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BACK DOOR BOY IN A FRONT DOOR WORLD
OUTSIDE OF SOCIETY - THAT'S WHERE I WANT TO BE
My Thoughts On The Conclusion Of LOST **SPOILER ALERT** 
24th-May-2010 01:07 am
Pensive
I loved it and thought it was perfect.

There are quite a few ways to look at things that happened in order to resolve them in some way, but I think the strength of the show rested on not having too much spelled out for the viewers - you have to go in and use your imagination to fill in gaps, and in coming episodes you were either right or wrong - or completely off point, which lead you as a viewer to open your mind a bit more. The finale was no different.

I think everyone died on Oceanic 815 when it got near the island and broke apart in mid-air, but the island was a completely random thing. Everything that happened there was only metaphoric, it was sort of an Elysian Fields kind of place until the souls there could work out accepting their own mortality. Consider the island in a sense as purgatory/limbo. This idea comes from the notion that in a state of purgatory/limbo, you're in between the living world and the afterlife. You remain there until you accept that you've died in the physical real time of life, and then you're able to 'move on' - as was stated in the finale. Some folks hated being in limbo, and thus hated being on the island. Some folks loved it, because existing in between fit them well. None of the characters who were principal players seemed at peace within themselves until they began interacting with one another in the sideways flashes, and in love found the peace that had so eluded them. Finding love again and the acceptance of their fates, as it were, brought them acceptance and peace with all that had happened. It didn't matter if they had been confused, they were given peace through love and contact with one another and that set everything right. Coming together in the church confirmed for them that each had died in the crash, but were being reunited in love and peace, and that fulfilled them enough to move on from limbo. I also thought it was especially nice to include the shot of the stained glass, which had imagery symbolic of all the major religious doctrines, leaving it open and available to all.

All of the flashbacks were their former lives, the stories of who they were in life; all of the flash forwards and flash sideways sequences were designed to show you how the characters worked out for themselves an acceptance of death, perhaps communally as they all died communally in the initial plane crash. The point of the flash sideways sequences was to offer a middle ground - backward and foreward are two different extremes of the same thing, but limbo is what you have in the middle. There's no real timeline here because time doesn't exist in limbo.

I quite liked how they tied certain beginnings to the ultimate ending. For instance, let's consider Jack for a moment. When Jack came to at the very beginning of the show, he was in the bamboo forest. The first thing he saw upon waking was Vincent, the dog. Dog is god spelled backwards, which is why I think the dog was a metaphor for god - that and the fact that if you believe as I do, that Jack died in the crash along with everyone else, then god came to him at his death. He wasn't ready for that because being a doctor and a leader he needed to take care of people first. By the end, he let go and began the process of moving on after he had done literally all he could do for the benefit of everyone on the island, and the dog came back to his side to be present in that moment when he got his sign that he could let go and move on. That was when the plane carrying the remaining 'survivors' flew overhead, reassuring him it was finally time to move on. He was the leader, at least in thought, more consistently than anyone else in the show - so he couldn't let go until everyone else had been accounted for first. He struggled for peace throughout the show, and finally found it in seeing the plane in flight overhead, signifying the opposite of the downed plane and instead the imagery of 'moving on', literally. Then the close up of Jack's eye - it ended as it began after coming full circle.

What's with the Dharma Initiative, or The Others, or the foot that remained from the original statue, or the polar bear(s), among other things? Those things are mysteries - you should leave the mystery to be what it is. That's what makes it all so interesting, you're not SUPPOSED to have it all spelled out for you! Perhaps those things were meant to distract you from figuring out too much too soon - who knows. The physical aspects of the island were less interesting to me than the human story happening.

The idea that all died in the crash is reinforced by the final images you see before the credits roll of of the plane wreckage on the beach, with no signs of life anywhere. Of course people are going to wonder what happened to Michael and Walt, what happened to Mr. Eko, why were they not part of the finale - and for that matter, why didn't Bernard & Rose come back to the church as well if they too died in the crash? That's a simple answer - they were never in limbo, they accepted their death as it happened and moved on immediately, completely bypassing limbo. What about Ben, why didn't he go in the church at the end with everyone else? Perhaps he was an angel or some sort of escort through the existence in limbo - he wasn't in the crash, so he might have been dead already from an unrelated reason that kept him tied to the island. Perhaps he was in his OWN perpetual state of limbo. You could make the argument that LOST itself is a metaphor for not accepting your fate, the place you dwell in limbo until you do accept it. Ben's transformation from bad guy to good guy began with his responsibility in his daughter's death, and in time he developed genuine love for each of the 'survivors' - perhaps he couldn't accept that it was all coming to an end and that they were moving on because he knew he couldn't go with them because he wasn't ready - or because limbo was to be his punishment. He constantly put himself in harm's way and took a lot of physical abuse, which might well be a metaphor for his internalized self hatred; he took those beatings because he knew deep down he deserved them for letting his daughter die.

I don't believe in an afterlife, but I thought this envisioning of such a thing was really beautiful.
Comments 
24th-May-2010 08:45 am (UTC)
I think everyone died on Oceanic 815 when it got near the island and broke apart in mid-air, but the island was a completely random thing. Everything that happened there was only metaphoric, it was sort of an Elysian Fields kind of place until the souls there could work out accepting their own mortality. Consider the island in a sense as purgatory/limbo.

My problem (and irritation) about this is this...

Season 1 ended and the #1 guess about what was happening with the island on most fan sites was that they had died in the plane crash and this was limbo/purgatory. The writers made a huge deal out of "no, no, that's not what happened at all and all this strange stuff going on will have a logical and reasonable answer in the end. They are definitely not dead."

So much for that.
24th-May-2010 09:43 am (UTC)
In fairness, it would have cut the series pretty short and they wouldn't have had the fan base that they did, if after season 1 they would have been all, "Damn! You got us. Yes, it's true. But wait till you see where we're going with it!"

I thought after I started watching it, they were likely in purgatory/limbo. It took till about the end of Season 3, beginning of season 4 for me to really say, "Oh hells yes, they HAVE to be in some limbo", but I couldn't figure out where they were going with it.
24th-May-2010 09:57 am (UTC)
You assume they had to answer. The joy of a mystery is the unknown. Fans were guessing but didn't know for sure. But then to have the writers specifically say "Nope, not that, but good guess anyway!" is just cheating if that is what it is going to pan out to be anyway.

24th-May-2010 10:02 am (UTC)
Not answering would be pretty much like saying yes, imo. They MAY have been able to dodge, but I think dodging is too close to confession, too.
24th-May-2010 10:10 am (UTC)
Eh. Better that than bald face lying to your audience. To me I got the impression after they did that, that they had no idea where their story was going. Now, with their ending being exactly what they said it wasn't, I'm pretty positive huge chunks of this story were precisely that. "We still don't know where we are wanting to go ultimately, so lets make up vague stuff that we don't ever answer, and then just make it the popular answer everyone guessed way back in season one."

But then again, I was truly done with them when time travel entered the story. Time travel is short hand for "lazy writers" 98% of the time.

I was forgiving of a lot of stuff and shrugged at people that were die hard fans without saying too much because I loved the first season SO much, but that one bald face lie just irritates the shit out of me. It's not like Abrams is a stranger to silence. Look at Cloverfield. He could have done it. By mid second season the fans would have been off running on a dozen other theories without their needing to lie to misdirect.

Anyway, pointless to argue. It just bugs me. Like being covered in fire ants. :p I'll stop now. :p
24th-May-2010 10:55 am (UTC)
Morally speaking, I totally agree. I'll tell the truth even if it kills me, and I'll typically expect the same. Artistic lying is forgivable.

However. You had me at "Cloverfield". YES. I didn't know he did that one. I loved catching the subtle shit in that!!

I loved the characters. Well, most of them. I got tired of Michael whining "WALLLLT!! WALLLLLTTT!! YOU CAN'T TAKE MY BOY!!!" way early in the game.

I'll also agree with time travel = lazy writers, and I even said as much when I saw that happening.

All that said, I'm a SUCKER for a story about redemption.
24th-May-2010 11:06 am (UTC)
If you ever want to see one of the few examples where time travel didn't = lazy writing? Check out a movie called "Primer". Indie film, incredibly low budget, and yet....probably one of the better time travel movies ever done.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CC60HJvZRE
24th-May-2010 12:24 pm (UTC)
Yup. BRILLIANT. Husband made me watch it awhile ago. It was awesome!
24th-May-2010 09:48 am (UTC)
One of the best shows EVER. I agree with pretty much everything you've said here. The Bernard and Rose with not showing up, totally makes sense. Michael wasn't in the church because he was stuck in limbo, remember, he was one of the voices in the forest.

I'm MADLY curious about the Hugo being "number 1" and Ben being a "good number 2". What I figure is that each protector of the island sort of symbolizes maybe the prophet of a new religion, least, that's my guess.

The Dharma Initiative, IMO, is the metaphor of people who make a study of religions and spirituality, from a purely scientific standpoint. They mean well, but maybe it's not in their hearts. If that makes sense.

Polar bears die too. :D

One of my favorite things in writing, that will wreck me emotionally every single time, is a circle- the end meeting the beginning.

I expect to see tons of "WTF was that" books being printed soon.
24th-May-2010 10:28 am (UTC)
Bernard & Rose were in the church. Penny was in there as well, which was weird. If Ben was dead all this time, there was literally no one to go after Penny. Also, was Penny communicating with the dead when she talked to Charlie before he "died?"

I like the idea that they were all in limbo. I feel like some things were thrown in as audience-pleasers with little regard for the storyline (Jack+Kate, Penny?!??!?!...). I could have done without the smack you upside the head symbolism of Jack's eye, too.

And yes, while I'm sure they were irritated when most fan sites started to guess the purgatory theory they really should have just kept their months shut. They should have just started saying "Maybe!" to every theory, no matter how insane.

I don't know, I still have mixed feelings.
24th-May-2010 10:45 am (UTC) - My Thoughts On The Conclusion Of LOST **SPOILER ALERT**
I only saw the series' first episode and the last 45 minutes of the last episode an what you write makes sense. But I mention that In th closing images over credits, there were footprints around the wreckage...
24th-May-2010 01:46 pm (UTC)
Though I disagree with one of your opinions, I admire the depth and breadth of your analysis. It makes sense of the show in one post better than the show itself managed in six years!
24th-May-2010 01:50 pm (UTC)
I don't believe they died in the original crash, not in the least - I believe that everything that played out in the first 5 seasons was real life and exactly as it was on screen. The key arguments to this are what Jack's father told him at the end - that it was all real. Was Jacks father lying to him? No. It's also how things like the scene with Hugo and Ben at the end make sense, as the end of their conversation where they call each other a great #1 and #2 respectively, just reflects that they lived out the rest of their days looking after they island, and met again after it was all over. Throw in all of the other tertiary characters, and this is really the only was that it makes ANY sense.

None of these people knew each other from Adam at the time of the series start, even with the connections many of them had. None pf these people would have been important to Jack if what happened in the series didn't really happen. TO say otherwise would be like saying what we do in life isn't important at all, but what we do in purgatory / death? Kate and Jack didn't fall in love AFTER they died. Ummmm, no - The entire series becomes massively pointless and a huge mess if you interpret it that they died before second 1 of the series start when we see bits of the plane crashing into the ocean.

When season 6 started, the flash *sideways* from the point the plane didn't crash are what was purgatory. Each of the people got placed into it as if the plane didn't crash. As each of them died, they found themselves there, unaware (as if in a What Dreams May Come) state. It was only as they found and discovered each other there, that the all had their memories of their real life and time on the island together restored. All of those people that were important to Jack in the church at the end could have only become that way if they knew him in real life.
24th-May-2010 04:20 pm (UTC)
This! This is what I was going to say, but you said it better than I would have. I don't believe the people died in the crash--Jack's dad said it was all real! I believe what happened is what was said happened: they all died at different times (before the island, during, and after), and they built this other world (the flash sideways stuff) where they were actually happy with their lives, but the only reason they were happy is because they knew and had each other. They couldn't be happy without each other. And once they figured it out, they could finally move on because they realized that love is what made them what they are.

And Rose and Bernard were in the church, as someone said above. They didn't show their story though, of getting there. They were just there. I am curious about Daniel's story, though, and why he, Charlotte, Miles, and Frank weren't there. Also Michael and Walt. And I guess Mr. Eko too, but I think he quit the show which is why he died so early on and also probably why he wasn't in the ending too. But the others, at least, were definitely main characters, so I'm a little confused about them. Oh, and what about Richard? He was definitely aging by the end, but I'm not sure what happened to him after that.

Edit: Oh, and also I did want to say that I know the writers said they left the ending open-ended on purpose, so I do think that both/either theories (the island being real and it being purgatory) could be correct. Or none of the above. I think the point is that we're supposed to take from it what means the most to each of us.

Edited at 2010-05-24 05:19 pm (UTC)
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