LOST debuted to the remarkable mix of good ratings and critical acclaim all around, including (and especially) on this site! How could a show be this good as well as entertaining? In my review for "Pilot Parts 1 and 2" even I asked the question of whether or not the intrepid creators and castaway cast could possibly keep this up.
Amazingly... (shockingly, astoundingly, amazingly) they not only DID keep up their incredible quality but actually managed to get better and better as time went on, questions were answered and layers were added to this expanding and fascinating Lost mythos. Over the years early loyalists dropped off and former skeptics became Lost converts and were drawn into the island's magnetic attraction like a part of Jacob's master plan.
After the first episode completed I openly stated that this could be the best television show of all time. Now, I say without hesitation that Lost is (not "was") without question the best television show of all time, no ifs, ands, buts or maybes!
And after all this time, the promised Finale, appropriately called "The End" has debuted and capped off this incomparable series. And EVERY SINGLE question is answered, right?
Well, no, of COURSE not! But I can honestly say this, "The End" is true to Lost's beginning and middle, true to every flashback and flash forward, true to every flash sideways and every new layer. The mystery is still there, but not as an unfulfilled thing, as a means for the audience to explore the island just a bit more, to take the answers we have and to speculate... to keep thinking about Lost!
But before we move into the actual review (don't you hate it when I do this?), let's flash sideways just a bit and back to yesterday afternoon in San Diego, California. Looking for the best place to watch "The Event", I found a place in the Gaslamp Quarter that was hosting a viewing party on a big 160 Inch Projection Screen. It would be like a Movie Theatre... but with Cheese Fries and BEER! When my two best friends contacted me to tell me they were getting ready too, we got them caught up (thanks to ABC.com) and prepared to Find Lost!
Lucky for us, Taste & Thirst didn't just have a room set aside for the Losties with a giant screen in front. No, this cool place had six screens simulcasting "The End", one for each member of The Oceanic Six. Luckier, we arrived just before 7 PM so we got the chance to experience the full two-hour recap that ABC granted us with clips and interviews of castaway cast and castaway crew. Amazing show runners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse (who also wrote "The End") took us on a trip through the last six seasons from Jack's first eye-opening through the many deaths (and a few births), the immorality of the immortals and the strange familiarity of The Others... and the Other Others... and the Other Other Others.
We flashed port and starboard, forward and back and all over the globe (though hardly ever leaving O'ahu) through candidates and nemeses, explosions and reunification, timeless rivalries and parallel realities.
As The Man in Black (Titus Welliver... sometimes), AKA "The Smoke Monster", prepares to finalize his plans to get off the Island, his protagonistic antagonist Jacob (Mark Pellegrino) prepares to become dust in the wind (having died a season ago anyway) and leave the Island (and the Living Light) in the hands of his successor, ending centuries of conflict and beginning a new era of this mythology... that is, unless old "MIB" manages to actually sink the Island itself.
As "The End" begins we see the Sideways Reality bringing the coffin of one Christian Shephard (John Terry) to arrive at LAX while his waiting son Jack (Matthew Fox) prepares to put his new pal John Locke (Terry O'Quinn) under the knife and "fix him" so that he can walk again!
Meanwhile, Desmond Hume (Henry Ian Cusick) and his new/ old amigo Hurley (Jorge Garcia) are busy collecting the likes of Charlie Pace (Dom Monaghan), Shannon Rutherford (Maggie Grace), Boone Carlyle (Ian Somerhalder), Sayid Jarrah (Naveen Andrews), Libby Smith (Cynthia Watros), Penny Widmore (Sonya Walger) and Kate Austin (Evangeline Lilly) to a very special concert featuring Charlie's band DriveShaft accompanying pianist (not physicist) Daniel Widmore (Jeremy Davies), thrown by Dr. Pierre Chang (François Chau) and, of course, Eloise Widmore (Fionnula Flanagan)!
Wow, that's just about half the cast, man! All at one concert? Dude! But wait! Chang's son happens to be the LAPD Detective named Miles Straume (Ken Leung) who is still playing "Sawyer Jr." to his partner Detective James Ford (Josh Holloway). Naturally this means Miles and his buddy Dr. Charlotte Staples Lewis (Rebecca Mader) have to be there and, aw... Miles asked Sawyer to be his "Date"! We'll see if that works out better than Charlotte's date with Sawyer.
Quite a Concert? Quite a Concert! It's too bad Jack's going to miss the damned thing, considering he's playing around with the "angel hair pasta" in John Locke's neural sack. Luckily Jack's family is already on the way, starting with his sister Claire (Emilie De Ravin), his son David (Dylan Minnette) and even his Ex-Wife Dr. Juliet Burke (Elizabeth Mitchell)! But if ol' Juliet's going to make it she's got to first check out the surviving couple from Sayid's latest Shoot-Out, Jin Kwon (Daniel Dae-Kim) and his incredibly hot wife Sun (Yunjin Kim) and make sure their "bun-in-the-oven" is going to survive too.
Yeah, that might just cover everybody in Sidewaysland with a big-ass Dharma Initiative COMFORTER! So just what is the real meaning of this concert and just what corollary does it have with the converging forces on your favorite Island AND mine?
Meanwhile, (if "meanwhile" means three years later in an alternate reality) back on the Island... The Man in Black, AKA "FLocke" (now brought to us by Terry O'Quinn) is still on his Smoky quest to kill every Candidate, kick every white rock on the Island into the sea and hawk a big, huge loogie all over the memory (and quest) of his brother Jacob! Now, with the help of that coin-flippin' Ben Linus (Michael Emerson) he's got a new square to turn on his Rubik's Cube. See, if he manages to get his smoky little tendrils on the Desmondator, he can not only get off the Island and wreak more havoc before 9 AM than most monsters wreak all DAY, but he can also DESTROY said Island, leaving Benji in charge of a fuzzy little BUMP on the Ocean Floor. Dick MOVE, man!
The problem is for The Man in Locke, that his "Smoking Club" has now been whittled down to just adjacent of NADA and he's got a whole varied tribe of surviving good guys just waiting to slap "No Smoking" signs on every tree in that Lost Jungle! The remaining Candidates (Kate, Hurley, Sawyer and the big winner Jack) are determined to stop Flocke and take their revenge, while this reality's Miles has teamed up, not with Sawyer, but with Richard "Guyliner" Alpert (Nestor Carbonell) to finish the job of blowing up that plane, maybe even with the help of the firmly floating Frank Lapidus (Jeff Fahey). If that's not bad enough for the guy, he's also somehow got to wrest control of Desmond from the powerhouse couple Rose and Bernard Nadler (L. Scott Caldwell and Sam Anderson, respectively). I'm not saying that Rose and Bernard are threatening badasses or anything, but they're just so darned NICE that forcing them to do anything is just darned RUDE, man! Darned, Darned RUDE!
Clocking in at two and one half hours (110 minutes without commercials), "The End" has enough time to answer most of the questions that remain. Luckily for Losties everywhere, writers Cuse and Lindelof along with director Jack Bender don't merely go for a "checklist" approach of what to spell out for the audience this time. Instead we get an exciting, fantastical, deep, romantic and thought-provoking final episode worthy of the name "LOST"! There are still enough questions to fuel speculation and still enough mystery to make sure that LOST remains one of the most talked about shows of all time (and, yes, the best)! The beauty of this episode as with the series on the whole is that we honestly have no idea where they are going with most every scene, but every scene makes sense and fits with the puzzle pieces that have come before it. There are times to gasp, times to cheer, times to cry and times to smile. The mysteries still abound, but they all work and they all make more sense as the episode is re-considered and discussed long after the final credits roll.
And I'm serious as a Heart-Attack, Jack, when I say there is time to cry in this finale. Holy... In fact, if we flash-sideways again back to that Pub in Downtown San Diego, where we all ate, drank and discussed, all the fans were quiet at the right times and watched in riveted silence, gasping, cheering, crying and laughing all in turn as the show unfolded before us. One lady who was a die-hard Lostie literally had to be picked up from the floor three times (the House Chardonnay had nothing to do with it, I'm sure).
The LOST saga has come a long way from the experimental but hopeful show that Lindelof helped J.J. Abrams and Jeffrey Lieber to create six years ago. The hope has come to fruition and, like Richard Alpert, I can die now (yeah, I'm kidding). We finally got to see the showdown(s) that we'd been promised, season after season, we got to see the humble characters become heroes and we got a chance to see the Man of Science and Man of Faith embodied into ONE man. The rules changed... but were made BETTER than EVER.
Now, after a long, long reign at ABC, the sun just set over a scorched Desert Island, miles off of an airline's course. The Kiddos played those cards right and created six years of the best television ever made. In short... Lost Won! Still Five full Stars out of Five for the LAST (two-part) Episode of Lost, entitled "The End"! It's rare for a show to shine this brightly this long and much praise must be lauded because the potential was lived up to season after season. To continue another bad pun... Damon and Carlton never did Lose this one! Goodbye, old friends. Thanks Friends and Family, thanks Lynelle, thanks Shannon, thanks Drunk Lady on the floor... and thanks very much to my good friend Monica whose mornings after Lost airings were always packed with discussion and speculation about what we just saw. Guess we'll have to start talking about WORK stuff again, now, huh? See you all in the next reel!
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