Lost; The End Review

I haven’t talked about Lost much on here, but it is a show that I’ve watched since the very first episode, and now that it ended the way that it did, I have to comment on it. SPOILERS abound; if you haven’t seen it, don’t read on!

Ok, the main thing everyone is asking is, “Did you like the ending?” Well…that is an odd question for me. I can honestly say that I give it a 4/10…but that score requires some explaining.

First, the writers did a good job with the character arcs. They wrote a scenario that gave the audience a sense of closure without putting in much detail. So, all of our Losties wind up dead one way or another, surprise surprise, and in our world we are not sure when or where the off screen deaths took place. Take Hurley for example; we know he was the Protector for a bit, but did indeed pass away at some unspecified time and place in our future.

We know that their souls (the essence of who they were) all wound up together in what is now popularly labeled “Purgatory.”  I have to say, I think the writers kind of went PC overboard on the Universalist style church…how many religious symbols, statues, books, artwork, etc… can one crew put into one set dressing?  I would point out that to do that, but then have Christ prominently displayed outside the church in many shots, “Christian Shepherd” being the one to open the door to the “next step,” and the Christian faith of several of the Characters throughout the seasons, is an odd choice, since that is enough to get all those against the Christian faith riled up without fully committing.

Now, here’s the thing about a story…it has a plot and it has characters.  The characters are there to further a plot and to enrich it.  They are not the plot, they are a part of the plot, they are part of the story.  That is what I think the creators of the show either neglected to remember, or deliberately ignored in the finale.  So, the second part of this review is about the plot in general, not the characters.  The plot was, for all intents and purposes, completely ignored.  Think about it; we know absolutely nothing about the island or the surrounding mysteries.

We don’t know what the light is, energy of some sort, perhaps tied to spirituality, perhaps not.  We don’t know who first populated the island, who the “mother” of Jacob and “Esau” was and why we should believe anything she’d say (or her nutty sons), who built the “plug” that keeps the energy in, why certain people can see dead people, why Walt could control the island off and on the island, why did Kate see a black horse, why did the smoke beastie peer into people’s souls for no ultimate apparent reason, and on and on and on…  The island was the main setting, and the main plot device, and it was completely neglected during the finale.

Look, I like good books, movies, and tv shows that make people think and ask questions…so a lot of people really liked the ending.  But, here’s the thing…I know about the afterlife, I know about spirituality, I know about the love of a group of people, and friendship, and adventure.  I don’t need some vague reference to what happens after someone dies.  I was hooked on the show because of the mystery of the island, not the mystery of the humans on the island except as it pertained to the island itself.  I love character driven shows too; but the plot is what needs to be advanced through the advancement of the characters.  To me, the writers did a fine job on the characters, and a bad job on the plot.

Could this be for future profits and storytelling?  I do hope for future storytelling, or answers.  The writers did a bang-up job setting a scene and a world full of possibility as far as the island is concerned, they just didn’t give any answers in this series.

To be fair, I’ve seen many criticisms of the show, or aspects of the show, that are based on people just not thinking things through (surprise surprise).  For example; no, Jack did not just dream the whole island and all the people up; it really happened.  The rules put in place that people are nitpicking; who could and could not leave the island, who could come to the island, were set in place by Jacob (remember the game Jake and his brother were playing, and the brother told him someday Jake could make up his own rules for his own game?  Jake used the island to do just that). Purgatory was transcendent, and that is why they could all be there at the same time.  Jake picked who he did because they had issues to deal with and needed a life change anyway, so he brought ’em there for his own ends, but also to try to get them to change, etc… etc…

So, there ya have it.  I’m glad I watched the show, didn’t love the ending but have my reasons why.

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8 Comments

Filed under Of Interest, Reviews, Sacred Secular

8 responses to “Lost; The End Review

  1. ” I would point out that to do that, but then have Christ prominently displayed outside the church in many shots, “Christian Shepherd” being the one to open the door to the “next step,” and the Christian faith of several of the Characters throughout the seasons, is an odd choice, since that is enough to get all those against the Christian faith riled up without fully committing.”

    Why would they be riled up? Not all of the characters on the series were Christian.

    “We don’t know what the light is, energy of some sort, perhaps tied to spirituality, perhaps not.”

    I believe that’s for the individual viewer to decide.

    “We don’t know who first populated the island”

    We don’t really need to know that.

    ….”who the “mother” of Jacob and “Esau” was”….

    She’s another guardian in a long line of guardians.

    ….”why we should believe anything she’d say (or her nutty sons)”….

    Why believe anything anyone says on the show?

    ….”who built the “plug” that keeps the energy in”….

    Do we really need to know who built it?

    ….”why certain people can see dead people”….

    I think that was explained a few episodes ago, but I’m not sure. Didn’t Michael explain it to Hurley?

    ….”why Walt could control the island off and on the island”….

    He didn’t control the island or the world. He affected bits of reality. He was mutant. Most likely a Proteus level/power mutant. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proteus_(comics)

    ….”why did Kate see a black horse”….

    That was explained in one of her flashbacks.

    ….”why did the smoke beastie peer into people’s souls for no ultimate apparent reason”….

    MiB was choosing which person would be his vessel.

    • Kliska

      “Why would they be riled up? Not all of the characters on the series were Christian.”

      Don’t know, you’d have to ask them. Mainly it was about the fact that Christianity (esp. Catholicism) played a larger role overall, and the other points I mentioned.

      “I believe that’s for the individual viewer to decide.”

      You could try to say that about anything, but the issue is this: The island is an objective part of our objective world (within the scope of the tale); therefore the light is indeed something objective, not something we can just make whatever we want (in the context of the story).

      “We don’t really need to know that.”

      You’re missing the point; there are tons of issues left unanswered within the world of Lost as far as plot goes. To give readers a comparison; look at the wonderful world of something like “Lord of the Rings” and its associated works; it is a complete world…some say too complete.

      “She’s another guardian in a long line of guardians.”

      Yeah, but who was she. You’ve give her title, not who she was.

      “Why believe anything anyone says on the show?”

      Because you can see it objectively play out. If Jack says, “you need stitches,” the person refuses and dies after they refuse, it lends evidence to his statement, though doesn’t “prove” it. We actually have little evidence that things had to be the way nutty murdering lady said…in fact, given the psychological state of her and her two “sons” there’s some evidence to suggest she might have been lacking some sense.

      “Do we really need to know who built it?”

      “Need?” no, but it is highly relevant; someone discovered the odd energy source, apparently in a raw state. It didn’t kill them…it was “unplugged” and raw at some point and the universe still existed with it in existence. Why water as an associated component? etc… etc…

      “I think that was explained a few episodes ago, but I’m not sure. Didn’t Michael explain it to Hurley?”

      Michael told Hurley why there was some of them stuck on the island as “whispers” not why Hurley could see them on and off the island (or why/how Miles could read them).

      “He didn’t control the island or the world. He affected bits of reality. He was mutant. Most likely a Proteus level/power mutant. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proteus_(comics)

      That would be your speculation, which is great (because I, like Walt, like comics), but doesn’t tell me the actual “canon” answer.

      “That was explained in one of her flashbacks.”

      It wasn’t explained as far as why she saw it on the island, if I recall…and it has been said that it wasn’t Smokey.

      “MiB was choosing which person would be his vessel.”

      Again, your speculation. He already had a form, his original “Esau” form…the other aspect, like his tangling with Eko really isn’t explained.

      Overall point; Character issues; ok, plot issues, not so much in my opinion.

  2. RE: The plug and the “light”

    ““Need?” no, but it is highly relevant; someone discovered the odd energy source, apparently in a raw state. It didn’t kill them…it was “unplugged” and raw at some point and the universe still existed with it in existence. Why water as an associated component? etc… etc…”

    An origin or full explanation for the plug and the water and the light, etc. was not needed. It’s better left ambiguous.

    “You’re missing the point; there are tons of issues left unanswered within the world of Lost as far as plot goes.”

    I agree. But those unanswered questions (of which I have a good dozen major ones) don’t affect the overall narrative for me and they are more or less character bits, not plot points.

    “To give readers a comparison; look at the wonderful world of something like “Lord of the Rings” and its associated works; it is a complete world…some say too complete.”

    I never read the books and I haven’t watched the films.

    “’He didn’t control the island or the world. He affected bits of reality. He was mutant. Most likely a Proteus level/power mutant. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proteus_(comics)‘”

    “That would be your speculation, which is great (because I, like Walt, like comics), but doesn’t tell me the actual “canon” answer.”

    The answer to what Walt is (what his powers are) was alluded to in the first season. They were never going to explicitly state that he was mutant/metahuman/post human (pick your term).

    Not everything in very story is explicitly given to the viewer/reader.

    LOST’s writer gave us many clues and they trusted that the viewers were intelligent enough to reach conclusions on their own.

    I read comic books as well and just like some writers (Morrison) trust the reader to put the pieces together from the clues given in the narrative, so to did the LOST writers.

    “’That was explained in one of her flashbacks.’”

    “It wasn’t explained as far as why she saw it on the island, if I recall…and it has been said that it wasn’t Smokey.”

    I’ll know better when I get to that episode in my re-watch.

    “’MiB was choosing which person would be his vessel.’”

    “Again, your speculation. He already had a form, his original “Esau” form…the other aspect, like his tangling with Eko really isn’t explained.”

    We were given enough clues to form a conclusion.

    • Kliska

      “An origin or full explanation for the plug and the water and the light, etc. was not needed. It’s better left ambiguous.”

      Read your reply; it is pure subjective opinion, which is of course a-okay, but it does nothing to answer my pertinent plot questions. The whole run of Lost now seems like the first book in a sci-fi fantasy series, I’m a big fan of the genre, BTW. My only concern is that there will be no more “books” in the series.

      “I agree. But those unanswered questions (of which I have a good dozen major ones) don’t affect the overall narrative for me and they are more or less character bits, not plot points.”

      As my post says; I find the character answers sufficient; it is the major plot points that are missing.

      “I never read the books and I haven’t watched the films.”

      Start the books (starting with The Hobbit), you’ll quickly be able to tell if you like Tolkien’s writing style or not. The movies are so-so; the books are excellent. Highly highly detailed (some people loathe that).

      “The answer to what Walt is (what his powers are) was alluded to in the first season. They were never going to explicitly state that he was mutant/metahuman/post human (pick your term). Not everything in very story is explicitly given to the viewer/reader. LOST’s writer gave us many clues and they trusted that the viewers were intelligent enough to reach conclusions on their own.”

      My intelligence and knowledge of storytelling/fantasy worlds/popular fiction/comic books/philosophy, etc… is right up there. What you put forth in explaining things like Walt’s condition don’t actually fit the canon of the Lost universe itself as revealed in show or out of show by the writers. The kicker is also this; real life influenced the storyline, such as the actor playing Walt, Fisher, hitting puberty too quick and leaving the character of Walt far behind unexpectedly…meaning the writers had to switch up explanations, not because of the story, but because of real life. You can speculate all you like, but in the end, it’s your speculation, nothing objective to that actual story…which is again, fine, but is just subjective opinion, not real answers.

      “I read comic books as well and just like some writers (Morrison) trust the reader to put the pieces together from the clues given in the narrative, so to did the LOST writers.”

      There are different styles of writing, obviously. Many times the authors want the readers/viewers to fill in gaps subjectively, so they don’t offer enough clues to do so in any real sense. However, there are authors who are just too sloppy, or let the story overwhelm them, and they get to the point they’ve let the story become unbalanced, hence leave gaps where they shouldn’t. From seeing Lost from the very first eppy, and following interviews, and also discussions on forums/news groups, I think the writers dropped the ball. They weren’t going deep philosophically…they just let it all grow a bit too much without an over abundance of forethought.

      “We were given enough clues to form a conclusion.”

      In Logic, we’d label that an “Everyone knows” response. You contend we were given enough clues for an objective answer; I contend we were given enough clues to set and speculate til we are blue in the face, and never know the actual function or capability of Smokey’s probings. Since we are in disagreement, that means we were not given enough clues…though you are obviously free to hold your own opinion.

  3. Carl

    Just after it ended i was like, “huh”… then i thought about it and the more i think about it the more i love it as the perfect ending for the show.

    1. This Island and Original Timeline is all real, the SLU is the afterlife i think most people agree on that. Therfore, Yes kate, miles, richard, sawyer & co do get off the island via plane. Yes, Desmond get’s off the island since Hurley can determine the rules. In the afterlife, the experiences on the Island had bonded them together and they were waiting for Jack to come with them. It was a brilliant ending.

    2. Jack saves the world and stops hell on earth. Yes that was hell trying to come through. Hurley and Ben run the island for an undetermined # of years, but much better then Jacob ever did.

    3. I am glad that they didn’t try to explain all the mythology in order to pacify people who didn’t understand ultimately what this show was about…. the journey. I can figure out most of the unanswered questions myself. The island has always been and will be until the end of days. There has been and will be visitors to the island. Romans, Egyptians (probably build the statue and most of the ancient buildings), probabably Sumarians, Vikings and who knows what else in the future. The Darma Initiative tried and failed to understand that the island is supernatural which is why conventional methods of research did not work.

    4. On the smoke monster, it was a release of evil brought on by the evil act of Jacob killing his brother. Jacob broke a rule and as a result paid for it. The Evil had his brother’s thoughts and memories but at no time was it really his brother, as it took over the looks and memories of it’s other host bodies. The Smoke Monster had escaped despite the “cork” being in place.

    5. When the nuke went off, it was necessary to stop the incident, the burst of energy moved the people out of time back to their proper time. Why wasn’t the island destroyed? Because, that blast of energy stopped the leakage of the other dimension from coming through enough that the Darma people had time to seal it so you have “The Hatch” as it was discovered. The Hatch’s purpose was to safely release the energy buildup because there was still a fracture into the other dimension leaking through hence the 108 minute button push. When Desmond detonated The Hatch, that successfully sealed the fracture, saved the world from a dimensional burst of energy that would have consumed the world, and altered him as we all saw down the road.

    Other Minor Matters

    6. On Walt being special, the Other’s thought he was a candidate to “lead” the others as richard thought the real Locke would maybe he failed the test, or maybe Richard interviened because he saw that Locke had arrived.

    7. The Hurley bird, it’s nice to have a mystery.

    8. Ben is good and has unfinished business.

    9. Infertility and the sickness, are simply the after effects of “The Incident” which subsided over time.

    The clues are there and enough to accurately speculate on what was not specifically “answered”

    • Kliska

      Carl; 1-5 I want to be clear on something; I got all that. What you listed isn’t an issue for me. I do understand the need for a recap when commenting, and you did a really good job (I mean that) but I fear that what I’ve seen elsewhere in discussions is this; the people who liked the ending believe that the only reason people didn’t like the ending is that they didn’t understand it. I understand it fully, but still don’t like it. (When I say I understand it, there are minor issues with little points in 1-5, like the idea that it was “hell” trying to come through the hole; we still don’t know that, though we can speculate.)

      From the beginning the people behind the show, from the writers to the actors, etc… said that the island was a character of the show. And, even if they hadn’t, it was obvious. If I may be Hurley for a bit; as a Star Wars fan, I cared about what happened to certain ships in the series; example; the Millennium Falcon. Or, to look at it another way, in another of my favorite ongoing series Doctor Who, I care about the TARDIS (and really, really hope they explain the surrounding mysteries of the TARDIS at least a bit more, doesn’t have to be fully), I care about what happens to Earth, and how aliens have interacted with the “planet” down through the years, I care about Gallifrey and it’s past. The island plays an even bigger role in Lost than those examples. I like detail in my sci-fi fantasy, and it is a personal perference.

      As for 6-9, those things you list are indeed basically speculation that we don’t have answered…but the problem is, several of the things were very prominent in the show, and the writers obviously had planned at some point to comment more on them, but didn’t. Take the whole “infertility” business. I don’t agree that the hints point to after effects of the blast, or radiation, or any of that. Why? Because of the various hints; “Mother” obviously excited over the fact that a pregnant woman happened to crash on the island, as well as the accompanying idea of people having to crash there for the island to be populated (and further it couldn’t have just been a Jacob rule, cuz Jake was not in charge). Plus, the effects of radiation/other energy issues can be measured and studied scientifically…the problems with the pregnancies don’t line up with the explanation; anything like that that would kill a baby conceived on the island, would also negatively impact, or kill a very young fetus…but that is not what happens.

      So I could speculate (make up, perhaps with evidence), that infertility on the island is because of a metaphysical reason; the babies wind up dieing because they have no souls. Due to the energy of the island, and it’s place in time-space (or between time-space, or out of time-space, we don’t know), there is something fundamental missing at conception, and that is why the scientists couldn’t solve it. Yes, we could all sit and speculate on an issue that was presented as a large one on the show, but unless the writers tell us what was going on, it is a plot hole. So far, not enough info to deduce or induce a good logical answer that most would or could agree on; meaning I disagree that there are enough clues to “accurately” speculate on any of the big issues I’ve brought up; speculate, yes, accurately speculate, not on most issues. Will some of us guess the right answer; highly probable, but that is because there’s so many of us guessing. lol

      As a complete side note; I think that it is quite interesting, and even logical to speculate that in the beginning the writers did indeed intend the island to be purgatory, but switched that idea when everyone and their dog (good boy Vincent) figured that out too early. Then, many of the leftover mysteries make sense (including the infertility; new souls aren’t produced in purgatory, for example). Now, that I find fun to speculate on.

  4. Chip

    Cuse and Lindelof have said that while they cannot stop ABC or Disney from continuing with the LOST franchise, they will not be involved with anything in the future. The story they wanted to tell is finished, and they consider it the end for these characters. Personally, I wouldn’t watch any LOST continuation under a different creative team, and after last night’s very satisfying finale (to me, at any rate), I really don’t want to see any continuation at all. To have one would be to ruin the original.

    While the divide between liking and hating the finale is mostly between the characters/mysteries camps, I suspect it’s also between the feeling (F)/thinking (T) camps on the Meyers-Briggs scale. The finale’s direction didn’t surprise me partially both Cuse and Lindelof come across as
    strong Fs.

    Regarding the Christian imagery: I prefer to think that, despite the deliberate syncretism displayed throughout the series (and never more than in the
    church anteroom), the semi-lingering shot of the statue of Christ outside the church (at the beginning of the finale’s final segment) unintentionally (i.e., not intended by the filmmakers) but nonetheless tellingly points to the preeminence of Christ despite all of the nods to other religions. It makes me think of C. S. Lewis and his beliefs concerning other religions as having partial validity, but that salvation only comes through Christ.

    • Kliska

      Chip, I don’t know if I’d want to watch a show done by anyone else, but there are some actual book authors I would absolutely love to get a chance to write the island! LOL It’s kind of like Star Wars again; some of the books are just as good, if not better, than the movies in the actual series. It all depends on the writers and if the stories are considered “canon” or not.

      I think you are on the right track with the F vs. T…though I consider myself a balanced personality in that area; I absolutely adore character driven shows, and I love detail too. That is why I make it clear, that to me, the writers passed half of the equation (the character arcs) with a low “A” or a high “B” if we are grading them. But, they failed the other half of the equation, the mysteries and the island, and I don’t think they had to sacrifice one for the other, but they did.

      Yes, the Christian imagery as far as faith went, was the more prominent in the show…and I too think that the statue and Christian Shepherd being the one to open the doors was an interesting pick. But, as a Christian, it left it seeming like it doesn’t matter what religion you embrace when you are alive, we all head to the same place regardless. That is a dangerous POV. Christ is indeed the only way and you have to come to Him while alive to make it. (BTW, this syncretism is to be expected on shows like Lost, so that’s not one of the reasons I didn’t like the ending, though it’d be refreshing to see less PC.) I also appreciated your CS Lewis reference since we of course have a character on the show; Charlotte Staples Lewis (CS Lewis); I figured that to be a hat-tip to Narnia, or his space trilogy.

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