Monday, May 23, 2011

Still LOST

4 8 15 16 23 42!
If you are a LOST fan, you instantly recognize those numbers and are transported to another world simply upon seeing or hearing them.  It was one year ago today that the series finale of LOST aired.  I have never loved a television show the way I loved LOST and, I hasten to add, I’m a TV addict, so that is saying something.  For the first time in my life, I finally understood what it must be like to be a ‘Trekkie”, one of those people who is obsessed with Star Trek, even years after the original series wrapped, and who goes to conventions and other events, living la vida Star Trek.  I thought those folks were a tad pathetic…until I became a “LOSTie”!  LOST, at its best, was a completely compelling, riveting, beautiful, captivating whole world, with characters who were complicated, deep, multi-layered, exquisitely developed, cast and written, and a storyline that was even more complex and, unfortunately, in the end, perhaps not as well-developed as some of us fans had kept the faith that it would be.  Like many true loves, LOST broke a lot of hearts in the end, mine among them.
People who didn’t get it, who weren’t true LOST fans, always said there were too many unanswered questions for them to get into the show, too many loose ends, too many mysteries.  But those of us who loved the show countered with, but that’s precisely part of what is so compelling about LOST and, in the end, the writers will answer all the questions, or all the BIG questions, anyway.  The writers won’t let us down!  I loved the questions and the mysteries and all the possibilities and suspense.  I didn’t want or need all the answers right away.  I stood by the show through the ABC writers’ strike and through ABC continually moving the time slot and putting it on long hiatuses.  There was even one dear LOST fan on the official fan forum who got cancer and bravely quipped that she didn’t want to die before finding out the ending of LOST!  Very sadly, she did die, and it was a few seasons before the show ended.  After I watched the finale, I thought of her and thought:  as far as LOST goes, you can be at peace now:  you didn’t miss anything.  WE STILL DON’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED!
Now, mind you:  I don’t have cable, I don’t have a PC (don’t even ask how I write this blog, but rest assured that I suffer for my art!), and iPhone isn’t compatible with something called “Flash” that one needs in order to watch episodes of television shows on such sites as ABC.com and Hulu.com.  Therefore, I cannot re-watch the finale, as I feel any LOST fan worth her or his salt ideally should do at least once and preferably several times before issuing forth a comment on it.  I’ve only seen it the once.  But it’s been a full year now, and the initial shock and awe and RAGE (!) has worn off, and I feel I must comment now on the anniversary of the finale, or forever hold my peace:  So, here goes:  I’m not happy with the finale.  Not happy at all.  As I read one fan say in a comment on the internet about the finale last year, the LOST writers are, quote, “the Bernie Madoff of writers”.  I thought, THAT is so true, that is the perfect way of putting it, as the LOST writers got us to emotionally invest in LOST, and then made off with our hearts!  They ripped us off!  And, now that a year has passed, I have calmed down sufficiently to write this blog, even though, as I admitted, I’ve only seen the finale once, so MAYBE I would feel differently if I could see it again...but I doubt it.  Here’s why:
For six years, we had faith in the writers.  We thought they loved the show at least as much as the fans, if not more.  It was their baby.  Surely, they would do right by their baby.  We thought the mysteries and questions were part of what was wonderful about the show, and like I said, that all the big questions would be answered in the end.  But we were wrong.  In my opinion, as someone who watched every single nanosecond of LOST from the moment Jack opened his eyes in the pilot until he closed them in the last episode (and after that, when ABC panned out to the smoldering wreckage of 815, which I’ll get to momentarily), all the passengers on Oceanic Flight 815 perished in the plane crash immediately, except for Jack, who managed to stagger a short distance before collapsing and dying.  The entire show consisted of the souls of the passengers of 815 working out their individual life issues together before moving on to the afterlife.  Since they all perished together, they had to work out their “stuff” together, and the island was a sort of purgatory (which, by the way, the writers SWORE all along was NOT how the story of LOST would end, but that in itself isn’t why I’m so upset by the ending—it’s okay if they didn’t tell us the truth about the ending before it aired, it could be argued they were just protecting the secrecy and integrity of the story until the end).  Now, while that ending is terribly sad and poignant and not what I would want, as someone who came to love all the characters and want a “happily ever after” ending (or, one could argue, is that a happily ever after ending, after all?), I could have accepted it and one great thing about it, IF it is really what happened (which we don’t know and THAT is what is so maddening/infuriating!), is that it DOES answer ALL the questions, from the tiniest one to the most major, because one could simply say that anything that doesn’t make sense in the normal world, from seeing the numbers crop up everywhere to seeing visions of dead fathers and horses, to ANYTHING and everything that happened, is explained by the fact that the island was a purgatory and they were working out their collective issues, and the normal rules of science don’t apply in purgatory.

So what I’m submitting to you, dear readers, is that, shocked and awed though I would have been by the end being that they all died in the plane crash, I could have taken it, I could have made my peace with it, I even could have come to respect it and appreciate certain things about it, such as the finality and elegance of it, the answering of all questions, and at least knowing that all the main characters did work through their life issues and move on.  There is only one problem:  IT WAS NOT MADE CLEAR IF THEY DID OR DID NOT DIE IN THE PLANE CRASH!
In fact, me thinking that they did is actually the minority opinion among hard-core LOST fans.  And the writers REFUSE to answer the mystery, saying that it is very “LOSTian” to leave the fans with ambiguity and questions versus certainty and answers.  Well, NO.  As one of my favorite characters, Hurley, said to Danielle in a classic scene from Season One:  “Okay, that thing in the woods, maybe it's a monster, maybe it's a pissed off giraffe!  I don't know. The fact that no one is even looking for us?  Yeah, that's weird, but I just go along with it because I'm along for the ride. Good old fun time Hurley! Well guess what? Now, I want some friggin' answers!”  I was defending all the mysteries and questions throughout the series, but in the end?  Yeah, note to the writers:  that is NOT the time for leaving it open to interpretation!  DID THEY DIE IN THE PLANE CRASH OR NOT?!
After the final credits, they panned over the smoldering wreckage of Flight 815.  That settles it, thought I, through my tears, THEY ALL DIED IN THE CRASH.  But then it comes out after the finale aired that, well, ABC (not "Darlton", as the show's main creative minds and writers, Damon Lindeloff and Carlton Cuse, are affectionately known by LOST fans), in its infinite wisdom, decided to put that shot in as—and I couldn’t make this logic up, folks—a way to ease the transition for LOST fans out of the shock of the last episode into the local evening news!  Like I said, I can’t make this stuff up, look it up on the net!  Or, better yet, I will link the information at the end and you be the judge:  ABC says they added that, but I think they just said that they did, after there was an OUTCRY about the ending.  I think the writers, OBVIOUSLY, put that last shot in (Darlton has never confirmed or denied, to my knowledge, if the smoldering wreckage was put in by them or as a woefully misguided afterthought by ABC).  Ah, but then why, say some LOST fans, was it AFTER the final credits?  Anything AFTER the credits is obviously not part of the “official” show, right?  WRONG:  hello, that was the SERIES FINALE.  Having the wreckage of Oceanic 815 after the final credits was a final punctuation mark to the series and to what the ending was, in case there was any doubt.  THEY ALL DIED IN THE CRASH.
And I could be at peace with that ending IF the writers would have had some backbone and said:  “YES, they all died in the crash.  PERIOD.”, not instead being coy about (a.k.a., refusing to answer) who put in that footage, and saying, well, we just can’t say yay or nay re if they all died in the crash or not, because, tee hee HEEE, aren’t we just so delightful and coy?!!!  And isn't mystery and leaving things open to interpretation the FUN of LOST?!  Weeee!  All the ways of looking at things, all the questions!  Ha ha!  We purposely made it open to interpretation so that you poor, engrossed, totally emotionally invested fans could spend the rest of ETERNITY arguing about it!  Isn’t that wonderfully LOSTian of us?”

Do you see me laughing, Darlton?  Do I seem amused AT ALL to you, a full ONE YEAR LATER?!  I, who loved your television series like nobody’s business.  I, who defended the questions and the mysteries, saying that indeed that WAS part of what was great about it.  I, who lived, breathed, ate, slept and dreamt LOST for six years, do I SEEM AMUSED?  There is a time for mystery and a time for clarity and, FYI:  THE FINALE IS THE TIME FOR FRIGGIN’ ANSWERS!  There were things I liked about the finale and how it was done.  My only TRAUMA is that it is STILL not clear WHAT HAPPENED!

Six years of my life I invested in this story, in the characters.  I think they all died in the crash.  But I don’t KNOW.  And I want to KNOW.  I NEED TO KNOW!  So, Darlton, if you are reading this, stop being so coy:  now, I want some friggin' answers!

Link:  Did ABC or Darlton add the shots of the 815 wreckage after the final credits? Do you believe this linked report?

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