Oh yes, there will be spoilers. You have been warned.
Within the span of twenty-four hours, LOST fans across the world seem to have gone through all the stages of grieving, moving quickly from, “I can’t believe it!” to “You know, it’s okay. I understand it and I accept it.”
The last ten minutes of the finale of LOST completely negated the entire previous existence of the show. Why would anyone think it would be a good idea to show us all of our favorite castaways dead? And why would the writers have the stainless-steel balls to expect us to be happy about it? The cast of Gilligan’s Island didn’t all gather around the empty port of the S.S. Minnow, waiting for Gilligan to finally realize he was dead so they could all cross over.
Folks, this is the biggest Long Con in the history of modern television.
It isn’t even the fact that major questions went unresolved. I was prepared for that. I can deal with some ambiguity in my storytelling; in some cases, it is imperative. What bothers me is the feel-good, happy-crappy, go-into-the-Light Tangina bullshit we endured. This was a Universal heaven everyone entered into which is a straight giggle, when you see how the Christian faith has embraced this show is a metaphor for their own belief system.
I’m sure some of the more hardcore Christians just braced when they saw the stained glass window that encompassed the symbols of six major Faiths from around the world, allegedly symbolizing the Paths of all the LOSTies who are now dead. I noticed no pentagram on that window; apparently all the Pagans on the plane were in another room, drinking beer, fucking and watching the original Wicker Man. All this, the whole Party at the End of the World, to tell us that an entire storyline, what they called a “flash-sideways” and which had been ongoing all season, was simply the characters in the Afterlife. Desmond, everyone’s best friend, went around gathering everyone up, telling them they were dead and drawing them all together to this one place so everyone could let go and move forward.
LOST at its heart has always been an action-adventure show. A particularly well-written one, covered in a pastiche of literary, religious and pop culture references, but still an action-adventure show. Imagine if, at the end of 24, Jack Bauer and everyone who ever died by his hand or around him, all met at the United Nations Building and were told by long-dead President Palmer that they were all dead and were free to go off to their specific multi-national Heavens. There would be outrage! “Where’s my closure,” fans would cry. “Where’s that last final explosion?”
“Well,” I would say, “Jack’s finally out of time.”
It was a cheap way to end the show. It smells like having it all be a dream. What LOST told its viewers in the last ten minutes of that episode is that they don’t care what you think. The show ended. It had a fantastic ending. All that stuff in the church and the bright light that engulfed the entire place, covering everyone (including people that made no sense, such as Baby Aaron, who apparently never got to grow up at all, even though he was four years old two seasons ago) was the worst, tacked-on, non-sensical and needless ending that only made you happy if you were willing to give up your intellect and expectation from a series that set the bar pretty high and give yourself a warm fuzzy because maybe, just maybe, that’s how you want to die.
But LOST didn’t even make us face our mortality. It downplayed it. Cheapened it. Jack’s martyr death meant nothing in the face of the sticky-sweet ending scene which, in hindsight, seems less Little House on the Prairie and more the final shot of the New Year’s Eve party at the Overlook Hotel in Kubrick’s The Shining.
I am cross-posting this on all my blogs. Allow my righteous anger this time. You really get to see it so rarely.