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The definitive host: Lost in LOST

The definitive host

de·fin·i·tive host (duh-fin'eh-tiv) n. 1) An organism where a parasite undergoes the adult and sexual stages of its reproductive cycle 2) Someone you go to for interesting stories and/or facts, and puts on one hell of a dinner party 3) This blog, devoted to science and other geeky subjects

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Lost in LOST

NOTE: If you do not watch LOST, or have not watched the series finale yet, please be advised that this post may not be for you.

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I have been an avid watcher of the TV show LOST since the very beginning. I was amazed throughout the entire first season, slightly disappointed with the second, and was heavily disheartened by the third. But, when the third season ended with one of the best scenes, I once again dared to hope.

The fourth season got much better, and continued into the fifth. This last and final season, number six for the series, had its ups and downs, but changed up the formula in a very interesting way. And, last Sunday, it aired its final episode.

Recently, I re-watched the final episode and took notes to address some of the good, the bad, and the weepy sprinkled throughout the episode. Also, each segment will be divided by an important quote (in bold) from the episode.

And be warned, SPOILER ALERT!

For my re-watch, since I already knew the ending to the story, I was able to keep an eye out for some references that didn't occur to me during my initial watch, but gently hinted at the stepping stone answer.

Firstly, the ending has been discussed by countless people and will continue to be debated for a long time to come. People have praised it, and people have chastised it, but you all have to appreciate what they did. This is my attempt to explain it to those of you who are confused (I will get to the rest of the episode in a bit).

I've been told lots of random theories about the ending from friends, and this is my take on what makes the most sense.

Jack - "There are no shortcuts, no do-overs. What happened, happened. Trust me, I know. All of this matters."

The quote speak volumes. Just like they did with the nuclear bomb explosion at the end of the last season, they could NOT simply re-do the timeline and forget everything that we had seen on the island. Everything that happened on the island was important to their growth as individuals.

One of the most important things to realize about the flash-sideways, is that TIME is RELATIVE.

Just because we were seeing them all together at the same time as the "present" time on the island, does not mean they were happening simultaneously. With the flash-sideways universe (much better name than purgatory or way-station or stepping stone in my opinion), time no longer matters to you. When you die, time ceases to exist.

While Jack died in the forest, many survivors of Oceanic flight 815 lived many years and died at their own time. One example clearly illustrates this from when Ben and Hurley were talking at the church.

Hurley - "You were a real good number two."
Ben - "And you were a great number one, Huge."

This hints that they lived many years after Jack's final moments on the island, perhaps even centuries after.
NOTE: It has been revealed that on the complete series box set, there will be a special feature (about 10-14 minutes long) about the Ben and Hurley years on the island

Another note on the ending - I would have preferred someone else in the Deus Ex Machina role, other than Christian Sheppard. I believe Desmond, as our guide through the time-space continuum, would have been an amazing fit.

But, that said, the conversation between them in the multi-faith church (did you notice all the faith symbols scattered across the room and in the stained glass window? See the picture above) had a lot to cover and I thought they did it relatively well. It involved a lot of careful wording to let the audience know what was going on, and while they painted with broad strokes as to not focus on any religion to much, it was a little heavy handed at times.

Here's the entire church conversation between Jack and Christian for you to examine:

Christian: Hello Jack.
Jack: I don’t understand. You died.
C: Yeah. Yes I did.
J: Then how are you here right now?
C: How are YOU here?
J: [realization hits] I died, too.
C: That’s OK. It’s OK, son [hugs]. I love you son
J: I love you, too, Dad. Are you real?
C: I sure hope so. Yeah, I’m real. You’re real, everything that’s ever happened to you is real. All those people in the church. They’re all real, too.
J: They’re all dead?
C: Everyone dies some time, kiddo. Some have been before you, some long after you.
J: Why are they all here now?
C: There is no now, here.
J: Where are we, Dad?
C: This is a place that you’ve all made together so that you could find one another. The most important part of your life was the time that you spent with these people. That’s why all of you are here. Nobody dies alone, Jack. You needed all of them, and they needed you.
J: For what?
C: To remember, and to... let go.
J: Kate... she said we were leaving.
C: Not leaving, no. Moving on.
J: Where are we going?
C: Let’s go find out.

What I think you need to take from all of this, is that the theme of this season was all about letting go and moving on. Think about that for a second: Letting go, and Moving On.

Every main character from season one let go of their personal baggage and was able to move onwards. These are only the main Losties who were at the church in the end and were characters from season one onwards.

Sawyer - Killed the real Sawyer and found love
Sayid - Embraced who he was and found redemption in love
Kate - Finally stopped running, and found love
Hurley - Found his purpose (helping people) and found love
Locke - Finally accepted that which he could not change and accepted help
Jack - Embraced his destiny and his true purpose, and yes, found love
Charlie - Embraced his destiny and found love
Claire - Embraced motherhood and found love
Sun - Became a more independent and self-sustaining woman, and re-affirmed her love
Jin - Realized that work was not all the was to his life, and re-affirmed his love

**I am not including Shannon or Boone, as their story lines were not as prevalent as the others**

Do you see a pattern there? Love. While it may not necessarily be romantic love, but I think it is more about a connection. To be "woken up," it needs to be done by someone who had a profound impact upon your life.

These awakenings caused a lot of crying by millions of people. Therefore, here they are in order (for those interested).

1) Sun and Jin remember in the hospital
2) Sayid and Shannon in the alley
3) Kate, Charlie and Claire giving birth to Aaron
4) Locke in the hospital moving his toe
5) Sawyer and Juliet at the vending machine
6) Locke and Ben outside the church (not an "awakening," but still very moving)
7) Hurley and Ben outside the church (also not an "awakening," but very emotional)
7) Jack and Christian

Desmond - "No one can tell you why you are here but you"

Now, here are a few unanswered questions from the finale that were quite obvious to me upon a second viewing.

- Did everyone when they were "awakened" remember their deaths?
- Was Richard indeed ageing (remember the grey hair?) because of Jacob passing on his duties to Jack?
- How did Lapidus survive being struck by a large door underwater in a submarine, make it to the surface on pontoons and wait for rescue for a day or two?
- How did Boone "awaken"?
- How did the cave turn the Man in Black into the Smoke Monster, if he was unconscious (or dead) and all that is down there is a pool with a cork in it?
- If Eloise in the flash-sideways universe knew that it was a type of purgatory, why didn't she leave when she "awoke"?
- Why didn't Miles, Farraday or Charlotte "awaken"?
- Why after Jack and Smoke-Locke's battle did it suddenly stop raining?
- Why didn't Jack bless the water in the Oceanic bottle before giving it to Hurley (like Jacob did for him, and his mother did for Jacob)?
- Wouldn't Richard be more terrified by being on an airplane for the first time in his life?
- Why did Kate change from her dress at the concert (and the one she was wearing in the car with Jack), to another one in the church?

Hurley - "It takes as long as it takes."

With all those answered question from the finale, and all the countless mysteries that were left unsolved (there are tons), what did I think?

I believe that Lost ended the only way it could have - focused on the characters. Every main character had a few moments in the massive finale, and saw their personal stories get resolved before moving on.

Do not get me wrong, I love science fiction and was thrilled when they introduced time-travel, alternate universe, etc... into Lost. But, what you always must remember, is that Lost is a show about people. Granted, the people are in rather bizarre situations on an island with killer black smoke that can assume the form of the deceased.

One final note - for those who watched in the U.S. or did not see ads for what was coming up next on television, your probably saw something like this:

It was released yesterday that it was NOT planned by the producers or creators of the show. The final shot was supposed to be on Jack's eye, and that was it. The images of the Oceanic flight wreckage was placed their by ABC executives to give viewers a chance to collect themselves and think before the news. These shots, however, let some people to believe that no one survived the initial place crash and the entire thing was a lie.

It was not their intention, just an ill-fated decision by ABC executives. It all still happened.

With all the good, bad and mysteries left unexplained, Lost was still a very impressive show. But, it was not perfect and they did stumble quite a few times ... remember Jack's tattoo episode?

Still, it was a hell of a ride.

The definitive host

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At May 27, 2010 at 1:47 PM , Blogger Daniel Manly said...

Very impressive synopsis and analysis Dave.
I tend to agree (what a surprise) with almost everything that you wrote.
The reasons why Lost was such a good show, was the fact that it ended on such a high note and that it will continue to be discussed. Because lets face it, it has been 4 days since the finale and people are still talking and questioning everything in the finale. That is what really illuminates how good a finale it actually was.
True, all the questions were not answered. Ones that stick out in my mind are:
1) What is the deal with the numbers?
2) Why didn't Walt appear in the finale?
and finally
3) How did Eloise become the "time-cop" and why didn't she help to wake the survivors up?

Overall, great post and extremely well done!


At May 27, 2010 at 2:18 PM , Blogger Hefnatron said...

Well said David! I really enjoyed the final episode. While I get why some people didn't care for it because of the religious themes, I don't understand the people that are fuming mad about it — claiming it was a cop out. What the hell did they want? Why would any self respecting Lost viewer want ALL the answers revealed?
One of the greatest things about life is mystery. We'll never be able to figure everything out or get answers to all our questions. Even Einstein once said life without mystery would be extremely boring. I always felt this was a major underlying theme on Lost, and have always assumed that not everything was going to be answered. Fans who are pissed about not knowing what was in Ben's box or why the Smoke monster sounded like cicadas — were too obsessive and read in waaaay too much into the little things. In the end, I think they completely overlooked the big picture of the series – the characters.
Oh, and I've read that a Walt deleted scene from the finale might be on the DVD as well.


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