Monday, May 31, 2010

RIP: Nunu

Some sad news today on Jorge Garcia's blog: As he and his girlfriend Beth were heading to the airport to leave Hawaii and move back home, their little dog Nunu accidentally got away from them and ran into traffic, where she was hit by a car. They've buried her on the island.

If you're a follower of Jorge's very fine blog, you'll know how much this dog means to both he and Beth. I was telling my daughter the story after I picked her up from school, and she said, "It's good they buried her there, Mommy, because now that she's an angel she'll be able to play in the place she liked the most!" I feel the same way... What a terrible thing to have happened. Nunu, who made a special appearance in Lost this season in "Everybody Loves Hugo" (pictured above), was a star to all of Jorge's blog readers. But more importantly, she was a dear friend to him and Beth. My heart goes out to both of them, and I hope they're doing OK. It's always so hard to lose a family member who means so much.

May she be in a place where the entire world is a giant chew toy.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Buy My Books... in Time for Vampire Month!!

Wow... check out that gorgeous cover right there. I wonder who could be the author of ... ME, you say? I am the author of that book? Um... really? When is the deadline? A MONTH, YOU SAY?! Er... oh my god.

OK! So, as some of you may have seen when I was all moany and down in the dumps on my facebook page the other day, I've fallen waaaaay behind on writing this book (due to my editor on July 5) and I've started seeing comments here and there of people saying, "I'd love to buy Nikki's books, but why pay for something that you can get for free on the blog?" And I wanted to say once again that what you see on the blog are my immediate reactions, my point-form enthusiasm, my unedited thoughts whipped off in 20 minutes of very fast typing. A blog post on an episode that took me 90 minutes to write (while watching the episode the second time) will then go through a long process of rewriting, research, additions, and usually about another 18-24 hours of work per episode. And that's not including the editing, rewriting, rewatching, rewriting... I'm pretty type A when it comes to my writing.

So what you get here is bare bones. The REAL stuff is in the books, always has been. (This is me making a really lame attempt to sell my books!) The Season 1 & 2 book has a pretty full explanation of the Dharma Initiative in it long before it was determined on the show what they really were. Season 3 puts the season together in a way that shows it was much better than we may have thought on the initial viewing (and seriously, can you BEAT that finale?!) Season 4 draws the time jumping through the season in order to make sense of it in season 5. Season 5 has a 20-page summary and analysis of Ulysses, a detailed explanation of all of the time traveling of the season, and the tools to lead you into season 6.

So if you like what you see here, please check out my books. Someone suggested to me recently that I put a "Donate" button on my blog, but A) I don't think anyone ever clicks on those, and B) I would never want something from people without them getting something in return, so if you're looking to donate to this blog, simply buy the books and make me super happy! ;) Buy millions and make me super rich! Heehee...

Season 6 will have chapters on Paradise Lost, Notes from Underground, Deep River, The Stand, Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling, Chronicles of Narnia; a summary of each of the characters, retelling their life stories chronologically to give you a better sense of their complete character arcs; probably (now) a section detailing the big questions and offering up possible answers for them (if the conversations I've been having with people in the last week are any indication, this is what they seem to want more than anything); and a very, very detailed analysis of the finale. My ep guide for the season 5 finale was over 30 pages long, so I can't even imagine how long THIS one will be.

So... if I'm going to even come close to meeting that deadline, I'm going to have to pull back on this blog a little bit, sadly. I hate to do that -- I've worked so hard all season to build up an audience that won't stick around if there's nothing new. But don't fear: it's not that I won't be posting at all, but my posts will be shorter, and I'll be looking to spark discussions and letting you guys do the talking.

AND... starting Tuesday, June 1, I will be starting VAMPIRE MONTH on Nik at Nite!! Yes, folks, that's right... it'll be all things vampy and awesome here on the blog, mostly tied in to things I'll be doing that are vampire-related. True Blood, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Vampire Diaries are about to become important priorities for me in the coming month, and you will join along with me! (No Twilight, though... sparkling vampires are NOT allowed in Nikki's Vampire Month.)

Things will start on June 1 with the launch of the True Blood book put out by Becca Wilcott... details are here, and I hope to see some of you at the launch! And then on June 3 I'm off to the Slayage conference, listening to papers on the Whedonverses (mostly Buffy and Angel!) and co-presenting one, and I CANNOT WAIT.

I hope you're able to join with me. Oh, and the Lost stuff won't go away. Don't worry. I could NEVER let that happen. ;)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Happy Picture of the Day!

This one just makes me smile SO much. The two Jacobs having fun at the end of season 2. (Thanks for this one, Crissy!)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Wait... The Finale DIDN'T Answer Everything?

In case you're trying to figure out what questions the finale DIDN'T answer (snicker), this might help you out. My favourite part: Jack's tattoo. ;)

Michael Emerson on the Finale of Lost

Just found this on G4Tv:

Canadian Lost Fans: Tonight on Space!

If you didn't get a chance to PVR the end of Lost and are looking to watch it again, tonight the finale is repeating on Space at 8:30pm, and at 11pm there will be a one-hour recap special, and I will be appearing in it!! Hosted by Teddy and Ajay, the special will feature exclusive interviews with the cast, plus us waxing eloquently on what we thought of it. Also tune in to see Wordburglar, a commenter in Nik at Nite, as he offers up a special treat at the opening of the episode. I can't wait to see it!

A press release was put out today by CTV saying the finale was watched by 2.04 million viewers in Canada, and 5 million people tuned in at one point or another. That means one out of every 15 people in Canada watched the finale, which is massive. And despite Kimmel being on, 2200 people tuned in to the live CTV chat hosted by myself, Teddy and Ajay, Andy Ryan and Lainey Liu, so that was pretty cool.

Tune in to Space tonight!! And here's hoping I don't look like a dork. (As I was saying on my FB page, I missed Jake Gyllenhaal by minutes... Donnie freakin' Darko was in the studio and I missed him because I had to run out to go pick up my daughter from school. Argh.)

Time for Me to Let YOU Talk

As promised yesterday, here are the blog posts of some of my readers writing about The End (I hope I didn't miss any emails coming in!) Some really fascinating writeups, once again making me feel all warm and fuzzy that we've got an amazing group of people on here:

I Screen, You Screen (one of my fave TV bloggers)

Chris Morgan

Ernest Ballard’s Gulf Coast Offense


Sagacious Penguin

Jennifer Keeton

BJ Keeton

James McGrath (2 posts from him):
LOST Places In The Heart: Making sense of LOST now that it is over
The Ending of LOST Explained

Rowena Yow

Aaron. This one is less a review than a lead-up to the finale, figuring out what needs to be answered.

PhiLOSTopher, a.k.a. ODM

Jason Flum

Carlos Joao Correia

Mike D

Here’s a podcast on the end with Andrew Fantasia (a.k.a. Question Mark!) and Robin Williams

This is a more irreverent look at Lost, but it made me laugh, and I hope you enjoy it, too!!

From the inimitable Gillian Whitfield here are her thoughts on The End
For more of her blogging, go to her main page

Susan Sternberg (thanks for the mention!)

From our lovely Erin Pugh (and again, thank you for the mention!!) And seriously, you HAVE to see the pic of her polar bear cupcakes!!!


This one’s from Mandy Keathley

For my Spanish-speaking readers, this one is from Pedro Jorge Romero (you can try Google translation, but then it might turn into something about a Super Karate Monkey Death Car)

One of my faves, this one’s from Sean Furfaro (Sean F. in the Globe chats)

Here’s an interesting take from Coleman Glenn, a Swedenborgian minister

Another unique take from Sara Wilcox

A fantastic take on it from pop culture academic guru (and lovely friend of mine) David Lavery

Adam Gertsacov


DavidB226Morris (my name is in the post title! Yay me! Complete egotist at heart here...)

Shannon Clarke

Alex Moin

Al Hsu, for a Christian take on it

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Jack's Daddy Issues: Lost Finale

And now... more thoughts on the Lost finale.

I know what my regular readers are thinking… “What?! Lost ENDED? I had NO IDEA.” Heehee… I have more thoughts on the Lost Finale, says Nikki. And in related news, human beings require oxygen to live.

First of all, I have to apologize for not posting anything today. I booked all of last week off to work on the book (and ended up doing a ton of media and almost NO writing, so I officially ramp up into full-on panic mode today!) Then I booked off the two days following Lost so I could totally focus on this blog and do the extra media stuff I had to do. But today it was back to work, actually thinking of things other than Lost. (Well, I should say, working on things other than Lost, but still thinking about Lost all day long.) And in the middle of the day I had the pleasure of chatting with many Lost fans about the finale again through the Globe chat, so that was fun.

But seriously, all this typing? (This one’s for Gillian Whitfield): “I’ve got blistahs on my fingahs!!!!”

So now, when I should actually be finishing up my chapter on Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground for the Season 6 book, I’m going to write up some more thoughts for this blog instead. Yesterday I wrote up a post where I talked about that end scene and why I think the plane wreckage during the credits had absolutely nothing to do with the ending, and was instead just extra footage tacked on (and, it turns out, as we’ve been discussing in the comments, I was right: ABC has admitted to adding that into the credits, not realizing the brouhaha they would create by doing it… it actually had nothing to do with Darlton). In that post I suggested that in the final scene, everyone had gathered for Jack’s send-off, and that’s the part of my post that has caused the most resistance. The arguments against that were immense, and really caused me to turn my thinking around. At this point I’m still on the fence, but really coming around to the idea that it was a send-off for everyone (and in my book I think I’ll write both perspectives and not adhere to one over the other, just so I don’t eliminate a theory).

So, let me try to rework that idea in that context. First, as many of you have pointed out and I completely failed to so far in ANY post, even though I’ve been talking about it in the comments, let’s look at the stained-glass window that Jack passes by on his way into the room with the coffin. I loved this.

The window contains the symbols of six major world religions -- going from left to right starting at the top and going down, they are: Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism (no, not Frozen Donkey Wheel), and the yin/yang symbol of Taoism. This church is not necessarily a Christian one, but is simply a house of worship that spans all kinds of religions and belief systems.

I focused on parts of the Christian speech – and the fact that it was, in fact, Christian opening the doors to eternity, placing it squarely in Jack’s world view – but the part that was probably most important was this: "This is a place that you’ve all made together so that you could find one another. The most important part of your life was the time that you spent with these people. That’s why all of you are here. Nobody dies alone, Jack. You needed all of them, and they needed you.” They all made this place together, and together they are going to pass over. I think that’s the strongest argument to be made about the fact that they are all doing this together. Kate had said to Jack, “We’re leaving.” And when Jack asks Christian about this, he says, “Not leaving, no. Moving on.” Notice he leaves out all pronouns in that section, but if we simply look at Kate’s comment, “WE are leaving,” then she’s including herself in this.

I think the reason my mind immediately thought this was Jack’s world only was because we’d seen it through Jack’s eyes, and in the real world of the island, we’re watching Jack’s death… it’s not an ending that runs through every person and how they died (that was Six Feet Under), just Jack's. And then we cut to the gathering here, but we only see Jack.

But here’s why that’s important: Because of all of them, Jack was the one who struggled the most to believe in something this big. In “Orientation” Locke says, “Why do you find it so hard to believe?” Jack counters, “Why do you find it so easy?” Locke yells, “It’s never BEEN easy!!” Jack just glares.

What does Jack need to let go of? He needs to let go of that determination to fix things, that believe that he and only he can save everyone, can help everyone. His moment of realization is a flash of all of the people he HAS helped, and he realizes that he’s done so much, he’s fixed so many things, but that he also helped give tools to others to help them help themselves.

But most importantly, he let go of that fierce reason of his. He allowed his mind to expand and to believe in something bigger than the questions of the island, the answers he so desperately sought, and his dire need to see empirical evidence of something before he’d believe in it. On the island, he’d already come around to that. He believed in Jacob and the smoke monster. He sent Desmond down into the cave because he believed in something that three years earlier, he would have laughed at. And now, in the sideways world, he realizes he’s died, that he’s at peace, that his father always loved him even if he couldn’t show it. And he lets go of his doubts. Doubts about himself, about the people around him… and about his father. And the moment he lets go, he is finally able to move on.

Many have asked, “So, then, what exactly WAS that sideways world? I get it in the end, but what about all that other stuff we’ve seen all season? Why the hell did he have a kid?”

Let me put it this way: I remember watching “My So-Called Life” when I was in my 20s and loving it. Loving the angst that Angela went through, yelling at the television about her parents who just don’t understand. I remember watching Buffy and rolling my eyes at Joyce and her harshness, especially that moment at the beginning of season 3 where she humiliated Buffy in front of everyone at the party after hitting the “juice” a little too hard. As a teenager, I didn’t get along with my parents particularly well. My mom and I were always at each other’s throats. In my 20s I’ll admit my father and I drifted apart and it wasn't easy.

Buffy ended in 2003. Lost started in September 2004. And in August 2004… I became a mother. So my entire lens shifted, and it was through THAT lens that I watched Lost... and rewatched other shows.

Suddenly, I wish Angela would stop rebelling and look at her poor mother and how much that mother loves her. I wish Buffy would understand the hell she put Joyce through when she disappeared to L.A. for a summer without telling her what she’d done. Or what it must be like for Joyce to see her cozying up to Giles as her father figure and not telling her a damn thing. And I understand my own parents a lot more.

And I think that was David’s purpose in the sideways world. Jack was so caught up in his own daddy issues that he never once thought, Maybe Christian was such a hard worker, trying so hard to provide for his son and fumbling through this whole dad thing because, quite simply, he’d never done it before. He was going to make mistakes -- there's no handbook when it comes to parenting, after all. He was going to screw his kid up, even if he was going to try his damnedest not to. He probably hated his own dad and thought, “Oh, I’ll do better than he will.” And then look what happened.

And when Jack fell into the same routine – not being there for David, working his fingers to the bone, all the while wondering why his kid was so morose and hating him – he suddenly saw Christian in himself. He talks to David, tells him how he feels, and David for the first time realizes his dad was a kid once, too, and Jack finally understands that his dad probably felt this way, but didn’t know how to show it.

I think the sentiments of the whole Daddy Issue subtext of Lost could best be summed up by the inimitable Philip Larkin’s “This Be the Verse”:

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.

In the real world, Jack heeds Larkin’s advice, and doesn’t have any kids himself. But it’s only through having that kid that he finds the redemption for himself, and for his own father. And he decided to break that cycle of man handing on misery to man, and he decides he’s going to be there for the kid, knowing that that’s not only going to strengthen his relationship with David, but that it’s probably the sort of relationship Christian always wanted with HIS son, but he just didn’t know how to go about getting it.

So when Locke tells him, “You don’t have a son,” it’s the first step to Jack’s realization… that David wasn’t his son, but in fact, HE was David. And only by being in Christian’s shoes was he going to actually understand what it was like to be him, and he would finally stop hating him and know that he loved him. It was a strange irony that in “316” he put Christian’s shoes on John Locke when Locke was in the coffin, but it was Jack who ultimately had to walk in them to find redemption.

So Jack was the one who held on the longest, and took the longest to let go, which is why everyone else was already waiting for him in the church. They’d worked through their crap earlier, and came to terms with their life, but it was Jack who held on, who refused to let go. And when he finally did, they were all standing there waiting for him. And they all moved on together.

Please Vote!

Hello everyone! I just wanted to remind you that tomorrow, May 27, is the last day to vote for James Brooks to help him win $5000 for his charity. Please go here to read more, and please take the two minutes it'll take to help show this young man that all of his hard work has been worth it. :)

The Blogs of My Readers

OK, I know a LOT of you have had lots to say about the finale of Lost, not just here but on your own sites. So now I'd love to offer up links to each of those posts here, tomorrow. Just send me an email with the link to your blog post and I'll put them all together here. I want to hear all of the voices. I've already gotten some sent to me and I just want to share them with all of you. So send away!

The Final Lost Globe Live Chat

Hey all, if you're free from noon to 1pm EST (i.e. about 5 minutes from now!) I will be hosting the final live chat on the Globe and Mail site as we attempt to tackle the Lost finale in one hour (HAHA!! Oh, TOO funny...) Come and join us here. And then lobby for the chats to continue!! Heehee... (I just love doing them, and I'm sad this is the last one.) Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

An Explanation from Bad Robot?

So, this has been circulating the Interwebs since early yesterday evening, and a few people have sent it to me but I'm only getting around to reading it now. The person writing claims to work for Bad Robot and posted this on a Buffalo Bills forum, and it was reposted by DarkUFO. One resourceful Lost fan tracked the person's ID back to other postings on the forum, where apparently he's been referring to working for Bad Robot for a number of years, and people think it may be Greg Ernstrom, a production assistant on Cloverfield and Star Trek. So... it might be authentic. But all I can do is repost it here and you can decide. Some interesting stuff, that's for sure!!

UPDATE: I'm being told this is probably a fake, and Bad Robot is checking into it. I'll keep you posted.

Good stuff on here! I can finally throw in my two cents! I've had to bite my tongue for far too long. Also, hopefully I can answer some of John's questions about Dharma and the "pointless breadcrumbs" that really, weren't so pointless ...

First ...
The Island:

It was real. Everything that happened on the island that we saw throughout the 6 seasons was real. Forget the final image of the plane crash, it was put in purposely to f*&k with people's heads and show how far the show had come. They really crashed. They really survived. They really discovered Dharma and the Others. The Island keeps the balance of good and evil in the world. It always has and always will perform that role. And the Island will always need a "Protector". Jacob wasn't the first, Hurley won't be the last. However, Jacob had to deal with a malevolent force (MIB) that his mother, nor Hurley had to deal with. He created the devil and had to find a way to kill him -- even though the rules prevented him from actually doing so.

Thus began Jacob's plan to bring candidates to the Island to do the one thing he couldn't do. Kill the MIB. He had a huge list of candidates that spanned generations. Yet everytime he brought people there, the MIB corrupted them and caused them to kill one another. That was until Richard came along and helped Jacob understand that if he didn't take a more active role, then his plan would never work.

Enter Dharma -- which I'm not sure why John is having such a hard time grasping. Dharma, like the countless scores of people that were brought to the island before, were brought there by Jacob as part of his plan to kill the MIB. However, the MIB was aware of this plan and interferred by "corrupting" Ben. Making Ben believe he was doing the work of Jacob when in reality he was doing the work of the MIB. This carried over into all of Ben's "off-island" activities. He was the leader. He spoke for Jacob as far as they were concerned. So the "Others" killed Dharma and later were actively trying to kill Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley and all the candidates because that's what the MIB wanted. And what he couldn't do for himself.

Dharma was originally brought in to be good. But was turned bad by MIB's corruption and eventually destroyed by his pawn Ben. Now, was Dharma only brought there to help Jack and the other Canditates on their overall quest to kill Smokey? Or did Jacob have another list of Canidates from the Dharma group that we were never aware of? That's a question that is purposley not answered because whatever answer the writers came up with would be worse than the one you come up with for yourself. Still ... Dharma's purpose is not "pointless" or even vague. Hell, it's pretty blantent.

Still, despite his grand plan, Jacob wanted to give his "candidates" (our Lostaways) the one thing he, nor his brother, were ever afforded: free will. Hence him bringing a host of "candidates" through the decades and letting them "choose" which one would actually do the job in the end. Maybe he knew Jack would be the one to kill Flocke and that Hurley would be the protector in the end. Maybe he didn't. But that was always the key question of the show: Fate vs Free-will. Science vs Faith. Personally I think Jacob knew from the beginning what was going to happen and that everyone played a part over 6 seasons in helping Jack get to the point where he needed to be to kill Smokey and make Hurley the protector -- I know that's how a lot of the writers viewed it. But again, they won't answer that (nor should they) because that ruins the fun.

In the end, Jack got to do what he always wanted to do from the very first episode of the show: Save his fellow Lostaways. He got Kate and Sawyer off the island and he gave Hurley the purpose in life he'd always been missing. And, in Sideways world (which we'll get to next) he in fact saved everyone by helping them all move on ...


Sideways World:

Sideways world is where it gets really cool in terms of theology and metaphysical discussion (for me at least -- because I love history/religion theories and loved all the talks in the writer's room about it). Basically what the show is proposing is that we're all linked to certain people during our lives. Call them soulmates (though it's not exactly the best word). But these people we're linked to are with us duing "the most important moments of our lives" as Christian said. These are the people we move through the universe with from lifetime to lifetime. It's loosely based in Hinduisim with large doses of western religion thrown into the mix.

The conceit that the writers created, basing it off these religious philosophies, was that as a group, the Lostaways subconsciously created this "sideways" world where they exist in purgatory until they are "awakened" and find one another. Once they all find one another, they can then move on and move forward. In essence, this is the show's concept of the afterlife. According to the show, everyone creates their own "Sideways" purgatory with their "soulmates" throughout their lives and exist there until they all move on together. That's a beautiful notion. Even if you aren't religious or even spirtual, the idea that we live AND die together is deeply profound and moving.

It's a really cool and spirtual concept that fits the whole tone and subtext the show has had from the beginning. These people were SUPPOSED to be together on that plane. They were supposed to live through these events -- not JUST because of Jacob. But because that's what the universe or God (depending on how religious you wish to get) wanted to happen. The show was always about science vs faith -- and it ultimately came down on the side of faith. It answered THE core question of the series. The one question that has been at the root of every island mystery, every character backstory, every plot twist. That, by itself, is quite an accomplishment.

How much you want to extrapolate from that is up to you as the viewer. Think about season 1 when we first found the Hatch. Everyone thought that's THE answer! Whatever is down there is the answer! Then, as we discovered it was just one station of many. One link in a very long chain that kept revealing more, and more of a larger mosiac.

But the writer's took it even further this season by contrasting this Sideways "purgatory" with the Island itself. Remember when Michael appeared to Hurley, he said he was not allowed to leave the Island. Just like the MIB. He wasn't allowed into this sideways world and thus, was not afforded the opportunity to move on. Why? Because he had proven himself to be unworthy with his actions on the Island. He failed the test. The others, passed. They made it into Sideways world when they died -- some before Jack, some years later. In Hurley's case, maybe centuries later. They exist in this sideways world until they are "awakened" and they can only move on TOGETHER because they are linked. They are destined to be together for eternity. That was their destiny.

They were NOT linked to Anna Lucia, Daniel, Roussou, Alex, Miles, Lupidis, (and all the rest who weren't in the chuch -- basically everyone who wasn't in season 1). Yet those people exist in Sideways world. Why? Well again, here's where they leave it up to you to decide. The way I like to think about it, is that those people who were left behind in Sideways world have to find their own soulmates before they can wake up. It's possible that those links aren't people from the island but from their other life (Anna's parnter, the guy she shot --- Roussou's husband, etc etc).

A lot of people have been talking about Ben and why he didn't go into the Church. And if you think of Sideways world in this way, then it gives you the answer to that very question. Ben can't move on yet because he hasn't connected with the people he needs to. It's going to be his job to awaken Roussou, Alex, Anna Lucia (maybe), Ethan, Goodspeed, his father and the rest. He has to attone for his sins more than he did by being Hurley's number two. He has to do what Hurley and Desmond did for our Lostaways with his own people. He has to help them connect. And he can only move on when all the links in his chain are ready to. Same can be said for Faraday, Charlotte, Whidmore, Hawkins etc. It's really a neat, and cool concept. At least to me.

But, from a more "behind the scenes" note: the reason Ben's not in the church, and the reason no one is in the church but for Season 1 people is because they wrote the ending to the show after writing the pilot. And never changed it. The writers always said (and many didn't believe them) that they knew their ending from the very first episode. I applaud them for that. It's pretty fantastic. Originally Ben was supposed to have a 3 episode arc and be done. But he became a big part of the show. They could have easily changed their ending and put him in the church -- but instead they problem solved it. Gave him a BRILLIANT moment with Locke outside the church ... and then that was it. I loved that. For those that wonder -- the original ending started the moment Jack walked into the church and touches the casket to Jack closing his eyes as the other plane flies away. That was always JJ's ending. And they kept it.

For me the ending of this show means a lot. Not only because I worked on it, but because as a writer it inspired me in a way the medium had never done before. I've been inspired to write by great films. Maybe too many to count. And there have been amazing TV shows that I've loved (X-Files, 24, Sopranos, countless 1/2 hour shows). But none did what LOST did for me. None showed me that you could take huge risks (writing a show about faith for network TV) and stick to your creative guns and STILL please the audience. I learned a lot from the show as a writer. I learned even more from being around the incredible writers, producers, PAs, interns and everyone else who slaved on the show for 6 years.

In the end, for me, LOST was a touchstone show that dealt with faith, the afterlife, and all these big, spirtual questions that most shows don't touch. And to me, they never once waivered from their core story -- even with all the sci-fi elements they mixed in. To walk that long and daunting of a creative tightrope and survive is simply astounding.

No, They're Not All Dead: Lost Finale

So I did a radio interview this morning that started with the host saying, “So, after six years it all came to an end, and the answer was... they all died in the plane crash and have been dead all along. So on the line we have Nikki Stafford to talk to us about whether or not that was a satisfying end to the show.”

I think one of the pervading ideas out there is that they all died in the plane crash and the entire series was one giant cosmic dream or something. Apparently much of this is due to a final credit sequence of images of the fuselage lying on the beach, which look much, much worse for wear than it did back in season 1. But see, in Canada, where CTV only cares about the broadcast itself and doesn’t actually run the end credits the way you see them (full screen on black) but instead created their own so they can hawk Grey’s Anatomy or create their own lame promos for next week’s Lost episode, we didn’t actually SEE the wreckage. I had NO IDEA what people were talking about when I was being asked this question the next day, and the first time I heard about it was during a live interview where I just played along and came up with an answer for it, all the while thinking, “Huh?”

So I put out a note in the comments and asked if anyone had pics, and humanebean sent some through to me so I could see them (thank you, humanebean!!) So here, for the Canucks who didn’t get to see it, are the pics of the wreckage that Americans saw, causing some of them to think the final moment was an indication they’d all died in the plane crash:

So what is this? Proof that the plane actually crashed in 2004 and was obliterated on the island, killing everyone on board? No. They wouldn’t have spent six years building to one final image only to make it the penultimate image, followed by this. I think this is the wreckage as it sits on the island now: rusted and old. The fuselage that looks like it’s been burned WAS burned when the survivors lit it on fire. All of that stuff didn’t simply disappear: they used a lot of it for their huts, and then the rest of it just continued to sit on the beach. They couldn’t exactly carry a jet engine off and plop it in the woods to get it out of the way.

No. I believe that everything that happened on the island was 100% real. Everything we saw from Jack opening his eye in the pilot to Jack closing it in the final scene was real. Jack met those people, saved those people, interacted with those people, and lost some of those people. He really did leave the island a few months later, he really did return three years after that, he really did go to 1977, and everything actually happened. Christian said to him as he spoke to Jack in that scene near the end that it was real, that everything that happened to him was real. He said, “The most important part of your life was the time that you spent with these people.” The key word here was “LIFE.” Not the most important part of your limbo existence or of your afterlife. Of your LIFE. Those people helped shape Jack and ultimately led him to his own redemption. He believed in them, and they believed in him.

In the weeks and months to come we’ll debate what really happened then on that island, who Jacob really was, and why Widmore and Ben had that lifelong antagonism. But for now, all I have to say is that the island was real.

The sideways world wasn’t the afterlife, and it wasn’t real (Daniel referred to that in “Happily Ever After” when he actually explicitly said that world wasn’t real). It was a limbo world where, after death, they had to reflect upon their lives (remembering them first!) and realize what they’d learned, what was really important to them in the greater scheme of things... and why they were here. Kate says to Desmond at the beginning, “Why am I here?” And Desmond replies, “No one can tell you why you’re here, Kate.” Only she can come to that understanding. Desmond can help lead her to that place, but she needs to see for herself what happened.

That limbo place was one where each individual character went at some point after their deaths. They all died at different times – Kate probably lived to be a senior citizen, as did Sawyer... Hurely and Ben possibly lived for centuries – but when they died, they ended up in this place, spanning time, across time. Those moments of “seeing” that each one of them had? Those were personal and real to each one of them. Hurley had his revelation, Charlie had his, Sun had hers. Those happened to each one of them. But that scene at the very end (and this is my opinion, I really need to stress that, because if you took something different away from that scene then your take on it is just as valid as mine was) was the gathering of everyone to wave goodbye to Jack, to accompany him to his afterlife, his eternal existence. All of those people in the church were there for Jack because they meant something to him. If it were really all of them passing into the afterlife, then different people would be there (I mean, honestly, if Hurley were about to head through those doors, they would be held open by his beloved Ma, who would have said, “I love you, my Oogo” and given him a loving smack as he passed through). Kate was wearing a black dress on her way to the church, but once Jack opened the doors into the actual room, she was wearing an entirely different outfit. This is how she appears to him for eternity: the Kate he knew on the island, young, fresh-faced, and beautiful, the way she looked the last time he saw her before he left her on those flats with Sawyer. The people surrounding Jack in the church were there with him the day the plane crashed and changed his life forever. Maybe THAT is why Ana Lucia and Ben weren’t in there – simply because they were not on the beach when he first emerged and took those first few steps to the rest of his life, so to speak. (And I repeat: Walt was simply a technicality because the actor was too old to appear here as the kid Jack knew. UPDATE A few people have posted in the comments asking about Bernard and Penny. I think those are the two exceptions because Rose was the first person on the island that Jack had a long talk with, the first one who expressed this deep belief in something he thought was impossible, and Bernard is her constant, so it's important they're both there. And Desmond was the last person who led Jack to where he ended up, and Penny was his constant, so she had to be there, too.)

They didn’t all die in the plane crash. Some did, some died soon after, some died long after Jack, but in this final moment we saw Jack moving on. It was a moment that was being built up to from the very beginning. In season 1 when the Others hanged Charlie and Jack began punching on his stomach to revive him, Kate screamed at him to let it go. At the beginning of season 3 when Jack was in the Hydra cage and the faulty intercom button started crackling, he heard Christian’s voice saying, “Let it go, Jack.” And at the beginning of this season, when the plane hit turbulence in the sideways world and DIDN’T crash, Rose looked at Jack and said, “You can let go now.” And after finally giving up his hard-won guardianship of the island, and accepting that some people can help themselves and he’s done all he can, Jack stumbled out into the bamboo, lay down, and finally let go. And in that extraordinary moment he finally moved through those church doors into eternity, one that we can only imagine at this point, but one where he has finally found peace.

And THAT is why I loved the end of this episode.

The Day After the Day After...

Some more Lost media today. I did an interview with Associated Press yesterday, so variations on the same story will appear in papers who picked it off the wire yesterday. Here's one of them.
The Philadelphia Inquirer quoted my blog from yesterday (caps and all!) Haha! You can read that piece here, about reactions among fans.

Andrew Ryan of the Globe and Mail had some very nice words about me in today's paper that completely made my day.

My site had the single biggest hit count in its history yesterday (I always assumed the day after the series finale would be it!) so I was thrilled, and much of that was due to Lainey Liu linking to me from her gossip blog, which is always entertaining. She was on the CTV chat immediately following the show and was very funny and informed, just like her blog always is. Thanks, Lainey!

If you're new here, I'm the author of several guides to Lost, and you can order them by clicking through on the side! My season 6 guide is now available for pre-order from Amazon (plug plug...)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Lost's Alternate Endings from Kimmel

If you didn't get a chance to see Kimmel last night, these were pretty funny!

Another Point of View

Many of you probably didn't like the finale, and I don't want you to think you can't post on here about those thoughts... negative thoughts about the finale are as welcome here as positive ones. Just because I enjoyed it doesn't mean you can't.

So I decided to venture out there and find some not-so-glowing responses to the finale for y'all to read and see another point of view, and I found one I actually really liked. In "Lost was the ultimate long con," io9 writer Charlie Jane Anders talks about why not just the last 15 minutes, but the majority of the episode, was a major letdown. She actually does so in a funny and reasonable manner, reinforcing that this is just her opinion and urging people who haven't watched it not to read because she doesn't want to sway anyone's opinion. It's a really well written piece, and I actually found myself agreeing with a few things she says in it. Check it out for another point of view.

“Wait... Polarizing is a Bad Thing?”

After the episode “Across the Sea” aired and audiences were pretty divided down the middle about loving it or hating it, Damon tweeted what I’ve used as my title for this post. (I, as the geeky Lost fan, just sniggered and went, “He said POLAR.”) He wasn’t just talking about “Across the Sea”... he knew what was coming in two more weeks.

Last night the episode aired and I was absolutely shattered. The show I had followed and researched and written about and LOVED above everything else was now finally over. I'd spent the week working on my Finding Lost: Season 6 book and had been completely mired in all of the twists and turns of this final season. And now I was saying goodbye to the characters. I literally dropped everything (pen, paper) and just sat on the couch with my face in my hands, rocking back and forth and sobbing uncontrollably. The patio door was open behind me and I imagined all of my neighbours, outside setting off fireworks because it’s the long weekend here in Canada, all wondering what the heck is wrong with that woman in her living room over there. I was just... wrecked. But those tears were cathartic tears, saying goodbye to the show, goodbye to the characters... and goodbye to the anticipation of this wonderful finale. But what I was NOT saying goodbye to, was the speculation.

For yes, this finale has left things WIDE open for the viewers. The same people who thought The Sopranos ending was a major cop-out, leaving things to the viewers to figure out, will hate this ending. And yet, think about what would have happened had they actually provided answers. First, most people would hate them. “Uh... the whispers are the bad people stuck in an island purgatory?? That is LAME,” shouted many when they finally answered that question. “So let me get this straight... after 5 years of documenting every single frakkin’ use of those six numbers, they just HAPPEN to be the random freakin’ numbers that Jacob used when he was listing off the candidates? Oh my GOD that is stupid,” said many people when they revealed THAT one.

Without sounding totally sycophantic here, I actually was fine with both of those answers. I thought they happened a little abruptly, with Hurley saying, “Hey, I think I know what the whispers are!” in one, and Smokey saying, “Jacob had a thing for numbers” in the second one. But I was still content with those explanations.

So if they’d come out and said, “This is what the island is. And this is what that shiny light was. Oh, and Jacob and his brother actually turned out to be nothing more than this. And this is the sideways world... and this is how the Dharma Initiative found the island... and the Others originated like this...” we would all be sitting here right now simply debating whether or not we liked their answers. But look what we’re doing instead – we’re talking, REALLY talking about what this series was about, and what it meant to us.

Yesterday I wrote up a tribute of what this show means to me. I come to Lost on a very personal level, with my own views of faith and family and political affiliations and beliefs and set of morals and personal “rules,” to use a Lost term. And every single person on this blog and watching Lost comes at it with their set, and they are unlike the set of anyone else watching. So the writers made it personal – they gave us this finale that offered us a way to interpret it in a personal way, while also giving us the tools we could use to actually figure it out for ourselves.

After I got up from the couch, still sobbing, and made my way over to the kitchen table to do the CTV chat (fittingly, with my giant Sopranos poster behind me that you would have seen if you’d caught me on the National last Friday), I still had tears streaming down my face as I logged into the chat, and after I was in there, I did a quick flick over to Twitter to see the reactions. It ranged from, “Thank you, Damon and Carlton, for 6 wonderful years” to, “I hope you rot in hell and your house burns down.” SERIOUSLY. Someone wrote that.

It actually made me pretty angry to see such personal comments and personal attacks made against them, and I considered recording an angry video podcast. But I changed my mind this morning after sleeping on it, and realized that when you make a show that’s as personal as Lost is, unfortunately you’ll have to bear the brunt of personal attacks when people are unhappy with what you gave them. A lot of Skaters will be upset with the show, for example. I was actually surprised at how much Kate did NOT choose Sawyer... But for me, not having shipped either way in the past 6 years, it certainly didn’t cast a pall on anything for me. I could understand why it would for those who had really wanted Kate to end up with Sawyer. If it’s any consolation to them, I really thought that Kate taking off in the Ajira flight was a suggestion she WOULD end up with Sawyer off the island, and would take him back to meet her bestie, Cassidy, and he’d meet his daughter, and Claire and Aaron would come and live with Kate, and they’d all live happily ever after as one big communal family. But that’s because, as much as I claim not to, I really love happy endings sometimes. BUT... if they’d actually presented that ending to me on screen, I would have called it trite and ridiculous. It makes more sense in the rainbow world of my brain.

So... polarizing is a bad thing? While I’ve said all along that I didn’t want the Lost finale to overshadow the series that came before it, I love how much people are talking about it today. I doubt the end of 24 or Law & Order will spark this much discussion... nor will ANY ending this season. For the next few weeks, that finale WILL overshadow the rest of the series, but for the serious fans like us, we’re already going back over the series and pulling together the threads that led us to this place. And maybe in doing so, some people who either originally disliked it or were confused by it will suddenly get it, and it’ll change their view of it.

Some people will hate it, yes. But if you loved the show up until episode 6.16 and then didn’t like the finale, are you REALLY going to dismiss the six years that came before it? Did people dismiss the entirety of Seinfeld just because the ending sucked? No. And while this is obviously different – Seinfeld was not a serial with an overarching mystery that pulled everything together and instead was a series of standalone episodes – I think the things we loved about this show were still present in the finale, whether you liked it or not. Sawyer and Kate didn’t end up together in any obvious way, but the writers (and Josh and Evangeline) gave us Sawyer and Kate to begin with, and many moments of the two of them to savour. Perhaps you didn’t like things coming down to Jack’s perspective in the finale, but you can’t argue that Jack wasn’t integral to everything.

Because I loved it, maybe after I've thought it through I'll actually like it less, rather than more. (I mean, the obvious thing that jumped out at me this morning was the sadness that this WASN’T Locke’s journey, as I’d hoped it would be.) But for now, I loved it, and will continue to look at it in the days and weeks to come. So let’s keep talking. ;)

My First Spoken Thoughts on the Lost Finale

This morning I did a morning-after recap with GalleyCat on MediaBistro, trying to put together some of my thoughts on the end of Lost.

"The End": The Missing People

As I said in my recap blog post of last night's episode, I believe that the sideways world was a place between worlds, between the living and the afterlife, where Jack had to come to terms with certain things in his life to move on. (I used the term purgatory, but as some have pointed out, that’s a term specific to certain religions, even though I was using it as a synonym for a holding place before the afterlife.)

The question I asked in my blog was, why were certain people missing? In the moment I wondered if the ones who weren’t there were perhaps in Hell, but even as I suggested that I was uneasy with it. Does Eko deserve to be in Hell because he sacrificed his life and happiness for his brother’s? His famous last words are ones of a man who is not repentant, but they are glorious in their beauty: “I ask for no forgiveness, Father. For I have not sinned. I have only done what I needed to do to survive. A small boy once asked me if I was a bad man. If I could answer him now, I would tell him that... when I was a young boy, I killed a man to save my brother's life. I am not sorry for this. I am proud of this! I did not ask for the life that I was given. But it was given, nonetheless. And with it . . . I did my best.”

I’d like to think he didn’t end up in Hell, but that that beautiful final image, of him walking away with his brother as they bounce the soccer ball together – thus meaning they actually finished the game rather than killing a man and having Eko carted away – is the place he went to. A place where none of the bad ever happened, and he grew up entirely differently. I hope for Eko that he, too, found a sideways world of happiness.

What about Michael? I think it was established that because of what he did on the island, he is caught in the island purgatory and is one of the many whispers in the jungle right now. Will he ever be able to redeem himself? It’s not clear... since the scene in the church represented all of the people across all time (Hurley could have lived another thousand years for all we know, yet he is here in the moment of Jack “moving on”) and Michael wasn’t there, there’s a suggestion that perhaps he’ll never escape it.

Walt, I think he was just a production problem. The people in the church appeared to Jack the way he remembered them. Kate might have lived to be 92 (when she sees Jack she looks at him with love and says, “I’ve missed you SO MUCH” like she’s been separated from him for years) but she’s going to look to Jack the way he remembers her on the island. Walt was 10 years old, with a high-pitched voice. Jack never knew him any other way. So it wouldn’t make sense to bring in Malcolm David Kelley, who is 18 now, with a deep voice and probably taller than Jack. So I think that was purely production, and no meaning can be attributed to it beyond that.

What about Miles and Lapidus? I think the people gathered in the church were people who truly affected Jack’s life, and everyone there did. Maybe Penny didn’t, but since Desmond was a constant to Jack, and Penny is the constant to Desmond, she needed to be there. So I don’t have a problem with her being there (besides the fact that Penny and Des are my favourite couple and I was THRILLED to have them together!!)

But what do you think? Was there someone missing from the end scene that should have been there?

Do You Realize...

Hey all... I'm just putting my thoughts together, but in the meantime, listen to this, listen to the lyrics, and you'll hear a summation of what I think the final moments of Lost were about. If the creators had run this song over the end of the show I think I would have died in a puddle of happiness. ;)

Funny Lost Commercial - Target

In Canada, we didn't get the funny Target ads you guys got in the U.S., though they did try to play it up with ads for cars with the CTV voiceover saying, "Let Hyundai be your constant," which was pretty funny. But not as funny as this:

Lost 6.17/18 "The End"

WOW. I... wow.

Well, just when you thought a finale wouldn’t polarize audiences more than The Sopranos did, along comes Lost!! For the record, I LOVED it. I loved it because I didn’t want everything answered, and not only did they not answer everything, they even left some REALLY big things unanswered. Upsetting? Now that I’ve thought about it, no. I talked earlier today about how the great thing about the fandom of Lost was that it attracted demographics from so many diverse communities. But as a result, when you’re looking to create Big Answers in your themes, you have to leave things open to interpretation, so that someone with a Christian background might interpret a faith-based show one way, while a Muslim would look at it a different way, and an atheist an even different way. And with faith being such a huge component of the show and that finale, they left it open for interpretation for all of us.

So... what exactly happened in the final 15 minutes, you might be asking? Well, I had the unenviable position of having to jump directly into a live chat when I was still reeling from it (quite literally... at 11:30 I was sitting on the couch with paper and pen both having dropped to the floor, my face in my hands and sobbing... sobbing and sobbing, shoulders shaking and possibly even screaming at times). I was shattered (in a good way) by that finale, it was so beautiful, so moving, so uplifting. And then I had to stand up, wipe my tears, and move over to my computer to start talking to people in a live chat, where, rather than the questions I was used to in the Globe chat, I face a bunch of “WTF WAS THAT???” questions being thrown so fast and furious they were just scrolling up the screen faster than you could read it (the hosts were actually commenting at one point that the chat was becoming useless because we couldn’t actually read any questions). I hope I was able to answer some of the stuff you guys asked if you were there.

But anyway, here is what I think happened in the end: It all hinges on that scene with Jack and his father. So first, let’s look at what they say to each other:

Christian: Hello Jack.
Jack: I don’t understand. You died.
C: Yeah. Yes I did.
J: Then how are you here right now?
C: How are YOU here?
J: [realization hits] I died, too.
C: That’s OK. It’s OK, son [hugs]. I love you son
J: I love you, too, Dad. Are you real?
C: I sure hope so. Yeah, I’m real. You’re real, everything that’s ever happened to you is real. All those people in the church. They’re all real, too.
J: They’re all dead?
C: Everyone dies some time, kiddo. Some have been before you, some long after you.
J: Why are they all here now?
C: There is no now, here.
J: Where are we, Dad?
C: This is a place that you’ve all made together so that you could find one another. The most important part of your life was the time that you spent with these people. That’s why all of you are here. Nobody dies alone, Jack. You needed all of them, and they needed you.
J: For what?
C: To remember, and to... let go.
J: Kate... she said we were leaving.
C: Not leaving, no. Moving on.
J: Where are we going?
C: Let’s go find out.

I believe that the sideways world was purgatory, seen through Jack's lens, and that all of those people needed to come together in some way in that world for Jack to “move on.” I think that the key line that Christian says is “There is no now, here.” There is no time in the sideways world. The island was very much in time, even when it was jumping it was jumping through real time, but that was simply shown to us in the past seasons to prepare us for this place, this purgatory-type sideways world, that was not located in time. Ben and Hurley refer to each other as Number 1 and Number 2, positions they may have held for centuries, for all we know, but here they are in this moment of death, all coming together. This world, this place they’re stopping over in before moving on, this is a place that exists outside of time, and that’s why some of those people will die long after Jack does, and some, as we know, die before that. They’re all here now to move over.

So while that ending was shown through Jack’s lens, it was still a collective experience. Each one of them had to come to a realization. Each one of those people was remembering his own existence and that was the only way he or she could break on through to the other side, so to speak. Locke had to remember his own death, and so did Charlie, Jin, Sun, and Juliet. They had to find the people they belonged to. They had to be with them once again (that’s why, as you’ll see below, my ONLY major regret was that Sayid ended up with Shannon... he was Nadia’s soulmate, and, well... ugh, but anyway). Christian says to Jack that these people existed in the most important period of his life. The things that happened on the island, that was all real. The sideways world was the purgatory that Jack had to go through, and he is the last one to finally SEE.

So why were certain people missing? Eko wasn’t in the church, or Ana Lucia. Ben didn’t go in, Michael wasn’t there. No Richard Alpert. Perhaps the suggestion is that the people in the church are all going to Heaven, and those who aren’t there are doomed to go to Hell. Richard isn’t going to get the absolution he so badly wanted. Ben knows that he doesn’t belong with that group for all the things he’s done. Interesting that Sayid does get to go, though.

(UPDATE: I wrote these comments very early in the morning after having the finale still fresh like a gaping wound in my heart, and I've changed my mind on this last part. I'll be putting up a new post on it soon...)

And the big unanswered question: What was the island? By not answering this one, they leave it up to us to determine. I think that was a pretty big thing to leave out, but then again, they’ve given us the tools to work with all season – the mythology, key components of it, the light/dark metaphors, the wars breaking out all over it. The island was the place of redemption, the chessboard where the characters had to become self-conscious chess pieces, moving themselves around the board (and in many cases along the way in the game, being moved by larger forces playing the game). This was the place where they came to be redeemed or to be damned for eternity. The light in the cave represented both the capacity for good AND evil within each one of us. When the people approached the light with greed, it did harm. When they approached it with goodness, it did good. This is still the major thing up in the air for me, the thing that I think will require the most discussion among all of you and me to help me through this one. So I think I’ll leave it to further discussion below in the comments and in my further posts tomorrow. (Which, looking at the time, is today.)

I have a lot more to say, but it’s 1:30 and I have to start doing interviews at 9 tomorrow morning. And I doubt I’ll sleep much tonight after that. I’ll be online posting all day tomorrow. (I apologize that I didn’t do a video podcast after all. I didn’t have any time between the finale and the live chat, and honestly, I was sobbing through the first 5 minutes of the chat while I was typing, and there’s no way I could have been able to speak at all in a video podcast. You would have just seen me breaking down like Hurley on the beach after Jin and Sun died.) I really can’t wait to see what you guys have to say about it. So... here we go:

Most important quotations:
Usually I list in bold at the top of every ep guide the most thematically relevant quotes, but I figured there’d be so many for this one you’d never make it to this part, so I’ll list them here:
• “No one can tell you why you’re here, Kate.”
• “Nothing is irreversible.”
• “We’re all going to the same place... then it ends.”
• “If I can fix you, Mr. Locke, that’s all the peace I’ll need.”
• “You’re not John Locke. You disrespect his memory by wearing his face but you’re nothing like him. Turns out he was right about most everything. I just wish I could have told him that while he was alive.” GO JACK!!!!
• “I want you to know, Jack... you died for nothing.”
• “Did you see that?”
• “I hope that somebody does for you what you just did for me.”
• “It needs to be you, Hugo.”

• Sawyer referring to Jack becoming Jacob as his “inauguration.” Ha!
• “He’s worse than Yoda.” “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” TWO Star Wars references in the opening!!
• Sawyer calling Desmond The Magic Leprechaun!!! BEST NICKNAME EVER. (Especially because he’s Scottish, not Irish!)
• Hurley staring at Charlie at the motel and just grinning.
• Richard Alpert!! I believed! I believed! I KNEW he wasn’t dead! :)
• JULIET!!!!!!! (I originally jotted down, “So I guess this means she isn’t Jack’s wife!”)
• “For the record, you two speak English just fine.” Ha!
• Lapidus!! Now HE was one I was wrong about (I was convinced he was dead despite everyone saying we didn’t SEE him die). But a giant iron door flying with all the force of the ocean at his head and not killing him? O...kay.
• “That’s a hell of a long con, Doc.” Ha!
• Loved Hurley saying, “I believe in you, dude,” and you could hear Jorge’s voice catch because it was probably one of the last scenes he filmed with Matthew Fox.
• Jack saying there are no shortcuts, no do-overs, whatever happened, happened, and all of this matters. I loved that line.
• Jack and Locke looking down into the cave of light the same way they looked into the hatch at the end of season 2. What a perfect end to the first hour!!
• “I was shot by a fat man.” HAHA!!!
• Daniel looking at Charlotte. ♥♥♥
• The entire scene of Desmond removing that rock from the light. That was epic.
• Kate shooting Locke!! Holy crap.
• Jack saying, “Just find me some thread and I can count to 5.” HAHA!!
• Frank: “DON’T BOTHER ME!!” Ben: “Sounds like they’re making progress.”
• Miles: “I don’t believe in a lot of things but I do believe in duct tape.” HAHA! He’d get along well with my Grandpa.
• LOVED that Kate didn’t even hesitate and just jumped into the water.
• “Kiss me, James.” “You got it, Blondie.” WAAAAAH....
• “You were right, Jack.” “There’s a first time for everything.”
• Ben and Locke knowing each other at the church (notice Ben isn’t wearing his glasses anymore, and seems to know that wearing his hair up like he does on the island is less dweebie) and Ben apologizing to John.
• Ben to Hurley: “You do what you do best: take care of people.”
• PENNY!!!!

The Tears
• My first tears came when Sun, and then Jin, saw their lives on the island. I was crying because we were seeing a montage of their lives, the first we’d seen since they died... and then cried harder because they actually saw their own deaths. What was THAT like?
• Charlie’s memories of Claire. Oh MAN I was a mess at that point... It made me wonder if he saw his death...
• “Tell me I’m gonna see you again.” WAAAAAAH...
• Juliet and Sawyer... the moment she said, “We could go Dutch” and he said, “I got you” I was shaking with sobs. SHAKING.
• Kate saying to Jack, “I’ve missed you so much.”
• Jack to Desmond: “I’ll see you in another life, brother.” TEARS.
• “Goodbye, Ben.” When Locke said that, I just LOST it... it was like it was finally coming to an end, I knew that’s the last time we’d see Ben and Locke together.
• “I’d be honoured.” “Cool.” SOB. (OK, at this point I think the tears just flowed and there weren’t any real start and stop points anymore).
• The entire last five minutes of everyone hugging in the church. It felt less like the characters and more like peeking in on the wrap party of the cast. I was wracked with sobs.
• Vincent lying down next to Jack. If you were able to hold back the tears for everything else, I'll bet you lost it here. Jack didn't die alone.

Did You Notice?:
• Charlie’s staying at the Flightline Motel. This is the motel where Kate is staying when she dyes her hair and gets the letter from the desk clerk; where Anthony Cooper was staying when Locke went to him and then Helen followed and he tried to propose to her; and where the safehouse was where Sayid and Hurley went.
• Sawyer walks away from Locke and says, “I’ll be seeing ya.” Prisoner reference!!
• Rose and Bernard have rules, too. They DO belong on the island.
• When Locke said calmly, “I’ll make it hurt,” I actually groaned. How horrible. It’s one thing to quickly slit their throats, but to promise pain and torture... och.
• Richard says he needs to finish what he started: Those are the same words Smokey used right after the sub blew up.
• Sawyer refers to Miles as Enos (a Dukes of Hazzard reference) which is what he called him when they were in the DI together in 1977.
• There’s the expedition music! With a cool rumba flair added in.
• Jack tells Locke that he’s very confident that it will be just fine... that’s what he said to Boone, and Sun on the beach earlier this season... and when he dropped the bomb...
• Jack says to Locke, “I’ll see you on the other side” and it’s never had more resonance than right now.
• I LOVED Locke saying to Jack, “You’re sort of the obvious choice.” Fan service!! Hahaha...
• Sawyer passes Juliet getting off the elevator like he doesn’t even know her. Sadness...
• Really. Do they HAVE to keep commenting on what a big storm is coming? Kind of obvious.
• There are the red flowers around the cave!
• Desmond and Hurley are following rules similar to what Jacob has made on the island, needing people to come to their own realizations and not actually directing them.
• I’m sure many of you saw my reaction coming, but I was NOT happy with Sayid’s flash happening through Shannon. Nothing against Shannon, but I thought his love of Nadia was epic, and that Shannon was just something on the island because Nadia wasn’t there, but making it look like Shan was his one true love TOTALLY waters down the thing with Nadia. I really disliked that reveal of the other world. REALLY. I literally sat there wincing on the couch as he and Shannon were kissing. Ew. Boone said, “Should we stop them?” And I was yelling, YES!
• Maybe it’s because I’m reading Paradise Lost right now, but when the light went out and then the red light suddenly swirled up, it was like the fires of hell were coming up out of that pit.
• Despite everything, I really was moved by Eloise not wanting Desmond to take her son from her. It makes me wonder if her move to have him fulfill his destiny in S5 really was the most painful thing she’d ever done.
• The birth scene was almost exactly the same as the one in S1, right down to Charlie getting the blankets. Only thing missing was Jin standing there.
• Jack flying through the air at Locke when they were on the flat elicited my first “HOLY SHIT!!” of the night... oh my GOD it was like Island Mortal Kombat!! I swore the bird that flew over them at that moment said, “FINISH HIM!” in a deep voice.
• So... after what we know to be true about the Man in Black, did anyone else kind of feel bad as his dead body lay on the flats? All he ever wanted was to leave the island and destroy the place that made his life a living hell (literally) and the moment he becomes corporeal again he dies.
• Locke moves the same foot as he did on the island for the first time. Jack throws the sheet back and looks at it with the same shock as he did when he saw Sarah move her foot for the first time.
• The moment Locke and Jack caught a glimpse of the other world, they immediately started bickering. Haha!! Nice touch!
• When Sawyer walks into Jin and Sun’s room, he walks into the room of the two people who he feels responsible for killing.
• Jack didn’t say the incantation when he passed the legacy over to Hugo.
• Jack re-corks the bottle.... and then looks like he’s gonna melt like Vader.
• They played the music from “Exodus” (where the raft left) as the flight goes... beautiful. I kept thinking, “Poor Richard Alpert! He’s never been in an autogyro before!” Heehee...
• Ben is separated from everyone in both worlds.
• I loved the line when Ben said that Jacob ran things so you couldn’t leave... the rules were specific to the person protecting the island, so if Hurley changes them, things change!
• Ben becoming Hurley’s Number 2 and Hurley being Number 1 (Prisoner reference!!) It’s like Ben’s going to be his Richard Alpert.
• The church had several stone angels as they were walking up to it, signifying what was waiting inside.
• All of the flashes that make Jack see the other side are scenes where he was a hero.

Hurley’s Numbers:
SW Miles says Sayid killed 4 people; Desmond’s group is sitting at table 23 at the benefit; on the hatch under the Ajira plane you can see 840; the Apollo bar is selection G23 in the vending machine;

Teeny Questions!
• What was Charlie drinking? Did anyone see the label? It looked Gaelic.
• How exactly did Ben walk away from a freakin’ TREE landing on him? I’m assuming it was mostly braced by the rock? But he was pretty stuck, which means a lot of the tree’s weight had to have been on him...

My season 6 book is now available for preorder!

I’m on Facebook! Come join me to commiserate:

I’m also on Twitter. I’m bad at tweeting, though. I twit infrequently. ;)

Tomorrow listen in to Marshall and Forbes on The Ocean 98.5 in Victoria, BC at 7:10 a.m. local time, 10:10 a.m. EST. Go here and click on the Listen Now button if you’re out of the listening area.

And WEDNESDAY at noon I will once again be participating in the Globe and Mail Lost chat from noon to 1pm EST. Go here to ask questions and comment. See you there!

And finally, listen to KEX 1190 at 6:20 p.m. PST, 9:20 p.m. EST where I’ll be on the Mark & Dave show (and they’re big Lost fans so it’s always fun). Go here and click the Listen Now button:

Next week:
There... is no next week. :(

Sunday, May 23, 2010

How Lost Changed My Life

Well, here we are. Hours before the finale of a show that has brought all of us here (wait... does that make me Jacob and this blog my island??). We are all fans of TV. Not just Lost, but television. Over the years I’ve laughed and cried along with Buffy and Angel, felt excitement shoot through me to see Omar Little in ANY scene, fallen in love with Jim and Pam, delighted at the sheer wonder of Pushing Daisies, sleuthed with Veronica Mars... my formative years are filled with memories of Sesame Street and Little House on the Prairie. When I didn’t have my nose stuck in a book of some kind, of course.

Too often, we use the hyperbole, “such-and-such changed my life.” I released two collections of stories from fans about how a show changed their lives. Is it true with Lost?

I remember the first internet fandom I became a part of was on a Simpsons listserv (yep, way back in the day), talking about episodes, dissecting favourite quotes. And then I became a full-fledged Xenite, in Gabrielle groups and Callisto groups and talking about Ancient Greeks and filking... there was such a close-knitness to that fandom. Next came Buffy, and that one was more spread out... they couldn’t even decide on a name for what they were: Buffites, Buffaholics, Buffyphiles. That show was one where I decided to recruit pretty much everyone I knew in real life and I found that to be more of my discussion point. Angel spread from that, as did Alias.

And then along came Lost. Like Buffy, it attracts demographics across the board: men, women, all age groups. Teenagers are watching it alongside grandparents. Academics devour it. Physics majors, literature scholars, specialists in linguistics. And yet despite the disparity of backgrounds, we all found Lost together. In places like this blog and countless other spots around the Internets, people came together week after week, day after day, to talk about every aspect of this show.

Did Lost change my life? Absolutely. When Lost started in September 2004, I had a one-month-old baby. My first. She was my perfect, perfect little girl. I still remember sitting in the big comfy green chair when the pilot of Lost started. I was probably breastfeeding her at the time, my life was in upheaval, I was in the whirlwind place of being a new mom, with all of its gloriousness and overwhelmingness. And sitting with that little bundle on my lap, I watched people in a similar place of upheaval and confusion try to recover after they’d just been dealt a horrible blow in their life – they’d crashed on an island. I didn’t have a blog, I’d just released books on Angel and Alias and I honestly thought that after my daughter was born there would be no more time to write books. Those books were to be my swansong, and now I was just going to watch TV for the fun of watching it.

And then “Walkabout” happened. A show written by a former Buffy writer, it was one that changed the series for me forever, and took the writing to a completely new level. This wasn’t just a fun show filled with action and adventure... it was going to offer me twists and turns and mysteries and reveals. This was the rollercoaster I’d been waiting for. And by the beginning of season 2, I’d found a show I absolutely HAD to write about.

My first book covered off the first two seasons. I read Brothers Karamazov and The Third Policeman for the first time, and reread Lord of the Flies and Heart of Darkness and 1984 (the latter was one I read on a beach when I was at a resort for my brother’s wedding... a very odd beach book choice!). I had to revisit my philosophy classes and political science notes. I had to remember a lot of the critical theory I’d taken in university. This was a show that challenged me in ways I’d never been challenged before, and when that book came out, many of my friends – chiefly Jeremy – succeeded in convincing me to start up my own blog. So, at the beginning of season 3, I began blogging about Lost live. A few of the regulars who are still here today were among my first readers. I would get 15 comments on a post and be so excited that I actually had READERS!! As the season went on and the book was out there and selling, I started building up a bigger audience. And then I convinced my publisher that this show actually merited a book a season, something that took a LOT of convincing, several meetings, and a reluctant and nervous commitment.

And now, we’re in the final stretch. That one-month-old little girl is now five-and-a-half going on 24, full of determination and stubbornness and joy and wonder. And she has a brother, who is two-and-a-half and starting to develop his own voice and has this high-pitched giggle. My daughter can’t walk by a piece of paper – be it a post-it, newspaper, empty paper towel roll – without drawing something on it. She’ll either be a painter or a writer or a graffiti artist. She loves writing little stories, and one day she was leaning over her papers looking very serious and determined, and I asked her what she was doing and she looked up innocently and saying, “Oh, just writing a book about Lost.” Because to her, that’s what mommy does. And it’s perfectly normal. She tells teachers and parents of friends that her mommy writes books about the TV show Lost, and they smile and pat her on the head and don’t believe her. Until I smile and say no, actually, it’s true. And then they look confused.

Those 15 comments per post have exploded into 400 or more (ack!), and where I used to respond to every one, the few sporadic readers I had in here have become a tight community of people who follow each other to other blogs, reading what everyone has to say instead of just me, and I don’t have to moderate things so closely because people aren’t here to talk to me, they’re here to talk to everyone in our community. I love it. I love that I have this place where people respect and truly like one another. Where we could get together in person in NYC, not having met each other, and actually be able to sit and chat to one another for hours. The 150 readers a day I used to have has grown to thousands per day.

I have been exposed to ideas of physics (in high school you had to take two sciences, and I chose chem and biology, foregoing physics... boy, was THAT a mistake!) I read Stephen Hawking and enjoyed it. Ulysses had been sitting on my shelf since 2000, when I’d gone over to Paris and bought my copy in Shakespeare & Co, the bookstore where Joyce actually sat and wrote it. And despite being totally overwhelmed by it in places, the ending of that book is possibly my favourite of all time. I read Valis and Flannery O’Connor and this season I’m working through Notes from Underground and Kierkegaard. I’ve been exposed to new ways of thinking, different philosophies, new ways of looking at myself. I find myself thinking week after week, How different would my life have been if I’d made different choices early on?

I used to be the Buffy gal. Now I’m the Lost authority. But that word – authority, expert – always makes me wince a bit, because I don’t think any one person is a Lost authority. We all are. I’ll never forget coming on here and saying after seeing “Whatever Happened Happened” that I was kinda with Hurley, and didn’t understand how you could shoot Miles in 1977 and he would still get on the freighter in 2004. That admission garnered several thoughtful and amazing responses that eventually turned into one of my most popular chapters in the season 5 book. I can now put out a note, “Hey, if there’s a police officer/lawyer/person who speaks Korean/physics major out there...” and ask a question, and get answers. It has entirely changed the process of writing these books from a solitary experience to a shared one that is very community-based. It’s the reason I thank every person on here in my acknowledgements (and then feel bad when I forget someone (sorry Erin!) or spell someone’s name wrong (sorry, Zari!)). This blog and the community that has built up around it means so much to me, and I didn’t know ANY of you before all of this started in September 2004.

So YES. Lost has changed my life. I will sit on that couch tonight, alone in the actual viewing of the episode, but not alone because ALL of you will be there with me in spirit, laughing at Hurley’s jokes, crying at the death of someone we love, secretly hoping for an appearance by Nikki and Paulo... we have created inside jokes on here that are pretty much specific to Nik at Nite (and yes, I DO believe Jacob is hella-palatable, though Man in Black is even more so). People have announced birthdays, births, deaths, sicknesses, and anniversaries on here, and like family and friends, we all band together for everyone else.

The overriding message from Lost that I think tonight’s episode will come down to is, “Live together, die alone.” Jack’s been saying it since season 1. And I think a less dramatic version is definitely applicable to what we’ve built up here: because we’ve discussed this show together, no one ever feels alone. Even if you go into work and not a single soul watches it and none of your friends understand you when you talk about Dharma and time travel and compass bearings, we all know we have kindred spirits waiting for us here, who will dissect and haiku until the end of time.

I’ve been saying one thing all season: that when the finale happens, the speculation can end, and the discussion can truly begin. While I’m simultaneously excited and saddened by the finale coming tonight, I can’t wait to share the experience with all of you out there, and to spend tomorrow chatting about all of it. And the rest of the week. And the coming months. And then maybe we’ll find another show that strikes our fancy, and we’ll all come together to watch and discuss it. There’s no shortage of good television out there, just a shortage of good discussion about it. And that’s where WE come in!!

So thank you, Damon and Carlton. Thank you, Lost. But mostly, thank you to everyone out there reading my words and commenting on my posts and just being there so I know I’m not sitting here typing out into a wilderness. You have helped make the experience of watching this show a richer one for me, and I am so grateful for it. You have changed the way I write my books (I mean, without one particular reader on this blog, I wouldn’t have the last two books covers!) Lost isn’t the only thing that changed my life: you did. Thank you, and enjoy the finale tonight.

See you on the other side, bruthahs and sistas.