And so it ends. After all of those seasons and endless debates by people with way too much time on their hands, the series Lost has finally ended. It ended with Jack closing his eyes much as the series opened with his eyes opening in surprise and fright, as if from a deep sleep. As I predicted, not all of the questions were answered. There was no way that they would be. They never are. And, as I predicted years ago, the ending has left some fans feeling frustrated, cheated and even downright angry.
To them I ask: did you REALLY think that the writers were going to package up all of the answers in the final episode, put them in a box, tie a nice ribbon around it and then hand it to you? The creators of this show are wanting the fans to debate the ending, review each and every episode, analyze each move and then discuss this show over and over and over again for years. They want conventions dedicated to the show where people dress like the characters and have entire panel discussions about the episodes. If they just gave all of the answers in a neat little package there would be no reason to discuss the show, review it, or watch it all over again.
No, this show ended the only way it could. You see, a lot of what the fans were obsessing over just didn’t matter. This isn’t the fault of the writers. This is the fault of the fans who wanted to puzzle over every move and see if they could figure things out before the end came naturally. They should have just sat back and enjoyed the ride. Here are my thoughts about the finale and the complaints people are already making:
First, everything that happened on the island really happened. They DID NOT die in the initial crash. As to what exactly the light was or anything, that really doesn’t matter. Hitchcock called that a MacGuffin. For example, a briefcase that everyone in the movie wants. What is it? What’s in it? It doesn’t matter, all that matters is that you know everyone wants it and that sets up the action in the movie. What the light was, why the island behaved the way it did doesn’t really matter and didn’t matter. What matters is you know everyone in the world secretly wants it, but it has to be protected because it can either be abused or dangerous.
Second, the “side ways” world that was introduced this season was not really a parallel world, in fact, it was a flash forward world. As Jack’s dad said, it was a place they all created to eventually meet up after they had all died to put things in their past behind them, to eventually remember what they had been through, and then move on. So, Jack died on the island but Kate said she missed him so much which means she died years later, as a little old lady. So did the rest of them. As Jack’s dad said, “Everyone dies eventually.” So, the purgatory world they created, where they were all happy and made things right that was wrong with their lives, happened years, decades, after the plane left the island and Jack died there. After ALL of them had died – from old age, from cancer, from car crashes, from whatever – they went to this purgatory like world lived their lives, found peace, remembered who they were, found each other again and then moved on to the great beyond together at the end.
Third, people are already spending too much time analyzing the final shots of the crash site that played over the end credits. That has caused many to say that they all died in the initial crash. I don’t think so. I think that was meant as a kind of full-circle thing. The show started at the crash site and it ends there. They have all moved on to other things. Did people think they cleaned up the entire crash area? That they pushed the fuselage and engines into the ocean and then built their beach community? No, they left the wreckage there and set up camp elsewhere. So, that stuff would still be there, long after they had all left. It was a kind of final good-bye from the writers and producers – nothing more.
So, to me, it all came full circle. Those who had died throughout the series and the rest of the characters all met in the afterlife, many, many, many years later, because they had formed that indestructible bond on the island and moved on together to the next great afterlife adventure.
To me, the ending of the series was emotional, powerful, tear-jerking and amazing. When Jack lay down and watched the plane take off and then the dog, Vincent, showed up and laid down beside him so he didn’t have to die alone, well, you would be hard-pressed to stop the waterworks in my house. It was gut-wrenching and it was amazing seeing them all together again, before they moved on.
Yes, lots of questions are still left unanswered. Which should be a delight to the people who have made a side-career out of websites and endless online debate about the show. They can wonder now, forever, about the meaning of the numbers, what the light was, who the Dharma Initiative really was. They can debate it over and over again like they still debate episode of Star Trek, Twin Peaks, and the X-Files.
I cannot imagine how any ending would have satisfied all of the fans. No matter what the writers did, they were doomed. I said that years ago. They had built the series up to such a degree that ANY ending was going to crush some, please others and frustrate even more. If they had provided answers to every question ever fan had ever presented them, they would have been criticized for giving everything away and not leaving any mystery.
Some criticism has been interesting. For example, why were there no black people in heaven at the end? Where was Walt, Michael or Mr. Ecko? In fact, why was Ecko never brought back ever at any point? Someone on Twitter pointed out that this particular actor must need a better agent.
The adventure that brought the characters together at the end was quite a ride. I doubt such a show is ever going to exist again. There have been many shows who have tried it since it first debuted, and none have truly succeeded. At the same time, you name me a show that had a cult following like this one that ended with an ending that all of the fans like and I will give you a hearty thumbs-up.
Be glad you enjoyed the ride. Go get the DVDs now and watch the episodes again and enjoy it all over again. Right now, the wounds of losing the show are too raw. That alone was going to make the ending, no matter what it was, something painful. Time will heal the wounds and you will eventually come to see the show ended the best way it could. It brought all of our favorite characters together, in the end, so we could see them move on. It made us laugh, it made us sit on the edge of our seat, it made us cry and it made us wish there was more story to tell.
Always leave them wanting more. That’s an old showbiz saying and it stands true for Lost as much as it did for Vaudeville.