Lost, 121 Episodes

Just before the COVID-19 Pandemic, my son Blaise and I began working our way through the ABC TV series Lost which originally aired from 2004-20010. I had friends who had been enthused with the series when it began, but I had never seen an episode. I figured I’d give it a go. During the shut down and summer break and now recently with an injury and home time, we watched all 121 episodes on Amazon Prime. Yesterday was a marathon through the final half of the final season.

The story begins with a large group of survivors of a trans-Pacific flight from Sydney to LA who are stranded on a mysterious island. They quickly learn that rescue will be unlikely and that the island is more than an isolated tropical paradise.

To begin with, the compelling mysteries that slowly unfolded engaged us and kept us speculating. The wide array of character backstories that accompanied each episode also kept us wrapt as we eagerly wondered who Hurley was or why Jin and Sun didn’t get along. We couldn’t help but notice the incessant reactionary decisions that the leaders on the island displayed. Simple misunderstandings would cost lives or at least cause long standing rifts between characters because there wasn’t a willingness to just listen or share secrets or pause and consider an alternative option to running away with a gun. It felt like manufactured tension. But we kept watching.

I can’t comment on the series without mentioning how my internal (and I’m sorry for Blaise, sometimes external) commentary consistently revolved around the practicalities of living on the island. I had to overcome a lot of incredulity just with the volume of tarps that the survivors had salvaged from the plane. So many tarps. And medicine (even before the hatch was opened).

As characters came and went, time and space tampered with, and the island emerging as the dominant character we warmed to the series. By season 4, we had theories laid out, mainly that the island was hell and all the characters were dead. With this premise, I was compelled to see how the series would unfold and seek to explain the reckoning of the afterlife.

I had been warned numerous times over the last 6 months that I should give up after Season 4 as the makers had botched the series and had just kept making episodes based on demand. But we pressed on. Hopeful.

With the emergence of some fresh new characters like Miles and Daniel and having Desmond and Ben’s stories elevated along with the history of the island spelled out in detail made watching the final couple seasons a great pleasure. The major players became a bit more human and less reactive and despite the exhaustion of the saga, we were still rooting for all of them. Having characters return who had been gone for several seasons was maybe a cheap pandering to fans, but it also brought the story into a full circle. The one element I thought could have been eliminated simply was the Temple and its characters.

The final scenes of the finale were so warming and the lead up was beautiful. I have to hand it to the makers of the show for holding it all together and wrapping it up with renewal and restoration of relationships, slathered with forgiveness. It’s a complex story of salvation that ultimately boils down to love.

I will miss James’s nicknames, Hurley’s quips, Jin’s unpredictability, Jack’s mellowing out, Kate’s complexity, Desmond’s commitment, Sun’s puppy-dog eyes, Ben’s sinister monotone voice, Sayid’s common sense, Lock’s devious honesty, Charlie’s helpfulness, Richard’s humanity, and Miles was simply the best tagalong.

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