Rewatch Reactions

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Rewatch Reactions

Post by Vince »

OK, it took me three days to recover from the shock. That was two-and-a-half hours that should have been accompanied by a surgeon general's warning for risk of emotional overload. I rewatched for the first time and my interpretation was quite different from the first viewing. I think it's worth segregating Rewatch Reactions from Initial Reactions. I'd be interested to hear people's thoughts from that perspective. Here's mine, in rather long form:

(I will use the term ‘afterlife’ strictly to mean the human experience after the termination of life functions, without spiritual connotation. I will eschew the term ‘purgatory’ and continue to use ‘Flash-Sideways’ because it’s more accurate as well as religiously/spiritually neutral and I think that’s D&C’s intention and it's my preference. If ever I sound blow-hardy in the following words please remember I'm not sayin' this is how it is, I'm sayin' this is what it seems like to me upon Rewatch)

I preface this with full disclosure. I wanted Mr. Eko, was led to believe I might get him, and was denied. I got just over half of my season premiere list of 17 wants - not bad. I didn't like the Shannon choice but it was well done. Of the giant list of Unanswered Questions very few were addressed. That being said...

For the first time since the season premiere we see Rose & Bernard together, both on The Island and in The Church. As Rose told Desmond, it’s one of her and Bernard’s rules not to get involved in Island drama, for the most part. It seems likely that they would adhere to that rule in the Flash-Sideways, too. I suspect that in the Flash-Sideways Rose & Bernard, being the elders, are already "aware" of the situation and allow everyone to become aware in their own time. Desmond, however, takes it upon himself to help everyone remember and let go. In 6x12 we saw dentist ;) Bernard’s serenity w/ Jack as odd and now it can be understood with the benefit of hindsight. In the season premiere, after the height of 815 turbulence passes, Rose says to Jack, "You can let go now." I think this little push from Rose is the earliest hint about what’s going on in the Flash-Sideways. Props to the writers. I love how they keep us in the dark (no pun…) and continue to tease us so late into the game. Desmond to Kate, after she’s become aware: ‘Do you understand?’ She acknowledges and proceeds on a basis of mutual perception, needless of a cumbersome, unrealistic exposition that would only exist for the audience’s sake. We don’t get the explanation until we experience the same awareness vicariously through Jack. More on that in a minute…

Desmond has been known to experience flashes before his eyes (don't mention the helicopter, please). I would like to point out that the only two characters to have glimpses of the Flash-Sideways were Des & Juliet. These are also the only two characters to be at ground zero for an electromagnetic/nuclear event at The Swan sight. Every other character experienced their "awareness" the other way 'round, from the Flash-Sideways. In a manner of speaking, they had 'reverse' flashes before their eyes.

The first thing that intrigued me was something Hurley said (Des basically said it earlier, too) regarding rules. The idea is that, in the Flash-Sideways he can't directly force Sayid to remember his life, to become aware. Rather Sayid needs the person with whom, in his whole life, he was at his best (per Christian's explanation later). Now, on first watch I was disappointed because Sayid wasn't with Nadia (and Shannon competes for being my least favorite regular). Without being distracted by that upon Rewatch I shifted focus to Hurley's invocation of The Rules, which seemed like a contrivance. However, upon further consideration it really feels like it's some sort of metaphysical law. Like Newton's Laws of the Flash-Sideways, or something.

We readily accept that our existence is ruled by physical laws. However, we take their scientific foundation for granted where those is dark ages would have relied upon interpretation from an inscrutable supernatural/mystical basis. Any explanation/postulation of what happens after death need not be strictly spiritual/mystical but can theoretically be described with an equal degree of scientific perspective. Just think of all the chemicals and enzymes in your brain and how their condition affects perception (like overheated Locke’s visions in the sweat lodge or Boone and the “wacky paste”). What flashes before one's eyes might pass in that fleeting moment of death? I am willing to accept that The Source and The Light in each human are scientifically explainable. It’s no larger a leap than shamanism to microbiology. Perhaps we are in a dark age of a different sort, one without scientific understanding of cosmic variables and constants, human conscience, or afterlife. I have come to believe that this speculation is a big part of the pseudo-scientific foundation of LOST D&C have been claiming all along.

Science versus Faith has been one of the largest themes of the show. Upon Rewatch it seems like the two concepts are perfectly balanced, like black & white stones on a scale, like yin and yang. Speaking of which, yin and yang’s relationship was one of many elements in The Church that represented a diversity of beliefs. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe there was a Muslim star and crescent, star of David, Christian cross, a wheel, Buddhist figures, Hindu figures, and probably a few others. The Church was pan-religious. (I know I'm biased but it would have been cool if the church they all ultimately congregated in had been Mr. Eko's church) Regardless, just because the setting was a church doesn’t mean ‘Faith’ is the answer. II know it's religious but isn't religion just a means of interpreting the physical world? It's just another component on the Faith side of the balanced Scale.

On the Science side of The Scale, a synopsis of The Light Chamber is in order: white Light emanates from a hole under a stone in the middle of a pool; there appear to be particles in the light; a trough funnels water into the pool; artificial arches channel water out; the stone has carvings/runes/hieroglyphs on it; the water is painful to Desmond (similar to hisexperience in 'Happily Ever After'); upon the stone being moved the Light intensifies, the pool drains, and the Light goes out; red light (fire?) emanates from the drain, The Island begins to crumble, The Man in Black becomes mortal in Locke's form; Jack replaces the stone, the red light/fire intensifies, water comes from the trough to fill the pool, white Light returns, Island rumblings dissipate.

There’s enough there to extrapolate. Here's my take: The Source creates The Light > The Water is imbued with the Light > The Water flows out to the Earth, either endowing or maintaining the Light that’s in each human. The result of moving the stone seems similar to a water heater turned on without water in it - it’s gonna fry. The stone acts as a plug in a drain keeping The Source supplied with water allowing the two to exist in a symbiotic relationship. (I hate to mention it, but ‘Fire+Water’…) I think D&C skillfully skirted the midichlorian trap. Anyway, all this I place on the Science side of The Scale.

I find it interesting that we started the series with Jack transporting Christian’s body, which led to all this. It’s almost as if it was actually Christian who escorted the Losties to The Island just as he would escort them all out of the Flash-Sideways. Jack admits to Locke that he can't let go and hopes John would do so first. It took John's Faith plus Jack's Science to help John walk, to see, to remember. Later, upon seeing Christian, Jack’s perplexed, “Dad?” was just like Locke’s when seeing Anthony Cooper bound and gagged at The Barracks. When Jack realizes he, himself, died Christian tells Jack, “Everything that’s ever happened to you is real. All those people in the church are real...Everybody dies sometime, kiddo...There is no now here...[You're all here] to remember, and to let go...[they can] move on” to some unknown 'place.' Jack is finally able to let go, not just of the Flash-Sideways but also his lingering anguish regarding his relationship with his father. In fact I'd say the latter had to happen before the former. Everyone gets to move on. I really believe that the whole endeavor required equal parts of science and faith for it to work.

It’s been commented upon elsewhere but it really is beautiful that Vincent laying with Jack ensures that he doesn’t die alone. It seems like the new catch-phrase should be ‘Live together, die together.’ Or maybe, ‘Live together, move on together.’ In the past I’d heard it theorized that the show would end as it began, on Jack’s eye. This never did much for me until I saw how brilliantly it was done. I didn’t anticipate the poignant symmetry they created by having his eye close in death while simultaneously, in the Flash-Sideways, his eyes are metaphorically opened by Christian’s explanation. It is really exquisite, the juxtaposition of sorrow in seeing Jack die intercut with the joy in being part of his awareness/realization, reunion with those closest to him, and together moving on into whatever is next. I’m tempted to compare the church/Flash-Sideways to a womb and going into the light with rebirth...

I'm going to give in to that temptation because we're looking for meaningful connections/relationships between The Island and the Flash-Sideways. Christian explained that it was with these people that each was at their best. It’s my interpretation that the events that revolved around The Island are what brought it out of them and consequently forged the group that would move on together. I don’t think it’s a ‘you make it or you don’t’ scenario but rather a ‘who's gonna make it with you’ question. Here's the best analogy I have at the moment: We could just have easily have been given a story about a baseball team who won the pennant and then found each other in the Flash-Sideways. Just because each player dies eventually doesn’t discount the team effort/accomplishment of that season, nor does it discount the fact that circumstances (time, place, and people) led to many of those team members experiencing their personal peaks as a humans, not just a ball players. That's worth a lot. Don't get me wrong. I love the mythology. It fueled my imagination, it fired me up, and I didn't get everything I wanted. However, D&C have said all along that this is a character driven drama. Ya gotta admit that over the course of six years each character has had a pretty interesting story.

So when Jack & Co. are ready to move on Christian opens the church doors to reveal a bright, white light into which they will walk, supposedly to be reborn. When Mother showed Jacob and The Boy in Black The Light she told them it was "life, death, rebirth." The more I think about it the more I'm coming to believe that there's a direct relationship between The Light that comes from the heart of The Island and the Flash-Sideways light that leads these characters to whatever's next. Perhaps, if The Source had been extinguished so, too, would the chance for those in the Flash-Sideways to move on. It definitely has the character of cyclic reincarnation with implications of dharma all over it. Think ashes and dust..If The Source is the heart of The Island then saving The Island by replacing the stone saves the world, similar to the way that The Button saved the world. It has meaning in the sense that everyone else in existence will have the opportunity to reach their own personal height, find the people that helped you get there in a Flash-Sideways, then move on. I think that's relevance and meaning enough for the last six years.

(I cried even more on The Rewatch than first viewing – I didn’t think that was possible)

Epilogue, assorted other considerations:

• Terry O'Quinn deserves an Emmy.
• So I guess, Jughead just served to return the Losties to 2007?
• Giachino is frickin' awesome. Emmy. The Dies Israe quote upon Jack getting stabbed in the gut was a bit over the top (though it's not the first time, as I listen to the recently released Season 5 soundtrack). Overall, he is amazing at getting the perfect mood, which I definitely appreciate after seeing otherwise good shows over-do it (I’m lookin’ at you, Dr. Who).
• Maybe the neck cut is some cosmic reminder to Jack of his death?
• Why are Mrs. H. and Dan not moving on together? Mrs. H./W. is worried her son will move on without her. After consideration I think Daniel is not yet fully aware, even though he's already had glimpses, flashes before his eyes. I guess it is only Charlotte (the other least favorite competitor).
• I still can't explain David. Locke said plainly, "You don’t have a son."
• The Hurley/Ben relationship was great! Ben takes a tree for Hurley!! And then they team up to protect The Island!!! It sure makes those two sharing an Apollo Bar in Season 4 so much more meaningful now! Any Prisoner fans? That one finale line between them blew me away.
• Maybe the fact that Aaron is with Claire suggests that she was able to be a mother to him upon her return and was one of the people with whom she was her best? I don't know why he'd be in baby-form. Perhaps the question should be why 2004? Answer: B/c it's where they all intersected? Is that coincidence or fate? I honestly don't know...
• When all is said and done I think Damon and Carlton did a great job. Emmy for them (Writing). Emmy for the series (Drama).

(OK, I'm spent. I hope it helps some people to feel as good about the finale as I do. Or put another way, I hope something does for you what Damon & Carlton did for me. ;) But, like I said at the beginning, what I really want is to hear your Rewatch Reaction.)

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Joined: Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:19 am

Re: Rewatch Reactions

Post by muttonboy »

(Thanks Vince, I think what you wrote is exactly what I was looking for. I love the line "perhaps we are in a dark age of a different sort" - that certainly adds a new perspective. Great point about Rose and Bernard too. I am getting a better sense of the complete closure of the characters' story, with the story of the Island being perhaps intentionally left open. Maybe this is the best ending for the show Lost, and ultimately will allow for lots of other media (books, etc) over the years to have fun with re: the Island, without tainting the character-based experience we had.)

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Joined: Fri Feb 29, 2008 3:19 am

Re: Rewatch Reactions

Post by muttonboy »

It's been a miserable wet few days up north and so I've sat down and rewatched most of the sixth season with my fellow Lowdowners' comments in mind, but most importantly with the knowledge of what the Flash Sideways really was. I hope you're not all sick of me by now, but I really did have trouble working out how I felt about the show at the end - I think kind of like Justin in the initial thoughts podcast, not quite knowing how to feel really, so I tried to sort it out here. This may sound silly, but I've literally done a complete turn around on the whole thing since then. I'm happy to declare that I took Rose's advice from LAX and, in the calmest way, just "let go". Ultimately I think on the first watch I was like Jack in the Flash Sideways: frustrated and confused. Now I feel like the Losties did as they discovered that they were 'dead' and ready to move on - I literally have that look in my eyes (the look Sun and Jin had when Det. Ford visited them at the hospital; the look Kate had when she was in the car with Jack at the church; the look Desmond had for most of the season). Now with that squinted knowing visage I ask, Why does the cabin move? and I answer, Who cares? Is MIB truly good or bad? I don't know, and it doesn't ultimately matter. I really think everyone should rewatch now that we know how everything was working. It was a wonderful experience. Thanks to the Vince, Perry, etc for your responses, and now I am REALLY looking forward to the Lowdown. I've let go and I'm ready now.

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Joined: Tue Feb 26, 2008 1:57 am

Re: Rewatch Reactions

Post by TheRadioTower »

^^ I'm glad the finale is finally working for you, muttonboy. I think you are now ready to join the rest of us in the light :p . Seriously though, I hope the same happens for everyone on tlld who did not like the episode, it would depressing if some people who not only watched the show for 6 seasons but also spent their time listening to ~5 hr podcast about it every week had their entire experience tainted by one episode.

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