Category Archives: Television
>…and then Bob Newhart woke up and said, “Honey, you won’t believe the dream I just had.”
After 120 episodes comprising a narrative of nearly 90 uncut hours:
LOST is over.
Sure, there will be bonus features on Blu-Ray boxed sets, ancillary merchandise and games and conventions and re-broadcasts and special re-releases and never-before-seen bonus things for years to come, but for all intents and purposes, the narrative I’ve been following my entire adult life is complete.
Viewers across the globe are in a state of quasi-mourning, myself included–especially given the bittersweet nature of the show’s final hour. Yet there is also a sense of relief. For three years now, we’ve known how many episodes we had left to go and were counting down the clock. Yet, as “The End” reminded us time and time again, it was time to “let go” if we wanted to ever be able to move on and manifest our own destinies.
I will remember LOST for many things. For being compelling, smart entertainment that was fun and engaging. For being the only TV show I’ve ever watched first-run from start to finish, anxiously awaiting the fall return during summer hiatuses. For being a pastime I could watch with my dad, and later my girlfriend, and have it be something we all enjoyed for once. The series’ reach was certainly broad, even if it required an intense amount of patience and cross-referencing to follow over the span of six years. But, perhaps most importantly to me, it made me realize the power of good storytelling. It made me further understand the kinds of yarns I want to weave, and has affected my world profoundly.
I feel the greatest feat Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse were able to pull off, however, was that for all its head games and twists and turns, it all made emotional sense in the end. That’s what the finale had to do. Without having read too much of others’ reactions, I already know the complaints “The End” will receive, because they’re the complaints that were going to be lobbed at it regardless of the final episode’s decisions. “It didn’t answer my questions,” some will say. “What was the deal with Walt?” “Who built the statue?” “What is the Island?”
But those aren’t complaints about “The End,” those are (sometimes valid) criticisms of LOST in general. People looking for specifics to all the mythological underpinnings of the Island are bound to be disappointed. The creators have been saying for years that there will be unanswered questions, and I’m okay with that. Because it gives us something to continue to talk about for years. And, in the end, those little backstory questions don’t matter. The rules and reality of the time and space that LOST takes place in has an internal working logic to it. I imagine you can figure out the rest of the history for yourself if you think about it hard enough.
What this episode did do, however, was answer a question on an order of magnitude so much higher than any of those that I think most people never even bothered to ask it:
“Why does any of this matter?”
“The End” took a cast of characters who, despite having their entire lives put out on display for all to see, had at times seemed like chess pieces in a supernatural board game, and once and for all made them human. Because we saw what it really meant to be “Lost,” and of course it didn’t refer to them being stranded on an island. It was a kind of lost that we all are, and it was a harrowing, sobering final message for the show to impart. But an important message, about how we ought to define ourselves and what we ought to pursue in our own lives.
If you’ve seen it, you understand what I mean. If not, I’ll just proselytize for a moment and say, get the DVDs. Watch the show. It’s fun, it’s freaky, but at the end of the day, when the chips are down and shit gets real, it’ll leave you feeling moved in a way that transcends polar bears and smoke monsters.
Longtime viewers will look at today, the day after the final episode sailed off into the horizon, and feel two ways. Either a piece of themselves has just left them, or a piece of themselves that has been gestating is now complete. I encourage everyone to see it as the latter.