Sayid finally finds his happy placeBox-office news: “Shrek Forever After” opened to $71.3 million this weekend — and was considered a disappointment, given that “Shrek the Third” grossed $122.9 million in the same frame three years ago.

I find it amazing that anybody can be disappointed by $71.3 million of anything. And surely the extra merchandising will make up the difference eventually — I, um, still need to get me an Ogre McFlurry one of these days.

But the whole “Shrek” thing doesn’t hold a candle to the ending of “Lost”. No spoilers, but I will say that I found it much more moving than I expected; one of the final images just about broke my heart. As I’ve been saying all along, it wasn’t the mysteries, or the island, we’ve been following — it was the characters, and though there was plenty of action in this final episode, and some additional info-dumping about the mythology, this was really about everyone finding purpose, or closure, or peace.

And say what you will about the narrative gamble of the Sideways universe, but it makes emotional sense — the more I think about it, the more it works.

I’m going to have a hell of a time explaining this later today when I appear on CTV News Channel at 3:15 EDT. You may want to tune in, to see how weird it gets. Rogers Digital Cable 62, for those of you in the GTA; I’ll link to the online clip when it goes up. UPDATE: Here it is, almost; click the link on the right to cue up my segment.

9 thoughts on “Endings”

  1. Good luck, brutha. It’s a mouthful to speak of on live TV!

    Ironically, I had imagined that’s the ending they’d go for, but they denied it so many times over the years, despite thousands of fans pointing to same.

    In any case, I agree, it was extremely moving in parts, and all about the characters.

    Well done.

  2. Well, what they denied is that the characters died in the plane crash and that the island was purgatory. That’s still true. Everything on the island really happened. It’s only the flash-sideways that’s purgatory. So, technically, they didn’t contradict themselves. I will admit that my immediate reaction was that it was a cheat, though. But the character stuff was so strong, I was satisfied overall.

  3. And the sideways universe isn’t “purgatory” as we understand it, anyway — it’s more of a collective fantasy for the lives our heroes _thought_ they wanted. (Which is why it comes into being as they pass over the sunken island instead of crashing on it.)

    Jack’s on good terms with his dad and has a son; Sawyer’s on the right side of the law; Hurley’s lucky instead of unlucky; Kate’s still a fugitive, but this time she’s innocent and actually helps the people she meets instead of hurting them; Sayid saves Nadia, though he still feels he doesn’t deserve her; Jin and Sun are united by her father’s dealings rather than separated, even it’s because her father is trying to have Jin killed.

    But they all know something is missing, and that turns out to be their experiences on the island, when they were at their best and most vital. When they really loved each other. When everything mattered. It could have been cleared up with two simple lines between Jack and Christian:

    So this is purgatory?

    Not at all. This is a gift.

    … but Darlton don’t roll like that. They let us figure stuff out for ourselves, like why Sun didn’t get sucked back to DHARMA days along with the rest of the Oceanics on the Ajira flight. She wasn’t a candidate. It was Jin all along — but that only makes sense when we see “Kwon” written in the cave.

    I think about this stuff, like, a lot.

  4. Norm, that Kwon part didn’t add up for me until now. Thanks for that.

    I would still have liked to have known a bit about the island’s origin, personally after seeing some of the graphs on that underground stone/cork/plug thingamajig, I’d have guessed Atlantis (especially after they infer that the island did sink after all…)

    But I also accept the ending as is, in that is was more of a fair goodbye to characters we enjoyed for six years, rather than agonize over what the Smoke Monster is composed of.

    We liked the M*A*S*H* ending because we could imagine what they’d have done after the war (except for the obvious AfterM*A*S*H* and Trapper john, M.D.).

    Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.

  5. The eternal 16 year old sci-fi geek that lives in me was a little disappointed in the finale. In fact, the whole season and its exploration of the Jacob and Smokey back-story was not as compelling for me as the Dharma Initiative. It seemed to degrade into unconvincing styrofoam rock temples and a lot of hemp positive fashion statements. In the finale, they did a nice job of downplaying the fantasy elements by underplaying them – (Here, drink this. Now you’re like me), but I prefer jump suits with cool patches and electromagnetic anomalies to glowy, source of life light pools.

    However, the 44 year old me with a mortgage was a little teary at times and a little surprised at how much some scenes affected me. Not so much the walk into the light ending but the scenes where characters connected and realized what they had done and meant to each other. And that final sequence with Fox in the bamboo was beautiful. A great cast on a great show. I’m a little sad it’s over, but at least Fringe seems to be stepping up to the plate.

    Maybe it’s too early for spin offs, and probably not likely as the internets have decided Terry O’Quinn and Michael Emerson are going to do some kind of detective show, but I’d watch a half hour one camera sitcom about Hurley and Ben’s tenure as #1 and #2 island protectors.

  6. Dudes.

    The finally sucked. Like, shameful-level sucked. They all met in a church and went to heaven together? Really?

    Just because they all got to hug it out at the end didn’t make it more about the characters; if anything this season muddled them even more, with motivations that only seemed to exist to set up “gotchas” that went nowhere.


  7. Norm, it may not strictly be purgatory in the Catholic dogma definition, but it’s still a form of purgatory in the generic sense of being an after-death “waiting area” where people have to come to terms with their lives (and their sins) before moving on to the afterlife.

    I agree with you that it’s “gift” from the island. I’d been thinking of it that way myself. But I still think that “purgatory” is as good a word to describe it as anything.

  8. I just watched the CTV clip. What’s it like to talk Lost with someone who has obviously never seen the show and has seemingly no idea about television? If the Gilligan’s Island question wasn’t bad enough he really blew it with the “will there be a movie” question. I think he knew precisely two facts about Lost: it was a television show of some kind and it ended presumably with an ending of some kind.

    Also, I do hope that at some point we get a further comment/post from you about Lost once you’ve had time to sort out your thoughts. Thanks.

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