SPOILER ALERT: Don’t read this if you didn’t watch the series finale of Lost, which aired Sunday, May 23.
I loved the artistry, the closure and the storytelling of ending it that way. Jack back in the spot in the jungle where he had landed in the premiere. Vincent at his side. His eye closes for the last time while the plane, now intact and full of friends, flies overhead.
I’m not so sure about gathering everyone in the church for a reunion. But what else could the writers have done? It felt like they just wanted to find a neat way to tie up loose ends and make the viewers happy. To me, it seemed silly to see them sitting so perfectly, without giving us an explanation of what happens next.
Are they dead? Are they in heaven? Will they go on living? Are they still alive in their other reality? Are they only alive in their memories? Can they ever leave the church and continue living together?
We are all left to interpret Christian Shephard’s explanation of it all:
“Everything that ever happened to you is real. All those people in the church, they’re real, too,” he said. “Everyone dies sometime kiddo. Some of them before you. Some of them long after you… This is a place that you all made together so that you could find one another.
“The most important part of your life was the time that you spent with these people,” Christian says. He explains they are all there for one reason: “To remember…. and to let go.”
We knew our questions wouldn’t be answered. And I’m satisfied they did answer the big questions of the night and left us to ponder the overall meaning. If they had wrapped it up any more nicely, it would have felt like a let-down to walk away without our imaginations still stirring about what it all meant.
And that’s the question. What did it all mean?
To me, it was a story about second chances.
Just as ancient civilizations wrote myths and legends using people to explain basic tenets of human nature, that is what the Lost writers did through the passengers of Oceanic 815.
I loved that the final message was about the power of forgiveness. It brings reconciliation, restoration, hope and a second chance at life.
Throughout the six seasons, viewers asked themselves: “Who are the bad guys?”
Everyone in the show was highly flawed. They were all full of good and evil. They had let the circumstances of life affect not only their actions, but their attitudes and outlook on life.
But just because life deals some people a bad hand, so to speak, they still have a choice of which way to go. It’s never too late to start over. Yes, what happened, happened. But that doesn’t mean that someone can’t change the future. There’s always a second chance.
“Nothing is irreversible,” Kate tells Jack, and at the same time explains to the viewers this is what the show is about. We have been told for so long by Eloise Hawking/Widmore that we can’t change the past. But we finally learn from the Queen of Bad Choices and Running from the Past that we can, indeed, change the future.
And no matter how badly someone has inflicted pain, they can be forgiven. I loved how the two lives of the characters were merging in both realities to show us that despite how evil they might have been on the island, the off-island characters could now see the good in each other. They could see they were just people. Not perfect. But still worthy of kindness and love.
Jack could see John Locke, a total stranger, as a flawed, helpless human being. He didn’t know him. He didn’t know his past. And yet, he was someone he wanted to help. On the other side, Locke had been literally consumed by all that is evil.
The Smoke Monster was the living example of what happens when bitterness and hatred take over someone’s being. The Man in Black is stripped of all that is good and is left with only black smoke to inhabit other people’s bodies.
While Jack was using his scalpel to save Locke and give him a better life, FLocke was using his knife to try to destroy Jack.
I loved watching the characters coming together off island and experiencing their awakenings. My favorite was Sawyer and Juliet in such a touching moment when he hands her the candy bar and remembers their entire life together, including the moment when he let go of her hand and she fell in the pit.
“Juliet, it’s me,” Sawyer said. “I gotcha. I gotcha, baby.”
My second and third favorite moments were when Charlie’s drug-induced eyes clear as he remembers Claire, and when Sun and Jin remember their lives and start speaking perfect English.
I also loved that the writers gave us the obvious by letting Jack volunteer to be the protector of the island, but then turn it on its side and give the job to Hurley. And how sweet when he made Ben his second in command.
Finally, the finale emphasized the point that had been a recurring theme throughout the past six years: free will vs. destiny. Jacob’s mother didn’t give him a choice about his life, and Jacob seemed to be following his mother’s example by pushing the Losties toward the island. But in the end, he did offer a choice. He let them decide who should take over his job.
And then Hurley realizes he doesn’t have to rule the same way Jacob did. He could find a better way. I loved that.
Best quotes to explain the message of the show:
Desmond: “No one can tell you why you’re here, Kate. Certainly not me.”
Jack to John before the surgery: “There’s always the chance I could kill you, but I’m trying to make you feel better. I’ll see you on the other side.”
Desmond to Jack: “You’re going to lower me into that light, and I’m going to go someplace else… a place where we can be with the ones we love and we don’t have to be on this island ever again. You are in that place, Jack… We sat next to each other on Oceanic 815. It never crashed.”
Hurley to Sayid: “I think you’re a good guy, Sayid… I know a lot of people have told you that you’re not. You’ve heard it so many times that you’ve started believing it.”
Locke to Jack after the surgery: “Jack, I hope that somebody does for you what you just did for me.”
Jack when he ties Desmond to the rope: “I’ll see you in another life, brutha.”
Ben to Locke: “I’m very sorry for what I did to you John. I was selfish. Jealous. I wanted everything you had… You were special, John. and I wasn’t.”
Locke: “Well, if it helps, Ben. I forgive you.”
Ben: “Thank you, John. That does help. It matters more than I can say.”
Best funny quotes:
Sawyer to Jack: “So you’re the new Jacob, huh? How about you come down off the mountaintop and tell us what the burning bush had to say for itself.”
Hurley talking about Jacob and how he never explained anything: “Kind of true dudes. He’s worse then Yoda.”
FLocke to Jack: “Jacob being who he is, I expected to be more surprised. You’re sort of the obvious choice, don’t you think?”
When FLocke asks Jack how he thinks he’s going to kill him: “It’s a surprise.”
Kate to FLocke after she shoots him: “I saved the bullet.”
Miles while repa
iring the plane: “I don’t believe in a lot of things, but I do believe in duct tape.”
Other favorite moments:
Seeing Rose and Bernard again and finding out they have chosen to live their lives in quiet peace together “without getting involved”. Don’t we all have people in our lives like that? And yet, it doesn’t seem that happy to me to miss all of the adventure in life in exchange for a life of safety to avoid getting hurt.
Richard finding a grey hair, signaling that he is finally starting to age. And now faced with his own mortality, Richard realizing that he wants to live.
When FLocke tells Jack that lowering Desmond into the well reminds him of the time the real Locke and Jack were looking into the hatch together at Desmond. Jack defends the real Locke: “You wear his face, but you disrepsect his memory.”
In the end, I’m satisfied. I’m a little relieved that the story has come to an end. I’m glad the writers honored the viewers, the characters and the show itself by answering most of the questions while still leaving us with lots to ponder.