Did we like it?
A fabulously thrilling finale to a series that has, on occasion, displayed a masochistic tendency to fix a couple of lead weights of overpowering portentousness about its neck and gaily toss itself into the nearest quicksand of pointlessness.
What was good about it?
• Charlie died. Thank Christ for that. Not because we’ve anything against Charlie as a character or actor Dominic Monaghan (Jack, for instance, has been far more annoying this series). It’s because ever since Desmond started having his pre-cognitive visions (that also neutered Desmond’s intrigue), it’s been evident he will die; and the final nail in his coffin was confirmed a couple of weeks ago when the interloping Naomi assured Charlie that he had received a hero’s funeral and that his band had been resurrected by his death.
• He met his end when the Jason Vorhees-esque seemingly indestructible Mikhail pulled the pin from a grenade outside the submerged porthole where Charlie was tapping out the key sequence of Good Vibrations to make it possible to send and receive radio transmissions from the island. The room flooded, drowning Charlie; but Mikhail has probably just got a sore forefinger from pulling the pin on the grenade.
• The development of the central characters that has seen a doctor, a conman, a disabled office worker and a lottery winner transform into cold-blooded brutes. While Sawyer had already killed someone in Australia, his execution of Other Tom was quite shocking; Hurley seemed to think nothing of running over and killing one of the Others; while Locke threw a dagger into Naomi’s back.
Meanwhile, Jack has been lethally irritating since he was imprisoned by the Others at the start of the series. All of which suggests that the alleged virus that inhabits the island could simply wipe erase a sufferer’s humanity rather than act as a conventional illness, or in Jack’s case his charisma. (Still, he’s only the second most vexing man on TV after the bloke in the new Lynx ads, “And Kelly Brook…!”)
• For a squat, frail man with a walking stick whose reedy, keening tones would be enough to make him the instinctive number one target of the school bully, Benjamin Linus is a frightening, iconic villain. The way his bulbous eyes queasily shift about his sockets has the same writhing eeriness as Oliver Hardy’s half-out-the-bed arse quivering from some imagined supernatural threat in a classic Laurel & Hardy.
• Pretty much every episode has featured a flashback, in which the character’s actions and choices on the island are explained by events in their own personal history. But in this one, there was a ‘flash forward’, as Jack met up with Kate and pleaded with her that they need to return to the island. We’re pretty sceptical that this is a genuine excerpt from the future as it’s already been established that the flashbacks are induced by the island, through the monster, as a way to control and coerce the inhabitants into acting in a way beholden to it. So Jack was perhaps imagining, at the island’s behest, what life would be like back in the real world if he went through with his plot to contact Naomi’s boat.
• We’ve still seen nothing to disprove our theory (and we concede every single person watching Lost has their own), that the island was being used to manufacture a god because of its undeniably supernatural properties. On the other hand, the whole tale could be the island recounting its sins on the Jeremy Kyle show while Jeremy sits with his face of manufactured thunder as he listens with sanctimonious elation at the misery of others.
• With the Others effectively a spent force (all their best soldiers were killed in the raid on the camp), Naomi’s people offer a new threat to the island and the survivors. Maybe they’re the Darma Initiative come to claim back their property and avenge the purge enacted by Ben, perhaps they’re a property company fronted by Jack Nicklaus who are searching for some prime exotic ‘real estate’ to bulldoze and develop to provide their loyal clients with a seventh luxury home (can you think of a more hateful foe for Jack and co. next series?).
What was bad about it?
• The flash forward could have resolved one of the most enduring enigmas of Lost – what will happen to the black smoke monster. Judging from Jack’s overflowing beard as he wandered about in a manic stupor, the monster is subjugated before Jack takes the smoke and makes a copious beard out of it like a cannibal headhunter relocated to Los Angeles with a shrunken skull earring. Still, it would be the perfect revenge for Jack after the smoke monster caused his flight to crash on the island.
• Charlie’s death. We’re sure that Charlie had enough time to exit the radio room after glimpsing Mikhail at the window. And even if he had still pulled the pin on the grenade, Charlie and Desmond could have dived into the submarine bay and swam to the surface.
• And the protracted nature of Charlie’s death was emblematic of a paucity of ideas which have blighted the narrative flow of many episodes. The worst instance was obviously the Paolo and Nikki farce, while the revelation that the man who provoked Sawyer’s parents to kill themselves was Locke’s errant, duplicitous father was just one tired coincidence too far. And Jack has been bloody annoying all series; oh have we already mentioned that.