Tuesday, May 25, 2010

LOST: The end

I have to say after some time to reflect that I think LOST is the greatest TV Show of all time (narrowly beating out Cheers). The finale will be talked about and many will complain that it did not live up to the hype, but they will all be wrong. Let me tell you why.

LOST was not about philosophies nor was it about Free Will versus Destiny. No, LOST was about the characters. It was about people. And for the first time in recent memory the characters in the show were real. That is why there was a debate and Free Will versus Destiny. That is why so many philosophies are involved in this show because people act according to their philosophies. It is also why LOST does not tie up a neat ribbon and answer all of the questions.

I have to admit that at first, I was a little disappointed that everything was not answered for me. But, I also know that I liked the ending, and that left me conflicted. However, upon further reflection, I like the fact that the vast majority of questions were not answered. I don’t want some Hollywood guys telling me the answers to life. That was the whole point of the Finale anyway. “No one can tell you why you are here”. And it is a good thing because judging from the Inclusivism in the final chapel scene with icons from all sorts of religious faiths, I would not like the answer these Hollywood guys would try to sell me. They wrapped up each characters’ personal stories and let us all now debate the things that happened. Were the numbers really cursed as Hurley believed? The show does not give the answers because it is not important. Hurley believed they were cursed and it affected the way he lived. That is all that mattered. Was Boone a sacrifice demanded by the island or was it just a death that happened? It doesn’t matter because what was important was that Locke believed it was a sacrifice, and it affected the way he lived.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not arguing for relativism here, nor do I think LOST is. There are right answers to the question of cursed numbers, especially in real life. But the show recognizes that people act on beliefs. What they believe is indeed the most fundamental thing, and it affects all their decisions. This is true in the real world and it is why LOST is a great show.

If you were watching LOST because you thought it was a big mystery that would be put together for you at the end, then you are probably pretty angry right now. Six years is a long time to invest in a mystery that has no real end. But if you were watching because the characters, then you are probably satisfied. They got an ending, and six years is not a problem to invest in the joys and failures of people.


Stephen said...

You bring up an interesting point about the characters and purpose of the show. However, the more I reflect back on the finale, the more I dislike it. I admit, as you address above, the mystery is what drew me into this show, it's also what kept me watching the show. The problem is that they changed it to a character-driven drama seemingly at the last minute. They resolved character issues, but did not provide any resolution to what I believe was the central character for the entire six years, the island. I don't need all the answers, but it seems that the producers copped out on all of the mystery and just bait and switched me into a character drama and said "that's what it was all along". In that case, it did not matter what those characters were doing for the past six years, it only mattered that they were interacting with one another. The island and the mysteries were just set pieces and had no bearing on the outcome. This completely takes me out of the world they have created and any relation I had to the characters comes crashing down along with the world which was created.

Lee said...

I understand your point of view. I too wanted to learn more about the island. But I think it was always a character drama. The first season started with flahsbacks about the characters. Every season followed the same pattern, you follow a character in flashbacks and in the present. We weren't learning about the island, we learned about the characters. In the end, we learned as much about the island as each character did, and nothing more.

I think one of the things that made people upset is that sometimes ABC marketed the show as about the island. How many times did they play the "Where are we?" quote from Charlie. Then the final season was pushed as "All your questions answered", which promised too much. So, I can understand where you are coming from, but I think the writers did exactly what they were planning to do the whole time.