M: We have come to the end of Lost. Before we get into the details and the breakdown, I want to take a moment to take a step back and take in the true impact of the show. Lost has been the first true TV phenomenon of the internet era. The first show that captivated audiences in a way that went beyond what they watched on TV, and what they talked about the day after the show. Lost became the thing that people, myself included as Mrs M can attest, obsessed over. The thing that we yearned for more information on, but the thing that more information was available for. We scoured the internet for other people’s theories, or to share our own. We looked for images of things we may have missed, for the Lost Experience, and for any little scrap we could find. We looked for a better screen cap of the blast door map, or a translation of the latin written on it. We looked for someone who knew how to translate hieroglyphics to find out what was in the smoke monster chamber underneath the temple’s outer wall. We yearned for answers to questions, both large and small, and we yearned to find out what happened to the characters that we came to care about. In doing so, we helped Lost to change the face of TV. The bar has been set to a new height. The level has been raised. The smoke monster is out of the bottle, and there’s no putting it back. Every network will be looking for the show that connects with audiences, makes them as rabid as the Lost fan base, and gives them the kind of mysteries to keep them interested throughout the week, the characters to keep them wanting to learn more and more, and the writing to enjoy even the bad episodes. And every network will flush perfectly good (but not great) shows like FlashForward down the drain before they can take off because they don’t live up to Lost. It’s a new world.
Now on to The End. Spoilers will be all over this, so don’t read it if you haven’t watched and want to, because I will ABSOLUTELY give away the ending… or endings. So, Lost has been barraging us with answers over the past half of the season, but they held back some of the questions and the mysteries for the epic series finale. We’ll get to them all, but the biggest were what would happen on the island to Jack, Smokey, Desmond and the rest of our remaining characters, and how would the sideways world tie in. We got answers to both of those, though this episode was really not about answers, but about endings… and in those endings, new beginnings.
Usually, I try to go through scene by scene as close as I can, break down what happened and add in my thoughts and crazy theories, quite a few of which turned out to be right, but some big ones that turned out pretty wrong. After a finale like this, that kind of a review simply won’t do justice. We have to discuss the conclusion as a whole, and besides, it was two and a half bloody hours long, and that’s an awful lot of scene by scene to try to do, especially at this time of night, after just having watched what we just watched. I’ll come back at some point soon and do a more detailed nit picking reviews, but for now lets go over what was really important, and look at what happened…
On the island, Jack trusted in his instinct, his role, and that he knew what was right, even in the face of direct opposition from Smokey. They both, together, sent Desmond into the Cave of Wonders. Desmond pulled the big stone plug that was, basically, holding back hell. The light went out, the earth started to tremble, and Smokey believed he had won. The Jack punched him in the mouth (have I mentioned that I liked this season’s version of Jack soooo much better?), and he bled, showing that what Jack’s plan did was make him no longer invincible but, well, vincible. After a protracted fight on the cliffs near Jacob’s cave that included Smokey stabbing Jack in the spot where he had what we thought was his “appendix” scar in LA X, Kate shot him, and Jack pushed him down the rocky cliffs to his demise. It was at this point that I realized that Jack was the temporary guardian of the island, and that he would have to go put the plug back in the hole. Taking Hurley and Ben with him, he did this, and saved Desmond in the process, but not before conferring upon Hurley the powers of Jacob, as the new guardian of the island. We’ll come back to this for more detail, and for finishing up.
So how did the sideways world tie in? Turns out, after years of the creators and writers of the show claiming that the island wasn’t purgatory, they decided to make the sideways world be a sort of purgatory. One by one, and in many cases two by two, the sideways version of our castaways were enlightened, made aware of their past life. As with the characters that have been enlightened in past episodes, their breakthroughs often centered around love. Not always romantic love, like Kate and Claire being awakened by their caring for each other and for Aaron during his birth, but love none the less. Each enlightenment became more and more powerful and emotional, Sayid and Shannon, Locke, Sun and Jin, Sawyer and Juliette, Kate, Claire and Charlie, all coming to a crescendo with Jack. Kate started the process, but it was his father who completed it.
That’s right, Christian Shepherd showed back up in the end to help his son to “move on”, explaining that this sideways world, this Bedford Falls, was set up by all of our castaways to find each other. Each of them has died, all at varying different times, but are brought together here because the time they spent on the island was the most important time in their lives, and they spent it together, and have to move on together. He and Jack walked out of the room that was holding his coffin, which, and I know I said I wasn’t going into the nitty gritty details, but I can’t help it with this one, had a prominent stained glass window with the symbols of most of the world’s major religions, and walk into the sanctuary. Instead of being Christian’s funeral, it was basically all of theirs. They have a meet and greet while typically fantastic Lost music plays, then with them all sitting, Christian heads out the door and into a familiar all encompassing white light.
Back on the island, injured, battered Jack makes his way back to the exact spot in the bamboo jungle where he woke up to start the series. As he collapses to the ground, Vincent reappears to lay next to him. Jack stares up at the sky, sees the Ajira plane with most of his remaining friends aboard fly overhead. The camera closes in on his eye, the one that opened to start this journey, and we see it close, as Jack dies.
All in all, I thought it was fabulous. Did it answer every question I had? Not by a long shot. Did I want it to make me as emotional as it did? No (though, unlike many in Jimmy Kimmel’s audience I did not cry while watching it). But the question I asked is, did it do the show justice, and I can’t say anything by Yes to that.
Here’s the thing… I have said for most of the season that I did not find the sideways world compelling, that I didn’t care about it, and that it didn’t feel like the characters in it were really the same characters that we’ve been watching for the entirety of the show. Add to that that I had heard rumors or theories that the sideways world would be the afterlife, and I strongly, even vehemently disliked that idea. That said, they did such a powerful job with the sideways world in the finale that I actually found myself wanting them to spend more time in it as each character became aware of their past life, which I was able to mostly figure out was going on when Jin and Sun were shown remembering their death. I was still a bit thrown off by Desmond being aware of the sideways world in his Island consciousness, but in the end that is left as just part of what makes Desmond Desmond. The moments of reveal, and the characters reactions to them, were so moving, so filled with emotion and such great acting, that I was completely caught up in it, which is really what it is all about.
On the island, the action was great, the chamber at the bottom of the Cave of Wonders is one of those classic Lost visuals, the kind that we have dissected ad infinitum, and can still discuss despite the absence of any future episodes, and the characters arcs were all ended nicely. Hurley becomes the new protector, getting to do what he does best, as Ben tells him, take care of people. Perfect ending for Hurley. Ben is redeemed again, and is willing to submit to someone else’s leadership, which is probably the one thing we never saw him do over the entirety of the show. Rose and Bernard are once again left to live by themselves on the island, unbothered. Miles and Lapidus leave having fulfilled their roles and righted their previous wrongs. Richard, as pointed out by Miles plucking a gray hair off him, is finally able to age, redeemed now of his sins, and able to leave the island and live out his life. Claire gets to go home, and get her son back. Kate professes her love for Jack before he dies, then gets to take Claire home to Aaron to help her raise him. Sawyer for the first time since landing on the island angry, self-tortured man, gets to leave the island that changed his life, not in the hardening, brutal way that the man in black’s life was changed, but in the refining, cleansing manner that Jacob intended. Very fitting for Pentecost Sunday, by the way. And Jack…. as I said after What They Died For, Jack has always been the main character. The show started with Jack, and it had to end with Jack. As we say on the island, Jack’s arc ended heroically. He “had to go back” to the island, and found his purpose. The man who was obsessed with fixing things had one last thing to fix, but he had to give of himself completely to do it, and he did. And when he did, and “let go”, he let go in the sideways world, too, and found the impact that his life truly had.
And for those of us who watched, we got one last chance to experience the impact that Lost has had. What an impact it was, and I’m glad I went along for the ride.