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Monday, May 24, 2010
TV Roundup: Lost: The End
One of the most popular quotes from Sherlock Holmes is the adage that when you eliminate the impossible, whatever is left, no matter how improbable is the truth.

When "Lost" first hit our screens six years ago, the first assumption was that everyone on the plane had died and were in some kind of purgatory area, waiting to move on to the next life. As the season progressed, we found that certain people died or left the island when they'd completed or made peace with whatever they needed to make peace with. I floated this theory at the time, when it related to the death of Boone and it was underscored by other deaths over the course of the series.

And then, we get the grand finale...after six years of waiting, wondering and having red herrings, the series basically comes down to creating a place in purgatory for everyone to get together and move on to the next life. And, again, it comes down to characters having to let go of the things that hold them to this world.

It end where it started--with an injured Jack, lying on the island looking up the sky. The series begins when he opens his eye and ends as he closes it. Along the way, Jack had to go on a journey and let go of his father and the anger he held toward him. Again, my early theory that the island was a massive group therapy session where each person had to get over his or her issues relating to their father proves kind of true.

We had mystical explanations, the Dharma Initiative, the sub and lots of other stuff that came up, but in the end, the show was all about the characters moving on and letting go. Each person had to go on a journey.

All that said, I'm not sure I'm entirely satisfied with the finale. It was nice to see the montage of familiar faces and the last hour felt like a huge victory lap for the show, more than resolving anything. Somehow pulling out the plug reset the island and de-powered Smokey as Locke. I'm still not quite clear on it, other than we had to find a way to dispatch the evil and not allow it to escape. I think maybe a re-watch of the show may give me some greater insight, but in the end it felt like Smokey was as an obstacle until Carlton and Cuse decided to move him aside or that they'd painted themselves into a corner with making Smokey so powerful that you had to do something to power him down a bit in order to dispatch him (see also the Borg in "Star Trek").

I'm not saying the finale was terrible. And I'm sure there are lots of fans out there, crying, screaming and wailing that it wasn't exactly what they wanted. However, it wasn't an instant classic that it could or should have been and while it's not one that ruined the series, it's one that ended with a whimper rather than a bang.

In some ways, it reminded me of the end of the Key to Time season on "Doctor Who." For 26 weeks, the Doctor and Romana chased the various segments of the key across time and space in order to reassemble them to restore balance to the universe. Only they find all six and within five minutes the Doctor has split it back up again. It's a rather unsatisfying end if you recall the reason the Doctor was sent on this epic quest....

I wondered yesterday if this finale could be as satisfying as "The Shield" finale was and, I've got to say, I came away feeling that it wasn't. That finale worked because while it didn't resolve every plot thread the show had created over seven years, it still gave a sense of closure to the central plotline of the show and, ultimately, helped crystalize exactly which arc story was the most important from day one--the fall of Vic Mackey because of his actions in the pilot. Vic didn't get his due until season seven, but watching the noose slowly tighten made for one hell of a ride over seven years.

I definitely need to take some time off from "Lost" and then it may be time for a long rewatch of all six seasons of DVD. Because while the show did have a dud or two in there, it's still one of the more ambitious and entertaining series of the past couple of years. I have a feeling that no matter how it ended, we wouldn't have been happy.

I'm just thankful it got to end and wasn't pulled after six episodes. The journey may have been frustrating at times, but in the end it was worth the ride.

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posted by Michael Hickerson at 5/24/2010 08:21:00 PM | |
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