About 15/20 years ago there was an ad on Irish/UK TV for rice krispies (rice bubbles in Oz). In the ad the guy behind the camera went up to people in the street (actually I think it was a car wash) and asked the people there did they know that each rice krispie is made with a single grain of rain. The people in question, who were all guys, had these baffled, confused heads, after letting it hang for a few seconds the guy behind the camera then says “To all people that didn’t know that each rice krispie is made with a single grain of rice … what did you think it was made of?”
That’s how I’m feeling with the finale of Lost right now and peoples disappointment. I am disappointed but for different reason.
SPOILER WARNING – SPOILER WARNING
Do not read unless you have seen the finale of Lost, or Ashes to Ashes, or Sixth Sense, or Star Trek The Next Generation, or Soylent Green
(It’s people, by the way)
SPOILER WARNING – SPOILER WARNING
I have religiously (I choose that word carefully) followed Lost since it came on the TV in 2004. It has been quite a trip. However in the final year there have been two parallel stories going on. One on the Island which follows our survivors (some of who really deserve the name, 2 plane crashes, an exploding boat, a sinking boat, an exploding submarine (twice?) etc), the other timeline has all the people on the plane actually land and we get to see the same characters interact with each other and get introduced in different ways. As of the finale we find out that what every one is calling a flash sideways is in fact some afterlife where every body no matter when they died get to live out the reward they deserved for living a good life. It is implied that Hurley and Ben may have had another hundred/thousand years under their belts before they did in fact die, when Hurley became the new protector of the Island and Ben redeeming himself as his advisor.
Which is kinda crap, these people we have come to know have actually endured some terrible things. Crashing non withstanding (wouldn’t like to go through that) but if you weren’t killed on or because of the island a lot of your friends did (if you look at the final tally not one couple has both members surviving). You endure with them and you hope that the sacrifices made would be worth it. However sacrifice in this world and reward in the next has been around for a bit, there are whole religions built around it. Been brought up Catholic it is pretty much the standard line. There is a reason these stories survive for so long.
George Lucas is famous for Star Wars and becoming a bajillionaire because of it. It all however started with the first movie, “A New Hope”. He made no secret of the fact that he (majorly) consulted Joseph Campbell’s “The Hero with a Thousand Faces“. In this book, that was released in 1949, he look at all these mythological stories that were handed down in many different cultures seemed to have common themes, or monomyth, that always shone through. George lifted whole chunk of these ideas when writing for Luke, Obi Wan, Han et al. Hey why mess with a good thing.
One scene that always stood out for me in Lost was when the fairly minor character, Bea Klugh (an other), when confronted with betraying The Others, almost immediately demands that she be killed (in Russian mind) and Mikhail (who happens to be Russian), the man with the gun promptly complies. In this age of fundamentalist terrorism, people willing to die for a belief is witnessed every day, but it is usually tempered with the caveat of rewards in the next.
I’m Irish, we are famous for having a liquidity with the truth. We don’t lie per se, we just deliver statements that can’t be equated to lies because there isn’t enough logical consistency to resolve them. This I can show in a number of ways. There is a joke where some one asks an Irishman “Is it true that you always answer a question with a question?”, to which the Irishman replies “Who told you that?”. Secondly in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Luke confronts Obi Wan with the fact that Darth Vader is his father and it was not Darth Vader that killed his father. Obi Wan reply was that what he said was true … from a certain point of view. During the whole run of Lost the producers have been asked many times, were the Losties in some kind of purgatory/limbo world been punished or trying to get redemption, some of the Losties had a unsavory past. The producers, Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, at the time always said No! they weren’t in purgatory, because that the time, when there were only flashbacks and flashforwards they weren’t. By the time we got to flash sideways (as they were called) people had stopped asking the questions and the producers never had to answer that question in be caught in a lie.
I have to ask what people thought was going to happen in the finale. We see people on the island and there equivalent off the island. Were they expecting that the people off the island were going to get there consciousness wiped to allow the people on the island a place to live out their days (A bit reminiscent of the Michael Bay movie about clones, called den den den “The Island“). I recently saw the end of the UK show “Ashes to Ashes“, it has been playing time travel/ mind stuck in limbo themes almost as long as Lost, 5 years, if you included “Life on Mars“. I have to say that their finale was more satisfying (except that Alex didn’t get back to her daughter, that sucked).
I am disappointed cos I loved the science/ science fiction of the show. Back in the days of the hatch you find out that these Dharma dudes rocked up in the 70s and did all these funky things on the island, some of which were still going today. The 70s were a funky time, we had ourselves a Cold War back then. Governments were doing crazy stuff back then. In the news at the moment is the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, not great, but one of the odder things to come out of it is the Russians when they said may be you should set a nuclear bomb off over the leak. But then they back it up by saying like we did 15 times already back in the 60s, What!?. In fact the Russians (well I should say Soviets in this case) had a whole civil works initiative based around nuclear explosions, called Nuclear Explosions for the National Economy, setting off no less than 156 nuclear devices for research. The Americans had a go as well setting off one nuclear device in the name of civil engineering research before they quit when the fallout from the Sedan Explosion resulted in the worst radioactive cloud seen over the states. That is the kinda stuff I loved and Lost really seemed to be getting into that world, they seemed to be getting close with Jughead, the numbers and the Valenzetti stuff, but I guess they had enough of that and went all touchy queery.
Any way this rambling is going no where. The producers liked pushing the whole man of science, Jack, but if you sit down and think about it it was always going down the road of pushing Jack towards faith, and if you did not see the “See ya in the next life brother” then I guess you weren’t looking hard enough. I just hope that Lost inspires the next generation of story tellers