Saturday, April 23, 2011

Lost ... In Retrospect

LOST cast (l. to r.): Daniel Faraday, Boone, Miles, Michael, Ana Lucia, Charlotte, Frank Lapidus, Shannon, Desmond, Mr. Eko, Kate, Jack, Sawyer, John Locke, Ben, Sayid, Libby, Sun, Jin, Claire, Hugo/Hurley, Juliet, Charlie, Richard Alpert, Bernard, Rose, and Vincent

“We all want to believe that what we do is very important, that people hang onto our every word, that they care what we think. The truth is: you should consider yourself lucky if you even occasionally get to make someone, anyone, feel a little better. After that, it’s all about the people that you let into your life. And as my mind drifted to faces I’ve seen here before, I was taken to memories of family, of co-workers, of lost loves, even of those who’ve left us. And as I rounded that corner, they all came at me in a wave of shared experience. 

And even though if felt warm and safe, I knew it had to end. It’s never good to live in the past too long. As for the future, it didn’t seem so scary anymore. It could be whatever I want it to be.

And who’s to say this isn’t what happens? Who can tell me that my fantasies won’t come true … just this once?”
                                                              --J.D., Scrubs (“My Finale”)

The last episode of everyone’s favorite mysterious, dramatic, quasi-religious, quasi-philosophical, metaphysical ABC drama LOST has aired and left an indelible mark on television and audiences (both fans and haters). To say that LOST is one of the greatest television shows of all time is quite an easy feat, given its high caliber of acting, directing, music, and plot devices. Although the show did have plentiful lows as much as it had its highs, it was a stellar production that not only delivered a quality season of all of the above, but also was so involved and so embedded in its own mythology that you couldn’t miss one detail without missing the overall story. This caused a lot of fanaticism with diehard viewers, which both helped and harmed the show’s integrity. It helped because it kept a loyal following of viewers (especially the ones who just wanted to know what the hell was going on) watching on a weekly basis. However, it hurt the show because most of those who made it their mission to keep up with the show were disappointed in what I consider one of the best series finales to come along in a very long time. 

Most critics found the series finale, aptly entitled “The End,” a disappointment and labeling it as the Baltimore Sun review did: a “wimpy, phony, quasi-religious, white-light, huggy-bear ending.” And there are a lot of fans/viewers who felt the same. Most of these unsatisfied viewers became so immersed in the mythology of the show that when the final curtain came to a close, the answers that had been supplied throughout the final season – and in the final episode – did not suffice their need for answers. They actually expected all of the mysteries to be resolved. Unfortunately, that’s not how life works. And the fact that Lost had the guts to show not what was always expected of them, gave them even more merit in my eyes. They ended the show without the typical “Hollywood ending.” And, for that alone, I praise creators Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse and all of the other creators for such a phenomenal series.

First, let’s start with the religious aspects of the series. Some critics might argue that they didn’t like the religious undertones of the show – especially prevalent in the final season. However, just like one of Lost’s most heavy inspirations, Stephen King’s The Stand, it all comes down to our faith; not just in God or whatever, but in each other. I can only imagine that most atheists and a few agnostics were most likely not too pleased with the finale to Lost. Seeing how the Sideways World turned out to be a purgatory/afterlife that the main characters – as Jack’s dad, Christian Shephard explained – had “made together so you could find one another.”  Some fans and viewers brushed this off as a cop-out to end the show. But I found it inspiring and a great end to the journey of all the lives who touched ours over the years. After all, as the elder Dr. Shephard so appropriately, matter-of-factly stated, “Everyone dies some time, kiddo.” 

But first, let me talk briefly about how brilliant the eighth season of Scrubs was! That final scene with J.D. (Zach Braff) walking the hallways of the hospital one more time before moving on to another career opportunity is great stuff! Especially how well written it was! Anybody who knows me well, knows how fanatical I am over that scene (and I’m not ashamed to repost for the tenth time here). Per the voice over quote above, J.D. revisits in his mind all of the family, co-workers, lost loves and those that have passed on in the place where he had spent so much of his life – an important part of his life. And then, when he finally crosses the threshold out of the hospital, he realizes that it’s not good to live in the past and he needs to let go. Still, he also isn’t afraid for what awaits him. Not when his future can be whatever he wants it to be. Watch for yourself:

It’s uncannily similar to the finale of Lost. Only, instead of the main character doctor moving on to live his life and get married to Eliot (the awesome Sarah Chalke) and have children and reunite with his friends, Lost’s doctor, Jack, moves on to his afterlife with his friends and true love, Kate.

Lost's final scene in the church (where all the main religion’s symbols are represented in the stained-glass window and strategically placed in the scene; the star and crescent of Islam, the Star of David (Judaism), the Aum (widely used as a symbol of Hinduism, but also present in Buddhism and Jainism), the Christian cross, the Dharmacakra (Buddhism) and the Yin & Yang disk (Taoism)) between Jack and his father, Christian, was vital in the sense that it was the ultimate closure for the tortured fixer who had the ultimate daddy issues. And their tearful reunion was so touching because you got the sense that Jack was at peace; that when he realized he was dead, he was finally able to let go – a frequent theme throughout the final season; that he and his father were finally in accord with one another and all was forgiven as they said their “I love you”s and shared a long, hard hug. All of their unresolved issues (i.e., Christian telling Jack he doesn’t have what it takes to be a hero and always being hard on him; Jack accusing his father of having an affair with his, Jack’s, wife while Christian was attempting to get sober, and telling the truth that got his dad fired from his job and cost him his medical license) were finally washed away and they both absolved each other of all past troubles. Another reason I enjoyed this ending was the explanation given to Jack by his dad as to why all of his castaway friends were here now even though some died either before him or long after him: “There is no ‘now’ here.” It echoes another belief that is revealed in one of my favorite films about the afterlife/heaven (and a very underrated film, at that!), What Dreams May Come – based on the novel by the always-excellent Richard Matheson – where the main character, Chris Neilson, states, “A whole human life is just a heartbeat here in Heaven.”

And in that church, the audience is treated to the true end for all of our favorite castaways. Jack dying on the Island in the exact same place where he had awoken after the plane crash intercut with his reunion with his dead friends in the church. So then comes the question: why these particular people (Boone, Sayid, Jin, Sun, Hugo/Hurley, Libby, Shannon, Desmond, Penny, Sawyer, Juliet, Charlie, Claire, Aaron (what appears to be Aaron?), Rose, Bernard, Locke, and Kate)? The quick, simple answer: Because these are the people that Jack connected with, and as his father points out, “The most important part of your life was the time that you spent with these people. That’s why all of you are here. Nobody does it alone, Jack. You needed all of them, and they needed you.” Some would ask why not Michael or Walt? And why is Penelope there when she wasn’t a castaway? Well, Penelope was there because she was a true soulmate of Desmond’s. And seeing how Desmond is such an important fixture in Jack’s life, he wouldn’t be whole in his afterlife without his soulmate; also, Jack had met Penelope when they left the Island in season four (episode “There’s No Place Like Home”). Some also wonder why Sayid in purgatory (and in the church) ends up with Shannon as his true love and not Nadia, the woman he’s been pursuing throughout the series. The reason for this is because, deep down, Shannon is the one who truly loves Sayid, as she loves him despite his past and takes him for who he really is, whereas Nadia always gave Sayid the impression that he had to be someone different in order to be with her. As for Michael and Walt, we can only take it at face value that Michael is still stuck on the Island in ghost/spectral form as are all the others who make “the whispers” as he explained to Hurley. And when it comes to Walt, he’s really not as central a character to the overall story as fans have made him out to be. He is special and his appearance in the Lost epilogue "The New Man in Charge" hints at his taking over for Hurley as "Island protector." However, Walt didn’t appear in the church because he still left the Island and his life continued on as normal without making an impact on Jack's life (remember when Locke got off the Island to try and get the Oceanic Six to come back to the Island, and he visited Walt?). Therefore, Michael and Walt did not appear in the church. As for the supposed baby Aaron in the church. I’m not exactly sure if that is Aaron. It may be a representation of what Claire and Charlie’s baby together would look like. Then again, it could be Aaron and they’re just seeing him as they want or maybe even how he wants. Again, referencing What Dreams May Come, Chris Neilson’s children appear in Heaven as different people – as the people they want to look like – as his guide Albert states, “Thought is real. Physical is the illusion.” So maybe the baby could be Jack’s or the castaways’ collective visage of Aaron – it’s the image they want to see or the image Aaron wants to be. I just took it as since he was born on the Island and was Jack’s nephew, that’s how he appeared in their Afterlife (as a baby), even though Aaron went on to live a life with his grandmother; his connection to the castaways was deeper because of his relationship to Jack, Claire, Charlie and Kate.

Another interesting comparison of Lost to What Dreams May Come (I swear this is the last comparison) is the scene in Dreams when Chris’ guide, Albert, notifies him that his soulmate Annie has committed suicide. The news infuriates Chris only after he is told that the souls of suicides go to another place, not Heaven.

Albert: Each of us has an instinct that there is a natural order to our journey. And Annie's violated that. She won't face it. She won't realize, accept, what she's done. And she will spend eternity playing that out.
Chris: You're still saying she's in Hell...
Albert: Everyone's Hell is different. It's not all fire and pain. The real Hell is your life gone wrong.

Very interesting! “The real Hell is your life gone wrong.” Sounds familiar to Lost and its Sideways/purgatory world where the characters have to be “awoken” to their lives and their deaths before they are allowed to move on to Heaven or wherever they’re headed. And how are they “awoken?” By a life-altering event; when their soul recognizes itself in a greatest-hit moment of their existence. And when Desmond told Hurley that Ana Lucia wasn’t “ready yet” for what it was they were doing (awakening the main castaways to their past lives), maybe that’s because she wasn’t ready to accept or realize that she had died yet, or to accept what she had done in her past life. And then there was Ben. The biggest redemption case of them all who realized all of the terrible things he had done, and, rather than join the main castaways in their meeting place (he was invited in by Hurley, after all), he chose not to move on. He decided to stay as he knew his soul still had some reckoning to do, even if it was in the purgatory/Sideways world (hey, his life was pretty cushy there; could you really blame him for staying?). Everyone asked why Michael and Walt were not included in this “reunion.” My guess is that Michael remained a stranded ghost on the Island, as seen in season 6 episode “Everybody Loves Hugo,” and, as for Walt, because of his youth, he had moved on with his life and didn’t create or maintain the strong bond that the rest of the survivors did.

 Charlie's mother and Claire appear in a dream to him on the Island (similar to Verrocchio's "Baptism of Christ"), making him convinced that baby Aaron needs to be baptized.

Other noticeable religious references that have been used throughout the series go as far back as season two’s “Fire + Water.” In this episode, Charlie dreams of his mother and Claire appearing as angels and Hurley as John the Baptist, similar to Verrocchio's Baptism of Christ, asking Charlie to save baby Aaron. When Charlie tells this dream to Mr. Eko, he suggests to Charlie that Aaron be baptized. And speaking of Eko, he was a former African crime lord posing as his brother – a priest – after the crash of Oceanic 815. Eko carved scripture into his walking stick and was determined to build a church on the beach camp site. What about the fact that the creepy, mysterious Matthew Abaddon’s (Lance Reddick) – the man gunned down by Ben – last name “Abaddon” is the name of the biblical Angel of the Abyss (Revelation 9:11). The name is Greek for "destruction" or "the destroyer". As a place, it is likened to Sheol or hell; many Biblical scholars believe “Abaddon” to be Satan or the antichrist. Others have stated that he may be one of the lesser demons of hell, or even a dark angel. In contrast to this, the name Matthew in Hebrew means “Gift from God.” This is but one of the instances of the constant running theme of light and dark, good and evil, yin and yang.
Or how about the viewing and reference to the famous painting The Incredulity of Saint Thomas” by Caravaggio in the Lamp Post station? Used in season five (episode “316”), Ben told the story of Thomas the Apostle, a.k.a. Doubting Thomas, to Jack, stating that Thomas didn’t believe in Christ’s resurrection. Thomas needed to touch Christ’s wounds before he would believe. The story of Doubting Thomas completely synchs with Jack and his stubborn disbelief in the Island and his role not only there but also in the world. Also, let’s not forget that the Lamp Post (where Eloise Hawking’s Island locater was stationed) was below a church. It is just one of hundreds of references in Lost to taking a leap of faith. Several situations with the characters are about taking a leap of faith. And the beauty of the show is that it doesn’t necessarily say that being religious and taking the leap of faith is the way to do things in life. The show simply states that sometimes we need to take a leap of faith … no matter what your belief.

The most obvious reference is with Jacob and the Man In Black (MIB). Some think that their story (as seen in episode “Across The Sea”) mirrored that of Jacob and Esau in the Bible (Book of Genesis). However, I believe Jacob and MIB’s story more closely follows that of God and Satan’s story, according to John Milton’s Paradise Lost. At times, Jacob vaguely resembles Christ, but, overall, he is the God of the story. As the story goes, Satan – known as Lucifer – was once God’s best and favorite angel, His right-hand man, but when Satan tried to take over Heaven, God cast him and all of the other rebel angels down into Hell. Similarly, MIB and Jacob were brothers. They were made so that they couldn’t kill each other (like gods); MIB was more fascinated with the light shown at the bottom of the river fall and therefore, became involved with man even though he was warned that they “lie, destroy and corrupt” (nice side note: Jacob and MIB were born around the same time as Christ: two millennia ago). Jacob was always searching for his replacement and brought certain groups of potential candidates to the Island every so often. Knowing this, MIB used the people to try and get off the Island. With every new group of candidates that Jacob brought to the Island, their technology grew more and more advanced. Then came the time when MIB murdered their mother and Jacob punted his ass down into the heart of the Island, a.k.a. the Light Tunnel, which in turn killed him and turned him into the Smoke Monster. The pinnacle of enhanced technology arrived on the Island when the DHARMA (Department of Heuristics And Research on Material Applications) Initiative arrived thanks in part to locating the Island via the Lamp Post. They came to create "a large-scale communal research compound where scientists and free-thinkers from around the globe could pursue research in meteorology, psychology, parapsychology, zoology, electromagnetism, and Utopian social-[static]," therefore, the presence of the polar bear and shark with DHARMA logos branded on them. It was the DHARMA’s interest in electromagnetism that sparked the interest of MIB as it had centuries later when, with the help of men, MIB had located a well of the Island’s light and created the donkey wheel. 

Mr. Eko carved several Bible scripture into his walking staff.

After a while, MIB realized that he couldn’t leave the Island thanks to Jacob’s rules. So he had to figure out the loophole in murdering Jacob so he could then void all rules and leave the Island – slightly similar to Satan’s plan to rule Heaven because he doesn’t believe in man having freedom (free will) and that he and other angels should have power equal to God. MIB attacked and killed Eko who revealed to Ben, “He said, ‘We’re next’,” threatening the Oceanic castaways. MIB also posed as the shadowy figure in “Jacob’s cabin,” telling Locke, “Help me.” Also, on a bit of a philosophical side note to this, the eternal struggle of good vs. evil represented by Jacob and MIB on the Island could also be a metaphor for a human life; the Island represents a person while Jacob being the good and MIB being the bad inside someone. Everyone has both sides in them. However, some choose to let the bad side overrule their lives. What made me think of this comparison was in the final season’s episode “Ab Aeterno” (Latin for “From Eternity”), in which Jacob explained the Island to Richard Alpert.
Jacob: [to Richard] Imagine that this wine is what you keep calling hell. There are other names for it. Malevolence. Evil. Darkness. And it's all down here swirling at the bottom. Unable to get out, because if it did it would spread. Now, the cork is this Island.  
[puts a cork in the jug, trapping the wine]            
          Jacob: And it's the only thing keeping the darkness where it belongs.

This scene best exemplifies the good and evil within all of us. Like I previously mentioned, the Island represents a person and Jacob the good and MIB the bad; the cork is essential to everyone who wants to prevent the evil from being unleashed. Going back to religion, several times, Jacob uses clouded truths and revelations to try and assist the castaways (God works in mysterious ways). However, MIB seemed to be nothing but openly honest to the castaways when speaking with them and answering their questions. However, as we finally see in episode “The Candidate,” MIB was only using these truths to manipulate them into his own trap and to ultimately carry out his will. Sounds a bit like … could it beeeee??? SATAN!?!?! Jacob even takes on the role that many theologists state that God takes; he chooses to let people make their own choices, as seen in this scene also in “Ab Aeterno”:
Richard Alpert: There were other people here before me?              
Jacob: Yes, many.              
Richard Alpert: What happened to them?              
Jacob: They're all dead.              
Richard Alpert: If you brought them here, why didn't you help them?              
Jacob: I wanted them to help themselves. To know the difference between right and wrong without me telling them. It's all useless if I have to make them do anything. Why should I have to step in?              
Richard Alpert: If you don't, he [referring to the Man in Black] will.              
Jacob: [pauses, taken aback] Tell you what, would you like a job?              
Richard Alpert: A job? Doing what?              
Jacob: If I don't step in, maybe you could. You could be my representative and intermediary to the people I bring to this Island.
One last comparison of Jacob to God and MIB to Satan is in the season six episode "Across the Sea" (an episode that was panned by critics and viewers alike, but I personally loved). Showing the backstory of Jacob and MIB and how they got to the Island as well as how they became who they are, "Across the Sea" has one particular scene that takes place after MIB has broken away from his brother Jacob and their overprotective Mother -- who has told them their entire lives that mankind only wants to "fight, destroy, corrupt" (sounds almost like Mother Gothel in the Repunzel story) -- so that he can join the men who have inhabited the Island. While playing Senet, MIB becomes curious of Jacob's interest in the other people on the Island.
            MIB: Why do you watch us, Jacob?
            Jacob: I don’t know. I watch because … I want to know if Mother’s right.
            MIB: Right about what?
            Jacob: About them.
            MIB: Oh, you mean my people. You want to know if they’re bad. That woman may be insane, but she’s most definitely right about that.
            Jacob: I don’t know. They don’t seem so bad to me.
            MIB: That’s easy for you to say … looking down on us from above. Trust me, I’ve lived among them for 30 years. They’re greedy, manipulative, untrustworthy, and selfish.
            Jacob: Then why are you with them?
            MIB: They’re a means to an end.
MIB even scolds Jacob by applying a term that most who doubt God would say, “Looking down on us from above.” However, some who view the episode may side with MIB since he only seems to seek the truth and wants to leave the Island; he wants to get away from the lying woman who killed his real mother. MIB reveals to Mother his plan to attach the donkey wheel and bringing science to the Island – one of the many examples of religion versus science throughout the show. However, where MIB goes wrong is that he wishes to bring the unique power of the Island to mankind just so he can leave the Island. MIB doesn’t care about what Mother forewarned him and Jacob about (“This is the reason we are here. We must make sure no one ever finds it... A little of this same light is inside every man, but they always want more. If the light goes out here, it goes out everywhere. That is why I'm protecting it”). This is what makes MIB wrong and bad. He doesn’t care about the light going out. He just wants what he wants and has become the truly selfish one … just like a particular fallen angel who wanted what he wanted and didn’t care who got hurt in the process.

Anyways, I could go on and on about Lost's religious references, but I think I've proven my point that the series has always been grounded in religion and it's not some theme that instantly appeared in the final season.
                                                                                               --X, JFK
Most still had questions by the end of the series. But what they fail to realize is that DHARMA, the Others, some of the hallucinations off the Island, etc., were all just window dressing. And for those who also complain of the hokeyness of the supernatural element as well, we all watched in the first episode how the Smoke Monster floated above and made monstrous noises, so if you didn’t think from that point that this show wouldn’t have supernatural undertones, then you may have to reset your thinking about your attentiveness, attention to detail, and just plain intellect. Anyways, like Mr. X’s diatribe above, all of the unanswered questions keep the majority of viewers from seeing the big picture and focusing on the important aspect of the entire saga. DHARMA and the Others were ultimately just a means to an end for MIB. He used them to locate the heart of the Island and used their technology to inch further toward his ultimate goal: to get off the Island. MIB knew they would fail and most of them would kill off each other. After all, isn’t it, as he said, in man’s nature? The important aspect of the entire series was the people: the castaways themselves. The ones we had remained with through their entire journey. 

Audiences were teased to one of the central themes in Lost (light vs. dark, good vs. evil) when, in the "Pilot" episode, Locke told Walt that backgammon is "Two players. Two sides. One is light, one is dark."
In life, there are always questions that won’t always be answered for us. But those questions are not the center of what life is all about. It’s our connectivity to each other – particularly to those who are important to us. Sure, all of these mysteries in Lost are what kept a majority glued to their TV sets each week and season. But that was merely a ploy to keep viewers. There’s nothing wrong with that in a time when most turn their attention to mindless reality shows, uninspired game shows, and corporation-produced, mind-numbing competition programs (I don’t really want to see some musical idiot butcher a great song with some throaty rendition, and I don’t give a rat’s ass which “star” can dance the best; the last thing we need is another “pop star” or reality show “star”). And those who call foul on not having every question answered, I can only say, “Get over it.” Or, as Lost would say, “Let go.” I believe that the show is meant to be watched again, after knowing how it all ends. It’s the type of series that every time you watch an episode, something new is discovered and that’s part of its brilliance.

It’s no surprising revelation that Lost is rooted in literary and philosophical references. The names, such as John Locke (after the philosopher) and his alias Jeremy Bentham (after the philosopher), Danielle Rousseau (after philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau), Desmond Hume (after philosopher David Hume; David is Desmond's middle name), Juliet Burke (after philosopher Edmund Burke, also the name of Juliet's ex-husband), Mikhail Bakunin (after the anarchist philosopher), Daniel Faraday (after physicist Michael Faraday), Eloise Hawking (after physicist Stephen Hawking), George Minkowski (after mathematician Hermann Minkowski), Stuart Radzinsky (after writer Edvard Radzinsky), Richard Alpert (the birth name of spiritual teacher Ram Dass), Charlotte Staples Lewis (after author C.S. Lewis), and Penelope Widmore’s Flash-Sideways world alternative surname Milton (after Paradise Lost author John Milton). Every book that Lost has shown/referenced has not only been an inspiration but also a clue to the themes running throughout the series. Just a few literary references include: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Mark Twain), Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking Glass (Lewis Carroll), A Brief History of Time (Stephen Hawking), Carrie (Stephen King), The Chosen (Chaim Potok), The Chronicles of Narnia (C.S. Lewis), The Dark Tower series (Stephen King), Everything That Rises Must Converge (Flannery O’Connor), Fear and Trembling (Soren Kierkegaard), Haroun and the Sea of Stories (Salmon Rushdie), Lancelot (Walker Percy), The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery), Lord of the Flies (William Golding), The Odyssey (Homer), Our Mutual Friend (Charles Dickens), A Separate Reality (Carlos Casteneda), The Stand (Stephen King), Ulysses (James Joyce), Watchmen (Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons), Watership Down (Richard Adams), The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (L. Frank Baum), and Y: The Last Man (Brian K. Vaughan & Pia Guerra). It took me this long just to name a majority of the important references in Lost, so I won’t go on to list the similarities. However, if I’ve sparked your curiosity, go to Lostpedia (lostpedia is a great resource for any Lost diehard fan) for all connections/similarities to Lost – not just packed with religious, literary and philosophical references, but also musical, artistic, scientific, historic, and pop culture (movies, television, and even games).

For these reasons alone, Lost takes the crown as the ultimate series. Its ability to touch upon important ideas and emotions that have been expressed not only so many times in these classic pieces of art, but also in everyone’s lives, is something that has, if ever, never been done anywhere else. Despite its supernatural and religious undertones, all themes and emotions in the series are universal. To also have so many subtle references (literary, cinematic, etc.) is genius on the writers’ part. Whether those who hate/dislike the show want to agree or not, Lost was a landmark television show that had cinematic production and classic storytelling, often utilizing the classic technique of subtle correlation or juxtaposition between either two characters or the season’s two different moments in time. An example of the latter is when, in the season five episode “316” when Locke left Jack his suicide note that merely read “I wish you had believed me,” referencing his idea that he needed to get all of the Oceanic six back to the Island. Now, fast-forward to the season six episode “The Candidate” when, in the Sideways/purgatory world, still unaware of their previous, real life, Jack runs into Locke and tries to persuade him to have spinal surgery. As Locke refuses and begins rolling away in his wheelchair, Jack says, “I wish you had believed me.” There are several instances throughout the entire series when these themes would crisscross into differing characters’ lives, whether on the Island or in another time.

Some would argue that the creators’ revelation that they had the entire series planned out from the beginning is false. However, it’s easy to see with the Smoke Monster’s involvement from season one as well as all of the characters’ (major, minor and recurring) crossing paths and histories, that the claim must be true. Nevertheless, very rarely does a series end on a high note. Unfortunately, there will always be a portion of fans and viewers whose great expectations are not met. But that doesn’t cheapen the entire series, its meaning or the quality of it as a whole. For those who were disappointed just in the series finale, ask yourself this: was the entire series a letdown?  If you answered yes, maybe you weren’t as big a fan as you thought. And that’s OK. Lost is over. It’s time for us all to let go.

Someone recently asked me if I’d miss the show, but I said I wouldn’t. I felt that the series ended so well and had so much closure, that it gave me the same feeling as if I had just finished a very long, very good book – the kind that you could read over and over again through the years. Recently, author George R.R. Martin (A Game of Thrones) was quoted as saying how disappointed he was in the series finale of Lost. He said, “We watched [Lost] every week trying to figure it out, and as it got deeper and deeper I kept saying, ‘They better have something good in mind for the end. This better pay off here.’ And then I felt so cheated when we got to the conclusion.” As much as most people might agree with Martin’s assessment, there’s still no denying that this show was rooted in drama, mythology, and all of the basic emotions that touch everyone’s lives. That is what makes the show such a success in my mind; the human connection that imbues the overall plot, encased in the mystery/sci-fi genre that Lost embraced. In its scope, the show exceeds other dramas on TV today.
There are a group of recurring lines that are said throughout all of the seasons. “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!” “The Island isn’t done with you/me/him/her yet.” “I wish you had believed me.” “Whatever happened, happened.” “You’ve got work to do.” “Live together, die alone.” “Let go.” Most of these lines are not only deeply rooted in the show’s heavy mythology but also in the way we live our lives. With exception of maybe the Island quote, the rest of these sayings are what we hear from others and/or ourselves to motivate us and keep us moving in life. As related to the series, these sayings not only exist in the past, present and future of the characters’ lives. They also exist in what’s called the “flash sideways.” Starting in season 5, Locke writes a suicide letter to Jack simply stating, “I wish you had believed me.” Fast forward to season 6, in the “flash sideways” where Jack is the one telling this same thing to Locke after trying to convince him to get spinal surgery to repair his broken back. The same can be said for pretty much all of the sayings listed above; they all come into play in the “flash sideways.” And that is important once you come to find out what the “sideways” actually is: purgatory on their way to the afterlife.

I’m thankful for the first time in a long time for TV on DVD as I just recently rewatched the complete series of Lost; it is indeed (as mentioned above) like a favorite book that you love to read again and again. And I’m thankful for web sites like Lost Wiki that connects mostly everything. It – along with the impressive Lost Encyclopedia – even addresses any questions for those who need answers to some plot points they think weren’t answered. I’m most thankful for the entire run of Lost. Regardless of what anyone says, it was a groundbreaking series and deserving of all the praise it received just for its many emotional stories and cool little homages to literary, religious, and philosophical themes and theories. Ultimately, Lost is about life … and death. The title itself – LOST – refers to the main characters and their place in the world. They are all lost. Everyone feels lost in their lives at one time or another. That is just one of our connections. Another common saying throughout the series is “Are you lost?” or “I’m lost.” This doesn’t just refer to their place in the story, but their place in the world. Each major character in Lost is flawed. And this is the wondrous story of their redemption. But it’s not merely redemption. Lost (especially the series finale) answered all of the vital “what-does-it-all-mean” questions, while also bringing to light the true meaning of life : our connectivity to one another. You know? Live together, Die Alone. “In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” Taking a leap of faith. Redemption and forgiveness. Love and hate. Good versus evil. Life and death. All that good stuff.

As a bonus, here is the series wrapped up excellently in under three minutes:

And a humorous fan made rap music video (I love the way they used the orchestral score in the music)!

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