By Joe Dyton
Well after six years, 119 episodes and a two-hour series recap/retrospective, the series finale of “Lost” finally arrived. I still thought it was odd that ABC opted to air the finale on Sunday when it was on Tuesday all season long, but whatever. I guess the network couldn’t have turned the evening into a five and a half hour extravaganza on a weeknight. But that is a very, very small drop in the large bucket that was the last ever episode of “Lost”.
When it comes to series finales, often times viewers are more interested in the ending than the actual episode itself. “Lost” co-showrunner Carlton Cuse made a good point, the only thing a lot of people remember about the last episode of “The Sopranos” is the ending when the screen just went to black. So, going into last night’s show, I was curious if Cuse and his co-showrunner and co-writer on the finale, Damon Lindelof would be able to put together a memorable episode and not just an ending. Looking back, I think they won in that respect. Honestly, I was more satisfied with the episode than the ending. Don’t get me wrong; I didn’t mind the ending, it’s just that part of it left me ending, which I’ll get to shortly.
I’m going to be honest; a two and a half hour episode is a lot to muddle though, but I’m going to try to touch on everything. Last night was really about two things: the show and the end of the series. Let’s dive into the episode first….
I thought there was plenty to like about the finale. Things got off to a great start when Kate smirked at the name, “Christian Shephard.” Hurley’s throwaway line about Jacob “Being worse than Yoda” was classic, along with his noticing that Jack and Kate’s “moment” would have been really sweet, “if they weren’t about to die.” I thought most of the “letting go” flashes were great; I liked Sun and Jin’s the best; mainly because after they were killed off, it was nice to see them have such a sweet recollection of their time on the island. It also provided some comic relief when they both picked up their ability to speak English again and just grinned from ear to ear when Sawyer was worried for Sun’s safety. Not to mention the great exchange between Jin and Sawyer: “I guess we’ll see you there?” “See you where?”
The other memorable flashes belonged to Kate, Claire and Charlie (it’s tough to get more powerful than them re-imagining Aaron’s birth) and of course Locke wiggling his toes and Jack finally letting go by touching his dad’s long-lost coffin. Sawyer and Juliet’s didn’t do as much for me, but it was still sweet, especially when Sawyer told Juliet he had her. The only reason I said I liked most of the flashes was because I wasn’t a huge fan of the Sayid and Shannon one. It was almost too manufactured: Boone intentionally taking a beating so Sayid could come to his and Shannon’s rescue felt cheap compared to the rest of characters getting flashes through twists of fate. I was happy for Sayid of course, but I always felt Shannon was a non-entity to the show and brought nothing to the table.
On the island, we finally got the plane survivors vs. Un-Locke showdown we’d been anticipating for weeks. Fortunately Jack was right and Desmond turning out the lights in a sense made Un-Locke venerable long enough so they could take him out. I enjoyed the Jack-Un-Locke fight, even if it looked liked it was ripped from Superman-Lex Luthor showdown in “Superman Returns”. I mean we have the hero going toe-to-toe with the bald villain in the rain on a crumbling rock and the villain stabs the hero? I can’t help but wonder if the “Superman Returns” scribes were watching that last night and thinking, “Hey!” Anyway, luckily Jack’s Lois Lane (Kate) had his back and put one through Un-Locke so he fell over the cliff instead of the weakened Man of Steel. My only complaint about the fight scene was before the commercial break prior to it; I thought Jack jumping through the air fists raised and the screen going black was incredibly cheesy. It didn’t give me high hopes for what was to come after the break, but the scene redeemed itself nicely.
On the other side of the rock, the suspense wasn’t as great, but it was fun watching Miles, Richard and Lapidus put the plane together. As always, Miles gets a least one great throwaway line, “I believe in duct tape.” I couldn’t help but think of the scene in “Major League” when the pilot was duct taping one of the propellers of the team plane while all of that was happening. Anyway, everyone wondered what was the point of keeping Lapidus around; he seemed like another non-entity. Well, our question was answered last night; without him, Kate, Sawyer, Miles, Richard and Claire never get off the island. I applaud the writers for giving what was such a non-factor of a character a heroic sign-off.
As for the ending, I’m kind of at peace with it. I like that we got to see what happened with all of these characters, I do. I just felt that after six years and a TWO AND A HALF HOUR finale, we could have gotten some more answers about the island. I saw a pre-show interview with Cuse and he said they aimed the finale at character resolution (which I felt they did an excellent job with) rather than the island’s mythology. With the time they had last night, couldn’t they have concentrated on both? Did it have to be one or the other? Part of me feels they put all of this mysterious stuff in the first season and didn’t have any satisfying answers, so they Cousin Oliver’ed all of it and just made the show a character-driven series where strange, unexplained phenomenon occur. It just felt like they took the easy way out there. So, while I was OK with how things were wrapped up, I would have liked a little more. Maybe that makes me greedy, I don’t know. One-hundred and fifty minutes seems like a lot of time to just abandon one-half of what the show was all about.
OK a few more random thoughts and we’ll call it a series….
*I went into last night’s show with zero expectations (it’s the only way I knew I wouldn’t be 100% let down by the ending). The only thing I wanted was for the flash-sideways this season to have a clear-cut explanation, and I guess I won in that sense. However, in the grand scheme of things, the flash-sideways were kind of waste, weren’t they? I liked that they were revealed to be the characters’ after life and Desmond was working to get them all to their destined meeting place, but unless I missed something those scenes didn’t have much bearing on what was happening in the island-universe. Think about it: Seasons one through three gave us flashbacks to show us the events that got everyone on the plane and to the island (with the exception of the Season 3 finale, which was a flash-forward), Season four was all flash-forwards that showed us the Oceanic 6’s lives off of the island and how/why they went back and even Season 5’s wacky time travel let us see the island through the years. This season, the flash-sideways pretty much were independent of the island action. That caught me off-guard.
*I was glad we got a least some explanation of the island’s powers. That light everyone seemed to want looked like it’s what kept Un-Locke invincible as well as what kept Richard from aging. I believe it was after Desmond “turned off the lights” that Richard got his first grey hair, and he couldn’t have been happier. The only thing more I would have wanted was to see how Jacob’s brother turned into the smoke monster when he was thrown down that tunnel.
*Juliet being Jack’s son’s mother had to be one of the biggest “No duh” moments in the series’ history, right?
*I hate to say it, but last night’s episode felt like it was two and a half hours. It kept my interest most of the time, but the pacing felt slow. Maybe that was because it was the last episode and I just wanted to get to the end so badly. Either way, I felt like some fat could have been cut to get it back to at least two hours. I was more than happy to see Rose, Bernard and Vincent one last time, it wasn’t necessary in the long run; same goes for all the time Sayid and Hurley spend in the Humvee waiting for Boone and Shannon to come out of the bar.
*At some point, when I’ve let this show digest, I wouldn’t mind going back and watching Season Six again. Mainly because I want to see how much interaction the characters had with people other than themselves in the flash-sideways. It was almost like a “Sixth Sense” thing going on there where they didn’t realize they were deceased until they touched someone else from the island and had that flash. But there was definitely interaction with other people; where they all deceased too? (i.e. the nurse who asked Jack what was wrong with his neck or even the airport security guards who questioned Jin and Sun about all the cash they had).
*I liked how the series came full-circle; it opened with Jack’s eye opening and finished with it closing. It doesn’t get anymore cut and dry than that.
*While I was somewhat at peace with the flash-sideways ending, I would have liked to have gotten a little more out of the island ending. Mainly with Sawyer and Claire; they never left the island in the show’s six seasons. It would have cool to see their reaction when Lapidus landed them in L.A. or wherever they were able to go with their fuel supply.
*So just to be sure, let’s see if we have all of the main characters’ fate from this year straight: Jack: died saving the island; Kate, Sawyer, Claire, Richard, Lapidus and Miles: made it off of the island on the plane; Ben, Hurley, Rose and Bernard: stayed behind on the island; Sayid, Sun and Jin: died in the sub explosion.
*My personal highlight of the evening was when Un-Locke mentioned for Jacob’s way of doing things that Jack was “Kind of the obvious choice” to replace him. Gotta love those winks to the audience.
Well, I think that’s all I have; I double-checked my four pages of notes, but I probably still missed some things, hopefully nothing too big though. J
I enjoyed this show; I am very grateful I jumped on the bandwagon. Thanks to those who pushed me to do so, you know who you are. The finale may be been imperfect and incomplete, but I’ll definitely remember it as a whole and not just for the ending.
Thanks for following along with me!
Joe Dyton is a marketing copywriter in Washington, DC. He is a former assistant editor for The Dealmakers real estate magazine in Hamilton, NJ and a former sports writer and copy editor for The Trentonian in Trenton, NJ. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Joe on Twitter at http://twitter.com/dyton99.