Anticipating: LOST, The Series Finale

I’m coming to accept the fact that the Lost finale will disappoint me. Not because the writing, characterizations, or acting has been bad, I actually think this season is as strong as any of the previous seasons. Ok, the first season kicked major ass and hooked me on the Island mythos with the quickness. So, yeah, that was the best season but novelization like teenage romance is all about fast, addictive starts; rocky, drama filled middles; and awkward, sloppy endings. That’s why Lost is bound to fall short on its promise, and that’s why I will be super-glued to the television on Sunday to see exactly how far it will fall from my grace.

I mention novelization because teledramas like the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, The Sopranos, and Battlestar Galactica have really given novels a run for their money as the modern myth makers. I have no doubt in my mind that future generations will speak of the work of Ronald D. Moore and J.J. Abrams in the same breath as J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. In fact, I’d bet they’d be more associated with these great authors then they will be filmmakers or even other television producers since characters like Quark, Big Pussy and Gaius Baltar have some serious sci-fi cred going on.

The other reason I say novelization is to make sure I don’t trample on the iconic “Great American Novel” which none of these shows are since (and here is where I don my I ♥ Haters shirt) putting together a TV novelization is harder than putting together a novel.

Not that I’m speaking from any actual novel writing experience but think about it.  An author has an idea, a location, a set of characters, and a situation, then sets them all out into motion with no worries as to where they may end up or how exactly they get there.  A show runner on the other hand might start with the same idea, location, character, and situations but has to deal with budgets, egos, public opinion, and actual reality to get to the end of their storytelling destination.

Lost has had to deal with all of the above plus a network television hierarchy that believes including Pop Up Video footnotes to an episode qualifies it as enhanced to help justify a padded price tag on the DVD compilation.  Gotta love that corporate greed.  Especially when it can lead to ruining a perfectly good mythos (think: Smallville‘s overextended tenure) by ordering season after season of stories even after the producers have clearly run out of fresh ideas (yeah, I’m talkin bout 24). Luckily, the Lost producers stuck to their guns and insisted on a clear beginning, middle, and end.

Here is where the teledrama falls way short of its elder cousin the novelization.  The end for a TV series has to come in the last episode.  Anything less would be ratings suicide and even the best intentioned producer wouldn’t want that.  No, they have to save the climax, conclusion, and dénouement for the final show, and that’s probably the biggest problem with Lost right now.  Like a twelve round fight that was decided in the fifth, the Lost audience is trapped in their seats waiting for the final bell and the judges to declare a winner.  Well, the announcement comes tomorrow and I hope the producers come through with a finale full of twists, a couple of lingering mysteries, and a satisfying explanation as to why we’ve followed all these characters so long.

Stuff I’d Like To See Happen
•  Someone other than Jack take over as Jacob’s successor.  Too predicable. Yeah, I know Jack is the current caretaker but just cuz he can keep the job forever doesn’t mean he has to.
•  If Jack does end up as the new caretaker of the island, please don’t have Sawyer as his nemesis. Way too predictable.  Sawyer, much like the Man In Black, has turned out to be the rogue we all love.  Having him stuck forever with Jack would be the worst punishment.
•  Walt come back and take care of business.  Locke knew from the jump that Walt was special and prepared him for bigger things. I hope one of those things is to take Smokey out of Locke’s body.
•  Ben Linus to get his just rewards.  I’m sure his current status as Smokey’s second-in-command is a ruse to get back at Smokey and that he will end up helping the candidates but he’s effed over way too many people.  Storytelling logic says he dies a horrible death.
•  Richard Alpert be the one who does Linus in.  It looks like Richard is out of the picture but unless I see a body, I don’t believe anyone is dead especially a dude granted immortality.
•  Kate stop being just the girl and get back the agency she had in the first seasons.  Remember when Kate wasn’t just flirting with the boys all the time and was actually kicking major ass?  I hope the producers remember to.
•  Hugo gets to be in charge of the island. He’s the only one who hasn’t compromised his moral center.  He deserves to have a long life full of Apollo bars and conversations with Libby.
•  Desmond.  Uhmm, I’m not sure what to make of the Constant.  My guess, he’ll throw himself into the heart of the island and serve as the new “cork” since he is immune to its powers.  As a result he will…
• End the alternate-verse.  The flash sideways story has been fun but I think they should have ended it a few episodes back and let that serve as a faux-conclusion.  How the tow realities affect each other is so overblown that I don’t have any idea what to with it except have it serve as the Man In Black’s new jail?

Some Questions I Still Need Answered
•  If dead is dead, then what was up with Zombie Sayid?
•  If Kate was removed as a Candidate when she became a mom then what about the Kwons?  Sun was a Mom and Jin had something to live for outside the Island as a new Dad. Shouldn’t that have gotten them crossed out as well?
•  What up with Christian Shephard?  Was the Man In Black really taking his form?  It seems like Ghost Christian was actually helping the Candidates most of the time.
• The Statue of Taweret.  The one magic out the producers have of saving Lost from being a Juedo-Christian allegory of Good vs Evil.  If we find out all this started in Africa with the building of the Pyramids by natural-dark-skin-folks, I’d be super happy.

One Question I Didn’t Need The Answer To
•  The light in the cave.  The long winded explanation about the magic of the island was a huge waste of time.  We already knew about the electromagnetism could be harnessed for teleportation and time travel; trust me, modern society is more interested in that than spiritual bliss.

Final Prediction
•  Hugo is the new Jacob and gets the girl; Walt comes back to release Locke’s body; the Smoke Monster is trapped in the Sideways Universe thanks to both Desmonds; Miles saves the day channeling all the undead; Jack dies honorably; Ben Linus dies horribly; Richard gets his revenge and reunites with his lady;  Claire bites the dust;  Sawyer is the new leader of the Others; Kate takes up sewing the eternal quilt; Rose, Bernard and Vincent are the new Others and rebuild the statue of Taweret.

Whatever the actual end of Lost turns out to be, I gotta give props to J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse for keeping it all in check and seeing us through to a clear finale.  Even if I’m a little disappointed, it’s much better than feeling like the creators never had a clear answer to the questions they posed (The lasting sin of X-Files creator Chris Carter) or not having any answers at all (Can someone please finish off the Carnivale mythos).  Yeah, good or bad, I’m going to be glued to my seat tomorrow with popcorn and Dharma cola in hand.

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1 Comment

  1. “I mention novelization because teledramas like the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, The Sopranos, and Battlestar Galactica have really given novels a run for their money as the modern myth makers.”

    Absolutely. I’ve noticed that Mad Men, BSG, The Wire, and Lost all caused my reading to take a big hit. I watched them all on DVD, except for the last season of Lost, so that only lent to the effect. It’s not so much the time it takes to watch these shows–time I could spend reading–but that their narrative arcs and characters are so interesting, so well-wrought, that to be involved in a really great novel at the same time…it’s too much competition. I am actually watching BSG again for the second time now, and my reading has slowed to a crawl…

    I enjoyed your predictions.

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