Lost: The Last Episodes (2010)

Composed by Michael Giacchino

After releasing music from only the first three quarters of Lost’s final season, Varese Sarabande quickly followed up with the last album. The Last Episodes album also contains two discs. The first contains an hour of material from the three pre-finale episodes, while the second is a full disc that focuses on the series finale itself. This album is a wonderful capstone to ten discs of music. It gets all of the major themes and motifs together for a rousing finale while still introducing a couple new melodies. I’ve already discussed my general feelings on the last season in my last review but I will reiterate that the last episodes of Lost contain a lot of engrossing material, but also a few unfortunate issues that are common throughout the finales of serialized television shows, especially in the realm of sci-fi and fantasy. Of course, regardless of any of the episodes’ quality, Giacchino delivers perhaps his best work.

Before getting into a fuller rundown, I’ll quickly review each section of the soundtrack. The first comes for “The Candidate,” one of my favorite episodes of the last season. It’s an action-packed episode full of gunfights and ticking time elements. As a result Giacchino really lets loose with this one, right out of the gate in “Cage Crashers.” There are a couple emotional pieces from the flash-sideways in “Shephard’s Why” and “Flew the Coop,” but the music from the episode is mostly concentrated into two lengthy action cues: “Sub-Primed” and SS Lost-Tanic.”

The second section covers “Across the Sea.” This episode goes far back into the island’s past and only sees the familiar characters in one flash-forward at the end. This episode answered some of the larger mysteries, and in disappointing fashion if I might so opine. Giacchino relies on pre-existing and new mystical themes for the ancient setting. Jacob and the Man in Black themes are the familiar identities. The main new theme is the Light theme (“Across the Sea”). This grand mystical theme suggests the island’s ancient history and also represents its special energy source. There are actually two variations of this theme, one more distant and grandiose and the other altered to also represent a family. The Light theme further plays a large part in the last episode. Surprisingly, despite over 20 minutes of available disc space, the album actually misses out on a sinister secondary motif that opens the episode.

Finally on the first disc there are eight tracks form the penultimate episode, “What They Died For.” This is the last calm before the storm and answers a couple questions about why the central cast has been drawn to the island. There are moments of suspense such as “Hide and Snitch,” but it’s mostly softer emotional material. Also, as the wind-up for the big finale, there is more classic iterations of the main Lost theme in “The Four Amigos” and more importantly in “What They Died For.” The excitement for the finale itself is amped up in “Get Out of Jail Free Card,” an extended presentation of the Flashes theme.

Then there is the simply titled “The End.” The music for the finale, as said several times throughout my reviews, ties everything together. It also stands very well on its own as a cinematic score. Unlike season three’s complete release of its finale score, there are no dull or unwarranted selections on this disc. Every track is dripping with high drama, emotional climax, or pure action excitement. I definitely favor the on-island material, where Giacchino gets in his most epic action and suspense material. “The Hole Shabang” and “Aloha” are the real bangers here. Giacchino also manages to create one final theme. The Finale theme, built around five-note segments, suggests the dark results should the heroes fail in their final mission and also ties in to the Light theme. There is also one little extension for Jack’s main theme, a descending five-note ditty that adds a final layer of emotional resolution for the character’s arc.

The music from the flash-sideways scenes are also wonderful. As characters connect in this reality, their themes swell up, often with the assistance of the Flashes and/or Oceanic Six theme. Then there are “Closure” and “Moving On,” the final, lengthy emotional resolutions. The first of these two gives the final appearances of certain favorite character themes while the latter fittingly brings together the Lost, Life and Death, and Oceanic Six themes. The last scene of the show is cheesy and to many fans not so good, but Giacchino knows how to end his hours upon hours of music.

“The End” was rightly nominated for an Emmy. Shockingly it lost out to the last episode of 24’s eight season run (as fate would have it both shows, hallmarks in addictive serialized storytelling, ended within a day of each other). Now Sean Callery’s music for the finale of 24 is pretty good and it’s a shame his music for the show overall never got a proper amount of album releases, but Giacchino’s music is much more thematically and emotionally deep. I think a side-by-side comparison would favor Lost. The voters at these awards shows have a tendency to favor industrial or minimalist scores out of some misplaced sense of artsiness, but I digress.

Now on to the rundown. “Cage-Crashers” is a short cue that immediately slams the listener with an aggressive version of Locke’s Spiritual theme. The Final Group theme heroically appears right afterwards. “Shephard’s Why” is a brief one minute breather with the main Mystery and Alternate Hurley themes. “Sub-Primed” misleadingly starts with Alternate Jack’s theme on piano. Over 30 seconds in the action starts with one of Giacchino’s trademark rhythms. The heroes’ trip to the sub is represented by the Lost theme (1:17). Giacchino again scores the sub with his U-boat theme from the Medal of Honor series (1:50). Furious statements of Locke’s Spiritual theme join a series of equally furious rhythms during the heat of a gun fight. Over five minutes in Locke’s theme takes a more subdued stance as the heroes get settled into the sub with Jack’s suspense motif and metallic percussion. Tense notes at the end reveal a new threat.

“SS Lost-Tanic” starts with a repetitive tense rhythm during a countdown sequence. The strings intensify and then cut off. Around 35 seconds in tense strings bring in an action rhythm based off of Locke’s Spiritual theme. Trombones and metallic percussion add to the noise. The Destiny motif builds into a swelling emotional moment that is positively James Hornereseque (1:32). The sub’s peril is scored with the Sub theme backed by more of the Locke-based action rhythm (2:45). At 3:24 the Oceanic Six theme returns. After Jack’s Suspense motif adds a further element of danger, the Life and Death theme reflects on the consequences of the action scenes. “Flew the Coop” calmly concludes “The Candidate” cues with Alternate Locke’s theme.

“Across the Sea” starts with a track of the same name. The Light theme appears softly on piano and then on strings. Action and suspense takes over halfway through as two characters chase a boar and run into an unexpected sight. “Don’t Look at the Light” first focuses on primal suspense with the family variation of the Light theme (somewhat obscured at 0:48 and more fully at 1:10). Halfway through lush strings introduce a swelling version of the Light theme for a reveal that caused some derision among viewers. “A Brother’s Quarrel” starts with parts of the Light theme and takes a dark turn with deep strings. The Light theme covers the rest of the track.

“Make Like a Tree” reintroduces the Man in Black theme. After another phrase of the Light theme, Giacchino gets into suspense around the two minute mark. Synthesizers add an ethereal feel to a dark iteration of the Light theme. The Light theme is joined by slow percussion as the tension in the scene escalates. There is a brief moment of tenderness but the cue ends with a creepy swell. “Mother of a Plan” starts with a suspense motif often associated with the tension between Jacob and the Man in Black. Over a minute in Jacob’s theme finally makes a statement on drawn out, stagnated strings. The Light theme once again becomes the central focus (1:37). At 3:59 the scene changes with a tragic piano version of the Man in Black theme. This builds into a dramatic string version (4:51).

“Mother of Sorrows” starts as a calm mystical piece before a tense flourish. The Man in Black’s scene appears on sinister synthesizers at 1:39 before turning into the tragic version from the previous cue. Brief action takes over at 2:45 with the Smoke Monster Attack motif. The episode closes out with “Love is Stronger Than Death.” This mostly consists of tender statements of the family variation of the Light theme. Overall this section of music is markedly different from the rest of the score. It’s pretty great and appropriate. The paucity of established thematic material outside of the Man in Black theme did help make this episode stick out like a sore thumb from the rest of the series. It drove in how the connection to the main cast kept viewers watching.

“What They Died For” starts in the flash-sideways with “Cereal Experience.” This presents Alternate Claire’s theme and then a somewhat lamenting variation of the Flashes theme before shifting to the island with Jack’s theme. “The Four Amigos” brings back a classic Lost cue with the Lost theme. This piece played after the series’ very first commercial break and was unreleased until this reprise. This time it ends on a sinister note as the characters vow revenge on the main villain. Fragments of the Life and Death theme start “Walk and Talk and Aah!” Jacob’s theme leads to a brief percussive chase piece. “Hide and Snitch” has its own unique little suspense motif. The Smoke Monster’s original theme from the very first episode churns away with the suspense motif and a Ben’s theme. Ben’s Alternate theme features in “A Better Ben.” The suspense motif form the previous track brings us back to the island with more dark material.

“What They Died For” starts mysteriously with a variation on Jacob’s theme. The mystery is temporarily broken at 1:12 by the Oceanic Six theme, but returns with the Light and Jacob themes. One of the original characters makes a choice with the starkly nostalgic help of the Lost theme (2:57). “Jack’s Cup Runneth Over” introduces a Passing of the Torch variation of Jacob’s theme that builds into the full theme. “Get Out of Jail Free Card” starts with an emotional fragment of Jack’s theme and then gets into the lengthiest presentation of the Flashes theme. The Flashes theme builds in excitement to a rousing and optimistic conclusion. Hurley’s comic motif makes a noticeable appearance at 2:08.

This brings us to the show’s finale itself. The stage is set by the LAX theme in “Parallelocam,” a moment of emotional reflection. The album takes some time to get to the on-island action, finally reaching it with the Hollywood and Vines Trek theme in “The Stick With Me Speech.” (2:24) It was only natural that this popular theme would be brought in for the final episode. The album goes right back to the flash-sideways with the first of many Flashes scenes and I think I’ll just list them all together. As stated earlier they often use the Oceanic Six and/or the Flashes theme in conjunction with the relevant character’s theme. “Ultrasonic Flash” focuses on Sun & Jin’s theme with a more fully-fledged presentation of the Oceanic Six theme. “Dysfunctional Setup” starts somberly with Sayid’s theme and after a brief suspense moment brings in the rare Sayid & Shannon theme (after the minute mark). This melody was only present for one episode in season two and is basically a major key alteration of Kate’s theme.

“Our Lady of Perpetual Labor” is the most notable of these cues. There’s some real suspense as Alternate Claire goes into labor at a concert. Things resolve calmly with Aaron’s theme (1:09) before it transitions into the Oceanic Six theme after the two minute mark. The Oceanic Six theme then swells again into a full performance. Claire’s theme ends the cue in a gorgeous cello moment with accompaniment by the Flashes theme (3:42). “Can’t Keep Locke Down” focuses on Alternate Locke’s theme, then switches over to the character’s original emotional theme when he has flashes of the island. “We Can Go Dutch” is essentially a fresh orchestration of season three’s “Ocean’s Apart.” I’ll get to the rest of the flash-sideways material at the album’s conclusion.

“Fly by Dire” is a neat one minute cue that utilizes the Final Group and Hollywood and Vines theme. After an intro with the Flashes theme, “Down the Hobbit Hole” brings back the severely underrepresented secondary Trek theme (0:52). As a group of characters approach the Heart of the Island, Giacchino finally introduces the Finale theme (2:05) amidst statements of the Light theme. Desmond’s theme also makes a dramatic statement here (3:08). “The Well of Holes” starts with suspense textures, along with low-key iterations of Locke and the Oceanic Six themes. At 1:15 the Finale theme ushers in parts of the Light theme and an excited section with tropical percussion and a one-off melody. The Finale theme closes out the track in dramatic fashion for a callback camera shot. “Pulling Out All the Stops” is where hell (perhaps literally) breaks loose. The Light theme builds into a long note that itself concludes in a series of harsh trombones and creepy strings.

“Blood From a Locke” is a very short cue with Jack’s Suspense motif and a dissonant, metallic iteration of the Finale theme. “If a Tree Falls” picks up the apocalyptic strains with more of the Finale theme in the first minute. The second portion is the only cue on the disc to use the main Mystery theme (1:31). “Locke V. Jack” is the hero-against-villain cue. Giacchino makes the most of this brief fight. Aggressive trombones mix with frenetic strings. The Lost theme makes a strained appearance as the action nears its conclusion (1:11). Around 1:30 the music slows into basic suspense before a melodramatic statement of the Man in Black theme.

The danger isn’t resolved. “The Long Kiss Goodbye” starts with strains of the Finale theme and a menacing statement of the Man in Black theme (0:42). There is finally a breather at 1:20 with the Oceanic Six theme. At 1:55 the Final Group theme plays as the heroes come up with their latest plan. After a suspenseful interlude with the Finale theme we get a wonderful moment where the Lost theme (3:40) goes through a full performance and climaxes with the latest development of Jack’s theme (4:40). “Hurley’s Coronation” is another emotional powerhouse. A gorgeous melody brings in Jack’s theme again. Jacob’s theme manages to get in one final playthrough with synthesizers driving home a mystical moment (1:26).

“The Hole Shabang” is the action finale. The Finale theme harrowingly starts it off. After some non-thematic suspense Desmond’s theme makes its last appearance (1:38). The tensions picks back up with an action version of the Lost theme (2:25). A brief piano bit intrudes only for the action to resume with the Lost and Destiny themes (3:35). The Finale theme reaches its most dramatic heights, closing out with faltering, sad strings. The Destiny theme leads into a nail biting action variation of the long absent Raft theme (6:11). The tension is finally relieved by a triumphant statement of the same theme. “Aloha” is an incredible short track with the most uplifting, triumphal statement of the Lost theme in the entire show. I’m not lying when I say that this one cue is still capable of giving me goosebumps. It has such a sense of resolution, though for the last time in the show Giacchino ends things on a suspenseful note with a final statement of the Light theme.

What follows next are “Closure” and “Moving On,” two lengthy pieces that resolve the emotional threads. Lodged in between is the short “Jumping Jack’s Flash,” a simple reprise of the Oceanic Six theme. “Closure” is about dealing with loose character threads. The LAX theme briefly opens before transitioning into small portions of the Lost and Jack themes. Ben and Locke’s arcs are resolved with their themes starting at 0:44 and 2:42 respectively. Ben’s theme has lost all its inherent menace while Locke’s is suitably triumphant. The Lost theme (3:12) segues into two of Hurley’s themes. After more of the Lost theme Ben’s theme gets a final brief play (5:20). The eerie synthesizer motif from season three’s “Flash Forward Flashback” returns as Jack is the last character in the flash-sideways to remember his island life. His theme takes its time closing out the cue. “Moving On” is the final piece, a reflective cue that brings in the major emotional identities: the Life and Death, Oceanic Six, and Main themes, along with a couple character themes. The Life and Death theme starts up, but its second phrase is replaced by more of Jack’s theme. At 2:05 the Oceanic Six theme appears yet again, first on soft piano, then on warm strings. Of course it swells up again as all the characters are reunited. Hurley’s main theme, a fan favorite, gets to appear here with some cello embellishments (3:52). It actually goes on for a good two plus minutes. At 6:06 hints of the Raft theme merge with the second phrase of the Lost theme. The Life and Death theme makes one final appearance with the rhythm from the Oceanic Six theme and pieces of the Lost theme. The customarily sad Life and Death theme is happy here. The final track is “Parting Words (Drive Shaft)” a rock concert arrangement of “Parting Words” that partly appears diagetically in the flash-sideways.

Lost: the Last Episodes is a thrilling climax to six years of music. For one who’s watched the show, I can say that finishing this album, especially after going through the entire set of scores, can leave one with a feeling of finality (or post-series depression). Whatever one might think of how the show ended, Giacchino succeeded wonderfully in bringing his part to an end. With only a few hours left he was able to create some wholly new great themes (the Light theme is the winner here) and turn what were originally simple drama melodies into epic moments. It’s also not often that a TV show can provide such a series of memorable and easily identifiable themes. It will be a while, if ever, that a television score will replicate his success.

Rating: 10/10

 

Tracklisting

Disc One

  1. Cage Cashers (0:45)
  2. Shephard’s Why (1:08)
  3. Sub-Primed (6:33)
  4. SS Lost-Tanic (6:56)
  5. Flew the Coop (2:06)
  6. Across the Sea (1:54)
  7. Don’t Look at the Light (3:31)
  8. A Brother’s Quarrel (2:58)
  9. Make Like a Tree (6:10)
  10. Mother of a Plan (5:14)
  11. Mother of Sorrows (3:56)
  12. Love is Stronger than Death (2:51)
  13. Cereal Experience (2:25)
  14. The Four Amigos (1:13)
  15. Walk and Talk and Aah! (2:31)
  16. Hide and Snitch (3:00)
  17. A Better Ben (1:56)
  18. What They Died For (3:30)
  19. Jack’s Cup Runneth Over (1:41)
  20. Get Out of Jail Free Card (3:10)

 

Disc Two

  1. Parallelocam (3:23)
  2. Leaver-Age (1:10)
  3. The Stick With Me Speech (3:05)
  4. Ultrasonic Flash (2:52)
  5. Fly by Dire (0:52)
  6. Down the Hobbit Hole (4:34)
  7. Dysfunctional Setup (2:15)
  8. The Well of Holes (3:21)
  9. Pulling Out All the Stops (2:28)
  10. Blood from a Locke (0:33)
  11. Our Lady of Perpetual Labor (4:35)
  12. If a Tree Falls (2:56)
  13. Locke V. Jack (2:21)
  14. Can’t Keep Locke Down (2:51)
  15. The Long Kiss Goodbye (5:29)
  16. We Can Go Dutch (2:28)
  17. Kate Flashes Jack (1:13)
  18. Hurley’s Coronation (2:47)
  19. The Hole Shabang (7:29)
  20. Aloha (1:12)
  21. Closure (8:08)
  22. Jumping Jack’s Flash (0:56)
  23. Moving On (7:53)
  24. Parting Words (Drive Shaft) (3:32) – Bonus Track

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s