Monday, May 24, 2010

No more island

Last May, after Juliet slammed the bomb and the screen burst into white, I turned to my wife and said: "I don't think we'll ever see the island again." It was a prediction, sure, but it was also a hope. A big one.

Here's how I saw Season 6:

The plane lands at LAX. The cast disembarks. No one knows anyone else. It's as it would have been if there'd never been an island or codes to punch in.

Jack and Kate and Sawyer and Hurley and Sun and Jin and Locke and all the others walk through the terminal, go through customs, retrieve their baggage, hail cabs. Perhaps they nod to each other now and then even say it's good to be home. Then they head back to their post-Australia lives. Mundane? You bet. And no way.

The point? Life returns to normal—and it's different (and interesting) for each one of them.

Inevitably, though, their lives begin to touch, even intersect. In typical LOST fashion, it would happen slowly and tellingly. We would be privvy to cool echoes of their lives on the island; they would not. We would see layers of irony unfold like onions; they would not. Their lives would grow and be enriched as a result of these new—and even coincidental—relationships. Much of it might even seem like the sideways flashes in the season 6 we got. But there would only forward motion. We might even have seen new flashbacks. In any case, we'd move forward, always experiencing, always learning.

Most important, the island would be gone. It would be as if the previous five seasons had never happened. Because in this reality, it would not have.

In time, we would realize that these amazing characters are just as lost in L.A. as they were on the island. Perhaps each would have become an island to him- or herself. But they'd find ways to redeem themselves over time. They would meet and help each other along the way, proving that fate is as big a player as faith. There would be victories and disappointments. New love alongside new hate. There would be, in a word, life.

What there would not be is answers. That, too, is like life. More questions than answers.

Where would it have ended? If I'd had my way, I would have wanted to be illuminated, like so much unforgettable television does. I would have wanted to be reminded of our human condition in the electrifying way that LOST has always done; that is its undelible signature. Mostly, I would have wanted to see hope, love, and redemption. And feel them, too. I would have wanted to be reminded, as we all sometimes do, that it's good to be home.

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