Six years ago I sat down to watch the pilot episode of LOST. I didn’t know what to expect. The ads for it looked pretty good, exciting and full of adventure. Little did I know that I was about to embark on a six year journey. A journey that took me to a mysterious island, the desert of Tunisia and other points around the world… Shoot the journey even took me and even back and forth through time.
LOST was an epic adventure. One that was full of intrigue, action, suspense, shock, twists and mystery. It posed grand questions about faith, science, destiny, good vs. evil and what is the nature of man? It also dug deep into how we search for meaning in ourselves and how we often find those answers through the relationships we have with the people who come in and out of our lives.
As big as a sic-fi geek as I am, it’s the characters and their journeys through the LOSTverse that mattered most to me. I enjoyed the debates over the years about the nature of the island and all of it’s mysterious qualities, but I never really felt like those questions about electromagnetic pockets or the time travel had to be answered. I always accepted that these things were large ideas that were made more interesting by being unanswerable. Let’s face it, a flashback to an ancient Egyptian civilization building their giant beach front statue and creating the below ground light temple would have come across as super cheesy in the end. As it was the light temple at the base of the waterfall nearly sent me over the edge when we first learned about the light. I thought, really? A light in a tunnel is the answer to all of this? But the reveal of the temple down below turned out to be a nice reveal of a deeper mythology that we as viewers are left to ponder and fill in ourselves. I find that infinitely more satisfying than any thin answer the writers and producers of LOST could have ever produced for us. I mean, really… A strange room with a cork that’s full of skeletons is just enough to really set your imagination wild on what those earlier stories might have been. And personally, I’m really getting off telling those stories to myself.
Let’s remind ourselves of the biggest “give us an answer to the great mystery” error in sic-fi. A great reason to remind ourselves that some magic is best left mysterious and grandiose in it’s concept. MIDICHLORIANS anyone? Let’s face it, it’s better to leave a little magic in the world.
Now, that said let’s talk about the finale a bit. Did it answer all of the questions of LOST? No. Did it have to? I think I’ve already made it clear that in my mind it didnt have to. What the finale did deliver on was a very powerful conclusion to the characters of the show. An emotional, spiritual (not religious mind you) conclusion. One that required you pay attention. One that left a lot of room for discussion after. Discussion about the nature of life, love and what comes after this life. It did what all great storytelling should do, it pushed the viewer to think. To ponder great mysteries and it left the answers to those mysteries up to interpretation. This wasn’t about going to heaven, it was about the process of living life, seeing ourselves to the finish line, and then letting go and embarking on the next journey… Content in knowing that we truly LIVED in this life.
This is my thoughts on the show, and by no means is my interpretation of it the only way to see it. But it’s mine, and I want to share it. Maybe you agree with me, maybe you don’t… But that’s what’s great about this. It’s a springboard for wonderful discussions.
In the end the story was all about Jack and the people who meant the most to him in his life.
That’s a key thought here. That the story is about Jack and the people important to him, from HIS LIFE. His father said the following to him in the church;
Christian: Hey Kiddo.
C: Hello Jack.
J: I don’t understand. You died.
C: Yeah. Yes I did.
J: Then how are you here right now?
C: How are you here?
Pause, then gradual realization.
J: I died too.
C: It’s ok. It’s ok. It’s ok son.
Father and son embrace.
J: I love you.
C: I love you too son.
This is a moment the two men had trouble expressing in their lives.
Jack pulls away and asks…
J: Are you real?
C: I sure hope so. You’re real. Everything that’s ever happened to you is real. All those people in the church, they’re all real too.
J: They are all, they are all dead?
C: Everyone dies sometime kiddo. Some of them before you. Some, long after you.
J: Well why are they all here now?
C: Well there is no now… Here.
J: Where are we Dad?
C: This is the place that you all made together so that you could find one another. The most important part of your life was the time that you spent with these people. That’s why all of you are here. Nobody does it alone Jack. You needed all of them, and they needed you.
J: For what?
C: To remember. And to let go.
J: Kate, she said that we were leaving.
C: Not leaving. No. Moving on.
J: Where are we going?
C: Lets go find out.
This scene is the key to understanding a lot of things about the show. First off, it was all real. These people lived together. Their time on the island actually happened. Some of them died there, some didn’t. But in the end, they all shared the most important part of their lives together. And in the end their souls would move on from this life together. It doesn’t matter when they died. In the flash sideways time has no meaning. It’s a metaphysical reality. One they constructed for themselves to reconnect and take that final step together from. Now, it should be noted that not everyone moved on in this group. Ben, Alex, Rousseau, Walt and many others did not take this trip to the hereafter. I’ll touch more on that later. But think about why they didn’t and we’ll see if our thoughts match up.
In the end Jack was reunited with the people he loved, the people he gave everything of himself for to save, to honor and to protect.
And each of them had to come to their own realizations about their death. And their own awakening to their life, and how they lived and loved.
Love seems to have played a large role in these after life equations. They were also some of the most emotional moments of the night. Jin and Sun seeing their reunions, James and Juliet feeling their love and her untimely death, Charlie and Claire… It was a roller coaster ride of emotions… I have to admit to weeping a bit myself through the night.
Jack said to all of them early on that they needed to work together or they would die alone, and in the end they truly weren’t alone.
What about Jughead you ask? What the hell was that all about? Didn’t it work?
Yes and no. Jughead went off. But the effect as we now know wasn’t what Daniel had thought. No, the detonation of Jughead was the “Incident” that lead to the departure of Dharma from the Island. And apparently the explosion finally knocked our out of time adventurers back to the future. Juliet said to James that “it worked.” I think she meant that the bomb went off and somehow she found herself still alive (at least momentarily) and she was able to see the man she loved was still alive so she assumed it worked. As one of many cool homages to earlier LOST moments, that’s also the same thing she says to him as she hands him the candy bar and they experience their awakening and reunion with each other.
Christian told Jack that some died before him… Ok that explains Boone and Shannon easily enough. But Kate said to him that she’d been waiting for him a long time. He had no idea what she meant by that, but I take it to mean that she’d left the island as we’d seen and she spent the rest of her days missing him and was very happy to know that she was about to be truly reunited with him.
Hurley of course had his awakening with Libby who died very early on. It was great to see them together. But Hurley’s story was longer than that. It i s my belief that Christian’s comment that some died long after really applied to Hurley and Ben.
Jack left Hurley as the Protector. Hurley enlisted Ben as his advisor. They became the new Jacob/Richard team, and I feel they spent a good deal of time in those roles. Jacob held the post for 2000 years.
Ben didn’t go with them, but he used this time as a chance to get some redemption from Locke. His apology to him was so heartfelt and touching. He seemed so small, like he didn’t expect John to actually forgive him. I will truly miss watching those two interacting with one another. Ben didn’t go with them… Why do you ask? He wasn’t done with his awakening because he hadn’t made that love connection with the only person he truly loved in his life… Alex. He still had to go sort his stuff out with her and Rousseau.
This brings me to Daniel Faraday and Eloise Hawking. It is clear to me now that Eloise’s conversations with Desmond in the flash sideways were of one awakened person talking to another. Both knew the endgame, but neither were quite ready to leave. Eloise begged Desmond not to take Daniel with him. To which Desmond replied that he wouldn’t betaking him with him. Of course he wouldn’t. Daniel was in love with Charlotte. That’s who his soul is searching for. And as we saw in the backstage “delivery room” he and Charlotte were on the path to that discovery. Poor Eloise though… She murdered Daniel. She never gave him what he wanted in life… She pushed him away from his music and forced him into the path of the island. But here in Limbo, she’d been giving him everything she hadn’t in life. She was, like Ben trying to find her redemption before she could let go and move on.
Some characters it seems are going to remain forever doomed, unable to move on. We saw this with Michael on the Island a couple of episodes back. Troubled souls who died on the Island become the whispers and are left to roam the Island for all eternity. I feel like dirty cop Anna Lucia is destined for a similar fate in Limbo. Forced to live out her mistakes forever, unable to move on because she’d never cared for anyone but herself.
I love LOST. I love how it ended. It wasn’t preaching to us. It was asking us to think, to ponder the big questions of what this life is all about. The church, it should be noted, represented many religions. The stained glass behind Christian Sheppard contained symbols for many different faiths. Reminded me of those, COEXSIST bumper stickers. I love that. We each bring our own experiences with us. Those individual experiences along with our own beliefs, our own faith leads us all to different conclusions to this final chapter of the story. And I think that’s awesome.
I welcome the diverse opinions, the radically different viewpoints on it all. I even welcome the idea that it didn’t work for some people. In the end the show was about engaging the viewership in one another and I think the finale did that very well.
Maybe I’ll write more later… If anyone is interested in hearing more of my thoughts on LOST. Maybe my take on each character’s conclusion?