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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lost 6x17-18: The End

A few paragraphs will by no means be enough to unpack the entirety of Lost, a point now reached thanks to its final, appropriately-titled episode, "The End". It will take quite a bit of time and rumination to come to complete conclusions about Lost, as a show and a complete narrative; all that exists for the moment are but immediate impressions. 

While the finale lacked, as expected, any major revelations that tied up the numerous dangling plot threads from past seasons, it did present one major reveal, the one everyone is talking about, perhaps the show's most daring reveal: the flash sideways was, after all, an epilogue of sorts, revealed to be a purgatorial gestalt created by the 815ers after their deaths (whenever that may have been; apparently, time is irrelevant in the afterlife), a place for their souls to work out their issues, remember their past lives, and come together before moving on to another place. Sideways Desmond, rather than working towards some grand event that would somehow impact the island world, was merely doing his best to help the lost souls of Lost wake up and let go, facilitating their passage to another place. It was an emotional revelation, one built on character, that allowed characters long gone to come together and reflect on times past.

On the island, a place now confirmed to have no direct connection to the flash sideways world, Jack and Desmond each played their forecasted parts. Desmond released the energy at the heart of the island long enough to render FLocke mortal. Made flesh once more, FLocke was felled by a bullet from Kate and sent tumbling to his death by Jack. But Jack's part wasn't finished and he went back to the heart of the island, passing on the mantle of island protector to Hurley and saving Desmond before sacrificing himself to restore the island's light. Transported out of the island's heart, a dying Jack went back to where it all began and watched as the remaining Losties made it safely off the island aboard Ajira 316, just before his eyes closed one last time.

In the end, "The End" was emotionally stunning piece of character work that managed to adequately wrap up the sixth season's major narrative arcs (finding Jacob's replacement and stopping Smokey). Like the show as a whole, it presented some magnificent and thought-provoking ideas about personal choice, faith and the significance of life. In terms of resolving the overall narrative of Lost, a story that stretches back to the first season and encompasses everything in between, it failed, completely, but then, it never really attempted to resolve Lost's overarching narrative, choosing instead to bring the characters to a worthy resolution, and anyone paying attention to the shape of season leading up to the finale shouldn't have been surprised by that.
And so, for the moment, "The End" stands as an emotionally satifying finale to the series, one which managed to wrap up the narrative arc of the season even while it lays bare the changed priorities of Lost's storytellers, and the numerous dangling and unresolved plotlines that change left in its wake. "The End", then, reveals "Lost", as a complete narrative, to be a whole that is somewhat less than the sum of its parts.


Stuff Worth Mentioning:
Darlton promised a Star Wars reference in the first seven minutes of the finale. We actually got two: “He’s worse than Yoda” and “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.”

Whew. At least they didn't leave Richard's fate dangling. 

Flocke's comment that Jack was the obvious choice to replace Jacob was clearly a nod at the fans who said much the same thing.

The motel Sideways Charlie was staying at was the same motel Kate and Anthony Cooper had previously stayed at, and was used by Sayid as a safehouse early in season four (it's where he killed that guy with a dishwasher).


Richard's insistence on blowing up the plane is SO four episodes ago.

Yay! Frank survived after all. 

FLocke stabbed Jack where he had earlier had his appendix removed, just like, in season three, Ben shot Locke where his kidney had once been.

Hmm. Speaking of Jack's appendix, could the reason he got appendicitis on the island, requiring it to be removed, when the island always seemed to heal people, be that the island knew he would need to be appendix-less to survive FLock's stabbing in this episode long enough to turn the island's light back on?

At the concert, Desmond, Kate and the Shephards were sitting at table 23, which was Jack's candidate number. 

I'll be damned: the fact that there is a volcano on the island DID come into play after all.


Sideways Kate's awakening was catalyzed by looking at Claire's vagina. I'm just sayin', is all.


This was pretty awesome:


When Sideways Locke woke up after the operation, right after FLocke had died, I totally thought FLocke's consciousness would be in that body, and for a moment, I think the creators wanted us to think that too.

Also, he moved the same foot, in the same manner that Island Locke did immediately after the crash of Oceanic 815.


Sideways Sawyer and Juliet got the Apollo bar out of the vending machine the same way Jack defeated Smokey: turn off the power, accomplish the object, and turn the power back on.

I'm thinking the fact that Hurley was anointed the new guardian of island by simply drinking some dirty water from a bottle, while Jake drank stream water from a cup after some brief incantations and Jacob drank wine after longer incantations is another example of how the guardian of the island creates their own rules and, meta-textually, a commentary on how stories/myths can get changed in the re-telling.


The cave spit Jack out in more or less the same place as it did MiB's body.

It's kinda neat to think that back in season three when the Others were forcing Kate and Sawyer at gunpoint to work on the Hydra runway, Kate and Sawyer were actually helping build the very thing that would get them off the island at the end (I would still like to know more about who told the Others to build that runway -- Jacob, or Smokey -- at how said indiviudal knew it would be needed in 2007. Yeah, yeah, Island Magic, I know...). 

Can we chalk up some of the inconsistencies in the Sideways universe (Sun and Locke arriving at the hospital at the same time, Locke deciding to have surgery, and then having it, and fully recovering, on the same day) to the fact that it's a purgatorial gestalt created by the Oceanic survivors, and thus, not as beholden to the constraints of reality as we know it?

In hindsight, I wonder if the sunk island at the beginning of "LA X" was more than a red herring intended to draw our attention away from the true nature of the Sideways universe. Since life relies on the light at the center of the island, maybe the fact that the island is sunk and the light extinguished in the Sideways universe is a retroactive clue that the Sideways universe is something other than life/an afterlife. 

The window of the church had icons from six major world religions, suggested the church was of universal faith, suggesting that while Sideways universe is being described as something akin to the Christian purgatory, it is actually multi-faith.


In the NYC Lost Live chat that Darlton participated in last Thursday, they said that Walt would appear in the finale. Which, I guess, technically, he did (old footage of him was seen in Sideways Locke's "flashes" when Locke woke up). That's not what we were expecting, and Darlton had to know it when they teased it. Dirty pool, I say, dirty pool.  


Questions Answered:
The Sideways universe is a waiting room for the afterlife, a purgatorial gestalt that exists outside of time created by the souls of the 815ers to enable them to come together, remember their lives and move on to the next stage of existence together.


Presumably, Island Desmond switched consciousness with Sideways Desmond and saw this world, interpreting it to be an alternate reality in which the island and Smokey were defeated, and this is why he was so nonchalant about events on the island: he believed none of it mattered because of the other world.

Desmond was Jacob's failsafe because he was the one person capable of surviving the EM energy at the island's heart long enough to pull the cork and extinguish the energy, thus rendering Smokey mortal. 

Juliet's last thoughts ("it worked") were presumably caused when, on the edge of death, she became aware of the creation of the Sideways universe. In that brief glimpse before fully dying (and realizing the truth of it) she believed she was glimpsing the parallel world they had intended to create by detonating Jughead.   

Sideways Jack's neck wound was a bleed through between the two realities, caused by the tip of FLocke's knife cutting Jack in the neck before FLocke was shot by Kate.

Sideways Juliet is David's mom and Jack's ex-wife, as approximately 85% of Lost's fans predicted.


Sideways Eloise knows the truth about the Sideways universe because she's awoken, but isn't ready to move on yet (kinda like Sideways Ben, at the end). Still no idea how Island Eloise knew so damn much (beyond having Daniel's journal from the future).

Rose, Bernard and Vincent did travel back to 2007 from 1977 along with the other Losties in the wake of Jughead's detonation after all.


Questions Asked:
If there's a bit of the light at the center of the island inside of everyone, and if the light in the heart of the island goes out, the light everywhere goes out (as we were told) then did the entire world blink out of existence for the time that the light was out at the island (after Desmond pulled the cork and before Jack put it back in)? Or would existence end only when the island sank, once and for all, making the re-ignition of the light impossible? 

Why wasn't Jack turned into a Smokey when he turned the island's light back on? Because he wasn't evil like MiB? (This is really just me pointing out, again, that amongst all the other dangling plot threads, a little more info about Smokey in general would have been nice).


Next Week: ......
No more Lost. But this probably won't be my last Lost post. We shall see.

27 comments:

  1. Hmm. Speaking of Jack's appendix, could the reason he got appendicitis on the island, requiring it to be removed, when the island always seemed to heal people, be that the island knew he would need to be appendix-less to survive FLock's stabbing in this episode long enough to turn the island's light back on?

    Woah! This is great, Teebore, it makes a lot of sense - ooh, I hope it's true and that they were tying this stuff together all throughout.

    Sideways Kate's awakening was catalyzed by looking at Claire's vagina. I'm just sayin', is all

    Aaaaahahahaha! Which means Claire could have quite a lucrative career.

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  2. @Joan: I hope it's true and that they were tying this stuff together all throughout.

    With as much stuff that DIDN'T get tied together in the end, I'm more than happy to try and find stuff that does tie together, no matter how improbable.

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  3. since you brought up the appendix scar it makes me wonder if, in the sideways verse, when he notices the scar if it was less of a surgery scar and more of a bleed through of his stab wound.
    Not that it really matters.

    My theory about why jack didn't become a smokey is because he wasn't angry about his fate. MiB spent hie whole life angry only to have his brother throw him in a cave ending his life. It probabaly pissed him off enoguh to turn him into some rage induced black smoke.

    Or maybe Jack didn't turn into a smokey because when the light returned he was already in the cave. Sort of a constant?

    Bahdunno. My first theory is the one i'm sticking with.

    If walt not being in the church was truly an actor age thing, they could have easily gotten a body double for us to just glimpse and say "i saw walt in the church".

    But also we could also just assume that the island time wasn't the defining time in Walt's life, so therefore he's got some other sideways group of people he's crossing over with

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  4. don't mind me - jedi business...
    (forgot to get comments emailed)

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  5. since you brought up the appendix scar it makes me wonder if, in the sideways verse, when he notices the scar if it was less of a surgery scar and more of a bleed through of his stab wound.

    You're probably right, especially since the neck wound was a bleed through of his FLocke fight. And you're also right that it doesn't really matter....

    My theory about why jack didn't become a smokey is because he wasn't angry about his fate.

    That's as good as theory as any.

    Hey, remember that time when we theorized about stuff, but also thought, eventually, our theories would be replaced by the telling of the actual story?

    That was awesome...

    But also we could also just assume that the island time wasn't the defining time in Walt's life, so therefore he's got some other sideways group of people he's crossing over with

    Oh, I definitely assume that's why Walt (and anyone else that was maybe should have been in the church but wasn't) wasn't in the church, story-wise (the real reason is that the actor is apparently 8 feet tall and 87, thus looking nothing like 2004 Walt).

    My problem wasn't that Walt wasn't in the church, but that Walt wasn't in the episode after Darlton specifically said he would be. And previous footage of him in Locke's clip show awakening is NOT the same as being in the episode, no matter how cute Darlton think they are.

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  6. don't mind me - jedi business...

    No problem. These aren't the droids you're looking for anyway...

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  7. @Falen- you KNOW that whole theory about why Michael and Walt weren't in the church was my idea
    THIEF!

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  8. Great write up - Teebore! Here are some of my thoughts on a few things:

    Speaking of Jack's appendix... here is a volcano... Kate and Sawyer were actually helping build the very thing that would get them off the island at the end...

    It's definitely stuff like this which gels the overall narrative of the show together better than I think a lot of people currently realize. Yes, details are often sparser than we'd like, but the majority of mysteries connect back to things somehow even if its in small, subtle ways.

    Sideways Sawyer and Juliet got the Apollo bar out of the vending machine the same way Jack defeated Smokey: turn off the power, accomplish the object, and turn the power back on.

    Love this, and it never even slightly occurred to me. Great observation, and I love it when the writers explain things subtly like this in the show (even though what happened can be inferred without the physical analogy).

    simply drinking some dirty water from a bottle...

    I liked this, too. When people were harping on "what was the wine" and "what was Mother's incantation" after Across The Sea, I was already theorizing that those details were probably only important to Mother and not necessarily things that mattered to the narrative or the actual way the Island works. What a LOT of the show's mysteries come down to are the Island's powers and "the way the Island works" and since mankind doesn't really even KNOW how the Island works IN THE SHOW, then what we always see are mankind's attempts to interpret/manipulate/control it in whatever manner each encounterer sees fit. So what's important in the "passing of the protectorship" is just that it works, not necessarily the details of the ritual involved -- those details, the incantations, the beverage, etc., are all just mankind's constructs trying to interpret and understand the unknown. The same can be said for pretty much ALL Island explanations we see on the show. Much the same as all of makinds real-world attempts to understand the universe and how some things are just unknowable -- some people will interpret through science, some through religious-style ritual, but in the end all we can truly give/have is just plain simple faith that it all works.

    they said that Walt would appear in the finale.

    I cried "foul "on this at first too, but then remembered that the exact Carlton quote was that we'd see Walt again "before all is said and done." And now, it appears we're going to be getting an epilogue of sorts on the DVD of the show. Michael Emerson announced this on "Attack of the Show" last night... So while that was still a misleading comment, I suspect we'll get a glimpse of Walt in this epilogue.

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  9. she believed she was glimpsing the parallel world they had intended to create by detonating Jughead...

    I still think she may have been correct. We can't know for sure, but Christian DID say it was a place they "all made together," which still fits The Incident. I think what Juliet and Desmond (on-Island) just didn't realize (much like us viewers) was that this place they created wasn't a permanent alternate timeline, but rather a transitionary place outside of time. But I personally don't see a reason to jettison the place's known (or at least implied) origin just because it's true nature is different than we/they expected. It still feel's a bit like the universe course-correcting to guarantee that Whatever Happened, Happened in 1977. But then we're always given a choice to interpret things more "scientifically" on the show -- our own attempt to understand the unknown!

    Why wasn't Jack turned into a Smokey...

    I'd love a better in-show explanation, too. My guess is that the "transporting light" -- which we've seen zap people out of all kinds of harrowing situations (plane crashes, hatch implosions, through time) -- simply snapped him out of there before he could be Smokified.

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  10. In terms of resolving the overall narrative of Lost, a story that stretches back to the first season and encompasses everything in between, it failed...

    You're right in that it didn't address the myriad of little mysteries (as predicted and forewarned by the writers), but when I think of the overall narrative of the show, I really don't think there are many big hole's in the show's narrative - something we can only judge now that we can look on the thing in its entirety. I mean sure there are all kinds of little niggling details that are left up in the air, but the majority are all permutations of our wanting to FURTHER understand something, not things we don't understand the relevance/purpose/consequence of at all.

    When you look at the overarching narrative of the show, the story (beyond the individual characters' tales) has always had three major parts: A) Discovering the Island's Past History; B) Surviving the Island's Present Situation; C) Determining The Island's Future.

    "A" is the one where the majority of all the questions people have exist, and NOT knowing absolutely everything in this category honestly doesn't harm how complete the "B" and "C" aspects of the story are. New "A" has always helped the characters/audience figure out "B" and "C," but just because "A" is left with holes in it doesn't render the show's overall narrative of "B" and "C" incomplete. From the Pilot, our characters struggled to survive/escape the Island facing obstacles like the Themselves (S1), Dharma Hatches (S2), The Others (S3), Widmore's Freighter (S4), Their Own Destinies (S5), and Smokey himself (S6), and in The End some finally escaped for good. Meanwhile, other characters (beginning with Locke in S1) chose to invest in the Island's future, and they succeeded in saving it. That's a pretty complete overall show narrative, and we learned ENOUGH about "A" to make "B" and "C" both impactful, richly-fueled, and entertaining.

    I think the frequent conception that the story has "aborted" or "forgotten" plot lines was merely the result of the steadily shifting perspective of the major threat from season to season. The Dharma storyline was never DROPPED - we just found out they were not the major threat since The Others had wiped them out. Then the Others ceased to be the major threat when our survivors defeated Ben's pregnancy-centered plans but brought Widmore crashing down on them all; Then Widmore ceased to be the major threat when his plans were thwarted but lead to the Oceanic 6 escaping their destinies; Then they return to their destined path (ironically causing the Incident that directly lead to their own plane crash) but The Man In Black was released in the process. All the mysteries served to either shed light on the current threat or foreshadow the upcoming ones - but the narrative through-line is always consistent: conflicts among mankind in trying to control the Island's powers are revealed to date further and further back down to the personal struggles of Jacob and the MIB (and earlier beyond the scope of the show's narrative).

    So while I'd LOVE more info and clarification on a great many details - for the most part they ARE only details we're talking about: explanations for some fuzzy motivations, causes for some characters' special powers, and inexplicable mechanics for how the Island's energy works. In retrospect, I personally feel the show's overall narrative was pretty solidly connected and intact.

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  11. Thanks SP!

    Yes, details are often sparser than we'd like, but the majority of mysteries connect back to things somehow even if its in small, subtle ways.

    I'll get into this in more detail shortly, but here's what still bugs me: while it's cool that the runway being built in season three ended up having a purpose, and the further revelation that Sawyer and Kate were being forced at gunpoint to do something that ultimately brought about their exodus from the island once and for all, the coolness of those connections is downplayed, for me, by the fact that:

    A. We still don't know who ordered the runway to be built (presumably Jacob, but only presumably, or maybe Smokey, since Ben only talked with Smokey, thinking it was Jacob. Or did Ben maybe sometimes talk to Jacob? Who knows!)

    B. How that person knew it needed to be built (does the island bestow its protectors/Smoke monsters with precognition? Did Jacob just "know" somehow it needed to be built for future use?)?

    C. Why it was built (did Jacob know everything that was going to happen, and thus knew the Oceanic Six and later Kate, Sawyer and Co. would need it in the future? Did Jacob/Smokey/Whomever decide to build it on a whim-"a runway might come in handy someday!"- and it turns out that whim was right?)?

    So, yeah, the runway connection is cool and fun and Lost at its best, but it still showcases a few missed opportunities for more such moments, and highlights another dropped narrative.

    I was already theorizing that those details were probably only important to Mother and not necessarily things that mattered to the narrative or the actual way the Island works.

    Again, while I really like the idea of the "story changing in the telling" and that the rules are determined by whomever is protecting the island, I would have liked (and feel the show would have benefited from) the rules, at least Jacob's (as his were the rules the majority of Lost was played by), to have been made more clear, just so we (the audience) would have had a better understanding of what the stakes were.

    I mean, I'm sure watching a baseball game without understanding the rules can be fun, but I bet it's a lot more fun if you know the rules.

    A lot of Lost, in hindsight, especially this season, feels like we're watching a baseball game without really knowing the rules.

    Smokey can't kill the candidates. Why? It's against the rules. Okay. So who made and enforces the rules? Jacob. Okay, so what happens if Smokey breaks the rules? Can the rules BE broken? If not, why? If they can broken, why doesn't Smokey just break them?

    To me, those are important questions necessary to maintaining the integrity of the show's narrative, and making it clear to the audience what the stakes are. Yes, I know, the characters don't/can't know the rules, but the audience isn't the characters; we're allowed to have info the characters don't.

    And while you or me or many other people can come up with some of our answers to some of the questions I posed, I don't believe it's our job to do so, especially for something so critical to show's overall narrative, and would have preferred the actual creators of the show answer those questions for us.

    So while that was still a misleading comment, I suspect we'll get a glimpse of Walt in this epilogue.

    Hmm...that's an interesting idea. I had heard of the DVD epilogue, but I hadn't thought of Walt showing up in it.

    My guess is that the "transporting light" -- which we've seen zap people out of all kinds of harrowing situations (plane crashes, hatch implosions, through time) -- simply snapped him out of there before he could be Smokified.

    I like that idea too!

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  12. @SP: When you look at the overarching narrative of the show, the story (beyond the individual characters' tales) has always had three major parts: A) Discovering the Island's Past History; B) Surviving the Island's Present Situation; C) Determining The Island's Future.

    That's a good way of looking at the narrative, but for me, I've come to see it as the struggle between Jacob and MiB, with the Losties stuck in the middle.

    To that end, I've tried to connect the narrative of the show in terms of what Smokey was trying to accomplish, how Jacob was trying to stop him, and how the Losties fit into those machinations, and it just doesn't seem to add up.

    The pregnancy issue, for example. While I feel like it was intended to be a bigger deal and then dropped unnecessarily, it doesn't really fit into either of our perspectives on the show's overall narrative. So in those terms, I don't mind that it brought up, and then the story moved on. It was made clear that was Ben's issue, and once his role as the main antagonist went away, so did that plot. Fine.

    But here's another example: why did the Oceanic Six need to get back to island? From Jacob's perspective, because they were his candidates, and had a role yet to play in his struggle against Smokey. From Smokey's perspective, he just needed Locke to leave the island, die, then come back so he could finish conning Ben into killing Jacob for him, and once that was done, having all the remaining candidates on the island to be killed would be handy.

    So Smokey, in the guise of Christian, gets Locke to turn the wheel (something he wanted him to do in the first place) after convincing him to bring back the Oceanic Six.

    Off the island, Locke is met by Widmore, telling him it's important that he and the Six are back on the island when the war comes (presumably, the final showdown between Jacob and MiB). Is Widmore working for Jacob or Smokey? Who knows!

    Later, Ben kills Locke, not on order from Smokey-as-Jacob, but out of jealously and a desire to reclaim what he's lost. He then convinces the Oceanic Six to go back, with Locke's body, because Ben knows the only way (for some reason) he can get back is with everyone else.

    It sure is convenient, then, that Ben unintentionally did stuff that helps further Smokey's grand scheme.

    Later, Eloise helps the Oceanic Six get back to the island. Again, is this because she knows Jacob wants them back, because she's working for Smokey and HE wants them back, or just because it's her job to do inscrutable stuff?

    That's just one facet in Smokey's plan, a plan which is more or less half of Lost's overarching narrative, and it's already got more plotholes and/or dangling threads for my liking.

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  13. Bottom line, at one point, I was promised, both implicitly (via the conventions of the genre in which Lost was operating) and explicitly (interviews with Darlton) that when the show was over and done with, I could go back to the beginning and see how all the pieces fit together.

    And I simply can't do that. There are too many pieces that don't fit, or only fit when I, the audience and not the creator, massage it into place. If this was a show that was surprisingly canceled, or one which never, at any point, promised narrative cohesion, that wouldn't be bother me as much.

    But for a show that promised narrative cohesion, a show with unprecedented knowledge of exactly how long it had to tell its story, I can't call the overarching narrative of Lost anything but a wildly ambitious, thrilling, intriguing, mesmerizing and audacious failure.

    There are certainly plenty of mysteries/dangling plots out there that don't matter to the overall story (who dropped the pallet? Who was in the other outrigger? What was up with that package Ben stowed in the hotel air vent before going back to the island with the Oceanic Six) and while I'd have liked them to be tied up, I can deal with them being left unresolved.

    But the stuff that ties directly in to the struggle between Jacob, the Losties, and Smokey, stuff dealing with the Others, their relationship with Jacob and/or Smokey, the roles of Ben, Widmore and Eloise in that struggle, the goals and intentions of Smokey's long con, and the rules governing the conflict on the island, all that stuff seems necessary, to me, to successfully telling Lost's overarching narrative, and much of it was left, sadly, unresolved, unclear or to the imaginations of the audience.

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  14. Who was in the other outrigger

    Gah, that reminds me! I want those answers so bad! And remember when the voice repeating the numbers switched from Rousseau's to some dude's voice? Did we ever find out who it was and why it happened? Now I'm not even sure if that did ever happen! Am I making things up?

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  15. And remember when the voice repeating the numbers switched from Rousseau's to some dude's voice? Did we ever find out who it was and why it happened? Now I'm not even sure if that did ever happen! Am I making things up?

    No, you're not making that up. When Ajira 316 crashes on Hydra, they pick up a transmission of the numbers, and it sounds like Hurley is saying them instead of the previous voice (maybe Hurley, during his tenure as Island Protector, re-records the numbers, for some reason, and Ajira 316 picked that up, coming back through time, for some reason?).

    Heck, we don't even know who recorded the numbers that Leonard and later Rousseau heard in the first place. Not that such knowledge is all that critical to the show's story.

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  16. When Juliet said "It worked" she said that in the Sideways Universe after Sawyer unplugged the vending machine to get the Apollo Bar, right before she also said "Let's meet for coffee". It was meant to mislead us, and maybe it did have double meaning, but she said it about the vending machine.

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  17. @Eric: When Juliet said "It worked" she said that in the Sideways Universe after Sawyer unplugged the vending machine to get the Apollo Bar, right before she also said "Let's meet for coffee".

    Great catch! I totally missed that.

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  18. I'm going to try and be brief here, but I'll be long winded in my briefness.

    First off, I should say that I'm firmly in the camp that wonders why, in a work of fiction, you would introduce a mystery that you don't intend to answer. I don't like it.

    However, I can be down with some of the nebulous stuff involving the island and its magical powers. It's like magnetism. Positvely and negatively charged particles are attracted to each other and will move towards each other. Why is this? Nobody knows. (Well, maybe some high level thinking astrophysicist, but just roll with me.) The fact is, there is no reason for magnetic force, it just is. It's a law of the universe.

    It's also kind of like trying to decipher the origin of the universe. Whenever you decide on the universe's origin, you can always ask "well, where did that come from?" At some point, as humans, we must just realize we can't phathom some things like the creation of the universe.

    So, the island just is. It has special powers and rules and there's no use trying to figure out the origin of it all or the source of its power because nobody knows. No human knows the cause, just the effect. (I can roll with that but a part of me will always feel that the whole "nobody knows the origin the island just like all other mysteries of the universe" is less a metaphor and more lazy writing. But that's just me.)

    So let's focus on what the Lost writers really care about, characters. And what I really get annoyed with is the dangling plot threads involving characters. Maybe Jacob and the MiB don't know why MiB turned into Smokey, but where's the scene where Jacob discovers that MiB is a smoke monster. How do both of them feel about this? What about Eloise Hawking, where'd she get all her omniscient knowledge? Was it just from the diary? Even the part where she talked to Desmond in the past? How'd she know Desmond was even "in" the past? What was up Sayid and all the people he was killing for Widmore? What was the Widmore/Ben battle all about? Sun and Widmore seemed to team up, but that never amounted to anything. What was up with Libby? How'd she end up in the mental hospital and why was she giving Desmond a boat?

    Some of those aren't unanswered questions but just plots that are dropped or forgotten, but it all leads to a broken or incomplete narrative, even when it comes to characters. Don't get me wrong, I still liked the show, but the fact that not everything that happened in the show actually mattered to the show takes the show down from Excellent to just Great and hurts its rewatchability.

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  19. Thanks, Dr. Bitz; you managed to say what I was trying to say, but better.

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  20. "Aaaaaaaiiiieeeeee!" [runs off, slamming into walls holding head]

    Seriously, though - SP, I love your Alphabet Soup Breakdown.

    Dr Bitz, and others, in general I could agree - there are some things that drive me batty wanting the closure (see above). But overall, I love the Mystery of Life and dang if LOST didn't Bring It in the finale and IMHO, in the overall arc of the tale.

    There are so many threads that are left for us to decide for ourselves what it meant, and on a rainy day that's a fun task. Ultimately, I was so thankful that LOST assumed I was wicked smart, self-reflective and deep too!, and would figure it out instead of feeding me ever morsel.

    Great post, thanks,
    "Mama Lost"
    now, just Kimberely

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  21. Sideways Kate's awakening was catalyzed by looking at Claire's vagina. I'm just sayin', is all.

    Ha! I wonder if Desmond snuck that microskirt from "Lighthouse" into her luggage to see if it would have the same effect on anybody else.

    In the NYC Lost Live chat that Darlton participated in last Thursday, they said that Walt would appear in the finale. Which, I guess, technically, he did (old footage of him was seen in Sideways Locke's "flashes" when Locke woke up). That's not what we were expecting, and Darlton had to know it when they teased it. Dirty pool, I say, dirty pool.

    Which of course they'd explain away as a callback to Sayid's rebirth in the Temple...

    Sideways Jack's neck wound was a bleed through between the two realities

    Ooh! Intentional funny or unintentional funny? 8^)

    Hey, remember that time when we theorized about stuff, but also thought, eventually, our theories would be replaced by the telling of the actual story?

    Grrrr... I laugh to keep from crying.

    There are certainly plenty of mysteries/dangling plots out there that don't matter to the overall story ... and while I'd have liked them to be tied up, I can deal with them being left unresolved.

    I'm with you on the sentiment, there, but for me the pallet drop is a huge hole that has absolutely no fathomable explanation outside of Island Magic taken to a much greater, more specific degree than we've ever applied it.

    Nice final writeup, Teebore! I'm glad and yet sad to be in such good company on my feeling about how the show wrapped up (or didn't).

    VW: bilatin — 1. Workin' that two-party magic. 2. Version of Pig Latin used as code amongst the set that has, as Woody Allen put it, twice as many potential dates on a Saturday night.

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  22. I always thought the drops were just Widmore in cahoots maybe with Hanso Fndtn, who obviously still had a lot invested in the Island, and the end game (he needed people to be alive to fight on 'his' side. Which, BTW, I think was not a good one, until, as he put it 'Jacob convinced of the error of is ways' or some such. I think when he talked with Locke in Tunisia, he was Bad Widdy. But then he shifted and saw the light -- ooooOooo! ;D -- and wanted to help rid the Island of FLocke.)

    .02,
    Mama Lost

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  23. Sayid's "Dirty Pool" ? You guys are awesome.

    And an upskirt catalytic perverter. Classic stuff. Thing is, having caught a few babies, you do see all kinds of stuff, a real hysterical and gut-wrenching gush of primordial creative juices, enough to deliver a Kerouac-ian "kick in the eye" alright, but by no means is there a vagina in sight.

    Teebore, I've been quietly cultivating a major baseball theme for a long time involving the miracle between Christian, Jack, and Locke that was supposed to materialize and never did--weird to see so many baseball references in this response thread.

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  24. @k. sequoia: Thanks for stopping by!

    I love the Mystery of Life and dang if LOST didn't Bring It in the finale and IMHO, in the overall arc of the tale.

    See, for me, the problem is that while the Mystery of Life is fascinating, maddening, and fertile ground for deep thinking and philosophical discourse, fiction is fiction. While there are Mysteries to Life that can't be answered, in fiction, that world exists at the leisure of the author, and can explain whatever the heck it wants.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is, just because real life is filled with Unanswerable Questions doesn't mean I want that in my fiction, too (at least in terms of plot; theme/motivation/meaning can and should be left open to interpretation in fiction, as far as I'm concerned).

    Obviously, that's just my preference; I certainly don't begrudge you yours.

    There are so many threads that are left for us to decide for ourselves what it meant, and on a rainy day that's a fun task.

    Again, while I love shredding fiction for insights into theme and meaning, I don't want to do that when it comes to plot. It's the author's job to tell the story, not the audience, and for me, Lost left so much story open for the audience to tell that it feels a bit like a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book, only with more options to choose.

    @Blam: Which of course they'd explain away as a callback to Sayid's rebirth in the Temple...

    Ha! Nice one.

    Ooh! Intentional funny or unintentional funny?

    Oh, intentional, of course. :D

    I'm with you on the sentiment, there, but for me the pallet drop is a huge hole that has absolutely no fathomable explanation outside of Island Magic taken to a much greater, more specific degree than we've ever applied it.

    Another explanation I've heard/speculated about is that it relates somehow to the time distortions on the island, that the pallet drop is from some time in the island's past, when Dharma was still dominant on the island, sent forward in time by the island's EM mojo.

    Of course, that raises additional questions, because it seems pretty clear from what we've seen that Dharma uses the sub to leave the island and VW buses to traverse it; if they had helicopters capable of flying over the island to drop food, then why was it such a big deal that the doctor was across the island at the Looking Glass station when Baby Ethan was born? Send a chopper and he'll be back in minutes.

    I'm glad and yet sad to be in such good company on my feeling about how the show wrapped up (or didn't).

    Ditto.

    @TM Lawrence: Thanks to you as well for stopping by!

    I've been quietly cultivating a major baseball theme for a long time involving the miracle between Christian, Jack, and Locke that was supposed to materialize and never did--weird to see so many baseball references in this response thread.

    I'd love to hear that theory sometime. We're big baseball fans 'round these parts.

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  25. I'm late and all the things I was going to say were said.

    But I loved the replay. If Claire's vagina was my catalyst for awakening, I would stay asleep. I say no to roast beef! NO ROAST BEEF!!

    I don't see why it would matter about Walt's age either. I thought of it though as maybe his life wasn't changed as dramatically as the others by the crash and the island.

    Also the last picture of Jack's eye being closed...brings a tear to me eye. One single tear. Bazinga.

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  26. @Teebore: It's funny you bring up the MIB and Jacob's motivations during the O6's departure and return. Personally, I've considered S5 to be the show's biggest story-telling muddle for quite a while. Not to say I didn't enjoy that season A LOT - but it really was a narrative jumble.

    As far as understanding the MIB and Jacob's overall game - I think two things are important to factor into the planning. 1) I think Jacob interfere's as little as possible, so mostly it's the Others' and their various leaders' whims that rule their agenda. 2) I think it would be a mistake to assume the MIB knew exactly what he was planning on doing to Locke/Jacob the entire time. I think most of his actions were seat-of-the-pants attempts to get the Candidates killed one-by-one and generally muck-up Jacob's plans.

    This is why I think trying to attribute a one-to-one correlation between everything that happened and two battling entities will proabably come up short in every attempt. One entity is barely playing the game while the other is no grandmaster. Part of me likes to think the MIB only got the idea to have Locke bring the 06 back when HE first heard Richard tell Locke about it (on his future self's orders). (We know he was time-traveling with them at least a bit of the time since he was Christian when Locke turned the Donkey Wheel, but he also clearly went back to 2007 to be with Claire once the wheel was back on its axis and functioning properlly.)

    @ Dr. Bitz: You said "the fact that not everything that happened in the show actually mattered to the show takes the show down from Excellent to just Great and hurts its rewatchability."

    I can certainly appreciate that notion, but I guess I don't have as big an issue with thinking of LOST as a the typical television patchwork of overlapping narratives that form a greater whole rather than a perfectly structured novel. Had I made your statement, I would have said that "the fact that not everything that happened in the show actually mattered directly to the show'S ENDGAME takes the show down from Perfect to just Excellent."

    And I really don't think it impacts rewatchibility that much... I can't think of a single one of the show's many narratives I'll enjoy any less knowing that it's just a piece of a large mosaic rather than an essential variable in an equation.

    But that's me! :)

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  27. @Palindrome: I say no to roast beef! NO ROAST BEEF!!

    Hahaha! FTW!

    I don't see why it would matter about Walt's age either. I thought of it though as maybe his life wasn't changed as dramatically as the others by the crash and the island.

    Ditto.

    @SP: I've considered S5 to be the show's biggest story-telling muddle for quite a while. Not to say I didn't enjoy that season A LOT - but it really was a narrative jumble.

    Agreed; I might even call it one of my favorite seasons (due to the time travel stuff and Sawyer's development) but it's definitely a mess, narratively speaking, and seems even more anomalous in the wake of the show's end.


    And I really don't think it impacts rewatchibility that much... I can't think of a single one of the show's many narratives I'll enjoy any less knowing that it's just a piece of a large mosaic rather than an essential variable in an equation.

    But that's me! :)


    I REALLY wish I could approach it like you do (I'd feel a lot less frustrated!). I like your analogy at the end there, about the narratives being part of a mosaic versus variables in an equation, because I definitely think it helps explain the reaction of different people to the overall show.

    For me, I was led to believe the narrative elements WERE variables in an equation, that Darlton knew what X stood for, and that by the end of the show, we, the audience, would also know that.

    But then they switched it up and started talking about the show as a mosaic, with the various narratives just random parts of a greater tapestry. People who never saw the show as massive equation to be solved were accepting of this, people who wanted to know the value of "X", so to speak, were left disappointed/frustrated, even while still enjoying various parts of the mosaic on their own merits.

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