"The End"

FEBRUARY 4, 2011

AIRED: MAY 23, 2010

Well, I was right: “The End” works a lot better on an emotional level once you know the difference between the two timelines. The “sideways” reunions are ALL touching, not just Juliet and Sawyer’s (the only one that really worked for me on the first viewing), and the island stuff is more exciting when you know what’s really at stake. However, this second view made me notice a lot of problems that weren’t as apparent the first time around.

For starters, good GOD is it in overdrive. Shit happens so fast, it feels like the writers had 3 minutes to plan for it, not 3 years. The plot moves so fast, they actually have Desmond going down in a well without any sort of plan (I love the idea that Locke and Jack are sending him down together. Lot of cooperation in their plan to kill each other), and all of the action in the finale revolves around taking out a thing and then putting the thing back in (was Lost just a giant dick joke?). I mean, really, what did they think would happen when he took the cork out? Why didn’t he just put it back in himself? It’s a really clunky concept to build the bulk of your series finale around. I hate ticking clocks and such, but Jesus, at least that would have been SOMETHING to grasp onto. Jack and Locke’s fight is also way too quick, and Ben returns to hero pretty much in between commercials (I don’t buy his sort-of explanation either – “I didn’t know you meant literally destroy the island”? What the fuck else would he mean?). I like that he saves Hurley, but it seems uncharacteristic from how he was behaving 10 minutes earlier. He also gets free from being pinned under a log without any explanation. I could go on and on, but the episode lacks finesse from start to finish, as if it was the scripts for 4-5 episodes condensed into two.

It’s got a lot of sloppy errors too. Whoever was in charge of the digital sailboat apparently figured Kate and Sawyer were better-than-Olympic swimmers – not only is it extremely far out when they are trying to get to it, but it seems even FURTHER out when they get off of it later! Why would they drop anchor so far out when they’re on an extremely tight time table? Frank says they got an hour; it seems like their boat ride alone would be an hour’s ride, not even counting the swim. Crash the fucking thing on the shore!

And nice job with the stunt doubles too:

The sideways stuff is also rushed, but that’s not as problematic, because we can assume that now that everyone is figuring shit out, they’re not restricted by real world logic. For example – Jack’s kid apparently just disappears. He’s with Claire at the party, but disappears as soon as she goes into labor. Juliet goes back to the hospital, and Jack goes to the party looking for him. So where is he? I guess he’s gone, because his never really explained plot purpose has been resolved, or something. But again, it’s not real, so it’s not really an issue.

And what should be a really powerful scene between Jack and Christian (love that Kate, of all people, finally points out how silly his name is, by the way) is hampered by Jack acting completely out of character in order for Christian to explain everything to the audience. Everyone else just “got” it, but Jack has to ask if he was real (huh?), and then Christian, apparently prepared, explains everything with the subtlety of a hammer. “You’re real. Everyone’s real. Everything that happened is real!” He might as well have looked into the camera. And then he goes on and on about how the most important thing he did was fuck around with these people on a magic island. Sort of a dick thing to say to a doctor, really.

Also, I had to laugh, because Rose and Bernard were invited along, despite the fact that they repeatedly expressed the fact that they didn’t want anything to do with these folks. Hell, at the beginning of the episode they more or less plan to throw Desmond to the wolves so they don’t have to get involved. Now they’re stuck with them forever, and you know they will figure out some way to “start shooting each other” even in Heaven. Yet Miles, Daniel, Charlotte, and Lapidus, all of whom had much stronger connections and bonding adventures with them than Rose and Bernard ever did, are left behind. Ditto Richard, who if memory serves was never even seen in the flash sideways world, unlike everyone else (even villains). I won’t even get into the absent characters who were MIA due to their actors refusal/inability to come back (little late to recast, which was my suggestion for the past but wouldn’t work for a single wordless scene in the finale). Thanks for carrying Sawyer across the island to save him, Eko, but you can’t come!

As a Kate/Evangeline Lilly fan, however, this is one of the greatest episodes of all time. I love when she just opens fire at Locke out of nowhere, and that she’s the one to save Jack instead of one of the guys (I figured Ben would come to the rescue). Also, holy SHIT her black dress – remind me to buy the costume designer for the show a drink or two if I ever run into him/her. I also hope that if I’m ever confused about my afterlife, someone who looks like her will be my guardian angel helping me get where I need to be, promising to wait for me and such (also, hey – EvANGELine – good foresight, casting folks).

It’s also a pretty funny episode. Jin’s amusement when Sawyer comes to talk to them kills me; he’s totally charmed by Sawyer’s cluelessness. I also love Terry O’Quinn’s performance when he wakes up and Jack starts doing his angry/stubborn Jack thing, he’s trying so hard not to laugh, like “Oh, Jack, I missed you, you easily irritated prick!” They also have some fun with the meta stuff; in addition to mocking Christian’s name, I love that Locke/MIB gets to join in the fun for once by mocking how Jack was the “obvious choice” to take Jacob’s place. Speaking of which – what’s up with Jack simplifying the ritual? Jacob had wine, a Latin blessing, etc – Jack just makes Hurley drink some filthy water out of a plastic bottle. I guess it’s his rules now?

I also never noticed how short Claire was. When she’s walking to the concert, not only is she dwarfed by Juliet, but even the 12 year old David has a good 6 inches on her. And while we’re on the subject of the concert – I was hoping the DVD would have a deleted scene of Charlie and his brother having one last talk, but nope. Liam’s role here is basically a background extra. More rushing!

But really, nearly every issue I had with the episode was expunged by seeing this again:

Hahahaha that is just so damn awesome. I also love his “LOOOOOOOOOCKE!!!” beforehand. The rain just makes it even more perfect. After getting such a savage beating by Sawyer at the end of last season, it’s a pretty good comeback for Jack’s image.

Well, anyway, that’s it. I didn’t hate the finale, and I’ve gotten over the lack of answers on certain aspects (Walt, the pregnancy stuff, even more recent things like Ilana’s history), but it wasn’t as epic a finale as the show deserved, and it certainly shouldn’t have taken two viewings to feel emotional about 90% of the emotionally-charged scenes. I mean, the Prison Break finale – THAT delivered. All of its characters were given a true coda (come on, not even ONE scene of the folks on the Ajira plane after they land? What does Richard do? Why don’t Kate and Sawyer get together? Etc), the death of its main character was truly sad, and the way his death brought everyone together was far more touching. It also had a bit of the rushed feel that this had, but they also had I think 7-8 episodes to plan for it – not 3 seasons.

As for Season 6 as a whole, like most of the seasons (all of them except the first, really), it worked better on a second, back to back viewing, but in a different way. Usually it’s because the cliffhanger/serialized nature of the show just lends itself to watching over 2-3 weeks instead of 6-9 months, but in this case it actually made SENSE this time around, allowing me to care about the island story knowing it was real, while having the information that only some of the characters were privy to on the sideways world. But part of the fun on Lost is the reveals and surprises, and obviously most of those (Locke is Smokey! They WERE brought to the island for a reason! Richard doesn’t age because he uh, didn’t want to!) I got the first time around, rendering that sort of stuff less exciting or intriguing. So I guess I APPRECIATED this season more a 2nd time around, but didn’t necessarily find it more entertaining (or less annoying, in the case of the Temple episodes). And I’m STILL unsure if it or 5 is the weakest season.

As for the SHOW as a whole, well, obviously I still love it. I wouldn’t have done this if I didn’t want an excuse to watch it all over again. Yeah I have lots of nitpicks and issues, but I can nitpick about Halloween (how’d he get the mask before he robbed the store?), my wife (girl can’t even make a cheese sandwich without turning the kitchen into a disaster area), or Bat Out Of Hell (um... actually I have no nitpicks with Bat Out Of Hell. It’s only 7 songs long instead of 700, I guess?), too. The point is, nothing is perfect. I know folks who decided that they hated the show from start to finish because of their disappointment with the finale, and that I find quite silly. It provided me hundreds of hours of entertainment over 6 years, influenced a few of my literary choices (“Third Policeman” – read it!), and unlike other shows I invested myself in, it never got AWFUL (X-Files, Heroes, etc).

Plus, I didn’t know who the hell to pick for my "freebie" prior to September 22, 2004 (my wife's is Ryan Gosling), because I had never seen Ms. Lilly in anything of significance before then. So thank you, Lost. For whatever you may have got wrong over six seasons, you got that much right.


1 comment:

  1. The only thing I didn't like was the Sayid/Shannon scene, always felt that relationship was forced. The scene that summed it all up for me was the final one with Kate and Jack, she was always Jack's girl. I also liked Locke's awakening, it was the most in character. His love was always for the island. And MAN that rainy jump punch ruled. I must say I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on Lost. I didn't discover this site until you were well into it. I know you always joked about the 17 readers you have, but this one just wants to say thanks.