Monday, May 24, 2010

I was "Lost" but Now I'm Found

Several years ago I gave up on ABC's "Lost". In a couple seasons "Lost" had devolved into a most enigmatic and unsatisfying series. Last night's concluding episode left me confused and most grateful that I did not waste more time on the program.

I applaud innovation. I am attracted to strong story lines, great writing and powerful characters. But following a strong start "Lost" veered off the road into the marshes. There the program became mired in absurdity, ambiguity and obfuscation. It is unclear whether the show rigidly followed the producer's original outline. Whatever the circumstance, it always felt like it was being thrown together on the fly. Worse, its twists and turns truly challenged even its most ardent fans.

The concluding episode felt self-indulgent. I would have never in a million years guessed that "Lost" would have ended that way. All dead? All reunited? In a church? So this got me to thinking, what would I have done?

Locke, Desmond and Jack enter the cave and find Marlon Brando, reprising his role as Colonel Walter E. Kurtz, sitting on a rock sipping on a bowl of Vietnamese soup. Brando says, "I expected someone like you. What did you expect? Are you an assassin?" "Yes," says Locke, "I have been sent to free the island." With that he stabs the Kurtz character and frees everyone on the island.

Or Locke, Desmond and Jack enter the cave, attracted by the bright light visible from miles away. Inside they come upon a waterfall and drop Desmond down by rope. There Desmond encounters Morpheus who says, "We've survived by hiding from them, by running from them. But they are the gatekeepers. They are guarding all the doors; they are holding all the keys. Which means that sooner or later, someone is going to have to fight them." Desmond's face turns ashen as he responds, "Good luck with that," and scampers back up the rope. Then a huge explosion destroys the island.

Or Hurley enters the cave with Locke, Jack and Desmond. They decide that since Hurley won millions at the lottery he should be the one remove the rock plugging the light below. All three of them strain to lower him by rope. Hurley wades through the pool of water, pulls the plug and is sucked into the hole. Then Hurley is awakened from a deep sleep thanks to a friend who splashes cold water on his face. Hurley is sprawled on the ground in an alley. The friend says, "Hurley, Hurley, I am sorry you didn't win the lottery." Without missing a beat Hurley says, "Dude, you won't understand, but I am thrilled I didn't win the lottery!"

Or Locke, Jack and Desmond enter the cave and are greeted by Jimmy Hoffa and Judge Crater who instruct them to take a seat. Suddenly the music begins and Elvis walks out into the bright lights, his sequined jacket ablaze, singing "Amazing Grace".

To paraphrase the final words of Jack's father, "It's time to move on."

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