I rewatched “The End,” the series finale of Lost again yesterday, and it was just as good as I first thought. Although it did not explain every question, it did answer the major questions that had the most relevance to the final outcome of the show.
Many people were disappointed with how the show ended, with two of the reasons being that it left too many questions unanswered or that the finale said that the Island was, in fact, purgatory.
With my knowledge of Lost I will try to explain why I thought the finale worked with the show. Firstly, the finale was not meant to be a FAQ or Q and A session. It was meant to be, just as every other episode before it had been, a compelling plot drama with identifiable characters.
What I mean by that is that the writers of the show, headed by producers Damon Lindeloff and Carlton Cuse, wanted the final season of Lost to get back at the heart of characters facing choices. In specific, the survivors of Oceanic 815, who had landed on a mysterious Island three years before the events of the sixth season. Some had stayed on the Island and some had left and returned. The surviving passengers from the main section of the plane (at the time of the sixth season) are Jack, Hurley, Kate, Sayid, Claire (and her son Aaron, who was born after the crash), Locke (not really, more on that later), Sawyer, Rose, Bernard, Sun and Jin.
There are many more characters on the show, their friends and enemies and loves, but the heart of the show was these strangers crashing on a deserted island and trying to survive.
It turns out there are many other important characters, as they are not the only ones on the Island. There is Desmond, who actually made their plane crash physically by emitting an electromagnetic pulse that attracted their plane. There is the Dharma Initiative who created that scientific station Desmond used as well as many similar ones to harness the Island’s powers. There is Jacob, who actually made their plane crash figuratively, because he chose them all to come to the Island to potentially take his job as the Island’s protector. There are the Others, who lived on the Island under the rule of Ben and Richard whose purpose was to protect the Island from outsiders. There are the Kahana sciencists hired by Whidmore to kill Ben, because he wanted the power of the Island.
All of these people come into contact with the survivors of Oceanic 815, some for good and some for not so good. Which is another main component of Lost: complex interactions between people. Most of the different groups of people have different goals and needs, which sometimes conflict. Even within the groups, like the Oceanic survivors there are conflicts, such as Jack and Locke over pushing the button in the Hatch they found Desmond in. And frequently these conflicts turn into bloodshed, as the survivors of Oceanic 815 went from almost 50 to around 10.
But getting back to my point, that the Lost series ended very well. The series started with a man waking up in a jungle, his eyes opening up looking at a blue sky and bamboo trees. It ended with a man dying in the same jungle, his eyes looking at the same trees and blue sky along with one other thing: a plane.
The plane setting off contained the remaining survivors and inhabitants from the Island, people the man, Jack Shephard, came to know and love over the course of the show. Afer he woke up in the jungle, he went to his plane crash site and helped the remaining survivors as he had experience as a doctor. Before he died in the jungle, he helped the remaining survivors get back to their lives and safety.
When Lost started, Jack had just received the news of his father’s death, whom he had not had a good relationship with. It ended three years later with Jack finally coming to terms with his father. One of my favorite moments in the entire series was Jack and his father Christian embracing at the church and “moving on” as the elder Shephard said.
For more than a year and a half, I have thought about “Lost” countless times: what does this mean, how will it end, what is their purpose in coming to the Island, who is right, who will live. My only hope is that I will take to heart some of the lessons I learned and thought about for all this time. Each of the incredibly rich characters in the show have something to learn from.
Many times the characters in Lost do not get along. But in the end, the most important thing in their lives was the time they spent with one another, the time their faults and failings didn’t matter anymore: because they were in the company of others just like them on an Island where they could choose their own lives. And this is what I love about Lost.
This summer I plan to rewatch the entire six seasons of Lost again, to pick up on things I’ve forgotten and just to remember the brilliant characters and mysteries of the Island.