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The FST is a narrative contrivance designed to close character arcs that the creators felt couldn’t easily be fleshed out in the on-Island narrative. Another purpose of the FST is to remove the Island mythology from the equation to prove that the characters are strong enough to stand on their own. However, there is a bit of a cheat. In opposition to the power of the Island’s “magic box” being channeled by a succession of individual Source Protectors, the distribution of power is shifted to everyone via one wish per person.
The wishes aren’t explicit, but some of the more obvious ones are: Hurley is lucky, Sawyer isn’t a conman, Locke doesn’t blow things with Helen, Sayid gets to see Nadia live a happy life, Jack gets to save Juliet, Juliet gets to deliver healthy babies, Ben gets to see and help Alex have a normal life, Miles gets a relationship with his dad. Others aren’t as clear: someone wishes the Island sank (Faraday or Desmond, perhaps?), someone wishes Nikki and Paulo don’t exist, and Boone and Shannon wish for something unknown.
Some of the wishes appear to do more harm than good, while some have fairly insignificant effects. Kate must have wished she doesn’t get Tom Brennan killed, but I guess she still kills someone else. Sawyer may have wished he never gets the chance to kill Cooper, but the only way that’s accomplished is by “the universe” making Cooper a vegetable. Some wishes are just dumb. Charlotte apparently wishes she were an archeologist instead of an anthropologist (because, I suppose, the OT anthro major leads her to the Island to die, but that wish is someone redundant because of the sunken Island wish and/or Faraday’s wish for her not to go back to the Island), Ilana wishes she had an easier job, and Arntz and Frogurt wish for pointless cameo appearances.
In regards to the character, LOST has a tradition of following the conventions of a typical character arc involving the resolution of personal issues, and ending with redemption before death.
I’m sure we’re all well acquainted with each character’s development and/or journey, so I’ll spare you the details. Let’s go on to consider each person whose arc is completed within the season’s Island narrative. Such characters include Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sayid, Richard, Jin/Sun (minus Ji Yeon), Rose & Bernard, Frank, MiB, and Jacob. For me, Sayid was questionable at first, but I guess Sayid needed to lose emotion in order to realize he’s only bad when coerced against his better nature.
Now consider the characters whose arcs are closed in the FST: Jack, Ben, Locke, Libby, Claire, and Ilana (poorly—she’s finally able to help someone). Claire’s arc feels artificial to me, because there’s no natural progression of OT Claire becoming a knotty haired loon. But the FST tries, somewhat, to convince us that FST Claire will never become one of Locke’s Cool-Aid Gang.
If we don’t get to see the (on-screen) redemption of main characters in the OT, we get to see it in the FST. Those characters are Ben and Claire. Maybe Ilana. But what about Charlotte, who ended on kind of a selfish note in the OT? I guess FST Charlotte is more level-headed, and not driven by an El Doradian quest or whatever she’s trying to do in the OT.
And then we have Jack, who gets to have it all—redemption in the OT as well as the FST. He is the only character whose arc follows through completion from the OT through to the FST, but his example helps us complete the picture for other characters who have noticeable gaps in their stories (Hurley, for example). Desmond is problematic because he is used as a plot device in the OT as well as the FST. It is vaguely inferred that he must have completed his character arc in the OT, considering his determination to leave the FST. Sawyer and Miles seem to have completed their character arcs in The Incident, but they get to hang around for dramatic purposes in season six. On-Island Sawyer basically reverts to his “old ways,” while in the FST, he kind of fumbles around until he reunites with Juliet. Miles assists in some revelations in the OT, but his FST existence adds almost nothing to his character.
But can someone explain the purpose of Rose & Bernard in the FST? They are resolved to live out the rest of their lives in peace on the Island, and there is no evidence to believe otherwise. So, was it R&B who wished for the big get-together? Why are Claire and Charlie “ready” to move on when they don’t get to raise Aaron together? Same goes for Jin and Sun!
There is very little overall story arc for the FST. Characters find their Island soul mates, have an orange OT flash, go to a concert, and finally have a get-together in a church.
In essence, the FST reminds me of a common creative writing/screenwriting exercise where the author is faced with the task of showing that the audience would still find the characters interesting if they’re extrapolated from the storyline. But additionally, because LOST’s creative team didn’t plan very well, we’re given a unnaturally disjointed presentation of character arcs in the FST, when those arcs should have organically tied in to the original narrative. Some characters Maybe this isn’t apparent to some viewers because we are used to seeing LOST unfold in a non-linear presentation. However, while this approach was skillfully and artfully executed in the past, season six divisively uses the method as a crutch to cover its bases.