Disclaimer: Before you continue to read this post, it should be made clear that I have no issues with the finale of Lost. At least not any to sully my view on the show. Call it honeymoon phase, but I find no show-threatening faults with Lost. Just wanted to let y’all know because, you know, important stuff. Stuff that determines how I judge you as a person. I’m only half kidding.
I look back now, May 23rd, and can’t believe that it’s been three years since that episode I cherish greatly aired and my life was sort of ruined. While it sounds like I’m beginning a eulogy for the television program known as Lost, I’m actually doing the exact opposite. While it’s been gone for three years, and first aired nine (nine?!) years ago, Lost is far from outdated for me. I can’t claim I’m one of the people that have watched it since its inception. I can’t even say that I’m upset that I can’t claim that – I was at far too young of an age to really grasp the program when it started. But I finished it with the others (pun #1) in 2010. And I don’t think that since then I have ever really loved a television program like I have Lost.
Note: If you’re reading this for the sole purpose of being convinced to watch Lost, then you probably think I’m being über-dramatic right now. I’m not. You should just watch it. Then you would understand. You’re a lover of Lost. You just don’t know it yet (pun #2).
Why can’t I connect to television like I did with Lost? I suppose the main reason is the characters. Scratch that, I know the main reason in the characters. Whenever asked, I cite my favorite character as Benjamin Linus, though that’s not really truthful. While Ben remains up there in my cherished souls of Lost, each and every one of the characters (I’m exaggerating a bit – I mean, Ana Lucia was never my favorite) has held the same spot. I haven’t met a single soul that hasn’t loved Hurley as their own brother, that hasn’t cheered whenever Lapidus came back to life (pun #3?), or cried in agony as Jack closed his eye in the last episode. Watching television now, I find myself challenged to care this much about those characters as I did these.
Diversity seems like a passé item to talk about in discussing why my love for Lost is eternal, but it’s true. Lost didn’t just have one of the most diverse casts (which seems to be a problem in a lot of network shows), it also had the most diverse characters. In what other show would you see a Iraqi former-torturer paired with a Los Angeles blonde beauty (don’t make me speak about the Shannon-Sayid relationship though. Ever.) In each character you could find at least one thing that you identified in yourself, they were that accessible. In Boone I see my willingness to help, though I often fail. In Locke I see my perseverance, my will to believe in something even when everything says that I am wrong. And in Kate I see my protectionism, my will to protect myself, eventually establishing relationships deep enough that I have a will to protect those people too. (Did I just get too dramatic? Maybe. Definitely not.)
I can’t talk about why there will never be another Lost without mentioning the plot. Before I get into anything, I have to say something about Lost plot here – while it always mesmerized me and kept me on the edge of my seat, I valued the characters more. For example, talking about the finale: the piece I remember most from it is not the significant amount of questions the writers and Darlton had not answered. The part that resonates the most with me is the final frames – Jack’s closing eye as he passes by the tennis shoe – now decrepit and dirty, as Vincent races up to his side, as the Ajira airplane takes off.( I could talk about the Lost finale for just about ever, so I’ll stop now for all your sakes.) Plot’s always been important to me, but not as important as those moments with the characters.
That being said, no other show has been able to throw twists and turns at you like Lost has. If anyone ever approaches me wondering if they should watch Lost, I tell them to watch until they finish the episode “Walkabout.” If they don’t like it after that, then it’s not the show for you. Needless to say, nobody has not liked it after that. While the audience’s revelation about Locke is one of the most vivid examples of the pure imagination Darlton had planned for the show, there are other instances when you’re reminded how great the show you’re watching is, how you really do need to expect the unexpected. Other moments that come to mind are Michael shooting Ana Lucia and Libby, the discovery that the Others live in a civilized gated community on the island, Locke being the one in the coffin, and the ultimate – “We have to go back!” Sigh. I might sound like your retro, outdated grandmother, but television now is just not what it was in the past.
The last thing I have to mention in why Lost has never left my memory as the greatest show (at least in the 21st century) is the actual making of it. The actual writing and filming of it. I would pay a copious amounts of money to see Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse reunite and write something – anything – else. Their pure brainpower that, for the large part, shaped the show I have come to know and love is mindblowing. I’ve read some of the scripts for the episodes and the time in effort it appears that Darlton and the other writers have put into capturing every emotion on screen mirrors the time and effort it takes me to process and wrap around my brain everything that I’ve just seen. If you haven’t already, go and look up the Pilot script. You will see words and phrases and sentences transcribed onto your computer screen, along with lengthy descriptions on the characters, their feelings, and their surroundings.
Speaking of surroundings, the show itself was beautiful. While you’re soaked up in the character and the plot and the actors and the writing you forget the surroundings of all these things. The biggest example that comes to mind is from “Exodus”, the season 1 finale, as Michael, Jin, Sawyer, and Walt take off on the raft. Combined with Giacchino’s score, that scene is breathtaking. Carlton Cuse also sighted this scene as a particularly beautiful moment, reminiscent of the great teamwork that went into building the debut season. Another lasting shot from that season finale is the drop down view of Jack and Locke looking down into the hatch. Really gave you a feel for what you were getting yourself into (heaven). Season one, take me back.
So R.I.P Lost. In your memory today, I take a drink of Dharma beer and play “Life & Death” for you as I sob silently in the corner. See you in another life, brother. Or right now. On Netflix. Right now. I MISS YOU SO MUCH. SO MUCH. I JUST WANT TO GO BACK TO 2004 AND EXPERIENCE YOU ALL OVER AGAIN.