105 Ways to Give a Book


So, LOST. I’m still thinking about the final episode, and I’m coming around to appreciating it more than I did at first. Overall, I liked watching all of the characters in the sideways world remembering their island life. That said, some of that recall had to be pretty painful. Did Sun and Jin turn to each other five minutes later and say, “Ohmigod, worst vacation ever!

At first I was mad that the sideways world was not a parallel timeline that the Lost folks could leap to in a flash of light. That was my alternate ending. But after reading a bunch of articles, I realize that my option would have given us a happy ending, but would have meant that none of the island stuff really mattered. And it kind of had to matter. So I’m making peace with the “waiting room” idea.

However, while the finale provided a good emotional closure, it left so much unanswered. That’s been my problem with this whole season. At the end of each episode, I found myself wondering if the writers truly understood how little time they had to explain everything. Anything!

But even the decision to not provide answers makes sense in a way. An article from the LA Times had a great analysis, including this perfect line: “One of the reasons I think Lost worked was that it was always more interested in the box and the person holding the box than what was in the box.” Yeah, okay. But I still want to know why Walt was special.

If you want to read more analysis, here’s where I’ve been:

I enjoyed participating in the intelligent and interesting discussion at Melissa Wiley’s blog and am looking forward to her later write-up.

Here’s an interview with the writers at The New York Times before the finale aired. And a second one, less than thrilled with the end, but explaining aspects of it.

This one from Wired expresses dissatisfaction with the ending, and asks people to send in their own ideas for the end — which has been alternately funny and illuminating.

The Chicago Tribune has a summary and a further analysis that features this great insight: “[The finale said] that we find redemption through our own actions, our own willingness to change, and our hard-won belief in ourselves and others.”

Time’s Tuned In blog convinced me that it had to matter. And then this comment in the Slate forum came and blew my mind. This is only a small part of the mini-essay that may be one of the most eloquently written things I’ve ever read.
I live on a very peculiar island, and though I’ve been here for a long while now, I know almost nothing about it. I don’t know the reason I am here, nor do I know if there’s even a reason to be known. One day I opened my eyes, and here I was — knowing nothing and knowing no one, ignorant of all that had come before...

I loved the way LOST ended. It resolved all questions the way they are resolved in our own lives. Dead is dead. Whatever happened, happened. Some things are irreversible, and you can’t fix the past... And the question we always wondered — the question we always will wonder — remained. What is this place, and why were we here? And they answered that too, in the most beautiful way imaginable: You don’t get to find out.
Category: 8 comments


david elzey said...

the way lost ended is consistent with explanations of the afterlife i have read in eastern philosophies, with just a dab of jungian synchronicity. there are also some new age religions that go very deep into the ideas of what gets worked out in the "waiting room."

kudos to the LOST team that used a lot of western judeo-christian rferences to not freak out a viewing public while dishing out a hefty dose of "scary" topics, not the least of which can be summed up by an old firesign theater sketch: everything you know is wrong.

indeed, just what, exactly, do we really know?

MotherReader said...

yes david, that exactly...

But, if you wonder particularly what it is we don't know, here aren the many, many questions not answered presented in a funny and sooo true video.

Jenny said...

I haven't watched a single episode of Lost. However, I greatly enjoyed Defective Yeti's take on the final episode: http://defectiveyeti.com/2010/05/24/lost-faith/#comments

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Well said. I read somewhere else today that we got to know as much as the characters did. Just like life.

teacherninja said...

I'm not buying that ending. If we have to read a pile of essays to convince us of something we didn't feel when we watched it, then they missed the mark. I've been reading and enjoying this stuff too, but that episode (and particularly the boring underground parts and that last 15 minutes).

I liked the penultimate episode, though. That was more like the real LOST. But that last episode showed that there definitely was never "a grand plan."

Can't wait to see what Terry O'Quinn does next, though. He was the best part of that show.

MotherReader said...

Oh, I'm still not sold on the ending. I'm just a bit less pissed off by it.

Seeing that video of soooo many questions kind of has me annoyed again because it's clear that the writers didn't have the master plan that was implied. I do think that they knew where they wanted to go with the characters and the overall arc of the story, but it feels unfair to have planted clues that seemed important but went nowhere.

Kristi said...

I too am warming up to the ending, after having it explained by people and friends much more in-tune than myself. :-)

I was certainly LOST with the last ten minutes of the show and even now, I find myself thinking about it, analyzing it...and isn't it amazing that a tv show can stick with you like that? To me, that in itself, is an accomplishment.

Anonymous said...

I've been exploring some of these links. Interesting stuff--thanks for posting them. I've been thinking about the finale a lot, too, since it aired.