Lost – ‘The End’ – Episode 6.17

Early this season, when the episode titles were announced, my eyes fixed on ‘The End’. A title so simple, so bold and so perfect. It told us absolutely nothing except the one unwavering fact – All Good Things Must Come to an End.

After all, we are the rare breed. The fans of a show who knew the exact end date two years ago. There would be no more aimless wandering and wondering once Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse secured the ‘all clear’ to plant their flag on a finale and then begin a 2 & 1/2 year journey to that final destination. And fans knew that the show would never run on until the ad revenue petered out and ABC half-heartedly pulled the plug. Also, we wouldn’t feel the sling of an abrupt cancellation – with five billion story threads left tattered and dangling.

Lindelof and Cuse secured carte blanch to tell their story the way they wanted to. And while it is up to debate whether they had a master plan since the beginning or simply used the iconography introduced in Season 1 as a course map for the Back Nine – there’s no denying that their mission was clear. Each episode would have a purpose even if it didn’t exactly appear that way on first blush.

So while I knew the end was nigh, the deeper ramifications didn’t sink in until midway through last week. For the end of Lost meant the end of this post. Oh yeah – that’s right. I have a personal stake in this. Where’s my flashback/forwards/sideways?

[Editor’s Note – The pic above was done by a friend, Sean Hartter. The second I saw it, it floored me. Check out his work at www.seanhartter.com].

Previously on The Ed Zone.

Lost has been tied to this site since the very beginning. It was mid-December 2005 when my best buddy Sean asked me if I had any interest in running a Blog. He being the technophile was interested in building out a handful of sites to exercise his creative cyber bent and he knew that I lived to write. A deal was struck. Sean would lay the foundation and erect the house and then I would step in and handle the interior decoration – keeping the site attractive with a fairly steady stream of content.

At the beginning, aside from some rambling reminiscence, I didn’t have much of a plan for how to populate my site. Sean gave me a good pointer. Knowing my affinity for serialized TV and tapping into our little coffee talks where we pondered just what the hell was going on over there on Fantasy Island, he suggested a weekly Lost post. It was a great idea – one which I paired with a weekly 24 recap as well.

Two shows proved too hard to juggle so I shelved the Jack Bauer Power Hour and stuck with Lost. The first post debuted in February 2006 (the beginning of Season 3 that introduced us to Sawyer’s fish biscuits) and from there it became a weekly series. One that I was quite certain, aside from a sprinkling of friends and family, nobody was reading.

Then came the Season 3 finale. One of our incognito lurkers – someone who was reading the post but completely unknown to me – made the genius decision to post a link on the official ABC forums. This led to a spike in traffic which died down as the Summer bloomed and the hubbub over the finale abated. It was seemingly a flash in the pan – a nice little curio but surely nothing more than that. My hit count returned to its regularly scheduled programming.

Until the following season when Lost returned, and along with it came my weekly recaps. Sean and I noticed a trend. When I posted a Lost recap, my readership skyrocketed. There were people out there reading this thing on a regular basis. People I would never meet. It became enormously gratifying to know that this wasn’t all for naught. While they may be rolling their eyes and saying “What the Hell does this guy know?”, at the same time they were coming back. And telling their friends too.

And that gave me a real charge to continue.

But more importantly, readers began to identify themselves. Sure, most of our frequent commentators are friends and family of mine – but not all. Take Carlos, for example. Once upon a time, he found the site and decided to make it appointment reading. He shot me a quick e-mail telling me one of his theories and I encouraged him to post it in the Comments. And from there, Carlos became a vital voice in this symphony – as every single person who has taken a moment to jot down their thoughts on these pages has added their own unique tile to the mosaic. Guys like Carlos, whom I’ve never met yet consider a great friend, made this feature so much more than my inane ramblings ever could. This modest house became a community.

Which is why ”The End’ is so bittersweet. Sure, I’ll find another reason to write and hopefully you guys will continue to sneak a peek here from time to time, but ”The End’ closes the curtain on our precious production. Writing each weekly installment was to me – just laying the lyrics. You guys are the ones who made this place sing. Aunt Sharon. Sean. Chris. Carlos. Stacy. Kerry. Kristen. Sarah. Emily. Another Sarah. Jessie. Marika. Alissa. Aunt Suzanne. Lauren. And so many more. You guys made this worth writing and made ‘The End’ something to look forward to while secretly pining that it never had to come.

And to the countless others who have stopped by my site to see what I had to write, I can’t thank you enough. I always say that I don’t care who reads what I write, it’s just something I have to do. Well, that’s a bold-faced lie. I do care. And when I see my hit count grow, it really does give me a charge. To know that hundreds (and maybe thousands) of unique individuals have stopped by for a spell is incredibly humbling. Over the years I’ve thought of ditching this when I thought nobody was reading but the stats always held me in check. You were there. Watching from the shadows. And somehow, that’s incredibly comforting. : )

So this is ‘The End’. And there’s only more thing to do.

For the last time ever… Let’s Get Lost.

1.   I’m going to get this out of the way, right up front. If your interpretation of last night’s events is that they were all dead all along, you are dead wrong. Just so we don’t have to dance around it, I’m going to come right out and lay it down. Everything that happened on that island – from the initial plane crash to the hatch discovery to the freighter incursion/rescue to the time-travel shenanigans to the 3-Year Jump ahead where we found a suicidal Jack striving to get back home to the uncorked glory hole to the death of MiB and Jack and the crowning of Hurley – ALL REALLY HAPPENED. Christian Shepherd said so at the very end. Everything happened. And though Jack comes face-to-face with his “loved ones” in that eternal waiting room at the end, time is nebulous. Some of those people died before Jack – i.e. Charlie under the sea, Boone in Season 1, Shannon via gut-shot while others died after Jack – i.e. for all we know, Hurley lived a long, healthy life as steward of the island. It was only some time, way down the line, in a land where time doesn’t matter much – that they all “awakened” to their former life and reconnected via a very special guy, who promised Jack once upon a time – “See you in another life, brother.”

2.   The reason I say that is I have seen too much griping on Facebook with people misinterpreting those final moments – as if they were all a fever dream in Jack’s mind. But it’s pretty clear. What Happened, Happened – and couldn’t have happened any other way. Need proof. If they all died at the initial plane crash – and the last six years was all a “dream” – there is NO WAY Jack would know any of them – certainly not baby Aaron. And baby Aaron is still a baby there because that’s how Jack remembers him.

3.   In a way, it’s a bit of a cosmic joke on behalf of the creators. At the beginning, the popular theory was that the island was purgatory. Turns out people were only half right. The island is exactly what we know it to be. A mystical, magical place that houses great evil and greater good and needs to be safe and secure from the rest of the world. But it’s also just an island. A physical entity adrift on this orb. It’s the sideways world that we misconstrued as an alternate timeline that ends up as purgatory. I found that to be an awesome conceit. Over the course of two hours, the writers wove in so many disparate threads from all across the entire six seasons to complete their tapestry – and by revealing the alternate timeline as “purgatory” or “limbo” or “the cosmic waiting room” or whatever theology you do or do not subscribe too, they made the all-encompassing galactic statement that for all of us, or certainly for them – our beloved castaways – there was hope.

4.   I’ll get back to this at the end, but I just wanted to make it clear. Jack died because of MiB’s wound. He died in the same place he woke. His eyes closing in a thicket of bamboo with Vincent by his side. And when he died, for an unquantifiable amount of time, he lived a different but oddly similar life where good things come to those who wait. And then in that other life, when the time was right, he reconnected with a cadre of survivors who made such an indelible mark on his life. And after he steps through that blinding white door at the end, my guess is that he is reconnected with other loved ones. But that particular waiting room was made for Jack and his pack.

5.   One more thing before I continue down this rabbit hole. I’m fairly open on this site so I don’t mind divulging personal beliefs. I know this episode pushed the spiritual button pretty firmly and as such, it is bound to be divisive. The way I look at theological issues in popular fiction is purely as that – it’s a fiction – albeit one sprung from fertile minds. Humans wrote this stuff and it’s only human to color a tale with our own hopes and dreams. Last season Lindelof and Cuse let their freak flag fly high by embracing the wacky sci-fi angle to the tale – letting us do the Time Warp again to the hippy-dippy seventies. As they hit the last leg of their journey, they embraced their spiritual side. The Catholic Cuse and the Jewish Lindelof alongside their cadre of writers culled from who knows how many faiths or non-believers, spun an all-inclusive tale of faith rewarded that leads to a pretty specific final destination – yet one open to interpretation. They lay it very clear that in their fiction, there is an afterlife but they set that final reunion in a multi-denominational congregation. I spotted references to Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islamic and other faiths throughout that final sanctuary. Their message was pretty clear. No matter what the faith, it all led to something life-affirming.

6.   As for me, I’m less a Man of Faith and more a Man of Science. My wife is the polar opposite. That being said, I believe in the power of faith so while I have a hard time believing, I understand it and value faith and belief and I applaud it. I was raised Protestant (Unitarian Universalist). I attended Sunday School until I was 14. I have a pretty good foundation of religious teachings. My brain is just hard-wired towards the scientific end. That happened somewhere in my teen years and nothing has really changed my mind since. That being said, my children attend church (Colin just completed his first year of CCD) and will be raised Catholic. I frequently bring them to church and sit alongside them as we listen to the message, backed by the joyous soundtrack that my wife Andi adds to the day in her role as Soprano Section Leader. I believe in the immense good that those religious teachings do towards shaping decent, upstanding moral people. And it’s for that reason that I completely sign on the dotted line, completely happy that my children will get the same exposure that I did and then will one day come to their own interpretations. So, while my mind is set towards one notion, I also realize that I don’t know everything and therefore keep myself open to the possibility that anything is possible. That’s the side-effect of giving a friend over to death’s cool grip way before his time. It’s amazing how that instant, which is a very real milestone in my life, can alter perception. So, anything’s possible. At least I hope so.

7.   While I appreciate religious teachings – as mentioned above – I also enjoy seeing mythological aspects woven into pop-fiction. Look at Raiders of the Lost Ark, for a good example. So when I see others have an instant, knee-jerk reaction to Lost’s pretty-well defined version of the afterlife, I encourage them to chill out and just enjoy it. After all – at the very least – the show’s ending was one of beauty and hope, one I found refreshing in a world that is far too often jaded and cynical. I went to bed feeling pretty good about humanity last night. If a television show can bring about sweet dreams, I’d say they hit upon the absolute pitch perfect ending.

8.   All right – I’m not going to cover every plot point but I do want to hit some big ones before returning to the big picture – and then I’ll throw down the canvas and let you color in the Comments below.

9.   A couple of weeks ago, I expressed disappointment at the revelation that somewhere on the island rests a fount of “good energy” that must be protected. The idea was sound but as I said last week, it might have been better interpreted as myth or legend – versus the straight-forward tale of two squabbling brothers that we got. Well, now I think that back story provided for some nice background material. Cuse and Lindelof, while keeping the battle for the “heart of the island” at center stage for the first half, maintained the island’s mystery by not delving too much into “What it is” – allowing us to imagine and interpret it for ourselves. In that cave rests a stopper containing “energy”. That’s really all we know – and many theories will abound. And I like that. So, consider their handling of Desmond’s descent as pulling up before the plane smashes into the rocks. Two weeks ago it looked like they were going down and last night, they righted the ship.

10.   So what’s in there? It could just be a well of electromagnetic energy? The essence of “Good Will”? The lifeblood of the island? Or Marcellus Wallace’s soul? Who knows? I’ve got my idea but for once, I’m keeping it to myself.

11.   It doesn’t matter what it is. All that matters is that it needs to be protected and through Desmond’s manipulation – they render MiB Locke human – setting the stage for an epic battle on the rocks. That the fight came at the midpoint warmed my heart. I was hoping the show wasn’t going to be 2 & 1/2 hours of plodding towards the inevitable Boss Fight but with higher aspirations on their minds, Cuse and Lindelof ended the Big Bad’s threat soon enough. And in a night filled with heart-breaking connections, I found Jack’s devotional description of the real John Locke’s glory to be the most inspiring. “You disparage his memory by wearing his face.”

12.   Regarding the plane, there was but one small issue that didn’t get air time. The C4. My guess is that either Locke removed it all when he first found it or Widemore did. Either way – it doesn’t matter. It was just a means to get them off the island and I’m fine with that. Like I said before, I don’t need every “i” dotted.

13.   So, here’s a little teaser. I’m giving this episode a 5 Mooninite rating – as much for the episode as for the series. But this episode deserves it for a momentous decision. Although it occurred all throughout the night, the writers wisely focused the final act on the characters and less on the mechanics of what makes this island so mysterious. I’ve said it all along, the mythology and monsters are cool and all – they hooked us in the first place – but the characters kept us coming back. They became family and in the end, we want nothing but the best for those we care about most. And I wanted these characters to find peace. And though they’ve been through the wringer, in the end, they were allowed that peace. And allowed to reconnect with people that meant the most to them in this life. And each time we hit on one of those revelatory reunions, my heart warmed. We didn’t know why this was happening at the time but in the end it made so much sense. And now as I think back upon it, the ending just adds so much weight to those little vignettes as true love conquered all and Sawyer found his fair Juliet, Charlie and Claire reunited over the birth of Aaron, Sayid comforted Shannon and John Locke stood tall once again.

14.   Then there was Ben – whose actions despite last minute redemption – keep him outside the sanctuary. I have no doubt that he could have walked through the doors if he wanted to but he himself was not ready. What I love is that we never see Hurley’s stint as island caretaker. All we know is that Hurley made a great number one and Ben was his supportive number two. There’s a whole history there, summed up in two quick lines of dialogue, that frees our minds to wander. And it seems that whatever may have happened, Hurley and Ben left the island in good hands when the day came that they shuffled off this mortal coil.

15.   I touched on it above but it’s important to note – the sanctuary that the “survivors” created is the same meeting place where Eloise Hawking first brought them together. She seemingly represents the marriage of science and faith – with her worlds crossing all boundaries of space and time and faith.

16.   The stained glass window represented many faiths. While I spied Judaism, Christianity, Muslim/Islamic faith – I have no idea what that Wagon Wheel/Trivial Pursuit figurine was? Anyone. Also, where was Lord Xenu? : )

17.    This brings me to ‘The End” where a mortally wounded Jack Shepherd finds himself laying down at the exact same spot where it all began. This island game him renewed purpose – a new lease on life. In essence, he was reborn on the island and ultimately sacrificed himself to do what he felt he could never do before – to really fix things properly. And with the job done and his cycle completed, he lay down, bleeding out from that wound that earlier this season he misinterpreted as an “appendix scar” and before fading to white, had one final reunion with the first friend he made on this island – Vincent. What goes around, comes around.

18.   Damn you Lost creators. Just when a yellow-lab owning guy is on the tipping point of his emotions, you bring out a yellow lab to lie beside “his” friend and keep him company as he closes his eyes one last time. “No Andi!!! It’s just my allergies.”

19.   And that’s where we close. In that same thicket of woods where Jack’s eye famously sprung open. Ending with the absolute perfect shot – the only shot that would ever really make sense.

20.   Jack closes his eyes and drifts away to that unwritten future.

– The End –

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Comments now closed (65)

  • Great write up Ed! I am so sad to see it end 🙁 I loved the episode. I am confused why so many people think they were dead the whole time. Like you said it was pretty clear from Christian’s comments that is not the case. I will miss reading your recaps. Maybe you could start doing recaps for the Real Housewives of NJ? 🙂

  • Ed, First off. Thanks for these (and your other) posts over the past few years. I have always looked forward to reading them to gather more information on what I thought I saw!

    Now to the action. I completely agree with 1,2 and 4 above. I guess I am glad I am in between houses and don’t have a computer to see people complain about the episode because I really liked it. They were not dead all along from the crash as Christian said some died before you and some died afterward. But I almost think they needed him to let go even in death for them all to be reunited in death. As you and I think Christian said these were the poeple he spent his most profound time with on earth.

    As for number 3 I didn’t view the sideways flash as a purgatory, but more as Jack’s vision of how their lives would have lived out had 815 never crashed. I know there where some theories that the sideways was what MIB promised everyone in his attempt to get them together and help him get off the island. Jack completely bought into Faraday’s bomb theory and carried it out. Once it went off and the flight seemingly continued that is how he saw their lives continuing on. Even changing the circumstances of his own life where Juliet was his ex-wife and he had a son. A son that he re-connected with in such a positive way when returing to LA. Locke had a positive relationship with his father until the plane crash, but then Jack was going to help him walk again and fix him. He took Clair into his house to build a relationship with her. Sayid, while having a troubled past is trying to overcome that past, etc… I guess the only strange thing to me was the Desmond-Eloise interaction where she asks Desmond if he is going to take Daniel with him. Looking at that maybe it was a purgatory more than Jack’s vision/wish in which everyone needed to exist until Jack was ready to let go.

    One disappointment was thet Michael was not there at the end. He was a major character, along with Walt in the first two seasons. But seemed to be dismissed as the series went a long. Walt was abandoned almost all together. I guess it is tough when you have a kid on a show that in reality covers a number of years and he can’t age at all on the show because the time covered on show is weeks vs. the actual years! They always said he was special, but we never really knew why.

    I liked how Hurley became the new Jacob at the end and how they state through his interaction with Ben that he did a good job. Melissa called that one about three weeks ago. Hurley was always able to bring people together. I also like how Ben told him those were Jacob’s rules maybe you will figure out a better way to protect the island. It appears they worked together on that for awhile from their interaction at the end. Your mind can imagine what those years were like. I also agree how Ben must have felt he was not ready to join the group yet.

    Great final scene with Jack lying down. Seeing the plane fly overhead. He finally got his people off the island and he was able to protect the island as well. His eye closes. Like you said the only way it should have ended.

  • I loved this final episode. I have been pondering it since I finished watching it (at 2:00 AM this morning), and the more I ponder the more I brilliance I find in it.
    I am looking forward to rewatching this season and seeing the sideways in light of what we know now – Rose told Jack on the plane in the season premier that he needed to “let go” – how poetic, and we had no idea at the time!
    And the things we have left to wrap our minds around! Wondering just what happened to those people on the Ajira plane after leaving the island. We can only imagine.

  • @Alissa – The bandwagoners left years ago and likely popped back on in the final episode(s) to see what all the fuss was about. I have a feeling these are the group that didn’t quite take it all in last night. That said – good riddance. Who needs them. Last night’s episode was for the true fans and rewarded us greatly. : )

    Real Housewives – Here I come.

  • @Chris – I completely agree with you. Purgatory is such a negative world. The sideways universe was something similar to The Matrix (but not in the literal definition of that). It was a construct in Jack’s mind that gave him the peace he sought in life. Yeah, he was divorced to Juliet, but it was certainly amicable. It was a nice dream for Jack which kept him going before his final awakening.

    As for Michael not being there – I think it’s a direct result of his actions. Of the core group, he was the betrayer. He murdered two people in cold blood. So, I don’t think he could be there. As for Walt – I think you are right. That’s one area that unfortunately wasn’t explored.

    But some awesome insight on your part. This show – and these posts – are going to be missed by me.

  • I came up with that insight at 5 AM this morning when I woke up after some LOST inspired dream I can no longer remember. This after going to bed at 12:15 because I couldn’t hang with Kimmel. So I am draging at work having quit soda (Mt.Dew especially) like 5 weeks ago. I don’t drink coffee or tea either, so I may be breaking down this afternoon. I do have Kimmel taped, so I will be watching that tomorrow. Melissa was disappointed in the ending. I am trying to show her the light!

    I see your point on Michael and have seen that comment on another site I checked it out during lunch. I guess he has much longer to go to stop being one of the whispers on the island. Ana Lucia also.

    No Lapidus at the end either. I loved the fact he was still alive. I knew it. I also liked how unpluging the island gave Richard mortality. His first gray hair! I am sure he had some culture shock flying to LA from where/when he came from. At least he will be reunited with his wife as well. I liked who Lapidus asked if either he or Miles were mechanical. Richard had this blank look on his face. Speaking of Miles you think he had some fun with Nickey an Poula’s diamonds?

  • I cried at multiple different times during the episode. When Vincent came to lay with Jack at the very end, I completely lost it. That one scene couldn’t have been more perfect. The rest was icing. Sure, they didn’t answer anything else about the island and there were plenty of open questions about characters left out there. I’m fine with all of it.

    Just to touch on a couple minor points of speculation we’ve had, I was happy that Hurley became the one. Once it was revealed he could see/talk to the islands ghosts–Chris, remember that Michael was one and told Hurley he was stuck there due to his actions and that explains why he wasn’t in the church at the end–I had a feeling he might be THE candidate, but I stuck with Jack because he was soooo the obvious choice. Well, as Smokey said, he was too obvious and he was proven correct, but so was Jack in that Desmond was the weapon, and he the wielder, necessary to ultimately kill him. I think Ben stuck around due to what we saw between he, Danielle and Alex. He wasn’t ready to move on unless it was with them, that they likely had their own space in which to meet and go on to the better place. And the same holds true for the other supporting characters that were not on the flight, but we did see in the end. Like Miles, Charlotte, Frank–good call on whoever said he wasn’t dead–and Daniel. Speaking of Daniel, he didn’t move on with Desmond for likely the same reasons as Ben, maybe to see what would happen with Charlotte. In fact, Desmond and Penny were the only ones in that group in the church that weren’t on the flight, right?

    Oh, I don’t know about anyone else, but as Jack lay in the well as it turned back on, I thought it might turn him into the new Smokey. It was making that sound. Thought that would be awful cruel though.

    My only gripe, and it is minor, is I do wish they used that Jacob/MiB episode for something else. The more I have thought about it since it aired, the more it seems too little too late (and unnecessary). It likely only stoked the flames of fanboy furor. They could have easily introduced the cave of light by Jacob simply telling Jack about it (as he did). We didn’t need to see it until Jack, Smokey and Desmond arrived there. We didn’t need to know that was whence Smokey came, particularly since once we saw it, it didn’t help explain that either. Again, minor stuff and it took nothing important away from the end of an amazing series.

    I will say, as great as the ride as been, both here on this blog with Ed and with the series itself, I doubt I will invest in a series like this again any time soon. It is quite possible something like this won’t come along for a while anyway. Sure, I have seen a few episodes of Fringe, including the jaw-dropping Season 1 finale, but I’m out on that one for now. If it turns out well, then maybe Blu-ray rentals will be in order, but I’m not going to take up that weekly mantle. This ride has definitely left me spent.

  • @Chris – Thanks for pointing out Richard’s gray hair. Just one of so many grace points hit during that episode. Loved it!!!

  • @Sean – I completely agree. I know I’m promising a Fringe recap next season (which has really grown into its own) but aside from that, I think this type of heavily-invested serial drama is lightning in a bottle. The last great one was The X-Files and we all know how poorly that ended which just proves Lost REALLY stuck the landing.

    Like you said, and the creators did, in this final episode they left enough out there, open for interpretation, which just makes that hour of exposition two weeks ago seem wholly unnecessary. In the end though, it didn’t matter. They nailed it when they needed to most.

    And thanks for building this house for me. : )

  • I was busy typing up my comments and more came in!

    So, Chris, you don’t remember that Richard had been off-island before. He visited Locke as a boy to test him and also in the episode to recruit Juliet. Which reminds me, she was also in the church at the end, so that makes three that weren’t on the flight.

    I also thought the same about Richard and his single gray hair. Thought that was due to Smokey having been killed as he was the one that granted him the ability not to die, right? Thus that spell was removed, but your idea about the same thing that turned Smokey mortal again could hold true as well for Richard.

    That is what is great about this ending, so many things left for us all to think and speculate about, but nothing that keeps us from feeling fulfilled about it as a whole. Anyone that is still holding on to what the numbers meant, who built the temple or why the statue had four toes has missed out.

  • @Ed: Yes, I was thinking the same re: X-Files. It is such a shame and this was perfect. Noelle asked me last night if I was sad that this was ending and I said of course not. That I was glad they were ending it in the way they wanted to and it was in our best interests that they do so. The X-Files were a prime example in my mind.

    As for this house, I am glad I built it if only because it couldn’t have worked out any better than I thought it would. Well, except maybe help get you a job writing somewhere, which you never know could still happen. But, this was exactly the kind of thing I wanted to happen. To help you get your writing out there for people to enjoy.

    Oh, and just for the audience at home, this is Sean of the O’Brien variety and not Hartter. That might be confusing for some given the start of the post. But, let me echo Ed’s call for you to check out the other Sean’s site. Some great art and music going on over there.

  • Right – Sean O’Brien is the whiz kid genius who has been by my side for eternity (he’s my Richard Alpert) and Sean Hartter is a very talented artist (and husband of my wife’s childhood friend).

    Check out his site – and Sean O’Brien’s too.

  • Just wanted to comment on Sayid’s final chapter – I loved that his ultimate destiny was with Shannon, not Nadia. The sideways world he created for himself had allowed Nadia to be an important part of his life, but not more. To me this says he really was talking about Shannon when he told MiB that his true love had died in his arms.
    I know this sideways reality is so open to whatever interpretation you choose to make, but I wonder what happened to the more minor players we saw die all over again in the sideways, like Mikhail and Keamy? Not important, but something to think about…

  • Sean, I forgot about Richard being off Island. I also thought that Jack might turn into the smoke monster at the end and what a kick in the pants that would have been to him. As for Richard, yes I guess him becoming mortal would either be from the plug being removed, which made both Jack and MIB/Locke mortal as well, or the fact that Jacob was finally gone because the fire he had lit and put his ashes into went out.

    Another random thought I just remembered from this morning was how Dogen showed up in the Sideways right around the time Jack was interacting with him on the island. Plus the fact that Dogen was there with son just as Jack was there with his son, both having a positive relationship with them even though back in the real world one son was dead and other never really exisited. That is why I felt it was Jack created universe after the bomb went off.

    This is what made the show so great. I will keep thinking of new things/questions for a few more days.

  • Chris – I’m betting on MiB mortality coming from the plug being removed. Otherwise Kate’s earlier bullets would have gotten him. I think Desmond pulling that plug and emptying that energy/light had a direct effect on MiB’s “powers”, since that place was what had given them to him in the first place.

  • With everything I have read today concerning the Lost finale, I think my gripe is with the use of the word Purgatory for the Sideways world. Purgatory, in the traditional sense, is the place people go before they move on; Sideways on the other hand is the place these characters created as a means to reconnect with the way things should be.

    I see Sideways as a ripple in the character’s timelines, that was created because Jack metaphorically “stepped on a butterfly” at the end of season 5, completing the job that Daniel was never supposed to. Remember that this season Daniel had a conversation with Desmond, in which he admits, that he thought he “already set off a nuclear bomb”; a bomb which created a new thread in time that never should have existed. The writers made it clear that the island was never a “purgatory” of sorts and also chose not to call Sideways an “alternate time line”, as that would suggest one was correct. I think they made that statement so we could realize that it is the characters, not the events, which are the constant. I am not in any way trying to lessen the religious overtones of the episode. These characters all die at some point in time and clearly move on to some “great white light”. My opinion is that by accepting death in Sideways they are able to emotionally and psychologically move on to what was supposed to be.

    I think that my opinions reinforce your belief that the story has always been about the characters. Even though they may be able to block out the island while in Sideways, they cannot ignore the bonds they built while there. And once they attain their “enlightenment” they are able to reconnect with who they always have been, and who they always will be.

  • i loved the episode, but feel like i really need to watch the season again to fully understand it!
    i have loved reading your blog and will miss your losts posts!!!!

  • @sean…i had the same thought when jack was in the well…that he would become the new smokey…SO happy that didn’t happen!

  • I’m sad that I just found your site today.

    I wondered if the common thread through the people in the church, and what allowed them to be there, was not only a close connection to Jack, but they were all either people who came to the island unintentionally, (Desmond, Oceanic) or were the “constants” of people who did the same (Penny, Juliet, I wonder if Libby was really there as Hurley’s constant, more than as a relation to Jack). Ben purposely came to the island, as did Faraday, Charlotte, Miles, and Lapidas, which would explain why they weren’t there.

  • Emily, I agree. I think it also made Richard mortal when it made MIB and Jack mortal. BTW, great line by Kate along the lines “I saved one bullet for you” after she shot MIB/Locke after he had mocked her before to save your bullets.

  • Oh and Ed, on your point #18, I agree that the pollen count must have been exceptionally high last night…

  • Loved this episode! As soon as Jack closed his eye, I thought, ‘perfect’. To me, the whole thing was just perfect and I’m so glad! I read somewhere that the only character the producers would say lived until the end was Vincent, and I found that telling. Obviously there were a ton of spiritual themes, but with no ‘God’ figure to speak of. Candidates for that position kind of fell away…Jacob, Locke, etc. because they were all flawed. What if the writers’ idea of God was more of a comforting presence, allowing everything to unfold according to free will, but never absent. God is dog spelled backwards, anyway! 🙂

    One question I’d like to throw out there: do you think that wreckage they showed at the end was from the original crash or from that last flight somehow crashing?

    Thanks, Ed, for another beautifully written recap. I’m on board for the Housewives series. 🙂

  • Kerry, I had seen that some other folks were thinking the wreckage they showed was that of the Arija flight that took off from Hydra. I think it was just a shot of the original wreckage that they used as a backdrop for the ending credits. I need to look at again, but I didn’t even consider that it was the plane that just took off when I watched it.

  • I think that shot confused a lot of people – a girl I work with thought that it meant everyone died in the original crash, since it was just quiet debris. I myself took it as a reminder to where the story started.

  • @Brendan – Agreed. I regret my use of the word purgatory – just mean to suggest some sort of Limbo site. I like the way you describe it and I think that your interpretation is the best way I’ve heard that sideways world described.

  • @Emily and Others – The wreckage was almost video tape quality and was definitely from the first season wreckage. I think they used it as a sentimental little placeholder to remind us of how far we’ve come. That said – probably not the best shots to use as it did cause confusion but in order for Jack’s mission to be worth it, everyone on board Ajira needed to get home safely – not crash all over again. Christian’s words to Jack sum it up. Some died before him. Some after him. So there was no subsequent plane crash.

  • I’ve got to stop re-reading these comments. Every time I do, I spot Vincent and Jack and the waterworks begin anew.

  • @Geoff – I forgot to tip my cap to your theory. It’s a good one!!!

    And so sorry that you just found the place today but at the same time, I’m glad you did. : )

  • Well, after contemplating The End for the past 18 hours ( and I am counting the never-ending Lost dream last night), I think I have finally come to a place of acceptance and peace with it, which may be all the writers were after anyway. From the very beginning of the series, and throughout the theories of where-and what-the island actually represents, I never believed any of them were dead, well, except for those that were clearly most sincerely dead, but this wasn’t Purgatory or any such connotation. So to be faced with the death of the entire cast was a little too much to absorb. I was prepared for some of the cast to fall by the wayside-these pages were full of speculation about who would make it and who would not-but to know that everyone is gone was more than I anticipated. So it took a little while for it to find a satisfactory place in my head. Being neither a Woman of Faith, nor of Science, cleaving only to “What is, IS”, might have impeded the process!

    I have come to believe that was simply Jack’s story and the “meeting place” was his and his alone, perhaps it was his own ethereal funeral. His father was his escort, as near-death survivors often tell that a parent or close family member is beckoning them, there were only people Jack truly cared about. No one else had a family member with them-only the ones that the story/Jack had connected. It was also his final redemption, that the people he gave his own life for had gone on to live happy lives-or met up with the ones they were waiting for, such as Shannon and Sayid. The exchange between Hurley and Ben gave some leeway for time passing, I’m not sure what Jack’s father meant by some people die before you and some after you-clearly he is meeting those who went before-or else there is a new page on Reunion.com. and they all get together every so often…

    I do believe that everything that happened in the show actually happened. They crashed, brought to the Island by forces that were in play years before, creating a destiny that they had control over once it presented itself. But it remains Jack’s story, the machinations of the island/Jacob/MiB/time travel/polar bears/ and smoke monsters all gave the setting for Jack to find and ultimately accept his destiny as it became increasingly clearer to his soul.I think the 6 got off the Island, he raised Aaron until he was 3 ( not sure why he was a baby in the final scene), but he knew ” We have to go back”. Each of the backstories in the earlier seasons gave us insight into the path that had gotten them there. I think the Sideways stories were the paths waiting for them-flashes into the future-and maybe that was what happened after they got off the island for real. It took the Constant-Desmond- to connect the dots and bring the partners together to be made whole, so they could die in peace at some point in their lives. I really thought that was where they were going with that last week-and that this week the final cosmic connection between the Island and the Sideways Universe would come together in memories. That made a lot of sense to me.

    I did think that Desmond turning off the Island to kill MiB was brilliant! Never saw that coming! As soon as Jack clocked him, I yelled ” My mouth’s bleedin’, Bert! Whaddya’ know about that!” And after having seen the pilot episode again on Saturday, I was pretty sure that it would end on the same note that it began. Although it was touching when Vincent came to lay with him so Jack did not have to die alone, and the way he reached for Vincent with his hand. If the plane hadn’t taken off from another island-I would have been grousing that Vincent was not on it!!
    My head hurts now, so I have to stop…

    As always, I have to thank Ed for creating and maintaining this page. I have come to rely on it and would go searching for it while he was still compiling it, I’m sure! I would also like to thank everyone else here, your comments and insights were wonderful to read, and on occasion, recite ( and depending on the reaction, claimed as my own!)It was a great place to hang out and learn. I truly enjoyed it all.

    And Sayid…I think I will miss you most of all…

  • that ending was as emotionally satisfying as i could have hoped it would be! the characters that i got to know and love were reunited…..and those who weren’t yet (ben – who i agree is waiting for rousseau and alex before moving on)….will be soon.

    it was fantastic. beautiful. i cried a ton, and every time they touched and had flashes and remembered, i cried some more!

    i will really miss LOST.

    and sawyer. hot, sexy, steamy sawyer! 😉

  • Ben waiting for Rousseau and Alex!!! Of course!!! Why didn’t I think of that. I love it and it really does give Ben’s character redemption.

    Although, will they ever come to him?

  • Hi Ed,

    The stained glass represented the traditional cultural religions of the main characters. The Wheel was Hindi. Buddism was also represented.

    Read Abrose Bierce’s “An Occurance at Owl Creek Bridge.” Although I believe that they were alive throughout the series, I believe that all of these events occured in that split-second moment between life and death. Yes, as time is relative, these events really DID occur but they occured in the perceived consciousness of each character.

    There was no “theology” with L O S T. Theology specifically denotes an understanding of a “theo” (God) and “logos” (word). God was never mentioned. This was a human and horizontal understanding of relationship and connectedness but they were careful to never say anything about a vertical relationship of connectedness.

  • Does it count in the Sideways universe that Rousseau said that her daughter, Alex, considered Ben a father-figure? Or must the memory of what he did to them-including sacrificing Alex-come full circle? Maybe in an episode of such tenderness and love, there was no place for this…

    My favorite was Sawyer and Juliette at the candy machine-which I thought originally was going to harken back to the fish biscuit!

    Saywer, Sayid, Jack, even Desmond…where are we going to get that much eye candy on such an intellectual plain again?

  • OMG! So many great comments! Ed, Chris, Sean, everyone, good stuff. I don’t even know where to begin.
    First, thank you Ed, for all of your incredible posts. Every week Lost became even more of a pleasure and even easier to understand, because of your insight and that of all your readers. We won’t be able to talk about LOST without mentioning your posts in the same breath.
    With your recap, nicely said, and thank you for all the kind words.
    I too noticed the wagon wheel….I had no idea but briefly saw that’s been answered. Ed, Thanks for clearing this up a bit too, I needed it. We were very much in science mode and missed some cues, were like what?? Like you, my favorite parts were all of their awakenings. Juliette and Sawyers was all too powerful and then Claire, Charlie and Kate, there’s just too many things there. It was perfect. His death was a tough one but the tearjerkers for me were these two awakenings.
    Eloise not letting go I thought was interesting, she knew all along we knew, but not that this was what it was…so much fascinating stuff, I love it.
    I too thought Jack might turn into a smokey, especially since he ended up on what looked like the same rocks MiB was found, but he was dead and jack wasn’t so I wasn’t sure, then I thought he may not know he’s smokey, but then it was all over…
    I thought if Ben and Hurley had spent some good time at the island, surely he would’ve done some work to feel better about himself no? Still thought that seen between him and Locke was great. So much, everyone here said it all..couldn’t log in till now…
    An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge was the final Twilight Zone episode too., if I remember correctly.
    And Ed, you have to admit, Kate/Evangeline did a pretty nice job this episode huh?
    Um…Fringe was great too…look forward to that next year, but nothing can ever compare to this, really. This final episode was just beautiful…and the music, and all the finely put together flashbacks, Claire cutting Charlie’s hair, oh so many. And the cutting back and forth and just the right moments…Christian did say it all, I watched that part again. So good. It’s late, I gotta go but this is all just perfect. What a ride.

  • When Jack went down the river, I never thought he would come out a Smoke Monster-I always thought that it was the Evil Incarnate in MiB. I DID think that Jack would emerge a White Version of it…since he was vested as Jacob by then and his charge was to protect the island. But I guess not…

  • I’m only commenting here so I can push this thing to 40. So there’s #39. Who will be #40. Hell, let’s hit 50.

  • Lau and I watched again last night; I think I need to wait until allergy season is over to watch it again…

  • I was going to watch it again tonight but now that I hear the pollen count is still way up there, maybe I’m better off not doing it. That’s a good public service announcement, Brendan.

  • I am a little better today but have to say I am definitely experiencing grief over losing this show and its characters!

  • @Ed: You missed that I talked about Ben, Danielle and Alex in my original comment? I will give you a pass. You were probably dealing with allergy issues or had just looked at Jack and Vincent.

    I want to go back and watch the end again tonight. I keep thinking there was no Aaron as a baby in the church at the end. Can anyone confirm or deny that now? I also want to see who was sitting on each side of the church; on Locke’s side v. Jack’s side.

    I also had a thought last night about why they were all meeting at that point. I was thinking that perhaps it was up to Desmond to gather them all together because he was the last of them to pass, at least the last of those in the church (leading me to think about Aaron and Walt not being there) which was why he was the one that guided them all there. That they wouldn’t move on until he did that and that they were living lives in the sideways/limbo world in the meantime. It also fits with what he said to Eloise about him not taking Daniel with his group.

    I also don’t think any of that was all just Jack’s mind/spirit/whatever making that world. How could it be if we see things happening within that world with people he doesn’t know within it yet? Never mind that he knew them in life or not. It was all of them finding their own ways to each other and awakening each other as they met. And yes, the meetings between Claire/Charlie, Sun/Jin, Jack/Kate and even Sawyer/Juliet had me crying. Damn you Sawyer. Jack and Vincent still got me the most. No allergies involved.

    However, thinking more about the church, it was interesting that Helen wasn’t with Locke. Wasn’t it proven out that she was his one and he was hers? Can’t be because she was never on the island because neither was Penny and she was there. It could be that the church was Jack’s spot then because he never met Helen in his real life, right? But he had met Penny. Helen was only in the sideways stuff because Locke had her there. Argh… hard to stop thinking about this stuff. You see, I am reconsidering things or alternating on them as I even type them!

  • Of course, I just remembered that there was no flash between Locke or Helen at any point while there was one between Desmond and Penny. Could be the reason she was not there.

  • I like #45. I saw the end last night, did not see Aaron. Anyone know about the sneaker? Was that in the pilot?
    @Sean- Helen might still be alive?

  • Just watched the last 10 minutes again and Aaron is definitely there. Claire is holding him and Charlie is by her side, fawning over the two.

    As for why I just watched the end again, this is just an emotional week. Closing in on 11 months unemployed. Good week for a good cry especially since an absolute slam-dunk job up and evaporated just when it was in my grasp.

    But it is what it is and Lost has proven to be incredibly transportive.

  • I assume the sneaker is from the pilot (in terms of just something Jack saw when getting his bearings straight before hitting the chaos of the beach).

  • Sean, I think what makes Desmond special is that the Lost rules of time and space don’t apply to him like the rest of the characters. Think about “The Constant” in season 4 where he bounces back and forth between a sideways timeline and the freighter, and is consciously aware of both. Also, he assumed the same thing would happen when exposed to the light in the finale. He fails to realize that it is the island and the light that makes him special so shutting it off makes him normal. All that being said, I thinks that his special “gift” makes him the only one who can shepherd the rest of the characters on.

  • I’m guessing they used a baby Aaron in that final scene for a few reasons, mainly because Claire had just given birth to him, awakening her flashes. Everyone in that church gathered at their “island age”, and Aaron was only ever on the island as a baby. Although time wasn’t really relevant in the sideways, the physical bodies were their 2004 bodies.

  • @Brendan: Yes, I think that as well based on the same abilities he has shown to have previously. Something about those made him first aware of where he truly was–when he met Penny in the stadium?–and then he started to push people towards each other so they could move on. Or maybe just because he was the first to experience that was why. Theoretically, if Kate and Jack met when Claire was first in the hospital, they could have had their flash. Although, Kate and Claire didn’t have theirs. Must be based on the moment, i.e. delivery of Aaron, to spur on that flash? Hmm… so much to think about. I think I care not to anymore. It is what it is.

  • Looking at my last comment, I’m not sure how Penny fits in to that… I guess we can just say that she is special that way via Desmond’s specialness. LOL

  • So, since Aaron was there and he was a newborn baby, I have to assume he wasn’t going to go thru to the light at that point, right? Jack did see him grow for a few years and because that would probably suck being a baby forever. Or, is that because that was how both Claire and Charlie remember Aaron? Although, would that mean that once/assuming the flight off the island was a success she never saw Aaron again? Or, does that mean only Jack was going thru? Christian and Jack? Everyone? No one? Because, then there was no Ji Yeon, so maybe she wasn’t dead yet, but Aaron was. Jack met her, didn’t he? Others did besides Sun, just don’t remember exactly who. Ugh…let me heed the end of my last comment and let it go. Stop thinking about it. Maybe I won’t watch it again when I get home tonight. Besides, I don’t want to cry no more. 🙁

    As for that sneaker, I just assumed that was a nod back to the pilot, or really just the crash itself. Another thing to bring us full circle. Same for the wreckage on the beach during the credits. Just a view of the idle set.

  • Yeah – that wreckage on the beach at the end was definitely just a view of the idle set from the pilot. Again, they probably should have just let the credits run against a blank or white screen to eliminate any misconceptions but there is no doubt in my mind that the Ajira plane made it safe and sound. In rewatching the ending earlier today, one of the last things Jack does before expiring is smile at the sight of the plane flying overhead – he was finally at peace with everything.

    And I know I have dragged Freckles through the mud over the last few seasons but mostly I think it was because of how dour she was. The last few episodes made me reconsider her character and in this episode in particular, when she was allowed to smile and in general, lighten up, I finally dug her. Her reunion with Jack was perfect.

    I think of all the awakenings, Sawyer and Juliet had the most heart-rending as they had to see everything including him letting her go. Jin and Sun did as well but I’ve always had an affinity for Juliet and I liked her with LaFleur.

    Also, it was nice to see John Locke validated and standing tall once again. And I really enjoyed Jack coming to his defense this season.

    We could write about this one forever so that tells me they really nailed it. I’m still in shock at the shear number of people who have blasted the finale but this really seems to be a love it or hate it thing. One of those things where you can talk up your opinion as much as possible and you’ll never change another person’s mind – but those like-minded people who really grooved to everything this show did over the last six years benefit greatly. We’re not likely to see something as crazily beautiful as this show in a long time. It’s alchemy. It’s lightning in a bottle. It’s few and fleeting and far between but fortunately, we were here to see it and we’re all the better for it.

  • Yes, Jack definitely seemed at peace in the end. And I agree with your last paragraph. And about Freckles, although I always likey.

  • …on Aaron, I thought all were dead in the church, there is no now but I think all there were dead?

  • And not knowing how long Hurley was there, and if his life was indefinite like Jacob, perhaps a LOT of time passed after Jack’s death.

  • That’s correct, Carlos. Christian said that “time” is not a term in the “now” that they inhabit. Which means we are never given a time table for how long after Jack passed before he realized where he was. So this could be 100 years later and Aaron could have lived a long and fruitful life. That little exchange between Ben and Hurley hints at a shared history between the two of them – one in which it appears Ben finally renounced his wicked ways.

    Aaron is a baby simpply because that’s how Jack remembers him – which really does give credence that despite the fact they all created this otherworld, what we’re seeing in that last gathering is the world through Jack’s eyes.

    And for those who ask why Helen wasn’t there – etc. It’s simple. Jack never knew her in that former life, even if their paths did cross in this limbo. And like I said, I think when this group moved on, they likely reconnected with all of their other loved ones.

  • And in re-reading a couple of these comments, I noticed the Freckles mention bringing me to mind of Sawyer and his nicknaming affinity which came to glorious light in the finale when he called Smokey… “Smokey”.

  • I’m glad you posted that. I just came here to do the same thing. They addded that footage without Lindelof and Cuse knowing and in the process really caused quite a bit of agita. We knew the real deal but still – pretty stupid thing to do. Of course, this is the same network that labors to air an entire episode of ‘V’ in the right hand corner of each Lost episode so are we really, truly surprised.

  • I’m sure ABC is worried and trying so hard to get us LOST fans hooked in to some of their other shows… hasn’t worked for me yet…

  • Something else I saw in a news blurb – they asked the guy that played Mr. Eko to make an appearance in the finale but he demanded too much money. How stupid!

  • Saw that the ” We NEEDED 2 1/2 hours to finish the story” finale is trimmed to 2 hours for a reshowing on Saturday night. I just can’t believe that they found 30 useless minutes that they could sacrifice!!!!

    Or maybe they just didn’t sell that additional commercial time for this go-round.

  • The producers never claimed they needed 2 & 1/2 hours – ABC did.

    Which means – ad time.