(This blog post reveals events that took place in The End, the finale of Lost. If you don’t want to know anything about it, don’t read on.)
Unless you’ve been on a mini-break to Mars, you’ll know that Lost - that little-known show about a bunch of ugly plane crash survivors who find themselves on a perfectly normal tropical island where nothing ever happens – came to an end on Monday morning after six years of polar bears, smoke monsters, time travel, hippies, quantum physics, Star Wars references, Apollo bars and some of the most memorable characters – and awesome acting – that has ever graced our TV screens.
***********THIS IS YOUR PENULTIMATE SPOILER WARNING***********
My finale-watching didn’t go so well first time round. I was, ahem, watching online as it aired on the East Coast of the United States, or from 2am on Monday morning. (Don’t try this at home, kids, because it’s technically illegal.) One hour in, the feed got cut by The Man and so I decided to have a short nap and watch it instead on Sky1 at five, which I did, even though a lack of sleep and an overnight diet of Doritos, sour cream dip, Coke (a-Cola) and coffee didn’t put me in the best Lost-watching mood, and neither did having to watch the first hour twice.
***********THIS IS YOUR FINAL SPOILER WARNING***********
But the cherry on top of my bad circumstances cake was my Sky Guide telling me Lost was on until 7.30am, when in fact it ended at 7.10. This meant that as Jack learned the true nature of the Sideways World from his father – a scene I can’t even type about, as my tears would short-circuit my Mac – I thought we’d another 20 minutes of Lost love ahead. As the title flashed up with its trademark beat, I nearly choked on my toast. (I was onto toast by then; it was breakfast time.) What? That’s it? That was the end?
ARE YOU F–KING KIDDING ME, DARLTON?!
I caught up on a few hours sleep, scoured the internet for analysis (“Hurry up, Doc Jensen. I need to know what you think!”) and tried to eat some food whose main ingredient wasn’t high fructose corn syrup. Grief gnawed at my insides; I watched some old episodes of Party of Five just to get me some Jack. Then, last night, I sat down with a pack of Kleenex and re-watched “The End” with my sister.
Second time round, I felt about 90% better about it and cried about 300% more.
***********NOW FOR SOME SERIOUS SPOILING***********
The last twenty or so minutes of Lost‘s finale were pretty much the most moving, thrilling and satisfying twenty or so minutes of TV I’ve ever seen. The final scene made me believe – for the first time, possibly – Carlton and Cuse’s claim that they knew from the beginning just how it would end. I loved the Sideways World reveal – and it explained something that had been bugging me throughout the last few episodes: how the characters weren’t at all upset when their Island memories returned to them – and I loved that somewhere in the Pacific (possibly) Ben and Hurley are high on island life. As Christian said, “How are you here, Jack?” and the horror of realization dawned upon me, I shouted a “Nooooooooo!” at the TV screen. (All the good it did.) And even the hardened Atheist in me was happy all our Losties (the important ones, anyway) got to spend eternity together, although I hope for Jack’s sake that Afterlife Kate is significantly less annoying than Island “I’m Coming With You” Kate.
But I had some problems.
Other than the Sideways Reveal, the finale was Answer Free. While I was in the camp who loved “Across the Sea” (any episode that involves Titus Welliver’s bare arms is good for me), after watching “The End” I felt that a massive answer dump in the second to last episode was a little bit lazy. And if, at the end of the day, it was all about the people and what they meant to each other (a resolution I’m totally onboard with), then why the polar bears, pallet drops and glowing streams? It made for excellent television, but did it matter? And why in the name of Taweret did we spend so much time at the as-exciting-as-watching-paint-dry Temple?And while I’m happy to live in a world where I’ll never know who dropped some Dharma cereal boxes onto an island that the Dharma Initiative had left long ago – or how they found the island to drop it on, more to the point – I do need to know why the Other women can’t have Other babies, even though they could at some stage in the past.
Think about it: how did it compare to other finales? The last part aside, it didn’t really measure up. At the end of each of Lost’s first five seasons, the finale blew me away with a cliff-hanger (think our Losties looking down into the Hatch) or a game-changer (“We have to go baaaack!”). But then “The End” did give us a game-changer – behold, the true nature of the Sideways World – and they couldn’t really leave us on a cliff-hanger, so I suppose that’s a moot point.
And how, would someone please tell me, did Ben get out from under that tree trunk? One minute he’s stuck there, unable to budge, and the next he’s walking around with his man-bag.
So I feel like it had some problems. But let’s face it: Lost‘s worst episode (“Stranger in a Strange Land”, anyone?) is still better than 95% of all scripted TV shows ever made and, if everything was explained, what would that even look like? A PowerPoint presentation, probably.
There’s lots I don’t know about Lost, but I do know this:
- I can’t wait for a massive Seasons 1-6 rewatch
- I’m jealous of people who haven’t seen it yet
- I’ll be thinking about these characters for a very long time to come
- Sawyer should always be shirtless
- Along with The West Wing, Lost is tied for my favourite TV show of all time.
Goodbye Lost. I’m already missing you.
This video is the only post-finale Darlton talk available to us which was actually pre-taped on May 20th, and contains a few scenes from those heart-wrenching twenty minutes. Watch with some Kleenex.
FYI: While searching for images to thieve for this post, I came across a brilliant explanatory post that, apparently, came from a Lost writer. The real reason Ben wasn’t in the church? You will LOVE it. (Well, I did.)
A note to non-Losties who don’t care about spoilers: As soon as I learned the true nature of the Sideways World (an afterlife where all the Losties met to spend eternity together), I felt a little bit sick because I knew what was going to happen and, a few short hours later, it did. I saw at least one ‘review’ by a TV critic that went along the lines of, “Six years of mystery and the truth was they were all dead? Whatever!” This is not what was revealed in the finale, and saying – or thinking – that shows that you either don’t watch the show or watched it but didn’t get what was happening. The island was real, everything that happened on the island really took place and all the characters we know and love (and miss! SOB!) were as real as my coffee problem. The “afterlife” was the explanation for the Sideways World we’ve been seeing since the start of Season 6, nothing else. So don’t go round saying ‘they were all dead all along’ because I may punch you. I’ll apologise afterwards, but I’ll still do it.
Want more Lost? Pop on over to The LOST Blog!