Six years, over 121 hours, and now it’s THE END.
First and foremost I have to say that as a fan of LOST, having watched it from the very beginning, I was completely satisfied with the ending of LOST. It brought a certain level of cohesiveness to this six year journey that I wasn’t really aware of all the way up to the final episode. It treated me, as a fan, in a kind manner and after all was said and done it let me know that it was OK to say good-bye to these characters that I’ve followed all this time. It didn’t try to be overly intellectual but at the same time it was still damn smart television.
I didn’t realize when I was writing my post-LOST wrap up last week that I would be hitting the nail on the head when I said that the flash-sideways world was in many ways coming across as a love letter to the fans. This entire season we’ve been building up to a moment of closure in the flash-sideways world, which I’ll just now refer to as the Gathering, as it got ready to cushion the blow for us that we all knew was coming. We knew that some people would make it to the end of the show, others wouldn’t, but the Gathering is the place where eventually all of our characters would come back together and prepare themselves for whatever the next step is after their journey in LOST would end. As viewers it was a place that reminded us that it doesn’t really matter what characters get off the Island and which ones don’t because eventually everyone dies and after they do they would come to the Gathering and rejoin those that they wanted to be with. This was their reward for entertaining us and this is the place where we know it is OK to wish them well and know that we can all move on now from our LOST experience together.
In a similar line of thought I also found that the Gathering is that special place for us, the viewer, where the characters will always be there for us to enjoy them again later much in the same way our favorite literary characters still reside in our books when we return to them. I’ve never been happy with the eventual death of GLEN BATEMAN in that Las Vegas jail cell but when I come back and read THE STAND again I can always find him sitting by a creek, painting, and waiting for his eventual discovery by STU REDMAN.
Of all of the characters that came to their realizations of where they really were in the Gathering I think the journey that was most interesting was actually that of BENJAMIN LINUS. In many ways I think it is fitting that BEN’s journey stands out for me given that the amazing acting of MICHAEL EMERSON transformed a simple three episode guest spot in the second season into one of the most complicated characters on network television who stuck around for the remainder the series run. In the Island word BEN sought and was granted redemption, so much so that he goes on to act as a confidant to HURLEY, the purest soul on the show. In the Gathering BEN is outside of the church in those final scenes and apologizes to LOCKE for what he had done to him. He further bonds with HURLEY but when it is all said and done he remains outside. I’m sure there are many interpretations why. BEN may have come to bid farewell to all of these lives that he had been involved with but knows that his journey doesn’t continue with them. Maybe BEN is waiting for ALEX and DANIELLE to have their own realizations so they can journey on together as a family. Perhaps his deeds as a man make it so that he can not continue on. I don’t know the answer but I love that the complexity of the character now will live on in perpetuity.
The big bit of enlightenment for me in watching the finale, the bit that much like The Dude’s rug really tied it all together, was the realization that what we had watched for the past six years was at its core one man’s journey. The series began with the awakening of JACK SHEPHERD after the crash. Looking back at the past six years it may be that his awakening was also in more of a spiritual sense. He was a man that was broken and needed to travel his own journey to redemption. When it is all said and done that redemption comes after fulfilling his purpose in restoring balance to the Island so that it can continue on beyond him. For six years we were able to see that journey and travel it with him and bore witness to the sacrifice he made that allowed for his redemption. The fact that it was his story and his journey that we followed is reflected in those that were chosen, or drawn together, to be with him in the Gathering before they all passed on to whatever comes next. This is possibly another reason why BEN wasn’t part of JACK’s Gathering.
I’m sure that there will be those that will simply look to the obvious and cry foul. They will be angered because they still don’t know exactly what the Island is, why babies stopped being born on it, or any number of other dangling questions that may be out there. The truth, however, is that in the grand scope of LOST we won’t be any happier if we actually knew why JULIET was branded by the Others, how WALT was special, or where Kate’s toy plane went. In the big picture these things don’t apply because what we were watching was JACK’s story and these answers just aren’t important to his story being told.
Be aware, as well, of the future because there may still be just a bit more of LOST for us to discover. The series finale breaks the 44 minute average show model and there may be a few scenes we didn’t see to help pad the shows so they can complete and balanced for syndication. Maybe we’ll see how BEN gets out from under that log, how JACK got back to place where the plug had to be put back in the ground, or maybe even a scene where MILES, RICHARD and FRANK are in an outrigger during pouring rain and another outrigger mysteriously appears in front of them and they open fire? This is all just based on conjecture but I can’t see much being trimmed from this finale in order to make it into two clean episodes. I guess we’ll eventually see.
The executive producers have also hinted that they haven’t quite completed telling their story of WALT. I don’t know where they plan on telling more of it so keep an eye out on the Internet, TV, DVD store or local comic book shop for that story possibly wrapping up.
Here is a simple laundry list of all of the things that I came away liking in the finale:
- The Island truly was a cork keeping evil, malevolance, whatever at bay.
- The knowledge that DESMOND was actually given a glimpse into the afterlife and didn’t even realize it.
- The emotion evoked during each of the characters realizations in the Gathering.
- The simple fact that MILES, FRANK and RICHARD actually got off the Island after being dragged there not knowing what they were really getting in to.
- HURLEY taking on the mantle of ISLAND protector after JACK. This made his confidence and knowledge acquired before the Gathering even more meaningful.
- The shock BEN had at being asked by HURLEY to help him in protecting the ISLAND.
- The mutual respect that BEN and HURLEY have for each other at the Gathering.
- The multi-denominational nature of the back room where JACK accepts his own death at the church.
- VINCENT keeping JACK company in the bamboo forest so that our hero would not have to “die alone.”
So there we have it folks, THE END has come, the discussion and arguments will still continue and I’m very glad to say that after the story has been told I’m not really that LOST anymore.
- Will Wilkins
PS: This coming week will also bring the final installment of the comprehensive and witty “The Final Season of LOST as Seen by Someone Who Has Never Seen LOST” and I had the opportunity to interview the author mere hours before the finale for your listening pleasure right here.
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