Sunday, June 13, 2010

The End - a photographic review -- Part 1: Portends of death begin the finale while Jack accepts his destiny and marches our Losties to their fate bound conclusions.

The first images of "The End" give us a clear indication of where the journey of our Lost heroes will ultimately end. But just because these first images 'spoil' us on the ultimate ending that awaits us all, the experience of Lost's journey still lies before us as the last episode of Lost unfolds.
Lost opend with the iconic image of Oceanic Airways, but not the wreckage of Flight 815, crashed on the Island, that we have come to know so well. Here is a clean fusalage of a safely landed flight unloading its cargo. But the cargo is the mortal remains of Christian Shephard and there is a clear dichotomy between the safely intact and unscathed Oceanic Jetliner and the lifeless corpse that has been delivered to Los Angeles which serves to open the begging of the end of Lost.
Indeed it represents a circle of symmetry. Whereas Lost began with the crash of Oceanic flight 815 micraculously delivering the Losties to the mysterious, beautiful and deadly paradise of the Island. Lost ends with the delivery of a dead body to the sterile tarmac of LAX.
Indeed the first episode of Lost opens with Jack Shephard awakening in the lush, verdant bamboo grove on the Island. And the last episode opens with his dead father's remains being unloaded onto the barren fallow tarmac.
And for Jack Shephard, one of the main heroes of Lost, his ultimate hero's journey was overcomming his father and becomming his own man.
The symbology of the show's eventual end is even more strongly evoked by the next image we see. Jack's face surrounded by the deathly image of an skull as he examins a patient's x-ray. His orn mortality and the finality of his journey is clearly portended. But it also illustrates his struggle with death and his inability to let go. As a doctor Jack was driven by his father's continual reproach and criticism that he 'didn't have what it takes'. He develops an inferiority complex that morphs into a hero complex and is driven to never accept failure.
Joseph Cambell in his book, "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" in his chapter on the 'Transformations of the Hero' describes 'the supreme hero' as one who does not...
"merely continues the dynamics of the cosmogonic round, but he who reopens the eye-so that through all the comings and goings, delights and agonies of the world parorama, the One Presense will be seen again. This requires deper wisdom than the other (the hero who just continues the cycle-here he describes a hero who brings to all a method for that age to glimpse and particpate in the mysteries of the 'One Presense'), and results ina pattern not of action but of signficant representation. The symbol of the first is the virtuous sword of the second, the scepter of dominion, or the book of the law. The characteristic adventure of the first is the wining of the bride--the bride is life. The adventures of the second is the going to the father--the father is the invisible unknown."
Jack fits this hero's journey to a "tee". He overcomes the ghosts and demons of his own father and personal life and succeeds in becoming a leader and healer and eventually accepts that he can not succeed at everything. He certainly realizes this when his promise to Sun to get her and Jin safely off the Island is broken and later truely realizes his own limitations and accepts them when he accepts the mantel of leadership of the Island to accomplish a quest that will end in his death/sacrifice. He sacrifces his life and love (heartbreaking parting scene with Kate imploring him to promise that they will meet again) to both save the Island but also to free it of the tyranny of the previous cosmological mythological cylce by turning it over to Hurley in order to start a new and better way.
The finale turns to Jack pondering his new mantle of responsibilities by the creek where he was transformed. His vision focuses on his hands and the heavy tasks that they soon must seek to accomplish.
This positive image of hope in the comming climatic struggle is conversely represented in the image of the dire straights that Ben has placed himself in. He faces a dark dilemma as he clings to survival at F-Locke's side while harbouring some slim hope of redemption if he can fashion a plan to thwart F-Locke's plans. Ben once proudly exclaimed that "he always had a plan". But the finale opens with a shot of him and he appears desperately adrift in search of a way out of the quagmire of his, and the Island's , and the Island's , and the Island's predicament.
As F-Locke winds the rope loop tighter and tighter we see a methaphor for Ben's fate and bondage to F-Locke becoming more inescapable.
The scene flashes sideways to John Locke's hospital room as he is being taken to his surgery and he looks back towards his wheel chair. He appears to be freeing himself of his bonds of guilt that may lead to freedom from the bonds of his physcial disability.
We then turn to James "I'm a cop sweetheart" Ford who appears troubled as he reflects on the reflection of his image marred by his violence and anguished past. In this reality James has turned toward the light and has choosen the same sort of responsibility that he did when he assumed the role of Jim LeFluer in Dharmaville but he is still haunted by the deaths of his mom and dad and unresolved anger at Anthony Cooper and at himself for not seeing justice done to his parent's deaths and his conflict over his desire for revenge and not justice. He also lacks the love of a good woman and his life outside of being a cop is not fulfilled by his devotion to watching reruns of "Little House on the Prarie".
The finale moves quickly back and forth between the Island and the flash sideways. We arrive back at the now cold remains of Jacob's camp. The fire is gone and so is Jacob and our Losties are left to find their own way.
We then switch to see Christian Shephard's coffine being loaded.
And back to James tending to Kate's wounds and an emotional exchange of wordless glances as the weight of what they have shared and lost and what lies ahead weighs on them.
Lost then flashes sideways to a questioning Kate pepering Desmond for some friggen answers as Desmond signs for Christian Shephard's remains.
Kate finds the name Christian Shephard a little ironic and wants to know why we're here. Desmond maintains that even though he brought her to the parking lot, "no one can tell you why you're HERE".
Kate asks what he wants, and Desmond says "I want to leave." "Leave and go where" Kate asks. Desmond says He'll show her.
It is interesting that Desmond wants to "leave" in both realities. On the Island he has faith that he can return to the flash sideways if he enters the 'light'. And in the flash sideways he tells Kate that he is just as determined to leave here. But where will he then go? Are dueling Desmonds going to swap places? Or does Desmond desire to go somewhere altogether different?

We then move to the Island and see Kate coming quitely upon Jack lost in thought standing in the middle of the creek where he became like Jacob.
Kate is intensely worried at Jack's new role as Island caretaker.
Kate fears she has lost Jack to the Island and turns away.
James also comes upon Jack standing in the creek and asks him to "come down from the mountain and tell us what the burning bush had to say".
They return to their camp and try to figure out what to do next.

It turns out that Jacob didn't really didn't tell them much of anything. Hurley says "He's worse than Joda dude".
Jack says that Jacob told him that he had to protect the heart of the Island from F-Locke and that the heart of the Island was just beyond the bamboo forest where Jack first awoke on the Island.
As Jack takes charge and sets out his plan, the vine seperating him from his companions is a clear metaphor for his seperation from them because of his choice to take on Jacob's mantle as the Island's protector. The vines almost express the Island's claim to Jack. And Jack's actions certainly show that he has accepted this as his destiny and is sacrificing his past life and love to follow a new path.
James reminds Jack that they were heading for the well to find Desmond before his inauguration. He says he'll get Desmond (the magic leprechaun) and meet up with them on the way to the Island's heart. Jack says "be safe" and Kate and James pass some quick witty banter as he leaves.
James says "I'd ask you along but that take all the fun out me telling you, you can't come."
Kate says she'll just have to resist the urge to follow him anyway.
And Hurley has his second Star Wars shout out and says "I've got a badd feeling about this."
We flash sideways to the Flightline Motel. The preveious scene of Sayid's 'safe' house, but Sayid doesn't remember the sight of a tranquelizer gun and Hurley shoulders the weapon.
Sayid thinks Hurley is crazy. Hurley tells Sayid that it's his choice to leave or stay but that if he "sticks with me, you'll be happy you did." Hurley knocks on Charlie's door and finds a very disturbed bass player.
Hurley is gleeful at seeing his ole pal Charlie.
Charlie is not happy to be disturbed and points out his little sign to him.
Hurley is overjoyed to say that he's here to take him to the concert.
Charlie tells the 'grinning monkey' to 'sod off'.

Hurley appologies but won't take no for an answer and 'dead-eye' Reyes takes aim.
And lands a clean shot straight into Charlies' dural sack.
Charlie is out like a light.
We move back to the Island and find Jack, Kate and Hurley marching toward the Heart of the Island.
Kate implores Jack to leave the Island, but Jack takes his new duties as the Island's protector very seriously. He says that he's screwed up everything else in his life and that the Island is all he has left. Kate says that "Nothing is irrevercible." She clearly is imploring him to not give up on them.
Hurley says this would be 'sweet' if they all weren't about to die.
Kate tells Jack its not to late and that they can all still leave the Island. But Jack is determined and they head on to the Island's Heart.
I take a short break and will return shortly with more action from the finale.
mr badd

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