So, last night’s finale of Lost has left many with a sense of awe, being cheated, triumph, or defeat… I fall somewhere in between these emotions and thoughts, and ultimately as I tweeted last night… It’s just a television show. But a friend of mine posted a blog earlier today that made the very true statement that human beings are hard-wired for story and so that makes Lost and its story so important… Also because of the nature of Lost’s philosophical and religious overtones I felt a particular nudging to comment.
For 2:20 I was riveted and felt like Lost would end well… The survivors would be happy, people would have lived and died for a purpose, etc etc… I realized about an hour into the finale we wouldn’t get any substantive answers about the origins of the island or Jacob’s mom, or why some people were on the lists in the first season but not the “candidates”… I realized that and was still okay… Felt like that was why the show was so great, because we would always have questions.
But then they throw this self-made purgatory scenario into the mix to explain the mysterious flashes sideways… Those weren’t flashes sideways but flashes to a place where all the characters got to work out their psychological daddy issues, got to do right what they had done wrong, feel exonerated, or whatever… It wasn’t a purgatory where the characters do penance, but where they work things out until they are “ready to move on”.
Sure there were syncretistic images of major religions, and that bothered me a bit… But what do I expect from a show that, while it has spent more time focusing on Christian themes than other faiths, has mixed philosophy and religion without exploring their actual compatibility? What really bothered me was that for a show that claimed to be far different than the Hollywood norm, which it has been, it ended with the same ol’ humanistic relativism that has defined the philosophy of Tinsel Town for decades… It ended with a cliche. The supernatural forces on the island didn’t matter in the end. True good and true evil didn’t matter. It was all about how they treated each other, because the most important thing is that they were together in the end… I didn’t need nor expect a gospel presentation nor was I looking for anything really Christian, but the redemption the characters sought and received turned out to be cheap and easy.
True redemption comes at a far greater price than merely working through our issues…