Wednesday, 26 May 2010

And So It Ends...

Warning - Don't read on if you plan to watch the end of Lost at some point and haven't yet...

Six years. Six years of being promised that, if you stuck with this series, it was going to head somewhere. And, to be fair to the creators of Lost, it did go somewhere. I just don't think it was somewhere satisfying...

Lost has been quite the TV phenomenon. I read and watch a lot of stories, so am always drawn in by something that I can't second guess, that I have no real idea where it's going to go. Lost was very much the definition of this - week by week, I pretty much had no idea where it was all going to end up.

Sure, at times I became frustrated with it. The constant piling up of question upon question began to wear me down in the middle of the third season and my patience started to wear thin but I stuck with the show and my obsession with it was rekindled once the ending was announced and the writers seemed to be pulling out all the stops to get to there.

Then came the sixth season and the "flash-sideways". These I was less interested in. It seemed to be a bit of a wish-fulfilment parallel universe where everyone was getting to live relatively happy lives. Parallel universe stories are usually good fun but, strung out over a whole season, I found myself caring less and less as the weeks went by. I didn't care about what was happening to the characters in this other reality; I just wanted to know what was happening in the main storyline.

Which brings us to the last episode and the biggest cheat of all. It turns out that we haven't been seeing another universe. Oh no, we've been watching our characters in some sort of limbo, waiting for them all to come together after their deaths so that they can "move on". The whole secondary storyline this season had purely been put in so that the writers could try and pull one last "aha!" before they left the room. I'd probably be better disposed towards it if it actually made any sense - there are so many things about this limbo that don't really make a lot of
sense when you look back at it (why is Claire pregnant there? Why is Sawyer a cop? Why are Jack and Juliet separated with a son? Why are characters like Miles and Ana Lucia there but not in the church? And more and more...). Of course, the answer to all those questions is that the writers wanted you to think that that you were watching an alternate universe storyline so you'd be fooled by their final twist. As it is, it's still far too close to the whole "it was all a dream" ending for my liking - one ending that is absolutely guaranteed to raise my ire.

No, basically, the writers wanted to have their cake and eat it. They obviously wanted to have some of the characters sacrificed along the way to give the ending some emotional weight but, at the same time, have a nice, happy heart-warming ending where everyone gets reunited. And, for me, that just made it feel it was neither one thing or the other. It's also indicative of a trend we seem to be getting (certainly one that Doctor Who has been guilty of recently) in giving a resolution that's big on nostalgic sentiment at the expense of genuine emotion and plot logic.

As for the conclusion to the main island storyline, I expected things to be left mysterious to an extent but still don't really feel that the whole Jacob/Smoke Monster thing was adequately explained. There was a lot of talk of rules that governed the way they behaved which were never really explained and, to me, that's another lazy writer's way of saying "Well, we need a reason why he doesn't just kill them himself but can't think of one. It's just a rule, OK?" Plus the fact that this epic conflict was pretty much resolved by switching the island off then switching it back on again seems ridiculously easy.

All of which makes it sound like I completely hated it. I didn't, there was still stuff in there that I enjoyed and I always knew that, after such a long build-up, there was going to be a sense of disappointment when all was revealed. I just didn't expect to be disappointed quite that much. I think that, as it was a payoff that the writers claimed they always had in mind, it just doesn't live up to the build-up that preceded it.

So farewell, Lost. It was a ride that was by equal turns exhilarating and frustrating and, while the destination didn't live up to the journey, overall it was still worth the trip.


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