Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Absolutely, Completely, Finally "Lost"

I must be among the last people on Earth to blog about the ending of Lost. The interwebs have seemingly collapsed up their own collective asses spouting their opinions as to how the finale measured up, so what's one more voice, right? And I really wanted to think about before I voiced my opinion.

To say the reviews have been mixed would be an understatement. It seems that people are either dissatisfied with an ending that seemingly offered no answers, or they enjoyed the character-focused, overtly sentimental ending they were presented.

For my part, I found the finale to be a well-done, deeply felt, totally appropriate ending to the series, while somewhat agreeing with those who felt cheated of answers to series-long mysteries.

But, the reality is that they gave us all the answers we really needed. What was the island? Well, I believe it was some sort of repository of the collective human soul. The light at the bottom of the cave was the source of all the island's mystical mojo, and also connected to humanity in general. I would suppose that there has always been some sort of guardian on the island, which is what Mother's (Allison Janney) role was before it was assumed by Jacob. But if the light represents the positive side of humanity, then there must also be a force to represent the negative, and to me, that's the Smoke Monster. Jacob's role then changed to be not only protector, but also warden over this Monster that wore his brother's face, and the island by extension also became a prison of sorts. For centuries, each opposing force, Jacob for good, MIB for evil, manipulated and schemed to find ways to defeat the other.

Why were the castaways brought to the island? Well, they were candidates to replace Jacob, who suspected that MIB would eventually find a way to kill him and attempt escape and loose evil unchecked across the Earth. Some candidates opted out, some were disqualified by their actions, some died. But someone had to do it eventually, to protect what would appear to be the repository of humanity's inner spirit.

Did the writers answer every detail? No. We'll never know why Walt had crazy psychic powers. We'll never know for sure why the massive statue had only four toes. We'll never know who air-dropped those Dharma Initiative supplies. And the part that makes me agree somewhat with the detractors is that, to some extent, Lost had always been a show that promised at least some resolutions to their assorted mysteries. But I didn't want a exposition-laden lecture as a final episode that merely answered questions without involving me emotionally. It had to work as a piece of drama, too.

To me, I'm satisfied with the answers I got, and I'm also content to leave some things ambiguous, allowing each viewer to make up their own mind. The show, from the very first season, has been about embracing faith. And part of having faith is accepting things even without all the answers and therefore reaching your own conclusions. As a finale, it stayed true to the ultimate and constant spirit of the show that gave it its heart all along, even if they left some mysteries unsolved.

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