LOST -- Why I'm Still Bitter
I still remember as the credits rolled on the finale tears streaming down my face. They weren't tears of sadness caused by a moving ending to a show I had spent six years of my life watching and trying to untangle all the mysteries. They were tears of anger, outrage and disgust. I wasted six years of my life and this is what I get? A vanity play to the worst character on the show.
LOST devotees [most likely Jack fans and Jate shippers] told those complaining about the ending that they didn't understand the beauty of the ending and they tried to explain it to everyone to make them see the greatness of it all. Oh, I got it, all right. I got it the same way a child who has been good all year who eagerly opens their Christmas stocking Christmas morning expecting to find something good who finds nothing but a hunk of coal as their reward. The ending, as was most of the final season, was a complete slap in the face to loyal viewers who'd been promised satisfying answers to the mysteries and some type of closure and redemption for the characters they spent six years getting to know. In the end we all found out that LOST should have been named JACK because no one but him would get any kind of closure and redemption; everyone else would get squat as they were used to shine his halo and glorify him.
I could have let the lame Swiss cheese answers they gave for some of the biggest mysteries on the show go if the characters could have gotten a satisfying ending, but they didn't. We didn't even get to see what happened to the characters that survived and made it off the island. They were all hanging around in limbo waiting for Jack to realize he was dead so they could go worship Jack before following him into the light. They couldn't go into the light without Jack being there because their entire lives revolved around him. Their family and loved ones meant nothing to them; only Jack did. Yeah, right.
I tried to rationalize Locke's sad ending as a result of Locke never learning from his mistakes, as he was willing to sell out everyone for the chance of being special. But how do you justify what happened to Jin? He changed for the better on the island, and instead of being allowed to go home and finally meet his child, he and Sun drowned five minutes after they were finally reunited. What kind of justice is there in that? What was the point of Jin and Sun dying so late in the game? Maybe I could see it as a set-up so they could be with their child in the alterna universe, but they gave up that chance to go sit in a pew with other 815ers and worship at Jack's shrine. Again, where is the character justice for Jin and Sun?
And just where was the fairness in what happened to Michael? His child was stolen from him and he was driven to desperate measures to save him. Michael, ultimately, abandoned everyone on the island, but the guilt was so intense he tried to end his life and he returned and gave up his life trying to save everyone. Yet, he got sentenced to eternity as an island whisper. While Jack did the same thing and didn't even come back to save anyone he left behind and he got to have all his dreams of being the ultimate hero come true. If anyone deserved to be cursed to eternity as a whisper it was Jack. And right along side Jack should have been Jack's island successor Hurley who lied to Walt that his father was alive back on the island when he knew very well Michael had given his life to save his miserable hide. Unfortunately, I suspect Michael got the nasty ending he did because the actor criticized Darlton.
Sawyer's emotional journey as a character eclipsed that of Jack's through the seasons. His character just had a better backstory than Jack's and Josh Holloway put more heart and soul into his character than Matthew Fox did into Jack. A poster on a LOST message board kind of summed up Fox's performance as Jack in their signature; he turns around and makes a face. I lost count of all the people online doing screen caps of the Jack faces.
Darlton seemed to get that a great portion of the Lost audience couldn't stand Jack, so they started borrowing stuff from other character's stories and gave it to Jack to make him universally loved. For example, Locke was a fanatical man of faith and suddenly Jack morphed into Locke, but giving Jack the characteristics of more popular characters didn't help make Jack more popular. Jack became more of a caricature than a character. While Sawyer became the every man people could relate to.
Unfortunately for Sawyer, his emotional development ended when the island stopped time jumping and got stuck in the 70's. Sawyer was one of the few to survive and make it off the island, but we never saw what happened to him once he went back to civilization, so his story was left unfinished. And because Sawyer was coming off as more of a hero than Jack, Sawyer had to be brought down to Jack's level in the final episodes. Because Jack abandoned everyone to save himself, Sawyer had to do the same thing. And because Sawyer wouldn't trust in Jack it was his fault Sayid, Jin and Sun perished on the sub. Nothing could get in the way of Jack's hero's journey.
The ironic thing is that in the end they chickened out completely about Jack being the special one. Jacob gathered the remaining 815ers together and asked who wanted to volunteer as leader of the island and Jack eagerly volunteered. They also chickened out in resolving the triangle they dragged out for six seasons. Kate declared her love for Jack then left him to his tragic fate to go flying off the island with Sawyer.
Darlton claimed from the start that they knew how the show would end from the start and they were right. It began with Jack opening his eye and would end with him closing his eye. But that's the sum total of what they planned. How they got from point A to point B was made up as they went along. As time went by they came up with a new gimmick each season, while proclaiming this was all planned from the start. Season 4 was flash forwards, season 5 was time jumping and season 6 was the fake alternative world. They also kept coming up with more and more mysteries they obviously had no clue how to solve. I'm still convinced the whole idea for Jacob's cabin came from The Wizard Of Oz when Dorothy's house got whisked up inside a tornado and got set down in Oz. They were like snake oil salesmen distracting the audience with each new shiny gimmick they came up with. When the show was done the audience found that their pockets were cleaned and they were left with some colored water that they were conned into believing was some miracle tonic.
I also believe to this day that Jack imagined the alternative universe as he laid dying. That he wouldn't let go and go into the light until he imagined all the 815ers [or the ones he allowed in his church] genuflecting to him and feeding into his belief that the whole world revolved around him. His mommy didn't make the cut, but his daddy was there to tell him that the 815ers couldn't move on without him. Of course, since Jack croaked before people like Sawyer, Claire and Kate did, it would seem more logical that Jack wouldn't move on without them being there, not the other way around.
In Jack's alterna universe, Sawyer never slept with Kate, while Jack got to sleep with Juliet, marry her and have a kid with her. That's Jack's ultimate fantasy come to life. And the other stuff Jack came up with was just The World According To Jack. Nadia is married to Sayid's brother so Sayid will end up who Jack thinks Sayid should end up with: his island fling Shannon. Jack gets to perform a miracle and make Locke walk and then Locke gives up the love of his life, Helen, to be with who Jack thinks he should be with: Boone. And Aaron is stuck as a baby because Jack preferred him that way and he can erase the horrible way he treated that kid as he got older and he sticks Claire with lovesick Charlie, erasing his guilt for happened to Charlie. But Claire was lucky, as Jack didn't allow Jin and Sun or Penny and Desmond to be with their child. If Jin and Sun were with their child it would remind Jack how he left Jin on the boat as it exploded and if Penny and Desmond had their child it would remind him of his guilt about Charlie because they named their baby after Charlie for saving Desmond's life. Jack didn't want any bad thoughts to intrude in his little dream world.
I guess the most disgusting plot twist in Jack's fantasy world was the intimation that Ben was going to get romantically involved with Danielle, the woman whose child he stole from her. Just how sick was that? Why couldn't Danielle be with the love of her life and Alex's father, instead? Because this is Jack's World and he makes the rules.
I don't think I'll ever get over my bitterness for how this show ended. I think part of what makes me so bitter is as I watched season 6 I got the feeling that Darlton had already left the building. The writing was so sloppy and the few answers they gave to mysteries were so full of holes they could be Swiss cheese. A prime example of what I mean is Jack was stuck in the bottom of this well with no way out, supposedly, yet there he was magically on the surface with no explanation of how he got back to the surface. What did he do? Fold his arms together, blink his eyes and pop himself up to the surface, so he could stagger to the spot he woke-up on and closes his eyes ending the show?
I might be more forgiving if I felt Darlton made an honest attempt to try and put a good ending to this show that became such a cultural phenomenon. But that's the thing. They really didn't. And because of how they ended the show, they made it pointless to ever watch it again. I noticed after one station played out the episodes they dropped the show like a hot rock. I have DVDs for all six seasons and I'll never watch them again. What would be the point when I know there's no satisfying ending. That after watching all these characters journeys they'll ultimately all be given the shaft to for Jack the ultimate hero. Sitting through that once was enough. Who wants to sit through that, again?