The End: Lost Series Finale (Spoiler Alert)

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Posted May 24, 2010 by Anthony Mariani in Blotch

The finale to the greatest thing ever to happen to television was, to be charitable, a major letdown. Over the last six years, all of that great acting and those great characters, great subplots, and epic themes had been leading viewers, naturally, to an equally great, epic ending. What we got, however, was more of the same –– confusion out the wazoo –– with a regrettably heavy dose of deus ex machina.

One of the worst kinds of endings are ones in which a character stands there and freaking explains everything –– just like a character did at the end of Lost last night. That’s breaking Rule No. 1 of Fiction Writing 101, people. Your characters should come to their epiphanies organically, through action, which is even more vital in a drama in which your characters and viewers share the same (confused, probing, uh, lost) perspective. Clearly, the show’s co-writers –– Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelhof –– had written themselves into a hole from which the only escape was via the handiest thematic element available: the ol’ “moving on to the light/you’re really dead but think you aren’t” trick. What I wanted from Lost was an explanation of the proverbial light to which we all allegedly go at the moment of our death. Maybe someday another show or movie or book will tackle life’s greatest mystery. Should have been Lost, though.

I understand that Lost is/was, at heart, a character drama. The reunions were especially touching, and the characters’ “lives” (souls?) wrapped up neatly enough, I guess. However, the island mythology that propelled almost all of the characters –– and the entire plot –– was unceremoniously given short shrift. Inquiring minds want to know: What the hell is the island? What is the light, the “light [that is] inside every man,” according to Mother Earth Allison Janney? Who put the “cork” there? How long had it been there? What’s the connection between the light’s physical/magnetic properties and time travel? With life itself? Did anything bad happen off the island when the light went out temporarily? What exactly? Uh, should folks have been a little more concerned? (Guess not.) What the hell is/was Smokey? Why did he/Locke/MIB become mortal after the light was temporarily extinguished? Why did MIB become Smokey in the first place? What the hell was so important about MIB’s name that we never learned what it was? Was everybody in “purgatory,” a.k.a. “the sideways world,” dead? Including the schmo who delivered the coffin and the other people at the concert? Were the Losties the last people on Earth? Who established “the rules”? And most importantly, why did Kate change out of that black cocktail dress at the end? She looked awwwesome. Ugh! Frustrating! You can bet that right now a million eggheads are concocting alternate endings that will begin popping up on the web and that will tackle the big questions that Cuse and Lindelhof had neither the time nor the wherewithal to approach. Good.

From what I gather, the island is a physical place on the planet and is the alpha and omega, the everlasting source of all life in the universe. People, or gods and demi-gods, live on the island and protect the light from being corrupted by man –– Allison Janney had to have been a god or other form of immensely powerful creature to be able to destroy all of the men in MIB’s camp. Every once in a while, men come in contact with the island. They’re given the option to help protect the light or try to use it to some sort of advantage –– who knows why. Allison Janney clearly could just kill everyone who landed there, but whatever. (Also, why the hell didn’t Smokey just kill all of the Losties once they crash-landed? Bada-bing, bada-boom. No Jacob-approved candidates. Done.) Agh! But at least the acting was superlative, as usual, and the drama was edge-of-your seat. I still highly recommended Lost for anyone who’s never seen the show or arrived late to the party. Something tells me that more of the mythology will be explained in future books, movies, and wacko theories posted on the web. Further reading: Doc Jensen’s Lost blog, “Totally Lost,” at www.ew.com (Entertainment Weekly). See ya in another life, brotha.

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34 Comments


  1.  
    Anthony

    Just FYI: I refuse to accept the fact that the island was purgatory and that the Losties died in the plane crash. If they had, what explains the sub and the Oceanic 6? Or was that also not real? My head hurts.




  2.  
    EXLostie

    Clearly the dress Kate was wearing was not “light” approved.
    I want my 6 years back. Actually, I just want last night back. The past 6 seasons have been AWESOME! Pulling the plug so tragically and LAME as it was pulled last night it was sucked. I want to believe the island, Dharma, polar bear…really DID mean something. UGH!




  3.  

    If you need some cheering up after the finale, check out this EPIC LOST parody: http://blog.digitalfuntown.com/dft-blog/2010/5/23/the-ultimate-lost-parody.html




  4.  
    shannon

    Thank-you! I thought I might be alone in my feelings about how they chose to end this show. Disapointed!




  5.  
    Cole

    Sorry to hear you didn’t like it Anthony. Me, I LOVED it. It really made the slower parts of the show feel worth it. I loved seeing everyone get together, have a deserved happy ending, and having my heart broken all at the same time.

    While I would’ve liked an answer to why the island is the source of all life, it’s one of those cool mysterious questions I’m fine not having an answer to. Not so much thought with MIB’s name; that I felt was gratuitous mysteriousness.

    Theories to come.




  6.  
    Cole

    MIB: He didn’t kill the Losties bc he needed people who weren’t aligned with Jacob to kill Jacob and end the world = Locke, Ben’s relationship with Locke, etc.

    He became Smokey bc he was dead when Jacob tossed him into the light. His dead body and his hate absorbed some of that power and thus became the undead monstrosity we know and love. Being dead explains why he could only impersonate dead people.

    And although I think the writer’s were just being gratuitously mysterious in not revealing MIB’s name, maybe it was one of those things like the numbers; if it were revealed it would be bad news.
    …maybe the numbers were his name?!?




  7.  
    Cole

    As for the island’s mysteries, I’m fine without knowing everything, but there are some answers I think you missed.

    The island is all but outright said to be the source of all life on earth, or at least human sentience. The cork was obviously put there by earlier guardians. The Island’s energies have side affects like time travel, electromagnetic funkiness, etc.

    Not sure where you’re getting the “last people on earth” thing from. As for purgatory it’s obviously shared since Eloise Hawking is there. I think the church was just where the Lostie’s souls congregated to move on. And as for the show’s writing suffering by explaining things I don’t think it was that blunt. Jack figured it out, and his dad gave him and the viewers a plain simple answer for the 1 time in the show’s history. Cut em some slack due. Besides you’re also complaining about things not being explained. If you want the answers to come organically isn’t that what our hypothesizing is for?




  8.  
    Cole

    Also how come I’m hearing people complain about the cork but not the frozen donkey wheel? Just 2 different ways of manipulating the island’s energy.




  9.  
    Jeremiah

    What about Walt? I know the fact that he is to old and he couldnt appear to be 10 again in the finally but they could of at least explained why he was “Special” and could maniuplate the island and stuff.




  10.  
    ME Again

    Cole: you are arguing points that do not matter anymore since they all died in the plane crash anyway. Nothing really happened. At all. That is the sucky point. They were/are dead.




  11.  
    DC

    Amen Jeremiah – why did all that happen if it meant nothing. That is why I think Mariani is right – the writers just STOPPED writing and ended it all. In a crap-ass way!




  12.  
    imbiggus

    Mariani, you ignorant slut.




  13.  
    Beth

    Me Again – you need to go back and watch the finale again. They did not all die in the plane crash. Everything that we saw really happened, except for the flash sideways which was “purgatory” – a place for the characters to deal with their issues so that they could move on towards the light.




  14.  
    Anthony

    No, Beth. I know (or am at least fairly certain) they didn’t die in the plane crash. I was just reporting on the fact that some commenters on different sites have said that the Losties all died in the crash. I didn’t say that, though.




  15.  
    Jessica

    Did you guys watch the episode? Of course they didn’t die in the plane crash (at least most of them). Everything that happened on the Island, so far as I can tell, was real – in fact, the “most important time” in Jack’s life, according to his father.

    The reason Smokey couldn’t kill the Oceanic 815 passengers en total was because *gasp* SOME OF THEM WERE CANDIDATES. They didn’t magically become candidates at some point when on the island – Jacob planned for them, made them come to the island. Smokey could never have killed them – hence in previous episodes, our candidates have run-ins with the Black Smoke and he doesn’t kill them (eventually, like he does with Eko). If you were a candidate, Smokey couldn’t kill you; if you WEREN’T, he could – hence he could kill some people but never the candidates. And I think that rule existed long before the Oceanic flight crashed on the Island.

    Overall I thought it was pretty good – I’m glad it focused on the characters and the final “battle” – they saved the island, by definition it could never be “for nothing.” After worrying that somehow their island adventures would be fake somehow, I am so pleased to know that it was real. Excellent.




  16.  
    Anthony

    “Our candidates have run-ins with the Black Smoke and he doesn’t kill them.” Which brings up another unanswerable: What force protected the candidates? The rules? Who knows. Also, though, I don’t think the black smoke was trying to have John Locke over for coffee by dragging him through the forest by his ankle at 25 mph. (Season 2 or 3, I think.)




  17.  
    Jessica

    Anthony – of course he wasn’t trying to be buddies with Locke, but that still validates my point – he couldn’t kill Locke, even though he certainly wanted to. If you look back at the series, it makes little sense that he would rampage and kill other islanders over the course of time but never kill the Candidates (the only people on the island who really matter). Smokey not killing them is part of the rules, it would seem – if nothing else, Jack figured out that he couldn’t kill them. Jack told us this on the sub. Jacob made that part of the rules – wouldn’t it be too simple of all Smokey/MiB had to do was kill them all (in the first episode, because Smokey HAD TO BE getting impatient after all these years) to escape the island? No, they’d have to die another way (or at the hands of Smokey’s assistants, a la Jacob).




  18.  
    Beyond Confused

    Hey Jessica, Sayid was killed by MIB.




  19.  
    Jessica

    Beyond Confused:

    No, he didn’t. Sawyer did by making the bomb blow up (which, presumably, it wouldn’t have if you follow Jack’s assertions that the bomb wouldn’t blow up… which I believe. Because, again – he would have just killed them all in the beginning, if he could).




  20.  
    Beyond Confused

    Okay. So that is the “loop hole”, eh? Getting others to do his dirty work. Still doesn’t make me feel better knowing your theory though. I still want to know why everything else happened – if it did – and when. And why. So much of it now seems to be for nothing. The bomb, Walt, the Others, the horse, polar bear, Hurley seeing dead people, Faraday, physics, time travel…




  21.  
    Jeremiah

    Beyond Confused – As far as the Polar bear, Walt was given a stuffed polar bear by his mother when she sent him to be with his father Michael. He made the polar bear appear. I do think that the writers had the show planned for probably about half the seasons and then they just started to wing it and write scripts a few days in advance to try and make it be spontaneous. Or at least that what the last half of the series felt like.




  22.  
    Beyond Confused

    And that is part of the problem – how am I supposed to know what is important and what isn’t. It is just one big mess now. And I refuse to be one of those “at least they all hug and kiss and walk into the ‘light’ together” people. I don’t even care about that. What good is a character drama (as everyone keeps calling it) if by watching the last 2 hours of the show, you realize you have NO idea what you have been watching for 6 seasons.




  23.  
    Jessica

    Beyond Confused –

    I wasn’t really that confused by the finale. I thought it was pretty straightforward. All the things people keep saying were “for nothing” are parts of the story – that’s the point of the show. I don’t understand how they are for nothing…?




  24.  
    JHPIV

    The Losties were dead right from the beginning of the series. We never saw any of them alive except when we watched their “flashback scenes” in the first three seasons, and that was the only time we saw them interact when they were actually alive. Everything else is either Jack’s or all of the Dead Losties of Oceanic 815′s shared after-life experience that they had to go through to help them let go and move on.

    I am still not sure how everyone fits in with all of this. For Example, Penny, Widmore, Others, and other characters we met later in the series. Were these people already dead and trying to help the Losties “Let go” & and “Move on”, and/or were they just made up from the dead Losties from their memories to help them cope. I am clueless!

    Maybe main characters (Michael) that we no longer saw were ones that had moved on earlier in the series.

    All of the questions about the mystery of the island, Dharma questions are moot now. It was all sorta of an after-life dream. The only significance of the island is that it is where the Losties crashed and the passengers died.

    Yes I know there are some holes and I am still thinking it out. Not sure what the significance of Jack seeing the plane fly over just before he closed his eyes meant??

    Anyone, help me out here.




  25.  
    Beyond Confused

    I don’t understand how you can say it was straight forward. I suppose that is part of the “fun” of the show – we are all clearly watching different shows. I have spent the past however many years of my life trying to figure out the mysteries Lost presented to me (not in an obsessive way, more like over a beer kinda way) and I really do feel like none of it mattered because they are really just all dead. If you think it is all for nothing, please help a fellow Lostie out – what was it all for?




  26.  
    My head hurts

    Hey JHPIV, I am not sure about that – I think they did survive the original crash. Otherwise how would Sawyer know Juliet and why would Kate “dream or whatever” about raising a stranger’s baby? Aside from other reasons, I think you are wrong on that point.




  27.  
    JHPIV

    I loved this show and loved the ending. The “ride” has been fun. Right now, it still is. LOL! Early on, I was hoping the island was going to be “Eden” or “Atlantis” or something that we have heard and read about in historical or mythical literature. Since there was no twist on what the island is, it just seems right that they were dead from the beginning.




  28.  
    Tj

    The fact that one can now watch season 1 and season 6 back to back and achieve the same “cathartic” end that I received after watching all six seasons is where my letdown occurs. The finale was a great ending to this seasons story, but the fact remains, as Anthony said, don’t rely on the characters to blatantly explain “oh, God. I’m dead.”
    I, too, understand the story was all about characters finding themselves through one another, but the word hoax comes to mind in the sense that the finale was nothing more than a middle finger to the face of fans who had allowed the writers enough leash over the seasons with the hopes of having our BIGGEST questions (the island, the cork, Allison Janney, etc) at least partially answered. Yet they chose to pull the “We told the story we wanted to tell. We wrote this for ourselves and are happy with that.” Sorry. You asked for our patience for six years then rewarded us with a finally that told us thanks, but no thanks for your loyalty.




  29.  
    hey

    The smoke monster couldn’t kill the candidates because Jacob somehow went off of the island and touched the candidates before Oceanic 815 crashed. Question is, how did he do that?




  30.  
    Beth

    JHPIV: The characters were not dead the whole time. Jack’s father says to him at the end of the finale, “Some died before you, others much later on.” When you saw them die on the show, that is when they really died. They all survived the initial plane crash.
    As for the polar bears, a lot of people keep asking about them. That was explained earlier in the series. The polar bears were brought to the island as part of the Dharma initiative, along with other animals (remember when Locke brought dinner to Ben once and he asked, “Did it have a tag on it?”). The cages in which Kate and Sawyer were held captive is where they kept the polar bears. At some point, they escaped and were just roaming the island freely.




  31.  
    DC

    Not that this matters, but since Mariani brings it up, I just read on DarkUFO that in the original script MIB’s name was Samuel. It apparently means “asked of God”…but there is that whole bible thing again.




  32.  
    JHPIV

    Okay so I have thought about it again. Maybe they did not all die at the crash. Just looking at the original empty crash site made me think that it was possible they were all dead to begin with. I have thought about and read some very convincing comments that the sideways world was the only ‘Afterlife Experience”

    Why would Ben tell Locke that he was sorry he killed Locke if had not really killed Locke?

    Why did Hurley and Ben make the comment that Hurley made a good 1 and Ben was a good 2 implying they had lived perhaps many years on the island after Jack died at the end of the episode.

    This certain group of people from the island had all died and had to meet together one last time in this after-life sideways world before they could “Move On”. Now they did not all die together, but at different points in time. Shannon & Boone died early in the series. Juliet died at the beginning of season 6 and Sayid, Sun and Jin died a few episodes ago and Jack died at the end. Hurley & Ben died later in the future most likley years later. Sawyer, Claire, Kate and the rest of the crew that escaped the island all probably lived a full life and died an old age. The sideways reality was their afterlife where they all came back together one last time to make their peace and move on. They all needed each other to move on and make their peace with each other. Even though they all died at different times, TIME did not matter in the afterlife.

    Jack saw the plane that Sawyer, Miles, Kate, Claire escaped on fly over just before he closed his eyes and died.

    Maybe there will be some books, a miniseries in the future or something that might satisfy and give us answers on more about the island and Dharma.




  33.  
    Lina

    Hi!! JHPIV I am agree with you in almost all! The only thing I am not so sure is… if they are all dead in different moments…. why did Jack has a son in that “life” ? =/




  34.  
    Lina

    well yes jack and juliet could have him anyway in the other life :/ I am answering myself hihih i am so confused =/





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