Monday, May 24, 2010

Lost Season 6

Lost concludes a 6 year run in the same way it began: literally with parallel shots—but stylistically as well. When you boil it all down to its essence, it is not a story of whys and hows, but rather a story about people. The people audiences have come to know and love throughout the run of this series are real, flawed but redeemable, changing and growing in understanding of who they are and what they were meant to be.

Therein lies the strength of this series. Sure there are questions and philosophical explorations that are valuable and worthy of thought, but what had you crying as the series reached its climax: revelations about the origins and ends of things, or the montages created to remind the characters (and viewers) of the journey we have all been on. The whole story could be seen as an exploration of the philosophy of religion and belief (it is, in fact) but it is more than just a parable—it is a quality story. (More on that in tomorrow’s post.)

In season 6 we are treated to yet another new storytelling convention. Seasons 1, 2 and 3 gave us flashbacks, 4 had flash forwards, and 5 used time travel. Here in six we appear to experience flashes “sideways” but if you think the apparent is the truth you should know you are mistaken. In the “parallel” world, we meet familiar faces, but our characters are slightly different. It is a welcome reminder that the choices we make have a huge impact on the world. In the end, that is what season six is all about: choices. It has taken our characters this long to come to the point where they are ready to make the choices they have to make. Up until now they have lacked the faith and trust that are needed.

There is more to say about the themes of the series as a whole (tomorrow), but for now just a few notes on some standout episodes and moments:

Lighthouse (6x05)

An interesting episode in which we discover that Jacob has indeed been picking and monitoring people all along, and Jack finds out that his life indeed has a purpose. It is not only interesting THAT we find this out, but how. Jacob does not tell people things, but rather helps them to discover truth—and figure it out—on their own.

Dr. Linus (6x07)

A great episode for the titular character, but even greater for the moment between Jack and Richard, where we see Jack has worked out his faith, trust, and knowledge that he has a purpose in life.

Ab Aeterno (6x09)

Richard’s episode. Interesting here that we see a priest with completely messed up theology (it is not repentance and forgiveness, but penance and work that matter!); and that Jacob enlightens Richard as to why he never directly deals with people. He wants people to discover and crave goodness on their own, as if telling them directly would taint the process or cheapen its effectiveness.

The Candidate (6x14)

Sun and Jin. Enough said.

Across the Sea (6x15)

Answers given without enlightening. A lot of people were probably really upset by this episode. More on that tomorrow.

What They Died For and The End (6x16-18)

*SPOILERS* When we finally figure out that the alternate timeline is not a result of the nuclear explosion in season 5, but the far future where all of the characters have lived out their lives and died, it serves as a beautiful picture. Sure, there are those who will be upset that it is not a perfect translation of the Christian idea of heaven (if there really is a clear one at that), and there is that nice politically correct, all inclusive window in the heavenly church. However, the image of all of these characters reuniting in the end, after many of them have died and some have lived out experiences after the finale that we never got to see, (what must the island have been like with Hugo and Ben at the helm!) it is a wonderful picture of what heaven will really be like and a beautiful end to a wonderful story.

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