Posts Tagged ‘alternate realities’

Getting Lost: The End

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

This Is The End: Lost Finale Preview

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

Getting Lost: The Last Recruit

It’s time for another installment of “Getting Lost,” where John S takes you through all the salient questions from last night’s episode of Lost:

First thing’s first: Why were Jin and Sun speaking English in the last scene? I suppose it was to stress what Lapidus pointed out—“Look’s like someone got her voice back”—since Sun could speak Korean but not English before seeing Jin, but I’m not buying it. These two grew up in Korea, lived almost all their lives together in Korea, and Jin couldn’t even speak English until last season—there is no way they would speak English after seeing each other for the first time in three years.

Still, though, wasn’t it nice to see those two together again after all this time? It was, actually. I pointed out last week how Sun kept showing up places slightly after Jin gets taken from them, and I had gotten so used to it that I totally forgot that Jin was at Widmore’s camp until they both showed up at the beach. The scene itself was a little generic, but it was a well-earned sappy moment since those two have been apart for so long and—unlike some relationships I can name on this show—they have been so constant in their desire to reunite. It also served as the nice capper to an episode that was all about reunions.

Tell me about it. How many were there? Continue reading

Getting Lost: Happily Ever After

It’s time for another installment of “Getting Lost,” where John S takes you through all the salient questions from last night’s episode of Lost:

As Bunk Moreland might say: Are you happy now, bitch? You know, it’s almost like the producers said, “Alright, fine, you think this season is starting to stall? Well, we’ll give you Desmond. And then we’ll throw Daniel Faraday in. And then we’ll throw in the clearest explanation of the Alternate Timelines to date.” Unlike “Ab Aeterno” from two weeks ago, which positioned itself as a mythology-heavy episode but didn’t really tell us much that we didn’t already know (with the notable exception being “cork”), “Happily Ever After” was quite the opposite. It was an episode that seemed like an repeat of a typical Lost formula but was actually more illuminated than any episode thus far this season.

How exactly did this seem like a repeat of a typical Lost formula? Well, in many ways this episode was exactly like the first Desmond-centric episode of the series, “Flashes Before Your Eyes.” In that episode, a “catastrophic electromagnetic event”—in that case the explosion of the hatch—sent Desmond’s consciousness into an alternate timeframe, in which he was still with Penny. Even though his life in that timeframe seems ostensibly better, though, he is forced to return because it is his purpose to return to the Island.

The same format, more or less, happened in “Happily Ever After.” In this episode, the electromagnetic event is merely an experiment done by Widmore’s new crew* to see if Desmond can, indeed, survive it. Instead of having the relationship he wants with Penny, he has the approval he craves from Widmore. And instead of simply going back in time, Desmond goes into the alternate version of 2004 that we’ve been seeing all season long. Continue reading

Getting Lost: LA X

For “Getting Lost,” the new series in which John S takes a look at the most salient questions from last night’s episode of Lost, he’s borrowing Tim’s interlocutor style:

What was the deal with that opening? As many were predicting, the opening scene of Lost Season Six was a quasi-replay of the first airplane scene from the show’s pilot. Panning back from the wing, we see Jack looking out the window, and the flight attendant comes by to ask about his drink. In other words, the plan worked, and we are now witnessing an alternate timeline.

Last May, when Juliet set off the hydrogen bomb on the Island, people immediately starting hypothesizing that Season Six would be the story of what happens if and when Oceanic 815 actually landed at LAX (a hypothesis strengthened when the title of the season premiere was announced). My biggest worry about this storyline, though, was that it wouldn’t be interesting. I, for one, never really cared much about these characters’ off-Island lives. Continue reading

Salman Rushdie and Creative Invention

Here are some things I like: rock music, stories about rock music, Greek mythology, modern re-tellings of ancient myths, alternate histories, esoterically allusive novels, trendy novelists. Given these preferences, Salman Rushdie’s The Ground Beneath Her Feet seems like a book written not so much for me as at me: Rushdie’s novel is a re-imagining of the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice set against the backdrop of the musical culture of the 1960s, 70s and 80s. I seem ideally suited to like this book.

And yet there is something very much off about it.

For one, Rusdie begins at the end: The novel opens with, “On St. Valentine’s Day, 1989, the last day of her life, the legendary popular singer Vina Apsara woke sobbing from a dream of human sacrifice in which she had been the intended victim.”

Beginning with the death of one of the two central characters (the “Eurydice” figure), Rushdie then goes backwards to tell us where she came from, how she met her soul mate, Ormus Cama (“Orpheus”), as well as our narrator Umeed “Rai” Merchant (also in love with Vina), and how she became a “legendary popular singer.”

Now, beginning at the end is not inherently bad— many great novels have done it successfully (Infinite Jest, American Pastoral, The Invisible Man). In this instance, though, it is indicative of the way Rushdie jumps around chronologically, never letting the story settle down and simply unfold. Continue reading