Thursday, May 27, 2010

LOST - a look back at a 6 season-long "Mystery Box"

 Warning! May contain spoilers to Lost if you haven't watched all the show yet or may not have started watching it!
Oh, and haters...Please if you want to hate-comment try to be constructive!
You can not like Lost but at least if you have to write something explain why and what kind of show you like/or what decision you would have done differently.

 Not recycling a previous pic here.

So it is finally done. LOST's over. 
Our survivors have seen so many adventures, good fighting evil drama, philosophical debates and fans throwing new zany theories every new episode.

You may hate it, but it's hard to deny the impact Lost had on television. Like 24 (a show I've never ever checked, true!) its influence has and will for a long time define future new television dramas, and even a bit movies as well.

As a Lost fan, I wanted to put up a little look back at this series, now that it's over.
I wasn't sure what to write and how to, but after letting the impact of the last episode run through my mind for a few days... I'm finally ready! More after the jump...

These pictures have absolutely no relevance to this article... or DO THEY???

You may disagree, I'm perfectly fine with that afterall everybody's got the right to his own opinion, but I think Lost started getting good when it stopped being mainstream.

Yeah, that's right around the big drop of ratings Lost had from Season 1 to 3 (that all TV shows always have at some point).
In my opinion that's when Lost finally started playing with its mythos, you know other others, Time Travel, disappearing islands, escaping the island and finally coming back to it...
In the beginning of the series, people counfounded Lost with some kinda "survivor" shows, Gilligan Island or some fictive Reality Tv show, when it was in fact a supernatural story right from the start!

I re-watched the Lost pilot just around a week before the finale.
Everything was perfectly laid out in the 2 parts pilot!
A buncha people from many different places, all running from their past or their own lives, have their plane crash on an Island. But not some regular unknown island in the pacific. A mysterious Island with strange proprieties.
In the beginning of this show, they found out some "monster" (the future mysterious black smoke) who kills the pilot of the plane right away, they found a polar bear lost (or is it??) on this tropical island and they "hear" presences in the jungle.
What is this place?!

And so the journey begins, mysteries after mysteries, new layers of the story reveals themselves, new "twists" happen... Some people lose their interest, but it's something natural, you can't introduce or define the genre of a story bit by bit, a Scifi one, and expect Average Joe to keep watching it!
It's like asking for a random person in the street to read Stephen King or Vertigo Comics... People who only liked season 1 or 2 followed Lost because they found the concept strange or original but weren't ready for the science fiction part... But everything was present in the present!

I found the first two seasons interesting (and I was introduced to Lost at that time and watched all episodes back to back), but now, from a finished show perspective I find the 2 seasons the be the more dull and calm. The show didn't move on that much back then and all those episodes look like only 1 season's worth of episodes streched across two seasons! Sure there's the important part of the flashback/character development, but looking at the Island events themselves, things moved slowly back then.

Anyway, it's over now. What does it tell us now?
The story was in fact about an Island, not your regular tropical island, but the place where "a very important light" is always burning. (life?)
So it's a spiritual story, right?
It's the same light as the one that burns in all of us. So I guess it makes this light life or the soul..something like that... (I'm not making theories here, just recapitulating with you, dear reader)
There was this strange woman we saw in one of the last episodes who looks like she supposed to be the guardian (of the light? life? of the soul-spirit-entrance-exit-thing-y?)
She kept (stole) two young babies to make them the next guardians. But destiny had it comin', one (Jacob) killed his brother even if they "shouldn't be able to arm each other". So the second one came back from that light as the Smoke Monster.

Flash to our present days/story.
Jacob was trying to defeat his evil (unnamed) brother with the help of people he brought in from the exterior.
Smokey was trying to kill his brother to be able to leave the island (he couldn't leave it...because he was dead or something? because of the island?)
The pilot introduced us to the notion of good versus evil with the help of a backgammon game John Locke found on the beach. Two sides, good/evil, light/darkness. Well, it seems more players came into this real life game of backgammon.
From the little bits of story we saw during our 6 seasons, it seems that Jacob brought in (allowed on this island lost in time and space) various people through his long life. Like Richard, an advisor-like figure who became immortal with the help of Jacob.
Then around the 70s, Dharma came in.
They're the source of most fan-theories and little mysteries on the island. The more scientific ones.
It seems like they managed to understand and analyse this island's unique proprieties.
It all came down to magnetic proprieties.
They could tap in the island's supernatural abilities and tried working around concepts such as Time Travel, teleportation (it seems the island isn't on our regular plane of existence, not easy to find or access)-

So it's a scifi story, now?

And that's where most haters have problems wrapping their head around.
It's both science fiction and mystic.
What's complicated in that?
You can only accept one aspect or the other? Didn't you ever read in your life? That often happens in stories!

A mystical quest to keep up a mysterious light on (that remind me of Desmond, the time travel-magnetic free dude, and his 4 8 15 16 23 42 code to input all 108 minutes!),
good vs evil,
and the inventions and science the Dharma initiative brought on the island, playing gods!
It seems the Smoke Monster turned Dharma into a evil allie, with the purge he had Benjamin Linus (but we won't discuss every single characters here) do for him. (vengeance for what his fake mother did to him?)
Ben was then given orders by someone we thought in an early season to be Jacob (..or was it??)

Like early in the show, there is a confrontation between Locke and his destiny call and Jack Shephard, a man who had lost is purpose in life because of daddy issues.
The man of faith vs the man of science!

Through the 6 seasons, the roles kinda reversed.
Jack becamse slowly a leader, accepted faith after running away from the island, realised his purpose in life (to be there for the island, the island where he became this leader and helped people, the place where he truly changed and was supposed to be) and became himself that man of faith.
Locke, trying to find back and bring back people on this important Island, where the light has to always shine, lost his faith outside the island... and died there (thanks to Ben).
He was replaced by the Smoke Monster (who could assume dead people's aspect) and was that way turned into Jack's opposite.
Light vs darkness.

So my finale point.
What was all of this really about?

People who were all Lost, lost in their lives, lost in their past (flashbacks!) and lost in an accident (the plane) found themselves on this Island. In return, as Jacob chose them all to defeat Smokey (and many were killed of. Red shirts, like in every good story) were suppose to be there to prove a point and help the Island in the end.
Of course we ain't all saints. We're all capable of good and evil. But once they arrived on the island, they were blank states and were judged from their actions there.

Jack died at the end.
(Duuuude! That's like a massive spoil- oh, yeah right, I wrote it at the top.)
But not for nothing. Everybody has to die at some point.
Jack died to help and preserve the light, the island's purpose.

He found who he truly was on the island, in return he helped back the island.
He was Jacob's successor for like 20 minutes, but in that time he made it count for something.

My favorite part and little twist in all this epic and confusing finale?
Hurley was the true chosen successor of Jacob.
Duuuude, just imagine the adventures of Hurley and his number two, Ben, trying to preserve the light/island.

So, what were the "flashsideways" as people call them. You know, the last season's gimmick way to tell and develop a parallel story (replacing the previous flashback and flashforward)?

Jack died at the end, helping the island, watching the plane with his friends  on board making way out the island.
All this season we were watching a paradise-like/purgatory type of world as flashsideways.
Re-watch the first episode of this season. Rose tells Jack:
"It's okay now. You can let go."

That what happens to Jack at the end of the show.
He's dead, we're watching an alternate/second life. People are in their dream-like new lives.
At first we were fooled to think it was a parallel life after that bomb from last season exploded.
Then some of us thought it was what's going to happen after the show/last episode, an alternate universe-like place, something after saving/defeating the smoke monster/the island.
But it really was just death.

Jack's always bleeding from his cut he got in the last episode.
Then people started remembering their past lives, and it got really weird at that point.
Why was Desmond aiming to bring every character we knew from the Island together?
It was because they were living a dream, their dream and not understanding what did happen to them.
They were all dead, everbody accepted that fact...only Jack was trying to run aways from the fact.. they were in the paradise/purgatory-like place.

He could finally let go.

Yeah, the Island, all the events that did happen in the show, all those seasons we watched did happen!
Stop saying they were all dead from the start! Can't you understand it??
It was pretty clear! Rewatch it.
Me? I liked this ending, a bit sad in a way, we're watching our (favorite) character, people we learned to know, dead.
It doesn't mean they died all at the same time, just that in death they all met together one last time.
(many religions and cults believe in the fact that we join our "soul mates", that we have to remember all the people that did matter in our life, in our death)

All the clues, all the mysteries...did they count for something?
Yes and no.
You're not seeing the big picture if you say no and if you say yes..well they count, they do but not as much as the path our heroes travelled!

"Its not the destination, its the journey."

I think we got many ansers back (I even got some theories for Walt, yes, just try me in the comments below!)
In the end it was a great story, pretty coherent for something as ambitious I'd say.
Every story his improvised little bit by little bit, but the creators should always have in mind the objective! Don't say they made up stuff as they went on, be realistic!! (dialogues, episodes, pages those are made up as they go along be it Lost or books, comics... but something as dense and with tons of throw backs to past stuff are always planned from the start)

The ending was very clever. Very Dark Tower-y from how I see it.
In fact it was very reminiscent of my all time favorite show, Quantum Leap
Like Jack and all the survivors in the flashsideways, Sam Beckett found himself in a very strange place in his last "leap".
He was trapped in a little mining village.
And he was already dead, but didn't knew it (not a pun! he he he...)
In the end he accepted it and disappeard in a flash of light not that different from Lost's finale.

For Quantum Leap and Lost, the ending will always be controversial, analysed and new theories made up.
And that's how I loved to Lost ending. As criticized as it may be, forever remembered (or at least given one more year of our thoughts), discussed and us, a bit Lost forever.

"It's okay now, we can let go..."

Excuse me for this super long post, but my blog, my posts! At least I wrote what I had in mind for so long...

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