Lost Finale Review, Take Two: What About the Storylines?

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My TV Fanatic colleague, M.L. House, stayed up half the night and wrote an in-depth, interesting review of the Lost series finale. I recommend all readers check it out and I agree with many of his takes on various characters and developments.

But this is final episode ever of Lost! It requires multiple critiques from multiple points of view. That's why I must chime in and that's why I must focus my negative review on storyline inconsistencies from season six.

Let me start by saying: I'm not an answers guy. I've been hooked on Lost ever since the pilot due to the incredibly layered characters created by the show. I tuned in to the finale interested in their journey above all else. My problem with the final 10 minutes and the resolution of the Sideways World is not that it ignored certain aspects of Lost mythology (I don't care who Alvar Hanso is, do you?).

It's that it had nothing to do with the plot of season six.

Yes, on a grand scale, everything we witnessed on the island mattered. The actions and decisions by these survivors helped them arrive in an after-life community that allowed them to "remember and let go," as Christian put it. They can move on now. Relationships formed and lessons learned have made it possible for Jack and company to see the light. I can get behind that overall message. I believe in it.

Sawyer

But the final season sold us a battle between good and evil. It seemed awfully ambitious, but Lost set up a scenario in which the individual journeys of these characters would play a role in an ongoing struggle between humanity's light and dark sides, as represented by Jacob and The Man in Black (MIB). In this sense, the castaways mattered above all else... but we were also invested in the mythology that played out each week.

Now, though? All that feels like a waste. Think about a couple specific storylines that got us to the finale, and then ponder their resolutions:

  • MIB is pure evil. He cannot get off the island or else all will perish. This storyline came to an end when MIB was made human and gunned down by Kate. Would mankind truly have ceased to exist if he got off the island? We'll never know, and we never really had any basis for believing it would, considering the Sideways World was in existence this whole time and made it obvious that something existed outside of life on the island.
  • Desmond is special. Was he, really? In the Sideways World, it was actually Charlie that pushed Desmond toward enlightenment. On the island, we were led to believe that Desmond would hold the key toward stopping MIB. But he was lowered randomly into the light cave, and didn't actually know what to do. His actions didn't save anyone at all.

These were major focuses of season six. Do you feel like they had a point, though? Or were they just plot devices meant to kill time until everyone could assemble at the church?

Clearly, an ending that brings up issues such as the after-life will be left open-ended and full of mystery. That's fine. That's not my issue. I simply take exception to the fact that Lost baited us with a sixth season dichotomy between Jacob and MIB... and then switched it up at the end to essentially say: taken as a whole, events mattered. But individually? Eh, don't worry about what Eloise Hawking's role in the Sideways World meant.

There's a difference between mythology and storytelling. I was happy to not know many details of the former; but any quality TV show must first and foremost tell stories each week in which viewers are invested. Lost accomplished this, but it failed to pay them off.

Looking back on the season, I now feel duped by stories that didn't go anywhere. Take David Shepard, for example. He wasn't even real. The show made us care about a relationship that didn't exist, just to get us to Jack's eventual revelation.

It's too easy to say the show was all about its characters all along, as the producers and many fans (myself included) have done, and, therefore, an ending that focused on their grand journey paid off six seasons perfectly well.

That's as much of a narrow-minded cop-out as those that believed only a list of answers would bring the show to a satisfactory conclusion. There is a middle ground, or at least there should be. I wasn't going into the finale hoping for tiny bits of island mythology to be revealed. But I was going in expecting my investment in specific storylines (Jacob, MIB, Desmond) to be made worthwhile.

I left it with a message about community and love and relationships and letting go. But also with this nagging complaint: Does a positive, emotional message make up for a season's worth of dead-end storytelling?

I say no.

Review

Editor Rating: 2.0 / 5.0
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I agree with the writer's view points. I just finished all the last episode of season six last night (watched on netflix) and I came to the same conclusion. The ending really didn't have a lot to do with the storyline up to that point. I was led to believe Jacob and the MiB were representatives of good and evil and that the people brought there were part of some bigger scheme or battle between the two and what they did would ultimately mattered. At the end it seems all of that was just a common experience that brought them together after death and really didn't matter at all.
I was hooked from the beginning but I think the writer's were exceptional at keeping us hooked but had no clue at all about how to end the whole thing. Perhaps too much meaning had been assigned from the viewers while it was beign aired and the writer's were too scared to give a definitive meaning that would exclude a good portion of the viewer's 'theories' on the show and copped out with a really dull ending to the story.

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well apparently it's late to post my comment regarding LOST since it was over year ago and no one will see the comment but what the heck it's totally worth trying:) in my opinion LOST was a phenomena and the end was perfectly good, if you think about it for a minute how else they could have ended it?! the happy usual ending? everybody go home and live happily ever after?!! well that would seem ridiculously spoon-feeding ending which i think we all agree that wont be suitable to end such a great story. well maybe there were questions that were not answered but that's the beauty of the show somehow it leaves you to understand it from your own perspective and i mean we have to look at it as a whole and not to focus on tiny tiny details! we cant deny the fact that it was so entertaining and exciting for the whole six years:) and regarding Claire and the physics didn't you understand that after all she could make her way out of the island along with Kate, sawyer, miles..etc so they didn't need to show us that she ended up raising her Aron!! anyway everybody has his own point of view but i speak for myself i really admire this show, i consider it one of the best TV shows ever done!!

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I only have ONE question about the entire series, because I can accept my own theories about every other aspect and it all makes sense to me - APART FROM - that one scene, I think in Season 4, when Jack is in the hospital, and the SMOKE alarm goes off, and Christian Shepard is sat in the chair. If the MIB couldn't leave the island... what the hell?

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I was beginning to get worried about the show when we were introduced to jacob and MIB. I just groaned because i knew where this was going to go. Like the finale of BSG we were given an emotional finale which totally lacked any intellectual/rational closure. I am all for interpretation and different ways of looking at things and don't think giving actual answers to everything is a good plan. The ending of this smacked of total cop out. All the characters despite their trials and tribulations end up meeting in a church in purgatory all smiley smiley and happy clappy. 'Christian shepherd' yes christian shepherd you heard correctly 'shepherds the flock and opens the big church doors to let in the light. The bible belt will lap this one up for years. I just sat gobsmacked and utterly awed at the complete inane stupidity of sitting through 6 years of this to end up with an utter cliche.

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Michelle....you are stupid

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@ DB
some of your questions can be answered... The Numbers: The numbers are part of the "Valenzitti equation" which accurately predicts the end of humanity. Each number represents a factor in the equation. Basically tests were done withthe Dharma inititive in hopes to change these numbers, but the numbers didn;t change (and they were broadcasted each time an experiment or whatever was completed, something like that). From what I understood, each lostie had a number assigned to them according to the degrees ont he lighthouse or something, so each lostie had a number and therefore was part of this equation... Aaron being born on the island: Claire was pregant before she got on the island, and the effects of the island didn't get to her so she was able to have the kid (Juliette said so)
Also women died during pregancy due to some explosion of something in the past, I can;t recall now, but they were able to had kids at one point, but due to this explosion, they couldnt (Maybe because of residual energy?) It was clearly pointed out at some point....look it up cuz I'm too lazy right now Time travel: Ben Linus "moved the island" with the donkey wheel which tapped into the electromagnetic activity of the island...
However, I dont know why some people returned to present day while others returned to the past. Claire raising the baby: Damn, this is really the only question I have no clue towards.
Could be that the psychic was just crazy.... If MIB left the island: Well since MIB is very manipulative, it seems that if heleft the isnald he would be able to manipulate everybody and currupt them, think of him as the little devil on your shoulder telling you to do something bad...Also, the story of Jacob and MIB brings up some stuff about religion. For exaple, Jacob blindly followed his mothers orders, whereas MIB questioned them, almost as one who follows religion blindly versus an athesist or whatever that questions things...

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The Psychic told claire she needed to be on that flight becuase he knew it was gonan crash ont he island. He said that Claire needed to raise the baby, and nobody else. claire was determined to give up the baby, so to stop her the psychic made her take the flight knowing that she was gonan crash and have to care for the baby herself, although his plans didn;t quite work out as expected...

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OK I have watched every episode for the last six years. I have listened and read every theory but heres how I saw it. They did die in the plane crash but rather than move on to the afterlife they needed to resolve their issues (or flaws) to see the light. The island was a place that they needed to choose between good and evil by way of banding together and ultimately making a person sacrifice to ensure they removed the flaws that had consumed them. They couldnt do this alone they had to do it together. Jacob is the good and MIB is the bad. Everyone that made that personal sacrifice for one of the other people died....or moved on to the sideways world to ultimately wait for the other people to then move on as a group. In summary they died and had to resolve their problems with a personal sacrifice to see the light together and cross over. The rest of the episodes where just thrown in for action TV.

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Desmond He was special but he made a mistake. The rules of time do not apply for him and his visions of FS and real world were the same. He thought he was going to bring everybody to the FS but that didnt happen. He did not realize that the FS was part of the after life so technically he almost did kill everyone to go there. Pretty funny if you ask me. He was also the only one who could survive the unplugging of the cork.

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Its amazing to me how many people missed the answers.
ELOISE: In the real world she knew everything that happened because she lived it. In 1977 she saw everything that happened before the bomb exploded. So she did the same things to make sure faradays destiny came true and it came full circle just like she saw. In the FS she knew everything because she died in the real world and saw faraday and got her memories back, which is why she told des he wasnt ready. She wanted to keep faraday as long as she could because she knew what she did to him in their real life.
WALT
As for Walt its pretty simple that the Others feared walts powers to be used against them and because he was not on jacobs list he was shipped off the island with Michael. Plus not to mention the actor was getting old
AARON
Lets see what else the the crazy dude that told claire she needed to be on that plane was in fact crazy, it was shown in an episode with mr eko that the guy was full of crap.
STATUE
The statue was built by former followers of the island, much like dharma, much like losties, much like the people Mother destroyed. Pretty self explanatory every time someone gets close to finding the secrets to the island they are killed.
BOMB
The bomb did not kill them the bomb simply caused them to go back to the original time period...pretty obvious
THEY HAVE NOT BEEN DEAD THE ENTIRE SERIES
They did not die in the plane crash. They did not die at the end of the episode, they died when they died. Jack did die he died doing the thing he was so obssessed with and that is FIXING THINGS. He fixed the island and saved his friends and we got to see him finally let go with his father in one of the most touching moments i have ever seen on tv.
GOOD VS EVIL
This was clearly shown in "across the sea". Jacob and MIB were not the gods of the island. They were regular people just like our losties. Except they were duped by their "mother" and yes it is left open for interpretation but the answers to the base story is there. The island does need protection. And she brought jacob and mib to the island to take her spot. It was a battle of good and evil MIB wanted to destroy the island Jack wanted to save it. I really dont get where people are saying we didnt get that battle.

Lost Quotes

Find a suitcase. If there's anything you want in this life, pack it in there, because you're never coming back.

Ben [to Jack]

Why there is a dead Pakistani on my couch?

Hurley's mom
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