Why the Final Episode of LOST was so Frustrating
I feel like I’ve got to get this out of my system to justify spending 6 seasons watching a compelling narrative only to be severely disappointed. WARNING, this will contain spoilers, read on at your own risk.
There were two things that were compelling about the LOST narrative: it’s characters and it’s mythology. I believe that humans are hard-wired for stories. The most compelling stories are stories that illuminate some aspect of the Biblical storyline of creation-fall-redemption-re-creation. LOST focused heavily on the brokenness, alienation, and self-destructive patterns of its characters/candidates. We can empathize with the fallen condition of these characters – sons that didn’t measure up to their overly-expectant/deceptive/abusive fathers, addiction, purposelessness, and low self-esteem. We can empathize with the arcing of their characters as they realize their brokenness is due to a lack of community and that when we ask for help, redemption comes.
My frustration with the LOST narrative is its re-creation (I am not prepared to speculate about whether the flash-sideways end state of most of the characters is purgatory, a kind of heaven, or some sort of eternal recurrence, so no comments there). The fallen condition was redeemed through community and I was tracking with the arc of the storyline until the re-creation narrative (the final 10 minutes of the show). One of the things I have thoroughly enjoyed throughout LOST has been its intelligence and inter-textuality, continually making reference to excellent works of literature and philosophy. I share the same love for many of the authors referenced: Walker Percy, Flannery O’Connor, Fyodor Dostoevsky, C.S. Lewis, and Søren Kierkegaard. However, if the writers had even a cursory understanding of these writers (or philosophy in general), they would quickly dismiss the blatant syncretism of their own re-creation narrative. Stephen Prothero, religion professor at Boston University, dismembers the ‘One God, Many Paths’ sentiment of our day, showing that it is reductionistic and dangerous to pretend we are all the same. The quality of dialogue between Jack and his father was poor, the imagery was trite and reductionistic, and the final montage cliche.
My two cents, feel free to disagree with me…