Sunday, May 23, 2010

Lost -- "The End" -- I laughed, I cried, I WTF?

Elizabeth Mitchell Juliet Lost screencaps images photos pictures captures screengrabsJuliet is still awesome on Lost.

(SPOILER ALERT) I knew after six years of build-up that we were never going to feel satisfied with the end of Lost, but I didn't think I'd feel as let down as this. Well, actually, since Richard turned out to be not magical at all, and the mystery of the Island turned out to be a shiny light in a cave, I'd started to get an inkling.

During the ridiculously long two hour intro to the finale (which was 30 minutes of interviews and flashbacks to the series, and 90 minutes of freakin' commercials), writers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse gave us their true vision of Lost. That vision was that Lost was about the characters, and their personal journeys. That's the most you can get out of these final episodes--just one last visit with all of the characters we loved so much.

The one thing I have to give to season 6 of Lost was it made me love Jack again. His character had so many ups and downs and personality shifts and constant anger that it had been painful to see our hero fall apart. To see him rise again in everyone's estimation, to earn Sawyer's respect and rekindle Kate's love--that was wonderful.

Once again Matthew Fox (Jack) and Terry O'Quinn (Locke) played opposite each other so well. I loved when Jack told the Man in Black that he had disrespected Locke by taking his form, and I also love that in the end, Jack became a man of faith.

(Article continues below.)

Not unexpectedly, arguably the best part of "The End" finale was at the hands of Ben Linus, that deliciously complex and tortured soul we've come to know, despise, pity, and love over six seasons. While the reunions of all the couples on Lost was very moving, the moment Hurley asked Ben to be his number 2 got me more choked up than anything. The look on Ben's face--the final reward of being asked to take care of the Island, by someone who truly needed him--it was what Ben had been searching for all along.

I thought the plane was going to explode mid-air when the few Losties that were left tried to escape, but thankfully that didn't happen. Unfortunately we didn't get to see any of the happiness of that life. We only got to see all of our favorite people do the equivalent of LOTR's Undying Lands and sail off into the light. Hence, the WTF? part of my post. The end result of all the mysteries? The Losties had a miserable existence, suffered and got killed off on a supernatural island that had some sort of worldly significance, hung around in a happyland purgatory till most of them arrived, and then they took the next step.

So, basically, after loving all of these characters and living with them through all the heartache and love and humor and pain, the final note we get is: hey, they all died happily ever after.

Personally, I thought those doors were going to open and they were all going to walk out onto the Island. Maybe Jacob would be waiting to welcome them, and there'd be all the people from the hundreds/thousands of years that candidates had been brought to the Island and killed. At least that would have perhaps had some symmetry to it.

These are my initial thoughts. Now it's time to watch Jimmy Kimmel and see what the actors have to say. Maybe they have more profound ideas than I do at the moment. What did you think of the finale?

ETA: I also wanted to say that I loved the Juliet and Sawyer reunion. The scene when Juliet dies has to be one of the most heartbreaking moments Lost put us through--right up there with Charlie's death. To see them get to be together again, and to hear Juliet ask Sawyer for coffee--as she did before she died, when she glimpsed the Other Side--was hearbreaking all over again.

The creators of Lost have said they didn't want to give us all the answers, so that Lost fans would continue to debate the series and it would live on (and we'd all buy more Lost-related stuff, I imagine). What they actually did is they didn't really answer anything, so fans can beat every last metaphor, image, and line to death with a thousand more theories ad infinitum. Depending on your personality, I suppose you will find this either exciting and brilliant, or lame and irritating. Or perhaps a combination of the two. After all, Lost was all about ambiguity.

PHOTO: Elizabeth Mitchell as Juliet, Lost screencap, c2010 ABC Studios.


  1. This was yet another deux ex machina ending to complement the one that ruined Battlestar Galactica. Telling us that everyone's really just, uh, dead, and their friendly spirits are all meeting up in a nice afterlife (and all the rest of the season's alternate storylines were just busywork) is a substitute for having to come up with a real ending. They blew it.

    We were told at one time that blowing up the hole would be a big reset, that it would put everything back to normal. Exactly how does the "Everybody's in heaven!" ending tie back to that? This was sheer laziness. Bad writing. Another good series ends badly.

  2. @Dave: Ugh, I'd blocked out the BSG ending, but you're right--this is a similar lazy and disappointing end to a series we all invested so much in.

    I think the problem may have been that this was the ending supposedly they had cooked up from the beginning, but the series was only supposed to last one year. In stretching it out to 6, they added all of these sidelines, that like you say, amounted to nothing. They should have come up with something more complex for the ending once they realized they'd gone off on so many tangents from their original idea.

    I'm curious to see if the majority opinion will be that this stunk, or if the diehard fans and critics will think there's plenty to philosophize about from the finale. After offering so much that was new and different in the series, they gave this a rather conventional ending. A shame.

  3. This ending was so generic and unsatisfying. I can't believe they neglected all the mysteries - the big ones, the minor ones and everything in between for an overlong, forced message about the afterlife. And couldn't they resolve the characters without resorting to some shmalzty 'resolving their issues before they move on' nonsense? These guys have proven in the past that they can write well- what on earth happened? Even after a somewhat disappointing sixth season build-up I expected so much more.

  4. I haven't gone back to look at the writing credits on a show-by-show basis (and I doubt I ever will), but it seems to me that you end up with this kind of disconnect with a lot of successful shows. The original creators eventually hand off a lot of the writing, then the new writers create a cool story arc, then the original folks come back and do a quickie wrap-up that leaves a lot of loose ends.

    Basically I think we just got hit with a variation on, "It was all a dream." Most of the past season didn't matter.

  5. "They all died happily ever after." Yes, exactly!

    "Depending on your personality, I suppose you will find this either exciting and brilliant, or lame and irritating. Or perhaps a combination of the two. After all, Lost was all about ambiguity." Ha ha! Now *that's* brilliant!

    I agree with all the comments above -- in fact, shmaltzy was exactly the word I had used to describe the ending! Ha.

    It's like a little oasis of sanity here. So many people elsewhere say they loved the ending! Go figure.

    I just have to look around more and find my fellow grumps. ;-)

    I'm actually starting to wonder if Damon and Carlton have just pulled a long con, with this ridiculous ending hatched up just to see if they could get away with it.

    I should rename my blog "LOST for NO reason" ;-)

  6. @Jon, I agree, the ending seemed overly simplistic--especially since I think all of us had the idea of them "working out their issues" from the very beginning. It didn't take us 6 seasons of time switches and imaginary worlds to prove that idea to us. What we were looking for was some supernatural explanations along with the spiritual ones.

    @Dave--I agree the change in writers definitely can confuse the arc of the show. You can see that in Doctor Who--brilliant as many of the episodes are, they each hold a slightly different view of the characters and it shows. For Lost, it was supposed to be one season and it probably should have been. This was the ending for season one, and I agree with you, it rendered most of the intervening seasons meaningless.

    @Ms. Terri: After your comment, I went over and looked at and could not BELIEVE the myriad of comments that were gushing over how brilliant the finale was. I'm stunned. And I think Doc Jensen read WAY more into it than what was there. The only thing that he made me appreciate a little more with this conclusion was about how "master plans" don't work out, and that even deities aren't right all of the time.

    I was going to elaborate in the post about all the different combos of love and hate one could have for the finale, and that's when it hit me about the ambiguity being a part of Lost...heh.

    I'm wondering about the "long con" idea of yours too...when I read all of the positive comments about the finale, I actually got angry, because it sets the precedent for other shows to toy with us the same way and write these "open endings" that are supposedly so brilliant. It means that you can write pretty much anything you want, and never have to explain anyone's reasoning or motivation or the way your fantasy world operates. It's like if Star Wars ended after The Empire Strikes Back, and you were just supposed to "decide for yourself" if the Rebels won or if Han Solo got rescued or if Darth Vader was defeated, etc. etc. I guess they've found a solution for writers not being able to write good endings--just don't write one!

    "I should rename my blog "LOST for NO reason": LOL! Maybe you could put that as an "ambiguous" subtitle...heh!

  7. Hmmm. For the record, I think it's more like an hour before the end of Return of the Jedi everybody suddenly stopped fighting and zooming around in their spaceships and got together in a church and hugged each other and Anakin Skywalker was there and he took off his helmet and he looked very nice and he went to the doors and opened them and there was a bright light the end oh yeah and Obi Wan was there too and so was Wedge and Owen and Beru and Anakin's mom and the Sith guy with the body paint only his name was Kiki and he does watercolors.

    Hey, where's my stapler?



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