Lost – Episodes 6-17 & 6-18 Revisited

Are you real?
I sure hope so. Yeah, I’m real. You’re real. Everything that’s ever happened to you is real. All those people in the church, they’re real too.
They’re all dead?
Everyone dies sometime, kiddo. Some of them before you. Some of them long after you.
But why are they all here now?
Well there is no “now.” “Here.”
Where are we dad?
Well this is a place that you all made together so you could find one another. The most important part of your life was the time that you spent with these people. That’s why all of you are here. Nobody does it alone, Jack. You needed all of them, and they needed you.
For what?
To remember. And to let go.
Kate….she said we were leaving.
Not leaving, no. Moving on.
– Lost – Episode 6×18 – “The End, Part 2″

You know, I sometimes ride the explanation scene in the Matrix pretty hard, but this heartfelt exchange between Jack and his dad is a lot closer to that scene than I’d like to admit. And so I find it pretty remarkable that there are people out there that actually misunderstood the ending (like hans), and believe that EVERYTHING we’ve seen (including the island) was their own personal purgatory, and that they had all died in the plane crash. Says one person from the comments section in the EW.com episode recap:

I thought the end of lost made it clear that they had died and were in purgatory the whole time.
Which explains the whole series.
For example the reason why nobody could have a baby on the island was because they were dead. Except for Claire and Sun who were pregnant when they died.

Yes, certain things are open to interpretation, but I think lines such as “Everything that’s ever happened to you is real” and clarifications like “Everyone dies sometime…some of them before you. Some of them long after you” are pretty damning evidence that the island stuff actually happened, and that only the sideways reality occurred while the characters were “in limbo.” Not to mention that Sun WASN’T pregnant when the plane crashed. Remember, that was the whole issue regarding the date of conception.

And unfortunately, a lot of viewers seem to be fueled by a whole lotta nothing. I am referring to the photos of the wreckage of Flight 815 that were shown over the closing credits. People are saying that this proves, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that everybody died in the crash, as it shows the remains of the plane but no survivors. I personally saw it as a nostalgic, reminiscent, retrospective look at where the show began. Another poster from the EW.com review shed some light on this matter:

ABC seriously needs to come out and make a statemtent about this. The footage of the original plane crash set was done by ABC, not by the writers. This has severely caused many people to think everyone died right away on the 815 crash and the whole series was about them being dead. This is not true….it was just a bittersweet tribute to where it all started. Much like the Cheers finale, when the bar was shown empty.

Personally, I can’t even believe this is a debate. I mean, do we also believe that some claymated “bad” robot suddenly slid into the scene as part of the afterlife at the way end as well?

Anyway, before getting to some reader comments and excerpts from other reviews, I wanted to discuss something from the finale that I didn’t really touch upon in my original review. In rewatching some of the scenes from the finale, I didn’t give proper credit to one of the best ones of the episode – that being when Jack, Kate, Sawyer, and Hurley came face to face with Locke, Ben, and Desmond. It started off somewhat light, believe it or not, with Kate shooting several rounds at Locke. Yeah, I know….that’s hardly “light,” but the visual of Desmond and Ben simultaneously diving to the ground as this crazy girl shoots wildly at the monster was hilarious.

And the interaction between Jack and Locke was phenomenal. Jack almost sounded Jacob-esque – that is to say, his manner of speaking was reminiscent of his predecessor – when he bluntly admitted to Locke that, “I can’t stop you.” And then when Jack dared to challenge him, Locke’s offended “I THINK?” was brilliant. And finally, the complete shift in tone after Jack said he would kill him was just great stuff. Excellent scene.

Another scene that I didn’t discuss at length, but has grown on me significantly, was Kate saving Jack with a gunshot to Locke’s back. Not only was it a sweet role reversal (how often does the heroic male have to rescue the helpless female?), but it was also a fun allusion to the fact that Kate interjects herself into various situation, but this time it actually worked!

Now, let’s try to tackle – for the last time – what some others had to say. Get comfy, it’s a doozy.

THE SIDEWAYS WORLD
The big winner of the finale was undoubtedly the sideways world. When this new universe was introduced in the premiere episode, viewers were confused and unsure. As the season progressed, a lot of fans grew frustrated, and even those who were willing to wait and see how it plays out remained somewhat skeptical. Yet in the final moments of the last episode, it was revealed to the viewer that this “fake” reality was actually a form of purgatory that was created by the characters as a means for them to find each other so that they could pass “move on” and pass over to the afterlife together. It was an absolutely beautiful moment, as characters throughout the series happily embraced. Even those disappointed with the lack of answers seem to agree that this particular reveal was well done and satisfactory.

One matter people were left wondering, though, was why the characters created certain aspects of their new lives. For example, why were Jack and Juliet once married? Here’s an interesting perspective on that matter:

Similarly, Sideways Jack’s surprisingly healthy friendship with his ex-wife spoke to his lingering guilt for emotionally wounding his ex-wife Sarah. They never should have gotten married, and he knew it, and in driving her away, he hurt her terribly. Now, Sideways Juliet was no Jack figment made pseudo-real — she was Island Juliet’s Purgatory avatar. And if you recall, Island world Juliet had a pretty bad relationship with her former husband, too — a husband, by the way, who had a pretty enmeshed, guilt-streaked relationship with his mother, not unlike Jack. Bottom line: Jack and Juliet’s overlapping Sideways fantasies assuaged similar regrets. – EW.com review

This is an excellent explanation for an otherwise unique scenario. I mean, aside from characters that are undeniably tied together (like Jin and Sun), no two characters share such an intimate history with each other in the sideways world than Jack and Juliet. And while these two were initially tied together on the island, when the latter was part of the Others, they drifted significantly following the fourth season. Thus, their bond here seemed a bit….off. But the observation above satisfies me, and it certainly does make it feel a lot less than mere shock value.

But speaking of Juliet and Jack, following the finale I had a deep thought. After realizing that the sideways world was not the result of the detonation of Jughead, that means that Jack really was responsible for Juliet’s death, and his actions really didn’t have any silver lining. That’s a pretty tragic outlook, and it suddenly makes Sawyer’s anger a whole lot more justifiable. Yet the reviewer over at EW.com has a different view:

Did the bomb go off?
My Interpretation: No.
Theory: The Lost producers always insisted that they were ”anti-paradox” when it came to their time travel story. The detonation of Jughead wasn’t part of the fixed ”whatever happened, happened” timeline. When the castaways attempted to reboot history by producing paradox, Jacob or perhaps the self-regulating force of time itself (”course correction,” to use the show’s jargon) prevented the detonation from occurring and brought the quantum leaping rule-breakers back to their proper era. – EW.com review

This is an interesting idea, as we never really saw the bomb blow up. Juliet just kept hitting the damn thing and then the screen flashed to white – and suddenly there was a new world, and in the familiar world the castaways had returned to the present day. What if the reviewer here is right, and the jump to 2008 was actually an act of course correction (by Jacob or the universe or something else)? I mean, if you think about it, if the bomb did go off, Juliet would’ve been blown to smithereens. But she was intact and died in Sawyer’s arms. So maybe the bomb never went off after all.

When we were first presented with the sideways world, one of the first visuals we saw was the nick on Jack’s neck. This was something that popped up a few times throughout the season, most recently in the penultimate episode. We’d come to learn the significance in the finale, as explained here:

Fake Locke reached for his knife and jammed it into Jack’s side — a spear wound for the would-be Island Christ. Fake Locke straddled Jack. Fake Locke put the knife to Jack’s throat and drew blood. (Now we know the origin of Sideways Jack’s neck nick — and, I think, Sideways Jack’s alleged appendix scar, which was actually a scar from Fake Locke’s skewering. We now see that all season long, Jack’s own body had been screaming at him: Soul Sleeper, Awaken!) – EW.com review

Surprisingly, though, there was some criticism of the way the sideways world played out as well:

And yet, I can’t say the Sideways device totally worked for me. I wanted to get lost in Lost during its last 18 hours. But the Sideways conceit often left me standing outside of it, trying to figure out what it was all about. It’s kinda hard to emotionally connect with people when wondering if they’re also, like, ”real.” In the end, I think it was asking too much of us to buy into a creatively uneven season-long storyline whose purpose only revealed itself in the last moments of the finale. The Sixth Sense was awesome. The Sixth Sense stretched over 18 hours? A much tougher magic trick, and Lost didn’t quite pull it off. – EW.com review

I can’t say I agree with this assessment. On the contrary, I think the big reveal at the conclusion of the finale worked because of the fact that we had grown to care and become invested in these sideways characters. If this reality was sprung upon us near the conclusion of the season, I don’t think it would have had the same emotional impact. And for that matter, I think it was important that we went on the same emotional journey as these characters – recognizing that something isn’t right, slowly coming to the realization that these characters share a “real” history, and then finally making the dramatic discovery that they’re all dead. Again, I think the big twist worked BECAUSE it was a season-long arc that allowed us to become emotionally invested, and I think the show pulled it off impeccably.

REDEMPTION AND RECONCILIATIONS
Of course, the sideways world was fueled by the concept of redemption and reconciliations. This was accentuated in the episode’s final scene, where all of the central characters – now fully aware of their island past – reunited in the church and embraced each other. The one thing that struck me was how incredibly genuine their happiness appeared to be. There was no bitterness or anger. No resentment or grudges. Instead, we got acceptance, forgiveness, and joy. And it was just a really nice, happy way to end the series.

Like I’ve said countless times in my recent columns and top ten lists, but it seems like forever since we’ve seen this group as one. There’s always something dividing them – whether it’s death, geography, or even time. So it was downright pleasant seeing all of the characters – from season one originals like Boone to later season additions like Juliet – together, with the full knowledge of their experiences. Jack could tell Locke that he now understands what he meant. Boone can tell Jack he understands that he did everything he could in his attempts to save him. These characters received all of the closure they needed. Here are some other comments and observations:

I Here’s another thought: I loved how things ended for Ben (in Island world, not the sideways world). I think he’s semi misunderstood. Ben never wanted to be Jacob. All he ever wanted was for Jacob to confide in him, to trust him, to tell him he’s important. Which is almost exactly what Hurley did in the end. – Kyle, my blog

For the most part, I agree with Kyle here. I, too, am glad that things worked out well for the former Others leader. He did redeem himself and when push came to shove, he finally did the right thing. I’m not necessarily sure I agree that Ben never wanted to be Jacob, because he did have aspirations of power. Actually, part of me was expecting Ben to nab the water bottle out of Hurley’s hands after Jack handed it to him, so that HE could take over the reins of the island. But thankfully that didn’t happen, and it was actually far more poignant that he supplied the bottle for another man to take over the island. I think Ben’s ending was perfect for his character – willing to go down with the island, but ultimately assisting it in its next phase. But this time, as a humbled but legitimate second-in-command.

Of course, for most people, including the author of this column, the real highlight in regards to emotional reconciliations and reconnections was between Jack and his father Christian. For years I, like most others, had assumed that Christian’s island ghost was merely a manifestation of the Smoke Monster. But at the beginning of this season, when we learned that Smokey was “stuck” as Locke, I began to question this theory. And my main argument was that Christian has played such a pivotal, albeit it “behind-the-scenes” role in so many characters’ lives that it was hard for me to accept that he would be written off so nonchalantly. I mean, has any person appeared in more character flashbacks? Jack, Sawyer, Claire, Ana Lucia. And how many people has he interacted with on the island (as a ghost)? Jack, Claire, Locke, Lapidus, Sun. Considering all of that, I was absolutely thrilled to see him return for the finale, and it once again play such a crucial role. And others seem to agree:

loved Jack’s long-awaited confrontation and reconciliation with his father. We had been anticipating this moment since ”White Rabbit,” when Jack went chasing after Christian’s ghost and found his father’s empty casket. I had always imagined a slightly angry encounter, with Jack using the opportunity to settle some old scores with his dad. Instead, it was all about Prodigal Son joy. It spoke to and for any parent and child, young or old, who hopes for an afterlife where they can see their family again, especially their parents, and especially if they parted company with too much unsaid, too much unresolved. I know that some people found the Jack/Christian moment to be ”mawkish” and ”sentimental.” Not me. I thought — and felt — that the moment was painfully honest. It was direct and knowing about the very real and very frightening prospect of eternal separation and loss. I felt and could relate to the pain and the anguish and the yearning of both the father and the son. – EW.com review

In my original review of the finale, I noted that I was quite pleased that the episode opted to focus on love instead of death. At the time, I was referring to the moment that triggers island memories in the sideways world. But the sentiment rings true here as well. As the reviewer over at the Entertainment Weekly website notes, this COULD have been an opportunity for Jack to completely go off on his dad, and tell him, “See, I did have it!” But instead, it was just a beautiful moment where father and son embraced each other. I’ve rewatched that scene several times since the finale, and I just loved the way Christian gently “pushed” Jack into coming to the realization that he was dead. The tone of their interaction was just spot-on. Christian was sympathetic, loving, and at ease. Jack was vulnerable, open, and forgiving. Like the reviewer above notes, it was honest and real. They hit all the right notes, and it was honestly one of my favorite scenes of the entire series. A poster at the EW.com website agrees:

I cried for at least 20 minutes after the finale ended and all I have to do is think about Jack, crying in Christian’s arms, after saying, “I died,” to get the waterworks going again. I don’t know if I am feeling LOST’s finale so profoundly because I was so attached to the LOSTies or because of my own struggle to find something greater than myself to be a part of or because I wanted them so badly to be happy in “real life” after all of the suffering they went through on the Island. – EW.com comments section

Agreed. As indicated above, Jack’s dysfunctional relationship with his father has been such a central aspect of his character that making peace with him automatically made it a happy ending for Jack.

And not to be overly complimentary, but this was an extremely satisfying ending for me. People go on and on about how certain mysteries weren’t solved (more on that later), many of which haven’t been relevant for years, but to me this was a culmination of a six season story. And while Lost is undoubtedly an ensemble series, this was very much Jack’s journey. I don’t think it’s any mistake that when virtually every other character had their awakening moment, they remembered one character or moment they were very closely tied to. Yet when Jack had his moment of enlightenment, he had a series of memories – one with each central character, before settling on a number of them involving Kate. The series began with Jack’s eyes opening, and ended with his eyes closing. In many ways, this was very much his story – and his reconciliation with his father was the climatic resolution.

SPIRITUALITY AND RELIGION
In what may be considered a risky decision, the big twist revelation was pretty heavy on the religious connotations. Wisely, they didn’t single out one religion as being “right.” Yes, the scene took place in a church, but if you caught the colored glass windows in the background, you’d see symbols of conflicting religious – crosses, Star of David – and general spirituality (yin yang). But nonetheless, bringing religion into a story that isn’t outwardly religious can be dangerous, as shown in this comment here:

I loved the ride but let’s just say I will not be buying the box set. I would have loved it to be anything but the big sky daddy says so. I would have gone for aliens on another planet. I love the characters and I am glad I watched. Now I am glad it’s over. Thanks for all your work, Doc. You tried to warn us it was spiritual, guess we should have listened. – EW.com comments section

I remember when WWE Superstar Eddie Guerrero passed away, and during the special Tribute Raw episode, Shawn Michaels made some sort of bible reference. Eddie Guerrero and Shawn Michaels have both gone through troubled times, and they found peace and solace in religion. And both had seemingly turned their lives around after being born again. So Shawn Michaels’ religious comments likely meant a lot to him, and very likely had a special meaning to those who knew Eddie. Yet there were many, many fans who said, “I wish Shawn Michaels didn’t talk about God and religion.” I couldn’t help but shake my head and get a little agitated. Are some people so anti-religion that they are unable to listen to anything remotely religious?

And I felt the same way after reading this comment. Are certain viewers so incredibly afraid of the topic of religion that they can go from loving the show for six years, only to now be glad it’s over? And what’s this shocked response to the show being spiritual? How often was the word “faith” uttered? Or the idea of blindly believing something? Or the theme of people being magically healed? Or falling ill as some sort of penance? But this person would have preferred aliens – of which there was no hint of – because religion is THAT taboo? Geez. Thankfully, not all of the reactions were negative:

One of the things I have most appreciated about the season is that for all of its spirituality and mysticism and supernatural hoo-ha, Lost was all about human beings — really screwed-up human beings who do really screwed-up things. Even the Gods (read: Jacob) and Monsters (read: Smokey) and mythic heroes (read: Richard Alpert) revealed themselves to be just like you or me, give or take some smoke and some superpowers. It’s funny that so many people cynically bitch about Lost not having ”a master plan” — the Lost story is all about the folly of ”master plans.” Anyone who has ever had a master plan on this show has failed catastrophically. Mother. Jacob. The Man In Black. Ben. Charles Widmore. Jack. Sawyer. The best we can do is live our lives with enlightened improvisation — to be so self-aware and fearless that we can live fully in the present and redeem our every moment and every human connection. – EW.com review

So, yeah, they were in a church. And there were some heavy allusions to an afterlife. But don’t worry, the box set won’t be coming with a Communion wafer. It’s still about human begins – it’s time to try to see the forest for the trees.

LIVE TOGETHER, DIE ALONE
One thing I liked: When Jack was finally dying, I loved that Vincent came out, for two reasons. One, you get the callback to Vincent waking him up, but two, with all the “live together, die alone” stuff they kept saying, Vincent made sure that Jack didn’t have to die alone. By just laying down next to him as he died, he wasn’t alone. Maybe it was intended more for reason #1 than for reason #2, but that’s what I got from it. Somehow Vincent’s presence made the scene more heartwrenching than I expected it to be. – Kyle, my blog

I quite loved this observation. When I initially watched the scene, I saw it as plainly as I could have: To me, it was a great reflection of the series’ opening scene. Jack wakes up in the jungle and the first thing he sees is a dog. Here, he collapses at that very spot, is joined by that same dog, and peacefully passes away. But Kyle brings up a wonderful observation, that Vincent’s presence made it possible for Jack to not die alone – a message he’s been encouraging since the very first season. In my columns leading up to the finale I discussed my trepidation of Jack becoming the new Jacob, basically saying that Jack being alone on the island didn’t seem like a happy ending for the character. He deserves better. And although I didn’t realize it, but he also deserves better than to die alone, especially after all he’s sacrificed for the well being of his friends. So, yes, Vincent’s appearance did make the scene a lot sweeter.

UNSOLVED MYSTERIES
Undoubtedly, the biggest disappointment from those who did not enjoy the finale was the fact that it didn’t answer all of the questions that the series had presented to us. Some of them are fair points, others I think are a little petty and ridiculous. Let’s take a look at some of the unanswered questions.

The following three questions come from a poster on Scott Keith’s blog:

I was enjoying the finale until that final 15 minutes. Then it tried to do a lame twist ending that I think just created more confusion for me.
I don’t mind not answering little questions. But there were some whoppers that I don’t think got an answer but needed it:
1.) When you think about it, just what was the purpose of the island to begin with? Yea, it had some magical abilities (curing Locke’s paralysis and Roses’s cancer, allowing some to speak to the dead) but it’s not like they were carried over off the island. They only worked on the island.

This is not true. If you recall, they were able to use the island’s magical healing abilities to cure Juliet’s sister’s cancer. Along with that, when Locke returned to the real world via the magic donkey wheel, he retained his ability to walk. So clearly whatever “cured” him on the island carried over to the real world as well.

2.) Why exactly couldn’t the main in black get off the island? It’s not once he got off he was gonna take over the world or anything. He just wanted to be free of the island. No wonder he went insane.

No, they never spelled it out for us why the Man in Black couldn’t leave the island, but they did make it awfully clear that it would devastate humanity. And based on his actions throughout the season, I’m willing to bet that he didn’t want to leave the island so that he could donate his time to reading for the blind. Actually, if anything, I’m more interested in why he wanted to leave the island in the first place.

3.) What exactly was the golden light that was supposed to be protected? I read online that it was some stopgap between heaven and hell. If we accept that, than was the island hell all along? – Scott Keith’s blog

I’m afraid I don’t follow this logic. If the light was a stopgap between Heaven and Hell – which would imply that it is NEITHER Heaven nor Hell – then why would the island be Hell all along? Just writing that sentence confused me. But, to me, I’m not sure the light NEEDS to be explained. At what point can we just stop asking follow up questions? “What’s the island?” “Well, it’s this place with a magical light.” “But what’s the light?” This process can go on forever.

The following comments also come from Scott Keith’s blog:

I loved the finale, personally. What was most striking about it is that all the questions I’d had that I thought I wanted answered ultimately wound up not bothering me.
Yes, I loved the show because of the mythology more than for the characters, but I feel like I’ve gotten just enough to be able to enjoy/figure it out for myself (although, to be fair, I shouldn’t even really have to – not everything needs to be spoonfed, no, but not everything needs to be ambiguous either). One question though…
Once the power source was unplugged and MIB became mortal again, why were they STILL trying to keep him from leaving? For all intents and purposes, he was just a regular guy now. Granted, it could simply be that the Losties still wanted their revenge for all the people he’s killed, but I guess I never really understood the motivation in keeping him there to begin with. What would really happen if he left? Why couldn’t he just leave from the start? What was keeping him there?
That’s the only real question I want answered. I could give a damn less about Dharma food drops or on-island pregnancies or even Walt. I could make reasonable conclusions about all of those myself. But I can’t come to any such conclusion, really, on the MIB, because we aren’t given any idea of what the stakes truly are if he makes it off the island. Maybe if they had down the whole “Island is erupting, Earth is shaking, everything becomes Hell” tease earlier in the season, then I wouldn’t have this problem. But as it stands, that’s the one sore point I have with this show.
That said, it’s still my favorite TV drama. And the ending was immensely satisfying in a strange kind of way. I say “strange” simply because, even for a few moments, it made all of my questions irrelevant behind how beautiful it all was. – Scott Keith’s blog

Honestly, I’m sure a big part of it was getting revenge for what he had done to their friends. But on top of that, you have to also remember that there’s only one boat and one plane, and they want to get off of the island too. After all he had done – and he explicitly stated he wanted ALL of them dead – I just don’t see them sharing a peaceful boat ride to Hydra Island and a several hour plane trip home. You don’t see that being just a tad bit awkward?

These questions here come from the comments section over at the EW.com review:

Sideways issues, issues, issues JUST FROM THE FINALE!
1) Eloise’s ultimate motivations and what she knew. This was never explained.

I don’t agree with this. This is just one example of how every little thing should not have to be spelled out for us. What did she know? Just as much as everybody else. She was already enlightened, much like Desmond and several of the other characters by that point. And what were her motivations? Well, in this world she didn’t have to kill her son, and he was still alive. She was also in a loving relationship with Widmore, and he appeared to be somewhat subservient to her as well. Quite simply, she enlightened, but wasn’t willing/ready to “let go and move on.”

I mean, one scene Juliet was at the concert with David and Claire and the next she was at the hospital running into Sawyer. They never explained how she got there, but can’t we safely assume that she got in her car and drove over?

2) Desmond’s end game. Did he even have to “activate” the castaways? Ben chose not to enter the church; Anna Lucia wasn’t “ready.” Desmond said (in a clever ode to MiB) that he just wanted to leave. But the process that led to the church reunion was never explained.

I’m sorry, what? The whole point of the sideways world was that they were in this self imposed purgatory that was preventing them from moving to the next level – presumably Heaven, a place of eternal happiness. By activating them, they made peace with their “real” lives and were able to “let go.” Some people hadn’t achieved that inner peace yet, such as Ben (and Eloise), and chose not to enter the church to move on. Others simply weren’t ready for to reach that level of awareness yet, like Ana Lucia.

3) Christian. Why was Christian even at the church? He had nothing to do with the crash or the castaways.

Nothing to do with the castaways? He was Jack’s father. He was Claire’s father. He had previously met Sawyer and Ana Lucia. Oh, and his body was on the plane when it crashed! I’d say he had a hell of a lot more reason to be there than, say, Penelope Widmore.

4) If Christian is to be believed, and the castaways “created” the world… how did they do it? Was Boone first (because he died first)?

I interpreted it that the sideways universe was created when the last person died, which could have been fifty years after the events of the island. But Christian was clear that time was pretty irrelevant, so maybe that isn’t the case. But, again, why does it matter how they did it? Is this honestly something that they need to explain? And would the explanation have a dramatic impact on how much you enjoyed it?

5) Even though not specifically related to the finale, in the season premiere, the island was shown sunk. Based on what Christian said, the island’s disposition would appear utterly irrelevant. You can determine if that was “bait and switch” by Darlton. – EW.com comments section

“Bait and Switch” seems overly harsh here. The creators clearly wanted us to be guessing and theorizing as to what this sideways world meant, and this was just one piece to get the debate started. A lot of what we found out was ultimately irrelevant, though. For example, what was the point of not having Shannon on the sideways 815 flight? In my view, in this “ideal” world that they created, which is still somewhat based on the events of their actual reality, they fabricated a universe in which the island can play no part whatsoever. And so it’s sunk, at the bottom of the sea.

The following questions come from my blog, asked by DaBooty:

Now, if you wanted to nitpick, I will throw some things out there for discussion purposes only. I would have liked a little explanation about Eloise. I found the Hurley taking over thing to be somewhat predictable. Once he said he was staying, i immediately texted my friend “prediction: jack sacrifices himself and hurley becomes the new protector.” which i then followed up with “ben is new smokey? or richard?”

The word “predictable” sometimes gets a bad rap. A lot of the times things are predictable because the story had been leading us in that direction, which means it’s just a sign of a well told story. But you were right, as Ben did take over as the new Richard, of sorts.

some other nitpicking and i will do it hail of bullets style.

– Jack was stabbed, but once the island was turned back on, why wouldnt he heal? did he really need hurley? I would think that if he is the protector of the island and he plugs the thing in, he can’t die and would be fine. or at the very least the water would heal him like it has healed almost everything else.

I really didn’t have a problem with this, as we never really saw the island heal anybody of mortal wounds. Even when Locke was shot, he explained that he would have died if it hadn’t been for the fact that his kidney had been removed. But people like Sawyer and Kate suffered from their gunshot wounds for quite some time. And as we saw from last year’s finale, the island protector is not immortal. On top of that, there really wasn’t anything to lead us to believe that the light in and of itself had any healing capabilities.

– why didn’t jack die from putting the plug back in? desmond was special because he could survive electromagnetism, but jack didnt die from that either. i loved him going back to where he started and the eye closing thing, but the elctromagnetism probably should have killed him.

To tell you the truth I’m not quite sure, other than to say that perhaps being the island protector does afford you certain abilities. I’d have to rewatch the scene, but I was also under the impression that the electromagnetism was more an issue when pulling out the plug (which Desmond did) than when putting it back in (which is what Jack did). I suspect, though, that the writers simply wanted to give Jack another opportunity to sacrifice himself for somebody else, and this allowed them to literally transport himself to the place where he originally arrived on the island.

– my theory on why the island was sunk in the sideways world is that just like the rest of them, the island died at some point. We saw that when the light goes out, the island crumbles. Well at some point in the future, someone puts that light out and the island sinks and just like the rest of them, they it ends up in the sideways.

See the question above for my thoughts on the sideways sunken island, but I suppose it’s possible that the island itself dies as well, and that it too ends up in the sideways universe. But to be perfectly honest, I’m not sure I see it that way.

Let’s call a spade a spade. #Lost finale sucked. What do numbers mean? Why was Walt magical? Nada. – Murtz Jaffer, Twitter

With all due respect to my IPTV brethren, this sort of comment annoys me. “The End” was a wonderful, beautiful tribute to a cast of characters we’ve emotionally invested six years in, yet the episode “sucked” because it didn’t mention a character that hasn’t been relevant in four years? That’s just silly.

More than anything else, the lingering mystery of Walt is mentioned as something that is missing from this series. And for reasons that completely escape me, many people believe this to be a reason why the finale – or the series as a whole – is a disappointment. Honestly, is Walt looking at a picture of a bird only for that bird to crash into a window THAT significant? Do people really believe that THIS is the question that will explain the entire series?

Much of me believes that several cynical viewers out there held onto this Walt mystery because they felt fairly secure that they’d never get an answer, and they wanted to point this instance out as an example about how the writers have no idea what they’re doing. Then I believe there’s another legion of viewers who assumed that Walt would play a huge part in the show’s mythos. But that didn’t pan out, and they feel a certain sense of entitlement – like they deserve an answer to this relatively minor story – because of their preconceived notions of its overall importance.

Again, Walt has made, what, a grand THREE appearances in the past three years – all of which amounted to less than ten combined minutes of screen time – yet we expect the finale to go out of its way to integrate him into the story?

And then there’s the Numbers. It’s my perspective that the writers have left us with enough information to come up with our own answer to this question. I mean, the fact that the numbers appear on the island and in Hurley’s life isn’t all that mythological. I think it’s been established that the numbers were being repeated in a transmission from the island, but reached beyond the island, where it eventually reached somebody in the navy, who mentioned it to a guy who ended up in a mental institution, which is where Hurley heard it from. From there, I think Hurley – and the viewers – was victims of confirmation bias. Yes, the numbers appear many, many times throughout the series, but we conveniently ignore all of the times numbers appear, and they’re not “The Numbers.”

And if we’re forced to deem the numbers significant, I’d say that they’re special because each number represents the top candidates to take over for Jacob. But were we ever left to believe that there was something magical about the numbers?

Long story short (too late), anybody who watched this finale expecting to have every little thing answered was just setting themselves up for disappointment. And worse yet, you missed out on two and a half hours of beautiful television. I think this was echoed by DaBooty on my blog:

I also agree with a lot of what was said. The end was so powerful and moving that I sort of forgot what questions I still wanted answered anyway. I absolutely loved the resolution of the sideways world because the whole time i was hoping that it wouldnt be something that negated or diminished the on-island stuff that we had watched all of these years and it turns out it was just the oposite. The island stuff was so significant that it brought them all together in the afterlife. Truly brilliant stuff. – DaBooty, my blog

POSSIBLE ANSWERS
Of course, with a number of questions left unanswered, people are speculating their own answers. Here are some of the ones I’ve come across:

The Dharma food drop was similar to how the doctor from the freighter showed up on the island with his throat sliced 30 minutes before it happened or the beacon sent to Faraday and it arrived way after it should have multiplied by a lot more. It must’ve been dropped in the 80s or whatever and hit a wormhole and it dropped on the island in 2004. – Scott Keith’s blog

I have to admit that the Dharma food drop IS one of those lingering things that bother me, only because there’s really no conceivable explanation whatsoever. This, more than most things on the show, reeks of “we didn’t really think this through.” I actually can buy into this time warp thing, except that we’re talking about twenty years, and not a half hour or an entire day. Did this matter have any impact whatsoever over my enjoyment of the show as a whole? Nope, not in the least. But I wouldn’t mind an ACTUAL answer, just to ease my curiosity.

Next up:

Let’s pause and do some math and come to a conclusion about a mystery/question that was not explicitly spelled out in the finale. We’ve been told for many episodes that if the Monster left The Island, the castaways and their loved ones would cease to exist. I took this to mean that if Fake Locke got away, reality would go POOF! Instead, this is how I add it up:
1. In the Lost world, people are an inextricable blend of matter and spirit.
2. Fake Locke was all spirit — an unnatural state of being. But it made him invulnerable, because spirit is indestructible.
3. To kill Fake Locke, you had to either restore him to his natural state of matter and spirit… or convert him from all spirit to all matter, which is to say, a completely mechanical animal, and thus killable.
4. The rub is that to the procedure renders everyone into mechanical animals, which is to say, devoid of a soul.
5.Without the soul, we cannot pass into the next life or into the afterlife without our community of redemption partners — the people we love.
6. Fake Locke wanted to leave The Island.
7. Fake Locke was bonded to The Island by Island magic.
8. The same procedure required to break that spell (i.e., destroying The Island) is the same procedure that would convert Fake Locke and everyone into soulless zombies incapable of having a happily ever after with our loved ones (i.e., your community of redemption partners) because we need our souls to move into the afterlife.
9. Hence: Fake Locke leaving The Island = Annihilation (when you die) for you and everyone you love. – EW.com review

THAT’S spelling it out for us?

Next:

I like how someone posted that the answers are there, you just have to look hard enough. An example: no babies being born on the island. I think that was one of Jacob’s rules. The Dharma folks proved to him time and time again that they were incaple of “playing nice in the sandbox”. To punish them he took away their ability to conceive/ multiply. Jacob wouldnt kill them himself, but this way they would eventually fade away. – EW.com comments section

Hmmmm, an interesting idea, but I’m not sure I buy into it. First, there’s Ethan, who WAS successfully born on the island. Second, it’s not that babies couldn’t be born, it’s that they couldn’t be conceived AND born on the island (hence why Claire and Rousseau didn’t have any issues – of course, do we know for certain that Ethan was conceived on the island?) I’m more inclined to believe that the Incident was responsible.

as to not knowing what the island is, i thought we got an answer to that. it is the source of good and evil in the world. the light in the core of the island is in every man. i think that is why when jack and company come to the light, it is dimmer than it was in Across the Sea. Either that was a commentary on the lack of goodness in the world, or it was because the population of the world is so big that the light is spread out more. – DaBooty, my blog

See, I quite like this answer. And I think it expresses why the finale didn’t harp on answering questions. If somebody asked, “What is the island?” and you answered, “It’s the location of the source of light that exists in all humanity,” they’d probably say, “Well, what’s that?” As I noted a few sections above, these follow up questions can go on forever. So, yes, I do think – to an extent that personally satisfies me – we do know what the island is.

And finally:

Good news, the DVD set is supposed to have a reported 20 minutes of extra footage that didn’t make it into the series finale. Said to have answers to questions that weren’t answered in the body of the show, I suspect its their way of answering some of the lingering questions in a manner that they couldn’t do in the finale. Which makes sense, if they stop and suddenly answer, say, “Why were pregnant women dying?” it would be very awkward to the pacing and overall feel of the final episode. Looking forward to it! – Creed, IPTV review comments section

I agree with Creed here. And I am interested in seeing what deleted scenes and special features exist out there.

YOU CAN’T PLEASE ALL OF THE PEOPLE ALL OF THE TIME
Of course, some people out there were particularly harsh, angry, and bitter about the Lost finale. There were some interesting adjective used, actually. Here’s what the naysayers had to (nay) say:

I believe the following….
The writers of the show are the two biggest smug pricks I have ever seen.
They completely made up all of it as they went along and they were backed into a corner where the ending was the only possible ending that they had.
Just a big cop out all around. – Scott Keith’s blog

I hate, hate, HATE when people make this argument. If you don’t enjoy a show, that’s just fine. But don’t try to act like the show is any less enjoyable, entertaining, or clever if it isn’t planned out in advance. And for the life of me, I don’t know how this person came to the conclusion that this was “the only possible ending they had.”

And if you honestly believe that they “completely made up all of it as they went along,” then I present to you this screencap, from the season one episode “Numbers.” In the background you faintly see a man falling from above. This would not be explained until two years later, when we came to realize that man was Locke, moments after getting thrown through a window by his father.


I’ll say it again this was a downright disgusting and lazy end to a great show. The writers should be deeply ashamed of themselves. Setting up that many plot points and then ending it in such a contrived and cliched manner, and THEN having the nerve to excuse it by saying wellll it was a character driven show is ludicrous.
That’s like calling in a repairman if you’re refrigerator isn’t working, having him load it with ice as the fix, and then him excusing himself by saying, wellll it’s a cold driven appliance. – mike, IPTV review comments section

First off, what? If we’re comparing Lost to a refrigerator, who does the repairman even represent? Secondly, a refrigerator is not a cold driven appliance. It’s a cooling appliance, yes, but it’s driven by electricity. And I’ll again ask, what major plot points went completely unanswered?

An awkwardly squeezed-in thought about Claire: I thought her Island storyline was probably the weakest thread in the finale. A hasty, too-compact resolution for her character. I loved the way she was reintroduced into the series. Her Rousseau makeover was great, and the Emilie de Ravin played it well. But she got lost along the way, and if the season could have given us one more hour, I think it should have focused largely on Claire. – EW.com review

This is actually a really fair point, and I can’t help but feel like we were a big deprived. I think a flashback episode showing us exactly what Claire went through over the past three years would have been really beneficial on a number of levels. I would have enjoyed seeing Claire’s mental breakdown. It would have been nice to see how she became infected. I wanted to see how Claire coped with being abandoned, and how she defended her decision to leave Aaron alone in the jungle. And finally, it would have been nice to see how Smokey – under the guise of her father Christian – toyed with and manipulated her. I’m actually pretty disappointed we never got this episode.

I know I included “The Last Recruit” in my list of top ten Lost episodes, but part of me feels like that episode should have been reimagined (since it wasn’t character centric) to tell Claire’s island story.

With the island conclusion we have been given, i find myself deeply disappointed in Jacob as a leader. Clearly, if Hurley can run things different as the leader, then much of the island mysteries that interfered with peoples’ lives were the work of jacob, who was very very flawed. What else can explain the women’s issues having babies, or the tolerance of the Dharma initiative for so long. The answer “Jacob did things poorly” is unsatisfaying. – EW.com comments section

I think, to an extent, this may be the point. I think, following “Across the Sea,” we’re supposed to realize that Jacob is an exceptionally flawed person who has made some severe mistakes. Sorta appropriate that Jack took over for him, when you think about it. But I don’t think it’s fair to blame everything on Jacob, nor do I think people are using “Jacob did things poorly” as an excuse (is that the 2010 version of “A wizard did it”?) Remember, Jacob was thrown into this thankless, lonely job with without any choice. He was wise enough to not put his successor in that position (although, ironically, his successor essentially DID put his successor in that position).

Well, that’s a wrap. After 15 pages, I think you guys deserve a break. Those of you who read this entire manuscript, anyway. But before I close things up for good, please indulge me as I get a bit sentimental. When I first began formally recapping Lost, it wasn’t particularly easy for me. I tended to either post things quickly, only to leave out a bunch of fun tidbits I had forgotten or completely missed. Or I would wait a few days to make sure I caught everything, only for the column to no longer be completely relevant, as most people had already read about and discussed the show.

And so “Revisited” was conceived. I decided that I would post my initial review the night the episode aired, and would then write a follow up column the next week, before the new episode aired. I would browse around other reviews and would compile reader feedback, and respond to all of these thoughts and theories. Initially, I would have to provide what I referred to as, with tongue firmly in cheek, “homework assignments.” To ensure that/motivate people to actually send me their thoughts, at the end of each original recap I would list a series of questions from that night’s episodes.

Well, this year that wasn’t even necessary. I was lucky enough to have a loyal following of some great fans and readers that provided me with some wonderful feedback each and every week. I don’t want to forget anybody, but I’m referring to people like Kyle and DaBooty and Andy Campbell and Creed and Ninja Raiden and Jennifer and Jaime and cpbasil and Frank and many, many, many others. I am extremely grateful that visitors such as yourselves made this sometimes daunting task much easier and far more enjoyable. I hope you guys continue to visit my blog, as I’ll do my best to keep the Lost discussions going. And hey, maybe we’ll come across another show we all enjoy.

And I also owe a huge thank you to Jeff Jensen, who I know doesn’t read this column, for his brilliant recaps over at the Entertainment Weekly website. While some of his theories were a little out there, his insight was absolutely unreal. And he provided my Revisited columns with a great deal of material, so I’m very grateful for that. He’s a talented dude.

And that’s that. This once-in-a-lifetime series has now come to a close. And while some of us may not agree on the satisfaction of the finale, I think we can all concur that Lost has been an amazing, thrilling, and crazy journey. A ride no other show will likely take us on.

Thanks for reading.

Matt Basilo has been writing for Inside Pulse since April 2005, providing his insight into popular television shows such as Lost, 24, Heroes, and Smallville. Be sure to visit his blog at [a case of the blog] and follow him on Twitter.

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