Content note: This post contains a discussion of the Lost finale, ‘The End.’ If you don’t want to be spoiled (or don’t care about Lost), feel free to mosey on over and check out ‘In My Eye,’ today’s post of posty goodness. Yes I am tired and making up words.
So. I’m still kind of reeling in that post-finale slump that people get, so I am not even going to try and tackle the finale in any meaningful sort of way, let alone try and say anything coherent about how I feel about the series as a whole1. I’m going to bite off a few chunks, and I’ll probably be processing in the weeks and months and years to come. Because, well, say what you will about it, Lost was definitely an epic television show, and it definitely did have a profound impact on television.
Was I satisfied with the ending? I honestly don’t know. It may take a few rewatches to tell you. As with the show, which moved in recursive circles, the ending turned back in on itself. I felt that, stylistically, ‘The End’ really fit with the tone of Lost. However, it did leave me wondering about some of the stuff that happened this season. I felt like some of the flash sideways stuff was, perhaps, not quite necessary? Or could have been more condensed. Aesthetically, this episode pleased me on a deep level. Otherwise? I’m really not sure.
I did say that the two things that would really bug me about the end is if it turned out to be ‘Jack fixes Locke and saves the Island’ and ‘love is the answer.’ As it turns out, both of those things happened. And I’m trying not to be bitter about them, I really am.
In terms of Jack fixing Locke, well, it felt to me like the message was that Jack was setting Locke free by giving him the ‘miracle of walking’ in the sideways timeline, and killing Smokey in Locke’s body on the Island (paralysis=being possessed by an evil entity, anyone?). And that left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. The entire series has been, of course, about Jack’s redemption. And I liked what happened on the Island, with Jack dying (finally, I’ve been waiting for that for six seasons!) and coming to a final realisation, but the decision to make the redemption off-Island centre around Locke’s surgery was, well, it troubled me. It made me feel marginally better that it was the start of his wakeup call and that Jack had to be repeatedly touched in order to fully come to terms with what had happened to him, but I still feel very unsettled by it.
And I admit that when Ben said ‘you probably don’t need that chair anymore,’ I thought ‘that’s probably a good thing, since it doesn’t look like the church has a ramp.’
And, yeah, let’s talk about love conquering all. Let’s talk about how Lost, an incredibly heteronormative show, ended up with most of the characters all couply in the church. Let’s talk about that. Because it troubled me. I think this is, in part, because I am not a romantic. Romance bores me to tears and it (especially The Triangle/Quadrangle) was always the thing about the show that I liked least. And there were a lot of characters missing in the church, including the few noncoupled people, and that, well, it made me kind of sad as well. I felt like I was left with the sense that you have to be coupled to feel complete, to be ready to ‘move on.’
Final thought: Did Lost pull a Battlestar Galactica and go all religious at the end for absolutely no good reason, abandoning the sci-fi premise pretty much entirely?
I’d actually argue that this is open to interpretation. Yes, the finale took place in a church. Yes, there was bright white light at the end. Yes, the show has had broad religious themes throughout. There is a lot of religious metaphor in Lost and I’m not going to pretend like there isn’t.
But, right now, I feel like the end is open to interpretation. My feelings may change after thinking and watching some more. At the moment, though, I feel like you could read it as religious, or you could read it as an affirmation of the many worlds/multiverse theory. Right now, I’m choosing to read it as a many worlds thing, because that preserves the science fiction, and it makes everything fit together, right down to ‘there is no now here.’
When Christian says that this is a place the characters have created to find each other, that to me actually reads like a very strong affirmation of the many worlds theory. It is, well, I don’t really understand quantum mechanics and I am not going to pretend to, but I think it’s pretty strongly science fiction to argue that characters can create a place in their minds and be drawn to it. Evidently there’s also a many minds theory, having to do with the observer rather than the world, but, like I say, I am not very knowledgeable about this stuff and I don’t even want to begin to try. Although I would be interested to read people who do know what they are talking about wrestling with these things.
So, those are my gut responses, an hour after finishing.
- Hint: I have not forgotten about the fuckery committed this season, and I have a whole lot more to say about women on Lost. ↩