Here’s David’s recap of the whole experience of offering his book as an Amazon exclusive:
“The download rate increased steadily during the course of the morning, and by lunchtime, it was being downloaded more than 1,000 times per hour, occasionally pushing 2,000 per hour. And it was rapidly climbing the Free bestseller list. It got featured on a number of the big Kindle reader blogs that showcase free books each day (this was easily my luckiest break, especially since I didn’t know that people often submit their books to these sites in advance of their scheduled free dates). By Wednesday night, the book had hit the top 10, with about 14,000 downloads. Thursday proved to be nearly as successful, with another 11,000 downloads, and the book spent much of the day ranked No. 5.”
A funny thing happened on my way to waiting for the book to be available in my format; a friend on Twitter noted an interesting aspect of the book’s cover.
I’ll post the book cover here and see if you can spot the hidden message.
In case you still can’t figure it out, SPOILER ALERT(!), the numbers featured on the cover are the Lost numbers with one added to them.
I’ve been putting off writing this post at least in part because it signifies not only the end of the series, but a significant portion of my blogging activities.
For the better part of the last 5 years (I didn’t start blogging about individual episodes until the Premiere of Season 2) I’ve taken my Thursday (or, as it ended, Tuesday) nights collecting my off-the-cuff results and putting them out there for the world to see, share & comment upon.
It’s been very gratifying and enjoyable, but at times it was also a lot of work.
More often than not, I’d have a long list of comments and theories waiting in my inbox the morning after.
Now some folks are using the LOST metaphor to completely justify the series finale, The End. I’m not going to be quite so gung ho, but I did enjoy it very much. It was a fitting EMOTIONAL ending if perhaps not the most INTELLECTUAL ending that many folks anticipated.
First, I’ll dispense with my minor quibbles:
Using Season 6’s Flash Sideways storyline as a weigh station for our Losties as they moved between their (mostly) Island-based lives and the afterlife was brilliant in one sense. It provided a nice cover/thumbed-nose to all the haters who speculated that the Island itself was Purgatory.
Well played, Darlton!
But exactly what relationship did that reality have to the overall story arc of our Losties?
Some have theorized that each character gave themselves the kind of “life” in the Flash Sideways that they thought they deserved.
Others (myself included) thought it was another parallel universe/reality/timeline that would eventually merge with the Island storyline.
Darlton had always said that this wasn’t an alternate/alternative to the Island, but something equally “real”. If that’s the case, if the exposition there served to greater explain our characters, I’m still going to need some time to unravel all the little bits we learned about everyone.
I’m actually undecided about whether or not we can learn anything new about each character from this Flash Sideways if, ultimately, it was only a rest stop between Life and Death.
Like I said, a quibble.
Eko, Michael, Walt
I understand the realities of making a television, I honestly do, but I really wish we’d gotten more closure on the fates of some of the first two season’s BEST characters.
I could care less about these questions:
What was Walt’s power? Why did Smoky kill Eko? Why is Michael stuck on the island as a whisper?
But I would’ve liked to have known just a little more about those connected to them: Yemi, Vincent the Dog (who looks to have lived out his life with Rose & Bernard [though he wasn’t in the church] & Susan.
Again, minor nitpicks, but I wanted some of the closure for those outside of the church group.
We can discuss Ben not entering the church, but I think that’s just an indication that he wasn’t ready (or someone he was waiting on) to move on.
I also understand that promo departments have to drive viewership, but I think part of the blame for fan confusion/backlash about the ending stems from the heavily promoted axiom of “answers” as opposed to “closure” or “goodbye” that would have been more in keeping with the timbre of the finale episode and, ultimately, the series overall.
Phew. What a wreck of a run-on sentence.
Also, they truly fucked up airing the beach view of the plane crash post episode/over the credits.
Many mistook this to mean that the Island was not real (contradicting Christian Shephard) and thought everyone died in the initial crash. Not so.
Others thought this meant Ajira 316 crashed a second time. Also not true.
“For me, Lost is a show that isn’t about the story, it’s about how the story is told.”
We had flashbacks, flash forwards, flash sideways, time travel and all things Desmond. We got to see the survivors and their antagonists/protagonists through a huge number of lenses and told to divine (pun intended) our own truth about their natures and ultimate destiny for ourselves.
On the flipside, there are unanswered questions, which I’m happy to discuss, if that’s the kind of thing you’re in to.
Jacob::Old Testament God; Smokey::Satan; Hurley::Jesus Christ/New Testament God
YMMV, and I know there’s enough religion going around on LOST to start our own denomination, but that’s my reading on things.
Add in Adam & Eve in the cave (actually Mother & Smoky) and maybe the island is some kind of Garden of Eden, minus original sin.
I don’t know. Makes my head hurt.
Maybe the Island is just a MacGuffin after all, and I’m OK with that.
I even thought Mother’s “Light” explanation of things was a bit too squishy for me. Better to leave those Midi-chloriansundefined, IMHO.
The symmetry/asymmetry of Lost’s storytelling
The first decade of the 21st century gave us both 24 & Lost, two shows that played with the rules/mores or TV storytelling like no other shows had done before.
While it infuriated new viewers, frustrated current viewers and sometimes confused the Hell out of both camps, the circular, flashing, interwoven storylines are what made LOST great.
I looked forward every week to reading blogs for Easter Eggs, book & music references and the subtle, hidden connections between each and every character.
If Jack’s “Live Together, Die Alone” statement was a rallying cry for the Losties, the finale showed us that each one had to “die alone” so they could eventually “live (forever) together”.
I’d still like to know what happened to Hurley, Ben, Desmond & Penelope after Jack closed his eyes, but that’s a different story.
Did Sawyer really reform after Ajira 316? Did Kate go back to a life of crime (or was she captured) [she survived TWO plane crashes!!!]? Did Lapidus get a hero’s welcome? Did they start their own “Ajira 6” backstory to explain everything?
As you can see, my questions aren’t about Dharma (science) or Others (faith) since, to me, those groups were just stand-ins (at times) for various sides to the Island argument.
In the end, I got as LOST as the characters, and LOST *in* the characters, as I ever wanted to be.
No explanation of time travel or the numbers or the light or the hatches would ever be as satisfying as the thought that what mattered, to those people, was spending eternity together based on a few hundred days together (plus three years) on an Island.
MacGuffin or not, I’m happy that plane crashed and even more happy that the story was told (and eventually ended) with us winding our way back and forth over times and stories to a place where we’d all have to sit back and reflect on what happened.
First off, here’s a fan-made trailer for the series finale. Much better than the promo we got at the end of tonight’s episode.
Here are my very brief thoughts on tonight’s episode, What They Died For:
Now we hear it straight from the horse’s mouth: Jacob wants the candidates to choose who among them will take his place.
If Lost is about nothing else, it’s the choices we make as self-defining versus the immutability (destiny) of some outer appearance of the self.
Good times and I think we’ll see even better choices this Sunday in the finale.
Which leads to …
Secrets & Grudges
I loved the fact that Widmore trusted Smoky enough to whisper in his ear almost as much as I really loved Ben shooting him just to get even vis-a-vis Penny & Alex.
Just when you think all the still-living Losties have somehow learned their lesson and grown personally, Ben goes back to being Ben, at least on the island. His statement to Smoky about “who else do you want me to kill” was almost as chilling as him calling himself Henry Gale that first time. I didn’t trust him then and I don’t trust him know. Love him though!
Also, interesting to note that even in the revelations of both Smoky and Jacob, there’s still some level of uncertainty. Neither one is omniscient, just very, very powerful. I think there are still some compelling secrets to be revealed and at least one more double-back by one of the main players, likely Desmond.
Des’ part in the flash sideways is brilliant, by the way. He’s become so much more than that button-pushing, sweaty, Widmore lackey. Happy to see him keep pulling secrets out of his pockets and hopefully that continues on the island in the finale.
Jacob seemed to share some regret about “creating” Smoky (Very God and the Devil, don’t you think?
Widmore seemed at least a little penitent for playing his prior part in the island’s history (not that it stopped Ben from taking his revenge).
Sawyer regretted the choice (see above) he made about the bomb that ultimately led to Sayid’s death.
One of the most under-referenced themes of the show (or maybe I’m just tone-deaf) is folks doing things “for the island”.
I think a lot of those impulses come from a sense of duty and, some might put it, purpose.
Good to see Jack drink from the well of knowledge (Adam eating the apple?) and “be like Jacob” but also fun to see Ben accept his role.
Off island, I really dig Desmond getting the band back together and Hurley as one of the major driving forces. Weird to think that flash sideways Hurley would accept leadership more than island Hurley. Would’ve bet on the other way around. Good on ya, writers.
Other tiny bits:
Good to see Ana Lucia, but now I’m curious how Sawyer gets roped in. Maybe he goes to the concert with Miles after all.
Also happy to see Mira Furlan (Danielle) and Ben get domestic.
Tonight’s episode of Lost, Ab Aeterno, was unique for this season in a couple of ways: first, it was told in the familiar “flashback” style (being almost completely comprised of one, long flashback) and it featured Richard Alpert, who hasn’t been featured previously.
I don’t buy that the island is Hell, just as Purgatory has been debunked. Jacob dunked Richard in the water repeatedly to prove he was still alive and, save for Locke & Sayid, no one is dead (or undead).
Why did the prisoners need to speak English? Were they really headed to the New World? Was the shipwreck the event that spurred the creation of the Dharma Initiative or were the seeds of that organization planted before The Black Rock sailed? Who else feels vindicated in seeing Richard on The Black Rock?
What I think:
The Island as Garden of Eden
That’s not exactly right, but Jacob as some mixture of Old & New Testament God and The Man in Black as (obviously) The Devil makes a ton of sense.
The title of the episode also speaks to a place that is out of time or that has existed since before time.
There’s death on The Island, so we have Original Sin and a state of being after the Fall, but it’s apt enough.
I’m more convinced than ever that our characters eventually end up in the Flash Sideways. I think that the “reset” button worked in one sense but the consequences of that action – getting out of the Yin/Yang “game” between Jacob & The Man in Black has its consequences.
I think that, eventually, folks will have one last shot at choosing their fate (free will) before the realities synch up anyway (destiny).
Clear as mud? Good!
I had some other thoughts, but I’ve forgotten them (and my notes suck).