Tonight marks the end of the road for the fans of the award-winning television show "LOST." The program will air its final episode around the world simultaneously in the early morning hours of Monday. I can say with a mix of sheepishness and pride, that I have managed to stick with the show from first episode to this one. It has been a heck of a ride as well.
For those of you who have not been a part of it all, it is safe to say it was quite an achievement for prime-time network television. The story, in its most basic description, dealt with the challenges faced by forty or so survivors of Oceanic Flight 815, out of Australia bound for LA. Having broken up over a tropical (but definitely not abandoned) island, the varied characters strive to stay alive and be rescued.
In the first three seasons, the histories of the survivors were told in jump-cut flashbacks, usually one character per episode. Nothing was precisely explained but a lot was shown, leaving viewers to put the pieces together. Interestingly many of the back-stories seemed to intersect or overlap, creating the eerie sensation that somehow an unseen hand had nudged each of them with the goal of ensuring that all of them would be on the flight for some inexplicable reason. For most of the survivors of the crash, the prospect of returning to their lives before the crash gradually becomes less and less appealing. Intriguing but pretty standard stuff, you might say?
Then add the buckets of complications, and more and more.
Something's in the jungle and it's large enough to shake the palm trees like a child running through high grass. The underground bunker and the poor man who lived there, saving the world every 108 minutes. The Others and Ben Linus (Michael Emerson) a truly evil man-child who caused an inordinate amount of mischief. The recurrent number pattern. That crazy French chick, The Dharma Initiative, the disastrous rescue, and.. and well, this doesn't even begin to scratch the surface.
Mind you, not until this final season was there any real explanation of much of this. And not all of that fits absolutely or maybe my brain got full.
Take a look at this if you want to see just how complex all the relationships became from one character to another. http://unchartedisland.wildeggplant.com/images/lost-chart-characters.png
Don't even ask about the flashbacks that became flash-forwards to.. (gulp) flash-sideways time.
In fact, if you ventured into any LOST discussion forum, each episode was minutely dissected scene by scene- shot by shot- for clues. Some clues were imagined and some were genuine. Sometimes the theories and speculations about the new directions were more interesting that the show itself.
My relationship with the show has had its ups and downs, frustrations and whooping thrills. Although I am willing to hold back my final verdict on the show- even after this last episode- until I have managed to put a bit of perspective on the experience, I suppose I would say the experiment was not a complete success. Certainly not a failure by any means, but, at some some points, I couldn't help thinking that it might have been better.
For me, there was too much traipsing through the jungle pointlessly. On many occasions, promising storylines were hinted at and dropped for something inferior. Some of the character's back-stories, especially for much-too-cute Kate, (Evangeline Lilly) were mind-numbingly confusing. Jack Shepard, played by Mathew Fox, became quite exasperating with his ineffectual leadership, one minute he was courageous and the next, a total wuss. Too often, the ways the writers found to get Sawyer (Josh Holloway) half-naked seemed contrived and silly. In the end, he became a bit of a cartoon with the catch-phrase, "Son of a bitch..."as his only line. (Speaking of topless men, Jack's undependable chest hair was a mystery for some of the viewers.)
Obese Hurley (Jorge Garcia), on the other hand, started as a comic figure and gradually transformed in to an authentic and sympathetic role, as a person with real feelings and dreams.
Still in the end, in spite of my personal love/hate relationship with LOST, I have to applaud the writers, the actors, the director and the producer for giving viewers something unique, a dramatic change from the usual pap. So, even if it were possible, I don't expect this final episode will solve every puzzle the writers threw at us.
I'm sort of sad to see the series come to an end but I am happy that I followed it through to its conclusion. Congratulations to the cast of LOST for a fine job.
Bye Bye, Hurley and good luck.