My favorite story is now complete. Well, kinda.
After six groundbreaking television seasons, our generation’s Odyssey reached its emotional conclusion tonight. Staying true to its thematic and esoteric self, LOST ended exactly where it started—literally and figuratively.
No LOST finale could possibly please everyone. With all of the show’s character developments, plot complexities, time-shifting, allegorical undertones, and narrative structure changes, lead writers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse had the near impossible task of trying to satisfy their loyal (and patient) audience with both meaningful answers and an overall sense of closure.
Still, after concluding tonight’s series finale just minutes ago, it occurred to me that the latter has always been most important.
Like Dr. Jack Shephard (both on and off “The Island”), I felt an overwhelming sense of closure in the final moments of LOST. While I also shared the hero’s confusion about exactly what was unfolding, the end of TV’s greatest epic re-enforced the story’s fundamental theme—the uncertainty of life, death, and everything in between.
At its core, LOST is simply a tale about a man struggling to bury his father. Viewing the show through this analytical lens, Jack’s just trying to bury his past. He is not the only character to possess this goal. In fact, pretty much every hero (and villain…think “Man in Black”) on LOST had their own unique “father” to bury, but it was impossible for them to individually “let go” until they ultimately found each other.
Tonight’s closing chapter beautifully made this point. Regardless, I’m sure that many will express discontent towards the finale’s direction. Unfortunately, ambiguity often breeds resentment from the instant gratification-loving masses (think…The Sopranos), and I doubt all die-hard fans will appreciate having to interpret the show’s ending on their own (or with the help of blogger nerds like yours truly).
This is where John Locke’s “Man of Science, Man of Faith” philosophy comes into play. I’ve always believed that in addition to describing LOST characters, this perspective can be applied to fans as well. On one end of the spectrum, you can view LOST scientifically, by constantly digging for answers and logical explanations to the unknown. The opposite approach requires suspending doubt while demonstrating appreciation for a television experience greater than the sum of its parts. That’s me. A real ”Fan of Faith.”
When we look back on LOST, we’ll see that the show worked because of the way it engaged the audience. For six years, viewers were essentially stranded with the castaways on The Island, as we learned only when they did. Kate, Sawyer, Hurley, and Co. shared our same questions, making plot revelations memorable and mutually rewarding (whether happily or tragically). It’s only fitting that the show concluded in this same spirit.
Christian Shephard telling Jack that “everyone dies sometime” will always stick with me. It displays the true genius of LOST, and how it managed to go full circle. It was Jack, after all, who famously stated the words “Live Together, Die Alone.”
Sure, there’s a lot us viewers will never uncover. And sadly, many of our beloved heroes died alone. Nevertheless, they will always Live Together in our hearts.