schmiss: (' said the lady to the man she adored)
[personal profile] schmiss
I will make a general Lost finale post, eventually. This is for my thoughts about the last ten minutes of the episode. I loved it. Some people didn't. This is my attempt at explaining what I thought it was, with the caveats that 1. I was watching through a haze of tears and 2. I am a little tipsy, so I may have missed important things.

The way I see it: the flash-sideways timeline was not capital-p Purgatory; but it was a purgatory of their own creation. The best analogy I can draw is if you've played Silent Hill 2, you know how in the end you discover that all the monsters and Maria were James's way of dealing with his disgust with himself? The flash-sideways was how the people on the plane dealt with their problems, except they dealt with them constructively. It wasn't just irony that made Sawyer a cop, or that had Ben save Alex (and become a surrogate father to her).

Now as for why some people were in heaven and some weren't. On his show, Jimmy Kimmel suggested that the moment of turbulence in LA X, when Jack was clutching the armrest, was a few seconds in which Jack experienced, in some blink-of-an-eye subliminal way, everything that happened in the "real" timeline. From the moment he woke up in the bamboo to the moment he laid down and closed his eyes. When Rose looked over and told him he could let go, that was the beginning of the new life he created for himself. He gave himself a son so he could know that he wasn't his father, nor was he the man his father treated him like. He created a former relationship with Juliet to atone for their strained relationship on the island. He fixed Locke, because he was feeling guilt over having never appreciated or believed in him while he was still alive. etc, etc.

And that applied to every single person on the plane. From the ones who died quickly, like Boone and Shannon, to the ones who stayed on the island for a long time, like Ben and Hurley (more on that in a bit). Eventually they died with unresolved issues and were drawn to each other in this in-between place where they tried to change their fates, starting with the plane crash.

From what I can tell, the only people in heaven were:

1. The people on the plane, in the original timeline (most everyone)
2. The people who sacrificed their lives for the island. (Ben - because he worked as Hurley's number 2, Juliet, Desmond)

The only exception is Penny. I guess they didn't want to show Des without her. And Christian Shephard, although I suppose you could rationalize it; his last thoughts in the Australian dive bar were of the son he never cared for, and he couldn't reach closure until Jack did.

As for what happened to Richard, Miles, Frank, Charlotte, and Daniel, I suppose they didn't have anything to let go of, because they settled themselves on the island. Evidence of this could be that Charlotte and Daniel interacted, but didn't flash off each other; they were only there to move along Charlie, Desmond, and Sawyer's plots.

The Richard, Miles, and Frank thing gets more confusing. Richard and Frank didn't appear in the flash sideways, so I guess we can assume that they had no need for resolution. Miles did, but - as best I can remember - he only appeared in connection to other people. He was there to facilitate James's story and to listen when James needed to confess about Sawyer. (TOTALLY UNRELATED, back in the real timeline, I ship Richard/Miles 4reals. Their scenes were totally cute. I choose to believe they hung out afterward.) [livejournal.com profile] buongiornodaisy made a really beautiful point in her journal about the fact that Richard's storyline was initially about his will to die, and in the end became about his discovery of wanting to live. And that's what he got. That's why he didn't have to appear in the flash sideways. Just like Lapidus resolved his guilt over missing the 815 flight by taking them home, and Miles resolved his anger toward his father by seeing that Dr. Chang actually saved them. Charlotte found the island and the odd man who warned her of it as a child. Daniel I'm unsure about - his issue was so twisty and turny that I'm not sure how he could resolve it, unless the reset itself ended it - so there's possibly another loose end.

As for some more unanswered questions:

What happened to Hurley and Ben? They must have given up at some point and let the island go and let themselves die. Did they pass it on to a new generation of protectors?

What about the survivors who weren't in the episode? Either they had already reached closure, or they were still in purgatory. For example, we saw Ana Lucia, who was a plane crash survivor, in the sideways. Was she a creation of Desmond's mind, to pull him out of a tight scrape? Or was she really there, still trying to atone for what she'd done wrong? Same with Michael, Walt, Eko, even Nikki & Paulo. Obviously some of this is because of actor availability but you have to wonder if some of these omissions were purposeful as well.

How the hell did Desmond traverse between the timelines? I guess this would suggest that the constructed timeline was as "real" as the real timeline... which is pretty trippy to think about. Reality, it's like, in your head man.

What was Ben's unresolved business? I took this as him simply being unready to face his curtain call, perhaps a mixture of both cowardice and a desire to experience the normal life he'd never known before. However maybe I missed something more important.

Alright, let me know if this entry makes any sense at all and feel free to nitpick away at it. I might update it when I've rewatched the episode.

Date: 2010-05-24 06:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] buongiornodaisy.livejournal.com
I think it makes perfect sense.

I will say I take a rather simplistic approach to theorizing, so I think the reason why Richard wasn't there is nothing more complicated than Richard not being from their time. As I said to [livejournal.com profile] pantspolice, their collective unconscious is contrived (hi Everybody In LA At Once), but not THAT contrived.

And Desmond may have traversed between timelines because while fucking electromagnets can't kill him it might bring him close to death?

Date: 2010-05-24 06:42 am (UTC)
ext_44710: (' jules)
From: [identity profile] schmiss.livejournal.com
May well be. When I try to think of Richard in the alt-timeline, I get super confused, because since the explosion happened in the '70s, wouldn't he still be immortal in that world? I guess that's why I chose to believe it's a totally constructed timeline; less plot holes like the existence of Jacob/MiB when you can say "well it's all in their heads so they erase the stuff they don't want".

I think you're right about Desmundo. It would explain his zen behavior. He became the dude who's looked death in the face and said "whatever, man".

Date: 2010-05-24 06:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] navras-rheya.livejournal.com
This makes complete sense. I see it the same way, never could have written it out like this. I'm sure Jeff Jensen will have the same conclusions. I guess I'm not thinking too deeply because I'm satisfied. I know things weren't completely answered but there was such a full circle feel to it, all of that really represented by Jack. And the way it was shot, with his eye opening and closing. This show gets caught up with mystery and the island and all that but then you have that scene with Jack dying and the church and all those people coming together. I can't see fault in it.
Edited Date: 2010-05-24 06:37 am (UTC)

Date: 2010-05-24 06:46 am (UTC)
ext_44710: (' ending with diamond eyes)
From: [identity profile] schmiss.livejournal.com
Thanks! Yeah I have a feeling the professional writers will get at it better.

There are some answers I would have preferred focus on (like, I really wish we could have seen Jacob & MiB one more time) but I wonder if people are actually considering what it would be like to have a finale that was pure exposition. Just straight up Jack staring at the camera and saying "while I was down in the hole, I found the island's travel brochure that explains every single mystery of its properties and behaviors! READ ALONG TIME".

idk man, I'm just not one of those people who thinks everything has a logical explanation. So maybe in a meta sense it's... dun dun dun... FANS OF SCIENCE VS FANS OF FAITH.

Date: 2010-05-24 06:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] measuringcups.livejournal.com
I am like a tenth through this, but I will say so far re: Jack and Juliet's strained relationship, don't forget Jack totally took the blame for her death, so I think your point makes a ton of sense.

Date: 2010-05-24 06:43 am (UTC)
ext_44710: (' every day floats by)
From: [identity profile] schmiss.livejournal.com
ah yes! Somehow I forgot about that. Even though I flipped out when he said it cause, hey, Juliet mention.

Date: 2010-05-24 06:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dahemo.livejournal.com
It makes sense. I'm still processing (on the west coast, here), so I can't even think of things in terms of plot just yet. I just think it was really, really freaking beautiful. And um....yeah. *cries*

Date: 2010-05-24 06:53 am (UTC)
ext_44710: (' LOL NADIA IS DEAD)
From: [identity profile] schmiss.livejournal.com
For serious. I can't cry anymore or my head will explode. ;_;

Date: 2010-05-25 03:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dahemo.livejournal.com
Also!

I guess this would suggest that the constructed timeline was as "real" as the real timeline... which is pretty trippy to think about. Reality, it's like, in your head man.

This is def my interpretation (and I think it's awesome that they left it ambiguous enough to be read in all sorts of ways). I think the sideways verse was just as real. I don't want to get all religious in here, since I'm not, but I see it as a kind of reincarnation. A new life, not an afterlife. It was something they created so everything could be "put right."

Date: 2010-05-24 06:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blindbeats.livejournal.com
I wish you can cheer me up or maybe slap me really hard because I thought it was disappointing and very "twilighty" except for the AU reunions (adorbs) but the rest? wtf is it with me? ;______;

Date: 2010-05-24 06:51 am (UTC)
ext_44710: (' love is running wild)
From: [identity profile] schmiss.livejournal.com
Don't worry you're not alone!! It seems that everyone is going wild with their opinions, some people hate some parts and love others or hate it all or love it all (cough). But I think it's an ending that grows on you the more you think about it, because while I liked it I didn't realize the connections it had back into the other episodes and begin to LOVE it 'til I started pondering. It wasn't perfect of course but I like that it had closure while leaving enough for us to consider for a long time. I see it kind of like an abstract painting where some people will see one thing and some people will see another, some people will turn it upside down and see a whole new thing.

Drunken metaphors. fuck yeah.

Date: 2010-05-24 08:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blindbeats.livejournal.com
lol no vamos a Guam, Francisco!

Well, I think I appreciate the connections because that and Jack! were one of the best things of the episode for me. I just kinda felt cheated by the whole magic light, purgatory, happy-smiles-forever shit. I wanted it to be real and dramatic a la HBO or something I don't know. However, gotta tell you when Lajesus was on screen I cheered for you! Lost bros :DDDDDDD

Date: 2010-05-24 06:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] txvoodoo.livejournal.com
The problem is,I think the sideways universe was only Jack's purgatory. Which means that it really doesn't matter what happened there from the perspective of the other characters - it was entirely a construction for Jack.

And this is one way I think the writers failed - if it's only Jack's, it should only have been shown from his persepctive.

Date: 2010-05-24 06:53 am (UTC)
ext_44710: (' monohymn)
From: [identity profile] schmiss.livejournal.com
idk, if it was only Jack's purgatory, why the plots about Ben and Sawyer and Locke? I don't think Jack even knew about the Anthony Cooper thing...?

Date: 2010-05-24 08:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] txvoodoo.livejournal.com
Right. Which is what makes it even MORE writer fail to me.

Am not clear here for good reasons but...if it comes out that I'm right, you'll hear about it.

Date: 2010-05-24 09:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] blindbeats.livejournal.com
I am right there with you.

I think that the AU world was created by Eloise so they all could develop their own fantasies, so it doesn't make sense that they all have to die when Jack is actually dying in real life. I just assumed that the purgatory was a goodbye to Jack, simple as that.

Date: 2010-05-24 10:54 pm (UTC)
ext_44710: (' gestalt therapy and escape clauses)
From: [identity profile] schmiss.livejournal.com
Haha yeah I think we need more info. As [livejournal.com profile] shadowkitty pointed out, Des said that Ana Lucia wasn't ready to let go. So it was at least purgatory for one other person.

Plus, Jack wasn't the last one to accept his fate - Ben was there, too.

Date: 2010-05-24 11:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] txvoodoo.livejournal.com
"So it was at least purgatory for one other person."

Or it wasn't and those were red herrings, or worse, bad writing that lost the thread.

Date: 2010-05-24 11:30 pm (UTC)
ext_44710: (' lol no one.)
From: [identity profile] schmiss.livejournal.com
Occam's razor, imo. It's simpler and makes more sense to assume they were all there than to assume it was only Jack.

Date: 2010-05-25 01:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] txvoodoo.livejournal.com
I agree - that is my favored path. But Darlton are (or will be) saying "nope, sorry, not this time."

Date: 2010-05-24 07:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tunaeverynight.livejournal.com

This is all beautifully said, and exactly what I think as well.

Although I believe that some of the missing faces were due to being stuck on the island, like Michael. I think for some of them, their afterlife was still tied to the island. Michael had all of this guilt for what he did, so he was stuck there in his own purgatory, hence the whispers. I definitely think Nikki and Paulo would still be on the island. Maybe Ana Lucia as well? Even though she appeared, it could have been, like you said, as a device for Desmond. I think Eko's fate was all due to unavailability, unfortunately. It would have been cool to see him there at the end.

I'm still unsure about Desmond. Was he really flashing between timelines? Because in his flashes in earlier episodes he knew about Penny, but he didn't this season.

Date: 2010-05-24 07:11 am (UTC)
ext_44710: (' LOL NADIA IS DEAD)
From: [identity profile] schmiss.livejournal.com
See, I want to believe Eko had closure. Not just because I like him as a character, but because of his badass speech in The Cost of Living, when he says he has no regrets for what he's done. Smokey was unimpressed with his lack of penitence, but I don't think he's exactly the arbiter of all that is moral and good.

Desmond confuses me too. [livejournal.com profile] buongiornodaisy's suggestion, that he had a near death experience, makes sense. His other flashes were inside the first timeline, while his new ones went across the first and second ones.

Date: 2010-05-24 08:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tunaeverynight.livejournal.com
I also think it's possible that in death they might have played out other scenarios in their heads. Maybe in The Constant, when Desmond was flashing, he was going to another afterlife reality where he and Penny were accomplishing some kind of different feat. But that didn't work out, and so another afterlife scenario happened. I don't know. It's so fun to keep on theorizing even after it's over. I don't think we'll ever stop. THERE'S SO MUCH TO THINK ABOUT NOW!

Date: 2010-05-24 07:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kools-pad.livejournal.com
I totally buy that 'they are living out past guilts' angle. The Juliet and Locke were the more obvious ones.

Ben being honestly asked to help the protector of the island was something i really liked. He was so touched. And it clearly changed him.

I can't remember the last time i cried. I mean, years. But i teared up like a little bitch at the end. Too much poetry in the scenery.

Date: 2010-05-24 07:14 am (UTC)
ext_44710: (' hume's travels)
From: [identity profile] schmiss.livejournal.com
They did real justice to Ben. I expected him to have a noble, self-sacrificing end. I'm glad they defied my expectations. He was finally important to the island in a way. And it was really sweet of Hurley to offer the job to Ben, knowing how much he always wanted to have something like Jacob's status. Of course I thought of them sharing the candy bar in s4. :D

I can remember the last time I cried but tv on the other hand... probably not since season 3 of BSG, and before then, I don't know. I didn't know if Lost would get me but it did.

Date: 2010-05-24 02:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] pantspolice.livejournal.com
What was Ben's unresolved business? I took this as him simply being unready to face his curtain call, perhaps a mixture of both cowardice and a desire to experience the normal life he'd never known before. However maybe I missed something more important.

Someone said he was waiting for Alex and that made me jear even harder. IDEK.

Date: 2010-05-24 02:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] staticnight.livejournal.com
Agh, I love the way you see it. I think that's the way it is, too. While I would have loved more mythology questions answered, I think they tied things up nicely. And they made me cry. A lot. Everyone who had to let go, in that light. Jears.

Date: 2010-05-24 04:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] airings.livejournal.com
I JUST WATCHED IT. I love everything about your interpretation. I AM SO SAD BUT REALLY SATISFIED AND HAPPY AT THE SAME TIME DUDE. *jearzes forever*

Date: 2010-05-24 05:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] shadowkitty.livejournal.com
Ana Lucia 'wasn't ready' according to Desmond. I assume Ben was waiting for Alex and Danielle (or at least I hope he was).

DUDE THAT WAS AWESOME.

Date: 2010-05-24 10:05 pm (UTC)
ext_44710: (' sunnypenis <3333)
From: [identity profile] schmiss.livejournal.com
Oh oh you're right! Poor Ana Lulu.

Date: 2010-05-25 02:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chrryblssmninja.livejournal.com
yeah, it's definitely not upper-case Purgatory (I'm Catholic, I know this!). I like calling it AltWorld. We're going to AltWorld! It's got the limbo/holding station vibe, some other people suggested the Buddhist concept of Samsara. And the light can mean anything - Heaven, nothingness, reincarnation, etc. It's just really peaceful.

Date: 2010-05-27 05:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] icequeen3101.livejournal.com
THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS ENTRY!!!

It was one of the first I read right after watching the finale, and I still didn't know what it was all meant to mean *lol*
But you certainly helped me understand it, so thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!! ^__^

(also? Damn, reading this made me cry!)

Date: 2010-05-28 07:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] twistedmind.livejournal.com
Just thought I would come in here to say how I absolutely love how you've put it all together (and omg miles+richard=otp FOREVER).

Not to mention I need to say FUCK YES to the Silent Hill 2 ref. Best game EVER and I LOVE how you used it to help explain things, I never even thought of it that way. Omg you have no idea how giddy that makes me.

I loved the finale, everything was beautiful and the fact that it's sparked such emotions in people (both negative and positive) goes to show how wonderful and marvelous the show was whether people liked it or not.
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