It’s time for the final installment of “Getting Lost,” where John S takes you through all the questions, answers, themes, motifs, mysteries, ideas, propositions, and quandaries raised by last night’s series finale of Lost:
“What if a demon crept after thee into thy loneliest loneliness some day or night, and said to thee: ‘This life, as thou livest it at present, and hast lived it, thou must live it once more, and also innumerable times; and there will be nothing new in it, but every pain and every joy and every thought and every sigh, and all the unspeakably small and great in thy life must come to thee again, and all in the same series and sequence-and similarly this spider and this moonlight among the trees, and similarly this moment, and I myself. The eternal sand-glass of existence will ever be turned once more, and thou with it, thou speck of dust!’- Wouldst thou not throw thyself down and gnash thy teeth, and curse the demon that so spake? Or hast thou once experienced a tremendous moment in which thou wouldst answer him: ‘Thou art a God, and never did I hear anything so divine!’… The question with regard to all and everything: ‘Dost thou want this once more, and also for innumerable times?’ would lie as the heaviest burden upon thy activity! Or, how wouldst thou have to become favorably inclined to thyself and to life, so as to long for nothing more ardently than for this last eternal sanctioning and sealing?” —Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science
A lot will be and surely has already been said about the Lost finale, specifically the final scenes. People will say that the ending is a cop-out, that the ending is overtly religious, that ultimately the writers did provide a “the Island is the afterlife” or “the Sideways stories are purgatory” answer. They will say that there was not enough discussion of “the rules,” and that countless questions about mythology were not answered sufficiently. Some will say it was too slow; some will say that not enough characters got closure; some will say it was too sappy; some will say that it ruined the whole series. And someone somewhere will probably say that there wasn’t enough Libby.
It was basically preordained, in other words, that this episode would be controversial. But the question to keep in mind in judging it, though, is: Did the finale provide consistent and compelling closure for the series? Continue reading
Well, this is it. We’ve made it to the end: The final episode of Lost, appropriately titled “The End,” airs tonight at 9 PM. I’ve looked back at the series’ past, but now it’s time to look at where it stands now.
Who’s left on the Island? We’re down to a slim, manageable number of characters on the Island: We have Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley, Desmond, Locke 2.0, Ben, Miles, and Claire. Jacob may be around for some of it, but as he said in “What They Died For,” it won’t be much longer. Sayid, Jin, and Sun died in “The Candidate.” Widmore, Zoe, and (probably) Richard died in “What They Died For.” There may be some others from Widmore’s submarine still around, and some miscellaneous Others, but I don’t think we’ll be dealing much with them in tonight’s finale.
Where do they all stand? In a move I thought they’d save for the finale, Jack was all over Jacob’s job offer in “What They Died For,” going through the whole ritual of wine-drinking and light-seeing to become the Island’s protector. The rest of the core four are still wracked with grief over the deaths of their friends. Kate’s old goal of trying to find Claire has seemingly been replaced by trying to kill Locke 2.0. Sawyer, meanwhile, was blaming himself for killing Sayid, Jin, and Sun on the sub. Hurley was just glad he didn’t get stuck with Jacob’s job. Continue reading
One of the raison d’etres of “Getting Lost (Redux)” has been to help see how Lost got from where it was to where it is now. “The Incident” is critical to that on a very basic level, having triggered Season Six’s controversial and polarizing Sideways stories. It is also critical on a more complex story level, having been the first episode to introduce us to Jacob, in all his splendor.
“The Incident” opens with a scene, which I feel like I’ve linked to a dozen times already but here’s one more, that fundamentally changed the tenor of the series. Not only did it confirm that Jacob was in fact real (it’s almost hard to believe that this was ever in doubt), but it also introduced us to the Man in Black. This was the first real indication that Jacob had a rival, and was not the sole entity of power on the Island. The final season has made clear that the characters were brought to the Island as part of a power struggle between Jacob and the Man in Black—a struggle that will ultimately end with Jacob’s death. Continue reading
John Locke is a very intriguing and unusual TV character. Before I started watching Lost, when my only real exposure to the show were the promos and the summaries I got from my AP Calculus teacher (who was the first real Lost fan I knew and, come to think of it, kind of like Locke), I remember thinking it was very strange that this new television phenomenon had, as one of its central characters, a rather elderly, bald gentleman.*
*It’s very strange to think back to my perception of Lost before I started watching—which was fairly recently. For a while, I wasn’t even sure of the characters’ names. At various points I thought Lost featured a character named “Jack Locke,” that Locke was the first name of Matthew Fox’s character, and that “John Locke” and “Jack” were in fact the same person (since “Jack” is often considered a nickname for “John”**). It’s worth remembering that this is how Lost is perceived by those on the outside of this “cultural phenomenon.”
**Although how you can have a nickname that is the same length, in both syllables and letters, as the actual name is another question. Continue reading
The Season Four finale opens with the Oceanic Six, as well it should. The Oceanic Six were the story of Lost’s fourth season: Who were they? How did they get off the Island? What happened to them after they left? Why do they want to go back?
The first scene of “There’s No Place Like Home” takes place as the Oceanic Six—Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sayid, Sun, and Aaron—are flown in from the remote island they were found on. As Jack reminds them of the agreed upon lie, he tells them not to worry if they can’t answer any questions. “They’ll think we’re in shock,” he tells them. To which Sun replies: “We are in shock.” Continue reading
“The Constant” is arguably the most popular episode of Lost ever, which in a lot of ways is quite astonishing. Unlike “Through the Looking Glass,” which had a twist that anyone could have anticipated getting a big reaction from fans, “The Constant” is a mythology-heavy time-travel plot involving one character who wasn’t a regular castmember for the show’s first two seasons, and another who was never a regular. Nevertheless, Desmond and Penny, largely because of this episode, became the most compelling romantic relationship on the show for a lot of viewers.*
*This doesn’t say much for the Jack/Kate/Sawyer triangle, or Charlie/Claire, or Sun/Jin, which were set up from the show’s very beginning.
Desmond’s time-traveling ability had been known since “Flashes Before Your Eyes” in Season Three, but whereas that was a more straightforward flashback, “The Constant” cuts back and forth. He has become “unstuck in time” thanks to a storm that interrupts the helicopter flight back to the freighter. The odd time-properties of the Island* cause people who have recently been exposed to radioactive energy or electromagnetism (like say, in an electromagnetic explosion) to lose their grip on time. Continue reading
So when did you catch on? “Through the Looking Glass” is probably the most pivotal episode in Lost’s history—the point where the question changed from who these people had been to where these people were going. We open on Jack—a bearded Jack—on a plane, heading back to Los Angeles. It’s a familiar feeling, of course, but something is different, and not just facial hair.
No, we’ve jumped three years into the future, and now we’re not just seeing a Jack dealing with spinal surgeries, divorces, and bad dads—we see a Jack who is permanently scarred from what went down on the Island. After the flight attendant gives him a newspaper instead of a drink, he sees something—which we later find out is an obituary—that causes him to drive to an overpass with the intention of jumping off. Before he brings himself to jump, though, a car crashes nearby, and Jack’s hero-complex kicks in, as he saves the victims. Continue reading
There are very few episodes of Lost that I’ve seen twice. This is not because I dislike the show, obviously, but merely because re-watching Lost often seems pointless. Unlike other, denser shows on television, like The Wire or The Sopranos or Breaking Bad, Lost does not seem like a show that would reward repeat viewings. It’s not layered with the same subtlety and depth as those shows, and a lot of the suspense of certain episodes is drained when you know, for example, that Jin has not been captured by “the Others” but by the survivors from the tail of the plane. Continue reading