Monday, May 24, 2010

Lost finale- And they all died happily ever after...

And so it goes. A TV institution is now over and the arguing begins over what happened, what didn't happen, what it meant and whether the finale buoyed or sunk the entire series.

In my previous posting about the last season, I kept finding parallels to the Sopranos, even if the show's writers/producers insisted that there wouldn't be any but they were definitely there. First off, much like David Chase did, producers/writers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof wisely decided to go into silence mode after the finale so they wouldn't have to get bombarded with questions about the ending and what it all meant. Also, like the end of the story of Tony S and friends, Cuse & Lindelof's tale have already left people wondering and arguing, which will go on for quite a while.

Even before I watched the last episode, I was resigned that no matter what happened there and if I wasn't satisfied with the finale, that wouldn't spoil my appreciation of the rest of the series. Cuse & Lindelof had a lot to live up to in that one episode and it was going to be impossible to meet everyone's expectations there. As comedian Bill Hicks once observed, an artist can't please every single person. No matter what kind of ending they came up with, some fans/followers of the show were going to be disappointed. It was a no-win situation for them so the only smart way out was to follow the flow of the show and story and not cop-out with some deus ex machina that was going to tie everything up in a nice neat little package.

Thankfully, that's not the ending they went for. For anyone who wanted and demanded that there were going to be answers to all the questions in the end, you want to ask them "what show have you been watching for the last six seasons?" As Claudia (Jacob's real mother) was told in the recent "Across the Sea" episode, one set of questions only leads to a new set of questions. Every time we've gotten some answers about the characters, the island or some circumstances, a whole new of head-scratchers emerge. Trying to tie up every loose end and answer every question in the last episode or even just the last season would have been boring and totally uncharacteristic of the whole show. Much like a good David Lynch movie, Lost makes us savor mysteries, wonder about them, argue about them and ultimately accept that there might not be answers to all of our questions. The mysteries themselves are part of the story and what makes it so compelling.

And so we don't figure out the biggest question of all, what was the island really about, but that's not the question that we should have worried about anyway. What was more important was 'what's going to happen to all of these characters that we've been following for years now?' Again, back to the Sopranos, we wonder if they'll make it to the last scene or not. And as it turns out, they don't. Not one of them survives ultimately and yet because of the way it's presented, we don't (or shouldn't) feel cheated.

Even if we don't fully grasp this idea of a collective reality/holding place where they all come together before moving on to the afterlife, there's the satisfaction that this place is where they can come together for one happy finale reunion. And with all of the realizations and little reunions that lead up to it, it's very moving indeed (even if some of the island characters didn't make it to the church finale 'cause the producers couldn't make arrangements with the respective actors or they just didn't feel that some of them belonged there). What made the first series so strong was indeed that mystery element but also the wonderful little scenes where characters came together as unlikely friends or lovers and this last episode was a great culmination of all of that.

Of course, not everyone is gonna agree with that. Maybe they still wanted demand more answers (which may or may not appear on the DVD, which comes out on August 24th) or more blood or less blood or more resolutions or less resolutions or... You get the point. The fact is that while Cuse & Lindelof put a period on the series, they also left it as a question mark and an ellipsis but not ones that made you feel cheated for paying attention and following what happened (I'm in the camp that believes what happened on the island really DID happen). Just as with all of the other episodes, we can go on arguing and discussing what happened here and even if we can't come up with satisfying answers to everything, we can still appreciate the wonder of it all and let our imaginations run wild. As dub artist Mutabaruka said of one of his songs, "dis poem is to be continued in your mind..."


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