I was right — about the wrong thing.
The series finale of Lost, a two-hour-plus final chapter long known to have been titled...
… revealed that the so-called flashsideways scenes threaded throughout this season took place not in an alternate timeline, a theory that I espoused in my first ‘Lost’ in Thought post in February, nor in an altered version of the original timeline, as I theorized earlier this month, but in the afterlife. The storylines that many viewers expected to be the result in some way of the EM/Jughead Incident turned out to be utterly, well, incidental to the narrative of the series — except insofar as they reaffirmed how bound together these characters were and granted them a rather happy ending.
I don’t mind in the least having been wrong about what we were flashing to. And I’m not surprised to have been right about “The End” neglecting to address pretty much
any of the outstanding plot points itemized here the other day; Lost overall is truly diminished for me due to the lack of follow-through in those areas.
Yet the finale itself was a tremendous success as gripping, emotional drama. It was
as widescreen and intimate as the pilot. It brought more closure than I expected to the characters, both focusing on Jack and spotlighting the rest of the cast in a satisfying way, and choked me up more than once. It was in and of itself Great Television, although of course it would mean very little to folks who hadn’t watched the show to date.
When I say “in and of itself” I mean that “The End” did practically nothing wrong
in terms of any missteps or head-scratchers occurring to me as it played. Had Season 6 been indicative of the rest of the series it would have been the perfect capper. The failure is really in the season that led up to this, not for what we got — even if some of
it was rendered oddly superfluous — but for what we didn’t get, or with previous seasons for introducing things that would never pay off. The previous 120 episodes,
and particularly Seasons 1-5, wrote checks that “The End” couldn’t cash, and it shouldn’t have had to; Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse, and their staff had perhaps more time than any creative crew in the history of network television to craft not just a worthy series finale but a worthy finale season and they dropped the ball.
The climax and conclusion were pretty good, depending on how you split the hairs
to segment the story. The season-long denouement on the other hand, defined in my laptop’s New Oxford American Dictionary as “the final part of a play, movie, or narrative in which the strands of the plot are drawn together and matters are explained or resolved,” left much to be desired, as everything after the “in which” hardly applies
to the series entire.
I was so enamored of “The End” on Sunday night while so aghast at the creators’
refusal to fulfill the quite literal promise of Lost’s many outstanding individual episodes and its daring series arc that I could practically feel the synapses in my brain giving up. And my disposition towards the whole megillah has actually worsened since. The white stone at first tipped the scale, as my very itemization of the burning questions left unanswered before the finale helped me flush out some frustration and prime myself to accept whatever happened on its own merits. I also knew that if I did rewatch the series, unlikely as that would be, I would have the commentary of Finding ‘Lost’ author Nikki Stafford’s bloggerati and Totally ‘Lost’ guru Doc Jeff Jensen’s hilariously, brilliantly pan-cultural theorizing to keep me company as we did the storytellers’ job for them. Over the past day, though, deficiencies in the finale have become magnified to me, ones that might well have been acceptable for only becoming uncomfortably apparent in retrospect were they not piggybacking upon Lost’s cumulative disappointment.
The breakdown of the finale will be along once I organize my thoughts further and
see it again. Not a single note nor line of dialogue was scribbled down so that I could take in the show as purely as my stuffy head would allow. You’re more than welcome to respond to the above; just keep in mind that I haven’t begun to dissect things yet and probably won’t reply to specific points on the comments page until I cover them in a post.
Previously: Don’t Let Me Down / Next: All Togther Now
Related: Any Time at All • The Mother Load • Fixing a Hole