>Live together, die alone.
That couldn’t be more fitting. Like no telling how many millions of people, last night we were caught up in the season finale of one of the most successful television shows of all time: Lost.
Much like my reading list, most of the TV-watching I do is focused on nonfiction: documentaries, the History Channel, a good program on PBS, etc., etc. But every once in a while something comes along that grips me. A story, or a character, or a plot poofs up (seemingly from mid-air, but good art always just looks like that) and grabs hold of me – my intellect and my affection.
Lots have commented on what they thought of the much-anticipated and probably over-hyped finale, and many didn’t care for it. Many wanted more answers to more questions. Many wanted more meaning attached to the ebb and flow of the storyline. They wanted a truer sense of right and wrong, or the tangible, touchable effect of the toils of our beloved characters.
I thought the ending to be near perfect because it stayed true to the bent of the entire show: we still have a few questions left floating in space, but, more importantly, we see the dominance of the characters in each others’ lives.
My wife and I watched the finale last night with friends. Exhausted we came home late and went to bed. Tonight, though, we watched the two-hour special leading up the finale from (DVRs are wonderful). The special recapped the plot twists up to the finale, along with actor and crew commentary. Terry O’Quinn, who played John Locke, said it best. Watching the end was like reading a wonderful piece of literature. You come to the end of the book and you don’t want to turn the back cover. You don’t want it to be over. But when you do, all you think is, “Gosh, that was great.”
Lost was such a wonderful piece of cinematized art because as good as all the thrills and frills were, the characters – the people, as Hemingway would have preferred to say – were more important than the action. The people were the action. F. Scott Fitzgerald said it well: “Character is plot, plot is character.”
Never have I seen such a wonderful example of that on the small screen, maybe even on the big screen.
Lost was great not because of the mysterious mythology the writers created for the island. Lost was great not because of its unpredictability. Lost was great not because it seems like the entire series faithfully built up to the final showdown between Jack and Locke. Lost was great because when it ended, you forgot about yourself and were completely undone by the people you watched. Lost was great because at the final fadeout, you wanted to cry because you won’t be seeing these characters anymore. You won’t get to know them through anymore struggles. You won’t get to know the subtleties of humanity that they truthfully personified every week.
The people in Lost are what matter most to the misty-eyed fans they leave behind.
And without getting too much in to details, what was spectacular about the finale and the whole story was that the thing that we all thought would be the climax – the showdown between Jack and Locke – wasn’t actually the showdown that capped the show. What capped it was the characters’ relationships to each other. Seeing how it all ends and the emphasis on people is what makes Lost great. And unique. And timeless.