Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Feeling Lost, but learning from it (Watch out for spoilers, about midway down)

This isn't a unique feeling or post, I'm sure, and the title is a bit cheesy, I think, but seriously. Seriously!

OK. So, I started watching the TV Show "Lost" about three weeks ago. I wanted to figure out what was going on before the finale, so I could watch the finale. I just wanted to know about the hype. Yes, I got sucked into some stuff, though I had no clue what was going on with some other stuff. Thanks to Wikipedia, Hulu and my cousin, I felt pretty ready for the finale.

I almost cried the entire time! Some of my predictions came true, some had no legs to stand on, anyway. But, oh, my gosh.

Then I started to think about the parallels between the pilot and the finale. If you haven't seen it yet, but want to, maybe you shouldn't read past this point. If you don't care one way or the other, keep on reading.

Jack Shepherd, one of the main cast, starts out the entire show when he wakes up, after the plane has crashed on the island (you all knew that anyway, right?). It starts, as I recall, with the zoomed in close-up of his eyes opening. Vincent the dog finds him in the field, and then Jack's racing for the beach, starting to try to save everyone's life. The plane is in flames, and people are screaming. Locke is discovering he can walk. (He was in a wheelchair.) I think still in the pilot, there is the ubiquitous reference to black and white, good and evil.

What about the finale, then? Jack again is racing to save everyone, only this time, with his last breath. There's a subdued yet rushed feeling to his last walk through the bamboo. He has given his life to save the world this time, without thinking--much like his gut reaction in the pilot. Whatever he may have done in the meantime, he is what he is--he could not escape it. He was caught in that trap from the first episode. At the end, he sank down, fell down, and watched as the last few people escaped the island--Sawyer (once, his competition), Kate (his love), Claire (his half-sister), the pilot, Miles, and Richard. He sort of smiles. Vincent the dog finds him where he has fallen, in the bamboo patch. He's wounded again, as he was in the pilot, but this time, there's nothing he can do about it. There's a zoom-in, and he dies--with the last scene showing us his eye closing.

It's hauntingly beautiful, in a way. That his life has echoed itself, that he has done what he has to do, he has accepted it. It tears you apart--at least, it tore me apart. The parallel, and all of the meat in-between--his character development, the way he said goodbye to his loved one(s), and the sacrifice--all the death, to be completed by one last death. It's like literary fiction!

Yeah, sure, there are alternate time lines and alternate universes and alternate existences--in fact, in the finale you learn that the people from the flight made a place together, a (loosely-termed) purgatory of sorts, where they can meet each other again, remember, and then move on to the next plane together. (Not airplane, guys!) Yes, there's a lot of goofy other stuff going on--polar bears and such, and time travel, some group of people under an initiative that no one seems to know anything about. Think past all that. It's not so important as the basic story, which I believe lies in the first and last season (although this could be just me, as those are the only full seasons I watched). It's the struggle of life, death; it's the turmoil of emotions and relations, of friends, family, strangers, love, hate, the wild vs. civilization, good and evil. Opposites, that are so magnetized to each other that they cannot be one without the other, in many theories, in many instances.

These parallels are, in my humble opinion, beautiful ways to frame stories. The overarching themes that carry through, the true-to-character actions, the parallels, the meat in-between.

And though I didn't understand everything that went down in the finale--I think, after I've, ahem, gone through my grieving process--that it brings this show a bit of closure, and provides some lessons we can all learn from. And that, even if I don't understand, even if I am torn apart, I can respect, admire and even enjoy the framing of the story, and the story itself.

RIP, Lost.


Clarissa Draper said...

What a great post. Everyone talks about lost but I've not seen the show. Sounds like I should.


Just Another Sarah said...

Thanks, Clarissa--I'm not sure it's everyone's cup of tea, but it's worth a watch, at least. It's definitely an interesting story, and they really push the art of story-telling, especially in that format!

Amber Tidd Murphy said...

Okay, I am a HUGE fan of LOST. I cried through the entire finale, too -- and I don't quite know why, but for some reason I kept "saving" this post to read it later. (I did this with some other posts that seemed to have to do with the finale -- just kept marking them as unread, because I wasn't ready to get into it all yet. Still grieving, still processing, etc.)

(That sounds lame, but whatever.)

So, I adored the way you wrote this post. I'm so glad I kept it to read now, weeks after the finale. I completely agree that the high level themes of the show are amazing and truly at the heart of good storytelling. The universal plot of LOST makes me want to be a better writer.

Finally, as I read this post (with goosebumps!) I got a WICKED good idea for a twist end to my novel. So, thank you. Seriously, I don't know what exactly caused this breakthrough, but I just had it.

You've just made my day.

Just Another Sarah said...

Amber: I'm glad you left my post for later, too! I totally know what you mean--I really needed that week to sit and think about the ending. Highly emotional, that. And I'm so glad to hear you had an epiphany! Let me just say--reading your comment made my day, as well. :)