LOST: Have a heart

I’ve been telling anyone who would listen that I hated last night’s LOST finale like poisoned poison. That it couldn’t have been worse. With my emotions tempering a bit, the finale still sucked huge rotten eggs, but I suppose it could’ve sucked worse. I only hated with a capital ATED half of the episode: the sideways world. If last night and this season’s show was the island-only stuff, it would’ve been fine. I don’t care that all the questions weren’t answered. A little ambiguity I can take (and like). But to give us memorably and morally flawed characters, some cool ideas and themes, and wacky time travel, donkey wheels, allusion to literature and myth and philosophy, you know, pretense at danger and bigger ideas, and then give us…eh, love saves everyone and they all went to heaven and were happy?  I mean, really?

Religious beliefs aside and within the context of the show, the sideways/purgatory/afterlife/LOST-cast-party-in-heaven is bad writing 101. There’s no redemption or emotional truth here. Only sentimentality. Sentimentality (as defined by John Gardner in The Art of Fiction): “emotion or feeling that rings false, usually because achieved by some form of cheating or exaggeration.” And yeah, the warm and fuzzies generated because you saw all your favorite people happy last night is cheating. Big time.

If you’re honest with yourself, answer this: What are the images/scenes that will stay with you (ie. really meant something or said something to you) from this show?

Will you remember the first season reveal that John Locke tried to go on a walkabout but was rejected because he was in a wheelchair or will you remember a kitty-cat Ben telling Locke he can walk inside the church? With the first we get an instantly rich character, one that’s frustrated and broken, and driven. With the first we get real and earned emotion. With the second, we get a smirking Hallmark card. A husk of the real (as it were) John Locke.

Will you remember a weathered, beaten, defeated, decidedly-unheroic (or was he?) Jack screaming that they have to GO BACK to the Island, or will you remember Jack getting hugs and high fives from the folks in the church (many of whom–not for nothing here–shot at him, or tortured him, or killed folks, or…)?

Will you remember Sun and Jin dying in the sub, or their giggly scene with Juliet in the hospital? Melodrama aside, the scene in the sub was effective exactly because Jin’s choice to stay with Sun was an act of true redemption. Given their past which included borderline abusive behavior, neglect, deceit, reconciliation, etc, Jin wasn’t going to leave her that time. That time. There’s your love; real love, human love. Yeah human love can represent the best of us, but it’s also complicated, messy, and frustrating. People make bad decisions in the name of love, are sometimes hurtful in the name of love, but most of the time, or at the same time, it can carry you through the day and is worth dying for. That’s the sub scene. The hospital scene? Smirks, giggles, and happily ever after. That hospital scene totally devalues what happened in the sub. There was no real sacrifice, no real love, no real redemption because they’re all okay now.

I could go on and on with the comparisons. There is no redemption in the sideways world, not when the sideways “redemption” is arbitrarily handed out to the people who happened to hang with Jack.

And it’s not about me being grumpy or being callous or “not having a heart” (as I’ve heard more than a few times), which, to be completely honest completely pisses me off. It’s the LOST writers who didn’t have the heart to finish what they started. The writers chose the easy way out. They pandered and they didn’t trust us to be able to handle difficult endings to people’s lives (you know, reality?). The didn’t have the heart to be true to the characters that you and I recognized, empathized with, maybe even loved. They didn’t have the heart to give those characters a dignified ending.

I wanted an ending that gave honor to the weight of the responsibility and consequence of their tough choices and decisions (right or wrong), an ending that gave honor to their supposed humanity. Not some new wave Deus ex machina kumbaya circle that completely devalued all they went through as individuals.

And man, Daniel at the piano had to be the worst piano-playing acting I’ve ever seen!

So, anyway, I’m going to do one of two things with the finale:

–Pretend the sideways world never happened/existed

–It still isn’t a great ending, but I could believe that we had an Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge ending (a story referenced in Lost). No one survived in the original crash (the end of the show did give us an uncomfortably long shot of empty wreckage, right? right?) The show is what goes through Jack’s head as he lies dying from the crash. The island is a metaphor for his mind: the hatches are passageways into his id, etc. Jack’s subconscious concocts the whole wonderfully elaborate mess so that he can reconcile the relationship he had with his father before he dies. Yeah, that sucks too, but it’s better than sideways.

Bonus coverage:

Another person’s take on the finale:

Nick Mamatas’s alternate ending (which I whole-heartedly endorse).



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7 responses to “LOST: Have a heart

  1. jenlight

    I completely agree.

  2. Matthew Blazi

    I will definitely agree on this, the last 5 minutes have become a sticking poing in the memory of the show.

    You asked what people will remember from the show and I believe it will be the things up to the last 5-10 min of the show. Those images are iconic (bearded Jack yelling they have to go back, the shot of Jack and Locke looking down the Hatch etc). The last 5 min of the show will be talked about like you said, because people believe they took the easy way out. I beg to differ but agree with this, the Flash Sideways became irrelevant when they made it Purgatory for our survivors.

    If they had made the FSW a parallel world where the survivors had a choice of choosing from do you think that would have made it better? I do. At least there would have been more of a choice available to us and maybe even more answers to our questions. I am with you on leaving a lot of the questions unanswered, the show works better that way.

    It just seems that the writers focused more on the relationships of the survivors instead of the science fiction aspect, which I am ok with. This show definitely boiled down to the journey and not the destination. It can best be mirrored by the end of the Dark Tower series, if you shut it off when Jack is walking through the bamboo fields more people will be satisfied.

    But you have to admit, it was a hell of a ride!

    • thelittlesleep

      Absolutely a hell of a ride, still really enjoyed the show. I wouldn’t have been so upset by the end if I didn’t like the show.

      Yes, I agree, the FSW world with an offered choice would’ve been a better end.

      My brother said the same thing months ago (comparing it to the dark tower, and about it being about the journey not the destination).

  3. Matthew Blazi

    I had to sleep on it to really grasp it and I’m not upset and I’m wondering if that is a bad thing or not. I missed the first season but have devoted a lot of time just like everyone else with this show. I was more excited about the fact that these survivors got through it and were able to be at peace. Like Jacob said, they had nothing when they came to the island and they all ended up with each other. This FSW gave us a glimpse of what would have been an epilouge or some other form of Flashforward.

    That’s how I’m seeing it. To me its giving me closer.

    But I’m wondering this: If the FSW hadn’t been occurring during the final season and we only got the final 5-10 reworked as an epilogue, would have that been a more fitting of an ending?

  4. Charles

    I have been doing the same thing for most of the day…namely, trying to salvage this largely brilliant show by either interpreting it as an adaptation of Owl Creek Bridge as you mention or by burying the entire Season 6 Sideways plot alongside Nikki, Paulo, and maybe the “Stranger in a Strange Land” episode (the one w/Jack’s tattoo, Bai Ling, ugh).

    Although I’m changing my mind hourly, I’m favoring Owl Creek right now. That was at least put into play by the writers midway into season 2 (with Locke picking up the book in the hatch, I believe). And the on-island half of the final scene works if I sort of hold my nose and sit through it with that in mind.

    I may have to find ways to deflect objections about all of the events we’ve seen depicted in which Jack was nowhere to be found, but that might be a small price to pay.

    I could even probably talk myself into John Locke, Jacob, and the Man in Black as aspects of Jack (one reason why MIB is never named – too obvious if they called him…what…Jake?).

    There are NO timelines, universes, purgatories, limbos or fairy lands however in which I will ever accept that scene between Jack, Christian and the casket (“everybody dies sometime kiddo…now let’s hug”? WHAT?) as part of the Lost story.

    • thelittlesleep

      “There are NO timelines, universes, purgatories, limbos or fairy lands however in which I will ever accept that scene between Jack, Christian and the casket (“everybody dies sometime kiddo…now let’s hug”? WHAT?) as part of the Lost story.”

      Yeah, Charles, yeah!

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