LOST & A lesson from Mary Poppins

There’s a great line in Disney’s Mary Poppins when a hopping mad George Banks demands, among other things, that Mary Poppins “explain all this!” And she tells him, “I never explain anything.”

I knew the LOST writers would take a Mary Poppins-like approach to the series finale. I knew many of the Losties’ questions (Losties are Trekkies) would be answered, some would not and a few more new questions would pop up to be discussed at dinner tables and water coolers and blogs forevermore. And I must say it’s amazing that the writers did exactly that. They did what I expected, and wow is that a new experience. They’ve never done that before.

I crawled into bed last night at 1 a.m. (after the Aloha to Lost show with Jimmy Kimmel cuz I simply could NOT go right to bed!) pondering the story’s conclusion. And I woke with it still on my mind. As I shared with a few writer friends this morning, the more I think about the ending the more I like it and the less I understand it, if that makes any sense.

For people who see life as merely physical and not spiritual also, they probably hated the ending. I see life as intensely physical as well as intensely spiritual. We begin our lives in an intensely physical, almost violent way. (Observation from son as Claire gave – a seemingly bloodless – birth in the band’s Green Room last night: “They’re going to have to throw that couch out.”) And we spend our intensely physical life in an intensely spiritual pursuit of our purpose. That’s pretty much LOST in a nutshell. A coconut shell, if you must. Life is a journey to find your purpose and to find those you were meant to share the journey with.

The characters we loved most, who also loved each other most, all ended up in the Sideways Church at peace (at last) with the end of their physical lives and ready to move on to the next phase of their spiritual lives. I won’t dwell on the quirky Pick-Any-Road-To-God-You-Please aspect of the Sideways Church. Theologically the LOST story has flaws. But this is not a story about who God is. It’s a story about who we are. We are people who need each other, who find purpose by loving each other and sacrificing much for each other.

My take? The people in the church had all already died at some point, we don’t know when for all of them (Case in point: Kate, Sawyer and Claire were alive on a plane seconds before Jack closes his eyes). In the viewing room, Christian told his son that some died before Jack and some after. The Sideways Place wasn’t a purgatory to pay back debts but an ethereal waiting room for that particular group of people (who knew each other and yet didn’t) to let go of the physical (since it had already ended) and move on to the spiritual, which continues. Juliet said at the beginning of season 6 that the hydrogen bomb had worked. So even though the Oceanic flight technically never crashed, how can they NOT have been to the island? It happened, though physical history would say it didn’t. They had to meet up again to fix that somehow. At the Sideways Church, their Waiting Room, they did. And there is no NOW as Christian said. Jack was the only one who died right then. We don’t know about the exact moment the others in the church did.

This doesn’t explain everything, I know that. But like I said, Mary Poppins would tell you not to expect an explanation from a show like LOST.

If you’re still feeling lost, no pun intended, here’s a nicely put-together review of last night’s show in The Daily Collegian. It may clear up a few things. It may muddy up everything for you. If you are a true Lostie, either state should satisfy you.

And now, let’s hear your take on the The End . . .

p.s. As a dog lover – especially of yellow labs – I was moved to tears when Vincent came to lay down by Jack as he went Home. Just like a good dog would . . . Bravo.

Author: Susan

This post has 9 Comments

  1. Shauna on May 24, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Saw this theory posted and I think it's correct: When Juliet told Saywer as she was dying, “It worked,” she was referring to unplugging and replugging the snack machine in their sideways meeting, not the bomb reset. (And on a related note, unplugging and replugging the island worked in ridding it of Smoky.)

  2. Windlegend on May 24, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    I've been reading all day about the similarities between Jack and Jesus. Both had fathers who were Christian shepherds. Jack's side was pierced as was Christ's. The offering of the water which parodies the Eucharistic words in the Catholic Mass. Jack gave himself up to save others.

    I think the message of Lost, the entire plot of the series was the battle between good and evil, an atoning for past transgressions as were seen in the flashbacks. The island might have been purgatory for there were enough trials and tribulations for the characters to endure before finally arriving at the Sideways Church. From the backgammon game Locke is explaining to Walt to the black/white stones of Jacob and the Man in Black, it was a study in good/evil, black/white, what is/what could be, and…finally…a study in love that says (no pun inteneded) no man is an island.

  3. Susan Meissner on May 24, 2010 at 6:40 pm

    Ooooh, Shauna. That's cool. But does that mean the hydrogen bomb didn't work? Did the plane crash?
    Windlegend: Powerful metaphorical images, those! I'd forgotten about the backgammon board and the color of the game pieces. I am sensing a need for seaons 1-6 marathon . . .

  4. Karen Barnett on May 24, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    Wrapped up in a coconut shell — good one! This show really seemed to appeal to writers. Almost every writer's blog that I've looked at today has been about LOST. I blogged on it, too. My mind is still busy pondering the images from last night. I thought the finale was beautiful and the dog was a great touch. After Jack's famous quote about finding ways to live together so they don't die alone — the dog curling up with him was perfect.

  5. Anonymous on May 24, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    Like you, I awoke thinking about the finale, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It doesn't matter to me when the characters died, or how, or if the island experience was “real” or not. The characters' stories reflected the journey of their hearts and souls, which can't easily be measured by time and space (a fabulous theme throughout the series). I applaud the writers for leaving me feeling both comforted by their reunions (especially Vincent & Jack) and moved by the lessons all had ultimately learned. Bravo!

  6. Myra Johnson on May 24, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    Hi, Susan and friends. Robin Lee Hatcher's blog sent me over here. My husband and I just watched the LOST finale this afternoon since we weren't able to last night. I've been trying to work on my wip, but the LOST story is still haunting me.

    I agree–a lot of answers but even more questions. I loved the way they made the connections between the Flash Sideways and life on the island. And I teared up every time the characters in the Sideways world “woke up” to their memories of each other and reconnected.

    I'm going to miss this show, and I know it's going to be on my mind for a long time to come.

  7. Wendy Paine Miller on May 24, 2010 at 10:47 pm

    Love what you wrote about the dog. I'm a huge LOST fan and I'll be sad to not have new episodes to watch, but I feel satisfied with the ending. I'll admit the last twenty minutes rattled me. It hit a little close to home–takes a good show to do that.
    ~ Wendy

  8. Tina on May 25, 2010 at 2:26 am

    LOST is one of the only shows that my hubby and I watch together. We were both loved and didn't love the ending. I think we really just didn't want it to end! I wonder what it will be like to watch the reruns from the beginning now that we know the ending. Will we pick up on things we missed before?

  9. Clair on May 25, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    Only watched one part of one episode of Lost, but I guess it must have been a decent story if people found it so engrossing. And if you are still thinking about the ending after the show, that is definitely another mark of a good story.

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