Sunday, May 23, 2010

Lost: Back to the beginning, and how I hope it ends

Tomorrow is the final episode of six seasons of Lost. I'm rewatching the first episode that they are airing tonight in preparation. I'm reminded again how pure that first season was, and how far off the track they had fallen at times.

The show has a simple and basic theme, not in the sense of "everyone's stranded on an island," but the opening phrases of Lost had a simple message: No one is what you think they are. And, we are all in this together, so we should just learn to get along.

That was the beauty of it. How, in that first episode, as everyone is struggling up from the plane crash, and you, like they, are just getting to know everyone's names, one makes assumptions. Pretty much every assumption made turns out to be wrong, by the end of the first poetic lyrical season.

And how if you really know someone's story, it can make you cry.

Everyone is basically a good person, or think they are, just trying to get along.

The first season, indeed, was filled with philosophy, and poetry, and mysticism, and beauty and magic. But it was squarely grounded in the human heart. Its key moments, closely examined, were like jewels held up to the light, evoking tears.

Then, somewhere along the way, it fell deeply into the dark side, lapsing into the common television themes of torture and imprisonment, and completely lost the magic and the poetry. Completely lost the "everyone is interconnected" poetry, except as a hokey device.

The path became convoluted. Instead of our happy group of survivors, it became us, and then "The Others." Then the Others had others. Then the Dharma Initiative. Then they Dharma Initiative was guided by someone else, and blah blah. Look to fan sites to see the convoluted hokey path.

All I know is, it started with a simple pure, basic premise that was affecting and deeply felt, and veered very far from that. This final season has evolved into some race for the chosen one, that has depressed me more than explained things to me.

So, I don't know how I want tomorrow's finale to wrap up. The very first death of a character we knew was moving. There have been many more along the way, some for inexplicable reasons (why were those two buried alive with diamonds again?).

Then there was the whole "flashback" concept. Used to brilliant effect in Season One, it showed you the castaway on the island, and their former life. Simple. In Desmond's episode, they introduced a "flash forward" concept. In fact, in the same episode. It flashed BACK and forward. The whole next season involved castaways and their FORWARD stories. The season after that involved them going back to the island, after leaving it. Then, they were jumping all around in time, apparently for some important reason.

Now, this season, they are not only on the island, seemingly in this time, but they are also off of it, in what Lost is oh, so coyly calling a "flash sideways." What would happen IF the plane didn't crash. It's seriously enough to make your head spin.

Even watching every episode regularly can leave you scratching your noggin, going, where are they again? What time is this? Are they forward? or back? or sideways?

I guess the simple, "Are we good? or are we evil?" argument was too facile. They had to throw in a little time travel to keep it interesting?

Well, I'm willing to fall down their rabbit hole one more time to see how it's all wrapped up, finally.

I hope for two things. I hope that it ends on a note of hope and optimism, instead of: "Oh, we are all so screwed," as it seemed to intimate so many times in these six seasons. And it's got to end on an eye. Maybe an eye closing. Maybe Jack's eye. The first shot was his right eye. Maybe the last shot could be his left eye? It's got to be an eye. Then all will be right with the world.

Forward, backward, or sideways.


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