After six seasons, you call a prom of the dead in a chapel of love where everybody is farting rainbows, where all the primary Oceanic 815 survivors are redeemed, where a loving "Dad" opens a Spielbergian door of light to the greater beyond ("Where are we going?" "Let's go find out.")—a finale?
I'm sure that you, Chad, will attempt to untangle the Mobius strip and smash the Klein bottle that is Lost and map some coherence onto tonight's episode, and hence the whole series. But I'm here to tell you that the island doesn't need you to protect it anymore. Set your chalice down. Toss your bag of white stones into the sea. Stop touching people. And you, Seth, may make efforts to say, hey, it's not as bad as the Star Wars prequels or the last Indiana Jones. But again, please stop. It's not worth it.
The series, which started with so much promise, stalled some time in its third season and will now be remembered as a monstrosity that fused kitsch to camp. The temples! The super powers of little Walt! The talking dead! The pendulum! Eternal life! Zombies! Ludovico brainwashing! A giant statue and a temple! The lighthouse! Time travel! (Time travel!) More gunplay than a Sam Peckinpah western!
As Johnny Rotten once put it, "Ever feel like you've been cheated?"
Join me, Chad, and I'll get you off that godforsaken island. But you must choose. I can't force you.
How many times did you groan during the finale? How did the audience at the Lost viewing party that Slate hosted in New York City take the disappointment of the last episode? Did they run into the streets after the show, hoping to get mowed down by a car or bus speeding by? Did they shoot themselves in the torso?
I've been bitching all season about all of the improbable and impossible nonmagical things that have happened, but the closing scene of tonight's episode, "The End," completely defies logic. How did the people who are in the chapel qualify for inclusion? Not because they were on the plane—Penny wasn't on the plane, nor was Desmond, and they're reunited in the chapel. If Penny and Desmond are reunited, why aren't Daniel and Charlotte? Is the deal that if you're in love and somehow connected to the plane, then you get to take the trip out the Big White Door? But what about John Locke? He's in the chapel of the dead and he has no love unit with him. If Locke, why not Vincent? If there is no logic behind the reunion, why the hell not reunite Sayid with Nadia? Ben with Rousseau. Alex with Karl. Lennon with McCartney.
Don't get me wrong, Chad. I've found your Lost lessons invaluable this year, as I did last year when you e-mailed them around to your Slate colleagues and others. I still expect to learn a thing or two from you about parallels between scenes in this episode and scenes from previous Losts. Dr. Jack and "Locke" staring down the waterfall as they did the blown shaft at the end of Season One, for instance. Or the "surprise" of the show ending the way it began, only with Dr. Jack closing his eye instead of opening it. But no matter how fast you run around a Mobius strip or how many times you traverse a route through a Klein bottle, you keep coming out at the same place.
Can we also spend a minute discussing how heavy-handed the last episode was? Ending in a chapel! With a looming Christ. Meanwhile, back on the island, Christ figure Dr. Jack staggers around with Christ-like wounds on his torso.
Everybody has their favorite moments from Lost. But did the finale really have to rescreen so many of my least favorite moments? I'm talking about the flashbacks to the schmaltzy, luminescent love scenes among the couples as they discover one another. These were even worse than the promos for ABC's summer lineup that the network kept running.
And can we spend a few seconds discussing how unsatisfying the episode was as a free-standing work of drama? All season long, the show's creators worked hard to turn the simpleton Locke into the personification of evil as the smoke monster. And you know what? They succeeded. Locke was evil. He was frightening. But then when Kate blasts him in the torso (natch!), and Dr. Jack gives him a kick and his last vertical ride, did you feel … anything? Did the viewing party audience cheer or did they just shrug? Or did they pass out from boredom, as I did?
Finally, did not Lost's creators promise again and again that the survivors of Oceanic 815 were not in purgatory? They did. So where do they get off making the whole sideways world of Season Six a purgatory in which the inhabitants must come to grips with their lives and deaths before they move on? I call this cheating!
It's time to call crap crap—and for the estate of C.S. Lewis to protest the shameless lifting by Lost's creators from his Chronicles of Narnia. Before I surrender the floor, allow me to quote from Book 7, The Last Battle, where Lewis writes:
[Aslan] went to the Door and they all followed him. He raised his head and roared 'Now it is time!' then louder 'Time!'; then so loud that it could have shaken the stars, 'TIME.' The Door flew open. …
Slate V: Coping With the Loss of Lost