THINGS I NOTICED - THE END
There are no words, really.
Nothing I can say here will compare to the thoughts, feelings, and rush of emotions I'm sure everyone is going through right now. For us the ride has finally ended. The lap bar has come up. There's nothing left to do now but stagger away from LOST's roller coaster, move forward, and try to burn the amazing image of this six-year ride into our hearts and minds forever.
I've often said that LOST is a perspective-based experience, and the series finale proved this point more than anything. For some people, they simply need more. They yank down on the lap bar in frustration, defiantly hoping there's something else to this ride. Maybe they expected a full disclosure of the island's blueprints, or comprehensive answers to everything. Or perhaps the answers they got weren't satisfactory to them, or the story's conclusion didn't fit their preconceived mold of how the show would end.
If there's one thing everyone should realize by now, it's that all of this is totally okay. We knew from the very start that this would happen - that no single ending would satisfy everyone. It should be no surprise that some fans absolutely loved the conclusion of LOST, while others felt sad, angry, or even cheated by how things played out. For those people I can't help but feel a bit sorry, and I sincerely hope they don't let it spoil their overall ride.
There were two things that really mattered to me when it came to how the show should end. First, I needed a sense of closure; a conclusion to each character's storyline, both on and off the island. More importantly however, I wanted the writers to stay true to their original ending. I needed to see that ending more than anything else in the world, because I've always viewed it as the inarguable foundation upon which the entire show has been built.
I'm one of those people who was wholly, completely, and utterly awestruck by the finale of LOST. For me it ended beautifully, in the most bittersweet and satisfying of ways. Just about every big question I wanted to know was answered, and everything I wanted to see was shown. The alternate universe was closed out in the most elegant of ways, delivering on a heartwrenching Sixth Sense twist. As for the island timeline, the circle was completed exactly as we always knew it should be: with a shot of Jack's eye slowly closing.
I was also fortunate enough to be invited to the Jay & Jack event in LA, where I got to watch the finale surrounded by 2000 cheering, screaming, and ultimately, crying LOST fans. I can't describe how much more this added to the experience for me, and how grateful I was to have been there.
Below you'll find my thoughts and feelings on the series finale, along with some general interpretations on LOST's ending. Remember that these are only my perceptions. They might very well differ from yours. The cool part is that although the show did have an ultimate ending, enough of the island's story is, and always will be, still up for interpretation. That said, let's get moving... because I'm looking just as forward to hearing what you guys think as you might be looking forward to reading this recap. Things I Noticed:
Where Are We? The LA X Truth - Finally Revealed
If my recap doesn't seem traditional this week, don't fault me. I've always been a theorist, and it's hard to theorize about what happens next once you've finally been handed the answer key. For the island's story, there are a good many things we can still talk about. There are theories, ideas, and concepts that will always vary from person to person. Even now, with the last second of our story finally told, there will be widespread disagreement as to what exactly the island was, how real it was, and how it managed to affect each of our characters - both in this life and the next.
Yet when it comes to the alternate universe, things are a lot more etched in stone. We know now that for the entirety of season six, we've been watching a sort of Purgatory or after-life; a gathering place where our characters are both placated - by being given the things they always believed they wanted - and educated - by being allowed to further develop in the direction of enlightenment. This isn't revealed to us until the end, when Jack finally realizes that he's dead... but it's hinted at numerous times throughout the finale, by all different characters.
"Who died?" Kate asks, just over a minute into the episode. As Desmond sees to the delivery of the empty coffin that ultimately turns out to be the last piece of Jack's puzzle, we're given a touching montage of our LAX_based character's lives. In many cases, like Sawyer's, they're still filled with frustration. It's no secret that these people are having trouble letting go. They've looked into mirrors and yet, instead of seeing the truth, have chosen to smash them instead. These characters are still moths in the cocoon, still developing, not yet strong enough to free themselves of the confines of their past lives' struggles.
Other characters, like Desmond and Hurley, have either stumbled upon enlightenment or been led to see things as they really are. For these people, the truth has been hidden for a while. People like Ms. Hawking have been counterproductive at times, attempting to keep the knowledge of where they really are a total secret. We find out later that her motives are purely selfish: she wants Daniel to stay with her for as long as possible. Yet her selfishness as a mother is forgivable. In this in-between realm, Ms. Hawking merely wants to give her son what he was never able to have in his past life: a mother who loves him without an agenda, and the opportunity to finally choose his own path.
"No one can tell you why you're here", Desmond tells a still-bewildered Kate. "Certainly not me." For some reason or another there are still unbreakable rules, even in the afterlife. Hurley confirms these rules later on, in talking to Sayid. Yet Desmond drops the first big hint by saying: "Here, Kate. Not at the church, but here." And coincidentally enough, just like the man in black, Desmond's ultimate goal is to finally leave the place he's currently at.
What made the finale so awesome was the perfect mix of touching connections and infamous LOST-humor, both peppered throughout. Watching Hugo's reaction to seeing Charlie again was heartwarming, but before you could reach for a tissue you were laughing your ass off as he ineptly tranq'd him with that dart gun. The business-like mannerisms of the enlightened were always offset by things like Hugo unceremoniously dumping Charlie into the back of that Hummer, or by the wry, knowing smiles that Sun and Jin give Sawyer after experiencing their past life's flashes together.
The Jack and Locke parallels were perfect too. Jack's "Well there's always the chance I could kill you" line right before surgery was hilarious in stark contrast to the seriousness of the same two characters in a much darker on-island situation. The yin-yang dynamic between John and Jack has been one of the most well-developed themes of the entire show, and the writers did a great job paying tribute to their relationship in both realities. John's "See you on the other side" also makes perfect sense by the time we reach the final scene, sewing up that loose end rather nicely.
I thought Juliet's return was both triumphant and welcomed. We finally learned that she's the mysterious mother of David, and I'm sure this pissed certain shippers off to no end. I have to say, the shipper world was always something I never could understand. Of all the cool shit we saw on the show, these romantic relationships were just a small piece of the overall story for me. I was amazed by the overwhelmingly juvenile and horrific fights that broke out over who got Kate, Sawyer, or Jack, as well as the websites dedicated solely to these less than mysterious relationships. Before I even knew what 'shipper' meant, I already knew that most of the bullshit associated with the term spawned nothing but negativity and fighting. It was a strange corner of LOST for me, and one I'm happy I stayed away from.
New and Improved Jacob - Now With Even More Crying!
The island scenes open with Jack, still reeling from his ascension to power as the newly appointed Jacob. In a reverse of what Jacob did last episode Jack is washing the island onto his hands, not off of them. He's standing in the water, basking in it, trying to drink in his new role. He tells Sawyer that physically he feels no different, but whether or not Jack inherited any true power doesn't really matter. The only thing that matters now is that Jack believes.
On another part of the island, we see Desmond. Rose and Bernard have checked back into the game temporarily, to help their friend. This leads of course, to Locke finding them. Because they've become eligible to give help, they've also become eligible to be hurt. Maybe.
Rose and Bernard don't look all that afraid to me. Even after Locke's evil threat, they're still in the know. In a way, I think this makes them somehow untouchable, in a Ben Kenobi "If you strike me down, I really don't give a shit" kind of way.
"You don't have to go anywhere with him", Rose tells Desmond defiantly. She's reminding Desmond that he has a choice here and it's his to make - no one can make for him, not even the man in black. But as any good friend would do, Desmond decides to spare his friends any pain or misery by agreeing to go with Locke.
What happens next is pretty revealing: Desmond knows exactly where they're going, and this takes the man in black completely by surprise. "I assume it's a place with a very bright light", Desmond tell him without any hesitation or reservation. This seems to indicate that he has full knowledge of both timelines, front and back, from beginning to end... something he may have gained (and forgotten until he flashed) when he first turned the failsafe key.
They're The A-Team of Comic Relief
Miles finding Richard alive and well was not all that surprising. Even after Ab Aeterno his story seemed unfinished, and I was holding out hope that he'd eventually live up to his title as "he who would save us all." Instead, Richard does very little this episode, yet I still forgive him for it. He's had a tough gig on the island, and he deserves to live out the rest of the life he never had, grey-haired as it might be. It's also interesting to think about what Richard will do once he gets back to the modern world. Just wait until he sees television.
What was surprising however, was that Frank survived the sinking of the submarine. The very second I saw him floating there, I knew my worst fears had been realized: Lapidus was definitely flying that airplane off the island. I had instant visions of him sweating down the runway, skimming the treetops, and letting out a triumphant Waylon Jennings yell once the plane finally got airborne.
I have to say, I was wrong about that scene. Once I saw Frank alive, I fully accepted and embraced the fact that some of our heroes were going to make it off the island on Ajira 316. I hoped it wouldn't be campy, and that Frank wouldn't spoil the finale with some God-awful one-liner. He didn't. The liftoff scene would actually turn out to be pretty cool, and the visual of the airplane escaping from the island would lock snugly into place during the final scene of the show.
Sun and Jin-Soo Kwon
Sun and Jin's story has been over for three episodes now, missing only the formality of full-blown enlightenment. Fittingly, this takes place over Ji-Yeon - the one unifying factor in their often tumultuous relationship. With Julet's sonagram as the catalyst, these two characters join the full disclosure team, finally remembering everything about their time on the island.
I've always enjoyed this couple over the course of the show. Sun displayed early strength and adaptability, while Jin's loyalty allowed him to recapture an innocence lost during his service to Mr. Paik. The two of them came together over Sun's pregnancy, and recognized - much like Rose and Bernard - that everything they really needed could be found within their own relationship.
At the same time, there's a good many people still upset about Ji-Yeon. The Kwon's daughter is left hanging out there in the debatably mistaken realm of the Oceanic Six timeline, never to see her parents again. And while I agree that this is sad, I also have to say that it still feels right to me. These characters have been separated too many times, and for far too long. Jin's pact to never leave Sun again is upheld even through death, and this brings a tremendous amount of meaning to the overall development of their relationship. Seeing him break it - even for Ji Yeon - would've cheapened their bond.
In all honesty, Ji-Yeon is a side note when compared to the emotional growth these characters both achieved over six seasons of LOST. Sun and Jin's story was always about them, just as Jacob told them at their wedding. It makes perfect sense that it should end that way.
"So it's you."
The semi-final showdown between Jack and Locke was a thing of beauty. Watching their groups converge from the two sides of that clearing made me realize just how far we'd come... and how close we were getting to the end. For once, Jack knew exactly what he was going to do. And even better, he knew Locke's plan as well.
"I'm gonna kill you." People around me cheered wildly as Jack delivered this line. We see the first real concern begin registering in Locke's eyes here, because just as with Desmond the man in black is sensing something he's not used to dealing with: Jack's absolute fearlessness. For thousands of years he's grown accustomed to everyone cowering before him or running in the opposite direction. But not here, and not now.
"How you gonna do that?" Flock asks, half-smirking. Although he's trying to be tough, his expression betrays an complete lack of confidence. "It's a surprise" Jack tells him, and the look on Locke's face is totally priceless.
DAMN it's good to see Jack finally be on the giving end of things for once. Not knowing his plan scares the shit out of Locke. The man in black has made the biggest of all bad guy blunders: totally underestimating his opponent. He assumes that Jack is clueless here, when really he's not. He also assumes that Jack is Jacob's successor, when ultimately it turns out to be Hurley. Jack is only an intermediary - a sacrifice necessary to take Flocke down. The dark man doesn't notice this however, because he's too busy gloating and pointing out how obvious it was to him that Jack would end up as the final candidate.
Claire... Still Not Sure What The Hell She Wants
If there was anything I didn't like about this episode, it was the continuation of Claire's wishy-washy storyline. She shows up just long enough to wave her rifle around, making everyone real nervous. Then she whines, cries a little, screams about something, and runs back into the jungle again.
I genuinely disliked the entire crazy-Claire storyline. The sickness was something they really didn't need to revisit, but it seemed as good an explanation as any for why Claire disappeared for a whole season. Squirrel-baby aside, Claire's done nothing but bitch and moan about always being left alone... even when she's running away for no reason at all.
One thing I did like however was Richard's sincere appeal for Claire to come along, with all of them ditching the island together. He's come a long way from the mysterious immortal we once knew nothing about, and he now seems more like one of us.
Sayid Jarrah and Shannon Rutherford
Right before the big Shannon reveal, we get more cryptic clues as to just how much LAX_Hurley now knows. Even better, we get a glimpse into Sayid's one last hurdle to redemption: himself.
"You're a good guy Sayid", Hurley tries to convince him, echoing Nadia's words from season one. "I know a lot of people have told you that you're not, and you've heard it so many times that you're starting to believe in it."
Perhaps out of all of our characters, Sayid has endured the worst identity crisis. Even in the afterlife, he's still struggling with past misdeeds. His time as a torturer in Iraq was capped with violence and killing, even after returning home. Cross-reference this with his on-island existence and you can add neck-snapping expert and notorious assassin to Sayid's resume. Because of these things, he now has very little faith in the man that he's become.
And although Hugo assures him that no one can tell Sayid who he really is (something his superiors Ben and Kelvin have both repeatedly done), he still refuses to assign himself an identity all his own. "You clearly don't know anything about me" Sayid tells Hugo, displaying a complete lack of moral confidence. Hurley's all-knowing response has a golden shine to it, especially considering the role he ultimately ends up with.
Seeing Shannon again was pretty cool, and not something I figured would ever happen. It made a lot more sense however, that these characters would end up in each other's arms. In Sayid's perfect little afterlife, Nadia was a dead end. She'd married his brother, and was inaccessible. Enter Shannon, another of Sayid's true loves (as much as you can really say true love occurs after a smooth picnic and a sweaty tent-romp). The two of them flash each other up to speed, and we get a cool look at some very retro S1 and S2 scenery.
I started wondering if this is who Sayid meant when he made his pact with the dark man. Maybe he did, without even really knowing it. Despite what happens to the MIB, his bargain ends up being fulfilled. Either by accident or destiny, Sayid once again gets to see the girl he loved and lost: Shannon. And in turn, she gets reunited with the one guy she allowed herself to love unconditionally, and without manipulation.
Seeing Boone was awesome again as usual, but it was also very telling. We learn right away that Boone is in on things, having pried Shannon away from Australia and conspired with Hurley to take a fall during the bar fight. He's fully enlightened, and his willingness to help Shannon find her own way shows that he's completely "let go" of any past thoughts or misgivings that he had about his sister.
Our course we have to ask ourselves the next natural question: how long has Boone been set free? Was he just playing stupid on the plane during LA X, or did he somehow achieve enlightenment via Hurley, Desmond, or even all by himself sometime during this last season?
Judging from his "pulling my leg" comments to John Locke on Oceanic 815, and the line: "This thing goes down, I'm sticking with you", I think it's more fun to believe that Boone has known all along. Maybe he was toying with Locke on the flight - trying offhandedly to jog his memory as Rose and Bernard did to Jack. It's cool to look back on that scene and imagine that Boone already knows where he is, finally giving him one up on John after a whole season of playing the clueless sidekick.
Just Like Old Times
When we're finally shown the cave, it's not nearly as bright as it once was. I took this to mean that perhaps some of the light got trapped within the smoke monster during its creation. Maybe that's also why it's so important that the monster never leaves: the heart of the island has accidentally been tied up within him.
Locke continues taunting Jack as they lower Desmond into the cave, glibly reminding him of the season two similarities. "Desmond going into a hole in the ground? If there was a button down there to push we could fight about who would push it." Jack responds by fiercely defending John Locke, and this is an indication of just how far his faith has come. I was reminded of the conversation in which Locke had told him: "You do believe in destiny Jack, you just don't know it yet." And to take the journey between these two characters even further, the next shot is a mirror image of them peering into the hole during Exodus.
Down in the golden cave, Desmond passes the skeletons of those who've gone before him. Maybe these were past guardians of the island, lonely and bored, who finally stepped into the light out of sheer curiosity. Maybe they were the remains of those who, like Desmond, have played out the same cycle before. The skeletons could even be mortal men who stumbled upon the light and tried to take a big juicy slice of it... but who ended up with a lethal dose of electromagnetic energy for their troubles.
We see the Cerberus vents, dog-doo stalagmites, and a giant pool of radiant light. Desmond pulls the plug on the island, and we watch the light blink out. The water stops, and without water flowing into the vents the inner core of the island overheats. In seconds, there's a magma problem. Earthquakes abound. Chaos and destruction take place... all of that fun stuff that always speeds up the plot line.
The end result: Jack totally Scooby-Doos the monster into becoming mortal again, exactly as Superman once did to general Zod's entire crew during his second movie. Apparently, this old trick works every time. With the lights out, the man in black is now nothing more than a human being. Somehow Jack had advanced knowledge of this, just as the monster's mother had passed on the knowledge needed to brain people with giant rocks.
Ms. Hawking and Daniel Faraday/Widmore
During the abysmally-sounding fusion concert, an important reunion occurs between Desmond and Ms. Hawking. She questions his understanding: Hawking thought she made it very clear that Desmond is not to encourage or continue to help with his friends' enlightenment. Desmond on the other hand, makes something else equally clear: he's way past the point of giving a shit.
Finally, at long last, these two characters are on equal terms - both on the same level playing field. It's chilling to think that perhaps Hawking has been here all along; even when we saw her in the ring shop or the Looking Glass station, she was just as enlightened as she is now. Remember that her two appearances also took place within off-island realms: one during Desmond's failsafe flashback, and the other in the Oceanic Six world. She could easily have been reaching back to those places from the ALT/Purgatory universe, where we now know that time means very, very little.
By the same token, Charlie's appearance to Hugo during The Shape of Things to Come could be similarly explained. "You died", Hugo told him back then, and Charlie solemnly agreed with him. That was Hugo's own conclusion, and it turns out he was more right than he ever knew. Since time has no relevance in that universe, it could've easily been a fully-enlightened Charlie who visited Hurley at Santa Rosa.
"Are you going to take my son?" Hawking asks Desmond, looking painfully upset. Her genuine sorrow really struck a chord with me here, and for the first time I saw her as who she was: a scared, powerless old woman trying to hold her position - and Daniel's - in this gathering place of an afterlife.
Sadly, Ms. Hawking never had a real life with her son. While they were alive, she forsook all connections with Daniel and even sacrificed him to serve the island. So here, now, in this place? She's holding onto him for as long as she can, and experiencing as much with him as possible. THIS is why she wants to keep things status quo. THIS is why she wants to keep our characters in the dark for as long as she can, out of fear of them taking Faraday with them when they go.
I thought it was especially kind the way Desmond placed his palm over Ms. Hawking's hand reassuringly. The best part of Daniel's life didn't take place with the Oceanic heroes, and therefore there was no reason for him to go with them. This is why Danny's not at the big end dance, swinging it with Charlotte. Perhaps the best times of their lives lie elsewhere, and one or both of them are not yet ready to move on.
Claire Littleton and Charlie Pace
To be brutally honest, I wasn't looking forward to watching Claire give birth for a third time. Despite all the clever repetition in LOST, this is one storyline that's more than a little played out by now. Thankfully they made it quick. Aaron gets born in like 3 big pushes, which is not bad considering it's Claire's rookie season.
Charlie shows up with the blanket, and all flash-hell breaks loose. Claire and Charlie remember each other, the island, and the bond they shared over the birth of Aaron. It's probably a good thing she didn't remember the kidnapping, heroin-abuse, and impromptu baptism Charlie tried to give her son in the ocean, but what the hell - that's all water under the bridge at this point. Let's let bygones be bygones.
At the same time, through the baby's birth, Kate is also enlightened. Desmond looks at her expectantly, as if knowing that this event would pull Kate's trigger. Her full disclosure sets the stage for the future enlightenment of the most stubborn of all 815 survivors: Jack Shephard.
The Claire/Charlie love story was always strange to me. For several seasons it seemed all she wanted to do was bitch at him and push him away. By the time she finally came around, Charlie had died sacrificing himself for her and the baby. Talk about guilt trips.
Although the ending for this couple was sweet, it leaves a pretty significant loose end: Desmond's helicopter vision. For some reason or another, Claire and Aaron never really did get into a helicopter. My take on that? The writers pulled an outrigger-shootout. They had good intentions when they planned the first part of this event, but bailed out before closing the circle. And you know what? That's completely okay with me. Because just as with the canoe chase, I'd rather they leave something unexplained or open-ended than try to mold some shitty story to fit around it. The fact that they took things in another direction means very little to me, and so does Desmond's unexplained vision.
"No Vozzek, screw that! Charlie died for that vision! I want a damned explanation!"
Alright, then here it is: Jacob was trying to kill Charlie, to prevent the freighter from ever getting to the island and taking his candidates away. He's the one who kept putting Charlie in harm's way all those times: drowning, lightning, arrows and all.
On the other hand, the MIB wanted Charlie to live long enough to flip that jamming switch. His goal was to get rid of the candidates, and allow them to leave the island. Therefore, he was responsible for all of Desmond's precognitive visions. He kept showing Des exactly how to save Charlie, so that the freighter could ultimately find the island.
Desmond's last vision however was a false one: the dark man knew Charlie would need to sacrifice himself in order to achieve his goal. Just as he did with his other recruits, he gave Charlie the one thing he thought he'd want more than anything else: the promise of Claire and Aaron's freedom. He planted the last vision in Desmond's head because it was the one thing that would drive Charlie to succeed in his mission... even if that mission was suicidal. Fiendishly, the MIB knew that Charlie would put their own lives above his own.
Two Players, Two Sides... One Is Dark, and One Is Light
The confrontation between Jack and Locke was nothing short of EPIC. The cliffs, the rain, the cymbal crash and the stunning visuals... if you didn't get goosebumps watching this scene, you should probably just switch over to Dancing with the Stars.
Some amazing imagery was captured here: Jack now looking black, Locke now looking white - good vs. evil personified. The whole thing was one final nod to the game Jacob and his brother started nearly two thousand years ago, and that game came to a violent end right here atop this cliff.
We need to realize that the realm of the island has been under Jacob's direction for a very long time. As the man in charge, he's the one who has made the rules, just as his brother one day said he could. To Jacob and the man in black, the island's jungles have been a tremendous gameboard. The black and white motif is a visual representation of their childhood senet game - a game started centuries ago when they set the very first two pieces down on the board.
Over hundreds of years, their game has evolved into using people instead of playing pieces. The stakes have gotten higher. Jacob's sworn protection of the island has been balanced precariously against the dark man's overwhelming desire to leave. They've fought against each other, disagreed with one another, and placed life-or-death bets over whether mankind is inherently good or bad. To them, the island is exactly as our main characters have seen it: a black and white battlefield pitting destiny against free will. Jacob has struggled to keep the dark man down, and he's struggled to find a loophole in the rulebook... just as Jack finds his own loophole here.
Their fight scene is incredible, made even more climactic by the violent storm. In the struggle for the knife, the origins of Jack's neck would are revealed. Even slicker? Locke stabs Jack exactly where his appendix would be... if it weren't already removed by Juliet. This answer the question as to why Jack got suddenly and inexplicably sick on the island back then. It also mirrors the situation in which Locke survived Ben's gunshot by having an empty cavity where his kidney used to be. One final parallel is represented between these two characters; men who by all definition are every bit the brothers that Jacob and the man in black once were.
Kate killing the man in black was a shocking twist, but it justified her overall role as a potential candidate. Perhaps this is why Jacob touched her as a child, making sure Kate was kept around this far into the end game. I loved the visual of Jack kicking the dark man off the cliff's edge, just as the man in black had kicked Jacob into the fire. Everything about this scene was absolutely perfect, and it was a tremendous way for Flocke to go out.
Afterward, Jack can't let the island sink. Even now, he has to save just one more thing. As he and Kate say their final goodbyes, they confess love for each other and kiss one last time. And did you hear that sound? It's a hundred-thousand Skater-blogs shutting down all at once.
One of LOST's most reverent scenes is finally mirrored, as Locke begins wiggling his toes for the first time since being paralyzed. Jack's astonishment immediately parallels his wife Sarah's own miraculous recovery, and I thought for sure they were going to both flash here. I figured maybe they'd even regain their island memories so quickly that they'd jump right back into a bitter struggle for survival, hands locked each other's throats, each trying to strangle the other to death. But I was probably being a little melodramatic there.
Locke flashes. Hard. We're treated to some of John's best scenes in all of LOST: from his Walkabout toe-wiggle to his orange peel smile. The music for these flashes was pure awesome, by the way. It really added impact to what these characters were going through. I tried to imagine remembering your whole life in a single moment, and then having the rush of those experiences happen all at once. Unbelievable.
John's flashes give him full knowledge of everything. Nearly crying, he asks Jack if he also remembers. This causes Jack to flash quickly to a single scene - looking down into the Swan hatch with Locke - before bringing him back to the hospital again. Jack resists. He's still not ready. He pushes the image out of his head, denying it, much like he's always denied Locke's attempts at getting Jack to see things as they really are.
Jack is famously stubborn, and it's going to take more than just Claire, Desmond or Locke before he finally sees the truth. But as for John Locke, he's all in. He tries to get Jack to come with him, but Jack balks. Subconsciously perhaps, he clings to the one thing he's really got going for him in this alternate universe - his son. He even retreats from the room, blurting out: "I have to go see my son." And that's when Locke gives us another huge clue as to what's really going on, telling Jack: "You don't have a son."
"Jack", Locke tells him before he leaves, "I hope somebody does for you, what you just did for me." Watch Jack's face as he says this. His eyes are glassy, because Jack is crying. And while Jack crying isn't exactly an uncommon event on LOST, he's crying because inwardly he knows that Locke is right. He doesn't have a son. And not only does Jack not have a son, but somewhere in the back of his mind Jack has always known it.
James Ford and Juliet Burke
Right behind Desmond and Penny, one of the better love stories on the show has been between Sawyer and Juliet. Their reunion in the ALT was actually the most predictable, based upon island events and dialogue we saw as Juliet died in the Swan hatch. Most of us suspected they were going dutch for ALT_coffee all the way back in the season premiere.
Skaters and haters aside, the two thousand people I watched LOST with seemed to love this scene. They cheered almost as loudly here as when Jack finally told Locke he was going to kill him. There's not much in the way of analysis to do, but we did learn one important thing: how to get your stuck candy bar out of a vending machine. And to think all this time I've been using the rock forward and drop method.
Kate Takes Jack To The Prom
As Jack arrives late for the fusion concert, a fully-enlightened Kate is there to greet him. But before we continue, we have to stop for a moment here and acknowledge that Kate totally rocks that black dress. No two ways about it.
Jack's struggles with remembering his time on the island have taken place slowly over the course of the entire season. Locke just chipped away at his resolve by telling Jack he doesn't have a son. Here, as Jack somewhat remembers Kate, we get one of the last pieces of the puzzle. She tells him, using the past tense: "I've missed you so much."
Jack flashes but is still not ready. He's at the brink, though. The last thing he needs to see is the coffin, and Kate offers to take him to it. That final visual - seeing his father's coffin as empty - is what ultimately brings Jack to the realization of what's truly been going on.
Redemption, Forgiveness, and Wanting to Still Kick Around the ALT for a While
In John and Ben's final scene, their story is closed out with heartfelt honesty. Ben admits his faults, and genuinely apologizes for the things he's done. Locke graciously forgives him. But before allowing John to roll into the church, Ben hands him the very last key needed for Locke himself to fully let go, telling him: "I don't think you need to be in that chair anymore."
For Locke, the ALT world has been all about him clinging to his paralysis. This was a form of self-flagellation - although he had Helen, happiness, and everything else, John still didn't feel he deserved to walk again after what he'd done to his father. Ben helps him to realize that he can walk, and he can let go. Learning what we do about the alternate timeline however, Anthony Cooper's inability to move or speak now seems to have sinister karmatic undertones.
John walks into the church, leaving Ben behind to "work some things out". Translation? A hot little french connection with Danielle, and a slow, mundane, normal life as Alex's stepfather - at least for a while. These were things Ben could never have, because the island's agenda always interfered with them. But here in the afterlife, Ben can finally enjoy these relationships... and possibly wait for these people to want to move on with him into the next world.
You Have To Lift It Up
It was more than predictible that Jack's story would end with him eventually sacrificing himself to save everyone else. His hero complex was nearly terminal, but with episode titles like Greater Good this is a role you could see Jack taking from miles away.
Jack's second-to-last act of sacrifice is to save Desmond. With Penny and little Charlie to go back to, it seemed obvious that Des would make it out unscathed. He'd played his role, and served more than his fair share of time on the island. He deserved to leave, and to finally be happy.
From here, Jack reboots the island by plugging its drain with that giant stone carrot. No, I don't pretend to understand it either. We'll never know the origins of this chamber, what the heart of the island truly is, or how the hell it got there in the first place. I'm pretty sure I don't even care. Jack's sacrifice is what really brings the island back, and this is much more relevant than any physical aspect of how it happens.
One Day You Can Make Up Your Own Game, and Everyone Else Will Have to Follow Your Rules
In guessing who would take over the island, I have to admit that I was way, way off. Hurley seemed too pure a soul to be placed in charge of such a dangerous place, and I'd scratched him off my own mental list. I just couldn't see him manipulating, killing, or pushing anyone in a certain direction. Yet here Jack appoints him as the new Jacob, assuring Hugo that he believes in him. Quite fittingly, to take control of the island, Hurley must drink from a filthy, crumpled-up Oceanic bottle.
Hurley and the bottle are both tremendous symbols of things to come. Jacob and the man in black are finally gone. Their game of black vs. white is over. The survivors of Oceanic are still here, and this is now their story. The island no longer has to be dangerous, as we saw it become during Jacob's reign. Maybe, as Ben suggests, it can be a place where Hurley actually uses it to help people. And in retrospect, that's still really what it's been all along.
I noticed that the cave was back at full brightness after Jack's sacrifice. Maybe the light energy released after the smoke monster's demise restored it to full glow. Ben agreeing to join a very lost and uncertain Hugo in ruling the island was a pretty good pairing, and I found myself wondering if the writers knew of this ending when they wrote the shared candy bar scene in Cabin Fever. The scene cuts to outside the church in the afterlife storyline, where we find out that both Hugo and Ben did a great job in running the island. Past tense of course, because time at this point is irrelevant.
Amen That Frank Only Said 'Amen'
There were a lot of funny lines from Miles, Frank, and even Ben this episode. But the thing that made me laugh the most? Watching Richard hold the duct tape and landing gear schematics. Yes I know he's been alive for two centuries, and yes I know he's probably up to date with a lot of modern technology. Still, I think it would've been even funnier if he were holding them upside down.
It takes Kate to finally convince Claire to come with them. Again. This time for real, I guess. She mentions being crazy, and not wanting Aaron to see her that way. I have some interesting thoughts on Aaron, and I'll talk about them in a little while. But for now the important thing is that everyone gets on the plane, it screams down the runway, and Frank gets everyone off the island one last time.
Late For His Own Funeral
Jack's journey of self-discovery ends at the church. The coffin he's chased for so long rests in a small peaceful chamber, complete with stained glass images of Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, and Hindu symbols - all the major religions are represented. Reverently Jack opens the coffin, expecting his father's corpse, and I honestly thought Jack would see himself in there. Instead, he sees nothing... and that's when his father calls out from behind him, ready to give Jack the one final push that he needs.
The idea that Jack is dead is really nothing new. Since the show's inception, a good majority of people have guessed at a Purgatory-type explanation for LOST. I've long theorized that Jack originally died in the plane crash - "He walks among us, but is not one of us" - and yet was somehow still able to go on. But here, we're given an even cooler twist: everyone is dead. The alternate universe is a nothing but a gathering place, a type of limbo where people can work things out while waiting for their loved ones to catch up before finally moving on.
Now I've been beaten up a lot for suggesting LOST would end with a Sixth Sense twist. Quite honestly, there's nothing more Sixth Sense than Jack finally realizing - a la Bruce Willis - that he's been dead the whole time. The only difference here, is that Jack's been dead since he sacrificed himself at the cave. He didn't die in the plane crash... or so, Christian Shephard would have us believe.
Jack's realization comes after some pretty cool flashes. These flashes start at the plane crash, and depict many of the times Jack has helped people. Upon realizing "I died too", the heartfelt hug between Jack and his father was a long time in coming. He finally lets go, tells his father that he loves him, and receives the same love in return. It was perfect and fitting.
"I'm real, you're real, everything that's ever happened to you was real..." - This isn't just Christian Shephard talking here. These are the writers and producers, explaining to us exactly what happened. Everyone in the church is dead too. Some died before Jack, some afterward. The place they're at now is timeless... there's no past, present or future. The only stipulation before moving on is that everyone must come to terms with their past life's issues, and that they need to do it on their own - without being told.
"Where are we, dad?" Jack asks, echoing Charlie's infamous question from season one. "This is a place that you all made together, so that you could find each other", Christian explains (note his use of the word 'you' and not 'we'). In so many ways, it's a lot like the island. The island also became a place made by Jack and his friends, filled with whatever real-world baggage they brought in with them. Just as they did in this place, our characters had to work out their past issues before being allowed to leave. Looking at it this way, the island becomes just another level of enlightenment - a more interactive layer of reality in which our characters could grow emotionally and spiritually before moving on.
One aspect of the ALT is different however: the door to the laser light show can't be opened until everyone is ready. All of the people in the church are there because they shared the best part of their lives together. They need to move on as a single group; a sort of afterlife version of live together die alone. Jack, ever the stubborn ass, was the last holdout. Still clinging to a life of saving people and ignoring his own needs, he was the only one holding up the trip.
Okay, Let's Talk About The Prom
The final church scene was amazing, but I have some very distinct thoughts on it. While we saw many of the people we've come to know and love, there were also others that were missing. Richard is an easy one: the best times of his life were spent with Isabella. She had to wait 200 years to dance with him again, and that must've sucked. Miles and Frank... they went on to live beyond the island. Although they shared time with our main characters, it's likely that the more important parts of their lives happened later on.
Michael. We already know where he is. The island has literally become Purgatory for him, stuck alongside all of the other poor souls who can't move on. Now that we know the ending of LOST, the whisperers make a lot more sense. I still think they rushed the explanation, but I like the concept of those spirits being trapped in the jungle, perhaps unable to move on until they've achieved enlightenment or served a penance of some kind.
Notably absent from the final scene is Walt. Maybe he's waiting for Michael. Or maybe the best parts of Walt's life are still way ahead of him, with a wife and a family of his own. Let's sure hope so. And for Michael's sake, let's hope he gets to leave the island and attend church once Walt passes on.
Okay, here's where things get sticky. Aaron is at the church. I can't grasp the idea that the most important part of Aaron's life occurred on the island... unless the entirety of Aaron's life took place there. I've often talked about Aaron's existence being questionable, and we've seen him disappear from sonograms and supermarkets. Perhaps he's there because Claire and Charlie - and everyone else - brought him. After all, as Christian says: this is a place that our characters made together. All of them had a part in Aaron's existence... he didn't even kick until Jin fed Claire that first time after the crash. Maybe, just maybe, this is why he can't be raised by another. Maybe this is why Aaron is so special.
Let's move on to Ji-Yeon. She's not in the church, and was never on the island at all. If she was truly born, her life is an off-island one. Yet remember the miracle circumstances surrounding her conception: Ji-Yeon was always a baby that was never meant to be. To add fuel to the fire she was born in the Oceanic 6 timeline; and if you've read any of my other recaps you already know I believe that whole storyline to be suspect. So was Ji-Yeon legit? If so, let's say she spent her better years beyond the parenting of Sun or Jin. It would make sense then, either way, that she's not in the church.
Finally, Christian. He never spent the better part of his life with all these people, so why is he there? Actually, he's not really there for the prom at all. He's there for Jack's benefit - just as he's always been. Christian is there as a shepherd, herding his son into the next life. He doesn't actually sit down, he just makes sure everyone is seated. Then he leaves.
When all is said and done, the church reunion was a beautiful way to end LOST. It enabled our characters to come together one last time, fully aware of each other, to embrace the deep connections they've developed over these last six years. This is the other side... yet what's beyond the glowing double doors? Heaven? Reincarnation? Another life? It feels great not to know. The only thing that really matters is that our heroes get to walk through those doors together, and to me at least, that's always seemed the most fitting way to end things.
The Ultimate Ending Has Always Been Closing The Circle
There were two ways I could envision LOST's final scene. One involved the new Jacob and new MIB (who I really thought would be Jack and Locke). They'd be sitting on a beach, possibly playing backgammon, and a ship would come over the horizon... or maybe the roar of a plane's engines would be heard overhead.
The other ending was even more obvious but no less excellent: Jack's eye closing. We've all thought about it. We've all considered it. Here, the writers made this ending a reality - and in the greatest and most poignant of all possible ways.
Jack's slow, painful journey down memory lane was intermixed with scenes from the church, and this gave it even more meaning. Leaning on the bamboo shoots for support, we watch him struggle past his father's beat-up tennis shoe, back to his place of origin.
It's both fitting and awesome that LOST should end exactly where it began - right in the clearing where Jack first woke up. The Ajira plane flying overhead completed the picture, mirroring the crash of Flight 815. Jack's smile was indicative of hope: he'd saved his friends as well as the island, and his sacrifice had not been in vain. And to see Vincent lie down next to him? That was just an amazing touch.
THINGS I NOTICED - My Final Thoughts
Why are we continuing to play this little game, when we all know it has moved to the next stage?
- Mikail Bakunin
Whether you believe the island was a truly magical place or just another level of the afterlife, that's entirely your call. Despite Christian's assertions that everything was real, an argument could easily be made that all of our characters actually died in the crash of Flight 815. Their adventures on the island would represent a journey to find and correct their past issues, before finally moving on to the next plane of existence.
In all honesty? I'm not entirely sure that's how LOST wasn't originally conceived.
Going back to season one and the beginning of season two, and you'll find TONS of references to everyone being dead. "We shouldn't have survived... Three days ago we all died... There are no survivors of flight 815..." Early on, these things smacked us right in the face. Maybe these clues were a little too obvious, and the intelligence of the audience was sorely underestimated. At this point, admitting that everyone guessed the plot of the show simply wouldn't be an option. The answer? A very long con: one that involved time travel, a critical event, and a newly modified version of the Purgatory/afterlife ending... the season six ALT timeline. The very fortunate victims of that con? Us. :)
But I'm not here to argue for (or against) the Purgatory theory. Whether or not it happened this way, LOST was a magnificent show. It had superior writing, an amazing cast, and the most beautiful location in the entire world. These are things I'm not sure we'll see again very soon, and that should only add to its legacy. LOST was an incredibly special and unique experience, just like the enormous community the show spawned to support it.
I'll forever keep my own ideas and reservations about the island, and you should too. Don't let anyone tell you what those should be. Just as the writers closed out one storyline, they left another one forever open. And no one, especially not me, should be able to completely define the rules and reality of exactly what we just watched for the last 120+ hours.
I want to thank everyone one last time for reading my recaps, my book, and my constant ramblings. Right or wrong, they were always fun to share. Special thanks to Andy for creating this site, and for giving my recaps a place to live. He took a lot of responsibility on his shoulders these last five years or so, and I'd bet good money he's looking forward to some well-deserved time off.
I'm sure I'll still be around in one capacity or another, so keep an eye out. You can also write me if you get the itch, and I'll try to respond as best I can.
A final thanks to everyone else who's shared their own ideas and theories, putting them out there for all to see. This part of LOST has always been the most fun for me. Discussing the show with others who love it just as fanatically is how every single one of us originally got started. I've made friendships here that will carry on well beyond the scope of the show, and I hope that many of you have done the same. It's weird the way stuff like that happens, but it's also very, very cool.
To all of my LOST friends and followers... It's been real. Sort of. ;)
THINGS I NOTICED - THE END