'Lost' finale lost me
There's a rule at our house -- at least I like to think it's a rule -- that there's no talking Sundays once night-time TV shows begin.
That was doubly true Sunday.
I wanted to watch the "Lost" finale.
Sofia, my wife, who says she slept through 185 of the series' previous 190 hours, smiled and kidded me about my "rule" as we rushed to get dinner ready by 6 p.m., when the show began.
But the show didn't begin at 6 p.m. Instead we endured a two-hour retrospective with cast member interviews, scenes from all six seasons and messages from fans praising the show.
While I wanted to get on with the final episode, the clips reminded me of the many memorable moments that first drew me into the series.
Our daughter, Gabriela, borrowed a DVD set of the first season from a friend and insisted I watch it with her.
I enjoyed it.
As our lives and the series continued, Gabby finished college and is now living and working in Chile, her mother's homeland.
But "Lost" was a topic that would come up when she'd call via Skype, the Internet phone system, or we'd chat on Facebook.
We'd talk about Jack, Locke, Kate, Hugo and Shayid and puzzled together about what the heck was going on.
But you'd think a show about the survivors of an airline crash stranded on an island would have a finite number of characters, plots and subplots.
I should have known that writers who can draw and hold viewers with such a fantastic plot wouldn't be bound by normal limits.
The tropical island in this story is home to polar bears and a smoke creature that come clicking and hissing by occasionally to beat and smash people to death. It is a place where both a small plane from West Africa and an airliner enroute from Australia to the U.S. can both crash.
And the cast of characters grew to a legion that would impress any 19th century Russian novelist.
During the six seasons, we met members of the Dharma Initiative, a group of scientists; the others, the island's original inhabitants who eventually wiped out the Dharma people; and various employees of an industrialist who were sent to the island to kill the leader of the others.
There was Richard (or Ricardo, but that's a whole other subplot and a couple episodes), who never seemed to age and appeared to have better mascara than most of the women on the show.
There was Richard's boss, Jacob, who was even older and had been leaving the island to tamper with the lives of the airline passengers long before the crash.
And then there was the man in black, Jacob's brother, who is also the smoke monster, and wanted nothing more than to get off the island.
Through it all, we kept watching.
I continued as "Lost" writers introduced a physicist who, when the entire island began traveling through time, was murdered by his mother before he was born. His sidekick was a man who saw dead people, but in an alternative reality introduced during the sixth season, was a police detective.
Then there was the Japanese leader of the temple dwellers who used an interpreter even though he spoke English.
If all this seems confusing, it's because it is.
And I don't even want to get into why Desmond had to push that button every 108 minutes for nearly an entire season.
Still, confused and annoyed by Sofia's occasional questions when she'd wake up, I kept watching.
As the final episode drew to a close on Sunday, however, I was, I was ... well, I can't use the word I want to express my anger and disappointment.
I wasn't the only one who felt that way. Monday afternoon I got a call. I could tell right away it was a Skype call from Chile.
"Dad," Gabby said, "I just watch the last episode of 'Lost.' What the @#*&^! happened?"
Together, we commiserated about all those loose ends that were simply left unexplained.
What happened to the others?
What happened to the rest of the passengers?
What will happen to Walt's dog now that Jack is dead?
For six years, we regular viewers watched, suspending disbelief and postponing the answers to the show's mysteries in the belief that our questions would be answered.
In the weeks leading up to the finale, the previews had promised those answers.
The writers didn't give us Jack (the Jack that's usually followed by a swear word, not the show's central character).
For a long time, they assured us that the passengers hadn't died in the crash and gone to purgatory.
That was true, but only technically.
Some critics and viewers were thrilled by the first episode beginning with a close up of Jack's eye opening and the last scene of the finale showing Jack's eye closing.
Those folks are easily impressed.
In the end, those who expected more from the conclusion will have to take solace in what kept us watching for six years -- the characters.
Thanks to the quality of the cast, we rooted for people we came to know and like (or dislike) even though they were in an impossible situation and (in many cases) way better looking than any of us.
At least I enjoyed 2½ hours of quiet thanks to the finale and someone falling asleep.
Maybe some other series will have a better conclusion. I've really been enjoying another ABC series called "Flash Forward."
What's that? It's been cancelled!
Now I'll have to read the book.