Monday, May 24, 2010

LOST Finale -- No, It Wasn't All A Dream

I wasn't going to write anything about the LOST finale, but too many people online seem to have missed the boat. Now, I'm not saying it was a great episode. In fact, I think the way they wrapped things up was kind of like telling everyone who actually cared about people in the alternate world to fuck themselves. But, some of you seem to be pretty confused about what we just watched. Spoilers below, so if you still haven't watched it (and only if you've watched every other episode ever), check it out now:


Okay, so you watched it. The first thing a bunch of you are saying on the blogs and on Twitter is "so wait, the plane never crashed and it was all a dream?" The plane did crash -- and the alternate world was, while not a dream, a dream-like creation to organize the souls of the characters after their deaths. The viewers were led to believe that the bomb that Juliet set off at the end of the fifth season negated all that Swan energy and that flight 815 never crashed. Instead, here's what happened, chronologically.

1) Juliet sets off the bomb in 1977.
2) Juliet, Sawyer, Kate, Jack et al are transported back to 2007 (why? who knows.)
3) Season 6 (the stuff on the Island) takes place. Jack kills the smoke monster. Hurley takes over the island with Ben Linus as his #2. Lapidas, Miles, Sawyer, Kate, Claire and Richard escape the island on the plane, and presumably return safely home.
4) Unseen events occur. Hurley and Ben protect the island for a period of time. Might be a week, might be several decades. We don't know. We do know that they must work together for at least a significant period of time (since, in the afterlife, Hurley tells Ben he was a great #2).
5) All the character die -- again, at some point in time. We don't know when.
6) The parallel universe (2004, where the plane doesn't crash) begins.

This brings up a few interesting questions, some troubling, some rather brilliant.

Question #1: What did Juliet mean at the beginning of season 6 when she said "It Worked?"

Since it (the bomb blowing up) obviously didn't work (they were all transported back to 2007), she must have meant something else. Since she was the first of the full group that had survived to that point to die, she must have seen this "created afterlife" somehow, and understood that her and Sawyer would meet again there.

Question #2: Why would the afterlife start on flight 815?

This makes sense, I suppose, since it's the moment when all of their lives collided. Also, the afterlife presumably begins right after one's death -- so as soon as Jack closed his eyes in the very last shot, he probably experienced opening them immediately on flight 815 in Alternate-land.

Question #3: What happens to those who escape the island?

This question sucks, because we'll never know. It's quite possible they all kept living for a very long time -- maybe Kate and Sawyer got together, though it's doubtful considering the Jack-Kate/Sawyer-Juliet resolution.

Question #4: If the bomb didn't change reality (which it didn't), did it blow everything up?

Remember, the big question at the end of Season 5 was "Will the bomb make it so none of this ever happened?" as Jack thought, or, "Will the bomb simply be a bomb and blow us all up," as Kate thought. It turns out, neither was true. The bomb simply pushed our characters forward through time. Well....what happened to the rest of them in 1977? Obviously, it didn't change anything, since the hatch is still built, Desmond still pushes the button and Flight 815 still crashes.

So...was the bomb the thing that made the hatch necessary? Was it a dud bomb? Did all the Dharma people die prematurely? Again -- these questions don't have answers since they never bothered to provide them. This wouldn't be a big deal if the entire 6th season hadn't set up a scenario where we'd find out what the bomb really did. We spent the entire season believing that it created two universes, which would have been fine, but now it turns out that the bomb did nothing except send our heroes back to the future.


What I liked and what pissed me off.

I like that we found out what the characters all "realized" when they had their island-flashback. They didn't realize that the world they were in was not where they were supposed to be (like we all thought) -- it's that they realized they were dead.

I like how Ben decided to stay outside. Somehow, if all the characters "move on," he'll understandably be somewhere outside of that journey, as he was never 100% affiliated to the group, even after he became a de facto good guy.

It pissed me off that the alternate world was the afterlife. For the entire season, we were led to believe there were two parallel realities and that they would somehow connect. It turns out the two were completely unrelated, and it was unnecessary to even have them mashed together the way they were.

The other reason this pisses me off as that we'll never know the answer to the question, "What would have happened had Flight 815 not crashed?" Since the alternate reality didn't happen in real life, it's not a fair representation of that scenario. I doubt Cuse and Lindelof knew how it would end when they began the season, because if they did, why show the island underwater at the very beginning? The entire alternate reality exists only in the characters' collective posthumous consciousness, anyway, so why would the island be underwater in that consciousness? I'm thinking about it too deeply, obviously.

It pisses me off that the sixth season set up a huge, tantalizing question that never got answered: What happens if the smoke monster gets off the island? Jacob had led everyone to believe that shit would get seriously fucked up if he was allowed off. But, since the smoke monster was really just a human, and turned back into a mortal after Desmond shut off the water-light-electrical-whathaveyou, it seems like he would have just been another dude out in the world. What would have been the big deal about letting him go? Not that I want a big spin-off monster movie of the black smoke terrorizing L.A., but still, you don't set up a scenario that good and never pay it off. (Side note: if pulling the plug caused all the "rules" for Jacob and Smoke Monster to break, how come Locke didn't turn back into the Man In Black? Whatever.)

Okay....that's probably enough. There were elements of tonight's show that were fantastic. The candy machine, the Jack-Locke fight, Vincent next to Jack at the end. But, ultimately, there were tens of millions of us thinking they had a little something extra up their sleeve. Not quite. Oh well. See you in another life, brother.