

TM Lawrence said...

I'm breaking resolutions and the year hasn't even ended.

I feel like a eugooglizer guilted into standing up from the middle seat of the middle pew of the church long after dear friends and family of the deceased have exhausted their parting words. Nikki has graciously hosted the wake, fellowship sponsoring as always, but has herself now returned to the fray of the slay, and I am compelled to stand in support of Marebabe, Teebore, HumaneBean, Kevie, Joan, Fred, and others in reminding the congregation that we are here to celebrate the life that was, rather than to commiserate in the grief and anguish of the final failing days.

We fell in love with a brash, handsome, mysterious, dark youth, apparently sprung full-grown and potent from hammer-struck temple or burst deific thigh, on a tropical shore, a stranger unlike any we had ever met, and basking in the singular light thrown off in cinematic, literary, mythologic, philosophic, and spiritual flashes (back, foreword, and sideways), we found ourselves unanchored from prior comfort, questioning our creed, expanding our horizons, and huddling by a fire for communal warmth and reflection when our new love would desert us for a week or sometimes months at a time. We were granted only cursory and irregular explanations of the absences, erratic behaviors, and nocturnal sleeptalking, and we actively ignored the mounting internal sense of discord and accumulating evidence of chaos in our beloved's continuity and integrity, breathless and lucky to be granted companionship on the next wild ride.

TM Lawrence said...

The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and Lost's candle burned so very bright! We saw the end approaching and knew The End would catch us before we could extract the hidden secrets; in fact, we had elevated so many of the secrets during our fireside huddles into fantastical proportion and individualized pertinence that when actual answers were revealed, we often recoiled at the anemic and mundane nature of the reveal itself, and preferred the shine and polish of our own private Idaho. We stopped asking for answers, only reassurance in the waning days that we had not been taken in by an insubstantial confidence grifter or a spiritual charlatan.

We stood vigil on a Spring evening as our love passed on: some saw only a chest deflate for the last time and grieved in the wake of a death-rattle long foreseen but denied, feeling cheated of answers and meaning in the darkness of an extinguished flame. Others wept and opened themselves to a brilliance that emanated in steady glow from the Cave of omphalic wonder and from a Church of Universal Truth, and wished their beloved peace and light in an unknowable beyond, confident that answers enough await in a place where there is no here and no now.

Some of us, myself included, reflected on both the magnificence and the warts and liverspots of the fading body in uncharacteristic repose supine in front of us, and have taken longer to move from anger at the neglect and potential unrealized, through bargaining et al, into the acceptance that may be still to come. On our plighted path together in health we grew brighter and saw the puppet strings and threads of human connection more clearly, but in the solitude of Lost's passing we came to manifest understanding that Lost itself had been only a spark and a catalyst to our growth. The brighter light and more focused rays of illumination had been thrown from the lanterns of the others likewise enamored of this dark, mysterious stranger we were jointly laying to rest.

And so, I would only recommend this for any still struggling with the finale of Lost: consider how you respond to the loss or fear of loss of anyone you hold dear in real life. As for rewatching the finale, maybe once of morbid curiosity or twice for closure, but I imagine most of us keep a hale and hearty rather than declining portrait of our loved ones on display.

TM Lawrence said...

The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and Lost's candle burned so very bright! We saw the end approaching and knew The End would catch us before we could extract the hidden secrets; in fact, we had elevated so many of the secrets during our fireside huddles into fantastical proportion and individualized pertinence that when actual answers were revealed, we often recoiled at the anemic and mundane nature of the reveal itself, and preferred the shine and polish of our own private Idaho. We stopped asking for answers, only reassurance in the waning days that we had not been taken in by an insubstantial confidence grifter or a spiritual charlatan.

We stood vigil on a Spring evening as our love passed on: some saw only a chest deflate for the last time and grieved in the wake of a death-rattle long foreseen but denied, feeling cheated of answers and meaning in the darkness of an extinguished flame. Others wept and opened themselves to a brilliance that emanated in steady glow from the Cave of omphalic wonder and from a Church of Universal Truth, and wished their beloved peace and light in an unknowable beyond, confident that answers enough await in a place where there is no here and no now.

TM Lawrence said...

Some of us, myself included, reflected on both the frayed magnificence and the warts and liverspots of the fading body in uncharacteristic repose supine in front of us, and have taken longer to move from anger at the neglect and potential unrealized, through bargaining et al, into the acceptance that may be still to come. On our plighted path together in health we grew brighter and saw the puppet strings and threads of human connection more clearly, but in the solitude of Lost's passing we came to manifest understanding that Lost itself had been only a spark and a catalyst to our growth. The brighter light and more focused rays of illumination had been thrown from the lanterns of the others likewise enamored of this dark, mysterious stranger we were jointly laying to rest.

And so, I would only recommend this for any still struggling with the finale of Lost: consider how you respond to the loss or fear of loss of anyone you hold dear in real life. As for rewatching the finale, maybe once of morbid curiosity or twice for closure, but I imagine most of us keep a hale and hearty rather than declining portrait of our loved ones on display. And as Lost broke most of the rules of TV and literary form, is the frustration at the creators for violating the Law of Chekhov's gun (repeatedly) demonstrably different than the frustration felt with the random blessings and cursings and unexplained mysteries of The Creator?

TM Lawrence said...

Sorry Nik-- the iPad totally butchered my posting. Feel free to clean it up.You would be right and topical to tell me to clean up my own mess, and I would, but I can't.

lostinyoureyes said...

Beautifully stated, TM Lawrence. And on this Thanksgiving Day I am thankful for Lost in its entirety, for how it made me feel and helped me ponder the wondrous mysteries of this world and the world beyond, for my loved ones and the place we are making together, and for all of you in this community.

sk said...

I loved Lost. I accepted everything that Carlton and Damon gave us. But, in hindsight, I do not think that they anticipated the huge split in reaction to The End. I wish that they had considered how polarizing the finale was going to be. But then, again, maybe that is the reaction they were going for. Our personal opinion vs the Others.

LittleMo said...

What a stunning thread this is - thanks everyone.

My thoughts second time around are these (and like everyone else they are a personal view)

Through 5 previous series Lost got us into the habit of giving us a person in a mysterious situation and then explaining how they arrived there (by a flashback) and what happened next - flash forward. So we were conditioned to expect answers and became frustrated when we didn't get them all by the end.

I agree the End, to me, is not sad. Its message seems to be that death is not the end and that you move forwards into your 'church' and then through the door to - whatever is next.

There is supreme irony from season 1. Early on when there were the cave and beach groups and people weren't helping each other Jack stood up and made his excellent speech - if we don't learn to live together then we will die alone. And look who we saw died alone ...?!

Now when I am doing a rewatch I want to join the story lines. I want to watch all of Kates back story together. Or maybe join up all the Dharma bits from the time jumps. So I sometimes fast forwards through episodes to watch just those bits.

It is certainly fascinating rewatching it knowing what we now know about the characters. And you can pick up all those details that you have forgotten.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our american readers

Kevie said...

I can't resist adding a thought from my favorite radio comedian, Ron Bennington: He was commenting that while the reveal of the sideways world technically made sense, it was still a cop-out because it didn't pay off the story that they had spent six seasons telling. He pointed out you could wrap up any story by just flashing forward to the afterlife. It would be like if you were watching Goodfellas, and right before the end credits they flashed something on the screen saying that it all worked out in the end because all the characters died and they were all nice to each other in heaven.

Obviously I don't agree with him if you go by my earlier post, but I thought that was a pretty funny observation.