We Have to go Back (Reflecting on Lost)

lost statue

This past week was the 10th anniversary of Lost which you might have already known if you’re a fanatic of the TV series like me. I know I’ve talked about Lost on here before, but I just really love Lost – a lot. I came into the show late and watched it for the first time about a year and a half ago on Netflix. I remember mentioning to a guy at my college that I was on x season and that I was enjoying it and he shook his head with a weary grin stating, “You’re going to hate the ending.”

“You’re going to hate the ending.” I knew there was a controversy with the ending because my senior year of high school we had a Lost fan in the class. The day before he was bright eyed and bushy tailed and the next he came in battered with a look of defeat. Every time any series finale was brought up either online or in person there was always a voice saying, “How about that ending to Lost? No one understood that!” I never knew what the ending was because no one ever said it. They only said that questions go unanswered or I’d hear the infamous explanation “they were dead the whole time!” They were dead the whole time? Did you watch the show?

The biggest issue most had was the fact that so many questions went unanswered. Why can the island move? Why did so and so go back in time, but so and so didn’t? Why does the island cure? Why does the island take away?

There’s a humorous yet well done article on Cracked.com where someone goes through and answers almost every common question brought up in Lost, but I’m not here to repeat all of that. I want to talk about the finale in general and how it goes back to the premise of Lost. The reason why some felt that they didn’t receive answers was because the show never spoon fed explanations to the audience. It didn’t feel the need to and it didn’t have to. The island was a mystery that slowly became undone little by little and the audience was learning along with the characters. If the character didn’t know something, chances were we didn’t know either.

As the series went on the concerns shifted along with the story arch. By the end, I didn’t care so much as to what exactly created that pool of light because it didn’t matter. I was more worried about the fate of these characters I’d grown attached to. Will Desmond and Penny reunite? Will Claire get to see her son? Is Vincent doing okay? Will Hurley make it out alive? Please tell me Hurley makes it out alive. If anything the show was more about survival for these characters. They landed themselves in a Wonderland/Willy Wonka world in the form of an island. It wasn’t so much a matter of figuring out every phenomenon to a tee, but to adapt to the strange nature of the island and live through it all.

The island was this holy grail of energy and light complete with a personality. It was a living entity and it played games with these survivors, but it also tried to help them. And as Harry Potter-ish as it sounds – the island was magical. It was a source of life and death and kept everything in the world balanced – hence why it needed to be protected. The characters slowly started to recognize that they were dealing with something beyond what they’d grown up believing.

Suddenly magic and mythology was real, but science still played a valuable role into it all. It was a strange combination that felt unreal to them and so they had to learn to navigate around it and also adjust their own beliefs to understand what it was they had stumbled into. I’m sure that some of the surviving characters still didn’t fully understand what had happened on the island, they just knew it happened. What they experienced was real and while it was bizarre, horrific, and enlightening at times, it wasn’t a dream or limbo – it was reality.

What I took from the series was that life won’t always make perfect sense and that sometimes a person can be thrown into a world that’s a distorted image far from what they know. The solution isn’t necessarily figuring out an answer to every detail, but adapting to the new situation. Learning from it, growing from it, and deciding what they believe is right and wrong and then finding justification in those choices. If the person tried to answer every burning question with long winded explanations, they’d drive themselves crazy. Is looking for answers wrong? No, but it’s a reminder that life is more about you and the people you put into it and the choices you make rather than why the earth gravitates.

That’s what I feel the core of Lost was about. It was also meant to be placed into a mystery/sci-fi/fantasy/suspense genre which gives it permission to be a little surreal. Like I said, they landed themselves in a Wonderland. The genre was a unique mixture and one that I’d like to see more of. I have a lot more to say about Lost, but I won’t bore you anymore than I already have. If you’re a Lost fan, then Happy Lost 10th Anniversary! If you’re not, then give the show a try if it sounds like your type of series. You might just end up loving it.

But what was up with Walt?

Hurley takes him to the island and trains him to become the new protector because he’s “a chosen one.” Again, like Harry Potter. Watch the epilogue, it’s worth it my friend.

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