Tuesday, May 25, 2010
See You In Another Life, Brother
Desmond was right
Partings and Meetings
In the sideways world, Desmond’s project was gaining traction and we were treated to multiple reunions of friends long-parted. The grin on Hurley’s face when he first saw Charlie melted my heart, but the reunion between Claire and Charlie and between Sawyer and Juliet really cranked up the waterworks for me. I was deeply moved in a different way by Ben’s contrite confession to Locke and Locke’s offer of forgiveness. By the time we reached the church with Jack, I knew we were close to resolution. Jack’s reconciliation with his father was brief, but still touching and cathartic.
Where they left things
If you are someone who was frustrated by the finale, I neither share your disappointment nor understand it. I acknowledge that the show didn’t answer every single mystery. Why was Walt so special? What was up with Jacob’s cabin? Why do women die during childbirth on the Island? Why was there a Dharma supply air drop in 2004? What makes Eloise Hawking so creepy?
This is what I say to that -- So what? Yes, I was hoping for a few more answers to some of those questions too. But having those answers now would not change the way I feel about the finale or the way I feel about the series as a whole. I was more invested in the characters than I was in the questions. Life is full of mystery, and sometimes we don’t get all of the answers. I think the audience has taken for granted just how many questions the show did answer. Furthermore, part of the fun of Lost was debating and theorizing about the unanswered questions. Think of the unresolved questions as a parting gift that allows the discussion to continue. Fittingly, the finale focused firmly on the characters. Isn’t that they way it should have been? Didn’t you want a happy ending? One reason I was so delighted by the episode is that I didn’t actually think we would get a happy ending! Now that the story has been told, do any of those unanswered questions still matter?
Why it matters
To me, Lost has been the best television show of the past decade, and deserves a place as one of the great television shows of all time. The trippy narrative structure, the great cast, the mind-bending mysteries and the cool sci-fi elements all contribute to its greatness. But I think its real greatness lies in the themes and issues it explored. Destiny, free will, faith, redemption, renewal, forgiveness, sacrifice – has any other show explored all of these themes so deeply and intimately? I’m glad that the finale embraced the spirituality of the show.
I’ve been a fan of Lost from the very beginning. Although I still consider the first season to be the very best of the series, the last two seasons of Lost have been particularly resonant for me. We’ve watched as Jack has evolved into a Man of Faith. As he began his quest to return to the Island, he never understood exactly what he was doing or why he was doing it, but he took a leap of faith and believed that there was a purpose behind it and that he was fulfilling a calling that was entrusted only to him. In the last 18 months, I’ve experienced circumstances in my own life that have led me to grapple with the same questions that Jack faced. Do things happen for a reason? Do we have a purpose? Will these present trials be woven together like one of Jacob’s tapestries into a greater whole? I’ve always believed that the answer to these questions is “yes,” but watching Jack’s journey has been a great source of comfort and encouragement. I’ve seen online multiple stories of others who have faced their own life struggles and have found the same kind of consolation.
I will miss many things about Lost. I will miss Sawyer’s nicknames. I will miss Michael Emerson’s alternately creepy and hilarious portrayal of Ben Linus. I will miss the love story of Desmond and Penny. I will miss the amazing music by Michael Giacchino. But most of all, I will miss the current of hope that consistently ran through the show. Whether it was the hope of rescue, the hope of redemption, or the hope of chasing destiny, the show was at its best when the characters looked beyond their present tribulations to the promise of something beyond. Perhaps nothing embodies this sense of hope better than the launching of the raft in the first season, one of my all-time favorite scenes from Lost. As the survivors celebrate the raft’s departure and the music swells, the emotion is palpable. They believed in each other and in their collective ability to overcome. In a small church somewhere in the beyond, their hope was realized. They were no longer lost, because they had found each other.