Last night was The End. As in, the last episode of LOST. Ever. Let's just take a moment and let that sink in.
Ok, moving on. I watched the episode in what I thought was the perfect environment: at a friend's house surrounded by fans of the show sipping on some Dharma beer. The viewing party was hosted by my friend Jon (shout out!) and it was one of the few times I have watched LOST with a group. It certainly added to the experience, what with the gasping, clapping, laughing, OMGing, and general excitement. But even if you watched the show alone at home, I bet you have some thoughts. I mean we are talking about an often confusing but always thought-provoking show here.
Alright, first things first. What actually happened on the finale? The first question you probably had was, "what?" when the show ended. After some thinking, i figured the following things out:
1) Everything that happened on the Island was real. It was a not a dream, a hallucination, an alternate time line, or another dimension. IT WAS ALL REAL.
2) The "flash sideways" was not sideways but waaaaay in the future (or in a place of no time at all) in what was essentially Purgatory, or the waiting room for the afterlife a.k.a heaven. As Christian told Jack, some of the Losties there had died before him, some had died many years after him, but they had all died at some point and were now together in a Purgatory-esque place where time had no meaning. But there were all ready to move on, and they were all moving on together. Except Ben, who needed some more time to think about it, but that seems about right. I kind of liked the twist on the Purgatory thing, since so many people had speculated that the Island was actually Purgatory since the beginning. This seems like kind of a nice salute to that idea by the writers, while turning the idea on its head in typical LOST fashion.
3) Essentially, Jack was wrong in his "live together, die alone" mantra. They all, in fact, died together and will always be together. (sidenote: I wonder if part of Jack was thinking, "even Sawyer? I have to spend all of eternity with that guy? Damn.")
But what about all the unanswered questions? What about the electromagnetism, the time travel, the Dharma Initiative, the temples, the statues, the original Others, the polar bears, Tunisia, the frozen donkey wheel, all that stuff? I think what the writers were basically trying to tell us with the finale is, in the end, the show was always about the characters. The first season was the most character based, after that more and more plot devices started to be introduced, but those were basically for the purpose of moving around characters, giving them places to go, things to do, and challenges to overcome. But what the show was really about were these people, these characters. If you were more interested in the broader plot questions, sorry, you'll have to wait for the inevitable companion books, graphic novels, and other tie-ins for your answers, but I think the finale was crafted to answer the questions concerning the characters.
So I guess the big question is, was it satisfying? Like I said, if you were in it for the plot-driven mystery, than no. If you were in it for the characters, then you are probably happy. I went into it with no expectations and really enjoyed the finale. I wish more attention had been paid to the plot mechanics, but you know I'll take what I can get. I wasn't pissed (as some were) that the show ended with the characters being led into the light of heaven by "Christian Shepherd." Was it heavy handed? Sure. Was it cheesy? Definitely. Was it what I expected, no, and that's what LOST does best. And it was kind of nice seeing these people who have, let's face it, dealt with some serious shit be happy and at peace with one another.
If what you want is an in-depth discussion of the broader thematic import of the show, such as the ideas of mythical dualism and the eternal balancing of light and dark, I suggest you check out Doc Jensen over at EW.com or stop by Lost Central at The Washington Post. As for me, I enjoyed the hell out of the show, got top rate entertainment for 6 years, and that's what I'm taking with me from the experience.
End of Series Quiz
Favorite Episode(s): Interestingly, they both come from Season 4 and both revolve around Desmond and Penny's story. The Constant and There's No Place Like Home. They represent the show at it's best, balancing the drama of the characters lives with the chaos the crazy plot twists caused.
Favorite Character: Benjamin Linus. Hands down. Never has a character's motives or alignment (good or bad?) been so deliciously murky. Runner up: Mr. Eko. Bible bashing club FTW!
Favorite Quote: "I think I liked you better when you just hit people with your stick.” – Bernard, to Mr. Eko, S.O.S.
Gone Before It's Time? Nah. Setting an end date was brilliant, otherwise the show would have stretched on and on and become more convoluted and probably pointless.
At Least We'll Always Have....: the complete series blu ray and the countless theories, ideas, discussions that will exist forever on the internet. Was there ever a show that was more fun to speculate about? That was half the fun I think.