Vantage point

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Lost Finale

Needless to say, MAJOR SPOILERS. You've been warned.

On twitter, blogs and message boards, I see two camps, as irreconciliably divided as the Jack & Locke camps or the Jacob and MIB camps. There are those who absolutely hated the LOST finale. there are those who absolutely loved it.

Caught in between are people like me. Overall, I liked it more than I disliked it. But I did not think it was a fitting end to the build-up of six years.

Firstly, the obvious overwhelming negative. The conclusion to the alternate universe or what fans have been calling the "flash-sideways". What a lame-ass cop-out. Not exactly Deus Ex Machina, but -ish. The sideways universe turns out to be a purgatory of sorts. A purgatory where they went after their (spread out over time) deaths. They all were purifying their souls, right-ing wrongs, and what not. For example, Ben looking out for Alex, Kate being (supposedly) innocent, Sawyer becoming a cop and not a con-man etc. And once that was done, they are all moving on together.

Fair enough. Not mindblowing, but cute. What I hated was the disproportionate importance given to it in terms of the time and the audience investment. Half the final season was wasted in that purgatory, and it added nothing to the main storyline. It would have made a good sequel series, or a reunion special a few years down the line. But in a final season where you are supposed to tie it all up, the purgatory storyline was utterly bullshit. Total waste. Why, Darlton, WHY?

The main on-island story on the other hand, I loved the wrap-up. Jack and Locke, always the nemeses, end up becoming carriers of the two opposing forces on the island. The irony of how by turning off the island's energy, MIB made himself vulnerable and mortal. The unwitting reversal of Desmond's role - he who had once saved the island (and the world) from a catastrophe, was now responsible for causing one. Using a gray hair as an indication that Richard is now also mortal.

And of course, the lines were brilliantly written ("Dude, that guy is like worse than Yoda." LOL!) and I genuinely had a good time when the action was on the island. Fast-paced, impactful, layered, and powerful.

And the end. Jack sacrifices himself to save the island. And the show ends the way Matthew Fox says he knew from Season 1 it was going to end - Jack in the bamboo field, with Vincent by his side, his eyes closing, perfectly bookending the show between two symmetric moments.

I have no major complaints about the island happenings. Not just in the finale, but throughout the 6th season. Whenever the action shifted to LA, my mind would wander. I kept focusing on it, convinced that there had to be a point to it. There had to be a tie-in to the H-bomb. Alas, it turned out to be lame-ass purgatory.

If only the writers had just shelved the purgatory idea altogether and made the final season all about Jacob & Jack vs MIB-Locke. Filled in some of the gaps like maybe a scene when the cliff-side cave was created and how/why the names were written. Answered some big questions like what the heck happened with the H-bomb?

Stayed on-island the whole time. No whooshes, no flashes, just simple story-telling. It would have been a perfect end to what was a perfect show.

Instead, they went for something clever and botched the ending. Nowhere as bad as Sopranos or BSG in my opinion (although many of my friends disagree), but yeah, not the classic LOST finale we were expecting.

Oh well. Although the ride didn't end perfectly, it sure was one heck of a ride. And regardless of the uneven finale, I leave a contented and satisfied customer of the entire package.