Tuesday, May 25, 2010

LOST: The End

In the summer of 2004, I started seeing commercials for a new J.J. Abrams TV show called LOST. The commercial details were carefully vague. I noted a ensemble cast and the only member of the cast that I recognized--and who was featured prominently--was Dominic Monaghan, of The Lord of the Rings movie fame.

I was a Dom fan and certainly was a fan of Abrams other TV show then running, Alias, so I thought I would give it a try. But I wasn't particularly thrilled about it or anything. I probably thought something along the lines of "Hmm. Castaways on an island, huh? Well, Survivor has already done that (for reality programming), and I have serious doubts about how they can sustain a viable plot when you are confined to a deserted island."

(The lesson, as always . . . I'm no genius.)

Six years later and I watched it all end Sunday night. Other than M*A*S*H's "Goodbye, Farewell, Amen" this was (I think) my most anticipated series finale ever. And in a similar way to the M*A*S*H send off (or even parts of The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King or the last several chapters of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) LOST's "The End" had me crying here and there, swept up in the emotional experience of saying goodbye to the characters that I have experienced for these many years.

When LOST began, I didn't know what to expect. But when poor Greg Grunberg's pilot was snatched invisibly into the air with a mysterious roar/ticking sound and his bloodied body was seen atop a 20 foot tall jungle tree . . . well, I got hooked pretty fast. The mysteries just kept flying in that first season and I traded many impressions with my friends on WWYG?! Omnimedia.

One of my favorite moments was when a friend of mine was complaining about how 40+ people survived the crash, but we only got to intereact with about ten of them. Here is how she broke down the cast list at that time, probably no more than two or three episodes into the series:

Lin (should have been Jin)
Large hippie (funniest bit of all; this, of course, is Hurley)
GWH (stands for Great White Hunter, a.k.a. John Locke)
Cute thief (poor, poor Boone)
His bitchy sister (the almost universally reviled Shannon)
The Dog (ahh, Vincent)

So . . . LOST has been a part of my life for years and it has been a commonality through a great many changes, most notably at work where friends and colleagues have come and gone, moved up, and moved away. During the first season, I brought in video tapes of episodes and we would eat lunch while watching it in a meeting room, then debate.

Seasons 2 and 3 broke up that party for most people. The show never recovered from those years, which many felt where meandering and muddled. Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have publicly said many times that they were admittedly stalling while they tried to figure out how to plan the steps they foresaw to tell their story in the time they wanted. (Probably a good amount of hogwash there, but I forgive them some of their misstatements over the years.) My friend Shirtless has never been able to completely forgive the show for what happened in Season 2 . . . but any season that introduced us to the fabulous Michael Emerson and the character of Henry Gale/Ben Linus can surely be forgiven a few tedious experiences with "Waaaaaalt!" and "Where's my BOY!!???!"

Oh how we debated the history of the DHARMA initiative! How excited I was when "The Man Behind the Curtain" provided us with Ben's flashback story. And then, the next big surprise . . . the flash forward that marked the season three finale "Through the Looking Glass" and the tragic, heart-tugging end for Charlie Pace. (I don't think I've ever enjoyed a simple piano piece as much as the one that Michael Giacchino composed for Charlie's death and for every subsequent death scene in the show.)

Even when the show experimented--as with "The Other 48 Days" when we rewound the tale to see it from a different set of "Tailie" characters or, most infamously, in "Expose" when Nikki & Paolo--two of the "socks" (background characters) were brought forward to become a walking talking part of the cast--I found things to like. I've been drinking the LOST kool-aid from the very beginning and I wasn't going to let anything slow me down.

And so, Sunday came. I knew ahead of time that all of the mysteries weren't to be answered. I knew that the perpetrators of the outrigger shootout from the Season 5 time jump would not be revealed. I had made my peace with the fact that the glowing Heart of the Island had only been introduced a few TV hours previous. But I also knew that the story of the Oceanic 815 survivors would finally be told. And I was moved and pleased with how it ended. Many people have said that they loved the first 2+ hours and disliked the last fifteen minutes. And I have grown very frustrated with the misperceptions that many have taken from what Christian said to Jack in the church. But I have to let that go and let other people make up their own minds as to what they think they saw. (I suspect that each of us would experience an encounter with the Smoke Monster differently, as well.)

So . . . goodbye to LOST.

As I said at the end of things that night . . .

1 comment:

David said...

One interesting take on the mystery of the finale's end credits imagery: http://www.docarzt.com/lost-news/what-was-the-purpose-of-the-finales-parting-images/