Let’s start off with a bit of honesty: the finale wasn’t what anyone was expecting. Loyal viewers were left confused about what they had just experienced, spiteful towards the show’s creators who promised fuckloads of answers and produced practically none; but what we all received was a conclusion…an ending to a six-year journey…and whether you approve or not, whatever happened happened.
Seldom has any long-running television show provided a wholly satisfying conclusion that everyone accepts entirely without question or concern. Unlike a film, where the viewer only invests 90-120 minutes of their oh-so-precious time, a television show of considerable length and depth leaves the audience expecting unrealistic and improbable levels of satiation that will ultimately leave them feeling (at best) short-changed.
LOST was no exception, but it was bittersweet–leaving my stomach temporarily satisfied, but after lying down in bed, I was already hungry for more.
The news highlighted the outrage and confusion–talking heads singing a choir of “WTF?”
As expressed by Co-Creator Damon Lindelof, at its core, LOST is a “character study.” The at-times overwhelmingly paradoxical themes of psychology, theoretical physics, religion, and philosophy served to create these “unanswerable questions” that both the viewers, cast, and characters they portrayed simply have to accept as truth. And after several moments of being utterly perplexed, I came to a rational conclusion that seemed to work, and I was filled to the brim with acceptance.
So here’s what we “know”–or at least what we can reach a relatively reasonable conclusion about:
The plane crash and the life (and death) on the island and off the island was the living world for the characters we all grew to love over the past 6 seasons.
The 6th season provided us with a “Flash Sideways” series of events which we were all lead to believe was an alternate life for the characters had they never crash landed on the time-traveling, disappearing island.
The conclusion showed us that the alternate time-line was actually an afterlife for all of these characters which they had intentionally created (in their respective subconscious) postmortem as a way of being together again, remembering their existence, and “moving on” to whatever else awaited them in (let’s say) heaven.
Some of them died earlier in the time-line (Shannon and Boone, Juliette, Christian Shepherd). Some died later on (Jin and Sun, John Locke, Sayid, Jack). And some will eventually have died–later in life (Hurley, Sawyer, Kate, Ben Linus, etc).
As the afterlife has no “time,” they all exist in a moment of subconscious–a dream–no matter when they actually passed away.
Aside from the several insights we attained into what exactly was going on with the Island, Jacob, and the Smoke Monster, we were not given too many definitive “answers.”
The show put forth a series of twisted psychological and sci-fi elements that we, as the audience, are meant to simply accept as part of the show.
The characters never got any closure on what was actually going on–so neither did the audience.
Most of this is only left up to our interpretation; however, it is implied that if the promise of “saving humanity by pressing a button” or “guarding a light/plugging a hole to keep the evil from escaping” was enough to the castaways to stick their necks out, we should just accept it.
We were offered several characters with paranormal abilities (Desmond, Miles, Hurley) which we accepted as part of the show. After all, in a world where a pillar of black smoke can end all of humanity, who are we to question the little things?
Desmond’s story was perhaps the strangest–as it is never truly explained why he becomes such an important force on the island.
By the end, we are meant to see Desmond as a man who can travel between times and dimensions–and because he has seen the other side, he knows that nothing that happens on the island actually “matters” as these characters will all be together in eternal happiness.
Essentially, his character in the 6th Season represents the philosophy that: “If you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is an afterlife where you and everyone you love will share eternity, why would anything that happens in on Earth actually matter?”
This is why Desmond says that it makes no difference who wins, who lives, and who dies.
The series was breathtaking. Only once in a lifetime does a long-running television show have such an impact on the lives of so many. The acting, the humor, the drama, and the emotion was surreal–and this is why the ending, while certainly up for interpretation, fit so well with the overarching themes of the entire series.
It made us laugh, cry, and never disappointed. If you’re glad the show is over because now people will stop talking about it, guess again.
If you’ve gone out of your way to stay away from the show because of all the hype, you’re most likely that cunt everyone knows who only listens to music that no one else ever heard of.
The show isn’t for everyone, but it certainly doesn’t attempt to be…and if you’re too broad to appreciate everything that LOST has accomplished, there’s always Two and a Half Men.
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