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Six years ago, Oceanic flight 815 crash landed on a mysterious tropical island. This event was the start of a fantastic journey as her passengers not only had to learn how to survive, but they had to unravel the mysteries that the island possessed. That journey came to an end last Sunday, as millions of die hard fans (now known as Losties) gathered around their television sets to watch the final two and half our episode.
I was one of those Losties, a somewhat reluctant viewer who got wrapped up in the mystery of this epic television experience. Not much has been said here about the show or its final season, but I have to believe that there are more like me here and I wanted to provide a forum for fans and non fans alike to discuss the show. That being said I know that there are a few of us who have never watched a single episode and I also know that Hilden admitted to me that he was way behind on this final season of the show. So I will be using the Spoiler Tag in places and I encourage those who want to post on the subject to do the same. Type the word “spoiler” in brackets, then the text you want to hide, and follow it with “/spoiler” also in brackets.
LOST was the brainchild of Damon Lindelof, J. J. Abrams and Jeffrey Lieber and since it’s pilot in September of 2004, each episode had an average of 16 million viewers. The two part pilot was one of the most expensive in television history, costing an average of 10-14 million (most one hour tv dramas cost around 4 million to produce). The show received critical success and even won several emmys.
The show had a unique way of telling its story. In the beginning, each episode had a flashback of one of the central characters. Here viewers would learn more about the people stuck on the island and this would create a deeper meaning and expansive mystery. Later the writers switched this tactic and produced flash-forwards as they told the story of six people who managed to leave the island. Finally this last season we saw the use of a flash-sideways story of a parallel time in place where none of the events ever took place. It was this continual change of pace and the cliff hanger endings that kept viewers coming back and wanting more.
LOST was a show that never dumbed things down for their audience. In fact the writers did just the opposite. Many mysteries about the island, who lived there, and what was going on were revealed throughout the show. Viewers were encouraged to come up with their own answers and discuss the mystery of the island. Many times these theories were proven wrong, and many other times viewers were left with more questions than answers.
The show also contained several Easter eggs for its viewers to discover. Let’s start with the names of many of the characters as they were taken from famous philosophers and scientists: John Locke (after the philosopher) and his alias Jeremy Bentham (after the philosopher), Danielle Rousseau (after philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau), Desmond Hume (after philosopher David Hume), Juliet Burke (after philosopher Edmund Burke), Mikhail Bakunin (after the anarchist philosopher), Daniel Faraday (after physicist Michael Faraday), Eloise Hawking (after physicist Stephen Hawking), George Minkowski (after mathematician Hermann Minkowski), Richard Alpert (the birth name of spiritual teacher Ram Dass) and Charlotte Staples Lewis (after author C. S. Lewis). Several mentions and throwbacks to famous works of literature were also used throughout the show, most prevalent was the Benjamin Linus referring to himself as Henry Gayle a nod to the Wizard from “The Wizard of Oz.”
[spoiler]For many LOST fans Sunday’s final episode was a chance to get answers to all the questions the show had given them. Sadly, and yet predictably, this episode didn’t really have these answers. What was the island, what power does it possess, who really was the man in black? These and many other questions were tossed aside as viewers spent most of their time watching events unfold in the flash-sideways story. I for one truly enjoyed that as the final episode of the show revealed what the show was truly about. While the mystery of the island kept viewers coming back, it was the relationships between the survivors that were at the crux of the story. [/spoiler]
[spoiler]The leader of the survivors is a surgeon named Jack Sheppard. As a man of science he struggles with an understanding of his own faith, a faith that has been shattered by a feeling of never being good enough for his father. Jack always looked for a way to help others, all the while struggling with ways to help himself. In the flash-sideways Jack is himself a good father, and his son David is a promising musician. But this world for Jack isn’t real, and neither is it real for any of the other survivors. One by one they reconnect with one another and meet in the church where Jack was to have a funeral for his father Christain. Here his Father reveals that he and everyone there was dead, some had died before Jack did, and others way past his death. But this was a place that they created so they could all reconnect and move forward together. It is never explained if this place was purgatory or not, but it is clear from a stained glass collage of religious symbols in the church that this is place for all religions. Together they reconnect in love and move on toward a bright light. [/spoiler]
[spoiler]Many people I knew were very upset, “what about the island?” What happened on the island was real, and why it happened isn’t nearly as important as HOW it affected those who went through it. Life is like that in so many ways. It’s not what we do or where we live, but HOW we connect with those around us. It is the interpersonal relations that I have with others that ultimately determine my success in life. I know many people who are rich beyond their wildest dreams, and yet lack any genuine friendships. For Jack it was a journey of finding his own faith, for in the end he truly believes in what he is doing and others believe in him. [/spoiler]
[spoiler]Like so many other LOST episodes, this one was brilliantly acted and had more touching moments than I can imagine. There were more than a few moments when I found myself choking up as characters reconnected and rediscovered the love they had for one another. As an avid fan who had already bought into and connected with these people, I found these moments to be quite powerful and, as Mitch put it so well, very beautiful. [/spoiler]
[spoiler]Looking back at the successful final episodes of some of my favorite shows, they too dealt with the relationships of the characters we loved: Captain Picard joining his crew as they played poker and was told that he was always welcome, Bj Honeycut (from MASH) placing rocks on the ground that spelled “Goodbuy” as Pierce flew home, or when Sam Malone turned the lights off for the last time at Cheers. Bittersweet reminders of the characters we loved and how we will be missing them. [/spoiler]
[spoiler]The writers even gave their die hard fans something they could continue to talk about and go back to. The story still feels open ended and the remaining questions only make for years of discussions and the possibilities for new story telling. I for one applaud that and I’m looking forward to not only purchasing the series on blu ray, but reliving the experience by watching it with my son. Bravo LOST, and well done…[/spoiler]