Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The End


LOSTaways-

I started this blog almost 2.5 years ago as requests for my infamous "LOST re-cap" emails mounted, and I never thought I'd enjoy something as silly as a website named after a character (named after a dead philosopher) from a television show about a magical island in the South Pacific as much as I have this one. John Locke's Pants has been my humble attempt at shining a (sometimes dull) light on the mysteries that shroud the greatest show ever made by humans. I wanted to offer my friends (and their friends and co-workers) a place of LOST-refuge where they could come and have some of the larger themes and minute details distilled in a coherent, cohesive format. You be the judge if I've succeeded or not. Some weeks I wasn't too sure.

Personally, I have loved LOST for its commitment to extraordinary story-telling, insanely in-depth character development, and for the way it seamlessly incorporates theology, mythology, popular culture, classic literature, wit, humor, and slow-motion close-ups. Make no mistake about it: there has never been another television show like LOST. It is unique in countless ways.

Think back to the first time you sat down to watch an episode on ABC, or more likely, sat down on a friend's couch to watch his Chinese boot-leg copy of Season Two (as Katie the Dog #1 ran frantic and violent laps around your kitchen's island). Think of how far we've come as fans/viewers. Think of how far the characters we've come to know and love have traveled; how much they have changed. It's been a wild, memorable ride. No other show has garnered the type of rabid devotion (or eaten up more text message charges) that LOST has.

I'm sad to see it go, but loved watching it leave.

There is more than enough to say about what transpired Sunday night over the 2.5 hour series finale. I know I didn't write a review of the previous episode, "What They Died For", so I will be encapsulating some thoughts on that hour as well. It just didn't feel necessary to write a re-cap for an episode that was so obviously a filler/prelude to the big finish.

Let me begin with this: I thoroughly enjoyed the way LOST ended. "The End" was a fascinating extended episode, and in my mind, a wholly legitimate way to wrap up a remarkable show. How do you end something as complex and layered as LOST? How do you make some 15 million fans happy about watching the last episode of the show they've loved so much for so long? Answer: you can't. Answer: you stay true to what the show was really all about all along...the characters themselves.

If you have been confused or frustrated since Sunday night with how LOST wrapped up, consider this: all six seasons...some 120 hours of television...have been one long tale centered around one man named Jack Shepard (and the group of people he experienced the most important events of his life with). The writers/creators of LOST have been consistent since day one in saying to anyone who would listen that the series was always (to them) more about the characters involved than the mysteries and fantastical situations they find themselves in. (More on this point later)

I mention this at the beginning of my final blog-post because I know that there are some who are greatly disappointed in the lack of "answers" about questions ranging from "the numbers" to "DHARMA's origin" to the caskets we saw down in the island's source this past Sunday night when Jack and Desmond first un-corked, then re-corked, the light. We don't always get what we want, but sometimes, we get what we need. And what we needed was closure for the story about the people who have been the vehicle through which all of these other mysteries have come to us.

So let me get to some actual re-capping of the events that transpired, and then I'll conclude with some parting big-picture thoughts on the show as a whole. Since we now know that the off-island, alternate-reality story-line was an after-life setting, I'll focus for now on what happened on the island itself in present time.

I assume everyone is aware of the fact that the on-island happenings were occurring in 2007. The castaways crashed in September of 2004, spent three months or so on the island, and then 6 of them left on a helicopter, while the rest spiraled through time with the bright, white flashes.

So on the island it is 2007, and the submarine has just exploded underwater with Sawyer, Jack, and Hurley barely escaping. Sawyer blames himself for the sub catastrophe, but Jack reminds him that Flocke is the man to blame. As they set out to find Desmond, the young Jacob appears to Hurley and asks for the pouch of his ashes that Hugo had been carrying since Ilana blew up on the beach a few episodes before. Young Jacob takes his own ashes to a fire where he begins to burn up what remains of himself. He tells Hurley that when the ashes stop burning, he (Jacob) will be gone for good. He adds, "We're very close to the end."

The rest of the crew sits around the fire and listens to what Jacob has to say. Kate wants to know what her friends died for, and Jacob proceeds to relay all of the pertinent information. He made a mistake when he pushed his brother into "the source". He is responsible for the Man in Black's smokiness. Because the Man in Black found a way to kill him, Jacob needs a replacement. He chose these people because they were all flawed, all alone, all looking for something they could not find. Kate wasn't disqualified from being a candidate, Jacob had merely been considerate of the fact that she was a mother (to Aaron) for those three years she was off the island.

While Jacob is recounting the situation to the group, Sawyer speaks up and says that Jacob should have left them all alone because they were doing just fine. Jacob points out that this is not the case. Each of the people he called to be a candidate was hurting, alone, and flawed. He says that they needed the island just as much as the island now needed them (or one of them, at least). Jack told Hurley earlier this season that he had come back to the island because he felt broken and hoped "this place" could "fix" him. Now Jack realizes that this task, to be the new protector of the island, is his purpose in life. He willingly accepts, Jacob has him drink some water, and Jack Shepard becomes the new Jacob.

While this is going on, Ben, Miles, and Richard are in Othersville looking for C-4 to blow up the plane. Something interesting Ben says at this time is "I always thought I was calling the Smoke Monster, but it turns out he was the one calling me." He finally realizes that the Smoke Monster had been feeding off of Ben's anger toward his father and used him as a puppet since he was a little kid. Perhaps this is why Richard was almost scared when he met a young Ben Linus in the jungle and Ben told him he had seen his dead mother walking around the night before. Richard knew that only Smokey could do that, and that Smokey was bad. He probably figured that he could help the young boy since Smokey obviously had him in his sights. But Ben's jealousy and bitterness and obsession with being in control played right into Smokey's hands and Linus became a useful idiot for much of his life.

Widmore and his gal-pal Zoe show up and tell Ben that they need to hide from Flocke and that he has a plan to defeat him once and for all. Ben tells them to hide in his secret room and then promptly goes outside to tell Flocke where they are hiding. Zoe gets her throat sliced open and before he gets capped by Ben, Widmore lets Flocke know that Desmond is a fail-safe weapon here to blow up the island if necessary.

Ben and Flocke go to get Desmond from the well, but he is already long-gone, thanks to Rose and Bernard (aka the most boring characters known to mankind). But Flocke isn't phased and lets Ben (and us) know that the finale is going to include him using Desmond to "destroy the island."

...And so we move on to that series finale, and for the last time ever, break down what happened on LOST....

The opening scene in the alternate/heaven/purgatory reality included a conversation that Kate and Desmond had in his car. Desmond, you will recall, had been busy for a number of episodes now. After coming into contact with his constant, Penny, on the steps of a football stadium earlier this season, his mind's eyes had been open to the fact that this wasn't just some alternate reality...this was some stage of the after-life and he was dead. They all were dead. The conversation he had with Kate Sunday night makes much more sense looking back. When she asks him "Why am I here?" he says, "No one can tell you why you are here...not the church...but this place (i.e. the after-life)." He promises he will "show her" what is going on soon enough, but that his motivation is the desire to "move on" (to the next stage of the after-life).

So Desmond, someone for whom "the rules" don't apply, has been playing the role of Clarence the Angel in It's A Wonderful Life. He is the guide for everyone else, working to open their eyes to the reality of their situation. And he has recruited some people, including Hurley, who takes Sayid to the same hotel they had a shoot-out at last season and where Sayid took a tranquilizer dart to the lat. Charlie's in one of the rooms drinking himself into oblivion, and when Hurley can't convince him that playing at the show (where he'll see Claire and have his mind's eyes opened to the fact that they are dead) is the most important thing he'll ever do...Pace gets tranq'ed.

At the hospital, my girl Juliet makes her return to the show as the doctor for Sun and Jin's baby, and as she is taking a peek inside Sun's belly, both Sun and Jin have their consciousnesses opened to their current (deceased) state. When Sawyer comes in a little while later, Sun and Jin tell Detective Ford that they don't need his help/protection. That is because they know they're already dead and nothing can harm them anyway.

This is as good a place as any to comment on the lives our favorite characters were living in their post-death reality. Desmond worked for the father-in-law who never respected him in his real life, yet now loved him and trusted him more than any other employee. James Ford, con man extraordinaire, is a police detective for LAPD. Jack Shepard is still a divorcee and a doctor, but now has a son who he reconnects with (something he and his own father never did). Locke's beloved Helen is with him, but his relationship with his father is still painful (although now it was Locke's fault for turning Anthony Cooper into a vegetable). My point in pointing these things out is simply to highlight the interesting inner turmoil each of these characters had.

Sawyer always felt bad for being the con man he was, so in the after-life he made himself a cop with a heart of gold. His flaws (i.e. wanting to kill a man named Sawyer) were still there, but his fake life was on a better trajectory. I'll talk more about it later, but this ties in with what Christian Shepard told Jack at the end of the finale when the two of them were talking in the back of Eloise Hawking's church..."You guys made this place so you could find each other." So apparently, in the mind of LOST writers, the after-life includes the ability to create your own new reality where character flaws still exist, but where the person's consciousness is given some lee-way in arranging his/her job, family, etc. This sounds a lot like...purgatory.

People have been saying that the island is purgatory for 6 seasons, but they were wrong. The island wasn't purgatory...the people who spent time on the island ended up in purgatory. It might sound like a distinction without a difference, but I disagree. I'm not disappointed in the least with that choice on the part of the writers.

But let me for now stay on track with breaking down the parts of the episode before exploring it as a whole (and the series as a whole)....

I totally called Juliet being Jack's ex-wife in the after-life reality. It just made too much sense and they kept refraining from showing who his ex-wife was so I knew it would end up being someone we'd least expect. Jack and her were ex's of sorts on the island. He loved her for a while before the island moved and he and Kate escaped for three years (while Sawyer and Juliet made a life together). Jack is the spinal surgeon master, and after a season's worth of sales pitches to John Locke, he finally got the original Man of Faith to come and be healed with back surgery. It works, of course, and in a scene that was eerily reminiscent of Jack's healing of his first wife, Sarah, Locke wiggles his toes and suddenly has his mind's eyes opened to the fact that he is in the after-life. Jack caught a fleeting glimpse of his real life back on the island, but instead of embracing it as his other friends did, he leaves the hospital in disbelief and confusion.

Meanwhile, Hurley brings Sayid (and a passed out Charlie) to the parking lot outside of a bar where he begins to try and convince our favorite Iraqi that he is a good person and that a large part of the reason Sayid ended up doing some bad things was that he had too consistently believed other peoples' negative appraisal of him. Sayid seems touched by the fat guy's kind words, but remains unconvinced that he is a soul worth saving. Suddenly a girl gets thrown into the alley behind the bar and Sayid runs to her rescue. It is Shannon, and the two of them embrace as only island lovers can. We learn Boone was in on the set-up with Hurley and both of them seem genuinely happy to have helped their friend/sister wake up to their current posthumous reality.

Then there is the crew at the rock concert and benefit show for the museum. Eloise Widmore's disdain for Desmond Hume makes so much more sense now that we know they're all dead. She didn't want Desmond waking up the consciousness of her son and for Desmond to "take him from me" because she knew her son waking up would mean he would have to realize that he he was dead...and perhaps she didn't want that because she had killed her own son in their earthly lives and wasn't able to move on with her boy? Or she just couldn't help herself. She had lived her entire life trying to control her son and trying to control the destiny of people like Desmond and Jack so why stop now?

Charlies sees Claire, Claire has baby (with help of Kate) and everyone remembers everyone else in the green room.

When Sawyer and Juliet bump into each other, they talk about going for coffee. In case you forgot, or are normal, this was a reference to the last thing Juliet said to Sawyer in the imploded Swan hatch at the beginning of this season. She was trapped under all of the rubble after Jughead went off a the end of last season, and Sawyer went down to console her in her final minutes. She seemed to be mumbling about getting coffee with Sawyer and that the two of them could "go Dutch." She then came to her senses and said "I have something very important to tell you." I believe that in those final moments before she died, she saw the after-life and knew that everything was going to be okay eventually. This is why she told Sawyer (via Miles), "It worked." So now, when they meet in the after-life at the vending machine, those memories came flooding back and she says the same line about going for coffee and Sawyer remembers. He even calls her Blondie and kisses her, just like he did before she died in the Swan station's rubble.

After leaving the hospital, Jack finds Kate at the benefit concert and she now recognizes him although the Man of Science refuses to accept his current state. She tells him that he will understand everything if he'll come with her to the church.

I'm gonna stop here and run through some of the on-island happenings, and then wrap up with a discussion of what went on in the church and in the conversation Jack had with his also-dead dad.

On-island:

Jack, Hurley, Kate, and Sawyer are trying to figure out what to do by the river, as Sawyer and Jack have a brief convo about Jack's new job as the island's protector. Jack says that Desmond is the key to the battle they are engaged in with Flocke, and that they must protect the island at all costs or "it will be the end of us." I must quickly stop here and stress this point: EVERYTHING that has happened on the island that we've seen since the first day they crashed to Jack's closing his eye at the end of this finale is real. It was all real. Jacob, Flocke, DHARMA, the numbers. Everything. I can't say this enough. It all mattered. Jack needed to defeat Flocke. The island did need protecting. The relationships they formed meant something. The numbers had some mystical component to them. The whole kit-and-kaboodle was not for nothing.

This is important to keep in mind because as we analyze (for the last time, sadly) what it all meant on LOST, if you are under the impression after watching the series finale that they all died the first time they crashed on the island back in season one, then your perspective on how you feel about how things ended last Sunday night will be skewed.

So Flocke believes Widmore that Desmond Hume is the fail-safe. He finds Dez at the hut of Bernard and Rose and threatens to kill the lovebirds (and Vincent the Dog, presumably) if Hume won't come with him to the island's source. Desmond says he will and on their way to the well of souls (or whatever you want to call it), they bump into Jack and his merry band. Jack had just told Kate that his task was to save the island. He told Kate that the island "is all I have left" and is the one thing he hasn't ruined. His marriage? Bad. His relationship with his father? Not great. His career? Tanked because he was perpetually tanked and popping pills. This task given to him by the hands of fate (and Jacob) is his purpose in life and by now he's embraced and accepted that.

As this is taking place, Richard and Miles are paddling to Hydra island to blow up the plane. They find Lapidus floating in the wreckage of the submarine and after they bring him aboard he suggests that if the goal is to keep Flocke from escaping...they should just get to Hydra and have him fly them outta there. This is a huge relief to Miles and Richard, especially Richard, who has just found his first gray hair (a sign that Jacob's death meant a normal, mortal life for the dark eye-browed Spaniard).

Back on dry land, eventually Jack, Flocke and Desmond split off yet again and head to the heart of the island together. Jack is convinced that whatever it is Flocke wants to do will not work, and even helps Flocke lower Desmond down the waterfall. Flocke mocks Jack for being the "obvious choice"...but Jack fires back with "I wasn't forced into this position...I chose it." Free will vs. Determinism. A timeless debate. Flocke is someone who wants to tear others down and make them feel like everything is out of their control. But he does this merely because he wants people to listen to him. He wants his own way and has found that an effective strategy at getting people to side with him is to prey upon their weaker instincts; instincts to blame others for their problems.

Jack is confident that Flocke will fail and that Flocke's plan to use Desmond to destroy the island will in the end destroy Flocke. He acknowledges that Flocke is more powerful than he, but puts his trust in the belief that he is there for a purpose and that this purpose will triumph over the selfish desire to destroy Flocke has. Jack is confident that the good guys will win, but admits to Sawyer before going off with Flocke and Desmond that he's not sure how it will play out. Think about how far Jack has come. He was someone who HAD to know everything, had to be in control of everything. Here he is letting go and embracing the Man of Faith mindset his deceased friend John Locke tried to inspire in him for 4-plus seasons.

Right before Jack lowers Desmond into the island's Source, Dez tries to convince Jack that none of the events on the island matter. He says that he will be able to use the white light's power to transport himself (and possibly Jack and the others) to another place where everyone is happy and everything is better. This points to Desmond certainly being the unique man (with unique powers) that he is...but also to his limitations. His mortal self still hadn't figured out that the other place he saw when he got flashed by Widmore's electromagnetic machine a few weeks back was the after-life they'd all end up at eventually. The only way he'd have been able to take Jack and the others to that other place would have been to kill them all. So he needed to try and defeat Flocke. Jack needed to persevere. His time wasn't up. His purposes were not complete. His mortal life mattered and would have eternal consequences. Desmond doesn't see it yet, and Jack isn't totally sure what will happen, but Jack is proven right.

Desmond un-corks the island's power source and things go haywire. The island starts to fall apart at the seems, with pieces of it breaking off into the ocean. But the effect Desmond was going for (i.e. flashing to the alternate reality he saw) didn't happen for him. The effect Flocke was looking for (i.e. the island crumbling in on itself) began to happen, but something else occurred as well: Flocke LOST his powers...he became mortal again. Jack punched him in the face and blood flowed down Flocke's mouth. Both men were shocked, but it seems that the un-corking Desmond did also released Flocke from his gaseous state. Just as Jacob's death released Richard from his eternal life request/curse, I think that when the water drained from the pool Desmond found at the island's source, Flocke was no longer Smokey. That is why Jack could kill him. So in a sense, both Jack and Flocke were right: the island did begin to fall apart when Desmond pulled the plug on the holy water...but pulling the plug meant the end of Flocke's powers (and the beginning of Jack's ability to actually kill the beast).

Oh, and by the way, a lot of people were confused about the skeletons and caskets Desmond/Jack both saw down by the well...I'm guessing those were simply previous "Jacob's".

Flocke knocks Jack out and bolts for the coastline and his sailboat. At the same time, Hurley, Kate, Sawyer, and Ben are waiting to hear what came of the trip to the island's source when the earthquakes hit their part of the island as well. A tree falls on Ben and taking pity on him, the other three work to pull him from under the trunk. The clock is ticking for when Frank, Richard, and Miles will take off back to the real world, so as soon as Ben is free the four of them head for the same coastline and boat.

One interesting thing about the plane and the various attempts to blow it up...looks like Hurley was proven right in the end: the plane should not have been destroyed after all. Perhaps Ilana was blown to pieces as a warning sign from the island to stop following her lead. The spirit of Michael that appeared to Hurley earlier this season was shown to be right in his advice to keep the Ajira plane in-tact.

Jack catches up with Flocke and the two of them have a Matrix:Revolutions, duel to the death, moment on the side of a collapsing cliff. Flocke stabs Jack with his Bowie knife and just before he is about to "finish" him...Kate fires a rifle round into Flocke's abdomen. All of the flesh-wounds that Jack had been seeing on his body in the alternate-reality this season were memories/echoes of this day on the cliff.

Sawyer and Kate decide to make a break for the plane on Hydra island. Oh, and remember how in Season Three the Others had Kate and Sawyer in cages and moving rocks to build a runway on Hydra island...in light of what we've now seen, guess why that was???

Ben decides to "go down with the ship" as it were, and because Hurley the Huge is afraid of heights (just as much as rickety wooden ladders on the sides of cliffs are afraid of people like Hugo) he decides to stick around with Ben and Jack as well. Sawyer and Jack have their final parting handshake, and it seems as if Sawyer has now forgiven Jack for all troubled history between the two of them (including Jack getting Juliet killed last season). Kate and Jack share one last magical kiss and promise to see each other again soon. Jack heads back with his two comrades to the island's source. His plan is to go down the waterfall and figure out how to reverse whatever it is Desmond did. Not knowing if he'd survive, Jack passed on his Jacob-bestowed power to Hurley. We've known Hurley was special for a while, but I think the island (or Jacob) knew all along that the best man for the job of island protector would be the sweetest, nicest caretaker of the whole bunch. Hurley was always the one trying to lift people's spirits. Certainly he had demons of his own, but no one else cared for people like he did.

I loved the exchange between Ben and Hugo where Hurley asks Ben to help him...to be his #2. This is a great reference/homage to the 1960's cult television series "The Prisoner." It was re-made this past year by AMC, but the original was much better. Ben also tells Hurley that the first thing he can do to help someone is find a way to get Desmond off the island and back to his loved ones. Hurley doesn't understand how he could ever hope to accomplish that, but Ben reminds him that Hugo is the new Jacob and can make "the rules" now. Jacob always tried to keep people on the island and made the place so hard to find. Probably because of his messed up childhood and because he knew if his brother (Smokey) ever got off and in to the real world, things would go to heck. Now Hurley can change things.

Sawyer and Kate get over to Hydra, convince Claire to ditch the loony-tunes act (and thousand-yard stare) and join them on the flight home. Even though you knew they would make it off on time, it was still exciting to see at least some of our favorite characters get a chance to escape. Who knows what kind of lives they ending up living, but I'm sure they were grateful for each moment they had.

When Jack gets down the waterfall, he finds a zonked-out Dez laying in a pool of his own electromagnetic juice. He wakes the Scottish superman up and tells him to shimmy on back up the rope and go home to his wife and son. When Desmond asks Jack what will happen next, The Shepard responds with my favorite (and most telling) line of the entire series: "See you in another life, brotha'" That phrase we've heard countless times in the past 5 seasons now takes on such a different and completed meaning. Jack puts the plug back in the well and the waters of island-life begin to flow once more. He smiles with delight as it becomes apparent to him that all the things he has been doing since returning to the island were indeed meaningful. He has completed the task the island (fate) had for him.

Things close out on the island with Jack waking up outside of the island's source and staggering to his final resting place: the same spot he woke up at in the very first few seconds of LOST's pilot episode. The final shot is of Jack's eyes closing as the Ajira plane with his friends soars across the skyline. The circle is complete. I don't know how Jack got out of the cave, but either some magical event happened and he was transported outside of the cave (while still being alive), or he died in the cave and this was a symbolic walk through the jungle. Either way, it doesn't really matter to the bigger picture of what took place. Jack saved the day and came to his final resting place on the island. I would have to say that I lean towards Jack being alive when he stumbles through the jungle and Vincent coming to lay down next to him wasn't just a call-back to the pilot episode, but was also a reference to the fact that some animals have been shown to be able to sense when someone they are close to is about to die.


Final Thoughts/Theories/Conclusions:

-Getting back to the scene in (and around) the church...the alternate reality was of course a stage in the after-life of our characters. The church represented the place where many of them had come together before to make a journey back to the island. Now it was a stepping off point to the great unknown of the rest of the after-life. There were two conversations that told me most of what I needed to know to "figure out" LOST. The first was Ben and Hurley's outside of the church. Locke chatted with Ben for a brief moment and the two of them made amends. Then Hurley came outside where Ben and Hugo exchanged a few words about their time on the island. Hurley said, "You were a great #2," to which Ben replied, "You were a great #1." This means that Hurley and Ben lived on after Jack died in the jungle. This means that Jack really did die when we saw him die in the jungle. He didn't die in the initial Oceanic Flight 815 crash. He wasn't "already dead" like some people are theorizing. He died when we saw him die. And Kate, Richard, etc. all escaped and went on to live their lives back in the real world. Everything we saw in the alternate reality this season was, in human years, decades later.

-Which brings me to the other critically important conversation: the one between Christian and Jack. Christian confirmed Jack was dead and told his son that there is no "now" in the after-life. It is eternity. Christian also confirmed/affirmed that everything his son and his son's friends did in their lives mattered. It was all real. "This place" (the church and the alternate reality we witnessed) was created by Jack and the others in some sort of spiritual subconsciousness. They needed to FIND each other in the after-life before they could move on. And here we get to the crux of the entire show...and forgive me if you feel like I'm repeating myself...the show wasn't REALLY about smoke monsters and numbers and mysteries of DHARMA. It was about people. It was about these people. It was about Sayid and Boone and Charlie and all the rest. It was about their relationships and the profound impact each of them had on each other. Ultimately, it was about Jack Shepard. It was his story of redemption that drove the larger story of LOST. That is why his eye opening and closing were first and last shots fans of LOST saw.

-But a word about all the details and exciting mysteries and literature references...any good story-teller includes these things to keep the audience interested. All of those things were supplementary things to the larger story being told. I think of it this way: I am a Christian who believes in the God of the Old and New Testament. My life has meaning. The little things, as well as the big things, in my life has meaning. Not only to me, but to my God. But I also know that some things are more important than others. What I had for dinner last night (Chipotle) is not of equal importance to who I marry or how I treat my kids some day. But the books I read, the songs I hear, the way I talk to strangers who cut me off in traffic all is part of my story and therefore matters. Those "smaller" things help form and shape my character and, I believe, my eternal soul. So in LOST, everything took place for a reason. Jacob vs. Smokey the Monster was real. The need to protect the island was real. The numbers were real. Fate bringing all of these interesting and unique characters together was real. But all of those things were secondary to the bigger story of the overall lives of those characters and the relationships they formed with one another.

-Another word about the theology in LOST...as a Christian I am always disappointed to see when Christianity is equated with other faiths. This isn't because I think the people who follow other faiths are stupid...but more so because Christianity makes such distinct truth-claims that it is either true or it is pure rubbish. To say Christ is the same as every other religious leader/founder is to say he is nothing. I'm thinking specifically of the scene between Christian and Jack in the back of the church where all the symbols of all the major faiths were in the glass window behind them as they spoke. But I also realize that this is a television show about a magical island. I'm not looking for profound theological insights from Hollywood writers...which is why I enjoyed the finale so much. I'd rather have faith in a Higher Power positively represented, as I believe LOST did, then to see even fictitious characters on an ABC show embrace the empty secular-materialist worldview that people like Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins embrace. The themes in LOST were unequivocally religious, and many of them Judeo-Christian. I like that. I like for people to contemplate ideas of sin, redemption, forgiveness, atonement, etc....even if it isn't (to my liking) perfect theology.

-The last thing I'll say in defense of how the show ended is best summed up in a quote from my all-time favorite writer, G.K. Chesterton:

The old fairy tale makes the hero a normal human boy; it is his adventures that are startling; they startle because he is normal. But in the modern psychological novel the hero is abnormal; the centre is not central. Hence the fiercest adventures fail to affect him adequately, and the book is monotonous. You can make a story out of a hero among dragons; but not out of a dragon among dragons. The fairy tale discusses what a sane man will do in a mad world. The sober realistic novel of to-day discusses what an essential lunatic will do in a dull world

What Chesterton is saying here applies directly to how I feel about the end of LOST. This show was so much fun because it placed finite, natural human beings in fantastical, spiritual, supernatural situations. I want to see what people who have the same type of problems we all have (jealousy, hurt from our childhood, guilt, etc.) do when put in to extraordinary situations. LOST provided that. It gets to the heart of the Man of Science-Man of Faith debate that raged on for 6 seasons of the show. How can mankind, especially in modern times where so much of the mystery of life has been stripped from it by technology and secularism, still believe that there are miraculous, supernatural elements to this world and in our lives?

-For MUCH more on the finale, read this by Doc Jensen.

-I've been writing this for a couple hours now and sick of my own thoughts, so if I've left out anything you have specific questions about, post them in the comments section or email me directly and I'll write more about them in the next week or so (before turning down the lights on John Locke's Pants for good).


It's been real, folks. Hope you enjoyed yourself. Stay classy.

-JLP's.




My first and last philosophy, that which I believe in with unbroken certainty, I learnt in the nursery. I generally learnt it from a nurse; that is, from the solemn and star-appointed priestess at once of democracy and tradition. The things I believed most then, the things I believe most now, are the things called fairy tales. They seem to me to be the entirely reasonable things. They are not fantasies: compared with them other things are fantastic. Compared with them religion and rationalism are both abnormal, though religion is abnormally right and rationalism abnormally wrong. Fairyland is nothing but the sunny country of common sense.

It is not earth that judges heaven, but heaven that judges earth; so for me at least it was not earth that
criticised elfland, but elfland that criticised the earth. I knew the magic beanstalk before I had tasted beans; I was sure of the Man in the Moon before I was certain of the moon. This was at one with all popular tradition. Modern minor poets are naturalists, and talk about the bush or the brook; but the singers of the old epics and fables were supernaturalists, and talked about the gods of brook and bush. That is what the moderns mean when they say that the ancients did not "appreciate Nature," because they said that Nature was divine. Old nurses do not tell children about the grass, but about the fairies that dance on the grass; and the old Greeks could not see the trees for the dryads.


-Orthodoxy

10 comments:

Rick said...

Thanks for all your insights Robby! I prefer your simpler approach to explain the deeper meanings of LOST. Although I loved Doc Jensen, he goes down a million rabbit holes. Anyway...I watched the Finale (THE END) again last night, this time by myself, and cried in like 10 parts, ha! Man..what a good show, and I share ALL of your feeling about Christianity and how we are normally represented by Hollywood. No, the messages were not Biblical Truth, but it sure was better than most shows!

You also helped me fill in some missing pieces I STILL had after reading Jeff J's final recap. I wonder if Jughead actually killed them ALL? Anyway, it all makes sense now, and even though there are some people bitchin about not having every single question answered, like the lotto numbers, etc, at least mine got answered.

Bottom line, it was ALL about the people. By the time this was over, we were all so heavily invested in each of these characters, both with time and emotionally, that it made for some really powerful final hours!

Still, being 48 years old (today) I have to say, that no matter how good a show, or musician, or anything is in this "world", I still can't help but remain conscience of the fact that it, and everything else, is "of this world", and the mixed messages LOST gave to the world, were NOT one's based on the truths of the Bible (all roads lead to heaven, etc). But it in no way spoiled ALL of my enjoyment of the show.

And to sum things up, it truly IS "the best show created by human hands"!!!

Thanks again for all your time and recaps. Even though I didn't always comment, I read them. See you around sometime?
~Rick

Jason said...

BUT WHAT ABOUT NIKKI AND PAULO????? I'VE WAITED YEARS FOR THEIR STORY TO COME FULL CIRCLE, AND THE WRITERS LEFT ME HANGING!

Just kidding. Excellent write-up Rob. I have appreciated your insights/unhealthy obsession over the years.

Sooo, anyone up for Season 1 Episode 1 this weekend?

Elliot said...

Thanks Cousin Robby for all the blogs that tried to make sense of the greatest show ever created by humans!!! It has been a glorious ride over the past 6 years. Your final blog and doc jensen's really made sense of it all. I watched the finale twice just to hear those important conversations towards the end again, and I think the writers gave the show the best ending they could have. The people who watched the show for the scientific aspects were disappointed but LOST was clearly more focused on faith and relationships all along. At times I questioned what it was all for, but now I see it was purely about the relationships of the characters and letting go. Thanks again Robby!!!
-Tiny

Whitney said...

The best wrap-up I've read yet. Much more satisfied with the finale and the show as a whole after reading - found your blog through a friend, and glad I did! Thanks for the brilliant insights.

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