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Monday, May 24, 2010

Giving credit where itís due, I need to thank Jimmy Kimmel and Matthew Fox for tweaking my instant analysis of the Lost finale (especially Fox for using the word ďnanosecondĒ). I had a fair idea of what I thought, but it was too soon to come up with more than a broad view of the meaning. Their brief conversation minutes after the program ended gave me the extra perspective I need.

In the end (and especially in ďThe EndĒ), Lost is about death. Not about the process, or about where you go afterward, but about what happens at the exact moment. The sixth season was about redemption, and connection, and forgiveness. The entire series explored time in various parameters, and the finale took us to a place where time doesnít matter, because it no longer exists.

What happened on the island was real, but what happened in the sideways timeline was more important to our characters (and very real as well, but in a different way). And the island gave that to them. It allowed lost souls to come together and create a society that meant enough to them that at the moment of their deaths, wherever and whenever they happened, they found each other again and realized how much they mattered to each other.

Even though the last scene takes place in a church, I donít think the show is about religion, and itís certainly not about any specific religious belief. We donít know what happens after Christian Shephard opens the door and the non-survivors head toward the bright white light, do we? If you accept the mythology of the show as presented, you can still interpret the details in a way that makes sense to you. Maybe thatís what ďfaithĒ is all about after all.

Because itís a work of imagination, you can bend the metaphysics any way that brings it all together for you. Thatís why Iím not upset that all the mysteries werenít solved. Iím satisfied with the emotional resonance of the finale, and Iím more than happy with the individual moments that the characters experienced. In the end, people needed each other in order to make peace with the way theyíd lived their lives. And the island gave them that, too.

14 May 2010

Some of the carping by fans and critics, especially regarding the last ten minutes, is overly informed by peopleís own belief systems, or what they know of various common beliefs. I donít think you have to invalidate any episode or even any scene because of what was revealed at the end. In fact, you donít really have to accept the scene in the church at face value, any more than any other scene in the six seasons. You also donít have to believe in anything in order to accept Lost on its own terms. Thatís the beauty of storytelling of this magnitude.

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