I think that LOST will be go down as the most well written television series in history. Some understood why at 10:35 pm last night (a 5 minute moment of silence was observed by most for both mourning and appreciation) and others will come to realize this as time passes and they experience their own awakening. My take on last night’s finale is simply this: perfect and beautiful.
For those who were unsatisfied with last night’s finale (and for those who were), I offer this critical analysis:
Art imitates life.
Art exists as an expression of our daily experiences, the exciting, adventurous experiences as well as the common and mundane. Art is simply a reflection of our daily lives, thoughts and perceptions.
LOST is a work of art. It was a story that captivated a formidable audience for six seasons. Full of mythology, mystery, easter eggs and polar bears, this story struck a chord with people all over the world not because of the aforementioned plot devices, but because of the characters. We fell in love with Claire and Charlie, had a love/hate relationship with Kate, and wondered if Jack would ever get over his Superman complex. We laughed every time Hurley said “dude” and we ladies found Sawyer simply irresistible.
All of these characters were real to us because they carried the same fundamental flaws that you and I do—they were just like us. We saw a piece of ourselves in them. And we wondered if their fate would be telling of our own.
Because art imitates life, we don’t always get the answers we want.
What is the island? Where did the statue come from? Why do pregnant women die before their third term? What is the Dharma Initiative really doing? Who keeps making the food drops? Where did the polar bears come from?
So many questions we hoped to gain answers to, but we didn’t. And I am perfectly content with that. Life rarely affords us answers to the questions that dwell within us. Life doesn’t hand us pretty packaged solutions all tied up in a bow. A good storyteller always leaves questions unanswered. If they didn’t, the audience would be left with nothing to ponder for days, or years, to come. A good story stays with you, spurs you on to think and dream. There is little to think and dream about when one knows all the answers. Which is why I’m glad that LOST, and life, leaves me plenty of mystery.
Life is about people, so a good story is all about the characters.
Damon and Carlton have long proclaimed that LOST is a show about the characters, not the mythology. Sure, the mythology was fascinating! It drew me in; I dreamt up my own theories and searched high and low for the next easter egg or anagram. At the end of the day, however, I cheered for Sun and Jin as their marriage faced joys and trials. I succumbed to tears when I saw Sawyer and Juliet’s final scene in the Season 5 finale. I smiled every time John Locke came on screen. I was drawn to the mythology, but I fell in love with these characters.
At the beginning of Season 6 I stopped theorizing, stopped reading as many blogs, and I just sat back and enjoyed the story for what it was. It was a slow process, but I came to understand that the island was simply the framework and the mythology an ingenious plot device that set the stage for Jack, John, Kate, Sawyer, Jin, Sun, Hurley, and others to shine.
The characters were not dead the whole series, as some have come to assume, but as they did pass on, whether it be on the island, or when they were 80 and in a nursing home, they found themselves drawn to what we know as the Flash Sideways. It was a place where they returned as they were when they met, waiting for everyone to arrive, in their own time, so they could remember the best time of their lives—learning who they really were, and how much they loved each other. Then they moved on. Together.
LOST was all about finding yourself. Realizing what truly lies inside of you, that you are not tied to what people say that you are, but that you can become all that you want to be—something better, different, greater.
LOST was about finding each other. You can’t do life alone. Community is necessary. Living life with others is the only way to make it through the mountains and valleys that are inevitable.
All that ever mattered was that these characters came to believe in themselves and each other. And they learned to love.
May we also learn the depths of who we are both in crisis and peace, and may we surround ourselves with a community of people different than us, like us, and may we love them fiercely.