Even though I haven’t really discussed it in this space, I watched LOST. I saw every episode through season 5 at least twice, and watched all of Season 6 exactly once.
So if you don’t know or care about LOST — or don’t want to be spoiled on the ending! — DO NOT read any further! Again, SPOILER ALERT! (You have been warned.)
Regardless of whether or not anyone liked how the producers of LOST wrapped it up, ultimately they told the story they wanted to tell.
LOST wasn’t perfect, but it was great. J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse, the rest of the writers and directors and producers, and the amazing cast, should be proud of what they accomplished. They raised the bar for network television. They created a quality show that got people talking and thinking about a network show. An entire subculture and industry rose around it to an unprecedented degree for a television show (to some extent a happy accident of timing; the Web wasn’t around for any other hugely popular, complex show). Perhaps most importantly, they went out on their own terms. That was lucky for them because they got to work towards the ending they wanted. Ultimately it was lucky for the fans, because the show really tightened up when they figured out how much time they had to tell each part of the story.
There was some good closure for me in the finale. Generally, I enjoyed it, and enjoyed season 6 as much or more than the rest of the show. I loved watching the show, especially seasons 4, 5, and 6: I knew enough to be engaged, I wanted to see what came next, and every cliffhanger got bigger and weirder. I will admit, however, I felt a little cheated during the finale at the moment I realized what they were finally getting at, and was forced to fully accept that all the little threads about the nature of the island, and what the Dharma Initiative was, and what the deal was with the time travel, and blah blah blah, were never going to be fully resolved. But in some ways that’s sort of like life. You don’t get the answers to all your questions when you’re here. And, frankly, they gave us enough clues that my understanding of the LOST universe is sufficient and satisfying to me.
I actually liked the fact that the characters — every single one of them — were all pretty much wrong about what was happening. Jack, Locke, the smoke monster, Ben, Widmore, Eloise — especially the ones who acted like they did. Not one character really ever had the whole picture, to the extent that they even tried to put it together. (Probably not even Daniel Faraday, or Desmond. Maybe Hurley knew the secret of life, eventually.) And I think that’s probably kind of like life, too.
So the flash-sideways ended up being a space between life and death for all the characters, as seen through Jack’s eye(s). Season 6 was split between what was really happening, and what was happening in the split-second Jack closed his eye at the very end. It really reminded me of what I am currently re-reading (though I hadn’t made the connection until I woke up this morning), the alternate history novel “The Years of Rice and Salt” by Kim Stanley Robinson. That novel is centered on the Tibetan Buddhist concept of the bardo, which is the sometimes chaotic space between life and death, where your destination in the next life is determined. (If you liked LOST, especially the ending, you’d like that book.)
I wonder if Smokey was just pissed that Jacob got a name and he never did.
I still want more James and Miles as cops.
I’m going to miss seeing Evangeline Lilly making that sad face. And Sawyer’s nicknames, and Ben’s sociopathic brilliance, and, well, a lot of other things.
I have many other impressions that I might get to later, but for now —
Extreme closeup: Jack’s right eye, slowly closing.