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Lost (series finale)

“See You in Another Life, Brother” — Josh Bids Farewell to Lost

May 24th, 2010
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So that’s it.  We’re done.  “The End,” the epic-length two-and-a-half-hour finale of Lost that aired last night, was a magnificent episode.  It was pretty much everything that I could ask a series finale to be: both a thrilling, emotional episode on its own as well as a wonderful capstone to the series as a whole.

Too bad it comes at the end of one of the most disastrously terrible seasons of a previously-great show that I can remember.

Spoilers obviously lie ahead for the finale of Lost, gang, so be warned!

The Lost finale reminded me of everything about the show that I used to love.  From start to finish, “The End” exuded a narrative confidence that has been sorely missed.  A two-and-a-half-hour finale could very easily have been a bloated, indulgent exercise, but I found the episode to be exquisitely paced.  Yes, they took their time with the story, but I felt this was worth it in order to give all of the wonderful reunions in the sideways world their due.  The writers cashed in every single chip they had in terms of the audience’s investment in these characters, but I thought those moments paid off phenomenally well.  It was delightful to see so many of the familiar faces return, and each reunion felt like a powerful emotional payoff to six seasons of storytelling.  (But where were Michael and Walt???  More on this later.)  And those slow, emotional beats were well-balanced by some terrific, tense sequences on the island.  (I thought the take-off sequence aboard Ajira 316 was particularly compelling.)

Yes, the exact nature of the sideways world was left vague, but that is the kind of narrative vagueness that I have no problem with.  I don’t exactly understand whether that universe was intended to be a glimpse at what awaits us all after death, or whether it was (as Christian Shephard seemed to hint) something magical that was somehow created by the collective unconscious of all the castways.  Either way, I don’t really understand why the characters didn’t immediately remember who they were — why they each had to somehow be “woken up.”  But, you know, I don’t really care.  J.R.R. Tolkien didn’t precisely explain the nature of the Gray Havens in The Lord of the Rings, and it wasn’t necessary for him to do so.  What was important here at the end of Lost was the idea that, somehow, all of our characters got a taste of the happiness they’d all been chasing — and that we, the audience who had invested in those characters, also got to taste that happy ending.  That the ending was tinged with the bittersweet — since the show made … [continued]