LOST AGAIN: 6.17 “The End Part 1″
Here we are at the very last episode! Wow, what a long string of Lost posts… not quite sure where Kasia is hiding herself these days, but I was never told to stop uploading these, so… Before we begin, a very big thank you for reading, and Happy Holidays to all!
I haven’t rewatched the second half of this finale as of now. So keep that in mind as I open this by saying… I’m more ambivalent about The End than I thought I’d be.
When all was said and done, the sentiment among a lot of us fans after was something like “Overall Season 6 didn’t set the finale up as well as it could of, but the last episode itself was amazing.” That was pretty much my feeling too, but actually watching Season 6 again, I can’t 100% get on board with that anymore. This whole business with the Man in Black, the Rules, the Light, the Cork, it all got quite convoluted, and this time, that directly impacted how good the finale was for me. I still don’t know exactly what the cave is for. I still don’t know what happens when Desmond pulls the cork out, why it seems to impact the Man in Black’s mortality, why he’s no longer bound by the “Rules” that stop him killing candidates and leaving the island. It’s made clear that Jack and the remaining Losties have little idea what’s going on either, they simply let things play out, and it’s only luck or fate that causes events to conspire in their favor.
Most important, I’m still not sure of what the stakes are. The cork being pulled sets in motion the erosion of the island, that’s all we can be sure about. We still don’t know what impact this will have on the world at large, or just why it will be so devastating if the Man in Black makes it off the island. It’s a little bit like the end game of Season 2 or Season 5, in which events are bigger than the characters and a little beyond their grasp. The difference in those cases, the focus was kept on the people involved and how they reacted and how they tried to figure out what was going on. That human element is nowhere near as strong in “The End,” we’ve basically got all these character playing out one final conflict against a backdrop that often distracts and confuses. There’s as much spectacle and entertainment as the previous three finales, but it’s less satisfying.
On the island, anyway. The AU stuff plays fine. But even so, the worst moment of The End is found in the first half, as Sayid reunites with Shannon. Here’s what I think happened. It was up in the air all season long as to whether or not they could get Maggie Grace back. So Sayid’s arc was kept a little bit ambiguous, they had to continue to subtly set up Nadia as someone Sayid could potentially end up with, just in case they had to drop her into the end. But then they closed the deal with Maggie, gave her priority in the finale as an original Season 1 character, and wound up discarding the Sayid/Nadia thing that had been built up over all this time. I’ve never talked to anyone who thought it was a good idea.
So all that’s out of the way. Keep in mind that I do quite like the finale, but I’m going to be harsh on it in places because it’s the last episode, and if I don’t wind up calling it one of the best episodes of the series, I feel I should at least be clear why. Now, the stuff I liked:
As things get started, we see that everyone has been upgraded to the regular cast. Too bad Mira Furlan, Alan Dale, and Mark Pellegrino don’t make it into the last episode, I feel like they’re main characters over the likes of Eloise Hawking, for one.
On the island, events begin to unspool at a breakneck pace, and the scene between Flocke and Sawyer at the well (got to mention that hilarious resigned groan Ben makes when he gets punched in the face) sets the tone. Now the Lostie/Smokie conflict is fully out in the open, and the characters are hilariously blunt about their intentions. There’s a scene between Jack and Flocke that basically goes “I’m trying to kill you.” “I’m trying to kill you too.” “Let’s get on with it, then.”
It just wouldn’t have been right if we didn’t get one last little update on the status of Rose, Bernard and Vincent (the show heroically resisted the urge to make a “Lassie, Timmy is trapped in a well?” type reference). Flocke shows up and promises not to kill the retired couple if Desmond goes with him, which I think is Empty Promise #87.
The result of this was something that thrilling for me personally. The entire series, I desperately wanted Terry O’Quinn, Michael Emerson, and Henry Ian Cusick to all be in one scene together, simply to see if the screen could contain that much epic. I was dismayed at various points over the course of Season 4-6, since their characters constantly looked like they were on the verge of getting killed off or written out. But at the very end, it’s finally happening! The scene itself is nothing special, but I don’t care!
Miles discovers that Richard is actually not dead, which I think actually increases the island’s population by something like 11.1% at this point. Richard of course is still intent on blowing up the Ajira Flight, but Frank Lapidus does what he should have done seven episodes ago… reminds them that he’s a pilot.
Yes, Frank! Despite our tongue in cheek elevation of the character to Godlike status, his role really has been minimal all season. At best, he got a single line every episode, and then met an ignoble end. And now, we see that he’s been your classic Christ figure all along. Oh yes, THREE DAYS AFTER HE MET HIS WATERY DOOM, HE IS RISEN. HE IS COME AGAIN. IN FRANK I BELIEVE-EH!
My thoughts on the resolution of the afterlife are… complex. Since that story dominates Part 2, that’s where the majority of my thoughts will go. As the finale begins, it’s as though the show is now under a Cosmic Deadline (I really do depend on the reader having read TV Tropes), as suddenly, characters are having lovely little remembering sequences at an absurdly high rate. Juliet shows up to bring about Jin and Sun’s epiphany, and that’s all very nice, but I think I slightly prefer Hurley’s broad grin at seeing Charlie again for the first time in God knows how long. The funniest moment in the whole finale, for some reason, is when Charlie later mutters “I was shot by a fat man.”
Many of the characters gather at the concert, where Dr. Chang emcees the evening. I like how they don’t even try to age up the actor 25 years, they just keep shining a very bright light on him. There’s actually this very soft, very bright look to all the Afterlife scenes in this episode, I don’t know what that is in After Effects, but I like it. Anyway, we see (and hear) what a truly dreadful idea it was of Faraday’s to combine classical music and Driveshaft, but that doesn’t stop a series of D’awwww moments from breaking out. Daniel and Charlotte see each other again. Claire has her baby, and she, Charlie, and Aaron reform their little nuclear family. Kate, naturally, has her memory triggered by reacting to what everyone else is doing. There’s even a slightly touching moment with Ms. Hawking being concerned that Desmond means to take her son away. She truly is a horrible and selfish person, but at least this time, she’s got her priorities right.
On the island, everyone has hooked up at the Heart of the Island. Of course, Jack brings Flocke straight to the source and completely jeopardizes it in his first day on the job. First, he and Desmond have a conversation about the world Desmond saw in Happily Ever After. Desmond is convinced that nothing on the island matters, and Jack can come with him to this wonderful place. “We spoke to each other,” he says. “You seemed happy!”
Desmond pulls out the cork, and stuff happens, basically. Ben actually gets a really nice moment in which he pushes Hurley out of the way of a tree, which may have made a decent end for him, but thankfully he lives on into Part 2. Part 1, of course, ends on this image.
Great cliffhanger, or greatest cliffhanger?
Unofficial Rating for The End Part 1: 8.5/10