Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts. The first part is called The Pledge. The magician shows you something ordinary: a deck of cards, a bird or a man. He shows you this object. Perhaps he asks you to inspect it to see if it is indeed real, unaltered, normal. But of course... it probably isn't. The second act is called The Turn. The magician takes the ordinary something and makes it do something extraordinary. Now you're looking for the secret ... but you won't find it, because of course you're not really looking. You don't really want to know. You want to be fooled. But you wouldn't clap yet. Because making something disappear isn't enough; you have to bring it back. That's why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call The Prestige." -- Cutter, "The Prestige"
Fair or not, I believe "Lost" will be judged forever based on tonight's finale. "Lost" has been a great show, sure -- it's told some stories, had some great characters, and produced some of the greatest WTF moments in TV history. But, at least for me, it is at its core … a mystery. Mysteries present question and, hopefully, answers.
I don't expect, think or even want "Lost" to answer all my questions in the finale. But sometimes a magic trick is only as good as its reveal. It's time for "Lost" to deliver its prestige.
Let's roll ...
9:00 -- "How long am I going to have to do this job?" -- Jack. Only for about 2.5 more hours. And we're off!
9:01 -- The Oceanic plane with Christian Shepard's body has finally arrived at LAX. Only took six years. I am going to say this now and completely mean it (until I change my mind): I can't give this episode an A without a healthy dose of some Christian Shepard. There I said it.
9:02 -- Slow motion montage at the beginning instead of the traditional slow motion montage at the end. Definitely starting to set the tone.
9:03 -- "Or something." -- Desmond
9:04 -- "No one can tell you why you're here, Kate. Certainly not me." -- Desmond. What percentage of Desmond's lines tonight will sound like they came from Yoda? 50%? 75%?
9:05 -- "MY name is Desmond Hume. And even though you don't realize it, I'm your friend. And as for what I want … I want to leave." -- Desmond. We're at 100% so far.
9:06 -- Jack is passing along Jacob's instructions, which read a little like ransom demands. Head out past by the old shed. There you will you will see a trash can. Put the money there …
9:07 -- "Kinda true, dude. He's worse than Yoda." -- Hurley. That was kinda creepy.
9:08 -- "I gotta bad feeling about this." -- Han Solo, uh, I mean Hurley.
9:10 -- Hurley is trying to jog Sayid's memory (is that the write word?) with a trip to a motel and visit with Charlie.
9:11 -- Hurley shot Charlie with a tranquilizer gun (I am jealous) and while I tried to avoid it … I watched the names in the credits I go by. I can never resist. Let's just say I saw one name that made me very happy …
9:12 -- "Nothing is irreversible." -- Kate
9:13 -- Ben captures Sawyer as he tried to spy on Ben and Not Locke. Did he really think he was going to sneak up on a Smoke Monster?
9:14 -- "I'm sorry I left out the part about the island being at the bottom of the ocean." -- Not Locke. Wasn't the island at the bottom of the ocean in the season premiere?
9:15 -- Vincent? Rose? Bernard? Guess which I am most excited to see …
9:16 -- Bernard was gone for all of about 20 seconds … just enough time to lead Not Locke and Ben directly to Desmond. Sigh.
9:17 -- Desmond agrees to go with Not Locke in return for him promising not hurt Rose and Bernard … ever. Interesting touch there with the "ever."
9:20 -- Desmond knows that Not Locke is taking him somewhere "with a very bright light" … and Ben appears to be carrying some kind walkie-talkie with him. Is he working with someone? Richard, maybe?
9:21 -- Nope, it's Miles … and Richard, who appears to have survived his run-in with Not Locke.
9:22 -- Miles spots Sayid at the concert and immediately calls Sawyer. That's either going to throw a wrench in Desmond's plan … or play right into it. I choose B.
9:23 -- Jin tells Sun there is a doctor coming to see the baby and make sure everything is ok. Hmmm, do we know any doctors that specialize in babies?
9:24 -- Yes we do! Dr. Juliet Carlson. Wait, Carlson?
9:25 -- Juliet is checking Sun's baby … not the first time she's done that.
9:26 -- "Did you see?" -- Sun. I thought the cleaning lady came the other day -- why is it so dusty in here?
9:26 -- "And for the record, you two speak English just fine." -- Juliet
(Side note: the only thing I avoid more than "Lost" promos is commercials/trailers for "Inception." I think it's my favorite movie ever … and I haven't even seen it yet!)
9:30 -- Sawyer catches up with Big Foot, Jacob and Kate to let them know Not Locke is out to destroy the island.
9:31 -- "I'll see you on the other side." -- Jack
9:32 -- "I think I just realized I want to live." -- Richard. Miles found a grey hair on his said … is he free from Jacob's spell now? Can he age? Can he die?
9:33 -- Lapidus!
9:34 -- "In case you haven't noticed, I'm a pilot." -- Lapidus.
9:35 -- Kate tries to shoot Not Locke a few times, cause, you know, she's an idiot. I like when Kate is stupid, it's so old school.
9:36 -- GREAT scene between Jack and Not Locke. I know I jumped on the Jack bandwagon about halfway through the season, but everyone has to be on board by now, right? He is just killing it these days.
9:39 -- No shocker … Juliet is the mother of Jack's son. I think we all saw that coming.
9:40 -- Sawyer walked by Juliet on his way to look for Sun … but didn't "remember" her. Too soon.
9:41 -- Not Locke wants only himself, Jack and Desmond to continue on at this point. Jack agrees, despite not really knowing what to do yet. He sure has a lot of … faith.
9:42 -- "This doesn't matter, you know." -- Desmond. Des is trying to explain to Jack that somehow none of what is going on matters because of, essentially, the flash-sideways.
9:43 -- "Whatever happened, happened." -- Jack
9:47 -- "There are rules, dude." -- Hurley
9:48 -- "I'm sorry, you clearly don't know anything about me." -- Sayid. I need to talk to the maid about this dust problem.
9:49 -- "Sayid." -- Shannon
9:49 -- "Shannon." -- Sayid
9:50 -- "It was worth it." -- Hurley. If I open a window, does that solve my dust problem or make it worse?
9:51 -- Miles, Richard and Lapidus have arrived at the Hydra island and found a gun-toting, conditioner-needing Claire.
9:52 -- Meanwhile, back at the golden waterfall, Jack and Not Locke are lowering Desmond down into the light. My first truly ridiculous sentence that somehow makes sense in the "Lost" universe of the night.
9:53 -- "This remind you of anything Jack? Desmond, going into a hole in the ground. If there was a button down there we could fight about whether or not to push it. Be just like old times ..." -- Not Locke
9:54 -- Great camera shot going down the waterfall, a la the hatch in the finale of season one.
9:58 -- Meanwhile at the concert, everyone is slowly getting into place. To quote one of my favorite movies … it's all happening.
9:59 -- "It's a great pleasure to meet you, Charlotte." -- Farraday
10:00 -- Oh no, something just occurred to me -- I am about to get "You all everybody!" stuck in my head again. Damn you, "Lost"!!!!
10:01 -- The orchestra kicked in and Claire might be about to go into labor. Perhaps I will be spared.
10:02 -- Desmond is walking into the light and it, well, it doesn't seem to be agreeing with him so far.
10:03 -- Desmond moved a rock, the light went out, and now seems to becoming back … red.
10:04 -- "It looks like you were wrong. Goodbye Jack." -- Not Locke
10:05 -- "Looks like you were wrong too." -- Jack, after seeing Not Locke bleed. So … it's a draw then?
10:09 -- Claire is definitely about to go into labor and it looks like Kate might be the one to deliver the child. Sounds familiar.
10:10 -- New rule (copyright Bill Maher) -- Eloise Hawking needs to be in every TV show that airs from now on. Would anyone have a problem with that? And I don't mean the actress, I mean the character. Every show. I'd even watch "Two and a Half Men" if she were on. Ok, I went too far there.
10:11 -- "Water and blankets?" -- Charlie
10:12 -- "it's Aaron." -- Claire. I've run out of dust jokes.
10:14 -- "Do you understand?" -- Desmond
10:15 -- Jack woke up, looking … um, awkward, and went back into the cave looking Desmond. Everything collapsing around me, I probably don't run into an an enclosed space. That's just me.
10:16 -- Sawyer, Kate and Hurley are trying to save Ben. Would you if you were them?
10:17 -- "Son of a bitch." -- Sawyer. Oh my God … is that the last Sawyer "Son of a bitch!" ever? Tear …
10:18 -- I'm going to hold off on adjectives and critique of the episode on the whole so far … but we can all agree that Jack and Not Locke running at each other was like the dumbest thing ever, right? I mean, wow. That was awful. John Woo is watching somewhere and saying to himself, "Really?" The only thing missing was a little slow-mo and a gun in each hand. Let's pretend that never happened.
10:21 -- The Jack/Not Locke fight scene is … ok at best -- but I definitely didn't see the Not Locke stabbing Jack in the stomach part coming.
10:22 -- "I saved you a bullet." -- Kate. Arnold and Sly would be proud with that line.
10:23 -- "You're too late." -- Not Locke. RIP brutha.
10:24 -- And finally the mysterious neck wound is revealed. Brilliant.
10:25 -- "It worked." -- Locke
10:26 -- "You don't remember?" -- Locke. I know he's kinda been there all season, but tonight it's been great to have Locke back.
10:27 -- "I hope that somebody does for you, what you just did for me." -- Locke.
10:31 -- The breaking of the island seems to have stopped, as has the storm. But Jack isn't looking good.
10:32 -- "Just find me some thread and I can count to five." -- Jack. Minor prediction: they all get on the plane, fly away, whatever … and bring Locke's body with them.
10:33 -- "We'll see you there." -- Jin. Brilliant line. Maybe my favorite so far.
10:34 -- Lapidus is doing plane things to get ready to take off.
10:35 -- "Sounds like they're making progress." -- Ben. Quick question: not that it matters, but is there a "bad guy" anymore? Something to defeat?
10:36 -- "No way, you think I'm going down that? I'm with you, dude." -- Hurley
10:42 -- "I don't believe in a lot of things, but I believe in duct tape." -- Miles
10:43 -- "It worked." -- Juliet
10:44 -- "We can go dutch." -- Juliet
10:50 -- "It's over." -- Kate
10:51 -- I can't decide if I think Island Kate is hotter than Not Island Kate tonight. Tough call.
10:52 -- "No, that's now how you know me." -- Kate
10:53 -- Jack had his flash when Kate touched his face -- but to be fair, I'd see all sorts of crazy shit too if she touched me.
10:54 -- Jack, Hurley and Ben are back at the light, which is no longer lit. Seeing as we saw the island at the bottom of the ocean back in the premiere, we know they fail … right?
10:55 -- Jack tells Hurley that he is supposed to protect the island now -- which actually makes a little sense, seeing as how Hurley has been sort of Jacob-esque in the flashsideways tonight.
10:56 -- Jack made Hurley drink dirty creek water and didn't say the magical incantation. I am little suspicious at this point …
10:57 -- "Now you're like me." -- Jack. Still not buying it.
10:58 -- Jack is down in the light cave and Desmond is there, not looking so hot.
10:59 -- "i'll see you in another life, brother." -- Jack. Sounds better when Desmond says it, but still cool.
11:00 -- Sawyer, Kate and Claire are making a run for the plane -- but Lapidus might take off without them.
11:01 -- Jack put the peg back in the hole (?) but it doesn't seem to have done anything.
11:02 -- "Here we go, Frank." -- Lapdius. You can do it, Lawnmower Man!
11:03 -- "Amen." -- Lapidus
11:04 -- It just hit me -- Jack is about to have a visitor …
11:05 -- The light appears to be starting back up. Better late than never.
11:06 -- "JACK!!!" -- Hurley. Dude, Hurley was kinda rude to Desmond.
11:10 -- Locke is out of the hospital and still using his wheelchair. Baby steps.
11:11 -- "I'm very sorry for what I did to you, John." -- Ben.
11:12 -- Apparently Ben wants to stay -- whatever that means at this point -- I am guessing to be with Alex and Rousseau.
11:13 -- Said it before, I'll say it again -- good to have the old Locke back.
11:14 -- "That's how Jacob ran things. Maybe there's another way. A better way." -- Ben. How will Hurley get Desmond back to Penny?
11:15 -- "You were a great number two." -- Ben to Hurley. I have to ask … who does Number Two work for?
11:16 -- Kate and Jack have finally arrived at the church for Christian's funeral.
11:17 -- Jack's alive. End of scene. That was simple.
11:18 -- Minor prediction: Jack is in the coffin. i don't know, just work with me.
11:19 -- Or it's empty. But it has to be him that goes back in the coffin, right?
11:20 -- CHRISTIAN!!!!!!
11:21 -- "How are you here?" -- Christian. Touche.
11:22 -- "I died too." -- Jack. Um, ok.
11:23 -- "There is no now, here." -- Christian. Um, ok.
11:24 -- "This is the place you all made together so you can find one another. The most important part of your life, was the time you spent with these people. That's why all of you are here. Nobody does it alone, Jack. You needed all of them and they needed all of you." -- Christian
11:25 -- Slow motion montage time.
11:26 -- Sucks that Michael wasn't invited. Or Walt. "Lost" is racist! Kidding.
11:27 -- Weird we didn't get a Desmond/Penny moment.
11:30 -- Jack lying on his back, plane flies overhead, and like that … it's over.
(About 10 minutes after I finished watching "Lost," one of my bosses called -- Brittany Murphy's husband was found dead and there was a surreal five minute interview with Lindsay Lohan online. So it's 12:40 AM PT and I have to be at work in less than five hours -- if this part feels rushed incomplete or incoherent, that's why. Sucks. I have been waiting six years to write this part. Oh well.)
A few hypothetical questions to start:
-- You've just watched the "Lost" finale. Suppose a dying friend comes to you. He's only got like a day left to live and he's never seen "Lost." He's giving you … let's say 5-10 minutes of his time. "Hey pal," he says. "I never saw 'Lost' but I don't want to die without knowing what it was about. Don't worry about spoilers, cause I'll be dead tomorrow, just explain it to me. There was a plane crash, right? The island was magic or something? In five minutes, explain 'Lost' to me … go."
What would you say? Where would you start? Do you even know the answer to that question right now?
-- Better question. I had this conversation with my friend Josh today when discussing just how important the finale was to how "Lost" will will be remembered.
If a friend came to you and said, "Hey pal, I am going to star Netflixing 'Lost.' Figured I would just plow through all six seasons. I should do it, right?"
Now that you've seen the finale, what would you tell him? Was it worth it? If the finale was truly awful (which it wasn't) -- would you have told him not to watch any of it? Would you have told him/her to avoid the whole thing since it doesn't pay off in the end?
Man of Science, Man of Faith
In TV terms, I am a Man of Science (or at least I am to make this analogy work, so bear with me). I like plot. I like story. I only watch shows that have a long-reaching story arcs, no mystery of the week shows for me. So I watched "Lost" for its mythology -- I loved the questions, searched for the answers.
My friend Aaron probably falls in the Man of Faith camp. Sure, he loves that other stuff too -- but he's more into characters. He's argued with me for years that "Lost" is a character study (sort of disguised as a sci-fi show).
For 119 hours, I was a Man of Science -- in hours 120-121.5 I think I became a Man of Faith.
The finale didn't satisfy my Man of Science side, I don't think it ever could have. To be honest, right now, at 12:53 AM, I don't understand the last five minutes. Ok, the flash sideways were never real -- they were Jack's imagination. Maybe? I don't know.
But for every single second leading up to those last five minutes, I was certain I was watching the greatest episode of television I had ever seen.
The whole time, I was thinking of my second question -- what would I do tomorrow or the next day if someone asked me if they should watch "Lost"? -- and all I kept thinking was it was my goal in life to make everyone I know watch "Lost." Every single person should experience that finale. Up until the last five minutes, I was thinking of each person I knew that had never seen "Lost" and how I was going to pitch it to them.
"Lost" is 119 hours of build up … to the greatest 2.5 hour payoff of all-time.
I was converted -- Man of Science, meet Man of Faith.
Then the last five minutes happened … and my Man of Science was a little pissed. Still is.
But I am going to have a little faith.
Sometime between now and the time I die, I am hoping I will read or see something that will help explain it to me. Probably won't satisfy me completely, but I am hoping I find something that will do the trick.
The finale was so amazing though … I wonder if it even matters.
I give tonight's episode an A+. It wasn't what I was expecting -- I don't think it was even what I wanted -- but, like so much of "Lost" before it, it was unlike anything I have ever seen. Truly without peer.
So I don't think this is goodbye just yet. I am sure I will have some ideas and thoughts that trickle in.
But this is the last "Diary," so I feel I should say a few things to those of you who have been reading me for years.
Thank you. I used to write the Diary as a way of sharing my experience of watching "Lost" with my friends. Over the years, as schedules became more hectic, I watched with fewer and fewer people -- until eventually I was watching the bulk of the episodes by myself.
But I wasn't really -- in a way, I was watching with all of you.