Thoughts on the LOST series finale.
I just rewatched the last 15 minutes of Lost. The first time through I was enthralled throughout, but upon watching the very end I didn’t know how to take it at first. Not having to worry about looking for some crazy twist that would either blow my mind or ruin everything that came before helped a lot, but being able to take a step back and process how far the show has come allowed me to realize that this finale encompassed everything I’ve loved about the series along the way. And so I have to say, it was even better the second time around. The finale was fitting/poignant/exciting/romantic/funny and so much more. These were characters that we’ve come to know as people and the writers never betrayed that. We’ve experienced more than we could have imagined in the 6 seasons of this show that has bended time and space but in the end was truly about these characters and their stories. Never before has there been a show where I’ve felt I was watching real people who I’d come to know better than most people in real life. It was a fitting and brilliant conclusion to easily the best show I’ve ever seen and we will be lucky to ever see something like this again.
Here come the spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the finale, or the series as a whole, please don’t deprive yourself of the experience by not watching it for yourself.
I saw the last shot (of Jack’s eye closing) coming years ago but that’s the way I would have ended it as well. It was the only thing that truly made sense in the context of the story. This was one of those times where not being completely surprised benefited things. I know that this conclusion will hold up over time better than any “gotcha!” moment might have. Besides, we had plenty of those along the way. That being said, the revelation that the flash-sideways story was really a timeless existence where all the castaways were dead and meeting up to rediscover themselves was not something I saw coming. Those that watched the show religiously were led to believe that we had two alternate timelines going, that one was if the bomb set off at the end of season 5 didn’t change anything, and one that would show the survivors lives if the island never came into play. The differences along the way, such as Desmond being on the plane, or Jack having a son, were there to show us that something wasn’t the same, and all was revealed here.
In the end, the Season 6 purgatory storyline allowed all the characters to have closure and to let the audience say goodbye to all of them and know that their tales were complete. Seeing Charlie and Claire have their moment was brilliant in particular. One of the best moments of TV I’ve ever experienced. Even the couples on the show I didn’t care too much about in the past came through with powerful scenes that made me truly care about them. Having Vincent the dog come and lay down next to Jack in the final scene was touching. I got a little teary eyed at this episode I’ll admit and the only other time that’s ever happened before with any movie/show was watching the season 4 episode “The Constant” the first time. From the beginning Lost has had an ability to transcend what TV is normally capable of and I don’t know if I’ll ever see another show that I’ll appreciate more.
The ending explanation was perfect, that everything that happened on the island was real, and all the people who died on the island actually died there. The people who got off the island lived their lives and died later on. They created the alternate reality as a way to meet up and remember who they were and meet up again after their lives were through before moving on together. Basically the show was saying that they all came to the island as “lost souls” and the time they spent together was the most important part of their lives, in the relationships they forged and how each person found their purpose and found redemption in what had caused them to lose their way to begin with. They needed each other, in life and in death.
The last shot was fantastic. Jack sees the plane carrying the new 6 survivors fly overhead and knows he succeeded in getting Kate and the others off the island and keeping it safe. He “fixed” everything like he was always destined to. There is a shot of the shoe in the bamboo which has been there for 3 years and is now dirty and aged. And with Vincent laying there, it was a beautiful full circle moment to end the series on. Eye opens to begin, eye closes to end.
Also, by having Hurley say “You made a great #2” to Ben shows that Hurley and Ben were able to live out their lives on the island, protecting it as they were meant to. This was truly important to the redemption of Ben as a character, all he ever wanted was a purpose and he was given that in the end.
This finale gave us closure to all the characters and stories we’ve invested so much of ourselves into.
The real life storyline allowed Jack to fix everything like he was destined to. It allowed Hurley to take care of people like he was meant to. Rose and Bernard were able to live their lives out on the island in a quiet place just like they always wanted. Kate, Sawyer, and Claire were finally free from the island and ready to move on with their lives. Sawyer could finally move on from Juliet and stop blaming himself for everything bad that had happened in his life, Kate found closure with Jack, and Claire was finally ready to raise her son. Frank and Miles escaped the island as they had no reason to be held back, Miles having gotten closure with his Father from his time with the Dharma initiative. And Richard could finally finish living his life which had been put on hold for the island for so long.
Jack, being the obvious main anchor of the show, was the last and most important piece to rediscovering who he was and the importance he had. It was important that he was able to come to terms with things through his father because that it what drove him into being lost in the first place. We were able to see closure with many characters and their loved ones, especially the ones that had been torn apart through death. Charlie/Claire, Sun/Jin, Desmond/Penny, Jack/Kate, Sawyer/Juliet, Hugo/Libby, Shannon/Sayid were all given touching moments. All of these characters experienced true love which enabled them to become to person they really were. Locke was able to move past his disability and all the things that held him back physically and emotionally before he came to the island. Every character found redemption in some way and thus they were now ready to move on. It was perfectly done and beautiful to watch.
A couple of questions that are still brought up to me:
What was up with the numbers? The numbers corresponded to Jacob’s list of people who were candidates to replace him. 4,8,15,16,23,42 were the people left on his list and he orchestrated a way to get them on the island so that hopefully one of them would choose to take over when he died. They showed this in season 6’s “The Substitute.” All the other stuff admittedly is part of the “everything happens for a reason” aspect of Lost because the numbers were a both source of bad luck for Hurley and were prominent in the Dharma initiative. It was the serial number or whatever you want to call it engraved into the hatch and was also chosen as the password to reset the hatch. It was one of those things that the numbers just kept coming into play with random things, but the important part to take away is that they were given to our main characters to show that they were chosen by Jacob.
What was up with the alternate reality where Sayid was killing people for Ben? Well, first off, the timeline when Sayid was working for Ben was not an alternate reality. That’s what happened after they left the island (before coming back during season 5). Season 4 was told with flash forwards that showed how they got off the island and also what happened after they left. That is part of Sayid’s story where he was always being convinced by others that he was a cold ruthless killer, but really he was a good person and he was able to redeem himself by saving the others on the sub and sacrificing himself. This is why his moment “saving” Shannon in the finale was so moving. When it came down to it he would do the right thing and he got closure by remembering how Shannon had shown him that side of himself on the island.
Why was Hurley still so fat after 6 seasons? This is pretty simple. He was only on the island for 3 months, then he got off the island and lived back in the real world for 3 years. When he came back to the island he became the cook with the Dharma initiative when they were transported into the past. In fact, he only spent about a month on the island with little to eat before they opened the hatch and discovered it had a room that was completely filled with food. They even did an episode where Hurley was hoarding food for himself from the hatch entitled “everybody hates hugo.” The point is, he had plenty to eat the entire time other than that first month, and even then, they were hunting boar and such so that he wouldn’t have been starving by any stretch.
So what about the polar bears? This was explained in season 3, and truthfully isn’t important to the main story. But since it was the first “weird” thing to happen on the show, it gets brought up a lot by people who don’t understand. The explanation is simple. The Dharma initiative brought the polar bears onto the island to do experiments on them. They knew the island had mystical qualities and they were doing all sorts of things to discover its powers. The cages that Sawyer and Kate are kept in at the beginning of season 3 were originally used to hold the polar bears. End of mystery, you can rest easy now.
There are those that do not follow the show that will say things like “I called it! They were dead the whole time” or say that the ending is unoriginal or underwhelming. I can only respond that in my opinion these people didn’t get the point of the show. As I’ve stated above, it’s made clear that this wasn’t all a dream, and that the characters did in fact experience the events on the island for real.
The show was never about the unexplained mysteries or other such things that may get focused on. They were a means to keep things interesting sure, and in fact, most of the crazy happenings on Lost were explained in a satisfactory way for those that were paying attention. But in the end, what was important was the people, and that’s why this was the perfect finale. It paid respects to what mattered most.
A friend of mine posted that they “thought it was cool how open the plot was that it wouldn’t be too controversial – it never went deep enough into anything “religious” to be offensive and left a lot to the viewer’s imagination, so you could piece those parts together for yourself.” I totally agree. It allowed the show to continue with its themes of spirituality and destiny without being overt one way or the other. It explains enough without giving you a definite answer, just as the show has always been about. The ending works for both viewing the show as a “man of science” or a “man of faith.” The characters were always about learning to “live together or die alone.” These are the themes the show has always been about.
I have to point out that Lost is also amazing because it can affect all of us no matter how different we are in what we believe. It’s something to behold that we all know and care about these people in similar ways because we grew with them. The ending was fitting because the characters needed to remember the most important part of their lives in order to move on, and that’s exactly what we needed as an audience.
Bravo, Lost. You will be missed, but remembered.