On September 22, 2004, a TV show began with the lead character flying home with his father’s coffin. I’d been flying back and forth to Georgia as my father was dying of cancer, and, ten days later, he did. So of course with Lost‘s overt themes of life and death, parents and children, and rampant spirituality, it made a strange sort of sense that I’d become immersed in a show that seemed to be addressing many of the challenges I was living through at the time.

Not everyone is going to think, in a show about polar bears and ancient temples and time travel and mysterious experiments and kidnapped children and smoke monsters and immortal sidekicks, that an emotional and spiritual resolution is going to be satisfying. But Lost never was a show about polar bears and ancient temples and time travel and mysterious experiments and kidnapped children and smoke monsters and immortal sidekicks. Lost announced very early on that it was about second chances and redemption and learning to live together, or they were all going to die alone.

Now, I could break down the show like I usually do, and, honestly, I probably will a little later in the week. I promised Betsy Warren I won’t stop recapping, and I’m pretty sure that whatever’s going on in Spectacularry going forward will be illuminated by choice references to Lost. I could point out how awesome it was that my man Frank is the guy who got everyone out of Dodge, and gave Jack a bit of peace seeing his friends safely off, right at the end, there; I could point out how everyone slowly came to believe in each other; culminating not with Hurley telling Jack “I believe in you, dude” or Jack telling Hurley “I believe in you, Hurley” later, but with Miles pulling a strip of the great grey life-saver and practically screaming to the heavens “I believe in duct tape!” I could even go into how awesome it was to see the large stained-glass window in an ostensibly Christian church have the icons of the great religions: a cross, a Star of David, a Star and Crescent, an Om, a yin-yang symbol… and a frozen donkey wheel. But I won’t. At least not today.

Today, I’ll just point out that last night’s finale was the perfect ending to an excellent show, because after six years, it did what it says on the tin: they didn’t die alone, because they all learned to live together.

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Betsy Warren 24 May 2010

Larry, I hear what you’re saying and part of me liked the fluffy ending but another side of me felt like it was a big cop out. The entire show was full of mystery, mythology, religion, science and sci-fi. I felt like they needed about 4-6 more episodes to really tie it up. You say the show wasn’t really about those things … but it was, it was about all those things plus the “redemption/didn’t die alone part”. Yes it was very sentimental, and I cried a bunch but I was still left with an unfinished and unanswered pain in my gut.

Was anybody truly alive in this sideways post death dimension? Not everyone was at the church. Didn’t Desmond say he wasn’t taking Daniel? What happened to the rest of the world when the light got turned off and smoky was immortal long enough to get killed? Was the island collapsing symbolic of the whole world coming undone? If so where could Lapidus fly off to? Did Lapidus and his gang die on that fateful departure off the island? What happened after Hurley was left to protect the island? How did Hurley die? How come Jack didn’t turn to a smoky after his coming out of the cave like MIB did? Why was Aaron so dam special? For that matter why was Walt?

Yes it was a beautiful ending but come on….did we really have to hack five years of story line apart that barbarically just to fit it all into one little season finale bundle?!

Larry Young 24 May 2010

Bets: one of the best things I’ve read so far about it was: “I was emotionally satisfied and intellectually gypped.” Which I think is a pretty fair comment, actually, but the whole show really never was about answers.

Christian said the Sideways was a place they had made so they could all link up to let go and move on together, so I don’t think they were alive. Desmond said he wasn’t taking Daniel to his mother. One imagines Daniel and Eloise and Charles and Charlotte have a bunch of stuff to work out before they get going. I idon’t know what happened in the outside world but I image there was some sort of metaphysical speedbump. Maybe because of the outside-of-physics nature of the Island, everyone just had a bad day until Jack plugged things back up.

Lapidus and everyone else lived spectacularly awesome lives into old age, finally dying surrounded by loved ones because their time on the Island helped to “Live Together” so they wouldn’t die alone. they sort of touched on this when Kate said to Jack, “I’ve missed you so.” She had a whole post-island life without Jack they intimated with one line. Those writers were kings.

I’m dying to find out what happened when Hurley and Ben ran the Island. One imagines it’s full of good food and wholesome entertainment and STAR WARS marathons on the beach.

Mimi and I both thought Jack would have been a White Smoke Monster, especially since they showed him washed up where MiB’s body was found by Jacob. Actually, I’m more outraged by Jack catching at least five inches of a SEAL blade in the side and being able to stride across the Island, get lowered into a cave, fall ten feet onto his wouldned side, and wrassle a three hundred pound stone block into position without half his intestines being shoved out the wound from the inside. but, hey. Literary license.

Crowley 24 May 2010

Agree! I look forward to your in depth recap!

Alex 24 May 2010

I’m in the camp of ’emotionally satisfied’… in a ‘cheers reunion-episode’ sort of way… but i’m feeling quite shortchanged on the intellectual side. My biggest gripe is that (unless i missed something… which is quite possible), the connection between the bomb going off (or not) at the end of Season Five and the emergence of Dimension X at the beginning of Season Six now appear to be completely unrelated. Whereas their juxtaposition made them seem causally related in the flow of the story. That feels a bit cheap to me…

Betsy Warren 24 May 2010

Just caught a glimpse of jimmy kimmel aloha to lost and he pointed out that the moment that jack died on the island, the plane passing overhead, was the opening scene for this season, where jack is on the plane, there is turbulance, when it stops, Rose says to him “you can let go now, it’s ok to let go” that was the moment of his crossing over into Dimension x aka Heaven’s front porch.

Sean Maher 24 May 2010

Great point, Betsy! I like that a lot!

Alex: I never WAS convinced the bomb had actually gone off — they didn’t really have it explode so much as they had Juliet banging on the thing and then a slight twist on the booming “LOST!” sound they do at the end of every episode. Then in this season’s opener Sawyer jumps down in the hole and Juliet’s alive and not busted up into atoms. The bomb didn’t go off.

Although Dead Daniel thinks it DID… hmmm…

Larry Young 24 May 2010

Bets, you don’t think that was Lapidus and the Ajira plane?

Betsy Warren 24 May 2010

yes, I think it was…. but whose to say that both planes weren’t occupying the same space at different times….

Betsy Warren 24 May 2010

OK it was Lapidus….I’m reaching here!!! Anyway, I watched the episode a second time and it did make more sense the second time around, actually, I think I cried more this time……

Larry Young 24 May 2010

I’m just mad they didn’t address that eye color thing. ALEX’ EYES WERE BLUE IN THE SIDEWAYS!

Ryan Higgins 24 May 2010

Loved the finale, Larry. I’m glad you loved it, too.

I think Lost is just like life. You don’t get all the answers to all the questions, you have to come to your own conclusions about the meaning, and once you can just let everything go, and focus on what’s important…redemption, love… you can move on.

Jack died, but before he could move on, he created this perfect reality in the split second. He closes his eyes, and wakes up on Oceanic 815, and lands in LAX. Once he lets go of all his hangups, he’s able to move on from his own private purgatory.

Chuck Gilbert 24 May 2010

I liked it. I’m satisfied. I agree with a lot of what you said Larry.
Also, at the Times Talks Live Lost Event, Cuse and Lindelof talked about the “Aaron is special” thing. They said that the psychic was the one who said he was special. Later the psychic was found out to be a fake. So he wasn’t special. The “Others” took Aaron because he was born on the island were no one else could give birth so they wanted to study him. But they say whenever they tell people that, they look at them and say, “so why was Aaron special”. They don’t believe some of the things they try to explain. Also it looks like when the Sixth season comes out on DVD there will be an extra 15-20 minutes of footage that will explain more things in the finale. And the complete collection will have a bonus disc of stuff only in that set.

Larry Young 24 May 2010

I was going to buy that DVD anyway. 🙂

Rich 24 May 2010

When the idea that the island represents limbo was first raised by fans I thought that something along those lines could make a good resolution: it would help resolve all these surreal elements without having to literally account for them. Plus, as we’ve seen, it can have an emotional payoff. At the time, though, the writers swore up and down that wasn’t the case, but I now have to wonder if that wasn’t actually their original intention, and that’s the initial creative origin for the polar bears, magic numbers and time displacement, etc.–not to mention, visions of dead people? By postponing the afterlife resolution until after the events on the island, they have their cake-and-eat-it-too. I might not have had as much of a problem with such an approach had the series been shorter, but spread out over 6 years, I expect an ending that matches the intellectual gamesmanship of the show’s “Easter eggs.” As it is, the only reason I didn’t think they were in the afterlife is a) the writers seemed to rule out a version of that idea previously, and b), I hoped there was more to it than that. I don’t think that was an unrealistic expectation.

What seems like a cheat to me is presenting the afterlife story as another alternate timeline. We’re thinking it’s playing by the same rules as the others, so we apply the same kind of scrutiny to its details. Instead, its logic turns out to be a season-long red herring, and not an appropriate resolution for the kind of effort the show seemed to require to follow it.

I’m not bothered by the lack of answers, but what looks like a conceptual bait-and-switch nature of the ending. To compare with my favorite ending of all time, “The Prisoner:” its wild metaphorical ending is an appropriate fulfillment of and answer to the surreal, paranoid aesthetic of The Village. The afterlife of “Lost” seems a world apart from the Island; it could just as well be the afterlife of “Grey’s Anatomy.”

That’s my initial, hasty reaction, anyway, based on my (probably) faulty grasp of the show’s details. I’ll be interested in hearing a detailed case in favor of it.

Mark Espinosa 24 May 2010

I realized, during the credits, that this show is called ‘Lost.’ It’s not called, ‘ Magic Mystery Monster Island.’ Lost is not the story of how the Island came to be. It isn’t even a story about all the island’s mysteries. The island has existed for a very long time and it will continue to do so. This is not That story. This is one small chapter in it’s history. We were never going to discover all the answers. Of course we weren’t. That was never the intention of this story. This was the most important time in the lives of our heroes. Crashing and surviving. We were always following them. The second to last episode showed us that The island has been around for a very long time. There was a protector before Jacob and there will be a protector after Hurley. Man, I want my Ben-Hur spin off. Lapidus in a bar in Guam toasting to those wacky island folk.

I loved that dimension X was a waiting room for everyone to meet up after death. Filled with familiar faces playing familiar roles. I don’t believe characters like Keamy and Chang were actually there. Or the 20 other background characters that quickly walked by the camera. Our heroes made that world, for the people they spent an important part of their lives with. Naturally they would use Dharma people as extras. I just hope they dont have to wait long in that church for Ana Lucia. Great ending to a Great show.

Looks Like someone popped MIB’s Cork. YEEAAHHHH.
Looks like someone took a Number 1.. and a Number 2. YEEAAHHH
I don’t think Flocke was ready for that Cliff hanger.. YEEAAHHH.

Mark Herr 25 May 2010

I was disappointed with the finale. But I will freely admit I know don’t know what would have made me happy, because I can be hard to please about the stuff that is really important to me.

Like Rich said above, I felt cheated by Dimension X being a purgatory type place. I wouldn’t have minded if the producers hadn’t been so adamant about the cast not being in purgatory from the beginning of the series. It’s almost like they are saying, “We said the initial universe was not purgatory, we never said THIS one wasn’t.” I think that is a bit of disrespecting your loyal audience.

I called Jack shutting his eye being the final shot. I called Jack failing and Hurley taking over as the guardian. I thought accidentally turning evil incarnate mortal so you can kill him was too easy. And I didn’t care for Ben getting anyway with Locke’s murder (along with a bunch of others) with no ultimate payback. I mean, Locke forgives him, so we’re supposed to? To put all cards on the table, I never liked Ben as a character until after Alex was killed and he was knocked off his pedestal. Up until that point, I never believed Sawyer or someone wouldn’t have capped his ass.

So yes, I love the characters, I love the journey, I don’t regret my time spent with this show or the dangling plotlines. I just wanted to be surprised and rewarded in a good way. I don’t feel I was.

Betsy Warren 25 May 2010

I agree whole heartedly with Rich’s sentiment. He eloquently stated exactly how I felt as well.

I have often heard the writers referencing “the rabbit hole” throughout past interviews and I wonder if that is what we were watching. In effect the show starts with Jack and ends with Jack and his adventures through this Wonderland. The stuff that happened in the rabbit hole is much like Alice’s zany adventure full of nonsense characters like smoke monsters and caterpillars….mad hatters and Keamy…..yes there were other main character developments but the finale was very Jack focused and it was really his redemption that we witnessed more than all the other characters.

Matt Hollingsworth 25 May 2010

Good quote, Larry, the “I was emotionally satisfied and intellectually gypped.” I’m in that camp. I’m pretty bummed about about 90% of this season, actually. Oh well. But, be that as it may, the show’s always had its ups and downs. When it was good, it was great. But there were too many episodes that just weren’t good, especially this season.

Time to move on.

Larry Young 25 May 2010

I’d just like to say I really appreciate all the thoughtful posts all y’all have been making, and I sure am happy you’ve seemed to have enjoyed my little confections about the show these past weeks.

Rich: I gotta tell you, I’m with you on the “intellectual gamesmanship” point you were making. If it seems like you’re making a point that Jacob is reading Flannery O’Connor when Locke gets thrown out the window, maybe that specific thing doesn’t need an explanation but its inclusion needs a payoff in general, other than a generic “these are the things that influence us” the writers are seeming to say. Also, as to the ending of “The Prisoner,” I’m with you; I agree that that is one of the best WTF-endings of any show ever. It completely answeres things to those paying attention but allows all sorts of interpretation as well. Perhaps the Sixties really are gone to us.

Mark Espinosa, you lunatic, your LOST observations are well-considered and your CSI: Miami-flavored jokes spot on.

Mark Herr: Would you have been satisfied with the finale presented as-is, but that the Sideways was an alternate universe? I think I might have liked that well enough OK, but I can see how a 60 year old LOST fan in the heartland could swallow an “All Stories Are True” sort of spiritual ending better than a Spock’s Beard kinda finale. “God works in mysterious ways” is easier to take for regular joes than “Hee’s that spot on the table I spilled acid on last year, but Sulu is Head of Security and has a faciallly disfiguring scar.”

Bets: yeah, I think the whole thing was Jack trying to redeem himself through the redemption of his friends. Jack learns to live together so he doesn’t die alone, and, by so doing, helps all his pals to do so too.

Hollingsworth: I miss you, you crazy bastard. We had some fun every once in a while together, we did. Seems like kinda a LOST metaphor.

Matt Hollingsworth 26 May 2010

I miss you too, man. Thanks for all the effort on the blog.

Mark Herr 26 May 2010

Larry, I have no clue what would have made me happy. I didn”t hate it, I was just disappointed. I guess I wanted to be wowed and don’t feel I was.

But hey, there is always next season…oh, wait.

Rich Barrett 26 May 2010

The other Rich (maybe my Sideways-self?) stated something I’ve been saying myself the last couple of days. I’d be willing to bet that the writers originally planned the Island to be Purgatory but had to find a loophole when everyone started hanging onto that idea very early on. It explains everything on the Island, especially the judgment and temptations of the smoke monster. But I think they made a good choice by not having everything that happened on the show be “not real”.

I really enjoyed the final episode and have warmed up a little to the very ending which I at first felt hemmed too close to the ultra-religious Battlestar Galactica ending. I’m of two minds on the whole “answer” thing. Like Betsy said the show was about the characters AND the mysteries so it’s a little bit wrong that they left so many balls in the air. But the show has also always been about the fans coming up with their own wild theories and in the cases where they actually gave answers (Black Rock, I’m looking your way) the fan theories were much better.

There’s a lot left for us fans to continue to chew on now.

Sean Maher 26 May 2010

One thing I realize only in retrospect is: the sideverse reveal does a great job straddling the line between gravity and flight.

On the one hand, I’m glad the characters all get together in the end. I’m glad Sawyer gets to be with Juliet. As an audience, I get a lot of satisfaction from that. In the end, to my surprise, I even dig Jack and Kate — I loved Kate’s whole post-awakening, her patient coaching as Jack struggled to get to the end. “I’ve missed you,” “No, that’s not how you know me,” all that stuff was weirdly golden to me. I’m glad John forgave Ben; it had been a long time since we got a good old-fashioned “John Locke understands and accepts people and their hurt ways” moment, the kind of moment that made me a quick fan of the character in the first season. I’m glad Jin and Sun got a second chance to be together.

On the flipside of that, stunningly, the purgatory explanation gave me all these wish-fullfilment moments without betraying the weight of the series’ many deaths. One of the early reactions to Sun and Jin dying (aside from what I think is the negligible “what about their kid” argument, which was answered beforehand with a line about the baby being with Sun’s mom) was that the death might not matter, that this series was like a super-hero comic where anybody killed could be “brought back” soon as the writers felt like it. While I got to see all the dead characters I wanted to see (except Eko), the people who died stayed dead. I mean, there were a handful of light exceptions, in Jacob wandering about for a bit until he passed the torch to Jack and Michael showing up to whine to Hurley, but by and large the big deaths in this series all DID matter, and they were all permanent.

My main concern about the sideverse was that it would cheat all those deaths. If the “real world” 815ers escaped to the sideverse or the two worlds combined somehow, it wouldn’t matter that Locke’s death was lonely and sad and incomprehensible. It wouldn’t matter that Jin and Sun died with a romantic flourish that would make Shakespeare pee his pants. Those would all be stopgap plot points on the way to Everything Working Out Just Fine.

And while, in the end, everything did work out just fine, that was only because the show was telling us that dying ain’t the end of the world. In terms of life on Earth, everything that happened, happened, and I’m glad the show didn’t buckle under that weight.

Larry Young 26 May 2010

Nice one, Sean. I loved Sawyer and Juliet’s Bogey and McCall moment.

Larry Young 26 May 2010

Um. Bacall. See what I get for skipping breakfast? 🙂

Richard 04 June 2010

I gotta say, in hindsight? With all the pieces on the board this was probably my favorite season of the show. The sideways-verse annoyed the shit out of me until that moment when Desmond tells Eloise he ain’t taking her boy and I went from thinking he was sideways-Christ to a gnostic Satan to ‘Holy Shit! He’s Charon and this is the afterlife!’ and everything made a bittersweet sense.

So we don’t find out who was using Jacob’s Cabin (Desmond becomes unstuck from time again in season 7) or why Christian could leave the island but Locke Dressed couldn’t (he was a hypnotic suggestion planted by Locke or Jacob) or any of that other stuff. There are a lot of women i’d like to know what they’re like in bed. That’ll be a question i’ll die with, too. That’s life, man.

Just don’t get the ‘intellectually gypped’ thing.

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