Music, Movies, Second Life and Other Musings…

The End of LOST/Remembering John Locke

WARNING: LOST Finale Spoilers. If you intend to watch the LOST Finale and don’t want to know how it ends, read no further please!

Its been since early summer that the historic Finale of LOST aired, and its still hard for me to conceive a fitting send-off in print. My feelings on the Finale remain conflicted and complex, but I shall try to, in fact need to, express them.

Let me first qualify that I have never loved a TV show like I loved LOST . I realized it had many ‘less-than-brilliant’ moments. Mythologically and symbolically dense, the story’s purpose was to keep viewers in suspense and trying to guess at its many intrigues. But when Season 6 wound down and the dust settled, it became apparent that LOST’s real genius was the chemistry between its multi-racial, ensemble cast and their very nicely drawn characters.

That is how I can forgive what amounts to a flat-out fuck-off by the creators in the Finale when it was revealed that the Sideways universe was *not* created when Jughead exploded, and that, actually, nothing happened when Jughead exploded!! The Sideways universe turning out to be Jack’s death vision actually had me fuming, even as my emotions were manipulated by the soaring score and shameless sentimentality of the Finale’s last ten minutes. I believe my precise thought at that moment was ‘They did NOT just do a Jacob’s Ladder on us!!!???’.

But yes, reality suspended for six whole years came crashing down around not only me, but the faithful worldwide. There were wails a-plenty, so at least I didn’t have to suffer alone. In the wake of such disappointment and loss, I’ve developed a new pasttime, watching YouTube videos of people’s reaction watching the last few minutes of the LOST finale. Unsurprisingly, there is no shortage of these types of videos.

Here is someone expressing his feelings on the Finale directly after watching it. No, I can’t tell what he is saying either, but he is saying it very convincingly!

There were some nice things about the Finale. In fact, the whole Season was outstanding, and I had high hopes up until the final two scenes. The premise of the Sideways universe had so much potential in my imagination, not the least would be the redemption of one John Locke. I guess he got redemption of a sort, a sort of ego-less state of letting go and letting it be and blah blah and all that, but my ego-attachments had much different plans for him. My feelings for my favorite character and the direction the creators took him are also complex and conflicted. His story was tragic unto Shakesperean proportions and he was driven by private demons and obsessions, but in John’s desperate search for purpose he somehow conveyed innocence, curiosity and wonder. I felt his disappointments so keenly it was months before I could even watch Duex en Machina (where his Dad steals his kidney!), already having read the recap, becoming hooked in the 2nd Season. In retrospect I feel that LOST did reach its pinnacle in Season 2 and only slightly less in Season 3 by introducing the Flashforward instead of Flashback device. But as far as storytelling, character development, conflict expression, plot devices and the peculiar popular culture potpourri of cheesey sci-fi and Eastern Mysticism – they all came together gloriously in Season 2’s episode “?”, a Locke-centric episode during which Locke believes that pushing the button in the Hatch was not, in fact, saving the world as he’d been told by Desmond, but just a mind-game by a shadowy group with manipulative motives. To Eko, the African drug lord turned Priest, John rails,

“Every single second of my pathetic life has been as useless (smacks wall for emphasis) as pushing that button!”

To which Eko beamingly replies “But John, we don’t push the button because we are told to push it, we push the button because we feel it is something we should do.”

If I may be allowed an understatement, this is a more sophisticated concept than I see communicated on the majority of prime time television. If LOST’s writing never rose to this level of excellence ever again, I can appreciate those moments even more so from that perspective! Mr. Eko playing against John Locke resulted in another one of my favorite quotes of all time, ‘Do not mistake coincidence for fate’.

So I gotta say about the Finale, boo to them, they did not redeem my man John Locke like I wanted. They did not do right by him. He was tragic and obsessed, but in all his weakness and ambiguity he was the show’s spiritual center, and he deserved to be the one to stop Smokey and save the Island, or at least have a hand in helping! I know, he was dead, small detail.. bah! I was holding out for him to reach over from the Sideways universe and beat some Smokey ass, but it wasn’t a Sideways universe at all; it was an after-life realm and I was holding out hope until the final few minutes! That was not nice, not nice at all 😦

Terry O’Quinn, who played Locke, has said that it was the moments in the following video that alerted him that he was contributing to something really special. Its also the moment that alerted me that he was contributing to something really special as well. From the ending of Season 1, Episode 4, Walkabout; John is being rejected for a Walkabout tour in Austrailia due to his wheelchair status directly before his departure on the doomed flight, and he is revealed to be paralyzed. We then witness the aftermath of the crash from his point of view as he realizes, amidst all this mayhem, that he can feel his feet. Some have said that is a creepy smirk on his face at the very end, but I don’t believe it! IMO, as he watches his newly un-needed wheelchair burn, its a smile of relief and gratitude.

All through the spring of ’10 the media played up the emotionalism of ending LOST to predictably extreme levels, and I loved every second of it (until the final scenes of the Finale, ahem…). Someone picked out some pretty interesting music for their episode trailers, which were painfully and obviously sparse, and only shown once per week. I’d never heard of this band, called Broken Records, before, and wanted to post this song somewhere, so this is a nice little tribute in honor of some of the many philosophical ideas expressed in LOST. As overwrought sounding as it is appropriate to the subject, presenting Nearly Home.

And oh my dear
I had a good idea
Lets lay these bones to rest
Build it all over and start again
Cause i know
That if you dare to hope
That if you dare to try
To rebuild the pieces of your life
And you’ll find
The things you held so dear
The things you held so close
Were never ever really yours
And whats left
That empty vacuumless shell
Is ready to be refilled
With all the love you should have had

And rip it up
Rip it all apart
This place that are parents built
Let it all burn down to the ground
Cause I’m tired
Of these suited lies
Of policy’s laid to break
And words that will never ever shake

We are nearly home
And we’re nearly home
And we’re nearly home
And were nearly home *2

And oh my dear
I had a good idea
Lets lay these bones to rest
Build it all over and start again

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