Farewell to LOST

Television — By on May 29, 2010 at 6:49 am

Epic.

That was the first thought that came to my mind after the finale of LOST. There was a lot of emotion, triumph, a few more questions answered, and ultimately, closure. Yes, I even had tears in my eyes during the last 10 minutes or so of the finale. While I can’t throw myself into the ultra-fan “Lostie” category, I did spend an entire evening attempting to crack the code on the Dharma Initiative website that went up during season two. So I might be close. There are lots of posts out there doing deep analysis on the finale. For those unfamiliar with LOST (yes there are those out there) you may wonder if it is worth putting the entire series in your Neflix/Hulu queue. I say “YES!” and here’s why.

All in all, LOST was excellent because:

1. The storyline was gripping through the entire series. I often spent the days after an episode trying to piece things together. The show was bold enough to include time travel and “alternate realities.” In most series, time travel indicates a poor taste in writing, or an attempt to reset a bad season by wiping it away. With an already complex storyline, LOST managed to pull off time travel in a very convincing manner.

2. The story focuses on the characters: past, present, and “sideways.” No matter how linear a plot or story can be, a person is far more enriching.  All of the characters, no matter how pleasant or otherwise on the island, had a back story that showed the influences or struggles of the character while on the island. All of the characters had a chance to better themselves, and I was always watching to see why, when, and how they came to this realization.

3. This was clearly a “thinking-man’s” show.  It raised questions of theology, philosophy, destiny vs. free will, religion vs. science, and more. I didn’t realize how much was packed in until I started reading the episode summaries by Jeff “Doc” Jensen at EW.com. Even if only half of the references found in these summaries are valid, it shows the creators and writers were intent on creating a complex and serious story. (Hint: Take a peek at the book “Haroun and the Sea of Stories” that Desmond is reading on the plane at the start of Season 6 and see what similarities you can find.)

4. There are still questions.  At first this aggravated me. I was appreciative of the long developing story and the continued twists, but I wanted more. I wanted an ultimate solution / mechanic / algorithm that explained all the minutiae of everything. Even as you stared into the “heart of the island” during the finale you still were presented with just an object. No sage or matrix architect to explain things to you. As the final season continued, you could see this kind of angst in the characters as well. Ultimately, it became apparent that you can’t know everything, in this life or the next.

Plenty of TV shows will allow you to see the last few episodes, or maybe the last season, and provide you with a minimally enriching experience. LOST is a show that needs to be seen and pondered in its entirety. Not all of the answers to life come quickly, and sometimes we must go through trials in order to find the proper answers.  LOST is a show that illustrates this profoundly well. I’m happy to discuss details of the series in the comment section, but LOST needs to be appreciated for its ability to tell a story that combines both science and myth into a well defined package.

Note: Spoilers may be discussed in the comment section.



  • JeffD

    I agree, the show was deep and compelling. I enjoyed watching it. I feel that most conversations about Lost beg comparisons to other uses of time and energy rather than other shows. Few show deliver on the promise of intelligent and riveting drama. Lost did. It will remain a unique achievement. Now theologically, we must point out that large and gapping holes were sown throughout the show. But I don't go to network TV for doctrine. It asked enough important questions that need to be answered, even if answers were not to be found. I enjoyed the show simply for it's enlightening entertainment value.

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