May 23, 2010: “The End.”
Six months ago today, the television series LOST came to its final chapter. LOST is (was) favorite show on television—far and above any other I’ve ever seen. I watched every episode religiously, and the only show to which I would tune in live (in general, I watch television shows when they come out on DVD).
I remember six months ago, just as the show ended at 11PM, how I felt. Relieved. But also shaken and deeply saddened. This was The End, and I couldn’t imagine finding another TV show to which I could cling to as strongly (it hasn’t happened yet).
After the final episode aired, I read a number of reviews and sentiments across the web. I was going to do a round-up of the best write-ups, but I never got around to it. So I thought: why not do it six months afterwards? So below I highlight two of my favorite recaps, with a few thoughts of my own. Please note: if you’ve never watched the show or saw the finale, there are SPOILERS ahead!
Immediately after the episode aired, I paid attention to the Twittersphere, especially what Entertainment Weekly columnist Jeff Jensen had to say. I loved his immediate reaction:
“The End” was an emotionally draining epic that had me crying with almost every single “awakening” and has left me mulling the true significance of the Sideways world, which was revealed to be a Purgatory-like realm created by the souls of the dead castaways themselves. (Purgatory! The irony!) I was so happy The Island was saved. I was so moved by Jack’s heroism and sacrifice and the glorious significance of ending where he began, as well as that Doubting Thomas allusion there at the end. I thought that Hurley was a surprising choice for the new Island guardian–and I loved that Ben had a role as his No. 2. The “resurrection” of John Locke rocked my face, and one of the many moments that had me dabbing my eyes was watching Terry O’Quinn and Michael Emerson play their last duet together. I loved Ben’s contrition. I loved Locke’s forgiveness. I loved it when Ben told him to stand up and walk again, and Locke did.
Just reading that again stirs up a lot of emotion, particularly the way Terry O’Quinn and Michael Emerson connected with one another in that final episode. I followed most of Jensen’s Totally LOST columns in the past year, and all of them were fascinating. However, if I had to pick the best recap, it has to be “The Measure of a Man,” that masterpiece exploration of Sayid.
Perhaps I never highlighted any recaps was because I myself was so overwhelmed. I wanted to understand LOST for myself. It was, perhaps three or four days after the finale, that I read Myles McNutt’s brilliant recap. It is, from what I’ve read, perhaps the best overall synthesis of the episode and the show as a whole. How else to begin but thus:
I don’t know where to begin.
I know how I feel about “The End” because I have notes which capture my intense emotional responses to the action onscreen. I also know many of the points I want to make about the episode as a whole, and how it fits into the sixth season, and how it works with the remainder of the series. In fact, I could probably write every other part of this review but the first sentence, and I’d probably be able to fill it in just fine after the fact.
However, that would be dishonest: it would make you think that I, the moment I sat down at my desk after the finale finished airing, knew precisely the topic sentence which would boil this finale down, the words that would unearth its secrets and solve its mysteries. I may know the things I want to say, and I may have my opinions about the quality of this finale, but I don’t know what I can really say to get it all started.
I loved this:
Lost was more than our experience, featuring a complex plot which goes beyond those powerful and emotional moments so lovingly punctuated by Michael Giacchino’s stirring music, but I feel “The End” paid respect to the series that’s been: it may have taken shortcuts, and it may have prioritized certain questions differently than some viewers, but at no point did it feel like the series was making that argument that what we saw tonight was the only thing that mattered.
All of this matters, for better or for worse, and by wearing its heart and soul on its sleeve Lost has gone out the same way it came in: presenting a very big world with some very big ideas through the eye(s) of those who live their lives within it.
Let me say this again: Myles McNutt’s recap of “The End” may be the best recap I’ve read of LOST, or for that matter, any television show. If you’ve watched the series finale, but especially if you’re a die-hard fan of the show, you’ll find the time to read it.
For me, LOST will remain more than just a television show. It’s a phenomenon, a tour-de-force, an examination of character, culture, erudition.
And for sticking with this show over the last six years, I am grateful. If you ever meet me in person, please ask me about it (if somehow I don’t manage to bring up LOST into a conversation in the first place).
As Jeff Jensen wrote:
The series finale of LOST brought us both back to the beginning and to the threshold of eternity.
I couldn’t phrase it better myself…What a sublime, perfect ending (spoiler alert!).
Questions for the reader: If you’ve seen LOST, do you have a favorite episode? A favorite scene? Did you follow any writers who recapped the show, besides Jeff Jensen and Myles McNutt, whom I linked to above? Please share your thoughts in the comments.
1) “As LOST Ends, Creators Explain How They Did It, What’s Going On” [Wired] — one of my favorite pieces in Wired from earlier this year. A must-read.
2) The best fan-made series promo ever. Can you believe that it’s fan-made??
3) The History of John Locke and Jack Shepherd. One of my favorite LOST videos.