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
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
The first six episodes of Season Three—the “Cage Era”—are some of the most controversial episodes of Lost. Many fans were upset to see the focus taken away from the beach, while Jack, Sawyer, and Kate were imprisoned off on Hydra Island. On the other hand, the introduction of the Others was a watershed moment for the mythology of the series.
I, for one, always thought the first six episodes—and really eight, when you factor in “Not in Portland” and “Flashes Before Your Eyes,” which aired some time after the first six—were among the best stretches of episodes the show ever did. Continue reading
There are many reasons to be skeptical heading into next Sunday’s Lost finale: the massive expectations, the unevenness of Season Six’s quality, the limited number of successful television finales compared to the vast array of “disappointments,” etc. But there is one reason why I am still confident that the Lost series finale will be memorable for the right reasons: This show knows how to do finales, and “Exodus” was the first example of that.
As I’ve said before, I didn’t watch Season One as it aired, and even as I was catching up on DVD, I wasn’t totally sold on the series. There were moments of high suspense and taut action, but there were also stretches in which the show seemed to be spinning its wheels, and I found the flashback stories almost unbearably trite and boring at times. “Exodus,” the three-hour finale to the first season, was probably the first episode that made me see that there was something uniquely appealing about Lost. Continue reading
There’s no doubt that a large reason for Lost’s initial success was its impressive pilot. Directed by J.J. Abrams, the first episode of Lost has both the intense feel of an action movie, and the enticing suspense of the first chapter of a mystery novel.
So many images from the pilot are obviously memorable. The opening shot of Jack’s eye, the sight of a pregnant Claire on the beach, the scene in which Kate stitches up Jack’s wound, and so many others have become burnt into Lost lore. The episode is stunningly visual—the first line of dialogue (aside from screams and cries for help, of course) doesn’t come until almost five minutes in, when Jacks asks Claire how many months pregnant she is. This comes amidst the famous opening sequence of Jack pulling bodies from the wreckage.
What stands out about these opening scenes, looking back, is how the priority of characters has changed. We see a lot of Michael, Walt, Shannon, and Boone, but Sawyer and Locke don’t even speak in the first hour. Even Vincent the dog seems more important than they do.
This is not to say that the writers and producers didn’t know what they were doing—just that the story they were setting up was clearly very deep. In fact, Abrams’ direction is impressive in its ability to capture the core of characters in single shots. Whether it’s something easy and simple, like Shannon painting her toenails on the beach, something obviously important but cryptic, like Locke sitting on the beach as the rain begins to fall, or something subtly telling, like Sawyer’s silent self-loathing as he smokes a cigarette, it’s clear that there is a very defined view of all these characters.* Continue reading