The End - Lost [Season 6, Episode 16]
So have we reached a consensus on this finale yet? Is it that fans of this season loved it, everyone else hated it?
Personally, I really enjoyed it! I guess the most common complaint is that the finale provided some atrociously sentimental closure for its characters at the expense of the cheat that was its larger mythology. But for me, it was such a relief to have a finale with character scenes that actually engaged me on an emotional level, especially after the mess that was What They Died For. And as for not providing answers? I thought they answered plenty, and in a sufficiently satisfying way. For instance:
1) IT WAS A MOTHERFUCKING VOLCANO, GET OVER IT
You know, I assumed everyone would interpret this scene in the same fashion and be glad that there was at least something quasi-scientific at the heart of the island. So I was surprised when people saw it as an opening to hell, literally the evil that the island had “corked”. But both interpretations make sense within the context of the show, and I think the ambiguity of the scene works for the better in the end.
Here’s how I saw it: an ancient civilization (was that Sumerian cuneiform etched on the stopper?) somehow managed to channel the island’s freshwater supply underground to suppress this massive volcanic and seismic energy, creating a uniquely powerful electromagnetic field in the process (the “light”). What really made this answer satisfying was how Desmond’s actions inside the cave caused the island to begin sinking into the sea. The island is a phenomenon that, without the interference of that ancient civilization, should not exist under natural conditions. So that makes the island’s supernatural properties a lot easier to swallow: what can really be implausible when you’re dealing with a force that’s never been documented? I’d accept the “light” as an explanation for the island’s healing powers, and perhaps even its anti-aging powers - as well as its unusual instability within space and time, like why it’s so difficult to be found, not to mention this little experiment.
But the “light” doesn’t provide an answer for everything on the island - it still rains on before something bad happens, and the characters comment on the approaching storm clouds multiple times up until the point Desmond pulls out the stopper, implying that the island knows what’s about to happen. For everything that electromagnetism can do, I’m not sure if it can imbue a geographical location with self-awareness. So there’s still some mystical element to this place that can never be fully reconciled with logic. Should the viewer care? I don’t think so! The island has always been a place where your beliefs, hopes and dreams can manifest, and I don’t buy the idea that Ben’s magic box metaphor should just be interpreted as empty words. I also don’t think that every crazy thing that’s happened on the island, no matter how obscure, should be seen as the product of Jacob and the Man In Black’s manipulation. Many of the series’ best episodes (mostly from its first season, like Deus ex Machina and White Rabbit) used the island as merely a supernatural catalyst to explore the psyches of the characters. If the drama and impact of a given episode extended far beyond the mystery it was dangling in front of our faces, I don’t really care if the mystery gets explained.
2) MANY OF THESE CHARACTERS ARE ASSHOLES
Most of the series has been building up to Jack meeting his dead father, and I had both hoped and assumed that it would be one of the most terrifying and amazing moments on the show. He’s been so creepy for the past five seasons and Jack has been so distraught over him - think of the potential! But having them embrace as Jack said “I’m dead too” was both hilarious and very disappointing. But I think that the concept of purgatory, in and of itself, was a totally acceptable reveal for the flash-sideways, even though that explanation comes with obnoxious implications. Like how Jack apparently created a son from his imagination so he could finally reconcile his daddy issues and move on? Or how Aaron only exists as a baby, both in this world and at the church, pretty much a disposable accessory for Claire’s self-realization. You could interpret the journey these characters have taken in the flash-sideways as the most obnoxious self-indulgent garbage or the more sad and beautiful notion of a “place of denial in which they had to be forced into seeing what had really happened to them all”.
I think I’m going to go with the former option. And that’s fine! It’s unnecessary to fault the writers for making these characters deeply flawed. Jack’s pathological need to fix things, what led him to his self-destruction both on- and off-island, never changed. The crazy shit on the island just warped his point of view to a place where he realized that belief was the only way to accomplish what needed fixing.
One would think that at least Hurley and Ben did not turn out to be assholes in the end, given their new roles as protectors of the island. But considering that Ben just murdered an old man the previous day, cooperating with the smoke monster, and also taking into account that every previous individual who’s held this position turns out to be a crazy sociopath (the mother, the intended candidate of Man In Black, Jacob to some extent, Ben to some extent), it doesn’t really spell good things for Hurley!
3) THEY COME, THEY FIGHT, THEY DESTROY, THEY CORRUPT
Did we need to know anything about the four-toed statue beyond what was implied? Egyptians arrived on the island, they built a statue of Taweret (probably because Jacob, still reeling from his mother issues, forbid pregnant mothers to come to term on the island) and ended up killing each other in the end. Different cultures left their detritus behind and corrupted the island in the process. The Others treated as pure a conception of Jacob’s goals and agenda that had been warped through centuries of the Man In Black’s manipulation and revision. This is what I think frustrates a lot of people about LOST - most conversations between the passengers of Flight 815 and the island’s preexisting inhabitants seem cryptic and full of potential for future revelation, when in reality both parties were equally confused about what was really going on. Incredibly frustrating for some people, I can imagine, but I very much enjoy the idea that the journey these characters have taken parallels the journey of the audience. It speaks to something kind of great about belief and how it might all be for nothing in the end, and how we struggle to maintain our beliefs even if, or when, they’re proven false or empty. But again, that’s something one can only appreciate if they have the requisite personal experience. I doubt that many atheists, for example, could really connect to the show at this point.
Anyway, I thought it ended well. I was glad that Jack and Kate were meant for each other in the worst possible sense, and that Sawyer and Juliet were meant for each other in the best possible sense, and even though the Unitarian Universalist church doors bathed in light were kind of cheesy at the end, I haven’t been able to connect with the characters on an emotional level at any time since Season 2, instead analyzing the mythological value of each conversation from a purely intellectual standpoint. So I really appreciated that they managed to really deliver on that front. And, again, I thought they answered a ton.
- nontv posted this