small moments and emotional impact worked best for #Lost

Ok, so it was a side universe instead of a parallel universe but I was right about some of my other theories, namely the theme and that there would be a lot of death. And the season finale had the Grim Reaper’s shadow from its first to last moment.  All of the critique and questions could’ve easily been answered with stories that to me, seemed logical enough (logic of the Lost world) that the talented writers could’ve easily incorporated into other episodes.

Time to close

First, in terms of emotional impact, the finale hit its mark. Every remembrance which brought soul mates together left even the Lost-haters misty eyed.  The acting was superb; the moments truthful; the direction, skilled. Loved Jack’s eye closing. Loved the desolate beach with the plane crash remnants — was it the plane trying to escape? Was it just showing that the wreckage still existed but all of the passengers were now scattered? Great image.

Second, I don’t think every answer should be answered. Any story claiming to know what’s going on with death much less beyond it is propaganda or from a religious cult.  I also disagree that some answers weren’t answered. Enough with the friggin polar bears.   The bears’ cages had been shown in a prior season, and one can assume that they were blown there like all other accidental visitors as cargo that died with spirits that lived on or just able to live due to the strange properties of the island.

Then, there’s the story-telling component.  As a mythology, as writing, did it hold up? There, I have mixed reviews.  There IS a mythology: of the numbers, the Dharma Initiative, the Others, and much else.  If you’ve gone through all the trouble of laying out a world, then there needs to be a story behind it — not necessarily an explanation.

Pawns of Jacob and MiB

For example, the Others would’ve been simple to dramatize.  Since the feud between Jacob and MiB began courtesy of the Mother, it can be assumed that the initial episode of carnage left a distrust of other people by the brothers. Jacob’s distrust stemmed from believing the worst of human nature would lead to the light being blown out.  MiB’s distrust stemmed from the same belief, but he wanted the light to blow out.

Every subsequent visitor to the island was caught in the rivalry between the two brothers — a tug of war based on the light and leaving the island.  Either way, everyone else is… that’s right, The Others.  Those who come to know of Jacob or MiB had to choose a side — since they can die and the brothers can’t. The Temple Folks chose Jacob.  Most didn’t have a choice, including The Others, and were manipulated.

If this had been shown then Hurley choosing Ben, giving him info, being transparent would’ve had even greater impact.  Ben can be a great devotee to the island w/o the insult of being manipulated or kept ignorant.   It would’ve been easy, entertaining and informative if there had been an episode after the Mother one on The Others — a great action-packed, vengeance and manipulation heavy episode.

Same with the pregnant women.  If the Island is one of redemption, the source of good and evil that keeps the world turning, it is plausible that it is not where life can be begun or lived out.  In Hindu mythology, this is divided between Shiva, Brahma, and Vishnu: the Destroyer, the Creator, and the Maintainer — a cycle but one with separate aspects. Or, perhaps the magnetic properties of the Island make it impossible to safely have a baby.  Either way, people wouldn’t now be asking whether Desmond was right in saying the island’s existence didn’t matter. It did! It maintains the balance of the world!  Again, a story that could have been incorporated into a larger episode, and fulfilled the mythology.

Why not in the church?

Finally, throughout the dramatic arcs of the characters, it was not just the soul mates that had people heaving their emotional baggage around.  Except for Jack however, that is what the finale focused on.  John Locke had major Daddy issues and loved his fiancee.  Where was Aaron in that church, the baby who binded Kate and Claire, and defined the latter’s life?  Sawyer’s whole identity had been based on his parents’ fate. Great that Sayed and Shannon got to make out, but Shannon and her brother were inseparable with weirdness of their own.  And, why wasn’t Michael and his son a part of the church (the dog was!)?  Meaning, love is much bigger than the romantic other as the finale mainly showed.

The problem is not with the finale in these shortcomings: it’s to do with the season.  As much as any writer, I dislike boxes esp in the TV-fill-a-type strait jacket, but genre definitions work for a reason.  Fantasy and mythology need clearly defined worlds, i.e. Lord of the Rings or Alice in Wonderland. We’ll go down the hole with you and follow hobbits if that reality is established from the beginning.  Sci fi needs some basis in actuality — NASA exists, well so does Star Trek; robots are being created, well Cylons aren’t too far of a leap; military technology exists, well so does Iron Man. The best in these genres also all have a social meaning and spirituality.

Lost tried to be both fantasy and sci fi; and should have been one or the other by last season so this season could go about unfolding the back story.

Final analysis: writers did great justice to the emotional and spiritual aspects of the show but could have done more this entire season to the mythlogy and sci fi parts.  Yet, it left a great feeling that had me falling asleep thinking about it, writing about it so whatever else, its main objective was achieved:  it was powerful.

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One comment

  1. dan

    excelent review (and TOTALLY agree on shannon – that is perhaps my biggest beef with the ending). some other thoughts:
    1. the scene with jack and christian made it for me at the end – incredibly moving, and very real. with lesser actors this could have been cheesy but fox was excellent
    2. i dont think jacob was cynical about humans (remember the … See Morescene of MIB and jacob sitting on beach and talking about the coming ship? jacob believed people could be good)
    3.agree all questions dont have to be answered but the pregnant thing and the walt thing were huge open items to me.
    4. walt should have been in the church but michael wasn’t because he said he was doomed to roam the island and whisper to people.

    my take on the way it was written is that the first few seasons they wrote everything with potential spiritual or sci-fi explanations (for example, smokie could have been a dharma sentry or some evil spirit, the numbers were fate or another dharma experiment, etc.) … See Moreand i dont think the writers had it figured out. then, when they finally chose a side somewhere 2 seasons ago, they just dropped everything else without explanation (which is why we never heard about the hatch experiments, dharma, walt, etc. ever again).

    also agree with your review that they really didnt do enough with the others – that whole dogen arc with all its lame characters could have been used to flesh out the jacob/mib stuff more like you said in your review.

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