May 23rd, 2010 marked the end of one of the most interesting shows to grace the television screen in this decade. No longer do we get to find out what Jack, Kate, and Locke are doing week after week. From watching the finale, it is safe to assume that they are all dead now. This of course, infuriated a lot of fans. However, I feel that misunderstanding some of the facts the show brought out and the storyline led to these feelings. Let me attempt to correct this for those who still feel this way.
During the course of season six, there were two established timelines. One timeline had the castaways still on the island. The other timeline is one in which the island did not exist and the castaways actually did make it to their landing at LAX. Throughout the course of the season, the two timelines seemed to intersect and get closer to each other. However, what caused this break? From the start of the season, it was assumed by the viewing audience that this break in the flow of time was caused by the hydrogen bomb being exploded by Juliet. In the last episode, we learn the truth.
The timeline with no island (the flash sideways as some fans call it) is a reality similar to the one portrayed in the movie What Dreams May Come. The flash sideways reality is actually a sort of spiritual waiting room or purgatory for all of the castaways and everyone who had intersected with their lives while they were on the island. As Jack’s father, Christian Shepherd, explained, the time they spent on the island with the others was the most important time of their lives. (In my opinion, spending time with anyone on a deserted island ranks as the most important time in my life, even above my wedding.) (But don’t tell my wife this, please). And so, as this was the most important time, they all created a reality in their spiritual consciousness of an ideal situation so that way they can meet up with each other before taking the last journey they’ll take.
Of course, the next question someone may ask is if they were all waiting for each other, then where are some of the faces that we haven’t seen in a few seasons? Why is Boone there in this reality and not Michael? Why is Ana Lucia there and not Mr. Ecko? Boone and Ana Lucia had done good in their life during their time on the island. However, Ana Lucia had not achieved a level of consciousness yet to be aware that she needed to move past this purgatory area. Michael and Mr. Ecko, on the other hand, had a darker past, full of many different wrongs that they were guilty of performing. At this point, they have not purified themselves to move forward to the next area. Ben Linus switched back and forth in between good and evil enough that he apparently had enough purity to wait in purgatory. But, as he told Hurley, he still had to make some things right.
So, the flash sideways is all a big alternate reality/parallel dimension/dream sequence. Does this hold true for what happened on the island as well? Life on the island, rest assured, was real. It may have been full of fantastic, unexplainable things, but it did happen. The thing that proves this point of fact is the conversation that Hurley and Ben have outside the church. Hurley tells Ben he was a good number two, and Ben tells Hurley he was a good number one. This is reference to Hurley taking over as the protector of the island and Ben as his right hand man. If they are discussing this in the purgatory world, then it did happen in their normal reality.
So, if by watching the finale of Lost, you came under the assumption that the entire six years was one big dream sequence, please put away your pen and paper for that angry letter to J.J. Abrams. The six years on the island were real. The sideways flash was the imaginary (or not, depending upon your spiritual beliefs) vehicle in this season. The Smoke Monster, the Hatch, and all the other events on the island did occur. Your viewing was not a waste of your time. The finale just wrapped up a grand tale in a grand fashion.