Pardon my cynicism, but ABC's "Lost" finale left so many questions unanswered that I smell a rat, I mean a sequel.
Maybe the finale was satisfying on an emotional level, as Maureen I'Ryan said in her review, but because too many questions remained, my emotions kind of went the other way--the frustration that accompanies an incomplete story.
For example, Hurly was left as the guardian of the Island (I capitalize because it is supposed to be sui generis), but which Hurly are we talking about: The dead one in the church, or the dead (?) one that was left on the Island. Or both? Island Hurly was confused as the rest of us about what he was supposed to do to protect it, and from what, now that the evil Black Smoke has been killed.
And what is the Island there for? Is it the stopper in the bottle that keeps evil (A new Black Smoke) from entering our world? (Never mind that it's already here.) That seemed like a good explanation until, as the Island appeared to be collapsing and dying, Black Smoke for the first time experienced human-like frailties. What if the Stopper in the Bright Light Cave had been put back by Desmond before Black Smoke got killed? And who is supposed to care if Black Smoke left the Island? Now that he's dead, is there another Black Smoke waiting to escape the Island? What will happen to the few that successfully flew off the Island? Will they return to a "real" world it which the Oceanic Six were a real part of? How will they explain the mystery of the Island? Will they encounter Jack's son in the Sideways? What, for crying out loud, what was the significance of Hurly's numbers?
Inconsistencies, impossible plot shifts and contradictions have characterized Lost's six season, yet I stuck with it, having watched each episode. My hope and belief were that the creators and writers are cleverer than I am, and could come up with a satisfying explanation for this well-acted, intriguing series that successfully so many thought-provoking questions. They turned out, however, to be as muddled as the rest of us.
For those of us who believe in an afterlife, this story provided some sort of fictional confirmation. The message was that the way to everlasting happiness is through the Family of Mankind. Theologically, it is correct in so far as it goes. But how can someone--Kate--who murdered her step father, as evil as he was, enter into the eternal reward without some degree of repentance? Do we get to decide who is worthy of murder?
The question bugging me through these six years is whether the writers had the arc of the story completely in mind at the beginning, or did they make it up as they went along? The latter is not a great sin, as long the story ends with some degree of consistency and satisfying finality.
This yarn had some great moments, wonderful dialogue, interesting premises, superior acting, an awesome setting and fascinating stories within the story. Yet, every great story has a beginning, middle and end. You rarely got the feeling that the story was unfolding, as does a blossom. And you couldn't help but sometimes wonder whether the writers were just toying with us, throwing into the plot whatever twist that sprang to mind, no matter how far from the thread that is supposed to stitch a story together.
Whether or not the show's creators truly think they wrapped up the story or whether they were consciously setting us up for a sequel doesn't really matter. Sooner or later, one will be coming.
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