Yesterday, I tried to gauge how confidently “Lost” fans feel about the show completing its final season in a satisfactory manner. It was question both broad and unfair, but hey, that’s how I roll around these parts. Montell Jordan does it his way, but this is how we do it here.
It’s broad because one person’s “satisfactory” is another person’s “epic fail.” And it’s unfair in that while it’s more than likely that the show will not end how we currently might predict it will, it’s impossible to be sure if such a deviation will cause joy or depression. On one hand, an unanticipated ending could have us partying like Ewoks after the destruction of the second Death Star. On the other, the show’s unexpected dénouement could make us feel worse than a double feature of “Million Dollar Baby” and “Leaving Las Vegas.” It’s just too early to tell.
Rather than try and tease out a dozen possibilities for how the show might end, I think it’s important to look at what would make the final season “satisfactory.” I think it’s easy to make the mistake of trying to quantify its eventual worth in terms of “questions answered” versus “issues resolved.” I feel like many people use the former as their barometer, whereas I feel like the latter should be what we should be using as a measuring stick.
As an example of the difference between “questions answered” and “issues resolved,” let’s go back to the moment in “Live Together, Die Alone” in which Desmond reveals that by not pushing the button in a timely manner, Oceanic 815 crashed on the Island. Many felt relieved to finally learn the reason why Oceanic 815 crashed. But they didn’t learn the reason. They merely learned the mechanism by which it occurred. There’s a difference. A big one. As we learned in “The Incident,” there have been larger forces at work all along in this universe. The question isn’t, “How did Oceanic 815 crash?” but “Why did Oceanic 815 crash?”
Take the smoke monster. (Please!) The mystery surrounding its composition isn’t important; the reason behind its actions (or inactions, as the case may be) is. I need to know less about what it is and more about what it does and why it does it. Why attack Danielle’s crew? Why kill the pilot? Why let Eko live in Season 2 only to kill him in Season 3? Why did it flash on Juliet? So on and so forth. I don’t need an answer to each and every question, but the general understanding of the monster’s ethos would be greatly appreciated, especially if that understanding contributes to the endgame.
Answers concerning the monster or any other lingering mysteries are mere trivia if they don’t contribute to our understanding of the world of “Lost.” It’s unimportant if the show never reveals why Rose thought the monster sounded so familiar in the show’s pilot episode…unless that throwaway line has an impact on why the monster acts like it does. The nature of the monster needs to be revealed in the context of some larger issue at hand. Say, for instance, the writers choose to use the nature of the monster as part of the War of the Island; in other words, the characters in the show need to learn something about the monster that is vital to both winning that war…but only gain that advantage through an understanding why it’s behaved the way it has over the past few seasons.
In essence, revelation is only as important as the newfound understanding therein. It’s one thing to have a missing piece of information. It’s another thing to be able to apply it to the situation at hand and act accordingly. For five seasons, the major players from Oceanic 815’s crash have found themselves surrounded by places, people, and imagery that are foreign to them. They’ve struggled to make sense of their surroundings, and as such have flailed about as best they could to decipher the cryptic world in which they find themselves. And while they have occasionally succeeded, they have mostly struggled.
Season 6, then, is about the show’s mysteries finally coming to light. But more importantly, it’s about what these particular people do with those realizations. Ostensibly, Jacob hand picked these people due to their unique natures, natures that potentially make them perfectly equipped to deal with whatever reality eventually presents itself over the final, crucial weeks of this show’s run. How these people face these answers ties in intimately with how they can resolve the pain within each of them. Solving the mystery is the first and least important step. Using that answer to bring closure both to the War of the Island and the emotional war long aged inside each of these characters will truly bring us a final season to cherish.
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