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A Requiem to Lost

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Remember when Lost was about a bunch of people on an island? When it was about a paraplegic who suddenly discovered he could walk? A mysterious group with an equally mysterious number of mysterious stations? A drug addict trying to redeem himself? A doctor who believed survival depended on living together? A man willing to do anything to protect his son? A button that needed to be pushed every 108 minutes? A cloud of black smoke that came and went as it pleased, wreaking havoc? A statue with four toes? A polar bear wildly out of its element?

What happened to that show?

Watching the series finale of Lost last night I was reminded of how much the show has changed in the six years since it premiered. The puzzles and confusion of those first few seasons now seem somehow quaint. Wondering about the function of the DHARMA stations? Questioning what pushing the button every 108 would actually accomplish? Arguing about the meaning of the Numbers? That?s nothing compared to the epic battle between Jacob and that other guy who always dressed in black over control of the golden river at the center of the island.

Lost fundamentally changed at the end of Season Three when the flashbacks became flash-forwards and then again when the flash-forwards became flash sideways (flashes sideways?) at the start of Season Six, and perhaps not for the better. I recall, back when Season Three was at its most frustrating, thinking about how neat it would be if someone took all the scenes on the island from Season One and edited them together. Minus the flashbacks, would Lost still work? Would it still have dramatic heft?

Now that the show is over, the mysteries solved and the questions, for better or worse, answered, I find myself thinking about the simpler times when watching Lost was about the DHARMA Initiative, the Others and the Numbers. It seems strange to think of Lost as simple but part of me longs for the days when the Blast Door map led to a few answers but so many new questions before the introduction of an overarching (and perhaps retroactive) theme of good versus evil and the epic/eternal struggle between Jacob and that other guy.

At the same time, Lost has always had its fantastical elements, so quibbling about the so-called ?Heart of the Island? and its bright, golden light might appear trivial. Maybe it has to do with the passage of time or maybe I?ve just become tired over the years. But you can?t tell me that those first few seasons, when the mysteries of Lost were fresh and exciting, weren?t somehow better or at the very least more exciting than later seasons. (You also can?t tell me that the producers/writers had the show planned out from the beginning, but that?s neither here nor there. Much like the final moments of the finale, in fact.)

Lost is over now. It?s been a thrilling ride, one filled with equal parts excitement and irritation. I was never the biggest or most involved fan. I never participated in any of the alternate reality games. I read some magazine articles, talked about the show at a few message boards, chatted with friends and family about the most recent episode. There?s no use wondering now what might have been. What?s through the looking glass, so to speak. No real use, that is, but I?m sure fans will spend the summer arguing about how the show ended and then, when the new television season starts in the fall, lament the fact that Lost won?t be coming back.

Personally, while I don?t really understand what the finale meant, I can?t say it wasn?t enjoyable. I also can?t say I plan on rewatching all six seasons any time soon. I actually don?t know how much repeat value the show will have, knowing how the show ends and knowing that so many questions remain unanswered. Maybe I?ll just watch the first few seasons and try to forget the ending. For me, Lost was at its best when it was about a bunch of people on an island, with a few strange twists thrown in for good measure.

I still want to know why that statue had only four toes.

A Requiem to Lost

Edited by forst

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