After just about 2 hours of contemplation, I’m going to go ahead and give my take on the LOST finale. If you want to avoid spoilers or have no interest in the show, this probably isn’t for you.
The last 10 minutes of the show no doubt threw most people for a loop. I have to admit, I was a bit annoyed because I thought they were pulling a “it was all purgatory” ending. They didn’t quite do that, however, and I think what they did accomplish was to tell a beautiful story of redemption. If these characters were lost (and there’s no doubt in my mind that they were–Jacob even says none of them had things together before he intervened) then by the end of the show, they were found.
I’m amazed at how the writers of Lost were consistently able to weave their story back into itself, tying up the overall thematic and visual elements of the show (opening and closing with Jack’s eye, Kate stitching Jack up, Kate stitching Jack up, etc.). In hindsight, I love the moments in the “sideways” events when a character would remember who they were. It was a great way to bring the cast together from the first season and wrap up the narrative all at one time.
Speaking of the “sideways”, I was initially confused by Jack’s conversation with his dad. I wasn’t sure what was going on. After some thought, I think it’s fairly clear that the “sideways” events took place in “purgatory” or a holding area of some kind.
The “sideways” events serve as a mini-narrative that tells the story about the character’s discovering that they are dead. These are separate from the Island events and they happened outside the time line of the rest of the show. This confused me at first because throughout the season I had viewed the two time lines as parallel. I assumed the island time line and the “sideways” time line would somehow merge. My thinking was that as one time line progressed, the other progressed along with it.
But these are totally separate. When someone dies on the island, they pass on to the “sideways” time line. There’s no indication given as to when on the “sideways” time line this happens. Beginning? Middle? Just before the alternative Oceanic 815? We aren’t told how much of the sideways is different that the Island history, but Jack is married to Juliet and has a son, so they enter the timeline at least several years before the “sideways” version of Oceanic 815.
“When” doesn’t really matter though, because it lies outside of the time constraints of the Island timeline. That’s why Desmond tells Hurley that it’s not time for Anna Lucia to come and why Hurley and Ben talk about being #1 and #2. Apparently Hurley and Ben took up their roles as protectors of the island, though we have no idea how long that lasted. It could have been hours, years or decades of time. At some point, they died and ended up in the “sideways” time line. Once there, they eventually realized what happened (they were dead) and they waited for (or in some cases helped) the others to see and then met at the church.
Again, it’s a pretty slick way to sum up the story. It ties things up and reunites the cast in a satisfying way.
The themes are powerful in the finale:
- They were lost (individuals on a flight) but now they are found (together, waiting for each other before their next departure).
- Their failures have been forgiven (Ben’s apology to Locke outside of the church).
- Their flaws don’t define them, but are seen in light of who they are (Hurley’s conversation with Sayid–“you’re a good person”).
The more I think about it, the more I love this show. You have to dig a little here and there but there are enough clues to satisfy and give closure to the story.
I’d love for others to chime in with their thoughts. That is if any of this makes any sense at all.