Lost Finale: What It All Means

Posted on May 24, 2010

***If you haven't seen the Lost finale and read this spoiler filled post, well, we really have no sympathy for you. You deserve to be put in the Dharma polar bear cages and fed fish biscuits for a week. You've been Warned.**

It's finally over. After six seasons and more twists and turns than we can count, Lost finally ended with an emotionally satisfying and moving episode. There were a number of questions answered and we admit we never saw one of the biggest ones coming. We thought the writers were going to merge the Sideways and the Island worlds, hopefully with a nifty physics explanation by Daniel Farraday which included a lot of math scribbled in his little notebook. But Lindelof and Cuse went in a totally different direction. The real ending was shocking, but it made perfect sense.

One of the theories of Lost after season one is that the Island was Purgatory. Lindelof and Cuse debunked this theory early on, saying that the Island was real and the castaways were alive. Last night that point was driven home: everything that happened on the Island really happened. Whoever died, died. Whatever happened, happened, according to the real Christian Shephard. The Sideways Universe turned out to be a special kind of Limbo which exists outside the normal timeline. We thought Lindelof and Cuse went out of their way to make this very clear, using Christian Shephard to do the crucial bit of exposition. The Limbo construct was very slyly done by Lindelof and Cuse: it was a clever twist on what they knew was one of the major theories about what the Island really was.

So, in the end, the Island events were all real. When each character died, he or she went into the shared, group-created Limbo to wait for the rest of the people that they had shared an amazing journey with. Christian told Jack that some of the people died before Jack (Sun, Jin, Sayid, Shannon etc.) and that some died long after he did (Sawyer, Kate, Miles, and Hurley and Ben, who apparently had a lengthy stint as the new Jacob and Richard guarding the Island and doing good.)

Those that died and went to Limbo had to be "awakened" to what had happened in their earthly life before they could all come together and move into the Light -- or the Afterlife. Their lives in Limbo played out the issues that plagued the characters during their lives. Some managed to transcend their real life (Ben's new life as a teacher, sacrificing himself for Alex) and some were still stuck in the same rut (Charlie and his drug-fueled despair).

We really should have seen this one coming, given Christian Shephard's name, but we never did. The stained glass in the church contained symbols from the world's major religions, including Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. They were all waiting for Jack -- and when Jack finally died on the Island from the knife wound Smokey inflicted on him, he awakened in Limbo and got the answers he needed from his father. There was a very nice "Doubting Thomas" moment before Jack died: the man of reason touched his side as Thomas touched Christ's wounds to see that Christ had really died.

In the end, Jack did his job and saved the Island, and by extension, the rest of the world. Then Hurley became the Guardian. Hurley, the kind-hearted, generous man who was the most like the enlightened Jacob. As the Mother said to Jacob: "It was always You."

It was a very dense amount of content and we're still absorbing it all. But here are some of the moments we really loved:

** Jin and Sun being awakened by Juliet doing the sonogram. Their look of joy was heart-wrenching.

** Jin and Sun trying not to laugh when they realize Sawyer is a cop in Limbo and when he shows them a photo of Sayid as the "dangerous criminal" who is after them.

**When Kate finally tells Jack she loves him and he returns her feelings. We've always been Jaters, and it was obvious they should end up together.

**Hurley's many one-liners, especially the Stars Wars references: "I've got a bad feeling about this" and (about Jacob's penchant for cryptic remarks) "that guy is worse than Yoda."

**Hurley asking Ben to be his number two guarding the Island. Ben was "honored" to be asked: he finally was worthy and found his life's purpose.

**Richard Alpert finding his first grey hair, meaning he will start to age normally and have a life outside his duties on the Island. Note: we feel sure that Richard is the only character in television history to be happy at the appearance of a grey hair.

**Charlie, Claire's and little Aaron's reunion -- we were crying during that one.

**All the Kate Austen scenes: her shooting Smokey was awesome. Now that's what we call a strong female lead. No more following Sawyer and Jack into the jungle; Kate finally knew her place in life and it was firmly on the side of Good and saving the world from Smokey.

**Ben and Hurley's moment outside the church. They each told the other that they did a great job during their time as the number one and two Island Guardians, and Hurley seemed to understand that Ben was not quite ready to move on. When Ben's Limbo self remembered all the terrible things he did in life, he needed more time to process his guilt. Getting forgiveness from John Locke was a significant first step for Ben, who looked so forlorn sitting on the bench, just outside of the circle of friends and light.

**The closing scene, when Vincent comes and lays down beside Jack so he won't have to die alone. As he dies, he sees the answers in the Afterlife and the Aljira plane with his friends escaping the Island, and he is content. The man of reason and faith has finally found peace. His eye then closes, just as the show opened with Jack's eye opening as he awakened after the original plane crash.

We'll have more thoughts later after we recover from our Lost bender.

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