Charlie Can’t Swim

LOST. Season finale. Series finale.


I confess that the last gasp of this once-beloved-by-me, now spurned and excoriated waste of my goddamn time had its moments (like realizing that Juliet was Jack’s ex). And on a whole, it wasn’t quite like the final season captured all the excruciating inanity of the Seinfeld finale, except stretched out over 16 hours. But it felt like it at times. Never mind that none of the real questions raised in previous seasons didn’t get answered. They introduced brand new questions in this season that they didn’t bother answering.

I could go on, but i’ll put on my story editor’s hat instead and just say the following. One of the underlying touchstones of the show has always been that the dramatic stakes are exceptionally high. All along, Cuse and Lindeloff and company have been saying “Look! Characters will die! Oooh, that’s how edgy we are!” Except then you write an ending where it’s revealed that none of that edge matters one freaking iota because you were just kidding. I mean, seriously?

Another way to look at it. All along since the show started, there’s been this need to speculate on what might really be going on, and what things mean, and how the story will end as a result. And of all the discussion on all the boards and in all the forums and Facebook pages and in endless emails, the two worst possible, most mind-numbingly stupid, failed-Creative-Writing-101 foundations/endings for the show were the following:

1) Everybody’s actually dead.

2) It was all a dream.

Faced with an endless number of things they could have done, the writers of LOST chose not one but both of the worst of all possible endings.

The way it’s been broken down (including by the Creators, TM, patent applied for) is that the sideways stuff was a kind of consensual hallucination engaged in by all the survivors, which somehow allowed them to leave their pain behind, yada, yada. Some people in the hallucination recognized it as such (Desmond’s mother, directly; Bernard also seemed to, indirectly), which cracked the dream open enough for Desmond to figure it out, blah, blah. However, that fails to address the questions of why they’re all engaged in this dream, and (more importantly) what the hell actually happened when the nuke went off? Reading between the lines, it seems likely that THAT was the moment when everybody who wasn’t already dead died; but then that makes no sense vis. Hurley’s comment to Ben at the church about them working together; except maybe that means Hurley’s only dreaming about that; blah, blah.

Any way you slice it, it’s still a colossal cheat.

For me, i started off liking the parallel timeline a lot, but only because i was writing my own really cool story as we went along. My expectation was that it was going to be revealed that the split in the timeline was the real threat against the island/the world/whatever, and that both parallel groups of characters were going to end up having to work together to knit the timeline back — even as they didn’t know whether they’d survive it. Which is to say, the arc of the season would be about both groups having to make Juliet’s decision at the end of last season. Each would have to accept the responsibility to sacrifice everything they remembered as their “real lives”, and you’d have things like characters dreaming their other lives to get important messages across to the other time stream and so on.

A big part of this better story would have been that the Man in Black/John Locke actually had John’s personality still imprinted in him, such that the real John would pop back from time to time to help Jack and the others when the Man in Black was weakened somehow. A very potent kind of “You need to kill me!” scenario, which of course would make it even harder to kill him.

I shudder to think of the number of alternate version of this series out there somewhere, consisting only of the things they didn’t do that are better than what they did do. I guess starting off with the episode where they forgot that Charlie can’t swim.

Ah, well.

Equally nice would have been an endless series of spinoffs where the sideways characters get their own shows (Sawyer and Miles as a gritty cop drama; Jack and Claire sharing an apartment in a wacky sitcom; et al).

Oh, and this is hilarious. The crashed plane at the end was apparently a total screw-up, just to really end things on an anticlimax. The studio/network decided to add that footage so there wouldn’t just be a black screen over the closing credits. The producers had no idea the studio/network were going to do so, and so they had no way to prevent the obvious questions of 1) Did they all die in the crash and the whole show was a dream?, or 2) Is that the plane Lapitas was flying, so that all those guys crashed?

I’m seriously thinking about giving up TV. Wait, i already did. Damnit.

I’ve been told that Fringe is good. Damnit.