When I think of the end of LOST, I keep thinking of that Bible verse, where there’s a wind, and a fire, and an earthquake, and then a still, small voice. That’s what the finale feels like to me. The other episodes’ facts are riveting at the time when we come across them. And by way of setting the circumstances for each character’s final encounter, the events in those times are certainly real. But at the end, we simply find the words of Sun and Jin, that tell how some of the most pressing information “just doesn’t matter.” Or, as I once heard about the book of Job, the final encounter is something that trivializes even suffering itself.
This puts the LOST audience in an interesting bind. The finale leaves us with some serious questions, but if we grouse about missing plot details, we come close to missing the point. Of course, the major difference between the LOST universe and our own is that I’m confident that God has every particular accounted for–whether I can see the connections or not. As far as LOST is concerned, I’m not so sure.
I can let some things go. I don’t need to see how Boone or Myles received their final epiphanies. I don’t need to know how Linus remains in the sideways life and (presumably) makes amends with Alex and Rousseau.
That said, I find that some loose ends lead me to full-on holes.
Never mind who built the island; I can (just barely) let that go. But what exactly is the nature of the island in relation to the Others? How does it relate to the Whisper People? Or are the Others and the Whisper People somehow the same folks? I dwell on this, because I think it relates to evil and redemption. The LOST folks find redemption–which I suppose is a way of saying that the island allows them to become the best possible versions of themselves. Darkness doesn’t keep hold of them; the world heals them away from evil, instead of permitting them to become its host. And the LOSTers are able, as the story says, to let go.
But then there are the Whisperers–such as Michael. In the end, he tells Hurley that the Whisperers are the people who can’t move on. To them, I guess, the island is a kind of hell. And this is where I get confused, because if Hurley is the new Jacob, Hurley is now the Others’ keeper. He lives among them, giving them chance after chance to do the right thing. And this means that if the Others are indeed the Whisperers, they have hope.
And this hope, I think, is the reason why the end of LOST is so moving. It gives us big, undeniable, un-understandable hope. We can torture people in Iraq. We can make monsters of our own brothers. We can threaten to let the darkness spread all over the waters. (Oy, regarding the BP oil spill, that hits close to home.) But in the end, if we try the best that we can, for as long as we can, the particulars–well, somehow, the particulars do matter. But beyond those particulars, there abides something bigger and even more mysterious. It’s something that transcends time, and error, and all but the deepest motivations. It opens a way for a person to die happy, with a dog at his side. Like a child, says the hymn, at home.
(Originally posted September 24, 2014)