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It's not the lack of answers - it's simply the lack

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Disappointed with "The End", and season 6 in general. Very happy for those who are not, and wish I shared the feeling. I don't think there's a right or wrong way to view the finale, and your enjoyment of it depends on what you thought the show as a whole was saying.

After all, it turns out the show wasn't about lost people, but lost souls. That doesn't resonate at all with me. It's not that I definitely think we're just meat and we go down to rot when we die. In fact, it has nothing to do with my views of so-called "spiritual" things. I loved the ending of the reimagined Battlestar Galactica, even though it got into areas of metaphysics with which I don't agree. The thing was, it kept things within the realm of what had felt real about that show for four seasons.

The writers of Lost said there were always real stakes. But a world where you get to reunite with those you lost begs the question: "What did any of that life even mean?" I understand many (most) people believe this is exactly what will happen when we die. Ok, no arguments about that from me, since there's no way to know anything about it. Every discussion is pure speculation on any side. But in a story where people give their lives for one another, it feels cheap for the characters to come back.

Many fans are disappointed with the fact we got basically none of the questions we thought were important answered. I find that is due to the way television is done: fast, loose, and always with an eye toward numbers and profits rather than storytelling. One reason Lost was such a phenomenon is shows like it rarely come along as a result of the nature of the television business. So we thought things were building to answers, when it was actually just an accident of tv seasons. While the writers said they had the ending in mind, it turns out they just had that church scene in mind. They made a lot of this up as they went, because that's how tv works.

But that's fine. The writers of Battlestar Galactica said they did the same thing. Only they never ever made anyone think they had a plan. The writers of Lost talked about the dense plot, the show-Bible they had to make to keep things straight, the white board in the writers room filled with flow charts, the person they hired to be in charge of continuity. And then just dropped it. Chalk it up to the fact it was all a long con by the Man in Black. He just wanted to accomplish his goal and once he did that there was no need to revisit anything we had thought was important. Ok, I can get down with that. I might not be completely happy, but I can understand. I'm a very forgiving viewer in general. I liked the Star Wars prequels for gods sake!

(Oh, and don't get me started on the whole "this show has always been about the characters" dodge. Seasons four and five they kept saying "this show is about the larger story" when fans complained their favorite character wasn't getting screen time. Really? No, it's about the characters. Except one of the biggest characters was left with zero development in the final season: the Island.)

My biggest problem with "The End" and season 6 is it showed Lost was about something which was never apparent in the show. It was not about how a person can be redeemed through their actions in life as well as the way we're remembered. It was not about learning to let go in life. It was about lost souls who are going through a test to see if they're worthy. And this idea is one of the fundamental things wrong with humanity in general: that there are people who are worthy and people who are not. Who says? Where does the information come from? Is there even any evidence suggesting this? In my experience life is hard for everyone. The rich, the poor, the lovely, the ugly, the stupid, the intelligent. As much as we don't want to accept it, life was just as hard for Hitler as it is for any of us, and we can only do our best with what we've got. I'm not saying Hitler did, but I'm not him. I don't have to struggle with those burdens.

Locke was a dupe. He was manipulated into doing things which had no bearing on him at all by someone who told him he was special. He believed they were on the Island because they were meant to be, because they were important - but he only believed that because he was lied to! Now, just because it turned out to be true, and just because Locke's bullheaded beliefs were vindicated, doesn't mean he wasn't running in circles doing the bidding of a very angry man. So to have him wake up in the afterlife and not deal with any of that falls flat for me. He never learned to let go in life. His supposed amazing faith was faith in a liar, a hope for his self-centered views to be true.

So his redemption needed to come not from himself, not from his life, but from Jack, the man with whom he'd fought about it all. Jack realized the dupe had been right about most everything, in spite of the fact Locke had discovered all this by being lied to! When he said that to the Man in Black, when he told the Monster he disrespected Locke's memory by wearing his face - that was deep and moving. And it was all undone when we found out about the afterlife.

What about Michael? He came back to the Island to atone for his "sins". Willingly. Apparently that didn't mean anything because he's stuck on the Island. He doesn't get the happy pretty light. But Hurley invited super-serial-killer Ben right on in. And admitted torturer Sayid. Hey, I like all these characters, too; but Michael was trying to do his best, just like everyone else. Too bad that bomb went off before he could appease whatever jerk is in charge of the afterlife.

TheHeroOfCanton made a good point in a recent blog: if Jack went through everything on the Island so he could go from being lost to being found, and not simply to sacrifice his life for his loved ones (and, ultimately, the whole world), why did he need to go through a whole life again in order to let go...again? He said their lives on the Island, their lives on Earth, mattered. But not, apparently, to the universe. The universe (or God, if you'd rather) said "Nope, sorry Jack. Nice try on the Island with the selfless sacrifice and everything, and you certainly passed that test; but now here's another one. Have fun bleeding from your neck!" It literally negates any "progress" Jack had made.

I know it doesn't feel this way for people who totally believe without doubt in an afterlife. But for me, it falls flat. Lost was supposed to be about real stakes, about people who sacrificed themselves, about lost people finding a place they belonged and others they were willing to die for. Then, after all the drama...they meet on the Big Ship Lostipop and go into the light.

The whole show might as well have been Hurley's dream, for all their protestations against that idea. At least then we could say they really did the "Stewie Kills Lois/Lois Kills Stewie" ending. This way they can always say it wasn't that way - even though, for what seems like about half the audience, this is the way their ending felt. Basically, they're saying you can't redeem yourself in life, and I just don't buy it. A braver show would let life be a mystery; but no, the show about mysteries had to answer the one about which all of us know absolutely nothing, and leave the more interesting mysteries to linger.

I guess I just feel like a dupe for not recognizing earlier that, in the faith vs. science debate, this show sides with faith. I thought they were deep enough not to side with either, something no one in popular culture seems comfortable with. So I guess I'm as bad as John Locke. Ultimately, I'm not unsatisfied because of a lack of answers; I'm unsatisfied because, in "The End", Lost shows itself to be a story without balls.

(This is a rant and obviously my opinion. As I said at the top, I really wish I was like those of you who enjoyed it. It fell flat for me. Glad there were people for whom this wasn't the case.)

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