As everyone makes their year-end Top 10 lists, I just wanted to highlight and salute what I found to be a profound television event, one that I still think about a lot, more than 6 months later.
LOST was for many, a riveting hour of TV each week. For some it was a puzzle with clues that they loved to piece together and try to solve. For others it satiated their need for Sci-fi. For myself (and many others) it was all that, but mostly it was an hour with people we deeply cared about, were invested in and were moved by.
Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse shepherded such a complex mythology brilliantly, all while creating riveting drama, but first and foremost they created characters we cared about, and were invested in completely, including their backstories, their present and in May, their future. What seems to be lost on all the shows that are trying to emulate LOST is that all the mythological stuff was nice and added much to the viewing experience, but if we didn’t care about these characters, I highly doubt most of us would have been as invested in the show for 6 years. Remove the plane crash and smoke monster from the pilot and I know I would still have been completely captivated and interested in these people.
The final season was quite polarizing, especially the finale, but count me in the camp that loved it, was riveted by it and was completely moved by it. I remember crying, no, make that bawling, when the show ended at 11:30 Sunday night, May 23rd. I remember the next 24 hours thinking of it often and tearing up by it.
So what was it? Well, I for one found the whole episode satisfying. Practically all the questions I needed answered, were (many, even weeks before). There was solid drama, action all throughout and those beautiful reunions sprinkled throughout were tear inducing. (Sawyer and Juliet has to be my personal fave, and not just because of my love for the character of Sawyer and how Josh Holloway portrayed him brilliantly.)
Those last ten minutes (which have divided many) sealed it for me. I love that John Terry as Christian Shepherd who has plagued our lead character since the pilot episode, but whom we first saw in hour 5 (“White Rabbit”) shows up just as Jack “remembers”. The scene in the church with Matthew Fox and John is just magical. Speaking of Matthew, his work in this finale is nothing short of revelatory. He realizes he has died as Christian asks “how are you here”? Watch the look on his face as he tears up and is then comforted by Christian.
I love how Christian explains to Jack how he and his fellow castaways all needed each other . “Nobody does it alone”, Christian tells him. Damon and Carlton, as they did with much of LOST, weren’t just writing that about their beloved characters. There were many life lessons in LOST.
I love how all religions are represented in the Church. The statements they were making with that, in addition to the beautiful words and ideas being spoken, were for the lack of a better word, moving. I know there are many that greatly disliked the themes being presented here. I had a completely different reaction. The day after the finale aired, I remember seeing someone articulate it beautifully. – The idea that we are reunited with the people we loved and mattered to us after death, isn’t that what we all hope actually happens? Then why when a fictional TV show (one that includes smoke monsters and time traveling, nonetheless) postulates that idea, does it generate such ire?
The scene in the Church is beautiful. The reunions of our beloved couples and friends is touching (and each reunion spread throughout the 2.5 hours were so heartwarming, that tears were flowing pretty much from the beginning). Once again Michael Giacchino’s stunning score underneath is another reason why this was no average show. Imagine LOST without it, I can’t. Jack Bender, LOSTs #1 Director, also must be singled out for his unparalleled work on the series and finale.
Finally, as the scene cuts back and forth to Jack’s actual death on the Island, the symmetry to the opening scene in the pilot is impossible to ignore. The attention to detail is masterful and then as Jack sits down to die, two things that just knock me out, occur:
First, Vincent who was the first living creature Jack encountered in the jungle (in the opening moments of the pilot) runs out to him and then lies down next to him. He won’t die alone. Then the plane carrying Jack’s friends fly above. The smile that comes over Jack’s face says it all (Once again, Bravo Matthew Fox). He did it! His friends are going home, safely. He can die peacefully. Then the closing shot, his eye closing, completing the circle from his eye-opening as the first shot of the pilot. Beautiful and moving.
I watch the finale every two months or so. and lately every couple of days at work I watch the last 10 minutes on You Tube and find myself tearing up at my desk. I wondered why I’d been doing this a lot lately, Was it just end of year reflection? Maybe, but I think it’s something else. Usually this time of year the airwaves and internet are being flooded with promos for the coming season of LOST . The last few years, the approach of Jan/Feb meant a new season of LOST was about to begin. With LOST ending last May, that’s not gonna happen this new year. I miss my friends. I miss a TV show that lasted more than the hour it aired. It meant going on the internet immediately after. It meant walking into work the next day and having countless debates with co workers and reading tons of brilliant online recaps and comments. I met co-workers through our shared love of LOST. I hope Damon/Carlton realize they created many friendships. I assume they do. That’s just not your average TV show .
Having been raised with Talmudic learning, I remember the way Rabbis would say you can never learn enough. There are tons of commentaries to read up on the Talmud and the Bible. There’s no end to debate and discussion. (To which most of the time, I thought, yeah right. I just couldn’t relate to what they were saying.) It took a TV show, namely LOST, for me to finally get what they meant (sadly, it wasn’t about the Talmud). There’s lots of great TV now, but there’s no show that excites me, interests me, makes me think and moves me like LOST. That finale in May was TV at its best.
Feel free to relive the final 10 minutes again: