Tuesday 25 May 2010

Lost - Review


The Lost finale has divided opinion as surely it was always destined to do.  Some have loved the ending and others have not been shy about hiding their disappointment at unanswered questions.

Personally, those questions are not much of an issue, there's only maybe one that is bothering me, that I'm still perplexed by, but it hasn't detracted from a cracking final episode that toyed with my emotions and my brain, right up until the end.

Many seem to have been confused by it, thinking that the survivors didn't actually survive the plane crash at the start of season one at all, or don't get the sideways time-line that turned out to be a form of purgatory.  Some are saying they feel cheated by the lack of an answer to the origins and actual purpose of the Island.

However enough was hinted at throughout the shows six year run to surmise a few things.  The religious stuff has always been there in the back ground but it's only been in the final season that we've seen it rise to the surface.  I don't believe in a God but I do like a bit of mythology and the creators of Lost pinched what they needed from all kinds of age old stories to bring their tale to a spiritual climax.

The last episode had some great scenes.  I loved the reawakening of the characters in the alternate reality/pergatory, Sun and Jinn suddenly speaking English in the hospital, Rose and Bernard's rescue of Desmond, Jack taking on Locke on a cliff edge (over the top punch and all),  Boone and Shannon appearing, so so much got tied up.  The Hurley/Ben ending on the Island was just perfect and their brief exchange in purgatory suggested that they may have worked together as its protectors for a long time.

We did hear what the Island was earlier in the season from Jacob, but I think it's ok that was all we got on the subject.  The mother figure had clearly been on the Island for an age, she didn't even know what a wheel was and she clearly thought she'd be handing over the reigns to the Man in Black and not Jacob.  Jacob didn't know much about the Island in terms of it's origins or history, for much of his life he was led to believe that it was the only place there was.  I think the game on the beach that the Mother had left for her 'son' to find and his made up rules for it, are a symbol of the rules that govern the Island.  The Island's protector gets to make up the rules as he or she goes along.

Essentially it was Jack's journey all along.  It started with him six years ago and ended with him back in the same spot.  I was touched by the inclusion of Vincent beside him, comforting Jack during his final moments.

When Jack realises that he's dead in purgatory the audience does too.  And for a split second I thought they'd bottled it.  But then one line and one shot saved it for me.  The last thing Jack sees before he closes his eyes is a plane leaving the Island carrying his friends home to continue their lives.  Back in purgatory Jack is reunited with his friends and Kate says to him, 'I've missed you,' and you immediately get the impression she's referring to a lifetime of waiting because her life continued away from the Island.

There are many questions that didn't get answered but some of them are almost like questions of faith.  You either accept the magical qualities of the Island or you don't.  By the end of Lost the characters had long stopped asking, they just took it for granted that the Island was not normal.  I guess you kind of do that when you've travelled through time, realised a man has drawn you to this place over a period of many years as he searched for his successor, watched as a friend came back to life only for him to still be dead and turn out to be an avatar for a smoke monster.  Yeah, that would do it.

There were two big questions throughout the series.  What was the Island?  And what was the smoke monster?  They got answered, before we saw the light at the end of the stream.  Somehow people seemed to have missed that and got caught up in the light as being a miss step or a poorly conceived resolution of the Islands purpose.  For me it worked because the source of the light, or the good side of humanity, was also where the darkness within humanity resided, there really was a bottle stop protecting the Earth.

However the biggest problem I have with those feeling that they haven't had enough of their questions answered is that ultimately if you keep drilling any story down you just lead to more questions.  Take a fallen leaf on a pavement.  How did it get there?  It fell from a branch.  How did that get there?  It grew from the tree.  How did the tree get there?  And on and on until you get to the big bang and then you ask how that happened and no one knows the answer.  Lost is like that for me.  You can keep pushing at the mythos of the Island, revealing more and more about it but I prefer to not fully understand, I'm ok with that.  At the end of the day it's a story that lives inside someone's imagination, I seriously doubt that the writers know the answers to everything they posed.  Again, this is ok.  I see it like a behemoth of a novel where we got as much as the writers were prepared to give us without it leading to even more confusion.

However, just to show that I completely empathise with those scratching their heads and foaming on the forums the one question that I wouldn't mind an answer for is:
  • Why was Desmond special?
If anyone has any thoughts on that, let me know.

Lost was always about the links between the characters and how their lives criss-crossed, right from the start.  It was always about their story and how that arc would be resolved.  Yes for some it remained about the mystery of the Island and sure, I bought into all that as much as anyone, but by the end I cared so much about the key characters that the answer to many questions fell away.  That some of the them stayed on the Island, that some escaped, that some died and the writers still managed to tie up all of their stories isn't a cop out it's an achievement.  Maybe they did lose their way and filled up the story with too many threads to tie up fully.  But I wasn't left feeling empty or cheated by it, it was the right way to end Lost and it will remain, for me at least, one of the great modern TV shows.


  1. A good review however I do disagree with your leaf analogy. If you are the writer you are the creator of the world. You put that leaf on the pavement; you must know why you wrote about it otherwise why write about it at all.
    I feel like Lost was like a magician you loved as child. You believed in magic in all its awe and wonder, as he finished each trick he promised a bigger and better trick next time and so we clapped our hands and came back for more, we would tell our friends about this great man who performed wonders and more people would join to watch. However as we grew up, our expectations grew with them. The magician couldn’t keep up with our demands and the amount of people he had to perform to and had no more tricks up his sleeve however he told everyone to come and see his last and final trick and as we all sat down the magician simply said ‘TA DA!!! ‘
    ‘Where is the magic we were promised?!!?’ We would scream.
    ‘It’s around us. it brought you all together.’ The magician would say, and as you look at your friends around you know that it was the magician was right.
    You knew deep down that there was no such thing as magic but you loved the magician so much you expected him to perform a miracle. You loved the tricks he pulled and you made great friends in the process…. However all you ever wanted to see was real magic.

  2. I love how there's so many different views on Lost. I had two conversations about it at work today. One person gutted by the ending the other, like me, completely happy with it.

    There's a great piece here by someone from Bad Robot that nails it for me.


  3. Good wrap up. Of course I'm still in the camp that needs more and more details. But I'm not beyond grasping the faith end of thought. The two scene's with Hugo and Ben were great they were brief yet encompassed a never to be known span of time and space. I'll forever wonder two things:
    1) Why would the Island still need a protector if the Smoke Monster is dead.
    2) If the Island's role as some has posited was to maintain a balance between good and evil isn't the world in greater danger now that evil has been destroyed?

    But like the loss of a dear friend or family member, I'm coming to terms with the end of Lost.