May 24, 2010

And in The End....

And in the end when all was said and done the show was about religion all along. Even the promotional art for this season was a rendition of The Last Supper.  In the stain glassed window at the church we see symbols of all kinds of religion.

I don't think they necessarily were forcing Christianity on us despite the very obvious links to it, I think the idea was just spiritual belief in general.  However you do feel them pushing you towards the Christian bible in their story.  With the final act airing on Pentacost Sunday it feels like Jack, candidate 23, was our story's Jesus to Christian's God (with a name like Christian Shepard how did more people not see this coming a long time ago?).  Locke stabbed Jack in the side, just as Jesus was stabbed in his side after his crucifixion.  A friend of mine gave me this great line "In the end, it was not science, or numbers or symbols, or any other religion that was depicted in the church's stain glass window that held the answers. The came close, but fell short. The only Way to the Truth was to follow the Christian Shepherd (whose tomb was ALWAYS empty!)" (thanks Sarah).  To quote the movie Superbad "Muhammed is the most common name on earth.  Read a book" (aka the bible).

The 23rd Psalm - something Mr. Eko etched into his stick, Jack as candidate 23 of our favorite set of numbers
The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name' sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: For thou art with me;
Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies;
Thou annointest my head with oil; My cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the House of the Lord forever.

To continue with some numbers and the bible let's take a look at John 3:16 (Ajiria flight 316)
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him might not perish but might have eternal life.
If we dissect this a little and put in our Lost references, God aka Christian loved the world and gave his only son aka Jack so that everyone (our castaways) who believes in him (Jack) might not perish (on the island) and have eternal life (in the sideways world).  Kinda fitting huh?

Let's break down the show a little bit shall we? 

As Jack so aptly said way back when "If we don't learn to live together, we're going to die alone". They certainly did not die alone or at least not completely. They gave themselves a place to meet so they could die together no matter what points in their lives their deaths came. The point was that these strangers met and formed bonds on this strange island that were the most meaningful connections of their life. They created a sort of waiting area to move on to the afterlife (not so much a purgatory as so many online people are calling it - purgatory is a place where you go to be judged after you die and this was not the case for our castaways).

Many people are arguing that the "they're all dead" is a cop-out way to end the show. I disagree and here's why. I feel like every time a show ends (or at least the good ones with deep characters) I want to know what happens to them after their life is no longer displayed for me to watch. With some shows (like Charmed) we get a flash forward to their future and how their lives played out beyond the end of the story we got to see, and I like that. With them all being dead it gives a sense of closure that there is no more story to tell...about these characters. The island still lives on and will continue to be mysterious but the show wasn't ultimately about the mysteries of the island it was about the people on it, and that's what Darlton wanted us to remember.

Damon made a point that shows like ER end and although we are no longer experiencing the characters lives, County General Hospital will continue to see patients but the story of the doctors we knew and loved is over. Well it's sort of the same thing with Lost, all of our castaways died at some point in their lives but the island will continue to draw peole to it whether or not we witness it.

The writing was so directed at the fans this season.  With little zingers like "Every question I answer will simply lead to more questions." basically telling all the fans out there that there will always be questions and you will not get all the answers.  I felt like having them all be dead was the writers telling the fans there is no more story, there is no way for us to continue, it is The End.

Sure I would have liked to have seen Hurley rule the island for a while with Ben at his side I think it would have been fun, and sure I would have liked to see Kate, Sawyer, Miles, Claire, Lapidus, and Richard's off island life until they met their death at some point in time but it's not a necessary part of the story. As Terry O'Quinn so greatly put it in the pre-show, sure you want the book to keep on going but when you finish it and you close the book you think wow that was a great story and that's exactly how I feel about Lost - Wow that was a great story!

"It only ends once, everything before that is simply progress." Well Jacob may have been talking about his battle with his still unnamed brother but it can also be true of life. And although we saw the end of our castaways, the Island has not yet ended and our castaways helped progress the island away from the bitter battle that Jacob and his brother were playing out.  Leading to a time where fun-loving Hurley protects the place and probably did a wonderful job of it before passing it on to someone else.

Back to our dead castaways. I continue to read people's online posts questioning that if in the sideways world they were dead were they not dead the whole time? NO absoluetly not the case - these people were definetely not listening to the dialogue of the show to realize that they were definitely not dead the whole time. Christian Shepard clearly states in his conversation with Jack at the end that their life on the island most definetly happened and that their time spent together was the most imporant time in their lives which is why they created this waiting area for each other to all move on together because they lived together and they will die together (even if some of them died off the island). It is also clearly evident in the coversation that Ben and Hurley have with each other. Hurley says you WERE a great number 2 to which Ben replies you WERE a geat number 1 (I'm getting a little teary eyed just thinking about this scene). This indicates that the two of them lived on to protect the island for a time past the death of Jack but clearly shows the lives they had on the island were completely real.

This brings me to the timeline of the "sideways" world. I now feel like the term "sideways" was misleading. When that term was introduced to me it made me think that the timeline was running parrallel to our island timeline but that most certainly was not the case! In fact our sideways world is more likely a flashforward of sorts because in order for them all to move on together they would all have to be dead and we know that some of them died after Jack met his end and my guess is that they have been living out their lives in this realm that they created while they wait for the last of them to join them.

At first I was confused about why they had these similar yet slightly different to their original lives playing out, if they were all dead what was the point? I think the point was that none of them got to live the lives they could have because they were brought to the island to be pawns in Jacob's game with his brother so they played this world out as a way to live the lives they could have had if Oceanic 815 had actually safely landed in LA.

To the credit of those in charge I would like to congragulate them on keeping me completely cluess up until the very end. I never would have guessed the ending to the show and although I am still confused about the island to some degree it's O.K. if they didn't tell us it wasn't meant for us to know definativley. I didn't guess that they were all dead in the sideways world until Christian asked Jack "How are YOU here?" In that moment I was stunned, blown away at the concept.

Demanding the answers of the island is like demanding the meaning of life.  The island was the source of life, death, and rebirth and existed as a mystical place where strange things happen.  Some people were brought to the island, others found it accidentally (even though it seems impossible to find because the island is always moving I still think people accidentally end up there through ship wrecks or plane wrecks).  The island, just like life is mysterious.  Why are we here, well we know why our castaways are on the island - that one was answered - because Jacob brought them there through complicated circumstances involving visiting them early in their lives or allowing Desmond to miss pushing his button so the electromagnetic force would cause the plane to crash to be used as pawns in his game with his brother.

On to the plane crash - you might say well Jacob brought them to the island but how did they survive that crash?  I think Jacob made it so they would survive and since he's not about killing he tried to allow as many of the non-candidates to survive the crash as well.  Many of the candidates and non-candidates died on the island at the hands of each other, happenstance, or other people on the island but this happens because even though they were "brought" to the island, free will still exists. 

Let's move on the the story on the island which is what we vested 6 years of our lives on.  We find ourselves with Jack appointed the new island protector (and FLocke quoted this one right - "you're kinda the obvious choice" to which Jack replies I volunteered I wasn't chosen)  and now they need to go find Desmond who is the key to the whole island arc.  But where is Desmond?  He wasn't still down the well when FLocke went looking for him and he isn't with Jack so who helped him out of that well?  Well Rose and Bernard of course! I squealed when they came on my screen, it's been so long since we've seen them I'd all but forgotten they were still alive.  Here they are living a nice happy simple life in the jungle with Vincent (who was the only character the writers promised would survive the show) that is until FLocke shows up to get Desmond who willingly goes with him as long as FLocke promises to never hurt them.  Eventually Jack's group meets up with FLocke and comes out bullets flying.  You see Jack and FLocke both have a plan for Desmond but as seems to be the trend on this show, master plans never go as expected.  Not even Desmond's idea of what will happen is what actually happens (i think a little nod to all the theories that are out there yet none were the actual answer).

So basically Desmond with his unique ability to withstand electromagnetism literally removes the cork that is keeping the light going.  I didn't expect there to be a "cork" so to speak keeping the hell (If you look at my post for the week Lost took a break and I posted a call sheet for the finale where it lists some scenes one of them says Hell as a location).  So Desmond pulls the plug and FLocke is off to his boat to leave the island.  But not so fast! Jack comes blazing down the mountain ready to finally kill FLocke who now seems to have regained his ability to be defeated.  All I could think of was Gilmore Girls and how when Luke and Lorelai argue over Star Wars episode 3 when Luke makes the argument that "just because he has the high ground he will win" is stupid.  I found myself saying Jack has the high ground he's gonna win this fight but then Locke pulls out the knife and stabs him in the side (and then Jack's "sideways" world appendix scar became this scar - our first missed clue to them being dead in the "sideways" world).  We also see FLocke with the knife to Jack's neck as it starts to bleed, i.e. the same mark that keeps bleeding on him somehow in the "Sideways".  Well Kate comes down the mountain and shoots FLocke point blank quipping "I left a bullet for you", after he told her earlier to save her bullets.  And then just for insurance Jack kicks FLocke off the cliff.

So with FLocke dead Jack must sacrifice himself to bring the light back and save the island.  Why you might ask does he not just let Desmond do it to protect himself from the electoromagnetisim?  You see this finally feels like what he's supposed to do.  He convinces Sawyer and Kate to leave the island with Alpert, Miles and Lapidus on the Ajiria plane but not before we see Kate finally choose between Sawyer and Jack.  It's made apparent that Kate truly loves Jack and always has despite everything that has happened.  Hurley and Ben decide to stay behind on the island.

Jack acknowledging his suicide mission passes the torch as island protector on to Hurley and he then descends into "hell" to bring back the light.  We get a great conversation with Hurley asking Ben to help him out as island protector because he has experience and that is all Ben has ever wanted was to have a purpose on the island.  (I got very emotional at this point).  And Hurley's first mission is to help Desmond get home because like Ben said, Jacob may have run the island on rules like you can never leave once you are there but Hurley can turn a new leaf and do what he thinks is right.

At some point after Jack gets the light to come back on he somehow mysteriously gets himself out of the cave and makes his way back just past the bamboo with the tennis shoe on it to lie down where he first woke up on the island and die there.  Vincent comes and lays down next to him so that he will not die alone.  I have had the inclination for quite some time now that the final shot of the show would be Jack's eye but wasn't it just the most poetic thing you've ever seen?  Jack Bender directed this episode so brilliantly.

I think although what happened on the island was confusing at times and led to many more questions we are not meant to completely understand the island, all we are meant to understand is that our characters were brought to this place of mystery by a mysterious man to act as pawns in his game with his dead brother.  But as Jacob told him none of them were pulled from a happy existence, they were all lonely, looking for purpose or a chance to start over and this place gave them that opportunity.

The very last scene of the episode shows the wreckage of a plane crash left me feeling the most uncertain as to what it was meant to symbolize.  Was it supposed to be an homage to the oceanic crash, was it saying that the duct tape Miles put on the Ajiria plane didn't hold up and it ended up crashing either back on the island or on some other island, or (and this is what I think) was it meant to be a way to show that somehow other people will get to the island again.  We don't know when this scene takes place in the timeline or if it was meant to serve a purpose of intrigue or not but for the most part everything we were shown had meaning in it in some form whether we realized it at the time or not so I feel like there is some meaning in this final scene. 

As it turns out this last paragraph is now a moot point because ABC has come clean and stated that the final image of the crash scene was not part of the plot and they added it themselves to "lighten the emotion heading into the newscast".  Thanks a lot ABC for keeping us wondering for 3 days what that was all about and also making way to many people question whether Christian had lied and they were in fact all dead the whole time, now we can drop that thought and move on because they were not dead the whole time only in the "sideways" reality.

Let's go back to the waiting room reality for just a few more thoughts before I leave you.  The "sideways" scenes in this final episode gave us some of the most emotional images in television history.  Every single recollection had me bawling.  But Claire and Charlie most of all because Charlie was one of my favorite characters and he was the first to sacrifice himself to save his friends and his death was the first truly tear worthy moment on Lost.  Juliette finding Sawyer and finishing her death conversation about getting coffee and going Dutch was a great moment.  Sayid and Shannon was great (even though we didn't get to seen Boone become enlightened).  Even though I have read many people complaining about this because of Nadia but in my opinion Nadia was something Sayid felt he never deserved and Shannon was flawed like he was and their relationship formed on the island so it was only fitting that they should find each other...this was another example of a sudden end to a budding relationship on the island.  And even though Jack was getting glimpses throughout the episode it took touching the coffin to fully bring him around, his emotion when visiting John Locke's funeral in the flashforwards was his mirror to that.

In the end it was finally time for them all to move forward together into the light.  The End of the best show on TV.

On September 22, 2004 LOST crash landed into our living rooms and started a world wide phenomenon that will forever in our hearts keep us guessing.  But weather you loved the end or hated the end it is THE END and that was LOST.  The best 6 years of television anyone could have asked for.  For those who doubted the show and jumped off the bandwagon in seasons 2 and 3 I am sorry that you chose not to witness this great thing with the rest of us.

I wanted to be more eloquent when writing this but alas my pretty writing was all used up in the previous post but as Desmond's famous phrase seems so fitting now "See you in another life, brotha" - I will leave you with this Beatles lyric

"Ultimately, in The End, the love you take is equal to the love you make. All you need is love."

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