Unless you’ve been living on a mystical island you probably know that this past Sunday, the final episode of Lost aired. Such an event was too big for one Round Table, so instead we’re each sharing our own reactions separately (my co-bloggers Theresa DeLucci and Bridget McGovern will be weighing in later in the week). You know what they say, blog together, mourn alone.
With the final episode (ever—sigh) Lost, which has always had a spiritual bent, went whole hog (or should that be whole boar) over to that side. This was no surprise seeing as most of this season has been concerned with light against dark, and the protection of the mystical glowy light at the center of the island.
For the most part, I liked the two plus hours of the finale. It finally felt like things were moving along, and it never dragged. Those who predicted that Jack would die and be replaced as the island’s protector by Hurley were proved right and I had no problem with this. Jack’s role in the endgame suited him, and I would always pick Hurley over Jack to be the new Jacob. It’s interesting to note that even in his role as the replacement Jacob, Jack was still mostly wrong. In fact, so was Desmond. That things turned out right in the end was due in large part to dumb luck as much as anything. In fact, looking back at the Losties’ track record, most of what they tried to do failed.
Desmond’s mucking about with the golden light almost destroyed the island, but also nixed Smocke’s invulnerability which allowed him to be defeated. I suppose no one realized this before as that would have saved a lot of lives.
Speaking of the glowy light, that whole sequence in the cave seemed a direct depiction of Jacob’s cork analogy. There literally was a cork in the island and pulling it not only let all the good golden watery light swirl down the drain, but also revealed an awfully fiery, brimstoney hellish emanation. At least that’s how I saw that. Was that just me?
I got a Garden of Eden vibe about the island after thinking about this episode. A paradise with the power to corrupt. A corrupter. A place that you can get expelled from if you don’t follow the rules. It’s not an exact match, but I think it’s an idea that maps pretty well.
My main problem with the island plot was that despite it working as an idea for me, some sense of the personal connection was lost (no pun intended). When the island was breaking apart, when it looked like it could sink to the bottom of the ocean, I didn’t feel any real concern. I wouldn’t have minded if it did fall apart and sink to the bottom of the sea. I think this was because while we were told how important the light was, how it was a source of “good”, we never really saw anything of that. If anything, a lot of “bad” came of it. In a way, it was like the button. Although we saw what happened if that wasn’t pushed. We’re told that the light is special and that people will always want to take it, but we never see any consequences of what would happen if people did. As far as I see it, the island is all that would be affected. For years the island apparently existed on its own with little effect on the rest of the world. In the end, like much on Lost, it revolved around Faith. I just wished it had touched me a bit more.
But that’s not my main issue. As many people will guess, my main problem was with the last ten or fifteen minutes of the finale. I don’t have a problem with the ending being spiritual because as I mentioned before, that’s been part of the show. My problem was mostly that it was clichéd and safe. By making everyone dead in some kind of afterlife world, Earth-2 lost all weight for me. It took a little while, but I became invested in that reality and I was hoping that somehow it would interact with the world of the island. But what we got instead was some fan service. A way for the writers to say, we know we killed off some cool people and prevented some happiness, but look—they still get it in the end and you can be happy about that.
It just didn’t work for me. I was hoping that at some point someone would say that this was also part of the island’s mystery. That just as the island can “not be done with you”, that if you’ve served the island, you get a second chance in some other life, or afterlife. But not some hokey “we will all see each other again in the afterlife.” And after all the theories of them being in Purgatory on the island, they end up in a Purgatory-like place anyway. It also opens up all kinds of questions—why did Jack have a son in this afterlife? Why was Aaron a baby in the afterlife and not an adult, assuming he died sometime long after Penny and Desmond? Where were Michael and Walt?
The most unforgivable part for me, was the white light. I was sitting there, watching the part in the church, and saying, silently, to myself, “please don’t have a white light, please don’t have a white light.” Then Christian opens the doors of the church to white light. It was just a hokey, clichéd capper to a show that was often better than that.
However, unlike other finales (BSG, I’m looking at you), it doesn’t ruin the show for me. And it even works in a kind of metafictional way. This was the characters coming together for one last time to provide closure and say goodbye. A way for them to relive some of the moments that we loved them for. A way to collect (in short glimpses at least) their greatest hits. If I look closely, I can see plenty of flaws in it, but I find, after all this time, that I don’t really want to.
It’s interesting that in the end, Jack was yet again wrong. It wasn’t “live together, die alone” but live together, die together (unless you are Michael, Walt, Ana Lucia, Faraday or Mr. Eko).
Rest in peace, Lost. You weren’t always perfect, but you always gave me something to think and talk about. And I will miss you.
Rajan Khanna is a graduate of the 2008 Clarion West Writers Workshop and his fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in The Way of the Wizard, Dreams of Decadence, and Shimmer. He is also a member of NY-based writing group, Altered Fluid. He loves westerns, zeppelins and the creatures of the deep, dark ocean. He lives in Brooklyn.