Lost in the Funhouse (with a television set)
So, the LOST writers claim not to be lost at all. They’re not just reeling the episodes out from nothing. It’s all going somewhere, somehow, some perfect way. Moreover (first time I’m using that word. cool, yeah?), they also guarantee that this crazy upside-down inside-out unfantasy island, it’s not some form of limbo or purgatory, where dead non-MILLENIUM (the Kristofferson one) plane passengers go, and I’m guessing they’ve probably — and this would just be good marketing, because the audience right now needs the stories they ingest to ‘matter,’ where ‘mattering’ is pretty much qualified by how ‘real’ or ‘truthy’ the thing is, which, in LOST’s case, comes down to, well this: —* also suggested in some sidelong way that neither is this some side-dimension, some parallel reality. Rather, it’s our world, it’s deeper into our world, it’s the world we could step into at any moment, as establised by six famous ones actually stepping back into what would seem to be our world.
So, to start all over again: there’s going to be an explanation, and it’s likely not going to be of the TOMMYKNOCKERS / SMILLA’S SENSE OF SNOW (etc) kind, that there’s some extra-terrestrial ship or artifact crashlanded deep down somewhere, its sentient exhaust smoke really winding that ‘perturb’ dial around on our sense of reality. And, what’s that leave, right? It’d seem that, with this set of building blocks, there’s only so many ways to stack them. I mean, after aliens and the afterlife and, I don’t know, ghosts I guess, the only explanation I can come up with is the FINAL DESTINATION one: a passenger standing in line in Australia one unfine afternoon, flashing forward (for a few seasons, so far) to what’s about to happen, should she or he step up onto that plane.
But which character? Yeah. My vote’s Walt, the comic book kid, though Locke’s the more obvious selection, as if this is anybody’s fantasy, it would seem to be his, as all the pitfalls and pratfalls seem engineered his way, albethem very indirectly sometimes. But his is a devious mind, especially when just making it all up on the fly. But then too, it could be Kate or Jack or Sawyer’s escape from their current host of problems, from the things going on in their lives that aren’t just all that pleasant. By abducting all these people in line with them, though, spinning stories around each of them every which way, until they’re all connected so improbably it seems to be insisting on its fictionality (‘fictitiousness?’), they can, after a season or two, just lean back into this web of wishful fabrication, ignore the real world for a while.
I don’t know.
Could be there’s twenty more ways to stack those blocks (one which I’d hope would involve that foot — am I remembering right? a giant stone foot from CLASH OF THE TITANS? surely not). Or some more magic number Hurley’d know, or know to be afraid of anyway.
Just thinking about all this as a form of pre-HEROES/FRINGE-debut excitement, I suppose. But because I want to be thinking about it too. And still am: really, maybe the better way for LOST to finally pull the curtains, better than a kid waking at the end anyway, blinking away this sticky, seasons-long dream (um: say), would be the way PREY went out, how ENTERPRISE fizzled, the ungrand bows NOWHERE MAN and KINDRED and WOLF LAKE and FIREFLY and BOOMTOWN all took. Or had to take. I mean, even to a lesser degree, X-FILES and THE DUKES OF HAZZARD, each slowing down to a permanent stop not because of lack of interest or poor writing, but because contracts weren’t renewed, things were said that couldn’t be unsaid, and because it was decided that it was just the story that mattered, the premise not the cast. So let somebody else be worried-face Jack, bring in another supermodel for danger girl Kate, do a casting call for loveable scamps who can play con men. Let that happen and we’ll all just file out of the living room, not be all concerned with what this island’s going to turn out to be. I mean, that might be preferable, at least for the people behind the pen for that last episode, trying to wrap the series up all neat, with an already nostalgic bow, something like Sam telling Diane to have a nice life. And maybe even meaning it.
But it is possible to wrap it up perfectly too, yeah. The way THE SOPRANOS did, and it was supposed to be unwrappable, unconcludeable. There’s no neat end for soap operas, is there? Even ones as well written as that. Except, then, man, that last episode nailed it, hit a finale so perfect and resonant and powerful that whenever “Don’t Stop Believin” cues up these days, ESCAPE flashing in my head (please, please, let it all work out), if I’m in my truck, I about have to pull over, park, make room for Carmela, walking through the doors of that diner all over again, the look on her face the most pure expression of contentendness, of possibility, of denial that I’ve ever seen, at least since Garner’s Jim Rockford. The tails of her overcoat lifting in the most perfect way.
In LOST terms, her coat tails lifting, if this is Walt’s long glimpse into the future or whatever, then the capper would have to be him grabbing that rail beside him, taking his dad’s hand, and stepping up onto that plane any damn way, just for the chance of adventure. Because he’s a dreamer, yeah. And it’s infectious.
Which concludes this broadcast.
Thank you, and good night.
* and that’s not a Squidward-looking emoticon, either. rest assured that I will never ever ever do that, or any emoticon-like thing. that’s not what letters on a line — text, prose — is about. very little makes me less happy, really. those kind of smiley faces have the exact opposite of the intended effect, I think.