Jack, I’m prepared to join you in hater hell. Let’s walk together through those double doors into the murky abyss. We’ll enter that place beyond space and time, where Lost apostates like you and me are forced to view all 120-odd hours of the show on Blu-ray in an endless loop.
But first, the things I liked:
I thought the breezy, action-comedy humor that has always been a strength of the show (and had disappeared to some extent during this final season’s grave denouement) returned in force, with plenty of one-liners to keep the mood buoyant. Hurley referred to Jacob’s enigmatic reticence, calling him “worse than Yoda.” Miles, attempting to repair the Ajira jet, proclaimed, “I don’t believe in a lot of things. But I do believe in duct tape.” (A powerful testament to duct tape, given that Miles has good reason to believe he can communicate with the dead.) Sawyer bestowed nicknames at a furious pace, dubbing Hurley “Bigfoot” and Miles the cop “Enos.” (I welcome any and all Dukes of Hazzardshout-outs.)
I found the reunion between Sawyer and Juliet a little bit heartwarming. Out of all the relationships on the show, theirs worked best for me—largely because those two actors have enough natural charisma to overcome the flat dialogue they’re often given. I was dismayed when Sawliet’s flowery 1970s island idyll came to a tragic end, and happy to see them rejoined, suddenly awash in all the sweet moments they’d shared together.
I enjoyed imagining Hurley’s reign as the island’s protector. No doubt the big man would be a fair and decent ruler. He has the sort of empathy that President Obama craves in a Supreme Court justice. Hugo would mold the island into a less paranoid, more joyful, much gentler place. Like Burning Man crossed with a Montessori school.
I also liked the fight on the cliff.
That’s about it.
Contrary to your expectations, Jack, there was little anger and no rioting among the attendees of the Slate-hosted Lost event in New York City last night. (By the way, many thanks to all those who came—it was a spirited occasion, and terrific fun for us Slatesters.) A few minutes after the episode came to an end, we asked for a show of hands. More than half the people in attendance indicated they were “happy” with the manner in which the show concluded. The remainder of folks seemed split between mild disappointment and deeply felt frustration.
I count myself among the frustrated. Or worse. Frankly, I was insulted by the revelations about the sideways universe. I’m still attempting to sort everything out, but as best I can tell, the upshot of last night’s episode was this: The alternate world we’d been watching intently for the past few months—looking for clues, sussing out meanings—took place entirely within some airy consciousness created collectively by the Lost characters after they’d died. So when Sayid snaps necks in the back of a restaurant, or Jack works out issues with his son, or Ben maneuvers to become principal of a high school, or Daniel Widmore (nee Faraday) plays a horrific prog-rock concerto … that was all a dream world. We were watching the neural twitchings of the dearly departed.
Fine, OK. Everyone likes a good Sixth Sense/ Jacob’s Ladder-style exploration of the restless meanderings of dead souls who’ve not yet let go. But how does this connect to the intricate plot we’ve been following for six long seasons? Ultimately, the sideways universe is a world completely apart from the saga of the island, and it illuminates nothing about the island’s mythology. It’s simply a place where people who’ve shared a meaningful experience—could be a band of plane crash survivors or could just be some folks who did Outward Bound together—can gather for a final, ethereal hurrah. Presumably, anyone who dies with some issues left to work out enters this dream world along with their friends and loved ones, living a shadow life until it’s time to walk into the white light.
That spooky island that so much blood and treasure were spilled over—the one that holds the key to life and transfixed 20 million viewers each week at its peak? Oh, it’s still out there. Don’t trouble yourself about it. Just join us in this cheesily nondenominational church and let the good times roll. In lieu of a truly clever conclusion, please enjoy watching a minute of slow-motion hugging between the characters. Is that Penny we caught a glimpse of? She doesn’t get any lines, and we have no idea what became of her in the timeline we actually care about, but she’s smiling and her hair looks great, so that’s cool.
What did you think, commenters? Was this finale everything you’d been hoping for? What unresolved mysteries will bedevil you forever? Which Lost actors will find fame and fortune in the next world, inhabiting new roles, and which are doomed to be stuck on the island for eternity (career-wise)? Share your thoughts and questions below, and we’ll keep the conversation going.