There is so much to say now that LOST is officially finished. In fact, I hardly know where to begin. Of course, now that the series is closed, a serious discussion of its philosophical implications can truly be undertaken. I plan to periodically post (though not yet on a set interval) observations on the series with regard to everyday life, just as I do with other media. I also plan to revisit the unanswered questions post in the near future.
For this post, however, a standard (yet solemnly respectful) treatment is in order.
Two words that are at times either a relief or a time of mourning. A time of new beginnings or a time of utter despair. As many of you know, I had the distinct privilege of watching the Finale at the State Theatre in downtown Traverse City, MI. Until then, the largest group I had ever watched the show with was 6 or 7 people. Throughout the show, the crowd cheered at the crucial appearances of various characters—especially when Frank turned out to still be alive—and tears where shed over the touching moments.
The energy of the crowd was amazing. In dispersing from the theatre, the crowd that gathered outside was very reminiscent of the characters' interactions in the church scene. It's not so much that we will never see our fellow LOST fanatics again, but it felt like it would be different. To me, it felt like graduating high school—for better or worse, you'll never have that group together again. I will see my friends again, but our respective relationships with the characters on the screen are forever frozen—never to develop further.
I wasn't chosen, I volunteered.
It had long been apparent that Jack was the logical choice to take Jacob's place—a fact that was mocked by the Man in Black. For all Jack's new post represented, the questions it answered were disappointingly few. The vague concept of "rules" given to us by the young Man in Black in "Across the Sea," stand as the only explanation for many of the loose ends and odd powers which Jacob and/or the Island has.
One thing seems to circumvent Jacob's fixed rules: that the protector of the Island must be one who does not want the position. The Island represents power. A person who desires the position is a person who will be tempted to abuse that power. Unlike the One Ring from the Lord of the Rings, the Island is not inherently evil. It is only the influence of someone like the Man in Black that can corrupt another man. In effect, it is more like "the Force" from the Star Wars universe, with its light and dark sides—a comparison the creators have made personally.
Jacob remained the protector of Island for as long as he did because he did not abuse the power, such as the Man in Black was seeking to do. Jack also sought to use the power, as Widmore had apparently intended, to kill the Man in Black—who was impervious to harm until Desmond pulled the "key." This shared intention ended poorly for all three men. Widmore did not even fulfill whatever purpose Jacob assigned him to. The Man in Black, though correct about destroying the Island, was surprised to find that he was mortal once again.
Jack was mortally wounded by the Man in Black during their brawl on the cliffs. Ultimately, he would give his life for the Island and for his friends who had yet to escape it, an action which is widely regarded in our culture to be the greatest expression of love. He saved Desmond, taking his place in the pool of light after transferring his job to Hurley—the most reluctant, but arguably best-suited candidate. (Kudos to my wife for calling that one!) Ben suggested to Hurley that he might run the Island however he wants, with the aim of helping people as his main philosophical objective.
Prior to the church scene, Hurley commends Ben for having been a great right-hand man. Ben, in turn, tells Hurley the same. This implies that their "reign" was long and successful—a fact which, in reality, would conflict with the old axiom, "Absolute power, corrupts absolutely." That being said, one could argue that one does not really have absolute power if he gives it away, which Hurley would have.
Time has no meaning in this place.
The church scene that summed up the great mystery of the flash-sideways has to be the most creative solution to the ending of a story, even if it does feel a little contrived. By explaining that the most important time in the characters' lives were the times told in the series, the writers simultaneously provided us with a cohesive, happy ending; a definitive death of the main character; and the potential continuation of the survivors. "The End" delivers us our pick of ends while allowing us room to speculate about the continued lives and eventual deaths of those whose stories would have ended in ellipses...
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The Lord of the Rings - The epic fantasy by JRR Tolkien, which defined an entire genre of books, and was masterfully reconstituted in movie form by Peter Jackson. It is an immersive tale of love and war for the fate of all mankind.
Star Wars Trilogy - The followers of an ancient order utilize a power known as "the force" to affects the ends of good or evil. Those who fight for the good side, struggle to save the galaxy from a tyrannical Empire, whose intentions are dark.