Why I Loved the LOST Finale


If you have never watched LOST (or haven’t seen the Finale yet), I implore you not to read this entry.  It will ruin the journey of an epic show for you, as this post is full of spoilers.  Onward…

I liked it.  No, I loved it. 

The word “LOST” appeared on screen for the final time, with a lighter note than the traditional “boom”.  I knew I was emotionally content.  I also knew I was also pretty confused.  But, I keep thinking about the show and the finale.  Over the past day or so, I have formed a bit of a clearer idea of what happened and why I enjoyed the end so much. 

The show ended in a way that honored the entire series, was true to its characters, pushed the boundaries of television, and didn’t spoon-feed anything to anyone.  To fully express why I liked it, I first want to touch on (my interpretation) of what happened and segue into my thoughts.

The first 2 hours and twenty minutes of the finale were pretty straightforward (and very enjoyable), so I’ll gloss over that.  It was the last ten minutes that threw the curve ball.

Jack finally remembers everything when he touches his dad’s coffin.  Then, he sees his dad and has the following exchange:

Jack: I don’t understand. You died.
Christian: Yeah. Yes, I did.
Jack: Then how are you here right now?
Christian: How are you here?
Jack: [realizing] I died too.
Christian: It’s OK. It’s OK son.
Jack: Are you real?
Christian: [laughing] I sure hope so. Yeah, I’m real. You’re real. Everything that’s ever happened to you is real. All those people in the church, they’re all real too.
Jack: They’re all…they’re all dead?
Christian: Everyone dies sometime kiddo. Some of them before you, some long after you.
Jack: But why are they all here now?
Christian: Well there is no “now” here.
Jack: Where are we dad?
Christian: This is a 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.
Jack: For what?
Christian: To remember. And to let go.
Jack: Kate – she said we were leaving.
Christian: Not leaving, no. Moving on.
Jack: Where are we going?
Christian: Let’s go find out.

So the flash-sideways timeline wasn’t “real”.  It was a place they all made together to find one another.  After the bomb explodes at the end of Season 5, we assume that it splits our characters into two timelines.  But that’s not what happens.  All the bomb does is reset the 1977 timeline, yank our characters out of 1977, and put them all into 2007 — which is the present time on the island.  Everything that happened on the Island throughout the show actually happened and was real. 

At the beginning of Season 6, when we see Jack in Oceanic Flight 815, it’s simply an introduction to the place that our characters created.  It wasn’t caused by the bomb at all.  They had created a reality for themselves where they were not affected by the island and their lives weren’t as flawed.  Jack had a son, Sun and Jin were happy together, Sayid got to see Nadia.  But their connections they made on the Island were stronger than this less flawed reality.  I don’t think every answer about how the sideways world works needs answering, but I do think seeing the Island underwater at the beginning is significant, though I’m not sure how.

The ending doesn’t answer all the questions, but by the time we were down to the last few episodes, did you really expect it to?  I certainly didn’t, and it doesn’t really matter to me that I will never have a hard reason for why the random Dharma food drop happened.  (Also worth noting that broader questions, such as why women can’t give birth on the Island, have been answered implicitly.)   What matters to me is the resolution of the characters. 

This ending honored the characters.  It honored the series as a whole.  Everything that we saw happened on the Island was, to many of the characters, the most important part of their lives.  There’s always a question in art of “why” a story is worth telling, and to follow the growth, connection and love of a group of people seems pretty compelling to me.  

Perhaps, for those that weren’t in the church at the end, the Island wasn’t the most important part of their lives.  (We know that Michael, for example, can’t move on.  Walt had a long time to live after the Island, and it’s likely more important things happened to him.)  Perhaps, also, Sayid has been missing Shannon more than we know (does he ever explicitly say Nadia in Season 6?  I remember him telling the Man In Black that he wanted him to bring his love back from the dead, I don’t know that he said Nadia).  I’m okay knowing that Lapedius (so happy he was alive), Sawyer, Miles, Kate and Claire got off the island.  Who knows how their stories played out?  It doesn’t matter to me — what matters is knowing that they did play out. 

I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts, and if this interests you, it’s worth reading a few of the other articles out there about the finale.  Also, I owe my brother major props for calling me around midnight after the finale and sharing theories of his and his friends, which definitely helped clear my head. 

I’ll close with a 2007 quote from co-creator Damon Lindeloff:

This show is about people who are metaphorically lost in their lives, who get on an airplane, and crash on an island, and become physically lost on the planet Earth. And once they are able to metaphorically find themselves in their lives again, they will be able to physically find themselves in the world again. When you look at the entire show, that’s what it will look like. That’s what it’s always been about.

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