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 -