LOST — for the last time

In case you haven’t seen LOST’s finale yet, here’s your *SPOILER WARNING*

…They’re all dead.  Some people died on the island.  Some people died off-island.  Some characters lived a long time after they left the island.  Some probably died soon after leaving the island.

Once a character died, however, he or she went to this middle place (we’ve referred to it as the parallel timeline, the Alternate TimeLine, or 2004 timeline), a spiritual intermediate state is probably the best way to put it, in which they waited for one another.  It was a place of their own collective imaginations; a place with features that mirrored their original lives and that functioned as a spiritual gathering place for our Losties.

When two characters met in this middle place, they remembered their relationship on the island.  This remembering awakened them, so to speak, and then allowed them to “move on” together.  The final image we have is of Jack, sacrificing himself for his friends and for the island, taking his seat at their gathering place, and closing his eyes in death on the island. His consciousness was reunited with his soul.  (?)  And maybe that’s the connection I was looking for with the air date being Pentecost…I don’t know if that’s it, but it could be…their spirits being awakened…or something….

Questions will linger for me, I’m sure.  But most of those questions center on specific characters.  This final episode, however, completed Jack’s story.  It was important for Jack to protect the island by killing Brother and replacing the plug in the heart of the island.  That’s it.  That’s what he had to go back to do.  Once the island was done with him, he died.

As for the rest of the show…

The middle place reunions were emotionally satisfying to me.  I was teary at seeing my favorite couples “know” one another again.  I can’t decide which one was my favorite because they were all so sweet, and I love a music-swelling flashback like nobody’s business.

There was one that I didn’t like: Sayid and Shannon.  Even though they forged a bond on the island, I have always felt like his one true love was Nadia.  But since she was never on the island…well, she didn’t get to be in the finale.

Some mysteries were solved:  Juliet’s saying, “It worked,” always referred to Sawyer’s getting candy from the machine.  Not, as I assumed, to the bomb going off in the hatch.

Those were my favorite parts because events on the island — getting across the island has never been so fast! — were a bit baffling.

My favorite on-island moments: when Jack and Kate FINALLY declared their love for one another; Hurley saying, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this”; and Jack’s death.

The story continues…

Kate, Claire, Miles, Sawyer, Lapides, and Richard made it off the island.  I imagine Kate helped Claire get to know Aaron and her not-in-a-coma-anymore mother.  I also imagine she helped Sawyer become a father to Clementine.  Lapides gave up piloting planes and started a submarine explosion survival training school.  Richard aged rapidly and died.  Miles continued life with his trick of talking to the recently dead because it’s lucrative and kind of cool.

Hurley and Ben stayed on the island as Protector #1 and #2, respectively.  With Hurley as Island Protector, I bet island-living was way more fun: more golf and music and joy rides in the Dharma vans.  Ben, the #2, went on to shepherd more “others.”  Only this time, I hope he did a better job of it.

The island wasn’t finished with Desmond, either, though.  I think, based on all of his touching of people in this episode, that he was the one who traveled from island to the real world, touching people in order to bring them to the island.

To Sum Up

I’ll admit that when the show was over I was disappointed.  Really disappointed.  So bummed that the only positive take-away for me was the soundtrack.  I wasn’t sure of the creators’ message with the final scene, I didn’t fully understand “the point” of the island, I was left wondering what was real and what was after-life.  But once I got these two things anchored: the island and all island events were real (not purgatorial) and the ATL was after-life, then I felt like I could start processing the story as a whole.

What I loved about the show from the start was still true about the show in the end.  While on the island, the characters grappled with life’s ultimate questions.  On the island, the objects of those questions took shape.  And there were enough Christian undertones, even in the finale, to satisfy me.  LOST isn’t anywhere near a perfect allegory of biblical faith, but some things were demonstrated well, like living in community, caring for one another, helping one another, sacrificing self for the good of another, the bond of marriage, faith, love, hope, redemption, grace, forgiveness.

I think the creators left it rather open-ended so that fans of any faith could conceivably be happy with the resolution of the show.  I’m not going to become a hater because it didn’t perfectly fit my worldview.  It’s a t.v. show.  I have been thoroughly entertained with six seasons.  Mission accomplished.

For the record, though, in case the show has you wondering, Jesus and eternity in the new heaven and new earth will be infinitely more satisfying!  I encourage you to find a Bible and start reading a book in there called The Gospel of John.

Tonight, television entertainment will die with Jack Bauer.  That’s it for me and television until someone creates something totally awesome again.

18 Comments on “LOST — for the last time

  1. “Tonight, television entertainment will die with Jack Bauer.”

    Yeah, pretty much.


  2. TV died for me with Jack Shepherd! I can only hope BBC’s Being Human Season Two will be good but that will be a “watch on the computer ” show. Cable gets shut off as soon as American Idol is over (which I don’t have to watch anyway).
    Time to start Season One over!


  3. Good review, Leslie! We had a great time with you guys last night. I especially agree with your summation of not being a hater because it didn’t fit perfectly with your worldview. I feel the same way. I wish it had resolved the flash-sideways a little differently, but it was still a great show.


  4. Television entertainment dies but not Jack, right? Surely not Jack! I haven’t watched this season so I have to ask!

    While I did enjoy the reunions in the sideways flash, I too was terribly disappointed when the final credits rolled. I felt a little gypped, maybe even conned. Seemed like the whole purgatory deal was a major cop out after 6 seasons of really smart, intelligent programming. Ah, well. It is what it is.


    • I hope Jack dies. I need all of my favorite characters to die. I don’t want them to go on without me. Jack is so dead. He knows too much.

      The sideways world wasn’t purgatory, though. If anything in LOST served as purgatory, then it was the island itself, but it is clear that the island and everything that happened was very real. I don’t think any of it was purgatory.

      Scriptures teach us that there is an intermediate state for the Christian. Paul talks about it says it is not the most desirable state…to be without a body…to want the soul to be clothed but having to wait until the resurrection of our bodies and those who died in Christ. We are all going to be waiting for our brothers and sisters, the Church, before the final judgment and the ushering in of the new heavens, new earth, and new Jerusalem. The main difference is that we will be with Christ even as we wait for our bodies.

      Don’t be so quick to poo-poo the finale as totally non-Christian. It wasn’t fully Christianized, but were a few echoes of what we believe. I think. Correct me if I’m wrong.


      • Yeah, I meant Jack BAUER in my comment. Sorry for not being clear.

        And I didn’t expect a Christian ending in regard to LOST and was therefore using “purgatory” rather loosely when I referred to the “now we’re all dead and regardless to how old we were when we died we are now perpetually the age we were when we were all on the island, the most alive we ever were” ending which was still a major cop out, in my opinion. As I said before, after 6 seasons of intelligent mystery to suddenly make it only about the characters was disappointing to me. I knew better than to expect to have all the questions answered (I watched the pre-show show and I caught the code where character driven finale really means there will still be questions) but everyone all lovey dovey in the church, I mean after life? Puh-lease!


  5. Really a great way to look at things. I was a hater last night. Today, I guess I’m just a really strong disliker. 😉 I DO like that the show was ultimately about Jack’s redemption. But I do think they took a ridiculously long and convoluted path to tell us that.


  6. Television died for me years ago, when “Hill Street Blues” went off the air. I liked “ER” a fair bit, but by and large, I am not a huge fan of dramas any longer. I like “House,” too. I watched all the seasons of “Lost.” The first two were the best. The fourth season, was not the greatest. I was not at all surprised at the ending, and I knew there would not be complete resolution of the elements of the storyline; I didn’t expect there to be. I just knew that Jack would die in the end. It was the only ending that made sense. I have never watched “24” and don’t plan on starting. Most of the dramas that I really like don’t experience the cult like fan base that “Lost” had. The ones I like don’t usually make it to the end of the season.


    • Karl really likes House. I’ve watched some of the episodes with him this season. It’s interesting how the drama of his life unfolds in the midst of solving a case. And I like all of the psychological discussion.


  7. I’ve come to the point where I just feel satisfied at the ending of LOST; not gratified, just satisfied. Does that make sense…like a peanut butter sandwich is satisfying when you’re hungry, but a steak is much more gratifying to me when I’m hungry….???


    • It wasn’t a Jane Austen or a Tolkien ending, that’s for sure. The ending to LOST was more like a real death: it ended unfinished. Don’t you feel that way when someone close to you dies? Like there was more to say or do?


  8. Grudgingly, I can see where you are going with your not poo-pooing the echoes. I have a harder time seeing it that way, but I do see your point. After thinking some, I don’t hate the ending as much as I did when I first watched it, but I do think they pulled a bit of a switch on us to have the plot be as insignificant in the end as it was. There were so many things that don’t seem resolved that just don’t fit the ending, IMO. But, as to the character driven part of the show, that was satisfying as long as I can get quiet my qualms about the worldview issues and just enjoy the story. I did like the reunions. That was sweet. Especially Sawyer and Juliet – I really liked that part. But I do think they strung us along thinking the island story and mysteries were so important – the plot – to have it be totally about the characters in end. Just felt a little cheated there, and always will. One thing that I have to say is that I really did NOT like all the religious symbols in the little room where Jack talks to Christian and finally comes to terms w/the fact that he’s dead. They were so overt in placing symbols from all religions there that I can’t help thinking it is sending a message I do not like. I would have liked the ending much better if they’d left out the symbols in the place that was obviously the doorway to the afterlife, for lack of a better term, and been more subtle in the universalism. Yes, I know it’s just a TV show, and I did NOT expect them to have a Christian resolution, but I can’t help thinking there was a deeper and not-so-subtle message being pushed there. I plan to blog more about my thoughts on that later if I can ever get to it. Over all, I guess I’m just glad it is over now. I enjoyed the series, even if I wasn’t satisfied with the way they chose to end it.


    • Yeah, everyone in the room groaned when we saw all of the symbols. And, yes, I think the creators of the show were trying to send a message, too. I don’t think they were saying that all faiths lead to the same outcome. I think what they were saying is that faith does not really matter at all. What matters is deeds, self-redemption and the love and relationships in life that creates our afterlife. “If we can’t live together, then we’re all going to die alone.” More than the afterlife message, I think they were pushing the message that we need to find a way to live together.

      I don’t feel like they did a bait and switch. The plot was always surviving on the island until they could get off the island. And Jack’s purpose, like he said over and over again, was getting everyone off the island. He finally did that in the end.


      • I think you’re right that they’re saying faith doesn’t matter at all rather than the other. That doesn’t really make me feel any better about their worldview, but there it is anyway. I already knew I wouldn’t agree with their worldview. You are also right that, in retrospect, we need to just look at the show as a whole – it really was more about the characters, Jack in particular, than the more plot-generated mysteries I was so prone to focus on. In that way, they did a wonderful job of tying it all together in the end. The character’s stories were complete, and that’s obviously what the writers intended. However, they did pull a bit of a bait and switch in that for a while there was a big focus on the island’s mysteries – esp. where the Others and Dharma were concerned and Walt and the raft, that while looking back seems kind of pointless now. So, I’ll go w/you on looking at the big picture – they did survive on the island and Jack did fulfill his purpose, so the writers brought us to a complete ending there and that’s just what it has to be.

        I agree w/Karl – it doesn’t really ruin the show for me, I enjoyed discussing it w/my husband and friends along the journey and it was a fun ride. But it does make me not love the ending and wish they’d gone a different way. But they’re the writers, they got to decide.

        Too bad I couldn’t have been part of your group that watched it together – having you to process it with would have made me like it better. 🙂


  9. “One thing that I have to say is that I really did NOT like all the religious symbols in the little room where Jack talks to Christian and finally comes to terms w/the fact that he’s dead.”

    I agree. I think the last few episodes were somewhat ham-fisted in a way that the rest of the show was not, mainly because they seemed at a loss for how to explain things without just spelling it out. I was turned off by the overt every religion/all paths lead to heaven message when other parts of the show (“Christian Shephard”) were clearly intended to mirror Christian imagery. It doesn’t make me like the rest of the show less, but it kept me from really loving the ending.


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