My Thoughts on the Season Finale of Lost aka Wherein My Readers Shout "Neeeeeeeeerrrrrd"Warning: Given that David Fury, veteran producer/writer of Buffy and Angel, decided to leave Lost because he found out its creators really didn't have a plan (which Damon and J.J. wholeheartedly deny), these speculations could be bunk. And why yes, I really should go out more.
Hmmmm, so what did the season finale of Lost hint at? A lost civilization (the four-toed statue) hidden from view from the rest of the world (due to the electromagnetic properties) located in reality in Antartica (remember the polar bear shot in the first season? And the chess-playing Russian in the snow station dudes at the end of the finale?) Oh yeah, let's not forget the whole Dharma initiative, the hints from the Hanso Foundation about social engineering and life extension projects, and a whole lot of mysticism. And from the first season, the plane crash and the miraculous healing.
Now let's take a look at Frank Capra's 1937 movie, "Lost Horizon" based upon the novel of the same name. Plane crashes into an idyllic land located within a frozen waste (the Himilayas) and hidden from the rest of the world by magical properties. A terminally ill passenger is miraculously healed. This idyllic land, Shangri-La, is ruled by the High Lama who claims to be a hundred years old, and is supposed to be a utopia (life extension and social engineering anyone?)
Oh yeah, the idyllic land is Shangri-la, which is really a bastardization of the Tibetan Buddhist term Shambhala (also spelled Shambala or Shamballa), a mystical kingdom hidden somewhere beyond the snowpeaks of the Himilayas. From wikipedia: "Shambhala is believed to be a society where all the inhabitants are enlightened . . . Shambhala to exist as a physical place, although only individuals with the appropriate karma can reach it and experience it as such." Another Buddhist concept is Dharma. Some regard it as an ultimate and transcendent truth which is utterly beyond worldly things. There's too many references to Buddhism for the connection between Dharma and the movie "Lost Horizon" to be just coincidence.
So basically "Lost" looks to be turning to "Lost Horizon," at least for inspiration. If that's so, then the following synopsis from wikipedia of "Lost Horizon" might be helpful:
"Fleeing unrest in China, a small group of airplane passengers is hijacked by the pilot. The plane eventually runs out of fuel and crashes deep in the Himalayas, killing the abductor. The group is rescued by Chang (H.B. Warner) and taken to Shangri-la, an idyllic valley sheltered from the cold. The contented inhabitants are led by the mysterious High Lama (Jaffe).
Initially anxious to return to "civilization", most of the newcomers grow to love the place, including academic Alexander Lovett (Edward Everett Horton), swindler Henry Barnard (Thomas Mitchell), and terminally ill Gloria Stone (Isabel Jewell), who miraculously seems to be recovering. High-ranking British diplomat Robert Conway (Colman) is also enchanted, particularly when he meets Sondra (Wyatt), who has grown up in Shangri-la. However, Conway's younger brother George (John Howard) and Maria (Margo), another beautiful woman they find there, are frantic to leave.
Conway eventually learns that his arrival was no accident. He was brought there by the High Lama to take his place. The founder of Shangri-la claims to be hundreds of years old, preserved, like the other residents, by the magical properties of the paradise he has created, but is finally dying and needs someone wise and knowledgeable in the ways of the modern world to keep it safe.
George refuses to believe the Lama's fantastic story and is backed up by Maria. Torn between love and loyalty, Conway reluctantly gives in to his brother and they leave, taking Maria with them. After several days of gruelling travel, she becomes exhausted and falls face down in the snow. When they turn her over, they discover that she has died...of extreme old age. Her departure from Shangri-la had restored Maria to her true age. Horrified, George loses his sanity and jumps to his death.
Conway continues on and eventually meets up with a search party sent to find him, though the ordeal has caused him to lose his memory of Shangri-la. On the voyage back to England, he remembers everything; he tells his story and then jumps ship. The searchers track him back to the Himalayas, but are unable to follow him any further. In the final scene, Conway returns to Shangri-la, to the waiting Sondra."
So "Lost" may be in essence a retelling of "Lost Horizon" (or at least heavily inspired by it this season). Each one of the characters had been fleeing from some sort of turmoil in his/her life. The hidden civilization, the references to life extension and social engineering, Buddhist traditions, even the whole plane crash.
Of course, Abrams is notorious for f'ing it all up in the third season, so let's hope he doesn't suddenly shift the whole plot like he did with Alias.