TV review by Kevin Carr, co-host of The Idiot Boxers
Airs: ABC, Tuesdays, 9pm (finale on Sunday, 9pm)
Episodes: Season Finale
So it’s over. What I consider to be one of the greatest television dramas ever to hit the small screen has finally come to an end, and it did so with a literal bang and just enough ambiguity to melt the social networking sites with wild theories and explanations.
But when all is said and done, it was relatively simple… at least in terms of LOST.
Having watched the show religiously (if you’ll pardon the pun) since the very first episode, I never lost interest. Sure, it got complex. Sure, it got crazy. Sure, it did things that you have never seen on network TV. But that’s what made the show interesting, and that’s what kept it fresh – from tropical polar bears to flashsidewaysverses.
Needless to say, this will contain spoilers, but it’s Monday morning, and if you haven’t watched the series finale yet, you might actually be living under a rock. There… you have been warned.
By the time we see the Oceanic logo of the cargo plane at the beginning of this final episode, appropriately entitled “The End,” I felt the show was less about revealing a surprise ending than reassuring us that it’s not copping out. We have the castaways (or what’s left of them) battling the Locke-Thing on the Island while alternate versions of themselves are in the flashsidewaysverse in slightly different life histories.
“The End” was broken into three parts. The first hour was about the final build-up to the climax. Jack is now the Island’s protector. Both he and the Locke-Thing are searching for Desmond. A now-aging Richard is frantically trying to leave with Miles. And Ben Linus still has no idea where his loyalties lie. It all leads up to Desmond literally tearing open the heart of the Island and the world possibly dropping out from under everyone.
The second part reminded us that this is the show that helped bring a cinematic look to television. Epic shots of the Island and the ocean served as a backdrop for a climactic battle between Jack and the Locke-Thing, and we get delivery on a one-on-one battle that we’ve been waiting for.
The third part rolls out to the explanations. There’s six years of twists to tie up, and the show does so with a decent amount of finesse that won’t please everyone but is still very fair and satisfying. We are told, flat-out, that the Island and the events on it were real, that this is the real universe. It goes along with the very clear message of the series, which even served as an episode’s title last year: “Whatever happened happened.”
For a show that has more than dipped its toe in spirituality for the past six years, it’s impossible to please everyone with its spiritual ending. It has to come across as non-denominational, and it did so the best it could. Even though the final guide was a man named Christian Shepherd seemed to be a silly pun from the first season rather than a message in the finale.
To use the word “purgatory” is too easy because neither the Island nor the flashsidewaysverse was such. Let’s not forget that the Island was real, and whatever happened outside of the flashsidewaysverse happened. Purgatory has such heavy implications of judgement and punishment, and that’s not what the flashsidewaysverse was… rather it was a staging area outside of space and time in which all these connected souls could find each other again, engineered by Hurley, the Island’s new protector.
Of course, the show wouldn’t be LOST without some unanswered questions. We never are quite told how Ben fit into the picture, and that’s left up to interpretation. (Personally, I think he was Hurley’s right-hand man in protecting the Island and orchestrating the flashsidewaysverse, and in the very end he remains there to spend time and repent with his daughter.) It is also not spelled out to us why Jack sees the plane flying overhead. (For me, it meant that was the point where he died, and he then entered the flashsidewaysverse, which starts at the beginning of the season.)
Further questions about why certain people weren’t at the church party (include Walt, Ana-Lucia and the many other supporting characters of the series) can be explained away with more mundane contract and actor issues. After all, Walt possibly looks older than Michael by now… and that dude wasn’t there because he was not identified as one of the “good people” in season two or even a candidate by Jacob.
I’ve got to hand it to the writers to keep some loose ends open just to keep chat rooms, Twitter and the interwebs ablaze with theories. However, all in all, I felt things were wrapped up nicely, letting us know that the Island was real, the characters were in real peril throughout and it wasn’t all a dream.
You will be missed, LOST. But it was a nice way to see you go.