Over at DadCentric, I talked a bit about "The End", the possibly-aptly-named last episode of Lost. It's still on my mind - I spent an inordinate amount of time over the past few years thinking (and writing) about the show. I wrote a lengthy comment on my own post about it, then realized that I still had a thought, tickling the back of my head. So here's the Director's Cut of that comment.
I'm STILL really torn over the finale. Over at Slate.com, Chadwick Matlin makes the case that without the Flash-Sideways plot, the episode works: it's tense, we get enough answers to the Big Questions, and Jack's sacrifice (and that great, sad, beautiful closing shot) still work.
The biggest problem I had with the whole Purgatory thing was that it served no purpose, other than to make the audience feel better about Jack's death, and to a lesser extent the deaths of Locke, Sun, Jin, Charlie, and Sayid. (Shannon - meh. Good riddance, I say.) "Lost" played around with the notions of faith versus science, but only as it applied to THIS life, not the next. I don't even mind that the Island's power was never really explained. I was thinking of Arthur C. Clarke's quote, that once it reaches a certain level, science becomes indistinguishable from magic - I was really digging the idea that Jughead's explosion cracked open another dimension, and that the Sideways world and the "real" world were colliding (again, taking a cue from Stephen King's "Dark Tower" series). What I did mind was that in the span of 5 minutes, "The End" lurched awkwardly into a "12 People You Meet In Heaven" Hallmark Movie of The Week.
That said, I don't see the finale as being a Series Negater, in the same way that the series finale of Battlestar: Galactica was. And I think that there was some real power behind the idea of giving these characters some peace and resolution. I tweeted last night that what we got was thematically trite and emotionally manipulative - but you know, I really, really loved Ben's final moments. I read a comment on another site that said that at heart, Ben was simply looking to be loved, and to belong; he never stopped being that little boy who offered Sayid a sandwich in prison. I said that the show's Purgatory - and Jack's subsequent Reunion with his people - served no purpose. As far as the mechanics of the show went, with it's tropical polar bears and tattooed sharks and mysterious Others and giant four-toed statues...no, it didn't speak to any of those. We don't even get to know the bad guy's name, fer chrissakes. And yet, I'm glad we got to see that reunion. I liked those people, warts and all. For an hour a week, they were good company. I'm glad we got to see them go out of their world with smiles and light hearts.
I think about death, if not a lot, then enough. I'm 41 in a few days. The days when I can remember being incredulous over the fact that one day I'd be in my forties - well, they're starting to get fuzzy. I remember a conversation I had with a friend, who told me that she didn't really believe in an afterlife. But she did believe - and Einstein will back this up - that we're vessels of a sort, carrying and ultimately becoming energy. Maybe that energy's a soul, maybe it's something infinitely less, maybe it's something infinitely more, but it's in there, and it never really goes away. Energy doesn't, you see. It gets transferred, reformed, absorbed, compressed, stretched. And per the laws of physics, similar energies attract each other. And it's the damnedest thing, contradictory, born of free will and compulsion. It happens when we're alive: that reassuring smile, those compassionate tears, that resolute handshake, the laughter borne on sunny winds, all tendrils of power that reach out and draw us together. We're born, we live. We have questions, most of which never get answered. Then we die, we go away, and yet we never do. It's science, and it's magic. It's comforting.