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See You in Another Life: Thoughts on The Series Finale of Lost

"No one can tell you why you're here."

I'm of two minds (and two hearts) about the two-and-a-half hour series finale of Lost ("The End"), written by Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse and directed by Jack Bender, which brought a finality to the story of the passengers of Oceanic Flight 815 and the characters with which we've spent six years.

At its heart, Lost has been about the two bookends of the human existence, birth and death, and the choices we make in between. Do we choose to live together or die alone? Can we let go of our past traumas to become better people? When we have nothing else left to give, can we make the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good?

In that sense, the series finale of Lost brought to a close the stories of the crash survivors and those who joined them among the wreckage over the course of more than 100 days on the island (and their return), offering up a coda to their lives and their deaths, a sort of purgatory for found, rather than lost souls.

But it's that very ending that's dividing viewers. For some it was a somber and lyrical ending, but for others (myself including), I found it to be sentimental and cliched, as Lindelof and Cuse offered up the very plot contrivance that they fought so hard not to fall into in the island-set storyline.

My broad thoughts about the divisive nature of the ending can be read over here at The Daily Beast, but I also want to dive deeper into the specifics of "The End" and the symbolism of its ending as well.

So how did I feel about the series finale of Lost? Let's make our way to the church, open the coffin one last time, and discuss "The End."

I tried to lower my expectations when it came to Lost's series finale. I'd been burned somewhat by quite a few episodes this season and majorly by the two exposition dump episodes, "Ab Aeterno" and "Across the Sea," which seemed to point towards Lindelof and Cuse's way at the very tail end of Lost's journey to providing answers to the many swirling mysteries that have become intrinsically linked to Lost's narrative over six seasons.

Those episodes, particularly "Across the Sea," seemed to signify the answers that would be given here to the questions that Lindelof and Cuse thought were most vital: who were Jacob and the Man in Black? What was their relationship? What is the island and what is the duty of the protector? Just what is he protecting? How did the Nameless One become a murderous pillar of black smoke? We got answers to those questions but so many others fell by the wayside.

Cuse and Lindelof have been upfront about the fact that they wanted to answer the questions that were important to the Losties, not necessarily the audience. Why pregnant women were dying, who built the statue, what the Source really was, why Walt was "special," etc. weren't part of that equation.

I'm all right with that. I wasn't expecting Lost to tie up loose ends about these long-dangling plot threads or delve into an eleventh hour introduction of Alvar Hanso or the Dharma Initiative's status in the present day. I didn't go into "The End" expecting answers, really. Nor did I need them: Lost has chugged along for six years on the brainpower of its devoted viewers, for whom the mysteries have provided all manner of puzzle. Leaving these things ambiguous leaves the door open for further thought and analysis, for further conjecture and discussion. For all of the things that we who watch Lost have loved doing.

But what depressed me about the series finale was that it veered towards the Feel Good Ending as lovers reunited, mothers gave birth to sons, and friends hugged one another in a church that had a stained glass window decorated with symbols of many of the world's religions... before the crowd--which included most (but not all) of the many diverse characters that have been the focus of Lost over the years.

Many viewers have struggled this season with the late-to-the-game introduction of the Lost-X timeline, or the Sideways world, and how it connected to the narrative of the island and what was unfolding there. In the end, while what happened on the island had huge significance to what happened in that world, the reverse wasn't true. This world wasn't a world at all, nor a divergent timeline that explored what happened when the castaways didn't crash on the island. It wasn't a prism through which to explore their early days and what might have been.

It was, in the end, an epilogue of sorts. An epilogue of the most final kind. This world was a self-created purgatory for the passengers of Oceanic Flight 815 and their loved ones, a place were they could repeat old patterns (with one significant change) before being pulled together once again by bonds of fate.

Like Desmond, we were wrong about the nature of this place: it wasn't an alternative universe, it wasn't an earthly escape from the pain and loss that many of the castaways had suffered through, but a heavenly one. A celestial kingdom where the dead could finally let go of the issues that had plagued them in life and cast off those repeating patterns, finally accepting their death so they could move on to a true afterlife, joined by those they loved in life.

Which is fine on a thematic level, even if I didn't feel as though the Lost-X timeline had earned that ending. It was purgatory, after all, which Lindelof and Cuse had promised the island would never be and it felt like a cheap trick for that very reason. Yes, the series dealt with life and death in so many ways but the symbolism of those final scenes at the church just felt too easy and pat: after all of your struggles, your death isn't the end but the start of a party with all of your friends and family. It seemed to cast off much of the more challenging Dharma-oriented principles to offer up a glossy Judeo-Christian take on the afterlife.

Which, to me, might be the ending that people wanted but it wasn't what I needed. Yes, death is an inevitability for us all, even these characters, who all made their way here eventually and stood on yet another precipice. (Even Hurley and newly installed second-in-command Benjamin Linus, eventually freed from their duties at some point down the line, turned up here.)

To me, the end of Lost's narrative is the final scene of Jack in the bamboo grove, his story having come full-circle to the place where it began, a lone sneaker dangling solemnly from a bamboo tree, its laces now rotten and old where once they were new. Time might heal all wounds but it's also a killer. Laying down his burdens where the series began, Jack stares up at the sky to see the plane--carrying Kate, Sawyer, Claire, Lapidus, Richard, and Miles--arc overhead as Vincent the dog comes to lay down next to him. While the story began with Jack opening his eyes, here we finish that thought, seeing the good doctor, the all-too-brief champion of the island, close his eyes for the last time, leaving behind the metaphorical and literal wreckage as he himself soars through those blue skies.

Which isn't to say that the purgatory that the characters created didn't give us some powerfully evocative moments, because they did in "The End." The moments of joyous reconnection between the characters--between Sayid and Shannon, Charlie and Claire, Sun and Jin, and Sawyer and Juliet--were beautifully rendered both by the actors and the subtle score of composer Michael Giacchino. While the ending left me cold, it was these moments that stirred some genuine emotion within me.

Our many star-crossed lovers got their moment in the sun, a final reunion at which they communed with one another and their collective experiences, of lives lived and lost, of loves conquered and stolen all too soon. But the final ten minutes of "The End" took this thematic reunion to a new level that it needn't have gone, with Christian Shephard (whatever did happen to his body on the island, BTW?) spelling everything out to his son as Jack finally comes to realize what the others already have: that they're long dead.

The self-awareness glimpsed throughout this season--the cuts on Jack's neck, the sense of frisson from reflections in the looking glass--all point towards this conclusion in the end. They were coming to terms with their deaths just as the island provoked them to come to terms with their lives. However, while I think this works on a thematic level, I found the ending to be so heavy-handed, clunky and maudlin at the same time, that I couldn't give in to the post-life love fest going on in those final scenes.

Lost-X. My frustration with the series finale may have been the fact of how the Lost-X timeline--or lack thereof--was presented, introduced in the final season and glimmering with possibility of how it directly connected to the narrative we'd seen unfold over the five previous seasons, the island trapped at the bottom of the sea. By revealing it to have been ethereally connected, it removed much of the drama that had been contained in that storyline. What did it really matter if Jack had a child there or Kate proclaimed her innocence or Locke was confined in a wheelchair once more, if none of it was "real"?

They were variations on a theme rather than a full-blown narrative in their own right, offering a sucker punch of emotion that, while moving during the episode, felt entirely false after the fact.

What should we make of the fact that Walt doesn't appear at the church at the end? Or that Michael too isn't there? While we know that Michael's soul is trapped on the island, chained to the rock as one of the Greek chorus of whisperers damned to remain there, that's not true for Walt. We could argue that many of the others absent from that final scene--Faraday, Charlotte, Mr. Eko, Ana-Lucia, and others--weren't ready to let go and move on, still needing to work things out in this intermediate state before they could achieve a heavenly release. (That fact was stated by Hurley in "What They Died For," whose title makes more sense now.)

But what then of the fact that Eloise Hawking seems all too aware of what this place is? That she is somehow self-aware of the fiction of this world yet has been included in a perfect world created collectively by the will of the dead castaways? I understand why Eloise might want to cling to the son she killed in life, but why was she even a part of this landscape to begin with?

I can't quite wrap my head around that one, I'm afraid. For a purgatory that was created by a group of people who wanted to reconnect, they certainly brought in quite a few people who had made their lives miserable in the process and their travails in this purgatory brought them together with other people from their lives as well. What should we make of the fact that Sayid "ended up" not with his one true love, Nadia, but with Shannon? Hmmm...

Or that Jack isn't at all perturbed by the fact that his son doesn't really exist and is instead a fiction created by his own subconscious? It's fitting that the original skeptic is the last to come around to a belief in the profound and divine at the very end, and only when faced with proof of this existence: by coming face to face with his dead father. A father whose coffin is once again empty and devoid of a body. But here, the two finally get a chance to say their farewells and share their true feelings in a way that the messy chaos of life and death doesn't usually permit.

The Incident. The actions that Jack and the others took at the end of Season Five (in "The Incident"), detonating the hydrogen bomb at the future site of the Swan Station never resulted in a divergent reality at all. So what to make of Juliet's final conversation with Sawyer at the bottom of the shaft, the one where she whispers, "it worked" and seems to indicate that their actions did have their intended consequences? Well, her words were taken at face value then, the "worked" element of that statement taken to mean that reality had split and they had managed to ensure that they had never crashed on the island in the first place.

But not so. Jack and Juliet's actions didn't seem to do anything other than cause the very Incident that they were looking to avoid, an action that resulted in the creation of the Swan Station, a button that had to be pushed every 108 minutes, and at the end of that string of causality, the crash of Oceanic Flight 815. (And, yes, sent them back to the present day.)

So what was Juliet speaking about? Had she gained a multi-dimensional awareness, cognizant of the existence of another world? Not quite. She was dying in those final moments, oxygen already depleted from her brain, her synapses firing one last time before fading out. And in those moments, she connected to that place of purgatory, one where she was the ex-wife of Doctor Jack Shephard (I do feel vindicated by that fact) and where she crossed paths with a handsome cop named James Ford and helped him obtain a trapped Apollo bar from a vending machine in the hospital by telling him to turn off the machine and then turn it back on.

The candy bar does drop from its holder. "It worked," Juliet says as the power goes off.

Juliet's words in "LA X" then refer to this specific scene, to the first--and last--meeting of lovers Juliet and Sawyer, achieving the union they couldn't have in life.

The Cork in the Bottle. The Final Battle between Jack and the Nameless One began the moment they set foot in the bamboo grove, the very heart of the island, with Desmond Hume, each hoping to achieve something impossible: that the Nameless One would be able to destroy the island and send it plummeting to the bottom of the ocean and that Jack would be able to kill his adversary. In order to do so, they both needed the help of Desmond Hume, the time-tossed survivor who had a resistance to the island's electromagnetic energy as a result of his proximity to the Swan Station's fail-safe procedure. Des got lowered into the cave, over that precipice--in a scene that evoked the final shot of Season One as Jack and Locke gaze into the abyss--and found himself in yet another grand, man-made cavern that this time contained a literal cork in the bottle.

Believing that by removing the stone stopper he would allow the castaways to travel to the other side that he had glimpsed (which wasn't a divergent reality but a purgatory), Desmond entered the Source and pulled out the cork... resulting in the water draining right out and volcanic heat swelling through the cave as the island began to shake to its core.

Just what is this place? Who built it? What is its actual purpose? I'm glad that the finale didn't seek to answer these, instead leaving the mythology tantalizingly abstract. In the end, the specifics of this place or the nature of the island don't really matter. Like Oz or Narnia or any number of magical realms, there's an inexplicable and unknown quality to their very natures.

That's a wonderful thing.

I don't want everything spelled out for me. I'm quite content knowing what we know about the island (particularly as any further answers just start a new cycle of further questions) and I am happy with it remaining something unknowable and mysterious, something eternal and impossible.

Desmond. Just what was Des' purpose then? Widmore brought him back to the island because of his resistance to the electromagnetism that was the same energy as the Source itself. He was, as Jack put it, a weapon to be used by either side. While it seems as though Desmond's entire purpose is thwarted--his actions, too, don't lead to another reality--he does serve his purpose all the same.

He's the only one who can safely enter the Source without being altered by its powerful energy and the only one who can remove the cork from the bottle. Whether it will sink or swim all depends on what happens next: will the island plummet to the bottom of the ocean? Will someone make the ultimate sacrifice to recork the bottle and keep the island safe?

Desmond was a weapon in the end, a weapon for either side. But the ultimate outcome depended not on fate but free will. Could Jack end his own life in order to save the world? Yes, of course. He had made a solemn pledge to defend this place and protect the Source, which could go off and on. (Just like, as people, we can make good or bad choices and still correct ourselves before the end.)

As for who rescued him from the well, the answer was the appropriate one: Rose and Bernard (and Vincent!), who had long since withdrawn from the battles for the island, preferring to live out their final days away from the others in retirement. "We don't get involved," she tells Desmond. But they did get involved, of course, by saving Desmond's life. Desmond, however, repays the favor, forcing the Nameless One to leave Rose and Bernard alone and not harm them in any way, before he turns himself over to the Man in Black.

The Final Battle.Desmond's actions result in the island nearly ceasing to exist but they also lead to something else entirely: to the Nameless One regaining his humanity. Or at least his corporeal nature. His powers as the smoke monster were derived by the Source. Once its light flickered out, he was human once again. A final loophole that Jack took advantage of.

The showdown between Jack and the Nameless One on the cliff's edge was a thing of staggering beauty, a face-off composed not as a series of close-up shots at first but a long shot that framed the action as a diagonal, a literal image of the scales, long since tipped over to darkness. (Watch again: you'll Jack up in the top left corner and the Nameless one at the bottom right.)

It all comes down to these two men, a man of science who has become a man of faith and a greedy deity who has stolen the face of a man who was willing to die for what he believed in. Their struggle is bloody, brutal, and messy (as is life itself, really). Locke cuts Jack's neck (that unstoppable bleeding in the Lost-X timeline) and then stabs him in his side. It's a mortal wound and Jack really does die then. He just doesn't let go, not yet. It's ironic that the Nameless One's death--in the body of Locke--follows yet another pattern. Just as Anthony Cooper had pushed Locke from a great height, so too does Jack do the same to the man wearing his face, as the Nameless One plummets onto the rocks below, his neck broken, his legs dangling uselessly.

The Candidate. It was too easy that Jack would step up and elect himself as Jacob's replacement ("the obvious choice"), and I had a sinking feeling last week that his oversight of the island would be short-lived. The responsibility falls to the most selfless of them, the one who didn't want the position at all and therefore is most worthy of it: Hugo Reyes, whose time on the island has been characteristic of his altruistic nature. He's been marked for this role from the very early days: he had an advance knowledge of the numbers, managed to survive every scrape without dying (or even coming close), never fired a gun, and saw dead people. He was special in every sense of the word.

Ben offers up a fitting chalice here, a water bottle that works just fine, thank you very much, as Jack makes do with a very different kind of transference ritual. No words, no blessing, just the drinking of the water, and the words, "You're like me now." A message of collective identity, of shared experience, of belonging. The magic circle is complete once more, a new protector for a place that needs protection.

But being protector means making rules. And Hurley's rules don't need to be the same as Jack's or Jacob's. It's fitting that it's the newly redeemed Benjamin Linus who tells him this fact. He needn't rule in the way that Jacob ruled. Desmond can leave the island, he can make his own ways, create his own legacy. Desmond might, after all, be able to finally return home to his waiting Penelope after this long odyssey.

Jack. Jack, meanwhile, fulfills his destiny: he makes a leap of faith into the unknown, recorking the bottle and saving the island from catastrophe. I thought his laughter and solemn joy at the bottom of the cave was a beautiful note to end the Final Battle on as the light of the Source reignites once more, before Jack finds himself at the bottom of the cave's output, the same place where Jacob stumbled onto his brother's body.

But Jack hasn't been transformed by the Source (I'd wager it's because he was already dead when we entered there and his motives were pure) and he instead makes his way back to the very beginning, where this story started, taking us with him one last time into the unknown.

Fly Away Home. I'm more than happy that I was wrong about the final fates of Richard Alpert and Frank Lapidus, both of whom survived their fates in "What They Died For" and "The Candidate" respectively. Lapidus managed to survive the sinking of the submarine and was reunited with the others so that he could fulfill his purpose: flying them off the island and back to the mainland. ("I am a pilot," Frank says with a hint of frustration.)

There was a beauty and triumph to seeing a plane take off from the island, defying the odds, rather than crashing to the rocks, the motley crew of final survivors safely heading away from this place of mystery back to the "real" world, their lives there lost to the mists of time. (Or a fitting choice by Cuse and Lindelof to leave things with Jack at the very end.)

That the plane was flown by the man who was originally meant to pilot Oceanic Flight 815 is no mere coincidence either. Frank Lapidus finally fulfills his purpose, the plane at the ready, soaring majestically overhead as Jack closes his eyes one last time.

Aboard that plane, those who are leaving are heading home, back to a world that they thought was long forgotten. Even Claire, who was so terrified of being a mother, of Aaron seeing her the way she was, that she was willing to remain behind. But she wasn't alone in the end. She might be meant to raise Aaron alone according to some prophecy but she isn't alone at all: Kate is by her side, squeezing her hand. The two mothers, united finally in space and spirit, setting out to raise their shared child together.

"There are no shortcuts, no do-overs," says Jack. "All of this matters."

And it does in the end. The journeys that these characters made over the last six seasons have led them in the end to this place. Which is why what followed left me so cold. I would have loved Lost to have ended on this note, with Jack's sacrifice and the departure of those he loved, those whose lives hadn't been lost and could therefore go on.

I didn't hate the Lost series finale, but I didn't love it either.

However, I did love every moment within the two-and-a-half-hours that was set on the island with the characters we knew and loved by taking it--and the Lost-X storyline to such a sentimental place, to an afterlife of rewards and happiness didn't make me feel good in the end. It made me feel sad that something Lindelof and Cuse clearly intended to be lyrical and magical felt to me instead like it had fallen to earth with a deafening thud.

If Lost has been about mysteries, it's been mostly about the mysteries of human existence rather than mythology. And some mysteries are better left unknown and unsolved. For a series that dealt so lovingly with multiple philosophies and beliefs, with the breadth and scope of literature and the nature of story, to come down to a singularly Judeo-Christian view of the afterlife (despite, yes, the ham-fisted presence of those symbols in the stained glass) felt like a bit of an easy way out to me, a reductive explanation of Season Six and an opportunity to give these characters a happy ending in death that they didn't have in life.

But that's not realistic when viewing the complicated messiness of life. Sometimes endings are happy but often they're just endings.

I'm curious about how you felt about the series finale and the sixth season as a whole. Did the ending make the flash-sideways (or, as I dubbed it early this season, the Lost-X timeline) work for you? Do you feel that the destination was worth the journey? Are you happy with the way the series came together at the end? Surprised? Sad? Feeling cheated? Melancholy? Was your mind blown?

I want to hear about your own thoughts to the very end of Lost and how you felt Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse managed to pull it together at the end of the road. Head to the comments section to discuss, analyze, and debate the very last episode of Lost. Ever.

See you in another life, brutha.

Comments

Tempest said…
I watched alone so that I could savor the moments and also because of my tendency to shout at the tv -- such as threats against Darlton if Smocke did ANYTHING to Rose and Bernard and the shout of glee with the survival of Frank. (Sometimes my defiance of logic works!) And there was also lots of bouncing on the couch. Yeah, it's really best for everyone if I watch these things alone.

My initial reaction is satisfaction. While there's a certain amount of melancholy about this being over, the ending did feel right (and did not invalidate everything that came before).
Amy said…
I feel pretty satisfied with it as well, and doubt it really could have ended any other way. There were a lot of unanswered questions, but it was in the end, quite beautiful.
Unknown said…
It's odd that many of the early theories were proven correct in the last few minutes (i.e. limbo).
And it would not have felt right if it hadn't ended the way it all started. I'm very satisfied with an epic conclusion and left with plenty to ponder. Plus I cried like a schoolgirl 4 or 5 times.
Can't wait to own all 6 seasons in HD!
todders said…
They managed to pull it off. I feel satisfied, which I didn't think I would...

If you need to be cheered up, check out this EPIC LOST parody: http://blog.digitalfuntown.com/dft-blog/2010/5/23/the-ultimate-lost-parody.html
Ryan T. said…
I love that the producers of LOST had their cake and ate it too. They kept their stance of "The Island is NOT limbo" by making the alternate universe/ending the limbo. I repeat, the Island is not LIMBO.

I think what's confusing a lot of people is they think that the AU scenes are connected AT ALL with the Island mythology. They are not. Once people figure this out, I think people will see what the producers did.

Anyways, I LOVED it. Cried a lot and was very satisfied.
Seat42F said…
LOVED IT. Could nitpick no Michael at the church and a few other things I thought they should have answered, but thought they knocked it out of the park. I'd wager we never see a show as big and EPIC on network TV like this again. Enjoyed the ride.

Got a kick how Lost always goes back to Star Wars. Chewie with the last line of Star Wars and Vincent with the last line of Lost.
beth said…
Overall, it was a beautiful last episode for 6 great years. I liked seeing everyone, and was happy that so many came back. But, while I got a bit weepy at times, it didn't really grab me emotionally. And I'm still not sure how I feel about the very end.
I'm not sure I fully understand it yet.
Dean said…
I thought the ending provided no answers at all. At least about the island.If there were two seperate timelines going on, one on the island and one in the sideways, then the only timeline that provided answers was the sideways one.

There was no answer as to exactly what the island was or why it existed. What role did magnetics play on it ? What kind of power did the protector of the island have ? Did the light really have any power ? Did the island really have to be protected ? What did their eyes have to do with anything ? What were the rules that Jacob created ? Was it Jacob that created the field that kept people in unless you followed a vector ? Did Jacob invite Dharma to come to the island ?

I feel like the whole six years now was a waste of time. It was all about marketing. Like the Lost University that only people who bought the Blue ray disc could attend.
Brian said…
Count me as one of those that did not need answers to all my questions. My desire for the show was played out. I wanted our friends back together. I wanted the real Locke back. I wanted Kate and Jack. I wanted James and Juliette. I wanted Sun and Jin. I wanted Sayid to be happy. I've stayed away from anything that sounded like a spoiler so I was happy to see Sayid with Shannon.
I could go on but I won't here, at least tonight.
Let me just say that I was completely satisfied with The End.
Kralston said…
I agree with Dean, it seemed in the end that only the Lost-X/AU/sideways timeline mattered at all. The rest of the series, which were, in my opinion, the better parts, seems cheapened by this conclusion. Disappointed.
KT1 said…
I did not have much of an emotional reaction to all the reunions once I caught on to the 'afterlife' nature of the sideways world. I am probably less satified than many comments I am seeing because to me Lost became almost two separate(d) series. The first 4 and 3/4 seasons feel only loosely connected to the concluding episodes.The finale may be a worthy ending for that Lost series 2.0 but wasn't a satisfying wrap up to what went before.
Ryan Robinson said…
I didn't think it was possible, but I loved it. It allowed us to revisit and relive some of our favorite moments in the journey, and bring them all together in one satisfying place. It very much echoed the line "there are no shortcuts, no do-overs. Whatever happens, happened. All of this matters." It reminded us of all that happened in terms of what we went through as viewers and fans for the past six years, and that all of it mattered. To me, it was beautifully done.
DMB said…
For the first 2 hours and about 20 minutes I totally loved it! I cried so many times for both happy and sad reasons. Loved seeing shannon, boone, bernard, rose, etc. Loved that Jack and Kate ended up together as well as Sawyer and Juliet. I guess I'm just a little disappointed that Jack died. I had hoped he would live happily ever after on the island, hopefully with Kate. Plus more answers about the actual island would have been nice. Overall, I really liked it though...the flashback scenes were cool and reminded me how long I've loved this show...will miss it so much!
Wichita Danman said…
I remember the producers in the past said this would not end in "ghosts" or something like St. Elsewhere did. I guess Hurley and Ben and Desmond could have lived on the island for 30 more years, then died and ended up in church. Same with Josh, Kate and the others on the plane....
par3182 said…
I was completely into it while watching it, got a bit weepy at times, and thought the very end was beautiful.

Then, about fifteen minutes later - wait a minute, what about...?
CrazyCris said…
I got up at 6am in Spain to watch it live, and I was not disappointed! Sure there are questions left unanswered, but what really hooked me into this series were the characters and the relationships between them, so in that sense the finally wrapped everything up wonderfully! I'm still trying to make sense and digest it all over on my own blog, but lack of sleep isn't helping! :p

But the Flash-sideways finally made perfect sense! Limbo indeed!

I just wish we could have known how Hugo, Ben and Desmond finished their life on the island (or did Desmond make it back to Penny?), and how the others fared back on the mainland... how did they explain the "return to life" of Sawyer and Claire? And what about Richard? Still eternal? He wasn't in the Church...

But that's like any good ending to an enticing story: it leaves you feeling good, yet a little empty, wanting more. I get the same feeling each time I read The Lord of the Rings (indeed sometimes I stop before the end because I can't bear the idea of it "ending").

6 amazing seasons, with their ups and downs, finally come to an end. Wow!

What's next?
Brian W said…
I enjoyed it.

Seems to me the longest con of them all is the writers making us believe in the first scene of this season that the sideways world was the result of the bomb going off (the plane never crashed!), when in fact the start of this season was not connected to the bomb, and instead was a journey into purgatory, a meeting place for our players before their final destination. Sure, I'd like to know why purgatory has to be so damn complicated (people inexplicably married, children that don't really exist, Desmond running over Locke...), but in any event, I cherished every single reunion, and felt the flashback montages of the three main island romances (Jack and Kate, Sawyer and Juliet, and Sun and Jin, were breathtaking.

Story: B-
Characters: A++

So long, Lost.
OldDarth said…
Beautiful. Emotional. Satisfying.



Overjoyed the show focused on the characters and put the mythology in the background.



Called Jack having a short tenure as the Guardian and Hurley taking over from him!



Loved it.
Samantha Hunter said…
I'm with Wilshire and Dean, and will go one step farther to say that on top of none of the questions being answered, the ending was sappy and cliche. I was disappointed, too, and wish I had spent the 2.5 hours watching NCIS instead.

Sam
Unknown said…
I believed the X time line was somehow directly related to the main time line, that they could impact each other, and that eventually the two disparate realities would have to be resolved somehow (but I had NO guess as to how!).

To find out that what was happening in the X time line when the two realities seem to cross were merely flashbacks to a previous life in the main reality was somewhat disappointing.

So is my disappointment Lost's fault (for leading me on as I would see it), or my own fault for believing something that wasn't true (based on my own hypothesizing), when Lost's story makes perfect sense in that they told the story they wanted to tell? Hmmm...
Anonymous said…
Come on Jace, where are ya? It's 9:45 EST and I can't wait for your review. I feel ripped off by the ending, but am really looking forward to your usually brilliant synopsis.
Darkever said…
I thought what really got me was the happy endings. Plural. Most shows will end with 1 happy couple getting together and maybe some shocking death (Joss, I'm talking to you). Here everyone gets a happy ending (when they're all dead, so I guess it's the same really).
The CineManiac said…
I personally really enjoyed it. I know a lot of people are complaining that we still don't know what the island is, but would any answer really satisfy? If they said flat out "the island is __________" no matter what the answer, it would not have been a fulfilling answer. I like that the island is still a mystery.
Also, I guess, in the end, I'm more of a "character" person than a "mysteries" person, so I loved the way we got closure to all the characters.
Also I loved that it ended in reverse of how it began, with Jack's eye closing.
All in all a good finale for a Great show.
denisem said…
I loved it!! Maybe, I'm just a sap but I loved all the reuniones and thought that the island time being the most important time to these characters made alot of sense. As Jacob told them earlier, they were all flawed, empty people with nothing really to live for. The island was the most important time in their lives!! It was when they actually did something importatant and cared for other people.
trina said…
When I was watching the sideways scenes I got annoyed when we switched back to the island, and then the exact opposite happened the very next scene. Then to have the whole sideways storyline not be real at all it kind of disappointing. Every sideways scene this season was pointless, and I hate that. They could have cut the whole thing from this season, and with maybe five extra minutes of this episode achieved the same exact thing.
KateL said…
Jace, thank you for your thoughtful write-ups throughout this series. I'll miss your comments almost as much as the show!

Count me as someone who felt that the ending was appropriate, emotionally satisfying, and moving. The creators (and you) have said all along that this show is about the characters, not about why the food drops happen or where Hanso is. I often find when a series ends that I want to know what happened *then*....does the happily ever after couple stay together? Does the peaceful feeling attained in the finale endure? There is no more final place than death, and it is in death that we truly see these characters made whole and healed. I can't imagine it any other way. If this series was about the redemption of these characters, then this is the final test of whether they achieved that.

I feel no more cheated by this ending than I did at the end of the Wizard of Oz when we discover that Dorothy always knew the way home, or when Lucy and her siblings, after a lifetime ruling Narnia, return to the real world once again as children (a moment that was movingly referenced as Jack passed the shoe in the bamboo, lamppost-like, on the way to his final resting place). In these stories often referenced by Lost, the main characters reach a turning point in their lives contained in what some believe is a fantasy world, but one that they insist really happened. It was the defining moment of their lives, as it likely was for Dorothy or Lucy. And whether they died on the island saving their friends or 30 years later after raising a son or after countless years serving as guardian of the island, the beginning of that journey was their involvement on the island. And the end of that journey was death.

In the end, what the island and the detailed whys of what happened on it don't really matter. Characters matter. And I was very satisfied and moved by seeing all of our characters reach the peace they had worked so hard to attain.
AskRachel said…
I was completely happy with the ending except for those last few minutes in the church. I didn't need all my questions answered but I wanted a compelling ending and this just wasn't it for me. The final scenes on the island were much more interesting than the feel good love fest at the church.
Teresa said…
I really enjoyed the Finale as I watched it, and the more I think about it, the more I come to love it.

As I watched the Alternate Reality stuff, the thought that kept nagging at me was, "This is all TOO good. Everyone is TOO happy." It didn't feel real. I wanted the characters in the REAL world to learn something. There'd be no point in any kind of redemption if it's ALL happening in the afterlife.

In my interpretation, the plane crash happened. Everything on the Island happened. And there were LOTS of instances of coincidence. And I think the reason why the Egyptian stuff was all jumbled with the science-fiction stuff was that the events of what happened to these people was being looked at through the lens of the afterlife.

Do you watch Fringe? The best way I know how to put it is that it was like the "musical episode" of Fringe. Where they were basically telling the entire story of Season 1 through the prism of a children's story. Lost, to me, was basically the story of how these people who needed each other at this specific time in their lives when they were all going through their various hardships/troubles/Daddy Issues found each other and helped heal each other in the midst of extreme circumstances told through the prism of a sci-fi story with a multi-denominational sensibility bleeding through. We saw the mythology and traditions of ancient Egypt and Christianity and Judaism and Islam, which makes sense, considering that the plane that crashed was an international flight that had on it people of all different faiths. (so I don't think this was entirely a Judeo-Christian interpretation at all) And what Christian said at the end kind of clarifies that. Time doesn't work in order here. We were seeing the events of how these people survived a traumatic experience through the prism of an afterlife where chronology and a linear narrative doesn't matter. THAT to me has a great deal of meaning.

And more than anything, this ending feels INEVITABLE. "See you in another life, brother?" "Live together, die alone?" Those things kind of say it all, don't they? The sci-fi/puzzle trappings were fun, but they were never the point.
Jesse said…
Jace,
I'm sorry you were disappointed by the finale. I hope as you reflect further you will come to appreciate it more. For me it was a brilliant way to end the series. It left open the lives of some of our favourite characters (Hurley and Linus and they're adventures on the island - SPINOFF!!!) and those who made it off the island. It satisfyingly ended the events on the island. And the Lost-X timeline conclusion I thought was poignant, cathartic and a brilliantly direct message to long-time fans: It's been a long difficult journey, but it is time to remember and move on.

Also it was not in my opinion a simplistic happy ending. Linus still struggles to move on, still grappling with the life he lived and mistakes he made. And despite the fact that this timeline was not 'real,' it still seemed incredibly real to the castaways and as such they were able to experience redemption for what transpired in their 'real' lives.

I'm sure there is more that I and others are missing, bu I felt it provided a fascinating lens for the alternate timeline and, indeed, the series as a whole. I will miss your insights Jace.
Saeine said…
Thanks for the awesome review!

The only thing that I want to add because it helped me reconcile it a little more was that this particular limbo/purgatory phase was Jack's only. The people that were there were the ones that were important to Jack. Jack was instructed to enter through the back, it was his father that was there to explain it to him.

That's why Sayid ended up with Shannon (she was the one that Jack pictured him with) instead of Nadio, Michael/Walt weren't there (not important to Jack), etc. I think everyone has their own experiences in the limbo/purgatory phase and we were seeing Jacks. Afterall, the whole series really always was Jacks - as was so beautifully shown to us with his eye closing being the final shot of the series to perfectly bookend the initial shot of his eye opening in the Pilot.

Also- what did everyone think of the shots of the wreckage on the beach during the credits?
Stealth said…
I feel the same as you, Jace. I wonder how much my disappointment stems from having watched Ashes To Ashes pull more or less the same trick, but better, two nights earlier.
alrod1973 said…
( THOSE WITH A HEART WILL LOVE IT & THOSE WHO DONT WILL BE "LOST" 4 EVER....I LOVED IT ALL 6 SEASONS & FINALE WAS AMAZING!! WOOD OF NEVER GUESSED THAT ENDING IN A MILLION "LOST" YEARS!!! MY FAV CHARACTER WAS THE ISLAND ITSELF...."AND WHAT HAPPENED ON THE ISLAND, STAYS ON THE ISLAND"....ENOUGH SAID.)
Candi said…
First of all I would like to thank Jace for all of your insightful blogs. The day after an episode of Lost I couldn't wait to see what you had to say about it. I've never commented on any of them but decided to do it this one time.

I really like the finale. I know it was safe and in a way, best case scenerio, but this show was always so emotional for me that it fit. After all they (and I!) went through and endured on the island, they deserved thier time. I don't think I could have handled a "it was all a dream" or any other crazy outcome. I loved this show and I loved these characters. Seeing them in the Lost-X timeline reunite and waking up to the characters we knew them as had me crying. Especially with Sun and Jin. The way they smiled at Jack, I was like "there they are." And that final scene when Jack sees the plane fly over.... wow. It took my breath away.

So, it worked for me. It was a nice farewell. This lostee is content.
Eric said…
I wish I could erase the entire Season 6/Sideways stuff from my memory. The rest of it was amazing. That stuff? Pointless.
Like all great stories, this one will keep people discussing and debating for years. The more I think about it, the more I really like the ending.
Namaste
Anonymous said…
Thank you Jace.

After reading this is feel a bit more satisfied with the ending.
caitlin said…
so i'll be one of the fans who when it comes down to it, although i was bawling like a baby, i was satisfied with the ending. ok yeah i still have a buttload of questions but as jace and others have said, it's nice that they didn't give us every answer. even if they did, fans would most likely riot or dispute it or whatever.
i really, really wish walt would have been there. i know the actor is like 18 now but i'm sure the writers could have come up with something. it's not that hard. i would have loved to see him sitting and chatting with locke in the final scene at the church. ok that's asking too much.
for those mr. eko fans i just read an article saying he couldn't come to terms with the producers for the finale. they wanted to give him one scene (most likely in the church with the other losties) and he wanted like 5 times that. kinda sucks, but no big deal to me.
what i wonder is, is this what jj abrams was invisioning when he created lost? it doesn't seem so. i think lost became a bit "lost" identity wise when ben moved the island at the end of season 4.
what about desmond? he's not a time travel, but some sort of traveler through the living and dead. i just don't get how when widmore brought him back to the island and was doing the electromagnetic energy testing on him, he was able to go from "purgatory" to reality. it wasn't time travel at all...right?
i watched the pilot the re-aired on saturday night. i hadn't watched it in a couple years so it was a nice refresher, plus it had those pop ups which is always handy. the last sentence was charlie's utter confusion of "guys...where are we?" while they never really find out WHERE the island is, at least all of the characters understand their purpose there in the end.
seeing vincent was so pleasant. gosh i missed him, rose, and bernard. they were pretty much the drama-free people on the island and when i see them, i can let out a sigh of relief.
ok this is a bit scatterbrain but i just wanted to shell out these things while i had somewhat of a grasp on them.
i feel quite empty, sad, and yes lost knowing i will never watch a new episode of LOST again.
as christian shephard said (something along the lines) to jack, "no time in your life will ever be as important as the time you spent on that island." that goes to all of us losties, no time in our lives will ever be as important as the time we dedicated to LOST. i'll see you all in another life.
Anonymous said…
I LOVED it! A couple of things "I" felt about the ending that some people (my wife included) questioned:

First, it makes sense that the X/AU was never that. The entire series was written like a folding book. If you "lay" the story out, it makes sense like this: flash-backs/backstory, plane crash/time on island, flash-forward/off the island (some characters) & time-travel (other characters), return to the island, candidates/battle MIB/escape, AU/limbo. Again, if you unfold the story to be linear, it makes sense in hindsight.

The second issue was certain people not being present in limbo at the end to move forward. I also think this makes sense. The island brought all these people together and completed their life. I think Walt's "purpose" wasn't the island, so he has his own limbo somewhere else. I think Ben's purpose was the "family" he had and needed to move forward with them. Richard's purpose was always his wife, and a "limbo" outside of the island again makes sense.

I will close in saying not everyone will be happy. I personally loved that the characters were together in the end and their story was completed with questions left open on the island (which I accept as just being a "special" place). I understand for the people who wanted more island answers and not caring about the characters as much not being satisfied. Lastly, I'm happy they didn't try to explain everything (wether they chose people or island) because it would have left no room for the story, just a bunch of "ah-ha" moments in the finale.

Love it or hate it, bravo for sticking with such an incredible/frustrating/fascinating show.
Calfoodie.com said…
I agree with you. Loved the island pert of the ending, but hated the church part. It felt like a cop out to religion's easy answers. Like the writers had fallen asleep and another, more superficial set of writers had invaded their keyboards.

Thanks for the time and space, Jace.
KriZia said…
Thank you for this review, Jace.

I'm among those that loved the finale. At first I was too tired and hyped up at the same time to make too much sense of it. After the effects fully set in this morning and I was able to work out the logic in my head, I felt more satisfied with the conclusion of the series than I anticipated. The episode was brilliant and moving, both emotionally and physically, in many ways. I don't think we'll have another show for a very long time, if ever, that lives up to our expectations after having experienced Lost.

That being said, I understand why people do not feel closure. In my opinion, those that watched because of the purely sci-fi-ish nature of the Island did not get answers to the questions they personally felt were most important. There is also the possibility that the fans more inclined to their sci-fi nature will be displeased with the religious undertone of the last 10-15 minutes. I understand that. I personally object to the use of the word "purgatory" in describing the flash-sideways/Lost-X timeline, however. I am not religious in the least, but from what I understand the term is meant to describe, this wasn't what was depicted on screen. I think "limbo" is a much more appropriate term.

I'm glad that most people commenting on this post seem to be satisfied with the ending. And even though I agree with those that have said the Lost-X timeline seemed all too separate from what we've been experience for 5.5 seasons, I found the conclusions to be very uplifting.

Thank you, Jace, for your constant additions to my Lost viewing experience. These columns, and the show itself, will be missed.
Cindy McLennan said…
Jace, a long time ago, Joss Whedon told BtVS fans on the show's official posting board: "Trust the tale, not the teller." That simple, rather trite statement has changed the way I watch TV.

I never cared that Damon, Carlton, et al said the Island wasn't purgatory. Setting aside any particular church's doctrine, the idea of purgatory is a place/process in which one is purge of his sins.

So to me, the Island has always been where our Lostaways purged themselves of their flaws. Once they were done (i.e. once the island -- as purgatory -- was done with them) they were released.

That leaves me momentarily term-less for a fitting theological tag for the Sideways reality, but if we use medical terms instead, I'm all set. The island/purgatory is the operating room in which the Losties flaws/sins were removed and/or repaired. The Sideways is the post-op or recovery room, where you go when you're just out of surgery, but not ready to go home or move to a real room.

I don't know if this will help you appreciate the finale any more or mitigate your disappointment, but it's why the finale worked for me. I never watched the show the way Darlton wanted me to or told me to. I watched it and let it work its magic on me.

Thanks for great coverage. I usually wait to read other Lost articles until my big recap is done, but I couldn't resist yours today and was not at all disappointed. I imagine I'll be citing it in my TWoP recap, once that's done. Cheers.

Cindy McLennan
Lost recapper; TelevisionWithoutPity.com
Anonymous said…
Thanks for wasting 6 years of my life Lost
Jace Lacob said…
KriZia,

Actually, let's turn to our friend Wikipedia for a second. They define "purgatory" as "the condition or process of purification or temporary punishment[1] in which the souls of those who die in a state of grace are made ready for Heaven."

Which most definitely applies here to the Lost-X/Sideways world.
Tempest said…
For all of those wondering why/miffed certain folks weren't the in church at the end -- and I'm one of you -- remember Ben Linus. He wasn't going to go in -- yet. I think the others will still have the option to move on later.

(I also like to imagine Sawyer, Frank, and Miles sharing a place, trading quips in their post-island life.)
Unknown said…
I am with par3182, "I was completely into it while watching it, got a bit weepy at times, and thought the very end was beautiful.

Then, about fifteen minutes later - wait a minute, what about...?"

My wife and I discussed the finale since it ended. Like Saeine posted it was about Jack, and those in the room at the end were those important to him. Micheal was not there but trapped on the island because he did a horrible thing and could not be redeemed for it. Sayid was worse with killing but did redeem himself when he sacrificed himself on the sub to save everyone else.

I wanted to know a little bit more about the island, and what happend to those who got off the island. I wanted to know about the temple and those who lived there but what's done is done, and I too need to let go and move on. The End was emotional and I am hoping they will release the DVD with more footage added into it to fill in some holes. I did think it was interesting though that the stain glass also had the donkey wheel on it.
KriZia said…
Jace --

Thank you for paying special attention to my comment ;)

I think I am hesitant to use the word "purgatory" to describe the LOST-X timeline, even though its definition seems to apply, because I feel that defining it as such limits our interpretation of it overall. From my understanding of the word purgatory (which you must keep in mind is very limited), it is a Christian term used to describe something of a universal concept among many religions. I feel that using that particular term constrains it to that religion and does not allow for a more broad interpretation of the characters' journey in that state. I also think that confining the LOST-X timeline to that word goes against the intention of the creators, who have seemingly gone out of their way to not limit their show to one religious interpretation (as evidence by the stained glass portraying many different religions in the church).

That's why I prefer the term "limbo," and would probably be open to other more general classifications, because it allows for a more broad interpretation by viewers.

I'm always interested in a discussion of LOST with you, Jace :)
Anonymous said…
Disappointing end to the series, from a sci-fi point of view. Too many questions about the island were left unanswered. The BIG question the series built on was not "What is life and the afterlife?" but rather "What is the island all about?" And that, sadly, was not answered.
Harley said…
So. I watched two Series Finales in the last 48 hours, and each offered up the idea that certain characters were dead and needed to get in touch with their inner light blah blah blah so that they would finally be ready to move on to blah blah blah.

One of them I found emotionally satisfying on almost every level. That would be Ashes to Ashes. The other, Lost, I found to be almost completely unsatisfying -- at least when it came to the biggest answer to the biggest question of them all. What was/is the Sideways Universe?

Given their frequent protestations that the island was not purgatory, the idea that they figured it was just fine to turn the Sideways Universe into one?

A godawful decision that reeks of the creative hubris that often derailed the series.

Having said that, I bawled like a baby throughout most of the Sideways reunions, when characters were flooded with the truth of who they were, and therefore, and more importantly, are.

Bud damn, man. Cheesy Walk Into The Light atmospherics? That's downright criminal.
valdezign said…
Could the plane wreckage in the credits be the Ajira plane?
Jesse.2 said…
so far comments are running three unsatisfied out of 47 total. I will just say I am a fourth very unsatisfied person. I guess we are a minority. But it was always about the amazing, creative and unusual mysteries. Those mysteries kept me going for 6 years. In the end, none of them are answered, and the emotional bits between lovers are tiny comfort. I will steal a phrase from the msnbc reviewer: Can we turn the wheel for a do over?
Greg said…
I thought it was wonderful.. cried three times... very satisfying indeed...
riverwillow said…
Stealth and Harley, spot on. The ending to Life on Mars/Ashes to Ashes was very satisfying, whereas the ending to Lost just doesn't quite work for me. Having said that there were some absolutely lovely moments - I will admit to crying when Charlie and Claire reunited and some of the acting was superb. But sadly I've moved on already and have no desire to re-visit Lost, its done, while I'm still not quite ready to let Gene, Chris, Ray, Sam, Alex, Annie and Shaz go and am about to re-watch all the series.
Anonymous said…
I loved it. I like that they didn't end it in a manner that suggested everyone died in the plane crash (that would make everything that happened those six seasons imaginary and pointless). I like the Flash Sideways/Limbo storyline, and as for why Michael/Walt weren't there, maybe it has something to do with their constant struggle to leave the island. They weren't really part of the "group". They were only about each other and leaving, so it wouldn't have made sense to see them there.
I've posted repeatedly over this season, always under "Anonymous". This will be my first post with an identity; somewhat fitting for the finale of LOST. Thank you Jace for something entertaining and always intriguiging to read while enjoying my coffee on a Wednesday morning. I only found your blog this year, and wish that I had found it much sooner.

I'm with you, Jace. Had the flash sideways and kumbaya gathering at the church been eliminated from the finale; I would have said WOW. I would have been much more satisfied with that as the closing for the finale.

I feel ripped off by the whole flash-sideways timeline. I think the writers wanted us to believe that a divergent timeline/reality had been created; and then they pulled the rug out from under us last night. Or perhaps I am basing that assumption on all the wonderful theories I read here.

I would have been much more pleased with one of the following endings:

1. Hurley waking up from a nap on the beach realizing that the last two seasons had all been some crazy dream and he'd never left the island with the show ending to the castaways all going about their meerry ways.

2. The Lost-X crew gathering at the church and meeting with Eloise in the church basement (was this the same church?) to swing that pendulum forcing a merging of the divergent realities allowing the losties to choose the here and now or return to their life on the island.

If I didn't say it already, I feel ripped off by the whole purgatory closing. I'm also rather confused as to when they all died? Did they all die when the Oceanic flight crashed on the island? Presumably not; they would not have been flooded with those memories. Did they all die with the Incident? Doesn't make sense either. I missed the closing credits with the crashed plane footage. Is that supposed to imply that the plane never made it off the island? Just when/where did Penny die?

I like the theory that a divergent reality was created; and perhaps my expectation of that resulted in my disapppointment?

I would have preferred a Season 7 which delved into the Dharma, Hanso, the Numbers, the electomagnetism, the bearing that allowed them to leave... and a few more explanations. One question that I was reminded of in the recap episode; just how did they leave the island with the turning wheel? How did they cross over into Tunisia? I needed the explanation for that.

I am not really a sci-fi fan; so perhaps I need more literal explanations and closure. Like I said above; take out the Lost-X story last night; and I would have been very content thinking that some made it off; Jack died; and Hurley and his #2 were the new protectors.

Despite the writing; the acting was great. ANd I hope they don't suffer the Seinfeld curse; I looking forward to see these familiar faces again. The actors that played Ben and Locke were just brilliant.

Thank you Lost for a brilliant six years; I just wish I hadn't seen the last 15 minutes of the finale.
Heather said…
I'm another one who really liked it. I can't seem to stop thinking about it today and was really looking forward to reading your comments so that I could make sense of what happened. I keep getting stuck on the pictures of the island underwater in the Lost X timeline. What did that mean? I know that there were bigger questions to answer but that one is lingering for me.
Harley said…
riverwillow, yep -- I went back to watch some Sam Tyler episodes the day after I watched the Ashes to Ashes finale. The wonderful thing about that show is just how well it worked as a procedural/copshow even while managing to serve the larger cosmology questions.
Tonya Ricucci said…
I'm amongst the disappointed. I really enjoyed the Sideways timeline only to find out it was pointless. Bleck.
kari said…
I gotta say amen to everything you said, Jace. I didn't want answers, but the terribly pat "emotional resolution" was deeply unsatisfying and kind of revolting. I was ok up til the last 15 minutes and I'm trying to stick with that and ignore the rest. In 5 years when they make the LOST movie, I hope their spiritual "cork" on this story will be blown out.
Mazza said…
Definitely in the disappointed camp. Went into this really wanting to be blown away but hated the reveal of the Lost-X world and that they were in purgatory there and not another reality. It cheapened the show and season 6 to do that. Sorry but I don't think i'm ever going to go back and rewatch this and that should be a sign of a good finale.
Mazza said…
@kari: "I was ok up til the last 15 minutes and I'm trying to stick with that and ignore the rest."

That's how I felt. Glad that I'm not alone.
ted23 said…
I get why Darlton did it. But that doesn't mean it's not a slap in the face to those of us who have been wanting answers about Dharma, Hanso, the island, etc. And sorry but it wasn't based in the characters. It was a cheap trick.
e11even said…
I thought it was awesome. It did leave me a bit raw. All of our "friends" are no more...

I look at the LOST X from the point of view - this is what Jack needed to fill his sole, complete this part of his journey before moving on.

You don't always need to know what it's made of or how it's made, just that it tasted GREAT!
Dean said…
"Teresa said...


Do you watch Fringe? The best way I know how to put it is that it was like the "musical episode" of Fringe. Where they were basically telling the entire story of Season 1 through the prism of a children's story. Lost, to me, was basically the story of how these people who needed each other at this specific time in their lives when they were all going through their various hardships/troubles/Daddy Issues found each other and helped heal each other in the midst of extreme circumstances told through the prism of a sci-fi story with a multi-denominational sensibility bleeding through. We saw the mythology and traditions of ancient Egypt and Christianity and Judaism and Islam, which makes sense, considering that the plane that crashed was an international flight that had on it people of all different faiths. (so I don't think this was entirely a Judeo-Christian interpretation at all) And what Christian said at the end kind of clarifies that. Time doesn't work in order here. We were seeing the events of how these people survived a traumatic experience through the prism of an afterlife where chronology and a linear narrative doesn't matter. THAT to me has a great deal of meaning.

And more than anything, this ending feels INEVITABLE. "See you in another life, brother?" "Live together, die alone?" Those things kind of say it all, don't they? The sci-fi/puzzle trappings were fun, but they were never the point."



OK, so let me get this straight. As long as the main characters got thier personal problems worked out in the end, for most about 5 seconds before they died, it doesn't matter who else had to suffer or die for that to happen ? That makes about as much sense as a dictator having a war just to work out his personal problems.

What made these people so SPECIAL that they got to do that ? No one else gets to do that. I don't think most people would want the chance. You fix your flaws but have to die right after. What's the point ? Oh right, there is an afterlife and you can't enter unless you fix your flaws first. Bah !

The REAL secret to Lost is this. The Sci-Fi parts were just a gimick that were used to wrap up the flash backs in. The flash backs that told the characters back stories were the real story all along. The writers wrote those first because it was easy. They were just the same basic tales that have been told on TV since TV began but to have just shown them that way would not have made a show. So they had to come up with a gimick. They invented just enough of an island mythology to be able to wrap the characters stories up in it and tell them as flashbacks. They didn't need to flesh out the whole mythology nor did they want to spend the time doing it. The gimick was also the perfect way to do merchandising. You can't sell merchandise based on regular people stories but you can sell mechandise thats based on fake incomplete sci-fi.

What made Lost worth watching over every other TV show were the mysteries. Otherwise it was just another typical sappy human character show. By throwing out the sci-fi in the last season it became just that.

Lost also proved through the comments here that most people just want to watch sappy human character shows that don't involve any thinking.

Double Bah !
Anonymous said…
When Desmond pulled out the rock plug and the island started falling apart, I had a sudden flash that I knew how Lost was going to end. The Man In Black would lose the source of his power and could be killed by Jack, but then they would discover that Jacob (and his mother) were wrong - the light could go out on the island and a portion of it would still live on inside humans everywhere. Just before the island sank to the bottom of the sea there would be one last flash of white light energy that would take everyone back to the moment before flight 815 crashed - which would explain all the sideways reality scenes we had been seeing. The people who had known about the island somehow have the ability to "remember" the alternate timeline if they can make contact with the people with whom they had a deep connection during that time - which would explain all the flashes of returning memory in the sideways reality... which in the end becomes the new, happier reality for all involved.

I like my vision of the ending better, especially since it better explains the scenes of the island on the bottom of the ocean, but I don't "hate" the real ending, like some people.
Unknown said…
Hi Jace,
I love your post-lost reviews and always agree with your outlook. That is why I am sad that you did not like the last 10 minutes.
Let us first agree that the cinematography, acting and music were all fantastic (at least on the island) and almost movie quality.
I think in Happily ever After, 2007 Desmond (the one that Widmore brought back) was replaced with the consciousness of 'limbo' Desmond. The 'limbo' Desmond was replaced with the consciousness of 'afterlife' Desmond, making Desmond truly special. What initiated these changes? On island it was the electromagnetic surge and in limbo, it was meeting Penny(so a little science and faith).
The losties did go to a place where time was not linear(or they could view time like Dr. Manhattan...all time at once)and where by living together, they did not 'die' alone. It was also a nice nod to all the Season 1 flashbacks...there was no clean slate here; you had to remember in order to let go and move on(maybe to the next level of the game). My feeling is that in the church scene we were seeing Jack's personal journey to the next step, explaining who was and was not in the room with him.
If you felt the staging of the final church scenes were schmaltzy, that is your personal opinion, but I think they were trying to show them in an airplane with the light washing over them at the end evoking the flashes of light as well as the scene where the back of Oceancic 815 was blown out.
The final scene with Jack closing his eye, although easily predicted, was beautiful, especially with the plane flying overhead.
I hope this helps, because like John, when I looked into the eye of the island, I saw something beautiful.
baba44713 said…
I think I was sucker-punched by the ending. It was very well acted and directed and it somehow succeeded in pulling me into an emotional whirlpool, and even though the rational part of my brain was yelling "This is it? Seriously, this is IT?" I felt satisfied with the finale.

However after I slept on it I realized that I allowed myself to be pulled by the nose. After 6 years of dangling a tantalizing carrot in front of my face (and after letting me bite it at the end of each season switching it to a completely new and even more spectacular carrot), my ultimate reward was watching all the characters hug each other and say farewell. Emotional? Yes, it's the ending of something that was a small part of my life. But a LOST-special with all the actors hugging and waving to the audience would have the same effect! Do we really need that to be a part of show's plot? To be THE finale of Lost, show which, if anything, never failed to close a season with a punch (and then some)?

What solidified this reaction was a conversation with my friend, who only followed the show occasionally and who made me realize how many various plotlines were dropped and forgotten. Walt's "abilities"? Lethal pregnancies? Mysterious disease and "vaccine" for it? Unexplained suicides of the carrier crew? The donkey wheel? Libby? The healing pool? Constants? The 'demon possession' of the the french crew? The statue? It's not that some of the answers were left intentionally vague in lieu of characters, it's a whole mountain of plotlines deliberately dropped because it was completely impossible to tie them up in any conceivable way! I'm not saying that I needed all the answers, I'm fine with ambiguity, but it's one thing to leave things ambiguous and quite another to simply pile up a mystery on a mystery and then simply switch all that with a simple "Now look at all the characters hug. The end!"

After the dust settles, I think in retrospect LOST will be remembered as a TV phenomenon that petered out and ultimately failed to deliver. Very similar to X-files, except LOST at least had the decency to end before it sunks completely into a parody of itself.
Anonymous said…
Great recap! Those were my feelings towards the finale too. The flash-sideways ruined the finale for me (and looking back, now that we know what they were they seem pretty unnecessary, it wasn't real). The perfect ending would have been the one from the Island: the plane leaving the Island with the remained survivors and Jack closing his eye. But the nature of the flashes, the cheesy reunion at the church and Christian's cheap explanation ruined it.
From what I have heard, when the BluRay comes out in August many of these unanswered mysteries will be explained. One can only hope.
rustle said…
When I was ten I read C.S. Lewis's "Narnia" series with great enjoyment until I reached the end of the final volume, at which point all the major characters were killed in a train wreck, but this was a good thing because they all went directly to Heaven to be with Aslan, except for Susan who had discovered lipstick and boys and was therefore damned. I was so furious I threw the book at a wall and broke the binding and had to confess to the librarian the next day. The end of Lost affected me in just the same way: it's simply a shameless narrative cheat to show the good characters reunited and "moving on" into a vaguely Christian/United Nations afterlife, and it's rotten theology as well. (Though I do like the idea of Hurley becoming God.) If you've read William Golding's Pincher Martin, you may also be tempted to think the entire series happens in Jack's mind as he dies after the crash... but that's morally suspect too. I wanted a science fiction conclusion in which Jack and Desmond together managed to merge the divergent timelines so that the plane never crashed but everyone got to keep the benefit of the moral lessons they learned on the island. Oh well.... everybody sing: first there is an island, then there is no island, then there is...
usagi said…
I really didn't like this finale and felt cheated...
I loved this show so much (it's actually n°3 on my top 5, and that's saying something!) and this finale didn't work for me. The purgatory explanation really sucks and felt cheap compared to what team Darlton have done with the show before.
My disappointment is huge.
Dean said…
"From what I have heard, when the BluRay comes out in August many of these unanswered mysteries will be explained. One can only hope."

And the merchandising continues. You want cheap fast answers, pay for them.

The best thing those of us mad at the ending could do is to boycot the BlueRay disc. Those satisfied with the ending should not need to buy it anyway.
jaythor said…
Hey all,

Just wanted to say that I really enjoyed the final episode of LOST and while I didn't agree with Jace this time (whereas for the past few months I have agreed with him 100%), I can see his, and everyone's, issues with the finale.

My initial reaction to the way the Lost-X timeline ended was that it was not meant as a literal event that happened but more of an emotion the creators were trying to convey about these people triumphing over their adversities and personal demons. (Or I may be watching too many David Lynch films...).

And then last night my wife introduced me to the concept of "bardo(s)." Which is a Tibetan idea much along the lines of a Christian "purgatory." I haven't had a chance to do a ton of research on it, but my wife did point me to this other LOST finale review where she read about it. And the things I have read about bardos seems more in line with the events of the LOST-X universe than say a Christian idea of purgatory.

The only reason I mention this here is that I've loved the reviews and insights from this website, and like Jace, disliked seeing LOST potentially end up with a Western religious idea driving it when it seemed like the series was pretty all-inclusive religion-wise... if not slanted slightly more towards Eastern beliefs.

Anyways...

LOST, enjoyed the run. See everybody in another life... or just on Undercovers posts.
Derik said…
I respect the crap out of Damon, Carlton, and everyone who had a hand (even fingernail) in Lost. It’s been by far my favorite show ever on television and I've been a TV connoisseur (aka junkie) for many a moon. My opinion matters not at all, but I do have one.

Just watched the finale. What the hell? What in the Sam fudge just happened fellas? If you are implying they all died on impact and everything was some kind of shared dream you are seriously fudging with me right now. The last 6 years of amazing character study drama seamlessly melted with mind-blowing sci-fi was all just a dream? Didn’t happen? None of it?

Why would I care about a collective dream? (I’m going to ask a lot of questions) A friend once explained a dream where he was building a go-kart with his ex-landlord; do you know how many fudging craps I gave about that? Not even one.

You can throw out the last episode and I still love and respect the show. You can throw out the last ten minutes and I still love and respect the finale. But what in the fudging fudge is with the last ten minutes?

The other alternative take on the finale would seem that the ‘sideways’ reality back in LA was just in Jack’s temporary purgatory holding cell. Ok. I’ll bite. Why not make a journey to heaven extra complicated. ‘Believers’ think that you go to this wonderful Willy Wonka Chocolate factory in the sky that has an unlimited amount of crack without side-effects and STD-less strippers that will do fun stuff with you. Why do you need to ‘let go’ or be guided on your way? Just go man, what are you waiting for, Wonka is holding the door wide open. Also, why the need to go into all of the non-Jack character ‘sideways’ stories when Jack isn’t even in the room or aware of what is happening (my actual point if I have one)? That is, if this is all just Jack’s death.

I’m really disappointed and I thought I heard multiple times Damon and Carlton would only dismiss the theories about it being purgatory or them all being dead…and it appears that is what the ending is, or partially what it is? Why not just dismiss no rumors?

Damon, Carlton, I know you aren’t reading this (why would you), but if you were I would say an enormous thank you for delivering this amazing show that has given me so many fantastic memories you created something intelligent and beautiful. You are both bold geniuses and I salute your taste and talent. That said, next time you’re writing an ending give me a fudging call.
mmesand said…
Count me amount the unsatisfied. Though I loved the finale up until the final scenes, the schmaltzy wrap-up undermined everything that came before. "This is a place we created so we could all find each other?" Gag me with a fish biscuit!

But, as the comments show, it's what the majority of the audience wanted. In the end, the show's creators were going to have to come down on one side or another – myth versus saga, fantasy versus reality, fanboys versus haters. I doubt there was too much debate about which one it was gonna be.

Because America is nothing if not fan-friendly. Whether it’s politics, economics, or entertainment, if it’s too good to be true, we’ll blow right past our credit limit and take as much as we can carry. Find a way to combine feelgood nostrums, unearned trust, and blinkered reality over rational thought and we are so there.

I get why they went that way in the end, but it was a letdown.

More at http://nomaddeplume.blogspot.com/
if you're not LOSTed out yet.
Brett said…
Jace, thanks for posting your thoughts on the finale. I agree with most everything you said. I also was disappointed by the ending.

I am still surprised that so many people loved the ending!
Have they actually been able to objectively analyze the episode, or are they so tied up in a six year investment that they're too afraid to not like the ending?

I often cite Lost as my favorite show, and in seasons 1-5 was constantly amazed at how the show pushed so many boundaries of modern TV and stayed at such a high caliber in terms of writing, acting and direction.
After seeing the ending though, I have decided that the Lost series ended for me at the season 5 finale.
There are so many plot elements that are negated in context of season 6.

Instead of keeping with the mystery and ambiguity of the series, they went for the total cop out, happy, feel good ending.
Yes, we were invested in the characters and yes the show was mainly about them experiencing their journey while encountering odd mysteries and situations. BUT, it was too large of a cast, in too short of a time period, with too many deeper mysteries to just turn the whole series into Jack's special little spiritual journey and to indulge the sentimentality of the producers ("oh, look at all these great characters we've created, oh isn't this special how they're all together again, yay!").

An ending like this would have been similar to if the X-Files ended with Mulder and Scully getting married and retiring and then going off and reminiscing about all their great adventures together. You didn't watch X-Files just because you only cared about the characters of Mulder and Scully, they were good characters BUT the backdrop and plot elements of the show gave them more weight and credence.

I'm not one who requires answers to the mythology of the series, in fact the few questions they did answer this season were done so poorly (Michael flat out telling Hurley that they were the voices, SmokeLocke telling Jack he was the island ghost). But the science fiction aspect of the show was handled so much better than the cheesy mythical/spiritual elements ("it's the light inside all men!"), and I would have preferred a good mix of both of those elements (science and faith) to round out the series.

Such a disappointment from such an otherwise great show...
Calfoodie.com said…
Jaythor,

Thank you for the link. I didn't know that site and have subscribed now. Since I was always looking for Eastern philosophical interpretations, the Bardo reference was welcome.

Also I really like the equation of pulling the plug with computer technology. I wondered how the spring refilled so fast.

Thank again - Jude
Crystal said…
I was satisfied. I agree that I would have been just as happy without the whole sideways story and having it end with Jack's sacrafice would have been just fine. But my sentimental side did enjoy seeing everyone together again. I cried at Charlie & Claire's reunion as with Sawyer & Juliet's.
I loved that the "Epic Battle between two men that was coming to the island" ended up being between Jack and Locke (even if it wasn't exactly Locke) It's been a battle between them since the beginning and I thought it was a fitting end for them.
Thank You Jace for all your insight and I'm a little sad that I didn't discover your site sooner in the series! My favorite part of Wednesdays was going over to my mom's house and reading her your review, after which we would discuss theories and ideas while I made her dinner.
rockauteur said…
How did Desmond's boat get docked by Smokey's cave when the last time we saw it, it was used by Sawyer et al to get to Hydra Island before taking the sub? The only explanation is that maybe Widmore and Zoe used it to get back to the mainland but that seems extreme.

Still very upset that no answers about Dharma/Hanso. Nothing about the supply drops on the island, or the outrigger shooting, or Libby's backstory, or how Christian (as Smokey potentially) was able to talk to Michael on the freighter or Jack in LA? Was that Smokey as Christian or Jack as Christian? Was Hurley's friend Dave Smokey? What about the Hurley Bird thing? I didn't care about that but that was something Team Darlton said we would get an answer to in the finale.

Too many questions! Not enough answers! I'm ok leaving some things vague and unanswered, but way too much! I didn't buy Widmore's plan either - what about his deal with Sun? What was he needed Locke for when Locke ended up in the desert after moving the island? The answer was too simple.

What was Ilana's relationship to Jacob? Why did half the Oceanic 6 go to the 1970's and the other half the island in the main time stream? Why didn't The Others move through time? What happened to Cindy and the kids?

They also said it wouldn't leave the door open to any spin offs or movies... but yet half the cast survived... there could EASILY be a spin off, whether a movie, comic book, or another series.

Was half wishing that we would see a shot of Miles on the plane with Nikki and Paulo's diamonds in his hands.
Unknown said…
Jace, thanks for the thoughtful, comprehensive review. Well done. I'm late to the party, but four days later, I'm still so discomfited by the finale, I'm trolling the internets looking for people of like mind, I guess as justification that I'm not the odd man out.

From other posters:
Dean
The REAL secret to Lost is this. The Sci-Fi parts were just a gimick that were used to wrap up the flash backs in. The flash backs that told the characters back stories were the real story all along. The writers wrote those first because it was easy. They were just the same basic tales that have been told on TV since TV began but to have just shown them that way would not have made a show. So they had to come up with a gimick. They invented just enough of an island mythology to be able to wrap the characters stories up in it and tell them as flashbacks. They didn't need to flesh out the whole mythology nor did they want to spend the time doing it.

***I totally agree.***

baba44713
However after I slept on it I realized that I allowed myself to be pulled by the nose.

I'm not saying that I needed all the answers, I'm fine with ambiguity, but it's one thing to leave things ambiguous and quite another to simply pile up a mystery on a mystery and then simply switch all that with a simple "Now look at all the characters hug. The end!"

***YEP!***

Now, my vent:

I feel cuckolded. While others were speculating that the writers had no idea where they were going and were throwing everything but the kitchen sink at us mythology-wise, I remained faithful and defended them. They're committed to this story! They demanded an end date! They know what they're doing! Right before the finale began, I told a friend, "I think this season has been a huge Rube Goldberg machine and tonight, they're going to flick the domino and our minds are going to be blown as the conclusion unfolds, one connection after another to the end." WRONG! It seems my faith was sorely misplaced. If we parallel what we saw to a RG machine, it would be like watching huge sections we had meticulously observed as they were constructed be totally bypassed in the end.

I am a huge mystery fan. That's almost all I read. So what if Agatha Christie had written a book whose conclusion had Hercule Poirot in the parlour conducting the reveal and he left out half of the evidence! Things he had ahahed over, collected, analyzed, given importance only to-- not gloss over them-- but ignore them completely. Satisfying? I think not.

I'm smart enough to discern answers to many of the questions some are saying were unanswered. The fact remains that in order for the story to have been smartly told, it needed to either have those elements removed or connected in some way. Instead of solving one mystery and presenting a new one to draw us along, they solved none of them, implying that the unsolved ones were important to the story. In the end, it feels like a huge slap in the face.

Re: the alterate timeline. I don't know if anyone else had this reaction, but I'm sure some must have since others have written that they expected the ATL to have significance to the Island timeline. Sayid's, Sun's and Jin's deaths didn't have much impact on me, because HEY! They're still alive! When the timelines merge, somehow we're going to get them back! Because The Island is MAJICK!!!

So, yes it was gorgeously shot (The Island was the most beautiful "character" in the show), and yes, it resolved the characters stories (I guess), but I feel like I was sold a bill of goods. If you recall the commercials and teasers, so many were about the mysteries of The Island, and in the end, those were summarily dismissed. Color me dissatisfied. :-/
Wes said…
Thanks for helping me make sense of the finale, Jace. I'm going to miss your write ups even more than LOST itself.
Carrie said…
Darlton said the island wasn't purgatory. They didn't lie. I don't understand why people are freaking about that. You can't really call the sideways world purgatory either. I'm not big on religion but isn't that word specific to one religion while that church seemed Unitarian?

The Swan Station was already being built before the Incident happened. The purpose of it might have had to been altered.

I think when I rewatch the series it will be even more emotional for me knowing how much these characters meant to each other with the crazy experiences they went through.
Calfoodie.com said…
Watched The End again, and I was struck by the references to The Prisoner. James', "I'll be seeing you." Hurley's number one and Ben as number two.

I was in my early twenties when that show was on and my husband and I made sure we were home for it every Sunday that summer. It was the grandfather of Lost, and I appreciate the references.

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