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.