Monday, August 9, 2010

Lost 6.17-6.18: "The End"

“Everyone dies some time, kiddo.”

Well, the title really says it all about this episode, doesn’t it? The series finale of “Lost” was a two-and-a-half hour extravaganza (way to milk one of your only successful series for all it’s worth, ABC), so I’m not going to do my usual plot recap-heavy blog post tonight. That would take way too much time, and it would be so long that I don’t think you’d really want to read it. Anyway, this episode was pretty polarizing among the “Lost” fandom. Some people loved it and wept at the lovely, symmetrical ending. Some people hated it and felt like the past six years of their lives had been wasted. I’d have to say I was closer to the former end of the spectrum. Although the finale overall certainly had some issues, it worked on an emotional level for me, and that’s really all I ask of good television.

Michael Giacchino was at his very best throughout the episode, and the music started to make an impact right from the opening scene. That scene was a montage of all the main characters both in the on-Island universe and the Sideways-verse. Central to the montage was Christian Shephard’s coffin being unloaded from an Oceanic plane. Giacchino’s music is a presence for the entirety of the episode, with the iconic “Life and Death” theme as a central player. That theme in particular was showcased in a beautiful new arrangement at the very end of the episode, which was entirely appropriate. Sometimes Giacchino’s masterful music cues are all I need to start getting teary while watching Lost. Any use of “Life and Death” would be an example of that. The raft leaving in “Exodus” would be another. Combine Giacchino’s music with a dog running after his owner, and that’s an equation to make me cry any time. Penny and Desmond’s phone call in “The Constant” and the Oceanic 6 setting foot on the mainland at the end of season 4 were also made more powerful by Giacchino’s music. There’s a reason the man is an Academy Award winner!

The on-Island story of this episode, not surprisingly, is the final showdown between Jack and Locke. Locke’s goal is to destroy the Island so he can leave. Jack, as newly anointed protector of the Island, obviously doesn’t want that to happen. Both think they can use the same tool to accomplish their respective goals, and that tool would be one Desmond Hume. Before either side can use him, though, they have to find him. When we last saw him, he had escaped from a well. It turns out Vincent brought Desmond to Rose and Bernards hut, and they have been taking care of him. Desmond is grateful for their help and certainly sympathizes with their desire to stay out of this big battle that’s brewing (he’d rather be back on Our Mutual Friend with Penny and Charlie, I’m sure), so when Locke arrives to take him away, he goes quietly.

Jack and his crew run into Locke and his crew while both are on their way to the glowy cave of Island goodness. Can you tell that the whole “Cave of Light” construct is my biggest problem with how “Lost” wrapped up, even if overall, I found it to be a satisfying ending? Jack and Locke end up taking Desmond to the mouth of the cave and dropping him down into the light. What kind of disappoints me at this point is how very, very wrong Desmond was. Besides his desire to save Bernard and Rose, Desmond went along with Locke because he thought that by doing what Locke wanted him to do, he would be transported to a better place- the place he saw when he was zapped in “Happily Ever After.” He unplugs the glowing pool inside the cave by moving a giant rock, and instead of Desmond being transported to a happier place, the ground starts to shake. The whole “Desmond unplugs the big, glowing drain and the Island goes nuts” plot point was probably the most unsatisfying bit of the whole thing to me. If we didn’t get emotional payoffs later on, I’d probably be lamenting my devotion to “Lost” like many others are.

Although the finale is filled with drama, there are also some lighter moments as well. There’s one point early in the episode, for instance, where Saywer makes fun of Kate’s desire to always tag along, because now, with her shoulder wound, she really can’t. All joking is pretty much in the past by the time Desmond unstops the drain, though. Jack is starting to be just a bit afraid that fake Locke was right and he was wrong. This turns out to not entirely be the case, though. Putting out the light may have started to make the Island unstable, but it has also gotten rid of whatever was making Locke impervious to attack. The fight makes its way to the edge of a cliff, as these things tend to do. Locke has a knife at Jack’s throat and has already caused several injuries (the marks we see Jack looking at in Sideways-verse). Some of these injuries are quite severe. Kate shows up just in time, however, and shoots one last bullet at Locke. Jack is able to gather up some strength and push Locke over a cliff. It was only about two-thirds through the episode at this point, and I was sure that Locke would come back like a classic horror movie monster, but he didn’t. Because that’s not really the heart of the story.

Over in the Sideways-verse the characters we know and (mostly) love are all congregating for something big. Most of them are going to the big concert at the natural history museum, and those that aren’t are mostly at the hospital. One by one they all “wake up” to the fact that there’s another reality, and they wake up to the purpose of the Sideways-verse as well (although we don’t learn that purpose until the end of the episode). I like some of the wake up triggering events better than others. Among the better ones were Jin and Sun being woken up by watching Juliet perform an ultrasound of their baby, Claire by holding Aaron after giving birth to him at the concert with Kate’s help (quickest labor and delivery ever, by the way), Charlie by touching Claire’s hand, and Locke by seeing his feet move after Jack performs his “fix you” surgery. These were all touching, sweet, emotional moments, punctuated with montages of the characters’ time on the Island set to more lovely Giacchino music.

I was so-so on Sawyer and Juliet waking up when their hands touch over a broken vending machine. It was kind of sweet to get an explanation for Juliet’s dying words. It was the vending machine that was working, not the detonate-the-bomb plan. The one I didn’t like was Sayid waking up when he saves Shannon from a bar fight. Throughout the show, Nadia has been Sayid’s true love. Shannon was played more as a nice on-Island distraction. Sayid certainly cared for her, but he still always carried around that picture of Nadia. Jack, of course, is stubborn, even in what turns out to be the afterlife. There are two occasions where he starts to wake up, but he forcibly stops the process. The first occasion is during a conversation with Locke, and the second is when he sees Kate at the concert.

The two universes start to converge as we get closer to the end of the episode, although not in the way I originally anticipated. I was thinking that the Sideways-verse characters would have to do something to right our universe, but obviously, that wasn’t the case. On the Island, a mortally wounded Jack decides to make one last desperate move to save the Island. He’s going to replug the drain. Before he goes down into the cave, he anoints Hurley as the next Island protector, because he knows he’s not going to get out of this alive. He grabs a plastic water bottle from ben, fills it from a puddle of murky water (ew!), and tells Hurley to drink. I find it interesting how the becoming-the-protector ritual has gotten less and less formal each time we’ve seen it. Hurley asks Ben to be his “Number 2” and help him figure out how best to run the Island. Their first job is going to be to get Desmond home, which makes me happy. Desmond deserved a happy ending after what he’s been through.

Over in the Sideways-verse, all the woken up characters have arrived at the church where Christian’s funeral is supposed to be. When Jack arrives, he’s surprised to see that his father’s coffin is empty. He turns around, and there’s Christian. It turns out that the Sideways-verse is actually a sort of purgatory. It’s a construct the Losties created somehow so that they could all cross over together. Jack finally accepting this and joining the rest of the Losties in the church sanctuary is intercut with Jack stumbling across the Island (he got washed out a back entrance to the cave, much like Brother’s body did in “Across the Sea”). Jack makes his way back to the bed of reeds where we first met him in the pilot, and Vincent lays down next to him as Jack takes his last breaths. The final shot of the show is Jack’s eye closing. For all the issues I have with this episode and the series in general, that shot was so beautifully symmetrical and moving that it brought me to tears. And that’s why the episode worked for me overall.

No comments:

Post a Comment