I stayed up late to watch the Lost finale. After it was over, I was pretty upset. In some ways, everyone got a happy ending. It just wasn’t the happy ending *I* wanted. (Yes, I know I’m ridiculous and it’s just a tv show. :P) It was…I don’t know. Maybe “bittersweet” is the best word for it. It was very sad. But it was also very good. And it was extremely well done. To go into what was so upsetting about it for me would require some spoiler-y discussion, so I’m putting that below the cut. It’s going to be long and…I don’t know. Philosophical? Something. And it also involves some discussion of my anxieties/neuroses/”mental issues”/existential angst/what-have-you, so if you’re not really into reading about that, skip it.
Let’s start with the fluffier stuff, okay?
-How ridiculously happy did it make me that Hurley wound up as the island’s protector?! Seriously, Hurley is my absolute favorite on the show, and has been since the first episode, and I was rooting for him to be the next Jacob. I also thought it was awesomely in-character for him to be relieved that it wasn’t him after Jack volunteered. But still. Hurley is the raddest, and I loved it. I loved Ben telling Hurley to “do what you do best: take care of people.” I loved his sincerely asking Ben for help protecting the island. How amazing is Jorge Garcia, y’all? (I mean, the whole cast really did a bang-up job, as per usual.) He totally got across that Hurley was asking Ben to help without any ulterior motive – I thought it was beautiful, and totally Hurley, that he was offering exactly what Ben needed, but he wasn’t doing it because Ben needed it. I don’t know if I can explain it any better than that, I just loved it. I loved him telling Jack he was going to yank him up as soon as the light came back – that gritted-teeth-to-keep-from-crying delivery. And I loved the last exchange between him and Ben, so, so beautiful and perfect.
-Sawyer and Juliette! I used to be hardcore anti-‘shipping: I did not give a rat’s ass about romantic entanglements on my shows, especially when they seemed to just take over and reduce the time given to stuff I cared about. I also really, really, really hated the Sawyer-Kate-Jack(-Ana Lucia/Juliette) bullshit. Even now that Lost is wrapped up, if I had the option of majorly dialing back the love triangle/quadrangle over the previous seasons, hell yes, I’d do it in a heartbeat. It just dragged on way too long, and I did not care for the most part. I was happy when Juliette was introduced and it seemed like she and Jack might pair off, but really it wasn’t that I liked Jack and Juliette, it was that I wanted an end to that damn triangle. And then it wasn’t. Groan. And then Sawyer and Juliette and happened, and what the actual fuck: apparently I’m a ‘shipper these days. It hasn’t stopped with Sawyer and Juliette, either. I mean, I’m not going nuts with it, but I have noticed myself caring about particular relationships on all the shows I watch these days. And I blame Lost for starting that mess. 🙂 Anyway, I was so, so, so happy with their sweet (if shortlived and in the afterlife) reunion.
And that last sentence brings me to the heavier stuff. I knew going into it that the finale would make me cry – I was just expecting it to be happy crying, like I did when Sawyer and Juliette remembered each other. There were very few spoilers for the finale, and what little there was, was vague and didn’t seem like a big deal to me (and also turned out to be fake). I did not see the big twist coming at all. It had not even occurred to me as a possibility, even though at one point I had even wondered if the island itself was some sort of afterlife. Christian shows up, and I’m still clueless. And then he asks Jack how *Jack* is there – and I realized what was going on, and I sobbed from there until the ending, and a little past, to be honest. I didn’t want them to die. I kept hoping that somehow Jack would volunteer to be the island’s protector, and everyone else would get a reset but somehow gravitate towards each other, and that even Jack would get a happier ending than staying on the island for the rest of his life, that he would get a family and be happy, too. (And I wasn’t even a big Jack fan, so…yeah.) I like that they all found each other again, and I like that the couples were reunited, and part of me liked the idea of their afterlife being where they could be happy and with each other, and things seemed to work out for them all. I just wanted all that stuff to happen in *real* life. So it was sad for me. Even after I realized that they didn’t all die when Jack died, that quite a few of them had probably had long, happy, post-island lives. But also because of that realization: if their time on the island was the most important of their lives, and if they were all meeting back up with the people they had loved the most, then post-island and pre-death, how happy could Sawyer, Kate, Hurley, Claire, and so on, be? The loves of their lives were dead, and yeah, they were reunited in the afterlife, but how sad and lonely were they in the intervening years? (Part of me is really bitter and indignant that I’m this much a ‘shipper. Damn.)
Also, in general, death is something I try not to contemplate too, too much, because I’m terrified of it. Both my “regular” therapist and my EMDR therapist believe that the fear of death is at the root of all anxiety, and I have to agree with them. And even if all my other anxieties aren’t ultimately about my fear of death, I am afraid of death. And I don’t know if I believe in any sort of afterlife, other than, obviously, given I’m a science nerd, conservation of matter and energy therefore meaning that we do carry on in some form and nothing really ends, but that’s not always comforting. Anyway, thinking about death is something I like to save for when I am really, really calm and having a good “zen day” and am in a good mood, and just feeling mentally fortified. I absolutely do not like to think about it when I’m already super emotional, because it’s easier to get super upset and distressed, and that’s basically what happened Sunday night. On the plus side, I did realize what was going on *while* it was going on, rather than after, so I’m more aware and that’s progress. But it still meant lots of sobbing and being upset. And a super runny nose and congestion, and I can’t take decongestant, since I’m on blood pressure meds, so that sucked, and on top of being upset and super sad, I couldn’t breathe (which then made me slightly more anxious). (And then my second nose piercing was acting up, so even wiping my nose was a little painful, which added indignity to insult and injury. Pobrecita.)
I tried to distract myself by thinking about something else entirely, but I was too tired to be really successful with that. (Very little sleep the previous night, but that’s for another post.) I tried reminding myself that, even if it happened after death, they all had lovely reunions and happy endings. I tried telling myself that it was actually kind of a comforting outlook on death and the afterlife: that we find the people we loved in life, and together move on to whatever’s after the afterlife; that when we die we aren’t separated forever. That didn’t completely work.
I guess I’ve been beating around this bush, because it’s probably one of the aspects of my anxiety/panic disorders that I worry sounds the craziest to other people. But if I think that we all have our issues, our little crazinesses or tics, and that it’s nothing to be ashamed of, really. As long as we do the best we can, and try not to hurt other people and ourselves, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. And I do think that, so I need to stop avoiding it and just come out with it, because allowing myself to be ashamed of it is just hypocritical: My super-really-bad, full-blown panic attacks feature delusions and hallucinations. And, thankfully, I haven’t had many of those. They are super distressing during the panic attack, as well as after because then I get upset about “losing my mind.” Obviously, if I’m lucid enough to know that the shit’s not real, I haven’t gone completely around the bend. But such is the nature of anxiety: I will worry about anything and everything, and when one worry is gone, my mind scurries to find another to replace it.
Anyway, the hallucinations present in a variety of ways, but the delusions are almost always on the depersonalization/derealization side of things. This means that I worry that nothing is real, or that *I’m* not real, or that I’m actually dead and imagining my life. And, yes, when I’m not in the grips of a panic attack, I realize how ludicrous that is: how am I going to imagine something if I’m dead? But when I’m panicking, rational logic isn’t compellingly convincing to the part of me that’s freaking out. (There’s always some part of me, even if just a very small part, in the back of things telling myself it’s just panic and to chill out. I think that’s a good sign, too, but again, not compellingly convincing when I’m in a full-blown panic.) So ideas like “what I think is reality is not actually real” or “I’m dead and imagining all this” are not ideas I’m always comfortable with. Usually I’m okay with it: I can either consider it in depth without getting distressed, or if it’s going to distress me, I realize that and leave it alone. But occasionally my mind is like a terrier worrying a rodent – that’s actually a really good analogy, I think: my mind just worries at shit, just won’t drop it and has to keep picking and revisiting, even if I’m getting distressed by it.
So you can see how the big twist reveal of the final season of Lost was not really that great for me. I mean, I liked it, but I also didn’t like it. I especially didn’t like it coming on the heels of such an emotional episode. By the time the reveal came – and, remember, I was completely clueless and unsuspecting, and therefore blindsided by Christian’s “How are *you* here, Jack?” – I was pretty emotional, and just not ready for thinking along those lines. I tried to find comfort in the idea that, if *my* life weren’t actually “real,” if *I* were dead and imagining all this, then really that was okay, because I could follow Ben’s example and just stay in the imaginary-world/afterlife forever. (Or until I was ready to move on. Which I guess is the bigger problem: I’m not ready to die, to move on, and because of my anxiety, that’s a problem I’m always worried about. I mean, it’s just a fact that we all die eventually, and I can’t seem to make peace with that, but I can’t seem to forget it or even just ignore it.)
That’s basically it – anything else I could write is probably just going to rehash that, and not really offer any huge insight or illumination. I watched the ending of Lost, and it kind of devastated me, mentally and emotionally. I cried for a while, and was sad, and Greg tried to help, and very sweetly tucked me in and rubbed my back and made up stories to distract me, and finally I fell asleep. And now that I’ve gotten some distance from it and am calmer, part of me likes the ending, and I can think about it without getting upset. I can see why they did what they did, and I think it fits, and I also think it was inventive and pushed the “flashback” envelope they’d been pushing for a while. (“Flashbacks” to “flashforwards” to “flash-sideways” to “flash-afterlife-imaginings-or-whatever.”) Kudos to the whole Lost team.
All that being said, I’m glad I watched the finale, but I may never watch it again. For the same reason I haven’t watched the last two Matrix movies: it’s risky. On the one hand, I am *really* fascinated by sort of epistemological questions, and the nature of reality and experience, and perception – I mean, it’s just a crazy magical thing, when you get down to it, right. When I’m in the right frame of mind (which is usually – I don’t want you thinking I’m in a constant state of pure terror, usually it’s just a low-grade, backburner type of generalized anxiety), I’m fascinated by considering this stuff. Or our recent space/universe kick: it’s just so vast, and miraculous.
But every once in a while, I’m not in the right frame of mind for that stuff, and that’s what I hate: anticipating enjoying something, and then getting blindsided and ending up being really, really upset and miserable. I don’t enjoy being upset and anxious and panicky. I don’t enjoy being in the wrong frame of mind and thinking about this sort of existential angsty stuff. I very much prefer to know ahead of time that whatever I’m about to watch/read/etc. is going to tread those waters so that I can mentally prepare myself, and avoid getting too distressed.
And, that’s basically my thoughts on the Lost finale.