The finale to the greatest thing ever to happen to television was, to be charitable, a major letdown. Over the last six years, all of that great acting and those great characters, great subplots, and epic themes had been leading viewers, naturally, to an equally great, epic ending. What we got, however, was more of the same –– confusion out the wazoo –– with a regrettably heavy dose of deus ex machina.
One of the worst kinds of endings are ones in which a character stands there and freaking explains everything –– just like a character did at the end of Lost last night. That’s breaking Rule No. 1 of Fiction Writing 101, people. Your characters should come to their epiphanies organically, through action, which is even more vital in a drama in which your characters and viewers share the same (confused, probing, uh, lost) perspective. Clearly, the show’s co-writers –– Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelhof –– had written themselves into a hole from which the only escape was via the handiest thematic element available: the ol’ “moving on to the light/you’re really dead but think you aren’t” trick. What I wanted from Lost was an explanation of the proverbial light to which we all allegedly go at the moment of our death. Maybe someday another show or movie or book will tackle life’s greatest mystery. Should have been Lost, though.
I understand that Lost is/was, at heart, a character drama. The reunions were especially touching, and the characters’ “lives” (souls?) wrapped up neatly enough, I guess. However, the island mythology that propelled almost all of the characters –– and the entire plot –– was unceremoniously given short shrift. Inquiring minds want to know: What the hell is the island? What is the light, the “light [that is] inside every man,” according to Mother Earth Allison Janney? Who put the “cork” there? How long had it been there? What’s the connection between the light’s physical/magnetic properties and time travel? With life itself? Did anything bad happen off the island when the light went out temporarily? What exactly? Uh, should folks have been a little more concerned? (Guess not.) What the hell is/was Smokey? Why did he/Locke/MIB become mortal after the light was temporarily extinguished? Why did MIB become Smokey in the first place? What the hell was so important about MIB’s name that we never learned what it was? Was everybody in “purgatory,” a.k.a. “the sideways world,” dead? Including the schmo who delivered the coffin and the other people at the concert? Were the Losties the last people on Earth? Who established “the rules”? And most importantly, why did Kate change out of that black cocktail dress at the end? She looked awwwesome. Ugh! Frustrating! You can bet that right now a million eggheads are concocting alternate endings that will begin popping up on the web and that will tackle the big questions that Cuse and Lindelhof had neither the time nor the wherewithal to approach. Good.
From what I gather, the island is a physical place on the planet and is the alpha and omega, the everlasting source of all life in the universe. People, or gods and demi-gods, live on the island and protect the light from being corrupted by man –– Allison Janney had to have been a god or other form of immensely powerful creature to be able to destroy all of the men in MIB’s camp. Every once in a while, men come in contact with the island. They’re given the option to help protect the light or try to use it to some sort of advantage –– who knows why. Allison Janney clearly could just kill everyone who landed there, but whatever. (Also, why the hell didn’t Smokey just kill all of the Losties once they crash-landed? Bada-bing, bada-boom. No Jacob-approved candidates. Done.) Agh! But at least the acting was superlative, as usual, and the drama was edge-of-your seat. I still highly recommended Lost for anyone who’s never seen the show or arrived late to the party. Something tells me that more of the mythology will be explained in future books, movies, and wacko theories posted on the web. Further reading: Doc Jensen’s Lost blog, “Totally Lost,” at www.ew.com (Entertainment Weekly). See ya in another life, brotha.