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

by at . Comments

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 don't understand how you can write this review. You are so "lost" its not even funny. First, Desmond was special because he was the only one that could pull the cork of the island which is what allowed smokey to be killed. Remember, thats how MIB became the smoke monster.
Second, The reason smokey leaving the island would be bad is because he had to be human to leave. The only way to make him human was to pull the cork. Its pretty obvious to see that if the cork had not been put back in by Jack, that the world was not going to survive.

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Happychappy: I wish i had more time to respond to your post, but every "detail" you have mentioned there are entirely presumptious. None of those are actual facts. The only fact I can see about Lost right now is that it has alienated 33% of its dire hard fans by refusing to deal with important issues the writers themselves raised.

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THANK YOU! This is the best and clearest review I have seen on the finale. You summed up perfectly: "Does a positive, emotional message make up for a season's worth of dead-end storytelling? I say no." So many people get caught in the happiness of the last 10 minutes, they forgot that the message that came with those 10 minutes had nothing to do with the entire last season. Actually, it had nothing to do with the last 3 seasons. It could have fit with the season one or two, maybe, but since then the writers have tackled other themes (good vs evil being the last and the greatest of them). They were obligated to close that door. The finale felt like they closed a door to another house belonging to the same owner instead.

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The show started with Jack's eye opening and ends with it closing. Isn't it anymore obvious the entire story revolves around the life of Jack Shepherd?

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There will be a sequal for sure.
Having stated that , Lost was not just about the series " Lost " and how individuals developed their lives while lost but Lost is asking us, yes us , " can we develop and evolve our lives from being lost to a life of being " FOUND "

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It amazes me how much detail people have missed, Jacob explained that the island was like a bottle that held the power of life and death, Desmond pulled the plug stopping that power from following its normal channels. As for Desmond being special that is obvious, his body could survive vast electromagnetic fields enabling him to get close enough to pull the plug. Pulling the plug took away Locke's ability making him mortal giving Jack the chance to kill him as planned by Jacob. Desmond on the island thought the sideways world was another reality, but in the other reality Desmond knew they were dead and why they were there.
As for Jacob and the story line abut what would happen if Locke left the island, it was clear Jacob also had limited information, he had learnt everything from what little his mother had told him. For example Jacob did not want people to leave the island yet when Hurley became in charge the rules changed, this is why the plane could leave, also the plane flew off before the island had properly rebooted so to speak. As for why only the MIB became the smoke monster after going down the hole, I am guessing that is because he fell a long way and died but went into the light. You seen a skeleton there (or two it appeared). As for the why the island cured people or interfered with pregnancy its safe to speculate that the island had a strong electromagnetic field (and other types of energy) that could affected peoples health and body in many ways.

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@Ausman. I like your analysis but I don't get the comment about Jesus and Christian teaching. On the contrary Catholic teaching absolutely says this life matters. You only get to the "light" if you lead a "good" life, and even then no-one dies in a pure state of grace. There's still a sideways world to navigate as well to get to the "light". But the better your mortal life, the better yourchances of reaching the light.
I would say the sideways world in Lost, was more of a purification world for those preparing to enter the light, rather than a purgatory. In theological terms, purgatory is not a place you want to be. Maybe some of the survivors got to the sideways world from purgatory. Who knows, but these dimensions as explained by Christian Sheppard are not bound by time. The Lost gang simply existed in the "sideways world." There was no "when".
About Ben, he didn't go with them because he wasn't ready. He still had work to do in sideways world. Maybe in these dimensions, one just knows when one is ready or when one has actually been deigned worthy to advance.
Now clearly everyone in sideways world wasn't a hop skip and a jump from the light but it doesn't matter. Maybe they didn't actually exist, like Jack's son, but this is extra dimensional afterlife stuff so we can't understand it, and the writers just made it all up anyway based on a loose interpretation of religious teachings. The Lost writers have creative license. Suffice to say, "sideways world" served the needs of the Lost crew to get to the light.
@Sue.I agree with your good vs evil analysis. Jacob and MIB didn't fit this dynamic. Both were flawed. Jacob at least was fighting for the good guys in the end while MIB had crossed to the dark side in the end, but both had their own distinct journeys.
They may have ultimately both ended up in their own "sideways world" where they worked out their issues before getting a glimmer of the light.
About MIB I think the reason he was able to be killed as a flesh and blood human, rather than non corporeal is because Desmond's actions reduced him from supernatural form with powers to mortal. His form just changed. The island makes the rules :)

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Oh thank god (and any manifestation of him/her in the church would do) that FINALLY a reviewer said exactly what I've been feeling about this great series of unfulfilled potential. The finale did help in bringing back the spirit of the 1st season but it never atoned for the endless McGuffins lobbed at us week after week. I always felt like the writers were stalling and ultimately became lazy after season 2. And sadly they stiffed the best character of the series in the end - the character that inspired the whole series - the ISLAND.

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Emily: I do agree with you there, and as i said in my previous post, there really seemed to be absolutely no emphasis placed upon the island or the events that transpired there. The only thing that seemed to matter was the resolution of the flash-sideways reality. I know that for many people that was a satisfacroty emotional ending, I however think they created an emotional ending that was in no way a logical progression from the begining of the series. M.L House hits the nail on the head some people took pleasure from delving into the vast array of questions lost raised. I dont think any fan with half a brain expected them to answer them all, however attempting to answer some would have been enough for me. I do get the argument that they did this on purpose, they ended lost the way it has always been, open ended and open to interpretation. However sometimes a degree of closure can make you feel a bit more satisfied about the amount of time you have invested in seeing what the outcome to all of these events would be. Much of what happened in the past series of Lost seems to fall under the horrible categories of either 1. unnecessary or 2. pointless.

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I agree with Dean's comment. I think David Shepard was really Jack Shepard's inner child. The relationship with his inner child helped him resolve his issues with his father, Christian Shepard.

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