A screen-cap from possibly my favorite moment of the finale? Okay!
So. @xoxogg and I have been disagreeing about Lost this entire season. We decided our next gchat conversation on the matter, which was to no doubt come after the finale, would be posted here as a point/counterpoint. So here it is, as promised. And in case you're wondering, xoxogg has been a Lost lover from the start, so much so that he has trouble picking a favorite season. But he started to get worried with the season 5 finale, and has overall strongly disliked season 6. I too have been watching since the beginning, but didn't become obsessed like I am now until the end of season 3. My favorite seasons are 4 and 5. Here is our discussion on the Lost series finale.
xoxoGG: Are you ready to do this with me?
LoquaciousMuse: I should be. I’m just sad its over and my face hurts, my brain is fried and I'm saaaaaaad.
xoxoGG: Okay, so then, you go first: tell me what you thought how you felt, and then I'll go.
LoquaciousMuse: Hmmm. I thought it was beautiful. I loved that half of the season was the epilogue and we didn't know it, that the finale still managed to turn a device we thought we knew on its head. I love the idea that these souls are bonded together and I see them "moving on" together as them going into their next life, but souls forever bonded, which is something I believe in and I notice people are interpreting the end to fit whatever their own faith is, which I think is lovely even if it's just spirituality ‘cause I'm more of a secular spiritualist anyway, and it allowed room for anything, making the themes love, redemption, about characters and closure which it has always been about, and I wanted character resolution and I got it. The character arcs were amazing, especially Hurley's and Jack's. The reunions were breathtaking, I sobbed during every one. The acting was spot on -- Charlie saying "Claire" broke me. And I like the idea that there are questions left unanswered, because it allows continual theorizing, and keeps the show alive past its end date.
xoxoGG: Alrighty, can I cut in? :)
LoquaciousMuse: Yes haha.
xoxoGG: As you know, I've been SUPER pissed this whole past season because the show has been such a shadow of its former self -- completely eschewing character and development for a last minute ultimate good vs. ultimate evil (thought not really blah blah blah I'm sure the writers can't even explain it) storyline that's taken up all of our time on-island this past five months, but, ultimately, I didn't hate the finale. I think it was the best that we could have gotten given the lackluster sixth season that we've had and I really did enjoy the character reunions. I'm not even bothered by the revelation that the side flashes were basically heaven's waiting room (though I could have done without the multi-religious church at the end -- I mean, I get that they wouldn't want to alienate anyone's faith but Jesus a little heavy handed) -- that said, I think it was an ultimately lackluster SERIES finale it capped the show that I’ve been watching this year perfectly. But that show isn't the one that I started watching six years ago.
LoquaciousMuse: I don't think it was ever about ultimate good versus ultimate evil and Across the Sea helped illuminate that it's a lot more complicated than that, that they were just people. MiB would do anything to get off that island. Jacob would do anything to protect it.
The complete discussion after the jump
The complete discussion after the jump
xoxoGG: I know, I’m saying it's more complicated than that -- but I’m saying I don't think that the writers could even explain it to you. My boyfriend was/is livid about how the show ended and I get why he was, but shockingly I can't muster that anger. Because it's over. And what's the point? What I don't understand about what you said -- or, rather, I do understand it, but it makes zero sense -- is about theorizing after the fact -- the show is over. We're not getting any more info, and I think that as an audience we have to look at what we were given and think about it critically. I know you wanna love love love it to pieces, but ultimately there were some BIG things missing.
LoquaciousMuse: I didn't even notice the multi-faith stained glass until it was pointed out to me, so I didn't find it heavy handed at all! Once I noticed it and looked back, I thought it was a nice touch. I liked that they made it clear, "Listen. Don't say this is some Christian bullshit. It's spiritual, people, it's whatever you want."
xoxoGG: Pandering, pure and simple. I know a lot of people out there are straining to fill in the blanks and make sense of stuff but I think that's a huge waste of time. You can't rationalize away any problems that you had. If they didn't tell us, it's because it was just sloppy writing. Here are my big problems with how it ended and what I think we never got an answer to: 1) It's all well and good that the side flashes were a coda to a series where everyone got to be together -- the Claire/Charlie/Kate moment was great, as was the Sawyer/Juliet, and I'll admit it, I loved Shannon and Sayid. But they weren't a resolution.
LoquaciousMuse: Well, Shannon/Sayid I get it, even though I never liked their romance. He could move on and forget his past with her whereas Nadia WAS his past. He could really move on and feel redeemed with Shannon.
xoxoGG: That’s all beside the point, and don't EVEN get me started on Sun and Jin -- what a fucking joke.
LoquaciousMuse: You didn't like Sun & Jin???
xoxoGG: THEY SUDDENLY SPEAK ENGLISH GIVE ME A FREAKIN' BREAK, but this is nitpicky and not even the point that I’m trying to make.
LoquaciousMuse: Oh, I loved that! Same with Locke being able to walk. When they woke up, it was their world, anything was possible.
xoxoGG: What I liked or didn't like about the side flash universe is immaterial to the show. Like I said, it's all well and good that it's a coda, but it's not a true resolution for our characters and their lives, because ultimately everything that happened to them in the Side flash universe had no bearing because none of it was real -- I'm talking legitimate story, here. It wasn't real, and hey, Locke backed me up: "But Jack, you don't have a son." It's the Celestine Prophecy -- that's fine and dandy but it doesn't offer a true resolution to the story we've been told for six years because it ultimately isn't tied to what's happened in their real lives. Alright, argue with me, go (and then I’ll get onto my next problem)
LoquaciousMuse: See, I think it was real. Christian Shephard said it's real. The island was real, and sideways was real. What wasn't real were the "props" -- like David, fulfilling something for Jack that he never had.
xoxoGG: Okay, let me clarify: it wasn't real life -- it wasn't the same timeline as the island, which is what we've been dealing with for six years. And like I said: "But Jack, you don't have a son."
LoquaciousMuse: I think it was the same timeline. It's just after.
xoxoGG: They're dead. Christian told Jack they were.
LoquaciousMuse: They are dead, but it's still real.
xoxoGG: Not in the same way that the island world was real.
LoquaciousMuse: Again, I think a lot of this is up to interpretation and how you see the afterlife.
xoxoGG: Exactly: afterlife. I’m talking about the real tangible this-life world.
LoquaciousMuse: But vampires are undead and still walk the earth.
xoxoGG: Oh don't gimme that crap.
xoxoGG: They weren't walking around this universe -- it was some higher plane.
LoquaciousMuse: I just mean, while it may not have been an on earth tangible resolution, it still tied things up for the characters, who were experiencing it just as they experienced life.
xoxoGG: Okay, but that's not my point. Some sort of grand emotional resolution doesn't offer us a STORY oriented resolution. We've been invested in these characters and what was happening to them in THEIR LIVES for five years. Their lives here, on earth (actual earth) not some bullshit higher plane. I'm ultimately not interested in the afterlife. It's sweet, but it's not the point.
LoquaciousMuse: On Earth, we saw what really mattered, the most important time in their lives - the time on the island
xoxoGG: Okay, sure, I’ll give you that.
LoquaciousMuse: And most of the characters were dead by the end.
xoxoGG: Because of crappy season six, yes, all of the ethnics got killed.
LoquaciousMuse: I was happy with Hurley and Ben becoming the new Jacob & Richard and then the next we hear from them is "You were a great number one.” I am totally satisfied with that. More than satisfied.
xoxoGG: I'm fine with that too, but as far as I'm concerned it's beside the point.
LoquaciousMuse: I don't want to see what Kate and Sawyer and Miles and Richard and Frank did off island. I mean, I assume Kate raised Aaron, Richard experienced modern life, Desmond eventually got back to Penny & Charlie, etc. but that part of their lives isn't what the show was about
xoxoGG: we still don't know what made THESE people so special and we don’t' know what the island is!
LoquaciousMuse: It's about what the island did for them, the people they started as, the people they became and their connection to each other & the experience. The island is a cork. There was a literal cork. Haha!
xoxoGG: Oh reallllllly. Oh, OKAY. Well that TOTALLY clears it up: "What's the deal with that crazy island on Lost?" “Oh that? It’s a cork.”
LoquaciousMuse: I'm okay with a little fantasy. The island is the heart of the universe, it keeps things intact.
xoxoGG: When did they say THAT? Because I watched every episode… There were no definitive answers about ANYTHING.
LoquaciousMuse: But did you really want that? I mean, you can't over explain anything. I thought it was made clear without being overt.
xoxoGG: No, but you can at least explain SOME things.
LoquaciousMuse: It keeps the evil of the world trapped. And someone has to protect it and make sure it stays trapped.
xoxoGG: See, this is my problem with people in your camp. You fill in the blanks with whatever you want. It is a TELEVISION SHOW. We as an audience do not have creative license to try and figure out what we don't understand.
LoquaciousMuse: But they said all of that. Everything I just said, they said.
xoxoGG: Jacob said that, and he said that about Smokey being evil. But if Across The Sea told us anything it's that Jacob wasn't always right.
LoquaciousMuse: These people, our Losties, were chosen as candidates to protect the island because they had nothing across the sea. And not only did the island ultimately come out protected, but all the characters walked away with something whether it was what they were going to (Kate to Claire/Aaron) or something they had finally got to have (Sawyer w/ Juliet)
xoxoGG: but WHY THEM? Why not another ragtag group of people with no connection to the world.
LoquaciousMuse: They were a few names of hundreds on the wheel.
xoxoGG: Over hundreds of years.
LoquaciousMuse: But these, specifically the ones connected to the numbers, were the ones who would actually change it from "just progress" to "the end." So of course the TV show follows the ones who actually do it and don't all get crossed out. We know there are at least, what, 360 names in that lighthouse?
xoxoGG: Lost has ALWAYS purported to be about grand themes like fate and there's always been this sense of a grand plan and reason that NEVER came to fruition and because the show was about characters (at least for the first five years) we were lead to believe that there was something different and special about this group of people, why their lives kept intersecting and they were all connected even before they came to the island.
LoquaciousMuse: They were special because they were the ones who ended it.
xoxoGG: They threw all of that out in favor of a struggle between an angry dude made of smoke and his brother.
LoquaciousMuse: They were the ones who killed Smokey, who fixed the mistake Jacob made. Who made things right.
xoxoGG: They didn't though. Nothing ended.
LoquaciousMuse: Smokey's dead.
xoxoGG: The island was still there.
LoquaciousMuse: The island is safe. The island will always be there.
xoxoGG: If it is safe then why does it need a protector?
LoquaciousMuse: From people who come to try and tap into it i.e. the Dharma Initiative. Anyone who tries to figure it out. But Hurley probably won't kill people like Jacob did. Hurley was the purest of all and is gonna run things differently. Jacob was taught this crazy shit from his crazy mother.
xoxoGG: So you're telling me that at it's basest level, the story we were watching was about a group of people fated to stop the man in black from destroying the island. Yes or no?
LoquaciousMuse: Fated to ultimately protect the island from destruction, and thus the universe from destruction. They were fated to save the world. And along the way, find the things they never had off island.
xoxoGG: So, basically what I just said.
LoquaciousMuse: We meet Smokey in the pilot.
xoxoGG: Let's remember for a moment that they didn't plan this out that far in advance.
LoquaciousMuse: I know, but they went back and watched it and made it work, which is even more brilliant. Flash Forward planned 5 years and got canceled. Haha!
xoxoGG: Well every show should come to the table with a plan, and fingers crossed they survive.
LoquaciousMuse: In the pilot Jack hands off leadership to Hurley. Hurley faints at the sight of blood. In the finale, Jack passes it off, and Hurley takes it, because living there, his experience, has changed him into a leader.
xoxoGG: What you're saying comes down to a massive terrible amount of retroactive continuity, which at the end of the day comes down to nothing more than sloppy writing.
LoquaciousMuse: Retroactive continuity is a factor, yes, but I think it's further proof of the great writing, that they wanted to stay in line with what they had set up
xoxoGG: Taking the pieces of the puzzle and forcing them to fit. If the writing is good, then they wouldn't have to use retcon, everything would work as is, but because they had no plan and were literally playing it by ear, stringing the audience along for years: sloppy writing.
LoquaciousMuse: They may have set up too many mysteries, sure, but I also enjoyed theorizing and experiencing those mysteries along the way and I don't mind that not all of them were answered.
xoxoGG: Hey, I’m not saying I need everything answered.
LoquaciousMuse: Until they got an end date—
xoxoGG: You act as though the end date was handed down from on high. This is the TV business, which I know a thing or two about. If a creative team wants to end their show, that's totally their right. They didn't have a plan from the beginning, which is just lazy, and forcing things to line up in the last few episodes is just cheap. Look at the Adam and Eve of it all! They explain that in the Sepinwall interview by saying "oh, uh....Jack isn't so good at forensics." Seriously? Shut the fuck up.
LoquaciousMuse: In the beginning, JJ claimed it was gonna be as easily accessible as a procedural.
xoxoGG: well, JJ left two years in and all you mega fans worship the ground that D&C walk on, so one assumes that they would have the skills to pick up any slack.
LoquaciousMuse: But I don't mind that, I mean, what the hell DOES Jack know about forensics?
xoxoGG: EXACTLY. You don't mind that because you're not looking at it critically you're just like "oh, okay, whatever."
LoquaciousMuse: But why should Jack's word about something he knows nothing about be considered gospel? They've established many times that just because someone says it, it doesn't make it true.
xoxoGG: Because we were never led to believe that he was an unreliable narrator and we have to take the show at face value. Damon and Carlton saying that in an interview is a way of covering their asses because they realized they fucked up because they weren't paying attention. You need to ignore anything that happened that wasn't taking place onscreen while watching the show when trying to put everything together. That's the true test of whether or not it was successful in its execution -- if it can stand on its own two feet, so to speak, without Damon Lindelof or Carlton Cuse running their mouths.
LoquaciousMuse: My assumption was that Jack didn't know what he was talking about anyway cause later, Locke observed that normal clothes would degenerate? Disintegrate? I'm forgetting words, within two years. Meaning those particular clothes stood out, were different in some way. So that's what I thought.
xoxoGG: Because they were made on the loom of life” no doubt. Really? Honestly and truly you thought that from episode three or whatever? You're not just saying that now to rationalize along with them?
LoquaciousMuse: No no, I looked up Adam & Eve and read all the references to them in other episodes before it was updated with theories about the reveal.
xoxoGG: AHA! But you didn't jump to that conclusion at the time your story loophole was presented! You looked it up AFTER you realized it didn’t make sense.
LoquaciousMuse: Where it was just like "in episode _ Jack says this." "In episode __ Locke says this," implying Jack was wrong about the clothes.
xoxoGG: It all comes down to retcon
LoquaciousMuse: But if I had remembered that scene with Locke, then I wouldn't have needed to look it up. There's a lot I don't remember.
xoxoGG: The main problem is that the show doesn't work on its own. It, and "you people" require all of this ancillary content and commentary to explain the problems! For example, we were told: Ben and Widmore have some sort of weird rules where they can't kill each other, which is why they were out for each other's daughters. But then Ben kills Widmore! No explanation. But I guarantee that you and anyone still blindly in love could find a way to explain it to me. Yet, at the end of the day, that explanation didn't happen on TV and therefore isn't real. It’s conjecture.
LoquaciousMuse: But that's what makes the show special and is part of why it is so unique and wonderful - we can fill in those blanks, it exists beyond what is on the screen, which is something I love.
xoxoGG: No, that's what makes it dumb. And I say that PURELY in criticism of it as a creative entity.
LoquaciousMuse: I love not having the answers for everything and getting to come up with my own explanations and reading other people's thoughts, and they deliberately left the finale up to interpretation to stay in line with the spirit of the show.
xoxoGG: They invited that speculation by always saying that everything mattered and that there was an endgame, and by creating their online puzzles and games, which, great. But we now know that they didn't actually HAVE an endgame or plan or know how and why everything mattered until three years in. Then they traded on the unknown and innuendo in order to justify the fact that they were incapable of bringing it to a close. They've said they don't think they owe the fans anything. I was a fan. I loved this show for five years. I would DEFEND this show to people who said "ehhh doesn't seem like they know what they're doing." And I was a chump. They turned me into a chump. When Allison Janney says "Any question I answer will only lead to more questions" that's actually Damon and Carlton saying to the audience "We're not going to do what we promised. And we're not sorry." like, CLEAR CONTEMPT: http://deliberatepace.tumblr.com/post/599172981
LoquaciousMuse: I'm sorry you feel that way. :( It's interesting how divided everyone is. I don't think it comes down to anything in particular, it just worked for some people and not for others. And there are plenty of shows and movies where I do actually see the flaws and love it anyway, or I hate them, or I have mixed feelings about them. But, like, I'm actually satisfied here and I'm happy that I'm satisfied and it feels good. And I'm sorry that not everybody was affected the same way, and it makes me sad
xoxoGG: But I'm saying that the people who it worked for have been sold a bill of goods. The people it worked for are people who are content overlooking or rationalizing away any flaws. They aren't holding the show up to a high standard of quality storytelling. And sure, that's a person's prerogative, but it's blind and rose-colored.
LoquaciousMuse: It depends on what you see as flaws. You are a writer, so you know like, no, these are actual flaws in the writing.
xoxoGG: I'm not a writer.
LoquaciousMuse: Whereas for me, it took me on a full circle, brilliant, emotional journey that no other TV show has accomplished.
xoxoGG: Six Feet Under. I know TV. On top of that I know GOOD TV and I will give these writers credit where credit is due. They did a great job. Of making a brilliant show? No. Of getting people to watch something by promising and not delivering? Yes.
LoquaciousMuse: It's funny, I mean, I said this earlier, but sure they maybe introduced too many mysteries without knowing how they would get solved but I wouldn't want them to be taken back because I loved experiencing them even if in the end, there is no clear cut answer.
xoxoGG: The whole time we've been told "there is a plan!" which is tantamount to saying that the ends will justify the means but they didn't because the writers didn't even understand the means and they just picked an ending and forced it to fit.
LoquaciousMuse: But the people who are hating keep saying like "This show is about characters, where are the characters?" or "That was so lame and obvious how they answered that question about the whispers" or what have you, and then the finale focuses on the characters and doesn't give obvious answers and the haters still hate it.
xoxoGG: Ultimately, I don't care about that stuff -- the minutiae and the whispers and if they truly cared about focusing on characters then they would have done that this entire year, and they didn't. It's like with Grey's Anatomy.
LoquaciousMuse: Wait. I'm 5 eps behind. No spoilers.
xoxoGG: I'm not spoilering. Speaking generally.
LoquaciousMuse: Okay. For me, they DID focus on the characters this whole season, but I know not everyone sees it that way.
xoxoGG: The side flash world people were NOT our characters our characters were living and breathing and dying on the island.
LoquaciousMuse: We may have to agree to disagree there, cause I see them as definitely being our characters, just after they died on one plane of existence. But still them, their feelings, their habits, what they care about, what they need to work out…
xoxoGG: …speaking English when they shouldn't have been, turning back from their zombie-selves at the last moment to die in an out of left field grand gesture. Anyways, Grey's: the show is good at what it does -- case of the week perfectly attuned to wring tears out, but it's not legitimately good storytelling. It's usually pretty clunky and recycled. Sure, I cry, but that's because they're good at pushing those buttons. They're skilled at that. So sometimes it's taken to be quality.
LoquaciousMuse: Hahaha I always cry during Grey's and I'm like WHY DOES THIS ALWAYS HAPPEN!? I'M ONLY HALF WATCHING!
xoxoGG: It's emotional manipulation. I think that just because you got some tearful reunions and sobbed your lil' lost loving heart out, you feel like some good was done. It wasn't. They pushed the buttons and pulled the heartstrings but at the end of the day the drama wasn't based in anything substantial. If this were Jonestown, you'd be dead.
LoquaciousMuse: But Grey's emotionally manipulates you by introducing a husband and wife and the wife dies and the husband yells at a doctor about how being alone sucks. The reason I cried during Lost wasn't because of some sad story they constructed in 2 minutes. It was because of the connection I felt to these characters for SIX YEARS and getting to see them reunite.
xoxoGG: I KNOW
LoquaciousMuse: All it took was Charlie saying "Claire."
xoxoGG: EXACTLY. they know what they're doing.
LoquaciousMuse: That's because of good storytelling
xoxoGG: They know what buttons to push.
LoquaciousMuse: And character development.
xoxoGG: It wasn't good storytelling.
LoquaciousMuse: And relationships.
xoxoGG: It wasn't development. They played the easy cards.
LoquaciousMuse: That we understand the connections between them enough to be moved by one word.
xoxoGG: Painted in broad strokes. And you bought it.
LoquaciousMuse: I let myself experience it and I loved every moment. I don't like being "on top" of things when I watch them. I like letting myself be in the moment. Feeling every emotion, not over analyzing
xoxoGG: But it's not like you're going to revisit them and try to see them from another perspective. You love this show.
LoquaciousMuse: In this situation, afterwards, I still find myself not caring to over-analyze.
LoquaciousMuse: Maybe in a few years, I will rewatch, look back, question.
xoxoGG: Kool-Aid = death
LoquaciousMuse: But I'm totally satisfied right now, way more so than I was with the BSG finale. Buffy is one of my all time favorite shows, but I didn't love the finale at the time or looking back. This is one of the few series finales that just did it for me, and if that changes one day, then it will change, but right now I think it was brilliant and I will miss the show so much :(
xoxoGG: I'm worked up right now, but my general feeling about the finale was one of: "Meh, I'm glad THAT'S over." My anger isn't with the finale; it's how we GOT to the finale. I think that they took a seriously wrong turn and this was the best they could do, and I'm angry that they wont' accept responsibility for it, that to our anger, they say "fuck you."
LoquaciousMuse: Which is how a lot of people feel, I don't think there is a right or wrong. I think half the audience hated the direction this season went and are upset and the other half loved the direction this season went and are satisfied and I was NOT obsessed with Lost since the beginning.
xoxoGG: I was. And now I really feel like I wasted energy and time.
LoquaciousMuse: I watched it casually and enjoyed it. Then end of season 3 I fell in love. I became REALLY obsessed. But I haven’t been obsessed since day 1, though I've seen every episode and watched every week.
xoxoGG: I saw the pilot two months before the show premiered and I said to myself "This is gonna be BIG." I immediately made my best friend watch it. I fell in love. And this past season has been like finding out that I was being cheated on from day one, melodramatic as that sounds.
LoquaciousMuse: I didn't feel that way at all, but I don't think either one of us are wrong--
xoxoGG: Well you weren't in it from day one
LoquaciousMuse: --or less intelligent or more or less easily manipulated or more or less cynical like the names people are throwing around on Twitter for people who loved it or hated it I watched it, I loved it, I wasn't OBSESSED til half way through. I'm saying I haven't been a blind follower, it grew on me, it became something, and I was won over.
xoxoGG: I know that a lot of people who share my opinion about this last season who would disagree with me on this, but I feel like this last season ruined the show for me.
LoquaciousMuse: I'm sorry about that, it makes me sad! It did that for a lot of people.
xoxoGG: But once it won YOU over there was really no turning back :(
LoquaciousMuse: For me, it followed through til the end and I'm happy with the time I dedicated and I wish I had purchased action figures while they still made them.
xoxoGG: Hahaha! But that's just because you're a nerd ;)
LoquaciousMuse: Truth. I am a nerd.
xoxoGG: I really want to feel like you feel. I really really want to love it, but I just can't. I'm not hatin' just to hate.
LoquaciousMuse: I understand, ‘cause I've been in your shoes with other things and I think you are one of the people who AREN’T hating just to hate. Like, I’m still upset that Starbuck didn't get the resolution I wanted with Lee and I can explain it away, but ultimately, then and now, I was upset. Which is another reason why I'm so happy that I feel satisfied with this finale.
xoxoGG: I feel completely wronged by the writers -- and I'm friends with their assistants! Carlton's assistant lent me his copy of Watchmen and turned me onto Y The Last Man and Damon's assistant was my partner in crime when I worked at ABC Studios.
LoquaciousMuse: Ooooh, awesome assistant. Haha!
LoquaciousMuse: (Didn't love the end of Y The Last Man could admit it then, can admit it now.)
xoxoGG: (Me neither.) Anyways, I've got a personal connection to this show, past just being a viewer and I still can't find my way around to like it. Gahhh. So is this whole thing gonna go up on ATF?
LoquaciousMuse: Right now.