in Television Reviews

My Take on the LOST Series Finale

I want to preface this post by pointing out that I am a huge LOST fan. I discovered the show midway through its second season, and from there on, eagerly waited for every episode to come out so that I could download it, watch it, theorise about it, discuss it with people online (lostpedia, darkUFO), then mourn the lack of LOST for another week. What I am trying to say, is that LOST is a big deal to me.

I don’t want to spoil the show for anyone, so please, if you haven’t seen it, don’t read on. You might want to watch it one day, and this will ruin it for you.

THE REST OF THIS IS FULL OF SPOILERS

So where can you start with a finale like that? The internet is buzzing with people who’d watched the show from start to finish, furious that there were next to no answers in the finale. I must say, my first reaction was, “WHAT?” It took me a while to digest everything that happened in the last 15 minutes. I was initally unsatisfied. I went to bed that night somewhat upset. I needed to see it again. LOST means too much to me to be a little disappointed with the finale.

So with the hindsight of a second viewing, I’d like to point out what an absolutely stellar episode it was. From the images of our beloved LOSTies at the start, both on the island and off, accompanied by that beautiful music, to the epic struggle (and that superman punch that never happened – anyone else notice that?), to the cascading realisations, to the heartfelt Hurley moments, to that wicked twist of an ending… it was really superb. The acting in that show is unmatched, in my opinion. Watching 2 hours of these actors giving it their all, pulling on our heart strings like that, it makes you wonder why movies rely on such a select bunch of “a-grade” actors. Almost all of the LOST cast were unknown before it. Terry O’Quinn might just be my favourite actor at the moment. Or maybe it’s just that Locke was such an awesome character. Michael Emerson as Ben, too. But the real standout of this episode, in my eyes, was Jorge Garcia, aka. Hurley. The scene where he refuses to understand how Jack was going to “make it out” to the realisation that he wasn’t going to, followed by the welling up in the eyes, was perfection. I loved it. The look on his face when Charlie opened the door for him in the “alternate timeline” made my eyes well up with joy.

Anyway, about the outcome.  The whole twist was that the “alternate timeline”, which we were led to believe was running side by side with the original “island” timeline after the bomb was detonated, turned out to be some sort of pre-afterlife meeting place for all our LOSTies. The religious overtones were hurting me, but then I guess the whole show has been pretty religious from the second season on.

My understanding of it is that:

1. Oceanic 815 crashed on this island (because Desmond didn’t push the button when he ran off chasing his buddy from the hatch)

2. All the crazy things that happened on the island were real (but most of it wasn’t explained )

3. The time travel was all real, as were the flashbacks and flashforwards.

4. The flash-sideways timeline (or now, afterlife-timeline) isn’t real. It was made by all the Losties so that they could find each other and collectively move on.

The thing that hurt a lot of fans is that all the crazy mystical stuff that happened on the island wasn’t explained. In fact, the series finale only gave closure to the “afterlife timeline” mechanic, which had only been introduced in the last season! Cuse and Lindeloff introduced the “afterlife timeline” at the start of season 6 with no intention of using it to answer questions or affect the original timeline, but instead used it to distract us all, then make IT the final twist, which is frustrating to say the least.

My take on it is that it’s perhaps a nod to the fans. What I mean is, if we are able to “let go” of the idea we had the whole time that all these questions and mysteries were going to be answered in one blockbuster mindblowing finale, then we will be able to truly remember and enjoy the time we had with the LOSTies on the island.

That’s my take on it, that’s what I am holding on to. The show meant a lot to me; it was 6 years of my life, and there’s no way I am going to let it go to waste. I participated in all of the online side-stories – “Hanso Foundation” etc..

I now think that it was a good idea NOT to answer all of the mysterious questions with scientific answers. “WHY?!?!” you may ask. Because it would have ruined all the theories and mysteriousness that we loved the show for in the first place! Here’s an example. Go back to “Across the Sea” – the episode featuring the Jacob/Man in Black backstories.

I think the LOST community collectively hated that episode. I know I did. They’d talked up Jacob so much for at least 3 seasons… I wanted the back story BIG TIME, and then they gave it to us… and they couldn’t sastisfy us. It was a massive let down to find that there was nothing particularly supernatural about the two and there wasn’t a big Angel vs. Demon or God vs Satan battle… they were just brothers given a gift by their “mother”. If they did this with all the Dharma shenanigans and the other mystical stuff, we’d ultimately be let down, and probably have no fond memories of the show!

All I can say to those who were disappointed is to wait for the box set in August, get yourself a copy of the lostpedia bible, and go through the whole series again. It won’t be a frivolous activity. Hey, an even better idea is to find a LOST virgin, and sit them down at the TV with you, and re-watch the show vicariously through them! I think you’ll find that while you explain as much as you can to your new LOST-buddy, you realise that most of the questions you want answered actually are – while retaining their mystery, too!

I am honestly able to say that I enjoyed the entire series, finale inclusive. I would’ve loved explicit answers, but I think the right decision was made in the end. I watched a couple of pivotal episodes, and some questions are answered (not explicitly) if you listen and look hard enough (in the right places).

Long live LOST, the greatest show to ever grace the silver screen!

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15 Comments

  1. That’s all nice and I don’t mind that all the little mysteries stay unsolved but I need answers about the final episode…

    I’m trying to figure out this ‘flash sideways/after life’ timeline. What I gathered from it was that it was a meeting place for them to see each other once they had died and to move on to the ‘after life’ together. But then I don’t get why Jack was the last person to arrive. Christian said they were ‘waiting’ for him, as if to say they were waiting for him to die. But he clearly died BEFORE Kate, so what did Christian mean?

    I take it Michael wasn’t in the reunion because he couldn’t ‘move on’ because he had done bad things during his life but what about WAAAAAAALT, ana lucia, the pilot, miles, richard, mr eko, rousseau, daniel faraday/whitmore whatever his name is, charlotte.. and all the other characters who had smaller parts… why weren’t they there? Were they not dead yet? Or did they meet up in a different after life with their families or people who meant more to them than the LOSTies?

    Why didn’t Ben go into the church? Was he going to find new candidates? Or wasn’t he ready to move on?

    What do you think happened to the island? Is it still there? Who is protecting the ‘light’?

    Why did Locke say Jack doesn’t have a son? His son was in the flashbacks, wasn’t he? If he wasn’t then did Jack just make up that he had a son to resolve his daddy issues?

    What’s up with Juliet and Jack being married, I don’t get that..

    Why did they show Jack’s eye from Season 1 close? They didn’t all die as soon as the plane crashed… did they? That couldn’t be right because if they did then they wouldn’t all be friends, but strangers on a plane. So what was up with that? Was it just a way to close the show?

  2. Every person has their own “afterlife” place. They were “waiting” for Jack to realise where he was. Kate was “waiting for so long” because she had been waiting to die.

    The people who were in the church were the people that meant the most to Jack. It was HIS afterlife place. Plus Walt wasn’t there because he’s no 7 feet tall and looks nothing like what he did on the island, which is the whole point; they looked how Jack remembered them.

    Ben wasn’t there because he had a chance to be with his “daughter” so he decided to continue in that world and wasn’t ready to move on.

    Island’s still there. Hurley is kicking back protecting it until he dies, then I assume someone else comes and takes over.

    Yes, Jack just made it up to resolve his Daddy issues.

    Juliet+Jack, that’s all just made up by Jack’s mind after he died.

    The eye was just a nice way to end the show; to end it how it started.

  3. That just made me more confused. So you’re telling me that was JACK’S after life place (the church) and that Kate’s after life could be totally different to that? That it was all in his dead, so all those people in the church weren’t actually dead? Cause you said Hurley is still alive, protecting the island…

    I don’t like this! I thought they were all dead and all waited for each other in limbo (flash sideways) while they all died so that they could all meet up in the church and move on together. In which case, Hurley couldn’t be protecting the island because he is dead. Christian said to jack that some may have died before him or long after him. Which is implying they are all dead now…

  4. They are all dead! Christian also said “there is no ‘now’, here” meaning there is no concept of time in the afterlife. Forget who died first, they’re all dead now.

    They had to find each other to move on together.

    “Live together, die alone”

    Here’s the best explanation, found on lostmediamentions this is some guy from Bad Robot (the company that produced Lost) amazing post:

    Good stuff on here! I can finally throw in my two cents! I’ve had to bite my tongue for far too long. Also, hopefully I can answer some of John’s questions about Dharma and the “pointless breadcrumbs” that really, weren’t so pointless …

    First …
    The Island:

    It was real. Everything that happened on the island that we saw throughout the 6 seasons was real. Forget the final image of the plane crash, it was put in purposely to f*&k with people’s heads and show how far the show had come. They really crashed. They really survived. They really discovered Dharma and the Others. The Island keeps the balance of good and evil in the world. It always has and always will perform that role. And the Island will always need a “Protector”. Jacob wasn’t the first, Hurley won’t be the last. However, Jacob had to deal with a malevolent force (MIB) that his mother, nor Hurley had to deal with. He created the devil and had to find a way to kill him — even though the rules prevented him from actually doing so.

    Thus began Jacob’s plan to bring candidates to the Island to do the one thing he couldn’t do. Kill the MIB. He had a huge list of candidates that spanned generations. Yet everytime he brought people there, the MIB corrupted them and caused them to kill one another. That was until Richard came along and helped Jacob understand that if he didn’t take a more active role, then his plan would never work.

    Enter Dharma — which I’m not sure why John is having such a hard time grasping. Dharma, like the countless scores of people that were brought to the island before, were brought there by Jacob as part of his plan to kill the MIB. However, the MIB was aware of this plan and interferred by “corrupting” Ben. Making Ben believe he was doing the work of Jacob when in reality he was doing the work of the MIB. This carried over into all of Ben’s “off-island” activities. He was the leader. He spoke for Jacob as far as they were concerned. So the “Others” killed Dharma and later were actively trying to kill Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley and all the candidates because that’s what the MIB wanted. And what he couldn’t do for himself.

    Dharma was originally brought in to be good. But was turned bad by MIB’s corruption and eventually destroyed by his pawn Ben. Now, was Dharma only brought there to help Jack and the other Canditates on their overall quest to kill Smokey? Or did Jacob have another list of Canidates from the Dharma group that we were never aware of? That’s a question that is purposley not answered because whatever answer the writers came up with would be worse than the one you come up with for yourself. Still … Dharma’s purpose is not “pointless” or even vague. Hell, it’s pretty blantent.

    Still, despite his grand plan, Jacob wanted to give his “candidates” (our Lostaways) the one thing he, nor his brother, were ever afforded: free will. Hence him bringing a host of “candidates” through the decades and letting them “choose” which one would actually do the job in the end. Maybe he knew Jack would be the one to kill Flocke and that Hurley would be the protector in the end. Maybe he didn’t. But that was always the key question of the show: Fate vs Free-will. Science vs Faith. Personally I think Jacob knew from the beginning what was going to happen and that everyone played a part over 6 seasons in helping Jack get to the point where he needed to be to kill Smokey and make Hurley the protector — I know that’s how a lot of the writers viewed it. But again, they won’t answer that (nor should they) because that ruins the fun.

    In the end, Jack got to do what he always wanted to do from the very first episode of the show: Save his fellow Lostaways. He got Kate and Sawyer off the island and he gave Hurley the purpose in life he’d always been missing. And, in Sideways world (which we’ll get to next) he in fact saved everyone by helping them all move on …

    Now…

    Sideways World:

    Sideways world is where it gets really cool in terms of theology and metaphysical discussion (for me at least — because I love history/religion theories and loved all the talks in the writer’s room about it). Basically what the show is proposing is that we’re all linked to certain people during our lives. Call them soulmates (though it’s not exactly the best word). But these people we’re linked to are with us duing “the most important moments of our lives” as Christian said. These are the people we move through the universe with from lifetime to lifetime. It’s loosely based in Hinduisim with large doses of western religion thrown into the mix.

    The conceit that the writers created, basing it off these religious philosophies, was that as a group, the Lostaways subconsciously created this “sideways” world where they exist in purgatory until they are “awakened” and find one another. Once they all find one another, they can then move on and move forward. In essence, this is the show’s concept of the afterlife. According to the show, everyone creates their own “Sideways” purgatory with their “soulmates” throughout their lives and exist there until they all move on together. That’s a beautiful notion. Even if you aren’t religious or even spirtual, the idea that we live AND die together is deeply profound and moving.

    It’s a really cool and spirtual concept that fits the whole tone and subtext the show has had from the beginning. These people were SUPPOSED to be together on that plane. They were supposed to live through these events — not JUST because of Jacob. But because that’s what the universe or God (depending on how religious you wish to get) wanted to happen. The show was always about science vs faith — and it ultimately came down on the side of faith. It answered THE core question of the series. The one question that has been at the root of every island mystery, every character backstory, every plot twist. That, by itself, is quite an accomplishment.

    How much you want to extrapolate from that is up to you as the viewer. Think about season 1 when we first found the Hatch. Everyone thought that’s THE answer! Whatever is down there is the answer! Then, as we discovered it was just one station of many. One link in a very long chain that kept revealing more, and more of a larger mosiac.

    But the writer’s took it even further this season by contrasting this Sideways “purgatory” with the Island itself. Remember when Michael appeared to Hurley, he said he was not allowed to leave the Island. Just like the MIB. He wasn’t allowed into this sideways world and thus, was not afforded the opportunity to move on. Why? Because he had proven himself to be unworthy with his actions on the Island. He failed the test. The others, passed. They made it into Sideways world when they died — some before Jack, some years later. In Hurley’s case, maybe centuries later. They exist in this sideways world until they are “awakened” and they can only move on TOGETHER because they are linked. They are destined to be together for eternity. That was their destiny.

    They were NOT linked to Anna Lucia, Daniel, Roussou, Alex, Miles, Lupidis, (and all the rest who weren’t in the chuch — basically everyone who wasn’t in season 1). Yet those people exist in Sideways world. Why? Well again, here’s where they leave it up to you to decide. The way I like to think about it, is that those people who were left behind in Sideways world have to find their own soulmates before they can wake up. It’s possible that those links aren’t people from the island but from their other life (Anna’s parnter, the guy she shot — Roussou’s husband, etc etc).

    A lot of people have been talking about Ben and why he didn’t go into the Church. And if you think of Sideways world in this way, then it gives you the answer to that very question. Ben can’t move on yet because he hasn’t connected with the people he needs to. It’s going to be his job to awaken Roussou, Alex, Anna Lucia (maybe), Ethan, Goodspeed, his father and the rest. He has to attone for his sins more than he did by being Hurley’s number two. He has to do what Hurley and Desmond did for our Lostaways with his own people. He has to help them connect. And he can only move on when all the links in his chain are ready to. Same can be said for Faraday, Charlotte, Whidmore, Hawkins etc. It’s really a neat, and cool concept. At least to me.

    But, from a more “behind the scenes” note: the reason Ben’s not in the church, and the reason no one is in the church but for Season 1 people is because they wrote the ending to the show after writing the pilot. And never changed it. The writers always said (and many didn’t believe them) that they knew their ending from the very first episode. I applaud them for that. It’s pretty fantastic. Originally Ben was supposed to have a 3 episode arc and be done. But he became a big part of the show. They could have easily changed their ending and put him in the church — but instead they problem solved it. Gave him a BRILLIANT moment with Locke outside the church … and then that was it. I loved that. For those that wonder — the original ending started the moment Jack walked into the church and touches the casket to Jack closing his eyes as the other plane flies away. That was always JJ’s ending. And they kept it.

    For me the ending of this show means a lot. Not only because I worked on it, but because as a writer it inspired me in a way the medium had never done before. I’ve been inspired to write by great films. Maybe too many to count. And there have been amazing TV shows that I’ve loved (X-Files, 24, Sopranos, countless 1/2 hour shows). But none did what LOST did for me. None showed me that you could take huge risks (writing a show about faith for network TV) and stick to your creative guns and STILL please the audience. I learned a lot from the show as a writer. I learned even more from being around the incredible writers, producers, PAs, interns and everyone else who slaved on the show for 6 years.

    In the end, for me, LOST was a touchstone show that dealt with faith, the afterlife, and all these big, spirtual questions that most shows don’t touch. And to me, they never once waivered from their core story — even with all the sci-fi elements they mixed in. To walk that long and daunting of a creative tightrope and survive is simply astounding.

  5. Okay I like this!

    One more question. How did Jacob get all the candidates on the same plane together and if Desmond was the one who made them crash on the island by not pressing the button (like you said) then how did Jacob plan on bringing them to the island. Was it something about him “touching” them in the flashbacks…

  6. Esteban is talking about how like for real, if you grew up during the Reagan years, Donkey Kong Jr. was like The Matrix, The Communist Manifesto, and the day you discovered masturbation all rolled into one.
    It changed the way you looked at the world, man

  7. I love it how sawyer was like
    VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV
    *ACTIVATE SLOWMO*
    Lights blur and bullets whiz past as the
    camera shakes like a thai hooker being fucked by a shark as your rifle explodes
    with a cacophony of horror and your arms are blown off in streaming meaty chunks

  8. total katatoniq.
    was kind of disapointed…
    i just finish now saw the entire seasons 3-4-5-6 in 2 weeks!!!!