How "Lost" Must End

Let me preface this by saying I have only seen 3 hours of Lost.  While many might say this disqualifies me from making an assessment as to how the series should end, I would argue the exact opposite.  Since I have no real investment in the story or any of the characters, I think I speak from a position of impartial objectivity.  I have in mind only the legacy of television as an historical institution.  So many series end badly, we need a finale that will last the ages—especially now that “big event” broadcasting is almost wholly extinct.  And let’s face it, no matter what happens, most fans of Lost are going to be madder than wet hornets when their collective chain gets a final yank in a couple of weeks.  So why not bring in a complete outsider to craft an ending so ridiculous and utterly frustrating that it compels everyone involved to acknowledge that the series, like all multi-season network television, has been treading water for the past five years?  Master plan?  If you believe that, then perhaps I can interest you in a cave with a map on the wall promising to show the location of the next clue as to who killed Laura Palmer.

First, let me recap the three hours of the series that I have seen.  I watched the two-hour premiere way back when, so I know the show is about survivors of a plane crash stranded on a remote island beyond time and space and basic GPS technology.  I also know through cultural osmosis that all kinds of freakish things keep happening to the survivors—unexplained plumes of sentient smoke: spontaneous bear sightings: various other weird scenes inside the gold mine.  Then I saw the episode last week where C.J. from The West Wing conked a woman on the head with a rock, stole her newborn twins, and then raised Cain v. Abel so that at least one of them would agree to devote his entire life to protecting a cave full of some kind of otherwordly light.  So that’s what I have to go on, but I think it’s enough. 

My finale begins with one of the most astonishing sequences in the history of television.  A survivor stands near the mystery cave, pondering its deeper meanings and complex implications.  Suddenly, a basketball flies out of the light at almost supersonic speed and lands at the foot of the amazed survivor.  Soon after, who should emerge from the cave but Meadowlark Lemon, famed point guard for The Harlem Globetrotters?  The survivor is completely stunned, and Meadowlark himself seems a little anxious, but he carefully retrieves the ball without saying a word and hurries back into the cave. Roll opening titles. Commercials.  When we come back, the survivors file into the cave with great awe and solemnity, perhaps to the strains of “The End” by the Doors, only to emerge on the other side within the story-world of The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island (1981).  In fact, they arrive exactly at that climatic moment in the original made-for-tv movie when the Globetrotters are about to play a team of robots for the fate of the island.

Whoa, that’s really stupid you’re thinking. The vogue for comparing Lost to Gilligan’s Island peaked long ago.  And no one would stand for such an insulting hybridization of distant historical genres.  But hear me out.  It’s actually a much more complicated and brilliant ending, I promise you. After the survivors arrive, we subsequently discover that Gilligan and his pals don’t live in “another dimension” or in a “time-warp” or anything that corny.  No one is already dead or living in cathode purgatory.  Gilligan, the Skipper, the Howells, the Professor and Mary Ann are all flesh and blood people just like the survivors.  But we discover that Gilligan’s Island itself is actually a land mass located directly underneath the Lost island…but upside-down and inside the Hollow Earth!!!  

As this mind-blowing concept may be too difficult for some to visualize, I have taken the liberty of providing an artistic rendering of my plan below:   

Once the initial encounter takes place, preferably in the first fifteen minutes or so, the rest of the finale becomes a “first contact” narrative as survivors and castaways compare notes on their two worlds.  Thus we discover that the castaways of the U.S.S. Minnow never were of “our world” in the first place, but instead live in the highly similar yet just slightly-off “Inner World” on the other side of the earth’s crust (see diagram).  We have The Beatles.  They have The Mosquitoes.  We have Marilyn Monroe.  They have Ginger.  In their world, Hamlet still exists…but it’s a musical!   

To really sell this ending, the visual styles of the two worlds need to retain their integrity.  On the Lost side (“outer earth”), the style would remain high-end Panavision location-shooting in Hawaii.  On the “Gilligan-Inner-Earth” side, meanwhile, the producers must reproduce the high-key tropical sound stage ambience of the original series, explaining it as the function of the bright light issuing from the earth’s “inner sun.”  Here we also discover that this inner sun is the source of the mysterious light leaking out of C.J.’s cave.  

Still not trippy enough for you?  Consider this.  As many will no doubt recall, Gilligan and the other “castaways” are no longer stranded in The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island (having been rescued in an earlier made-for-tv movie, Rescue from Gilligan’s Island [1978]).  In a somewhat inexplicable bid for traumatic mastery, they now run a vacation resort on the very island that trapped them for all those years.  But, as the Wiki Gods inform us,  “a corporate raider has a plan to bamboozle the owners (Gilligan and his friends) into signing over ownership to him, as the island contains ore which provides large sources of energy.  Eventually Gilligan and the Skipper uncover the conspiracy, and it results in a basketball game between the Globetrotters and some robots” (Italics mine).

So here’s the deal: We find that this mysterious “ore” is the source of all the apparent miracles on Lost, bringing everything to a most satisfying conclusion—especially when the Globetrotters trounce the robots in the final showdown and thereby secure the destinies of both worlds-- inner and outer earth.  Realizing that help will never arrive in “our” world, the Lost survivors decide to settle down in the bizarro and strangely shadowless civilization of “Inner Earth.” Roll final credits.

How is it that the Harlem Globetrotters are able to exist in both worlds?  That’s a mystery best left unanswered, a gift to the fan-fic community that can then dedicate itself to accounting for this puzzling duality.  

If that’s still too “literal” in terms of ending all of the various enigmas, there is also a back-up plan.  As we approach the final ten minutes of the series, the surviving cast members gather around some semi-mystical object descending from the sky that promises to reveal all. The light gets brighter and brighter until the entire screen goes blank. We slowly fade back, only now the image is in fuzzy black and white. As the picture gradually coheres, we find Dobie Gillis and Maynard G. Krebs in bed together.  Dobie reads a book.  Krebs, utterly baked on beatnik reefer, stares blankly into a snow globe.  The camera pushes toward the snow globe to reveal...a polar bear under a palm tree!  Fade to black.  

Yes, I realize the actual finale is already in the can and there’s no time to act on my ideas.  And yes, I realize Lost has so over-inflated itself at the mytho-poetic tire-pump that it couldn’t possibly stage such a sublime last-second gamechanger.  But, like castaways on a desert island, those of us who still have hope for more insane forms of television can always keep searching the horizon for some form of deliverance, however unlikely.

Popular Posts