A Newcomer's Experience With The 'Lost' Finale

by Matt Harper, written last night

Tonight I agreed to participate in a pop culture experiment. I am minutes away from exposing myself to the eagerly anticipated two and a half hour hour series finale of "Lost"… but I when I sit down in front of the TV, I will do so without ever having watched an episode. Why would anyone ever willingly do this to themselves? Why would a reasonable adult immerse himself in what is arguably the most cleverly complex (or excessively convoluted, depending on your outlook) TV shows of all time at the 11th hour? Hell if I have any idea. But I've agreed to it, so let's get this party started!

Before we dive in here's just a quick few words about me and my knowledge of "Lost." First off, I never intentionally avoided watching the show -- it was just one of those things that always seemed too daunting to get into after missing the first few seasons. But I don't live in a cave, so I do have some basic knowledge of the show… plane crash, island, Charlie from "Party of Five," something about a 'smoke monster'(?) and, recently, something about different versions of the original characters existing in parallel but overlapping dimensions (???).

15 Minutes in…

So apparently there must be different versions of some of these people, because the show keeps cutting between the same group in a jungle (We'll call this the Island World) and cleaner versions in civilized society (Clean World). I guess this is what people are referring to when they keep talking about "time-shifting"? And apparently, Matthew Fox ("Jack"), the fat guy, a hot girl, and a cocky rugged-looking fellow need to go to the "heart of the island", because the "Locke smoke thing wants to put it out." Whatever that means.

The bald guy seems to be the main bad person, and has just stolen a Scottish guy named Desmond from a kindly old couple. He's taking him to this "heart of the island," which is apparently very bright. Oh, and in the cleaner world, the fat guy shot the goth Hobbit with a tranquilizer dart because he was drunk and wouldn't play a concert! What?!

Now there seems to be a significant moment with a Japanese couple in a hospital (its a pretty long scene, and is filled with melodramatic music and a lot of crying). The Japanese lady is pregnant and is getting a sonogram, which somehow allowed her to see the other dimension, causing an emotional moment between the couple. It also somehow revealed to them the gender and name of their baby!

Halfway through…

Things are really moving along now… back in the Island universe, everyone's going to the heart of the island. Also on the island, an Asian dude and a guy with eyeliner I haven't seen before have a really emotional moment over a grey hair Then they start canoeing somewhere and, along the way, find a pilot in the water. Random. But the pilot says there's a plane and he can get them off the island (duh, he's a pilot). Jack and Locke lower Desmond into a glowing cave that looks like the cave from "The Goonies," and the island starts shaking a lot. Back in the Clean universe, everyone's going to a concert. Kate (the hot girl) seems surprised to see Claire, as does goth hobbit when he gets on stage.

But wait! Claire goes into labor and Kate and goth hobbit help deliver the baby. They all have flashbacks of the other (Island) universe. Does this mean that people get flashbacks when babies are around? (Side-note: that was HANDS DOWN the fastest TV show birth EVER) Back in the Island universe, everything is shaking a lot, and Jack and Locke have a rainy cliff-side confrontation. Dramatic!

(Bonus: Target is apparently airing Lost-themed ads! Get a smoke detector for the Smoke Monster. Clever.)

The end is near…

In the island universe, the fight between Locke and Jack continues on the cliff. Jack is stabbed in the stomach by Locke, who is then shot in the back by Kate. But in the Clean World Jack has just completed surgery on Locke and fixed his spine. Nice use of contrast, "Lost."

Moving on, the Island is going down and people are deciding whether to stay or go. Jack is staying, Kate is leaving, they kiss and confess their love for each other (he doesn't seem all that bothered that he was just stabbed in the stomach). More and more people in the Clean World are having those flashback things… and seem to be realizing that they had another life somewhere. Its a little confusing. It usually happens when they touch someone they had a relationship with in the Island World, and it causes them to get really emotional and exchange knowing glances.

Back in the Island World, Jack, Hugo (I thought his name was Hurley, but everyone's calling him Hugo, so we'll go with that) and creepy Ben Linus go back to the "Goonies" cave, while rugged guy (who's apparently named Sawyer), Kate and a crazy lady they found on the beach (Claire?) try to make it to the plane that's leaving the island… and of course make it just in time. In the cave, Jack and Hugo have an emotional moment, and I guess Jack makes Hugo the new leader of the Island? Then Jack plugs a hole in the ground with a rock, and the island stops shaking (and is presumably saved?).

So from this point onward we're basically in the Clean World. Creepy Ben Linus is sitting in a courtyard and has a vague talk with Locke. Ben apologizes for something, Locke forgives him and that's that.

And then comes the big revelation! Jack touches the coffin where his father's body apparently is, and gets a case of the flashbacks. Then he opens the coffin, only to find… nothing! His dad has been standing behind him, very much alive! Or is he? No, he's not... but if Jack's dad is dead… that means Jack is dead too! So I guess Clean World is really Dead World?

Jack's dad explains that time doesn't exist there, and since everyone dies at some point, they're all there (even if they're not necessarily dead yet in the real world)… which I have to admit kind of makes sense (kudos "Lost" writers).

Now everyone's in the church hugging and smiling and being all slow-motion-y (except for Michelle Rodriguez… she was on this show, right? Why isn't she back there?). We get some flashes to the island where Jack is stumbling around, and eventually dies as a dog lies down beside him and the plane files off overhead. And we're done!

So what have I learned?

It was a kind of cool revelation that the Clean World was a Dead World, but that doesn't really explain what the Island is/was right? Am I wrong that the BIG mystery of "Lost" was supposed to be explaining what the island itself was right? I guess the inherent problem with only watching the finale of this show is that I don't really know what needs to be explained and what doesn't!

What was all this talk about a 'smoke monster'? They definitely mentioned it, but besides that Target commercial, I didn't see any sentient smoke anywhere. Also, why did Jack bother saving the Island if everyone was just going to escape on a plane anyways? And what was Desmond supposed to be? They kept talking about him as if he was special in some way, but he didn't seem to do anything so crazy. Speaking of Desmond, who was the old lady who came up to him at the concert and lectured him?

Clearly, this experience has left me with MANY more questions than I had going into it. Looks like I'm just going to have to go back and watch the rest of the show in reverse!