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
Author — Blam
Tags — *television, ABC, Lost, Lost Season 6, TV finales
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I just left a comment on the last post referencing the finale (and you know what I think anyway) so I might as well wait for you to finish this before saying more. Except: So far so frickin' articulate!ReplyDelete
VW: disesses — To make negative remarks about one of our most popular consonants.
I agree with this post. The finale was good, but the season overall was not the greatest. But it is what it is, and now Lost is part of history; you either enjoy it or you don't. I certainly enjoy it.ReplyDelete
Ah, once again, you've managed to say what I've been trying to say, but better.ReplyDelete
I mean that "The End" did practically nothing wrong...The failure is really in the season that led up to this, not so much 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
You know, I'm kinda surprised at how many people didn't like the finale because it didn't tie up EVERYTHING that was left dangling.
I'm thinking "did you really believe they could somehow wrap all that up in one episode?" It seemed clear LONG before the final episode that most plotlines would be left dnagling.
I mean, all that stuff SHOULD have been wrapped up before the finale even started. It's not the last episode's job to cram the entire show's denouement into its running time; that should have been handled long before the finale.
As it was, I thought "The End" was everything it needed to be: a wrapup to the season's plot (defeating FLocke) and one last reveal (the truth about the Sideways world). Everything else it didn't do, it didn't need to do; the preceding 16 episodes should have done all that.
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.
Exactamundo. The dropped plots and lack of resolution I'd expect from a show that was canceled suddenly, without warning, or even at the start of a season when wheels were already in motion. But for a show with unprecedented knowledge of exactly when it would end, Darlton's failure to properly wrap the show is mystifying.
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.
Ditto. My own Lost post took me longer than usual to write simply because I just didn't feel like talking about Lost. Between the emotional impact of the finale and the ongoing head shaking at the lack of plot resolution, my head's kinda intellectually fuzzy.
I still think we needed a guest appearance by Jimmy Buffett in the final episode of Lost.ReplyDelete
Steven G. Willis
In addition to the litany of unanswered big items you listed in your last post, I'm going to be driven insane over the failure to elucidate these:
What was up with the DS ring?
Why was there a poster of Richard Burton in Locke's locker?
Who was driving the car that hit Emily?
How did Horace know where and when to drive his Karmann Ghia to pick up premie Ben?
What was the original plan for 2 Emilys and the never-spoken-on-screen prophecy?
Hunter/Farmer: Ishmael, Epic, or deadhead/SciFi (Robert Hunter/PJ Farmer) reference?
Really, what was the deal with Libby?
How did Eloise decline from omniscient "Time Police" to clingy rich mum?
Which were the Egyptian birds Walt thought he should be studying?
Why did they take Walt and Michael's blood?
Did Amy kill Paul on their picnic or did the hostiles?
If nothing stays buried on the island, why is it so important to bury the dead?
Is Mikhail Odinesque, Cyclopic, or To Your Scattered Bodies Go in inception?
Where was the Benjamin Disraeli reference intended to direct our efforts: Lost Tribes of Israel, Stanhope and Burton, Jewish identity, Evils of Colonialism, something else?
These were all either benevolent, intelligent clues for a larger tapestry of understanding the writers' intent, which the constraints of production scheduling did not permit sharpening, or they were malicious red herrings and baubles thrown down rabbit holes. In the first case, they are forgiven (as is Ben: sorta); in the second case, Radzinski and Pickett stand guard while Zoe pays frequent conjugal visits. For eternity.
I watched the finale outdoors on a 120in projected screen with a party of about 12 and a fair amount of DHARMA beer, McCutcheon whisky, Apollo bars, murmured comments between couples, occasional outbursts and expletives--not my usual viewing experience. I initially attributed my post-credits befuddlement to the off kilter viewing. I'm coming begrudgingly to the awareness that the schism between ONE, my gratitude to the writers for taking this out on an emotional high note, and TWO, my anger at them not having earned that simple denouement, is to blame.
So, because this is still the pinnacle of television storytelling, I'm repackaging this into my own memorialized version wherein some of my wilder theories, if not disproved, are factoids, and I am moving on. My guilt at admitting to myself that I will not be viewing the series again anytime soon in order to see how the prospectively unruly pieces all fall into alignment so neatly in retrospect is assuaged by hearing you state, more or less, the same. Moreover, I am finding that the entire narrative arc starts unraveling as I pull the Season 6 LA X thread and cognitively feel the Oceanic 6 experience and all that investment in Island survivors survival in the face of mechanical smoke monsters, ectopic ursus marinus, baby-stealing Others, and Black Freighters begin to fall apart in my hands. I must choose to let the loose yarn hang, but by God, it's hard to ignore them. On the other hand, the sweater JJ, Darlton, Bender, J Wood, Marc Oromaner, Nikki, HumaneBean, a cast of others, you and I knitted together is so pretty, I think I'll just put it away and wear it only for special occasions among close friends and family who are indulgent of the loose threads and threadbare holes.
And with that, a sincere gratitude for your part in the fellowship. A man can be pretty hard to find in the mountains. You are welcome at my campfire any time. Nikki has a marauder's map to find me amidst the mischief.
@TM: These were all either benevolent, intelligent clues for a larger tapestry of understanding the writers' intent, which the constraints of production scheduling did not permit sharpening, or they were malicious red herrings and baubles thrown down rabbit holes.ReplyDelete
Well said! The fact that Lost had its end date, and the constant trumpeting by its creators of how they "have a plan" led me to believe we'd suffer little of the former (at least, less than the average show, as TV production is, no matter how well planned, a fickle beast).
That leaves the later as the more likely option, which is sad.
It's 1:04 am, do you know where your Blam is?ReplyDelete
What's up, pussycat?
I second the question: where is Blam? But without the pussycat part.ReplyDelete
I've been under the weather and working on other projects. Stepping back from this blog for a bit was planned, although not this severely — which is something I'd have addressed in a post if I had a stable Internet connection (as is publishing the rest of this damned "The End" piece). I just haven't had enough time and energy to juggle everything.