Monday, December 06, 2010

Lostaholics Anonymous: The Finale, Part 2

Hello everyone! First of all, my deepest apologies for being so lax in our Lost discussions... I’ve been busy trying to put the Buffy Rewatch together, and I’ve also been trying to catch up on TV. I don’t intend to drop Lost when the Buffy thing begins in the new year... but perhaps it won’t be every week. It’s not me attempting to let it go and move on. I wouldn’t still be talking about Lost if I thought that (and you know me, there is probably never going to be a point in my life where I DON’T talk about Lost... we’re seven years after the finale of Buffy and I’m still nattering on about that, so...) But I think the postings probably won’t be on any regular schedule.

Before we get on to tonight’s post, I just wanted to remind everyone that... my season 6 Lost book is out! I know, I know, you had NO IDEA and really wish I would have mentioned it before now! (Har. Har.) But there’s still time... time to stock up with a dozen or so copies for Christmas presents. Buy one for yourself! Buy one for your boss (that is, if you want a RAISE)! Buy one for your parents to get them watching. Buy one for your favourite Lostie. Buy one for people who loved the finale... buy one for people who hated it.

Wait... what's that you say? You already bought it? And read it? Have you posted something over on Amazon about it? Please do! :)

I received a letter from someone this week telling me that he was already obsessed with Lost to the point where he was starting to wonder if anyone around him really understood where he was coming from, and after reading my season 6 book, it actually made him love Lost more. He was writing to thank me for offering up the perspectives I did. I’m not mentioning that to brag or to use it to make you buy the book, actually... I just always find it so touching that people take the time out of their days to write me to say things like that. Usually people only contact you to say that you made a mistake somewhere in the book or you suck, but I’ve had more people say nice things than bad, and that’s really saying something about the Lost community in general, I think. That letter completely made my day. Thank you to everyone who has contacted me in some way with your thoughts on the book. It was the toughest one I had to write, so I can't begin to tell you what it means to me that you liked it.

My main reason for starting Lostaholics Anonymous was to actually get around to discussing the finale. As I mentioned in my previous Lost-Anon post, many people stayed quiet immediately following the finale because they didn’t want to bring down the tone of discussion. So I figured I’d let the topic lay low for a while, ease us in with other discussions about the characters, and then finally move back to the finale. It was easily my favourite comments board of the Lost-Anon series so far. I was away from my computer for most of the weekend, but I still remember driving back to the city on Sunday night with my phone, sitting and scrolling through the first 20 or so messages on the board and I was just so thrilled by your response.

After six months, those who didn’t like it have finally been able to come out and say they didn’t. And they weren’t mocked or ridiculed by anyone (which is what I would have expected on here... I would have been shocked if they had been) and instead there was just an outpouring of feelings and memories and emotions, both good and bad, with people listening to each other’s points and either commenting on those or offering up their own reasons.

I’ve gone through the first half of the comments and pulled out one line from each of them, and I’m posting them below. These are nowhere near the long explanations so many people give, both for and against, the finale, but it’ll give you a sense of where the discussion was going and how many different feelings were out there. For the next Lost-Anon post I’ll continue doing this, but I encourage you to keep leaving your thoughts, and feel free to debate things. No one will be rude or take you to task for anything.

Thank you for being the best group of people to discuss Lost with. I’m looking forward to continuing the discussion for a very long time with you!

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

Dusk:
I liked the finale. I don't personally identify as outright Christian but I do believe people that have died do still watch over us.
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.

From Nikki: (This is an amazing idea, and I thank you for putting some doubt in my head that the poor child was left to the Paiks.)

AEC:
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…

Lisa (until further notice):
I loved the finale…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.

Marebabe:
From Nikki: (Her response was spread over 2 comments and was very thought-provoking, so I urge you to go and read it):
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.

QuestionMark:
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.

Fred:
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).

Lt McDi:
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.

AliBags:
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…
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:
I absolutely loved the finale… 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.

Susan:
Nikki I appreciate your comments about the people who didn't like the finale. I am one of them… 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... In my opinion, they wasted too much of the season on something that wasn't real… 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.

Lee:
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.

Jen:
I have never been so overwhelmed by emotion as I was by this finale - I LOVED it… 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.

Rick Rische:
Count me in the group that loved the finale. As an atheist, I wasn't put off by the climactic scene in the church… 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.

Pamalamb:
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 than 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:
It’s 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… I love all the rest of lost - its just the last 10 minutes that don't work for me.

lostinyoureyes:
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.

Joan Crawford:
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.
From Nikki: (Joanie, never change!)

Efthymia:
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.

19 comments:

LittleMo said...

Hey Nikki - nice post :-)
Its great to see all these snippets of people's views, and how varied they are.
And yes - if you had to pick anything out of my ramblings you got the right one !!!

Are we going to discuss the island sometime, Jacob and the man in black, and the well etc? There's so much still to cover - yipee !!

humanebean said...

As ever, it was very rewarding to hear the thoughts of the Nik at Nite Army on the polarizing finale to the series. Validation can be hard to come by during the busy Holiday season but it's always in ready supply here on the Island of Misfit 'Oy's!

I'm stretching out my enjoyment of the new book by re-watching Season 6 as I go. That is I WOULD be, if silly things like life and work weren't getting in the way. I'm all the way up to ... er ... Episode 2. At this rate, I will be done by .... let's see ... carry the 1 .... divide by the Holidays ... um .... February 11 ... 2013. That is, if those pesky Mayans weren't right.

Marebabe said...

@humanebean: :)

Ambivalentman said...

I missed the first finale post, sadly, but I'm so glad I got to see this wide array of ideas and feelings -- just the sort of response "LOST" has always elicited, and never more articulate than on this blog.

It occured to me a couple days ago that the ending was a summation of Jack's motto, "Live together or die alone." I imagine smarter people have already said this, but it was a new thought to me. In a sense, it was as if he had to die alone of the Island in order that the group live together eternally in the Sideways world.

I've felt since the beginning that the Sideways world was not fake, but a plane of existence whose fate was determined by what Jack accomplished on the Island in the final moments of the episode. By restoring the light at the core of the Island, Jack managed to make it possible for the group to move on in the church. I think this is why we see the image of the destroyed Island in the season premiere. The destroyed Island is the aftermath of Jack's failure to save the Island, and Jack's success in the main story is his attempt to course correct.

The finale is not without it's flaws, but they were flaws evident throughout the season. It felt rushed in parts, a bit too melodramatic in lieu of stronger storytelling, and lacking in "answers." Yet, it was majestic, epic, and -- for me -- the last 10 minutes were beautiful.

Thanks for all you've shared, everyone. Great stuff, as always!

LittleMo said...

Ambivalent man - you can see any and all of the Lostaholics posts and their comments by clicking on the link at the bottom right of the post that says
Labels Lostaholics Anonymous

Interesting your thoughts on sideways world and that the rest of the group will live on there, till I guess its their time to go through the doors.

I am doing the rewatch from season 1 that features on another blog here
http://blog.wehavetogoback.net/episodes/

When that rewatch gets to season 6 then I will read Nikkis book from page 1 - thats a long time to wait.
though I am 'dipping into it' in the mean time and over Christmas when work won't be in the way !!!

Dusk said...

*Feels special now* and your welcome! Whats next? The New Man In Charge? I've got a long theroy on Walt appearing on the island and want to post it on the right topic!

Oh a strange fun fact, never seen Buffy before in my life, but the day after you annouced the big rewatch plan, "Anne" came on TV as I flipped through satalite channels. When she got to all the lists of blood donor "candidates" I burst out laughing!

Dusk said...

In response to Marebabe's comment. Yes, the whole "created the Sideways world together" was rather alien, it makes since that Darlton go for something unique. There are so many interpretations you could go with, and Darlton clearly wanted their finale to be remembered.

They gave us enough to speculate about with the Sideways world but also leaving a handful of characters alive so we don't see their real lives after the island. You could say Sawyer went into a downward spiral, Claire had to go to a mental hospital. Or Sawyer became best buds with Miles and Claire did get to raise Aaron with Kate, and based on the Sideways look between them and Sawyer working with Miles as a cop I'm inclined to believe the happier version, but the sad one is just as legitamate.

Same with the other people in the finale. Was Mikhail's sprit really their and he went to hell after jin shot out his eye, or did Jin just decide as a sprit he wanted to payback Mikhail for their feud over the satalite phone? Either is plausable! That is why I accept the FS, they aren't a cop-out they let us know the people do get a happy ending eventually, but we still have the rest of the lives of the Ajiara 6 and Desmond, Hurley and Ben to debate! The New Man In Charge clears some stuff up,like hinting Hurley won't live foreve because Walt will take over.

I'm also inclined to believe it hinted Walt will get Michael to the FS and they will be in Ben's Church group. Michael has issues with Ben just like Ana, Charles, and the the freighter/DHARMA people. So I do belive the other people we saw like Ethan Goodspeed were really there. Andour Losties decided the Sideways after they all died but before they were in it. It's how I explain Charlie appearing to Hurley in Season 4. Everyone's sprit waited for the rest and they debated how to do the Sideways and went to it after they agreed.

I also have a belief of Hurley having to deliever a baby on the island and Juliet helping appearing and talking him through it, so Juliet does get to deliver the first baby on the island after Jack died in proper time in a way. But that could just be me. :)

The FS gave us plenty to expand on, to talk about and didn't just limit us to "What happened next?" like the Sopranos did. That's why it was so good I feel.

Dusk said...

In response to Marebabe's comment. Yes, the whole "created the Sideways world together" was rather alien, it makes since that Darlton go for something unique. There are so many interpretations you could go with, and Darlton clearly wanted their finale to be remembered.

They gave us enough to speculate about with the Sideways world but also leaving a handful of characters alive so we don't see their real lives after the island. You could say Sawyer went into a downward spiral, Claire had to go to a mental hospital. Or Sawyer became best buds with Miles and Claire did get to raise Aaron with Kate, and based on the Sideways look between them and Sawyer working with Miles as a cop I'm inclined to believe the happier version, but the sad one is just as legitamate.

Same with the other people in the finale. Was Mikhail's sprit really their and he went to hell after jin shot out his eye, or did Jin just decide as a sprit he wanted to payback Mikhail for their feud over the satalite phone? Either is plausable! That is why I accept the FS, they aren't a cop-out they let us know the people do get a happy ending eventually, but we still have the rest of the lives of the Ajiara 6 and Desmond, Hurley and Ben to debate! The New Man In Charge clears some stuff up,like hinting Hurley won't live foreve because Walt will take over.

I'm also inclined to believe it hinted Walt will get Michael to the FS and they will be in Ben's Church group. Michael has issues with Ben just like Ana, Charles, and the the freighter/DHARMA people. So I do belive the other people we saw like Ethan Goodspeed were really there. Andour Losties decided the Sideways after they all died but before they were in it. It's how I explain Charlie appearing to Hurley in Season 4. Everyone's sprit waited for the rest and they debated how to do the Sideways and went to it after they agreed.

I also have a belief of Hurley having to deliever a baby on the island and Juliet helping appearing and talking him through it, so Juliet does get to deliver the first baby on the island after Jack died in proper time in a way. But that could just be me. :)

The FS gave us plenty to expand on, to talk about and didn't just limit us to "What happened next?" like the Sopranos did. That's why it was so good I feel.

Susan said...

Dusk, I'm with you. I think that one of Walt's tasks was to let Michael (and hopefully the rest of the whisperers) move on.

lostinyoureyes said...

@Nikki - I'm enjoying this site so much, both reading and posting,and I'm glad you're going to continue with Lost along with the Buffy watch.

I'm also glad to have this chance to revisit the question after a couple of weeks of reflection. My original postings were either in response to others or musings on why some people didn't like the finale as much as I did. I just rewatched the finale (for maybe the 6th time) yesterday, while decorating the Christmas tree. This time, I'd like to offer some observations on the episode as a whole.

It was absolutely PERFECT. I know I stated nitpicks last time, but I regret those as I no longer feel that there were any problems at all. However I continue to wish I had not been affected by some spoilers. There were too many cast and producer interviews toward the end. My bad, partly. I shouldn't have watched or read them.

I wonder if people might have enjoyed the finale more if season 6had not been so short. Sixteen episodes is not a lot. A few more might have allowed better pacing, more explanations, richer storytelling, and a better lead-up to the finale.

Now, what I noticed:

Juliet: "By the way, your English is fine." Sure was. Sun and Jin were talking in the actors' normal accents.

James's sincere thank you. "Thanks, Doc, for everything." James has often displayed jealousy toward Jack rather than gratitude. He's developed into a mature, gracious person.

Nurse to Jack, re Locke post surgery: "Doctor Shephard, he's waking up." Indeed.

I finally understood why Locke thanked Jack for "what you just did for me." By performing a miracle, Locke could move his legs, and remembered his island miracle.

Sayid and Shannon: This time I liked it. This time, I cried.

Other times I cried: Cried even harder than ever at the birth scene. The acting! Emilie, Evie. Wow! I sobbed upon the Christmas ornaments.

"That's not how you know me." Sniffle. Always gets to me.

"It has to be you, Hurley." The more times I see this scene, the more emotional it makes me. He's never going to see his dear friend again.

...followed by Ben: "You do what you do best. Help people."

I always feel mellow when the Losties meet at the church, but this time I choked up when Kate takes Jack's hand. They're so happy!

First time I noticed this: We see Bad Robot, but no one says it. The mood is quiet.

Finally, two observations that I made a while ago: Hurley sees Charlie and grins. Happiest moment! And I'm with Rick Rische, yeah: "The scene where Jack and Christian embrace is one of the most powerful scenes I've seen on television."

Fred said...

Show finales are kind of like societal taboos: they prohibit the continuation of something we find pleasurable, while at the same time providing for a doxa of the activity being tabooed. While the story is ongoing, there is the possibility of transforming the probable into the here and now in terms of the story being told; that is the meaning, in human terms, is contingent because the chain of linkages in the story are themselves contingent. The process of storytelling is akin to dreaming, a process which requires not only interpretation but which gathers into itself meaning for the dreamer. In Lacaninan terms, the pleasure of the story is a symptom, an excess that is a surplus enjoyment. There is, thus, always a sense of the narrative continuing with another scene, another piece of excess enjoyment—but where the taboo begins, so too does Society, and the end of the story must be defined as the beginning of Society. So often, then, fables end not with the death of the witch, or the ogre, or the monster, but the return to the family: Hansel and Gretel return to their families; Red Riding Hood is reunited with grandmother and the hunter; Snow White ends in marriage, as does Cinderella. Television ends the runs of series with a trope that identifies the arc of the series, its meaning, in a sense lays bare what has remained hidden over the seasons, and in which the telling any longer will become banal.

But what if the finale misfires, what if the trope is unbelievable by the audience, or is perceived as a misfit with the narrative of the previous seasons? Jacob is dead and disappears after a few episodes, once the choice of jack as his succesor has been made. The MiB is now almost without purpose, a sort of relic of an earlier age just waiting to be taken off stage; and so he is killed in the finale, as is only just. Exactly what his purpose was seemed to have been forgotten in the development of the final season as Titus Welliver merely glowered in place of dialogue. Failure to have developed his purpose left a hole inside the plot, and the following development over the season pursued an almost mechanical operation that lacked sufficient humanity, something the writers had not omitted in previous seasons with the introduction of Ben Linus. But far worse was the writers’ assumption that any shortcomings would be resolved by the audience—the reality of the alternate world, as Marebabe points out, was simply a shortcoming the writers assumed the viewer would resolve to his or her satisfaction. Our own private reflections would sufficiently cover the glaring gap in the story; in a sense, our own excess pleasure in the narrative would blind us to what was essentially poor story-telling. For some the mask has slipped, and we’ve seen behind the curtain; for some LOST’s finale has shown up the story to be like The Empire Strikes Back, while for others it is a true expression of the trope which underlies the whole of the story. At the heart of LOST lies a contradiction with such a trope—history is unchangeable, the exception being if one steps outside of history, transcends one’s mortal condition. LOST’s writers never fully answer this fundamental question of the story they have created, and for some the finale misfires in this regard.

lostinyoureyes said...

@Fred. This was a fantastic post! Oh, I wish you had been my college lit professor (really, really).

If I'm understanding you correctly, and I may not be so let me know, a series finale can be compared to the last paragraphs of a fairy tale, or the last chapter of a book. The author brings the reader back to reality, to a world he/she knows and lives in, in a sense literally telling the reader/viewer to "wake up," stop dreaming, story's over. The end. Go back to your life and finish your Christmas shopping (yeah, I gotta do that).

And you're saying this finale failed to do that because we were NOT led to a place that we know and can relate to. And while I identify myself as one who has taken, perhaps, "excess pleasure in the narrative," I have to agree with you that the whole Jacob/"Titus Welliver" thing was a mess from the get go. Darlton wrote themselves into a corner, didn't they?, and didn't get themselves out of it very well.

Marebabe said...

@Fred and lostinyoureyes: Just when I was wondering if this Lost-Anon post was going to forever have only ten comments under it, you two come along and add to the discussion in brilliant fashion. Fred, your first paragraph was so scholarly, I had to read it twice to really get it. But I got it!

VW: ducke - a pretentious, upper-class waterfowl.

Fred said...

@lostinyoureyes:The author brings the reader back to reality, to a world he/she knows and lives in, in a sense literally telling the reader/viewer to "wake up," stop dreaming, story's over. The end. That's pretty much the main point. You got it.

You've caught one of the themes of the show, "waking up." Dreams are not only important on the show, but awakening from them is also important. We, ourselves, as viewers have been in a long six year dream, and, at the end, somebody claps his hands and we awaken to our world. The pattern is there in most fairy tales, and what we awaken to is the world, our social world.

I have to agree with you that the whole Jacob/"Titus Welliver" thing was a mess from the get go. This part of the story has always bothered me. I've always wondered what MiB wanted, and I've come to he conclusion he just wanted to die, a death wish. But his death wish would have undone the entire world. If this is what the writers hoped for, then it could have been better scripted. (My point I've made in previous comments is that the show should have gone a 7th season, but the curtailment in 6 did not allow for the expansiveness required in fully telling the story). So we get a half-baked motivation on the part of MiB, and without Jacob as MiB's foil the whole business of "wanting to go home" begins to unwind.

@Marebabe: Hey there. glad someone is still lurking about reading the last comments. I had origninally thought this re-examination of the Finale would generate a lot more. Have we finally had our say?

I did like the comment you made (and Nikki posted) about the (questionable)reality of the alternate world and your disbelief in it. That certainly got me going with the idea concerning the writers' reliance on the viewer as filling in the plot gaps. In the final seasons, especially the last one, this reliance became an over-reliance, so much so, that the for the viewer to "buy" the alternate reality required a huge leap of suspending disbelief. I can buy seven dwarves, poison apples, a talking wolf, and bean stalks that reach into the clouds, but not all at once and in the same story. Then the story would become a spoof, much like Shrek is (and love it for that). But with the alternate reality, LOST was risking jumping the shark.

Speaking of shark, I suspect the introduction of the shark was always an inside joke of the writers, a sort of warning to themselves not to "jump the shark". In the end, the shark was still lurking about underwater, ready to make itself known.

Marebabe said...

Oooh! I never put 2 + 2 together with the Dharma shark! And they even showed him to us again in the opening of S6 episode 1. All writers should heed the warning to NOT jump that rascal!

VW: hypersu - a su that's had too much caffeine.

Fred said...

Perhaps for the fun, I have set out an alternative to the ending we were given. As an experiment I hope to seek out the main points of the story that is LOST in a way that would express and capture the tone of the show.

My first possibility invokes the element laid out in the season opener, the idea of story-telling hinted at in Desmond’s copy of Haroun. What the series has been lacking up to this point is a direct and over story-teller, and it would neatly tie up the ancient/mythic world to locate the story-teller in this world, and to demonstrate the events of the present as an outcome of such story-telling. Expanding on the episode, “Across the Sea,” the candidate story-teller would be MiB, who as a young boy, meeting with the Romans shipwrecked on the island, would from time to time transmit their stories/myths to his brother over games of senet. The stories told could organize the mythic elements central to the island narrative—Hurley’s numbers would find their origin in the tales told to Jacob, and their continued reappearance reflecting Jacob’s fascination (a sort of, what you think will become reality). Thus the myths have a human origin, but are translated by the almost Prospero-like power the island confers on Jacob. The ending of LOST would not then revolve around Jack Shephard, which is really telling our story, but move backward to Mother telling both her “sons” a story of the island, a something new that includes Tarewet and the beginnings of the island’s power—will this be the story of Eden, of a meteorite that landed in the “pocket” of the island, a meteorite with strange effects on people? With this possibility we end at “the beginning” in the real sense, and end with the sense that story-telling is our beginning.

One of the principal problems associated with this alternate rewriting of the season is that it does not conclude with the main characters, and television being what it is, we must deal with those characters that have filled out for so long over the seasons. Since the writers of LOST have already set up a dual narrative, an alternate ending might take advantage of this pre-work. In this I follow Rick Altman’s Theory of Narrative on dual narratives (p 84f), where the major narrative ends unhappily (MiB succeeds in his ending all things), while in the alternate universe, life continues. Memories of their former island life would be recovered, but when miB finally sinks/ends the old universe, these memories themselves are extinguished. It is as in Haroun, the fear that dark forces will end all possibilites of telling stories. But there is the possibility of a new story teller, and this would elevate and explain the “knowingness” of Ms. Hawking—in some little moment, when Desmond approaches her, he may interrupt her telling her “grandchild” a story of an island far across the seas. By allowing the presence of a story-teller, the alternate universe will not disappear (as the older one had), but be saved. Structurally, we would have another “mother” (grandmother) telling a child a story, and the forces as in Haroun would find their counterpart in LOST. Here as in Haroun we would learn where stories come from, and in a postmodernist sense realize we live in stories. There would therefore be no light at the end, as in the church, as the alternate world is our world, but there would be stories, an answer to the question in Haroun, “what is the use of stories that aren’t even true?”

Of course this is just one possibility, and only one among many that we all could imagine. And perhaps it is less satisfying on television to say that a show should enclose within its narrative, “Once upon a time….”

lostinyoureyes said...

Fred, I love your idea. A voiceover narration, from the beginning (maybe starting at the time the smoke monster is introduced), would have helped the story tremendously, especially if they had used one of the two goofy brothers to do it. Since they wanted to use a Jacob vs. MiB theme, they should have made it a bigger, more definitive deal and done that quite early. The Lost story would have been more cohesive and thus the end more palatable.

Are you still there, Marababe? Where'd everybody else go? Christmas parties, I guess :).

lostinyoureyes said...

Oops, I misspelled your name, Marebabe. Soooo sorry!

Marebabe said...

Still here, still reading. I don't know what anyone else is up to these days, but December is usually super-busy, AND maybe everyone has already said everything they wanted to say about the finale.

On a different subject, yesterday I received my Buffy Season One DVD set in the mail, and I have now watched the first two episodes. My introduction to the world of Buffy!