Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Reflections On LOST: A Commentary

[SPOILER WARNING] This article discusses the final episode in explicit detail.

LOST has come to an end. Over the past seasons we witnessed one of the greatest modern fictional stories ever told on one of the greatest mediums of entertainment. The final episode culminates the stories, the events and the moments that we’ve experienced. The final battle between light and dark ignites. The struggle to overcome begins and finding strength and love within the people we love and care for is the only way. And in the end we are reminded that the most important parts of our lives only matter and have worth to us because of the people we surround ourselves with.

My take on the journey’s end is this. The writers slowly introduced us a “sideways” storyline where our characters were living distant, normal and average lives. Lives that suited them. What this storyline turned out to be was an afterlife existence where the roaming souls of our dead characters could find each other and remember everything that their lives were. One by one Desmond brought everyone together by acting as a gatherer of these wandering souls. By touching the ones they loved our characters were instantly reminded of the lives they led. By remembering the lives they lived and why the people they loved were so important they were able to “move on”.

The afterlife existence was created and even though it has no point and place of existence one can suggest that it’s way past from when they died. Some on the island and some off. Parallel moments remind them of their lives such as Claire giving birth to Aaron, Sun having an ultrasound with Juliet and John in a wheelchair. Jack constantly notices his neck is bleeding from the point where the man in black pricked him. The fact that Jack bleeds is a symbol of his martyrdom I think. It’s also no coincidence that his last name is Shepherd.

Not all of our characters get to move on though. If you remember Michael’s soul is still trapped on the island. Characters that were inherently bad were not allowed to leave the island once they passed. So along with Michael I’m sure a few others remained trapped there for eternity. Then there were those who moved on but not with our core group. As Desmond told Eloise that Daniel would be leaving, but not with him. Meaning that we move on with the people who mattered most to us and vice versa. Since Daniel, Miles, Frank, Charlotte and Richard were really not tied so close to our main characters we can assume they moved on with the people they cared for most. Then we have Ben who chose to stay behind. A character who has always had a hard time moving on as he struggled to find purpose, and in the end chooses not to.

From a viewer’s standpoint this finale was probably one of the most emotionally stirring pieces of storytelling I’ve ever experienced. The final 5 minutes or so are so beautiful that words don’t even describe it. In fact even in the show words don’t even describe it. Michael Giacchino’s score is what takes us on our final step all the way to the last frame. Speaking of Giacchino I think anyone who stuck with LOST all the way through has the honor of saying that they witnessed the greatest television score of all time unfold before them. The final episode is evidence of his brilliance and of how essential score is to not only LOST but everything in the mediums of film and television. I will go ahead and say that his score for the final episode is the most beautiful score I have ever heard. Perfect in every way and not a single note wasted. It definitely kept my eyes tearing up for the entire thing, and when that final scene came along and crossed-cut with Jack’s death on the island it was almost too much for me to emotionally handle.

The final scene of Jack stumbling to the very same spot he first awoke on the island is nothing short of brilliant writing. He lies down as he holds the knife wound in his side. He struggles to breath. Vincent appears from the brush. He smiles. He looks back up to the sky between the bamboo. The plane piloted by Frank and carrying the love of his life flies overhead and away from the island. Tears flood his eyes. The scene is cross-cut with him and everyone else in the afterlife existence as his father opens the door and lets the light flood in. The light embraces everyone and Jack is smiling as he sits next to Kate. We cut back to Jack’s eye. The very first frame of the show in the first episode. Only now it’s not opening it’s closing. Fade to black. LOST appears on the screen.

What does it all mean? It’s what the show was about from the very beginning. It was about flawed human beings trying to find their way. The island in all its mythology and supernatural existence was a test that brought them all together. It revealed everything about them and gave them meaning and a purpose they never had. Once Jack’s eye closes we know exactly what’s running through his head. Whether you believe the afterlife actually exists or believe that it was Jack’s last thoughts that brought him to peace upon his death we are left with one idea. That if it weren’t for all the people we love and for those who care for us in our lives then we would be completely lost.

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