My Gamer Girl and I completed watching LOST the other day, viewing the two-hour finale on the second-to-last day of 2012. We’d been watching it over the last several months, and it seemed fitting to finish it off as the year waned: 2012 and LOST coming to an end, winding down together.
I loved LOST and I loved how it ended. It was the perfect way – really the only way – to address the many tangled stories of the series, tying up all of the most important tangles in a manner that was both rewarding and final.
My Gamer Girl however remained as frustrated as she had been when first seeing the series.
I’ve mentioned before how I was all but entrapped into watching LOST by my Gamer Girl, but I only recently recognized why it was so important to her that I get entwined in it too. Her desire to share LOST with me is much the same as my desire to share science fiction classics like Star Trek with her; sharing something I love with someone I love – and having them love it too – reinforces my feelings for the material and for everyone involved.
It doesn’t always work. There are hits (The Last Starfighter) and misses (Star Wars – all six of them, she just doesn’t get it). But I have to keep trying, there are so many things I love and I want her to experience all of them.
And so the desire to share exists for her as well, even though she knew I’d avoided LOST on purpose during it’s run and ever since, there it was, one of her favorite things, and there I was, one of her favorite people. The desire to tie us all up into one loving bundle of shared experience could not be resisted.
For me, and for LOST, it worked.
SPOILERS BELOW – if you haven’t seen LOST but someday might, stop reading now!
I started very skeptical, sure I was just humoring my girl for a couple of episodes and then it would be over. Surprise! What a great show. Great production values, great casting, great concept, great everything. An amazing thing to see, and proof that television can still be a vital medium when used properly.
I enjoyed all the characters. I enjoyed the crazy unreality of the stories. I enjoyed the cleverness of the writing. I enjoyed the way that the show rewarded you for paying close attention to detail. I memorized 4 8 15 16 23 42. I wondered at the island’s origins. I marveled at the complexity of the plot, or really, plots, and the masterful way they were woven together each episode.
I assigned morality roles to the stars. Jack was the Paladin, Locke was the Monk, Kate the Rogue, Sawyer the Ronin. I winced as the good guys did bad things, and was moved when the bad guys did good things. No one in this show got painted with a single color, everyone had good and bad in them, exhibiting morals as complex and nuanced as everything else. Sayyid was the darkest and blackest, yet at the same time was also the one most steadfastly on the side of good. Even after he’d been zombified by evil, still, good to his core.
I learned fairly quickly that many details would be explained later in a way that made sense, but others would not, and some simply just could not be explained. One had to accept them as plot exigencies or continuity errors. As densely detailed as the story is, it is not perfect.*
* Although one of the plot errors that bothered me the most was in fact not an error and was explained by this official epilogue that shipped on the LOST season six DVD. Quite a few unresolved questions were answered in the epilogue. You may want to check it out.
I was very right about many of the things I deduced about the show, but very wrong about many others. I truly expected the island to turn out to be a spaceship or time machine, a construct, either alien or from humanity’s future. I did not expect the show to turn from science fiction to mysticism. I completely nailed the existence and relationships of Jacob and his brother (Esau? Though never named?), but did not expect their unremarkable origin.
But most of all, I was right that the show is about the characters, and especially about Jack. Not the island, not the polar bears, not the Others or any of the trappings. Characters and relationships. Jack versus Locke. Jack versus Sawyer. Jack versus Ben. Jack versus Locke again. Not always about Jack but mainly about Jack.
And this is why I found the ending to be so enjoyable. Maybe it is because I watched the series over the course of a few months rather than six years. I never spent a week (or a summer off-season) wondering how a cliffhanger would be resolved. I never searched the web looking for Dharma Initiative Easter eggs. I never read or wrote to any of the LOST wikis or forums. I never tried to analyze the show’s cuniform or hieroglyphics. I never followed the show, I just watched it.
So maybe I didn’t feel as entitled to information as everyone else. I wasn’t owed anything in particular because I had never invested anything more than my attention. I focused on the characters. And I was rewarded with a character-driven finale.
And what great characters they were too: Ben, perfidious but brilliant. Juliette, coldly evil yet warmly human. Eternally angry Richard. Yes we were supposed to love them, but the skill with which the characters were presented never felt like manipulation. Consider the redemption of Sawyer, the surprising depths of Hurley, the resilience of Jin and Sun, the consistency found in even minor characters like Miles and Libby. And most of all, consider the way Jack was deconstructed before our eyes, stripped to nothing and completely rebuilt into a man opposite of how he began, yet rebuilt logically, following a process that made sense, and ending with a result that was not predictable but was thoroughly explainable and acceptable.
An ending that answered all the technical questions would have been intellectually interesting but could not have attained the emotional depth that the series required. It would have been a betrayal of six years of character development. It would have been much less satisfying than the ending we received, even if it would have been perhaps more welcome to the die-hard LOST followers.
Including my Gamer Girl. Sorry sweetie, but we got the ending that we deserved. Yes there were unexpected religious overtones but those overtones were always there. I mean, the man’s name was Jacob, and half of the stories were about the importance of faith.
Or perhaps the ending was meant to imply that death was just another form of energy, something else that could be managed by electromagnetism and exotic matter. Maybe it was a science fiction ending after all.
And this is why the ending was brilliant and perfect. It answered everything that was the most important, and left us wondering about the rest, something to think about, something to puzzle over and discuss.
A gift that will keep on giving as long as we keep thinking about it.
🙂 😀 🙂