Monday, May 24, 2010

Lost and Found


My brother can attest that I'm bad at following complicated movies. I get confused and lost. Films like Snatch and Traffic will never be in the grasp of my understanding.

Which is why I was surprised last night when I felt that I "got" the epic finale to Lost. Admittedly, I tossed and turned in bed going through different possible meanings, and today I read through virtually every Lost article, blog, and comment I found.

Here is how I see things, though that doesn't mean I am correct. (As an example, my mom is convinced they all died with the original Oceanic 815 crash, but I will show soon why that is false.)

Jack near death with dog from Lost
The island was real, and everything that occurred on the island actually happened. Our hero, Jack, saved the island and possibly the world, and then died soon after. Hurley and Ben took over as protectors of the island for an unknown period of time. We don't know if they succeeded; we simply know that they did their best.

The plane carrying Kate and Sawyer likely got away and presumably they lived out the remainder of their lives in Los Angeles or Sydney or wherever. I say this because as Jack was dying, he saw a plane ascending high in the sky. Some may point out that the two planes are different, and that the wreckage at the very end of the episode was Kate's plane, but I disagree.

Now, my initial assessment:

Sideways world was a creation of their collective subconsciousness as a way to accept death and move on. Timing is not linear in this case, and thus does not matter. (Perhaps even the entirety of sideways world could have been a mere second, occurring in the precise moment of their deaths.)

They needed each other to let go and move on, because they were the most important people in each other's lives. And that is how we know the island was real, because without the island these people never would have known each other. Again, timing doesn't matter—Jack may have died in 2007 and Hurley in 2207. Some others, like Michael, were not present in sideways world because they were not ready to move on.

Stop. About face. Hold the phone.

I thought back to the ending and remembered that Aaron was a baby in the church, and Sayid was with Shannon instead of his life's love, Nadia. And why was it that Jack took a long time to "get it" while all the others accepted instantly?

The answer is that the last episode was from Jack's point of view alone. This was his journey to move on to the afterlife, and these were the people his subconscious chose. Aaron was a baby because that is how Jack remembered him most fondly. And Jack never even met Nadia, which is why she was replaced by Shannon.

Lost series finale
Jack's father, Christian Sheppard, shepherded his son into understanding. Perhaps he was the only one who could do so. This does not mean that Juliet ended up eternally with Sawyer or Kate with Jack. It was simply the process Jack needed to move on to the afterlife.

We can presume that others like Kate and Sawyer had similar experiences in their own deaths, and Jack may have been present in their subconsciouses during their journeys to move on, just as they were for him. Not necessarily, though.

This leads me to the conclusion that the whole of sideways world was just Jack's creation. And this leads me to the conclusion that Lost is a show about Jack's life and death. Period.

I loved the finale. I found two overarching themes that are uplifting.

(1) There is inherent goodness in humans, as evident by Jack killing the smokemonster; good beating evil; light defeating darkness. The "bad" guys like Ben Linus showed that their goodness could overcome evil in the end. Jack saving the world proves that humans have the capacity to defeat all obstacles.

(2) Despite what I just said, for our Losties it didn't matter if Jack and the others succeeded, so long as they did their best and did what they thought was right. In that sense it doesn't even matter if Kate's plane made it off the island or crashed. The smokemonster could have destroyed Earth or even the entire universe, but Jack's journey to death would have been the same. He still needed his friends and father to help him move on, even if life on Earth ceased to exist. The place where Jack's subconscious took him, and the place he was about to go, had nothing to do with the world as we know it. The same could be said for the other Losties in their journeys.

The beauty of Lost is that we can all debate this, and we may all be right because there may not be a "right" answer. As I said a few years back, the first season of Lost was one of the best ever on television. The other seasons dropped off in quality, some of them dramatically, but in the end Lost was provocative and awesome. I was ready to be done with it yesterday. Now, I will really miss it.


Raine said...

I gave up on Lost a while ago... But here is a funny video: