Lost has come to an end. One of the more unique and challenging shows on TV has completed its improbable run, and now the debate begins over whether the finale was worthy and if it provided enough answers to the many, many questions the show raised. I imagine there will also be much discussion over what the finale “meant”, which has always been one of the unique hallmarks of this show. It didn’t just entertain, it was also willing to challenge us to think, reflect, and ponder issues beyond just the mysteries of The Island, but also the mysteries of what we believe. I’ll leave that philosophical and spiritual discussion/dissection for another time, right now what I’m concerned with is whether or not the finale was a worthy one for this show. Thinking back on it, I can only say that the answer is both yes and no.
First, here’s why I think the finale was a worthy one. More than anything, more than the polar bears and The Others, more than mystical and mysterious, Lost was about about people. It was a show driven by the characters and it was a show about the journey these characters were on. Their crash on The Island forever altered what their lives were and would be, and that’s what made the show so compelling. The mysteries and weird goings-on just added a little spice to the proceedings, but at it’s core it was the people we really cared about and not just getting answers to all those pesky questions. In this regard, I felt that the Lost finale was very successful as it brought the journey of these characters we have grown to love to an emotional and satisfying ending.
The finale brought me closure. I have spent six seasons learning about the past lives of these characters. I have learned of their hurts and flaws, and of their hopes and desires. I have seen them change and grow as they faced bizarre and unusual circumstances, and as they have suffered through horrifying and bitterly painful moments. Now, after six seasons, their journey is over and I was left with a feeling that everything was going to be okay for them. For the most part, they all found what they were looking for and they were no longer the broken people we were introduced to six seasons ago. There were emotional reunions and heart-rending good-byes. There were moments that just made you feel glad as what you hoped would happen for that person was finally realized. Yes, this finale gave me closure with the people I have spent six years with, and did so with hope and optimism, and that was very satisfying.
In that regard, this was very much a finale for our times. The hope and optimism in this finale set it apart from the doom and gloom we see all around us. Heck, even as I was watching, the broadcast was interrupted with news of a fire that was causing people to evacuate their homes. We live in jaded and cynical times where we expect the worst and often see that come to pass. Oil leaks and financial melt downs. Countries going bankrupt and civil unrest. Fires, earthquakes and natural disasters. War and death. These are the realities we’re living with, and in the midst of that the Lost finale dares to suggest that everything is going to be okay, that we can have hope and look into the future with optimism. It dared to inspire us, to challenge us to believe in something bigger than ourselves, to believe there is a purpose and a destiny for us all. The finale did what Lost has always done; it was bold, challenging, thought provoking and willing to do what few shows on TV dare; make it’s viewers think instead of just appealing to the lowest common denominator.
However, I’d also say this wasn’t a perfect finale or one of the all-time best. In many ways, it was very frustrating and left me feeling more lost than ever before. After a season full of answers and resolutions to mysteries, the finale was frustratingly absent of those. There were no more explanations for what has gone on during our time with these characters on The Island. Among the biggest frustrations (for me) was the lack of any insight into the dynamic of The Island, Jacob, and the Man in Black. I’m no clearer as to why people were brought there, what game it was Jacob and MiB were playing with the people who arrived, or why any of that was so significant to begin with. Plus after a season long build-up, I never really understood exactly what sort of threat MiB would be if he got off the island. Considering that was such a major part of this season, the conclusion to that story was bit of a let down. Granted the final confrontation between Jack and Locke-ness Monster was kind of cool, but somehow he seemed like much less of threat and not nearly as sinister as the season built him up to be. Why were we so worried about him leaving The Island again? I’m not entirely sure, and didn’t feel like the show was either beyond the vague, ominous warnings we were given. Although I wasn’t expecting the finale to answer all my questions, there wasn’t hardly any offered during the entire two and a half hours, and the final fifteen minutes left me with far more than any that had been answered during this final season. I was left with a “Wait, what just happened” feeling as the credits silently rolled. True to the show’s name, I still feel lost when it comes to understanding what was going on, what it was all about, and why any of this happened the way it happened. Oh, and what was the deal with the Polar Bears already?
One other frustration character wise was the whole deal with Kate. I’ve never been a Kate fan, and it was a little too late for the finale to make me care. While I was very happy with the way things ended for just about everyone else, I had a hard time caring or believing what happened with Kate. Her confession of love for Jack rang hollow to me after her several seasons of oscillating between him and Sawyer. I just felt sad that Jack ended-up with this chick who could never really make up her mind. Worse than that, she confessed her love and then just said good-bye. “I love you…and so long.” Sun and Jin died holding each others hands despite the fact that Jin could have left, could have survived, could have gone and been a father to their baby. Instead he chose to orphan their child so he could stay with his wife, with his love, to the very end. Sawyer did everything possible and then some to hang to Juliette, and there was never a doubt in my mind that he would have gone with her if he could have. Kate, however, she confessed her love and then was willing to let her man go off to his death while she escaped. I never really liked that chick, and the finale did nothing to change that. Rant over.
So the Lost finale was really a mixed-bag. It was frustrating and satisfying. It brought closure and yet was inconclusive. It left me feeling good and left with me with a whole lot of questions. It ended where it began, but still left me wondering where exactly that was. Charlie’s question from the first season sill rings out, “Guys, where ARE we?” I still have no idea, but it’s been quite the journey. Thanks Lost, it’s been fun. I’ll miss you even as you leave my brain just as scrambled as ever.