"Lost" in Translation: The End of the End

The father, the son and the holy hottie

In the end there were no fireworks. No yelling and screaming. No fingers in the chest nor recitations of missed ballgames, withering slights, alcoholic screw-ups or Oedipal murderousness. The surface anger melted and all that remained – in the sheer white light outside the Unitarian church – was a father and son sobbing happily in one another’s arms.

Their friends sat in the pews, unbloodied and unbowed. And, finally, together.

The island, with its heroes, villains, monsters and constant life-threatening struggles, was less a literal place than a stage for a greater emotional battle: a thrill-ride version of psychotherapy:, where the patient is made to confront, engage and then move beyond the obsessions and weaknesses that have defined his/her life.

Everyone’s answer is different. For Jack it was accepting surrender; for Hurley it regaining self-confidence; for Miles it had something to do with discovering his faith in duct tape.

What matters is that what once were lost are now found. And what was “Lost” is now a memory. A long series of memories, actually, packed with action and adventure and dark humor, but also yearning and heartbreak and frustration and all the stuff of human exerpience. But no matter the blood and bombs and bad-ass thugs and monsters and on and on, the source of all that white light  came from within the characters themselves.

The mythology, as cool and confusing as it could be, was exactly like the cool, confusing mythology we all weave for ourselves: A Hollywood-style animation of the internal drama flickering behind all of our eyes.

Are you ready to move on? That’s always the question. And for most of us, pretty much most of the time, the answer is emphatic: Helll, no. Thus psychotherapy, if you’re a secular urban mod with health care and/or expendable cash. College kids can take philosophy classes, and engage in dorm room bickerfests about reality. Everyone else gets religion, or worst case, primetime tv. And just in case you wanted to wrap it all up in one tidy package, these last six years have also given us “Lost.”

A simplified version of the bigger versions, of course. But also free(ish) and pretty to look at, and way more often than not, some lovely combination of thoughtful, mysterious, action-packed and hilarious.

So much to love, hate, watch and debate over the years. But as we hit the final moments yesteday – in the church with all the central characters (but no Mr. Eko! Where the hell was Mr. Eko!?! Or Michael? Or Walt? Or Aaron?), the stained glass-of-many-religious-symbols and the sheer white light outside, was that specific answers to specific plot points weren’t the point of the story. Like every mythological story (see also: the Bible, political speeches, etc) they were parables about bigger problems and bigger ideals. Animations of the spiritual pursuit that gives meaning to everything else that happens in our lives

Everyone has unanswered questions. Why the Egyptian statue? What did it mean for your sideways life in L.A. if you got killed on the island? What did it mean for your island life if you got killed in L.A.? (wither the mortal soul of Keamy?) Was the island purgatory? Or was purgatory actually in the sideways world in L.A.?

You could debate all these questions, and about 100 more, for the rest of eternity. You could branch off into different faiths and sub-faiths, you could create philosophical schools and vast cultures based on your reading of the “Lost” mythology. It’d be ridiculous, but anything plus about a millennium can seem to add up to that much. Then you could take up arms and try to wipe out all the heathens who took up with the other faiths.

For now the “Lost” world will just divide into different critical camps, write reviews, post on the internet, and etc. But the root impulse – the reading of liturgy, the interpretation, the delineation of right, wrong and arguable – follows in the grand tradition of all faith-based reasoning. Is it ridiculous to take a tv show so seriously? Certainly. But wait a thousand years and. . .

I loved the ending, myself. I was always in for the internal story, anyway. For me the action itself mattered way less than the way it was reflected in the characters’ eyes – or, more accurately, how it sprang from the characters’ internal conflicts, flaws and aspirations. I may not have understood exactly where that big stone bathtub plug came from, or why the Man in Black got smoke-ified in there, while Jack emerged alive, only to fall victim to the gash in his side (did anyone miss the stigmata reference?) and then to die, happily, in the same bamboo jungle where he arose at the start of the series, determined to face down the smoke and flames and fix everything and everyone in his path.

Now the time for action had gone. He had finally fixed something within himself, and with his friends safely airborne, a sweet dog at his side he could rest. The journey was over.