As an aside, this has been retroactively added into “Unwelcome Reviews” since it is, technically, a TV series review. – TBF
Ryan and I have been watching every episode of Lost on Netflix, as late bloomers to the series, and happened to land on the series finale on “Lost Day,” 4/8/15 (As you may already know, those numbers are 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42). Would you consider this Fate or coincidence? I’ll go with Fate. So it was only right to celebrate the day by watching it. Every nail-biting second of the finale had me convinced that the ending would leave me unsatisfied, that I would forever be cursing the Lost producers and never watch another series by them ever again. But I was pleasantly surprised, and had a surprising amount of closure.
Now, I’m about to go into some literary analysis (television analysis?) and will include some spoilers, so don’t read on if you ever plan to watch the series (which I wholeheartedly recommend). Otherwise, if you already have watched it, read on!
I know some people hated the finale. I am keenly aware that not every question was answered; not every t was crossed or i, dotted. But in a way, I think that’s a lot like life, which is precisely the message that the makers of Lost were trying to convey. Nonetheless, those questions will haunt me forever and I will be reading every analysis of Lost I can find from here on out, but I don’t think it ruined the series for me.
Lost, for me, identified two kinds of people in this world: Those who seek meaning in what they do, and those who take everything for its factual value. Those who read books for the subtext, and those who read the cliff-notes. Those who believe in greater things than them, and those who believe in themselves. While there was no specific religious leaning, I think that Lost is a commentary about modern spirituality. Hell, the show ENDED on an all-faith church/temple (well, definitely church, but what can you do, Hollywood is diluted with white Christians). By the way, CHRISTIAN SHEPHERD? Tell me that name wasn’t a hint at the show’s clear direction.
Biases toward Christianity aside, I like that Lost focused on how people have a choice to believe what they want to believe — they can decide to focus on oddities like the smoke monster, the polar bear, why the hell some people were immortal; or they can focus on each character’s development and journey. Sure, call it a “cop out for explaining the real thing” but even if they did explain the mythical science and the reason for everything, would we be satisfied? Would we see a point? Would we leave having gained any insight other than the science of electromagnetism?
My favorite part of all of this is Desmond’s insistence that none of this matters, and that no matter what happens they’ll end up in a place where they can be with their loved ones and leave the Island behind. We find out later that he meant the afterlife. Ultimately, it does matter that you had formative experiences with important people, but it’s not the outcome that matters so much as it is the community of people you build around yourself. That is what you take with you, and what will carry you through the rest of the petty details.
As I said, though, Lost gives you a choice. You can decide, instead, to look at the science. To try to understand every facet of this mythical island and know all there is to know about it. Yeah, it would be interesting, but also would never end. The questions continue to arise as you are there, and even once you are dead. But I think we all know which option they feel would bring the most value to your life.
Welp, I never thought it would happen, but I am a real fan now, and appreciate every single flashback and every single ounce of character development. I appreciate the weird crap too, because I can’t get enough sci-fi in my life, but it’s much more than that.