Lost finale roundup AARON COHEN · MAY 21 2010
I get giddy around big television events. The Lost finale this weekend certainly qualifies and a big question is, "Will fans of the show be satisfied with how it ends?" From Seinfeld to the Sopranos (for different reasons), series finales have a history of being disappointing. In this way, it's almost easier when a show is canceled because then we get to blame the network as opposed to the writers. That said, I want to be satisfied Sunday. LOTS of other people are talking about Lost this week. Here's what some of them are saying:
I'm ready for the final chapter, ready to see how it sums up the season and brings the series to a close. I'm ready to watch meaning (which, to be clear, is different than answers)... But will the meaning leave us in despair, or take us into happily ever after?
What makes Lost so special is that it never spelled things out for us the way a normal TV show does. It defies formula in a medium that regularly rewards it. Lost asked us to get lost within the show and to be satisfied with being lost for most of its run. TV almost never operates that way.
The show had one good season, its first. It was very, very good ...but none of the seasons since have approached that level, and the current sixth season, rushed, muddled and dull, has been the weakest.
To me, some of the trick of Lost has been that some things are important and some things aren't...And that doesn't bother me at all, because that's part of constructing a convincing universe.
I'm not saying there aren't major mysteries of Lost that I don't want solved...But I've accepted at this point that the running tally of questions I've had about the show will likely never be answered...I don't want them to be. Why? Because the answers would probably suck.
Or perhaps the message will be that we should all find meaning in one another, instead of in some mystical riddle. (A swipe at religion? An affirmation of personal agency? A meta-critique of fans who take the show waaaay too seriously?)
It's all going to come down to this: is this a story about fate or choice? All along, many clues left us thinking it was a matter of fate: the numbers, the crazy mainland connections, Jacob's touch...
The show really had a lot of ground to cover this season in order to satisfy its loyal fans, but I think we all knew deep down that we'd never really know everything. Still, we were thrown several bones of juicy Island lure...
If you think of Lost as being one big novel...then the stuff that happened in Chapter Five ought to be meaningful in the final chapter. There ought to be a sense that everything was leading towards this ending...
Nothing that was key in the early seasons...is even in play. Even the ambiguities of "Across the Sea" now seem like attempts to shade the battle between mustache-twirling, murderous Smokey and his limp, Jesus-y antagonist.
And now we see that the writers have saved the explanation of the sideways universe for the finale. Even with all that extra time to play with, that seems like an awful lot to squeeze into the finale...I still find myself oddly trusting that they know what they're doing with this finale.
Inevitably, any answers we get from this point on will satisfy some people and not others.
Did their deaths have meaning or were they just more victims of the seemingly endless battle between the Man in Black/Smockey and Jacob? This episode started the process of claiming that their deaths did indeed have meaning...
For a drama that traffics in philosophy, religious allegory, physics, and literary references from Jane Austen to Kurt Vonnegut, "Lost'' has a decidedly B-movie feel. After the remarkably cinematic 2004 pilot episode, set immediately after the Oceanic 815 plane crash, the adventure has been pretty schlocky.
With only two and a half hours to go, there's simply no way for the show to answer every lingering mystery still up for discussion. I'm not entirely sure that's a bug as a much as a feature.
If we give the writers a little grace and extend some patience, the suspense leading up to the finale of this television show could teach us something about faith in general.
We propped up the show with our eyeballs, our blog posts, our participation in those agonizing summertime internet Easter egg hunts. They created the whole thing, out of nothing...Let them end it their way.
For years series were canceled and disappeared without ceremony, but nowadays...it is more usual to aim for some sort of closure. (Just as it's become more common, in life, to think we need it.)
If we were to do a poll on which of the three retiring shows will have the longest and strongest afterlife, I'd bet the winner would be "Lost." Of course, the poll would be conducted on the Internet, which is sagging under the load of commentary...
What They Died For Better Not Be That Stupid Light
Now I'm just holding on for whatever may come. As long as it isn't a snow globe in an autistic child's hand, I'll be okay.
Fates will be decided, questions will be answered, and one of TV's greatest series...will come to its conclusion. Not since The Fugitive, one suspects, has a series finale been greeted with such anticipation, and such dread.