Beautiful Cacaphony: the Lost Series Finale

Our Thoughts on the Lost Series Finale


It’s a shame, really. I do love the cast and characters (except Kate–I hate Kate for being a stereotypically weak female lead, always making stupid decisions that seem to illustrate that “if she’d just listened to the man” things would have been better), who’ve managed to grow on me, each in their own, wonky ways, over the course of the six seasons leading up to the Lost Series Finale. The drag is that the resolution was disappointing enough that I really will never recommend anybody start from the beginning of the series and watch it. Great acting is always wonderful, but without a well executed overall story, what’s the point?

But enough about the cast and characters; everyone already knows those are wonderful. The problem with Lost was always in its plot, or more accurately, lack thereof. In the end it sort of works out, in some sense, because Cuse and Lindelof successfully managed to explore a number of interesting themes both in the main body of the series and in the Lost series finale, not the least of which are those about personal choice and sense of self in the formation of identity.

Like life itself, Lost ends with no real revelations, no magical key to sudden knowledge or wisdom, and with countless plot threads utterly ignored. Lost can be summed up as a “beautiful cacaphony,” leaving you starved for a melody, yet mesmerized by its absence. As a series, Lost is chaos incarnate, with very little meaning in most of its machinations. It’s like Cracker Jacks: tasty by the handful, but ultimately you really do need to eat a real meal.

Is it worth the time investment? If you got into the series at the very beginning and already had a sizable time investment, say maybe, the first 3-4 seasons, I’d say yes. If you’ve never seen Lost and are wondering if you should start, I’d say no. Why? Simply put, you can get all the major philosophical themes of Lost via countless other stories or films and understand its meaning in a few short hours, whereas the series will leave you, most of the time, confused and spinning your wheels. I submit that life does that enough already.

In the interest of helping you, dear reader, avoid spoilers in the event you haven’t seen the finale but plan to, this is your last chance. Beyond the break you’ll find a list of top Likes and Dislikes about the Lost series finale, and I hope you’ll share your thoughts on this non-event Event in the history of television.

Top things that disappointed me:
1. No mention of Walt. He went from being so UBER important to being an “also ran”
2. No “special revelation” of knowledge for characters who accepted being the Island’s guardians, they’re as clueless as everyone else.
3. Very little explanation of the alternative universe. Was it really JUST for them? Were they the only “dead” people in it or was EVERYONE in it “dead”?
4. When the Man in Black went into the hole with the Magic Lightbulb, he became a Smoke Monster. When two additional people went into the same hole, nothing happened to them. Why did the Man in Black become a smoke monster, exactly? Because he wore black?
5. No explanation for virtually anything that happened on the island over the years. Christian’s empty coffin, the Time Travelling, the Polar Bear, Walt appearing to people in visions, women unable to have babies, the Dharma Initiative–everything appears to have been a dead end.  Why wasn’t all this wrapped up in the Lost series finale?

Top things I ENJOYED:
1. Thematically, the idea that YOU have to decide the person you are, and not fall into the trap of what other people TELL you you are.
2. Thematically, the idea that the people in your lives, whether friend or foe, are there because you need them and they need you, to help shape the course of your life.
3. The “connection” of the living characters to the dead and the reunions of people who loved but had lost each other; those scenes were SO effing sad, I love it!
4. That all the characters died in the end. No possibility of “Lost: Return to the Island!” in five years.
5. The urge to wonder and criticize: Lost did a lot of things well: connecting the dots of a coherent story is not one of them. What’s an interesting emergent from the chaos, though, is the desire to think about what happened, how and if any of it connected or didn’t connect, and to think about abstract ideas such as identity of self, relationships, etc. It’s unsatisfying, but at the same time cool, and in a sense it mirrors life–there are no easy and guaranteed answers; from childhood until death we must always question, always wonder. That’s a decent moral.

All in all I feel both cheated by and glad that I watched the entire show, including the Lost series finale. I wouldn’t recommend the series to anyone else because thematically the whole series could easily be summed up in a 2-3 hour movie (See: Pleasantville, among others), but, having gotten on board not knowing what to expect, it was an interesting–if frequently frustrating–ride.

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