LOST: “The End”

This is it: The End.

I’m going to try to get this post out of the way so that everyone has a forum to start discussing. (Most comments at a KB thread ever? Maybe, if you don’t count the 23 flavors of Dr. Pepper.)

Links and miscellanea

I’m sure there were lots, lots more good features that I missed, as every media outlet had a Lost piece about the finale. Feel free to post your own links in the comments below.

Observations and speculations

I’ll be honest here, I’m approaching this fearfully. I’m not sure that I can really do a very good job blogging this episode right after watching it, before I have a chance to absorb it. And I’m not sure there’s really much to speculate about at this point. Whatever happened, happened, as they say.

But some of you would never forgive me if I didn’t proceed, so here goes.

  • The episode opens with the luggage compartment of an Oceanic airliner unloading a packaged labeled “Christian Shepard.” Cut to Dr. Jack in his office in LA-X examining the x-ray of a skull, then cut to Jack-the-new-Jacob on the Island. These are your first clues that this one is basically a Jack episode.
  • Next, it’s Dr. Linus fixing himself some tea (“Now there’s a gentleman’s drink!,” as Dr. Linus would say). Cut to Ben on the island doing something much more Ben-like—loading a gun.
  • Sawyer’s up next: we see him in the LA-X PD locker room, looking into the mirror he smashed with his fist, cut to Sawyer, near a camp fire with Kate and Hurley, watching the smoldering remains of Jacob’s existence fade away.
  • Then Kate, inside Hurley’s red Camaro, outside the church that will serve as the location for the culmination of the LA-X story. The Christian Shepherd coffin arrives and Desmond signs for it. It’s an austere, all-wooden coffin. Pretty basic, really.
  • Desmond and Kate have a conversation in the car. Desmond is lucid, but Kate’s still in a fog. She doesn’t understand what is going on, but Desmond says what he wants is to “leave.” There’s an interesting parallel going on here. Recall that this particular church was where the Oceanic Six met up with Eloise Hawking, who gave them instructions via the Lamp Post (located beneath the church) on how to get back to the island. She was very particular that everyone had to go together. The LA-X story seems to be the same. In order to leave, all the important characters need to be gathered again.
  • Back on the island, Jack and Sawyer have an interesting exchange. Jack acknowledges that he’s the “new Jacob,” but says he doesn’t really feel any different. Sawyer: “Well, doc, how about you come down off the mountain top and tell us what the hell the burning bush had to say for itself?” That’s a reference to Moses, for those who aren’t familiar with either the Bible or the Charleton Heston movie. But the burning bush didn’t really say much. This isn’t about expository answers, this is just about finishing the story. As Hurley puts it in the next scene, “That’s kinda true, dude. He’s worse than Yoda.”
  • Things are familiar: Sawyer is off on his own mission, and chides Kate that he’s not even going to bother to tell her she can’t come. Jack has a clear idea of what he wants to do, but a very vague concept of why. And Hurley has a “bad feeling about all of this.”
  • Back in LA-X, Hurley takes Sayid to the Flightline Motel. If it looks familiar, that’s because we’ve seen it before. Anthony Cooper stayed there during a Locke flashback, and Kate visited during one of her fugitive flashbacks. This time, Charlie is staying there, proof positive that in LA-X, Drive Shaft is not living the high life.
  • Great Hurley moment: “None of this is ringing a bell, is it? You, me … a tranquilizer gun?” (He’s referring to an Oceanic 6 moment from season 4.) Hurley tells Sayid that he can make his own choice, “but if you stick with me, you’ll be happy you did.” We get a little glimpse of what a great Island demi-god Hurley must have been.
  • Of course, Hurley didn’t really let Charlie make his own choice. No, he shot him in the back with a tranq gun. (It took me a while to realize that while Charlie had seen a glimpse of his real life, he hadn’t truly had his epiphany yet.)
  • Another great Hurley line (responding to Jack and Kate’s existential mope): “This would be so sweet if we weren’t all about to die.”
  • Sawyer let’s Not-Locke know that he’s not a “candidate anymore,” just before he smashes Ben in the face, steals his gun, and runs into the jungle. I figured Smokey just might take him out for fun, but he tells Ben that there’s no need to now. He’s not interested in killing just for fun, only with purpose.
  • Not-Locke wasn’t really interested in the plane at all, apparently. He preferred Desmond’s sail boat.
  • It was great to see Vincent, Rose and Bernard again—the Swiss Family Nadlers. Ever sensible, Rose and Bernard have a policy of not getting involved. They broke that rule by pulling Desmond out of the well, and it didn’t really work out well for them. I do have to admit that their house looked very Gilligan’s Island.
  • And just in case you really weren’t paying attention when Not-Locke tried to kill everyone on the sub, we have the most evil moment yet when he manipulates Desmond by threatening to killl Rose and Bernard and “make it hurt.”
  • It’s funny how Not-Locke starts getting a little freaked out that everyone seems to know about his plans. Sawyer knew that he was going to use Desmond to destroy the island, and Desmond knew something about a place with a very bright light.
  • Meanwhile, Ben is keeping his radio tuned and keeping this fact from Smokey. Ben isn’t really interested in helping Not-Lock destroy the island.
  • Richard wasn’t dead after all, but was simply tossed into the jungle. Later, we find out that Richard has his first gray hair, so he’s presumably aging, and probably could have been killed.
  • Back in LA-X everything is starting to come together. Everyone is either at the benefit concert, or at the hospital. Or at the hospital, but on their way to the concert. Or whatever. Miles spots Sayid in Hurley’s yellow Hummer and calls Det. Ford to alert him about it. Ford tells Miles, “Enjoy your concert, Enos,” squeezing a Dukes of Hazzard reference in. (Sawyer repeats this nickname later on in the episode, on the Ajira plane.)
  • When Juliet begins her sonogram of Sun, I knew that that would be Sun’s epiphany—the circumstances being so similar to the emergency sonogram in the Staff Station, along with the strong emotions. Once Jin had also had his epiphany, of course, they could both speak perfect English.
  • Juliet introduces herself as Juliet Carlson. We had previously known her as Juliet Burke, but Burke was her husband’s name—the one the Others arranged to have hit by a bus so that Juliet could come to the Island. Carlson may have been her maiden name.
  • In a pre-op room at St. Sebastian’s hospital, Jack tells Locke, “There’s always a chance that I could kill you.” Meanwhile, that’s exactly what Jack is trying to do to Not-Locke on the island. Also, “I’ll see you on the other side.”
  • After finding out that he’s got his first gray hair, Richard says that he just realized that he wants to live, a callback to the scene where Jacob nearly drowns him on the beach near the statue.
  • And Lapidus is alive too, which is good for whomever it was who said that if you don’t actually see someone die on Lost, you can’t be too sure what happened to them. The first body Miles and Richard see, incidentally, was the sub captain.
  • Lapidus is the first to have the obvious thought that the plane doesn’t need to be blown up if it is flown away. Good for him.
  • How’s this for a line that Not-Locke would come to regret?: (to Kate) “You might want to save your bullets.”
  • Jack and Not-Locke’s confrontation was great, especially this part:
    Not-Locke: Then what’s going to happen, Jack?
    Jack: I’m gonna kill you.
    Not-Locke: How do you plan to do that?
    Jack: It’s a surprise.
  • As many of us predicted, Juliet is Jack’s LA-X ex. The two seem to be on good terms, though. Sawyer and Juliet don’t immediately flash when they see each other by the hospital elevator, though.
  • On the island, Sawyer and Jack talk about what Jack’s “surprise” might be, and Jack tells Sawyer he thinks Desmond is some kind of a weapon. Sawyer, the former con man, tells Jack, “That’s a hell of a long con, doc.”
  • Interesting, Desmond on the island is confused about what is real: he is aware of the LA-X universe, but thinks that it is the real reality. And in LA-X, he is the one on a mission to get every one to “let go” of the LA-X constructed universe. But Jack tells Desmond, what happened, happened. All of this matters. (And I’m grateful for that. I would have been quite annoyed by an ending that wiped out the reality of everything that happened on the Island.)
  • Hurley and Sayid continue their back-and-forth, this time parked in Hurley’s Hummer by an alley behind a bar. Hurley: “I’m not allowed to tell you about it. There are rules, dude.” Hurley sounds like an Island demi-god to me. Hurley tells Sayid that Sayid is a good guy. Sayid gets redemption at last.
  • The guy who was beating up Boone, then pushes Shannon, is only on the screen for a few seconds, but I didn’t recognize him as anyone we know.
  • Is it possible to be happy about Shannon and Sayid’s reunion when you were never that happy about their relationship to begin with? Almost.
  • I really thought Crazy Claire was going to take Richard out. But no.
  • Smokey has all of Locke’s memories, but, as Jack says, is “not John Locke. You disrespect his memory by wearing his face, but you’re nothing like him.”
  • What bad luck it is that Juliet gets paged right before Claire goes into labor. But it’s not really luck at all, as everything that happens in LA-X happens according to a pre-constructed set of circumstances designed to re-awaken the characters’ consciousness. Kate was supposed to deliver Aaron (in one of the most preposterous TV birth scenes ever) because doing so would trigger memories of the same scene occurring on the Island’s jungle.
  • I hope Daniel and Charlotte got to share a little more time together before moving on. If you know what I mean.
  • There was something great about seeing Dr. Pierre Change MC the benefit concert.
  • Down the cave into the light is a pretty creepy place really. The skeletons, the stalagmites, the weird ancient ruins. Desmond, apparently, wasn’t the first to try to go down there, but he may have been the first to survive it. In the end, the whole “light” thing will never really be much understood other than as weird, Island mojo.
  • You know how, if you are having trouble with your computer and you call tech support, and they always ask you, “Have you tried turning it off and turning it on again?” Yep, that was pretty much Jacob’s plan after all. It was a hard re-boot that made Jack able to kill Smokey.
  • Still care about the Numbers? Desmond is sitting at table number 23 at the benefit concert.
  • That fight scene at the top of the cliff was pretty good, I thought. When Locke nicked Jack in the neck, that was a nice little effect—the wound that keeps bleeding over into the alternate reality.
  • Of all the epiphanies, I think I enjoyed Locke’s best. This episode managed to redeem his character. Locke was right about pretty much everything, according to Jack. Terry O’Quinn is such a good actor that he was quite hatable as the Man-in-Black, but Locke was always one of my favorites.
  • Sawyer’s LA-X reunion with Sun and Jin was also a bright spot.
  • I had to laugh when Lapidus gives Miles a diagram, a wrench and a roll of duct tape. Yeah, that should be all it takes to fix whatever. (Miles: “I don’t believe in a lot of things, but I do believe in duct tape.”)
  • I guess the answer to the Kate-and-Jack-or-Sawyer question is Jack, even though they didn’t exactly end up together. That kiss was one of the sappier moments in a surprisingly sentimental finale. Kate and Sawyer’s cliff diving made me nervous. I know, I know, it’s just a TV show.
  • That vending machine makes its third (at least) appearance. The vending machine gives the solution of how to fix what ails the Island: just turn it off and turn it on again. It was nice to see Juliet’s dying words (“It worked. We should get coffee some time. We could go dutch”) put into context. Well done.
  • It seems like Jack was the candidate-most-likely-to, but there was a strong dark-horse vote for Hurley. Congratulations to those who predicted Hurley. I felt a little bad for Hurley, though. Drinking ditch water out of an old Ajira Air plastic bottle isn’t really idea. (I guess the Latin incantations were mere ceremony, by the way.)
  • Here’s a very obvious one: Jack tells Desmond at heart of the Island, “I’ll see you in another life, brother,” the same thing Desmond said to Jack when they first met.
  • Kate is finally able to fulfill her purpose for returning to the island when she convinces Claire to get on the plane. Claire paradoxically has a moment of clear sanity when she talks about how crazy the island has made her.
  • I thought the writers were awfully nice to Ben. Did he really deserve that happy of an ending? I guess redemption was the order of the day. Still, if I was the Island’s reigning demi-god, I don’t think I would trust lying, scheming, murdering Ben as my number 2.
  • Based on the religious iconography inside the church, I would guess that the Losties are all unitarians.
  • Somehow, I knew that the coffin would be empty. I’m not sure how, but I knew.
  • When Christian appears, he’s in his funeral clothes (we don’t get a view of his shoes, though).
  • Christian gives the final reveal: the whole LA-X universe is a constructed reality, a post-death reunion of Island friends, gathering one last time before they “move on.” In a sense, it’s the purgatory, though the events on the Island all actually happened. All the people are dead, though some died before Jack, and some died “long after you” (e.g., those who left the island via the Ajira jet.) And now we know why there were so many crazy coincidences piling up like crazy in LA-X: all these things were meant to happen to bring the characters together and jar their memories. Once everything fell into place, the characters would gather at a pre-determined location (the church where Jack was to have his father’s funeral) and move on “into the light.” But first, they all needed to collectively remember, and let go.
  • Is it surprising that Lost ended on such a religious note? Maybe, but Lost has been a very religious show all along (even if it is as non-denominational as that church). Among those who probably disliked this finale: staunch agnostics and atheists.
  • And Jack returns to the spot where he first awoke on the island, complete with an appearance by Vincent, with Lost’s last shot (Jack closing his eye) mirroring the show’s very first shot. I liked the symmetry.

I enjoyed this finale. I thought it was a fitting, and mostly satisfying conclusion to a really great show. Sure, there are numerous loose ends, and there are somethings that, when we go back and watch it again, will seem like blind alleys. And there were some elements that were introduced awfully late. I blogged almost every episode since the end of season 1, and I have to admit, I’m a little bit glad to be free of that obligation. It’s a lot of work. But the show, right to the end was about very entertaining storytelling and I’m glad I stuck with it.

I’m interested to hear what everyone else thought. Did the finale live up to your hopes or expectations? Did you dislike it? If so, why?

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127 thoughts on “LOST: “The End”

  1. Thanks for getting this up tonight! I am happy with the finale–I like how emotionally satisfying it was. Vincent is a good dog.

  2. Sooooo, when Juliet said that “It worked” she was actually full of malarky?

    Was the bomb the “incident”? Is that what caused the pregnancy problems?

  3. Cuse and Lindelof were very satisfied with the finale. Were you?

    Indeed I was. When it comes to ending shows, writers have had a generally difficult time. I think they did a fantastic job ending this show, trying to make sure enough secrets were revealed, that a final confrontation with the Man in Black was worthy of the show (which it was, btw). I loved the conflict between science and faith that the show kept up right until the very end.

    I think probably the biggest shocker was Desmond screaming in the cave that it didn’t work. That was a fantastic scene.

    That fight scene at the top of the cliff was pretty good, I thought. When Locke nicked Jack in the neck, that was a nice little effect—the wound that keeps bleeding over into the alternate reality

    I felt that was the best scene because both characters knew one would not live. The impending doom of one of the characters was quite palpable.

    I thought the writers were awfully nice to Ben. Did he really deserve that happy of an ending? I guess redemption was the order of the day. Still, if I was the Island’s reigning demi-god, I don’t think I would trust lying, scheming, murdering Ben as my number 2.

    I wouldn’t either, and that really is a failing of the writers, but only done because of how much in love everyone fell with Michael Emerson. The guy acted extremely well for a guy who was only supposed to be on the show for three episodes.

  4. I was surprised by how well the ending worked. I appreciate that so many of the elements from previous seasons were in there, without it becoming the Seinfeld finale. I think it’s also a very good thing they didn’t turn the finale into two and a half hours of exposition, which was what I was really afraid might happen. There’s definitely some stuff (especially from season 1, I think, like Walt’s special bird-killing ESP) that didn’t go anywhere, but after six years of plot twists, I didn’t expect all of them to.

    -I really liked the interplay between Desmond, Not-Locke and Jack on the way to the Cave of Light; I was really expecting a big confrontation then, and to have them all walk off together and chat about what they thought would happen was great.

    -I was surprised that Richard was still alive, because I’d always assumed Smoky killed people by sucking the life out of them. Interesting that he was just throwing them really hard. Really liked watching him, Lapidus and Miles fix the plane.

    -The last shot with Vincent laying down by Jack and Jack closing his eyes was perfect.

  5. The writers were just making stuff up as they went along. Sometimes it was pretty fun to watch.

    I feel sorry for all the people who tried to piece everything together like a puzzle.

  6. I was satisfied with how it all wrapped up. I thought the moment of Jack’s realization was well-acted and touching. I was never much invested in unraveling the mysteries of the Island, so it didn’t bother me much that there are a lot of open questions.

    My wife and I had a good laugh when Kate’s awakening moment came while looking at Claire’s crotch.

  7. We did see Christians feet in the Church he had on sneakers. Saw them when he was walking out the door at the end.

  8. Greg, I have read your recaps for almost the whole series. Never posted. I used to love your comments on USA Today’s PopCandy and when you left I looked around and found you here. You have the distinction of being the first recap I read the day after the show. Thanks for all the work you put in.

    After having all night to think over the finale, I’d have to say some of my favorite moments were the epiphanies. After Kate has hers and she recognizes Charlie and just looks at him with awe and says “thank you”. It’s what we all wanted to say to his character. So moving.

    I loved the island stuff as well. That shot of Jack flying thru the air at MIB before they cut to commercial was just so cool.

    A lot of the sideways stuff doesn’t make a lot of sense or really seem to have any purpose in my mind. Probably because my idea of heaven isn’t anything like what they portrayed. But that’s OK.

    I feel like I am in mourning today. It’s been great.

  9. Considering how easy it would have been to screw up this finale, I thought they did a great job. I’m completely satisfied emotionally and am happy with the results.

    I’m not all that happy with the “Heart of the Island” stuff as it’s basically a macguffin to give the ending a little focus, but I’m content nonetheless.

    One thing that wasn’t speculated upon…why didn’t Ben go into the Church at the end?

  10. Thanks for doing this, Greg. Your summaries were always much appreciated.

    I really liked the finale. Did anyone else see lots of parallels to the end of the Chronicles of Narnia?

    And I admit, I teared up when Sawyer and Juliet were finally reunited by the vending machine.

  11. Tom dear,
    I believe your exact words for Kate in that moment were,
    “Hey, I know that vagina!”

    When it comes to sentimental moments, I can always count on you to ruin them for me. 🙂

    As for the finale as a whole – I am happy they made it clear that the island and everything that happened was real and mattered for the entire world. But I’m one who would still like to have a lot of previously introduced, intriguing mysteries unraveled.

    Also, the finale didn’t seem quite up to par with the rest of the show. Though intelligent, it felt…too easy a way to reconcile the alternate timelines? (Dare I say, a cop out). I’m still mulling it over and perhaps my opinion will change.

    In general I was left satisfied. The characters memory flash sequences and reunions were very touching.

    Thanks for your dedication to blogging the series. I’ve eagerly awaited your posts every Wednesday morning and enjoy reading others comments.

  12. Still mulling over what it all means, but one think I do know is that Greg, you ROCK. This has been my first stop on the morning after for several seasons now, and I will miss this little group very much. Part of the enjoyment of Lost has been being able to talk about it, and I will miss that.

    THANK YOU GREG!!

  13. #10: “A lot of the sideways stuff doesn’t make a lot of sense or really seem to have any purpose in my mind. Probably because my idea of heaven isn’t anything like what they portrayed. But that’s OK.”

    My understanding of LAX is that it isn’t heaven, it’s more of a staging/prep area to the afterlife where the characters work out their issues so they’re ready to move on.

    #14: “Hey, I know that vagina!”

    Ha. I thought exactly the same thing. That scene felt so hokey to me. (Also distracting: every time I see Claire on screen lately I’m struck by how overplucked/bleached she is lately…she looked so much better in the season 1 clips). There were plenty of other moments that made up for it, though.

  14. I found the finale satisfying, although bringing everybody back just to basically kill them off again was an interesting choice. But I did love the way the writers played with the expectations of the fans. While many theorized that all the characters on the Island were dead from from the beginnin (and were in purgatory), the writers instead made the LA X reality the one where everyone was dead. Pretty clever, IMO.

    As an agnostic, I didn’t have an issue with the ending. It struck me as more mythological than religious. It wasn’t so much about going to Heaven as it was about letting go of earthly concerns. Joseph Campbell would have approved.

    Kudos to those who theorized that the LA X story was really the Epilogue. And kudos to the writers who lead us believe right up to the end that those stories were a Flash-Sideways, when it fact it was a Flash-Forward.

    Finally, thanks to BTD Greg for hosting these forums, providing great episode summaries, and digging up wonderful ancillary links. Greg, your postings and comments significantly added to my enjoyment of the show, and I applaud you.

    I also thank the fellow posters who came here every week, like me, to explore the themes of the show, theorize (and watch our pet theories blown up with each new episode), and generally enjoy each other’s company. This is probably the only blog in which I’ve participated that never descended into a Flame War. The respect we all had for each another’s ideas and thoughts was truly remarkable. I’ll miss you all as much as I will miss the show.

    Time for all of us to let go, and walk into that white light. Namaste!

  15. Now, looking back at the finale the morning after on too little sleep, I think this was a very good, but perhaps not great finale. But it was good enough.

    Compared to the other two series finales that come to mind, Seinfeld and MASH, I think it was better than either of those. (Seinfeld was simply awful, MASH was too solemn and humorless.)

    Lost never was a jigsaw puzzle. Yes, to some extent, the writers were “making it up as they went along,” but I fail to see how that’s a legitimate criticism of something that’s never pretended to be anything other than fiction. Sure, if you go back and re-watch, some stuff will be appear to be blind alleys that never lead anywhere. But the show was entertaining on a remarkably consistent basis. And I doubt TV will ever see anything like it again.

    Thanks for the nice words everyone. They are very much appreciated.

  16. One thing that wasn’t speculated upon…why didn’t Ben go into the Church at the end?

    I think he needed more time before moving on because of all the nasty nastiness he engaged in. Though, in life, he found redemption and became the island’s Number Two (sounds like a crappy job), he did some really awful things to a number of people in the church. He explicitly had Locke’s forgiveness, but he probably needed to forgive himself.

    I wonder how long Hurley and Ben lived on the island. I like to think it was upwards of a millennium.

  17. Lost never was a jigsaw puzzle. Yes, to some extent, the writers were “making it up as they went along,” but I fail to see how that’s a legitimate criticism of something that’s never pretended to be anything other than fiction.

    I agree. I think they had a clear understanding of the beginning and end, the middle is where things got murky. This had a lot to do with not knowing how long they’d be on air, actors getting old (Walt), actors wanting off (Eko), and other surprises. You should check out Bill Simmons’ podcast with Cuse for more details on this. He’s very candid about how it came together.

  18. I rewatched the Pilot from Saturday night with their exposition at the bottom, and it made good sense. I think they did a pretty good job in keeping the story fairly on target throughout the six seasons.

    I also want to add that I think that Juliet blowing up the nuclear bomb did actually work as Daniel and Jack thought it would, though it wasn’t clear right away. It wasn’t going to alter any future timelines because “what happened, happened.” But the efforts were in line with keeping the Man in Black on the island and not allowing him to get off.

    Personally I liked that the way for MIB to get off the island was to shut off the magical properties of the island (and destroying it), but I don’t think MIB knew that it would also shut off HIS magical properties, and I think Jacob, and therefore Jack, assumed this would happen, though I don’t think they knew for sure. I thought that whole sequence was well written, crafted, and executed.

  19. While I found the bulk of the episode last night satisfying, I did not love love the ending. But this morning I feel better about it.

    I must admit that I initially scoffed at the premise of the show (so Gilligans Island) and did not watch the first two seasons (I later got sucked in by one of those catch-up episodes). I am sure I will see them sometime, so that should be interesting.

    But my experience with the show was GREATLY improved by reading here–thanks Greg, especially, but all the commenters. You guys must have much better TVs than I do, because you picked up on so much more detail than I ever did.

    It’s been real, folks.

  20. Yes, let me just chime in and say thanks, too, Greg! Your write-ups are not to be missed!

    Was a little surprised no one was live blogging it at first, except that you wouldn’t want to miss anything. =)

    One point that’s been bugging me, though. NotMom says she’s made it so the two boys can’t kill each other, and then it looks like Jacob does just that, tossing MIB into the Light river. And then Smoky can’t be killed until you “turn off” the light. *shrug*

    I liked that Hurley got to take over the job of island master. Nice touch. (And the return of Vincent.)

  21. First, thanks for all the recaps, it’s quite a remarkable job you’ve done over the last several years.

    Favorite part of this episode? Hurley’s Star Wars line “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” It’s in all 6 Star Wars movies, and very fitting for Hugo.

    So as with the final 5 seasons, there was good, there was great, there was some wth and there was a lot left unsaid/undone/unrevealed. I had already resigned myself beforehand to be disappointed in the finale, it was never going to end how I wanted it to (even though I didn’t have an idea how I would want it to end). That said, I loved the first 2 hours and 15 minutes, that was some of the best Lost TV around, followed by 15 minutes of what they did wrong the whole series long. Sooooo, everyone’s dead? great, thanks.

    In the end, I think it’s fine to have a MacGuffin – Lost’s downfall was too many of them. It was a frustrating series because it could be so good at times, hopefully the good will outlast the bad in my mind, but I’m still just trying to process the entire last season now.

  22. Juliet’s sister was credited as Rachel Carlson, so you’re right that that was her maiden name.

  23. I think Ben’s ending was fitting. All the man wanted his entire life was to be wanted. His loyalities changed when he thought someone finally wanted him for him but that never truley happened until Hurley. Ben was just as used and abused through the years as any of the other characters. I hope when he crosses over it’s with Alex and Danielle and some peace of mind.

  24. Yes, Greg has done a wonderful job, and I have always enjoyed coming here and reviewing the comments.

    I think all-in all it was a satisfying conclusion – its interesting to note that on Jimmy Kimmel’s live farewell to Lost that followed, Matthew Fox stated that, although he may not have been privvy to all the details in-between, he did know all along that the last shot would be of his eye closing and his character dying.

    I will say this, Lost has been literally the only series on television that has held my attention for as long as it did – I’ve tried watching other shows and either lost interest, couldn’t get into the premise, or became disgusted at how the storyline changed. But Lost kept me coming back for six seasons. I am now both happy to have my Tuesday nights free and sad that my favorite show of the last 20 years is finally done.

  25. Loved, loved it. I have been pretty impatient with this season and I feel like this finale totally redeemed all of those annoyances. What a beautiful way to end a story that is primarily about characters. Characters that we have come to love over 6 years. I’m actually really glad they didn’t make this episode about answers, mostly because I think that would be the wrong way to end a show about characters, but also because it seems like most of the answers we’ve gotten this season haven’t lived up to their expectations.

    I think the best part of this episode were all of the epiphanies and the following reactions. Absolutely touching. And in almost every one I had tears (raise your hand if you did too…). To see all of these moments (mostly happy) from the lives and interactions of these characters was beautiful.

    When I realized that the flash-sideways were a sort of purgatory weigh-station it made me think about Ender’s Game at the end when the buggers create this familiar, recognizable landscape from Ender’s mind in order to lead him to do something. It was kind of like how these lives were groomed in a way so that they would recognize each other, leading them to be together. The other parallel I thought about was C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce and how when these people realize they’re dead and how nothing else really matters, they easily forgive, there is no “now,” even without the Christian message it seemed to be an apt parallel. Beautiful stuff.

    And lastly, cheers to Greg for doing these recaps. I was planning on doing a post just to say thanks but it looks like everyone is thanking him enough here. Amazing recaps, wonderful discussion the day after. It’s been a great time that I don’t know will be repeated for a long, long time. Thanks Greg!

  26. Still processing it…but, someone questioned why Juliet said, “it worked” in the season premiere. Well, she said it again last night, but only when Sawyer unplugged the vending machine. Too clever of the writers…?

  27. Greg, as I’m sure a lot of people will comment, reading this blog the day after the show aired was more of a constant for me than actually watching the show on time (something that happened more frequently the last two seasons). A ton of work on your part, but I’m very thankful.

    What show is next?

  28. And I thought this ending/finale was fitting. Very well done and answered most of my questions.

    One question for everyone: Was Ben not ready to go to the white light?

  29. Thanks Greg! I’ve read your summaries in the past (Danithew pointed me here) but never commented. You’ve done a great job.

    I loved “The End” – it worked for me. I didn’t need all the questions answered, just the emotional closure which I felt they did well with the created (not-so) ‘parallel’ universe.

  30. Among those who probably disliked this finale: staunch agnostics and atheists.

    This staunch atheist didn’t have a problem with it. We live in a world full of religious imagery and mythology and it’s reflected in our TV shows.

    On a side note, the BBC aired its finale for Ashes to Ashes two days before the Lost finale and it seemed to come to similar conclusions/themes. I’ve been comparing and contrasting the two shows ever since.

    Thanks Greg for the write-ups.

  31. I also want to thank Greg and all the awesome commenters. Reading this blog has been as important to my Lost experience as watching the show.

  32. Oh, and Kate laughing at the name “Christian Shephard” was a nice bone thrown to us non-religious types that might roll our eyes at some of the religious references. The writers know how to make fun of themselves and that is always cool.

  33. One question for everyone: Was Ben not ready to go to the white light?

    I have to assume not.

    But it’s interesting, because he apparently protected the island as Hurley’s assistant for some time before dying. The man he was in the flash sideways (really, flash forward) was the man he had become before his death, and we could see that he was a much kinder, gentler Ben after death than he was in what we got to see of his life. Hurley’s influence must have been great during their time together as protectors of the island.

    Why, then, after all those years (I’m assuming) of being a better person, was he not ready? Was it that he had to come to grips with his previous evil deeds because he was now surrounded by so many of the people he had wronged in the earilier part of his life – that this reunion brought all of that into particular focus for him? That’s how I see it. He still had some things to work out, as he more or less told Hurley.

  34. I thoroughly enjoyed the finale. Much better than many of the classic finales you could compare it to. (I liked the religious angle at the end, too.)

    Like no. 27, I think Ben is holding off to experience his new little family a little longer.

    And thanks to Greg for this great blog series. I might have given up somewhere along the way if I didn’t want so much to be able to follow the conversation the next morning. Kudos for a fantastic job!

  35. I wasn’t sure what I thought last night. This morning I think it is better. A friend sent me a note last night saying, “it was the Narnia ending” as I guess the “purgatorio” type ending was how the fifth volume of the Narnia series ended. (I only read the first book, so I can’t say)

    All that said, they left a heck of a lot unexplained. I was expecting some things to be left unexplained. But the amount of things they left was staggering. A partial list:

    1. where does the Dharma food come from
    2. who built the teleportation control?
    3. what’s up with the pregnancies?
    4. what was Widmore’s plan?
    5. what was up with Desmond’s meeting Mrs. Widmore in that weird teleportation episode where there was/wasn’t a Penny?
    6. what about the Dharma plan to kill tons of people with nerve gas?
    7. what was Dharma about?
    8. what decides when the smoke monster kills someone? (Think the two Ecko episodes)

    And so on. I had kind of reconciled myself to not getting answers to my questions. But the bigger ones I kind of expected at least rudimentary answers for.

    That said, the ending as an ending, was good. If a bit of a “trick” with the flash sideways being purgatory rather than something related to the nuke (which appears to have done almost nothing)

  36. Clark, I think the show gave us enough to construct pretty solid theories about each of your questions. Maybe if I have time later, I’ll give it a shot.

  37. Clark,

    I think an answer to your number 8 came during the exposition during the Pilot on Saturday where they wrote that the Smoke Monster could only kill those not on the list. This was written during the scene where the pilot was taken by the smoke monster in the Pilot. In terms of Mr. Eko, he had faced down the Smoke Monster before, which indicates that Mr. Eko was on the list (and I’m sure we would have had much more of that fascinating character if the actor did not stop), but we can assume that at some point Jacob took Mr. Eko off the list, thus freeing him to be killed by the Smoke Monster.

  38. Additionally, the Smoke Monster seemed to let people live when he thought he might be able to use them for his purposes (like Claire, Ben).

  39. If I understand the plan of MIB correctly, he figured that the way to get off the island was to have someone else kill those who Jacob had not touched. Those who Jacob touched were protected from death at the hands of the Smoke Monster. Anyone else was free game. Jacob kept a list of those who could possibly replace him and MIB knew the names on that list because he obviously could visit the cave where Jacob kept that list. So MIB had to work some lying magic to convince someone to kill Jacob. He succeeded in convincing Ben. He couldn’t kill the Candidates himself and, as Jack was completely right, only they could kill themselves, or someone else (like Ben) could kill them. So that’s why he got them all on the sub, thinking the job would be done that way. I think he changed his plans when Desmond came into the picture, that instead of just killing the protector of the island, he would use Desmond to destroy the island itself, the cork that Jacob described to Richard. He probably came to this decision because he probably realized he failed in killing off the Candidates, or the new Protector (Jack), and that he would not be able to convince Ben to kill Jack again. Or that Ben could even do it again, with Sawyer, Hurley and Kate still around on Jack’s side. What MIB didn’t count on was that removing the magic protecting the island also removed the magic protecting him. Thus he opened himself up to mortality. And I think this is what Jacob had been pushing for, that this was the only way to finally destroy the Smoke Monster.

  40. All the reunions worked really well, I was liking the finale until the end. Hated, hated, hated the last ten minutes. They idea they had to set up a false reality in order to find each other is just so absurd. But worse, now that it is over it is clear they were writing all these seasons with no freaking clue about what the island was or what was going on there. SNL was right after all. In the end we are left with the idea that no one has ever known what was going on, not Mr. Friendly, Ben, Widmore, Richard, or even Jacob and MiB. Hurley becomes the protector of the island and realises Jacob has never known any more than anyone else and all the insane rules were just a result of his screwed up childhood. Well, more accurately, a result of the writers never coming up with a compelling idea for what the island is or why it is worth protecting.

    The idea that this is not a legitimate criticism because it was fiction is insane. Fiction is the one place where I have a right to demand that the person making it up knows what they are doing. It is history where things don’t have to end up making sense.

    Greg, you rock, loved your posts.

  41. Loved it. I loved how most had their “awakening” to what the sideways world was once they were reunited with their love. That, to me, was the perfect touch.

  42. Remaining questions:

    1. It seems clear based on the cliff fight that Smokey could kill Jack. Why didn’t he just kill him right off the bat?

    2. Were we ever told what it was that was keeping Smokey on the island? Are we sure he had to kill candidates/reset the island? I don’t think we ever knew that, did we?

    3. What did Widmore intend to do with Desmond? If his resistance to electromagnetism was going to help him remove the plug, why didn’t someone make even a small reference that the light involved electromagnetism? Doesn’t seem like it did.

    4. Why did Jack die alone? If he got out of the well, wouldn’t Hurley, Ben, and Desmond have been right there?

    5. Does anyone remember how they got Ben out from under that tree?

    6. The most frustrating thing left unanswered was some further explanation of the stakes. I.e., we’re told that if Smokey escapes, we all die. Really bizarre that there was no further attempt to tell us why that is, or how it would come to pass. Further, if the light goes out, we’ll all die? Very unsatisfying not to get a little better understanding of why these things must be.

    7. Why was Eloise so opposed to Desmond’s efforts to reunited everyone?

    8. How on earth could the writers leave Desmond stranded on the island away from Penny and Charlie? That one’s hard to swallow.

    I know a lot of these are trivial, just the things I’m thinking about today.

    This was a very emotionally satisfying episode. Really beautiful, actually. I so wish the sideways timeline would have been more meaningful than just purgatory. Lame. Otherwise, I found it pretty intellectually bankrupt. But overall, I think the emotional payoffs trumped the intellectual hollowness.

  43. I appreciate your work, BTD Greg. Thanks a million!

    The finale was a HUGE payoff for me. Just enough mystery was resolved, and I was at least as teary as Rusty, on pretty much every single epiphany. Even being able to predict exactly how each character would awaken didn’t dilute my enjoyment one bit. It was just really great storytelling.

  44. Ryan,

    1. It seems clear based on the cliff fight that Smokey could kill Jack. Why didn’t he just kill him right off the bat?

    I don’t think that’s the case. I think only after the magical light was snuffed out were both Jack and Locke vulnerable.

    8. How on earth could the writers leave Desmond stranded on the island away from Penny and Charlie? That one’s hard to swallow.

    I don’t think they did. It would have been nice to see him reunited with Penny in the real world, but I think the writers felt having Ben tell Hurley he could begin doing what Hurley did best by helping Desmond was indication that they didn’t intend on Desmond being left on the island separated from Penny, and that Hurley would get him back to Penny.

  45. Clark (#41), on the contrary, I think the hydrogen bomb did indeed create the LA-X world, based on Daniel Widmore’s comments to Desmond a few weeks back.

  46. I don’t think that’s the case. I think only after the magical light was snuffed out were both Jack and Locke vulnerable.

    This is correct, but Jack and MiB had a fight just after the light went out, leaving Jack unconscious from a blow to the head. MiB could have, at that point, bashed Jack’s brains in, all before the subsequent pursuit and cliff-fight. (If Mom had given lessons to her adopted kids on how to kill with a blow from a rock, Jack would have been dead anyway. She was really good at that.)

  47. I wanna say thanks to you to Greg. This has been my favorite place to discuss Lost. I’m really going to miss it. I think Ben didn’t move on because he still had things he needed to make up for or perhaps he was waiting for Alex and Danielle to be ready. I wonder if the freighter folks can only move on once they’re all ready. Eloise didn’t want Des to take Daniel because she didn’t want to lose him agai, not yet. Interesting that she was aware of what she was “living” in.

  48. I don’t understand how people think Jughead created the sideways timeline. Faraday’s intention for Jughead (and then Jack’s) was to blow up the island, causing it to not make the plane crash, and thus letting everyone land and go along their normal lives. We know it didn’t do that. In that sense, the Jughead plan failed. In fact, I think you have to conclude, based on what we saw at the beginning of this season, that Jughead barely even exploded. You don’t expect to see someone survive after having an atomic bomb go off right next to them. So can anyone explain what they think Jughead did? From what I can tell, it did nothing at all, which is a bit frustrating, as that would mean that most of season five was pretty meaningless, no?

    Also, it’s interesting to look back to the very first time we were introduced to the sideways timeline, and remember that the island was at the bottom of the ocean. Does that mean that these characters only entered the sideways/purgatory once the island had finally been destroyed? Is that the end of the world and history and everything? What does it mean that the island was at the bottom of the ocean when the sideways timeline began?

    Would love to see the adventures of Hurley and Ben in protecting the island, by the way. What a crazy pair.

  49. Ryan (#49), I think I’ll give a shot at answering your questions before I try to tackle Clarks.

    1. It seems clear based on the cliff fight that Smokey could kill Jack. Why didn’t he just kill him right off the bat?

    When the Island gets unplugged, all powers are lost. Jack could kill Smokey and Smokey could kill Jack. At least, that’s how I read it.

    2. Were we ever told what it was that was keeping Smokey on the island? Are we sure he had to kill candidates/reset the island? I don’t think we ever knew that, did we?

    As long as there were candidates alive, I think Smokey knew that the potential to limit his abilities existed. This was not explicitly stated, but it was pretty implicit throughout this season.

    3. What did Widmore intend to do with Desmond? If his resistance to electromagnetism was going to help him remove the plug, why didn’t someone make even a small reference that the light involved electromagnetism? Doesn’t seem like it did.

    Widmore was following Jacob’s instructions in bringing “the package” to the island. Jacob’s plan was similar to the one carried out by Jack–use Desmond to unplug the island so that Smokey can be killed. The “light” most definitely involved electromagnetism. We’ve known for a long, long time (all the way back to season 1) that the island’s properties involved electromagnetism, and when the “incident” happened, the sky went to white-out, just as it did when Widmore ran his experiment with Desmond on Hydra Island.

    4. Why did Jack die alone? If he got out of the well, wouldn’t Hurley, Ben, and Desmond have been right there?

    Hurley, Ben and Desmond thought Jack was dead and had already moved on.

    5. Does anyone remember how they got Ben out from under that tree?

    Sawyer was finally able to free Ben using a lever. I’m not sure if this was explicit or implied.

    6. The most frustrating thing left unanswered was some further explanation of the stakes. I.e., we’re told that if Smokey escapes, we all die. Really bizarre that there was no further attempt to tell us why that is, or how it would come to pass. Further, if the light goes out, we’ll all die? Very unsatisfying not to get a little better understanding of why these things must be.

    They just are. I’m not sure that a bunch of high-level physics equations from Faraday’s notebook would have made this any more satisfying for me.

    7. Why was Eloise so opposed to Desmond’s efforts to reunited everyone?

    Eloise wanted to keep her son with her longer. Remember that it was her actions which ultimately brought Daniel’s death, at her own hand. I think she was tormented by that, and wanted to preserve the illusion for a little while longer. She herself was not ready to let go.

    8. How on earth could the writers leave Desmond stranded on the island away from Penny and Charlie? That one’s hard to swallow.

    This one is easy: Charlie and Penny were off filming the ill-fated (and unrelated) FlashForward.

  50. Jacob (48) – I think most of Dharma has been explained via media and comments outside of the show. Within the show (i.e. by regular folks) it really wasn’t answered at all. So, for instance, to know that Dharma was using the numbers to achieve a nirvana based upon genocide in various island to achieve a population based upon the numbers. That was why there was the nerve gas factory. Likewise we’re supposed to largely just discount Dharma as yet an other group paralleling the Roman folks that the man in black initially hooked up with. But most of that you had to discover from the podcast and various YouTube videos created for ComicCon.

  51. Did anyone stay up to see the alternate Lost endings that were supposed to be shown on Kimmel? I had to go to bed. I’m curious what the alternate endings were.

  52. Wayne (54), I think a lot of the characters but especially the man in black suffer from Hubris. The man in black could have fled the island (presumably as Jacob later setup via the donkey wheel) but waited too long.

    For whatever reason not-Locke wanted a villainous James Bond styled ending for a lot of people.

    Regarding my complaints about Widmore I think Mudhead in 33 lays them out well. The issue wasn’t just bringing Desmond. That part made sense. The rest made zero sense.

    BTW – the part I really did like is that the water did nothing to Jack beyond providing some sort of immortality. i.e. he didn’t know what was going on which suggests neither did Jacob. Folks who wanted Jacob to be this semi-ominipotent guy were disappointed. He was winging it through the centuries. I really dug that.

  53. Dan (43), the list bit makes some sense. (And I’d given that answer to my wife when she asked me the question last night) BUT while that can explain Ecko it doesn’t explain why the MiB attacks most people he sees on site and leaves some who clearly aren’t on the list like Bernard and Rose.

  54. Clark,

    #63,

    Can’t tell ya why MIB left Bernard and Rose alive. He clearly could have, as indicated in last night’s episode.

  55. First, great blog. I came late to the party, only really started reading it this season, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading the day after. Greg, you caught lots of things I missed.

    Today I realized what bothered me about the ending. I enjoyed the reunion of all the dead characters, it was really great to see those intense moments of passion/happiness/recognition when they had their “flashes.” Very emotionally satisfying.

    But,I think what the show implied was that “this is what happens when you die. You end up with the people from the most important time in your life, and then move on together when you’re all ready.” So, that means that Jim Lovell meets up with the other guys from Apollo 13, Michael Jordan finds Scottie Pippen waiting for him, and some poor schmuck who lives a boring life meets up with his accountant who saved him a fortune that one time by finding a tax loophole.

    Okay, fine. That’s an interesting idea.

    The only problem is, that’s the ending to the WRONG SHOW!

    If it happens to everyone like that, then the Island was just a kooky place where these people shared an experience? No way! I could MAYBE buy that if this show was always ONLY about the characters. For the most part it was. We watched them grow and develop. Fall in love and die. Without the great multi-dimensional characters and the depth with which the talented actors brought them to life, this show wouldn’t have been nearly as good.

    I realize that.

    But at the same time, this show was also always about The Island. So, put succinctly, the show gave us the ending that showed what happened to all the characters after they died. But it did not give us the ending to to The Island.

    Was anything they did really important on The Island? Did they save the world from darkness and a fate worse than death? When the light went out nobody died; all that it seemed to spur was a sporadic earthquake. Or was the Island just a weird place where these characters spent some time?

    Sigh.

    Things such as (these questions might have been repeated, or feel free to point out if they’ve been answered already):

    1.How could Eloise Hawking find the Island with science? Who was she? How, in “purgatory” did she seem to know what was going on?

    2.Why did Walt have super powers?

    3.Why were the ghosts stuck on the island? During the Kimmel interview/aftershow, the actor that played Michael said that Michael wasn’t in the church because he was stuck as a ghost on the island and couldn’t move on. What? Just because he shot someone he’s stuck on the island forever? Some of the people in “purgatory” did way worse things than that. Also, why did he pop up randomly to tell Hurley that Illana was going to blow herself up with TNT?

    4. What was the ultimate significance of the numbers? They were written in the cave next to the names of Locke, Hurley, Jack, Sawyer, and Sun, I think. Were they some kind of premonition of the penultimate candidate list? Why would there be anything extra special about those 5? Why not 6 numbers when Kate’s name was still on the list? Why not 3 for only the candidates that survived? I think this is a sign the writers had no idea when those numbers first started appearing that they’d be written on a cave wall denoting candidates.

    7. Why did Jacob wait several hundred years to pick his replacement?

    8. What was the game/wager the man in black had with Jacob? What were the rules? I guess the man in black couldn’t hurt candidates. Why did he agree to that? I have a hard time he’d agree to rules that would let Jacob select a candidate to replace him.

    9. Why was the smoke monster afraid of the sound pylons? Why didn’t he just fly over them?

    10. What was with the sacred ash?

    11. Who brought Sayid back to life? Dogan’s “test” (whatever that was) seemed to suggest it was the man in black, but we had no indication that he tried to revive Sayid or that he had the power to bring people back to life.

    etc.

    All just my opinion, though. I’m enjoying hearing everyone’s thoughts.

  56. Why did Walt have super powers?

    I think this was more or less answered. There were a bunch of people with “super powers” of which Walt was but one. Miles and surprisingly the man in black were others.

    Now I agree that having set Walt up as so important they didn’t do much with it. This was dissatisfying but probably had more to do with actor availability issues than anything.

  57. BTW – I agree that the healing powers of the temple plus the “turn into evil” wasn’t really narratively explained (nor was why Sayid could overcome it).

    I also agree that the mysterious transformation of Rousseau’s friends wasn’t really explained well either.

  58. So can anyone explain what they think Jughead did? From what I can tell, it did nothing at all, which is a bit frustrating, as that would mean that most of season five was pretty meaningless, no?

    Jughead was “the incident” that we learn about in the Dharma films, which required the button to be pushed every 108 minutes, which Desmond neglected to do, which caused Oceanic 815 to crash on the island, ultimately bringing Jacob’s chosen candidates to the island.

  59. 49:

    Desmond wasn’t stranded. His boat is floating over at Hydra Island; he can leave the way he (originally) arrived.

  60. Personally, I thought this was an amazing finale. I can only think of one or two finales in the history of television that even compare. On an emotional level it paid off completely, and the emotional level is what matters most. That’s just one invaluable lesson about storytelling I’ve learned by studying at the feet of the masters (Cuse and Lindelof) these last six years.

    Lost’s creators, the entire team not just Cuse and Lindelof, gave us more to think and write and talk about than any show in ages. In my opinion, Lost is a legitimate contender for best TV drama of all time, and possibly show of all time. If not for The Wire, I think it wouldn’t be much of a contest.

    People will kvetch about various unanswered questions and complain that these guys winged it, but the truth is all writers make it up as they go along. Word must follow word. Scene must follow scene. What immediately comes before effects what immediately follows. TV doesn’t easily allow for much revision. (Exhibit A: Battlestar Galactica).

    These guys, at least, were smart enough not to fall into so many of the traps that other shows have. And I think that they knew where they were going, and knew a lot more from the beginning than most people would ever belief.

    Lost, like all enduring pieces of art, is a bit of an iceberg. The show is the tip, the creators know what lurks beneath, but they’re smart enough to let the audience plumb the depths.

    Like many of you, I could go on and on about this show. Suffice it to say, I tip my hat to them.

  61. I don’t mean this as a criticism, just a statement of a difference:

    I don’t understand why every supernatural or science-fictional aspect of the show needs to be explained. My thinking is that, once you’ve proposed something that is beyond our physical reality, you can propose an explanation that is also beyond our physical reality, so there may be no point in doing so. It’s not real to begin with, so neither is the explanation.

    Now, one reason there might be a point in explaining these things is that the explanation is necessary for the rest of the story. But I don’t think, for example, the mechanics behind the sonic fence’s effect on the smoke monster need to be known for the story to work. It was a science team that came up with it, maybe with some sneaky help from Jacob, and whatever it does, it does. They managed to exploit some physical property of the smoke monster. The same goes for the life-force/light and electromagnetism. Why do you need to know why the life-force that is preserved under the island exhibits itself physically as electromagnetism? It just does. That’s the way it is in the story. Make up whatever you like. It doesn’t matter. They’re plot devices; they’re givens; they’re assumptions; they’re premises.

    I don’t need to know why there is such a thing as gravity to implode a building. I just need to know what acceleration it causes – no quantum mechanics or unified field theory required for demolition. (Demolition Guy: Oh, 9.8 meters per second-squared, huh? Great, let’s set the charges here and here. Weird Interfering Philospher Guy: Hold on a minute! Why should there be such a thing as gravity? Demolition Guy: Somebody call the cops.) If I jump off a building, I’m going to fall, whether I’ve heard of a graviton or not.

    I know that sounds like criticism. But it’s really just that I don’t get it.

  62. Yes Jim #67. Agree 100% with your comment.

    I really didn’t care about every little thing being explained. I didn’t care that Walt’s story came to nothing because the actor grew up. I didn’t care that Charlie tried to baptize Aaron inexplicably. I didn’t care too much about the fact that Aaron had no ultimate significance and there is no reason for the spiritualist warning Clair not to let someone else raise him. Not every story line could come to a satisfying conclusion, no problem.

    I care a little bit that some of the big arcs covering whole seasons came to nothing (like the baby issues on the island or “the sickness”).

    What I care a lot about is that the signficance of the island remains totally unmotivated. In the end it’s just a place where there is a lot of electromagnatism. Huh? It was spoken of in animated terms from season 1 to season 6. It had this personal and far reaching control (Michael couldn’t shoot himself because “the island wasn’t finished with him”). Examples like that abound. But in the end neither the island or the protector of the island can account for any of that stuff. The only possible conclusion is that as writers they sat around thinking of crazy stuff to happen and put it in the episodes without any idea how it fit into a bigger picture.

    With that in mind I think the finale was quite good, maybe even amazing. It really paid off emotionally on the investment we put into the characters. But as a whole, the franchise is the biggest betrayal of a fan base since X-files. They had no idea what any of the foundational mysteries were based on.

  63. Even if Jacob was just some dude who was given (limited) immortality, you’d think he wouldn’t be such a dumbass after all those years. It’s like Bill Murray said in Groundhog Day, “Well maybe the *real* God uses tricks, you know? Maybe He’s not omnipotent. He’s just been around so long He knows everything.”

  64. The only problem is, that’s the ending to the WRONG SHOW!

    It’s potentially the ending to every show, I suppose. It’s just that it wouldn’t work for most shows. It was a bit of a red herring or a misdirection, for sure. We were all led to believe that they changed the past by detonating an h-bomb, preventing the plane from crashing, and that we were watching what would have happened in that case. Most shows don’t allow for such things. This one did.

    The FS had nothing to do with the island, per se, but the island did cause that particular FS for those particular people. Their stories were compelling in large part because of the island, thus so was the FS. Other people may have their post-death FS’s, but they’re probably boring, and they don’t generally go to islands that allow for time travel. Showing their FS’s would result in viewers saying “What the hell is this?” rather than “I’ll bet it’s this or that, but maybe it’s this other thing. I can’t wait to find out.”

    There is no end to the island, anyway. It’s there in perpetuity, so long as life exists. Only dead people can exist in a world where it’s at the bottom of the sea.

  65. BTD Greg: great job on the series!

    if I was the Island’s reigning demi-god, I don’t think I would trust lying, scheming, murdering Ben as my number 2.

    That’s what makes Hurley different: he sees redemption in others. Ben was a scheming bad guy because Jacob made him that way, just like Sayid was a murderer because Ben (and later Smokie) made him that way.

    Clark: 8.

    what decides when the smoke monster kills someone? (Think the two Ecko episodes)

    In this case, I think Smokie listens to the director/writers/actors and decides to kill off a character if the actor is being a pain to work with. (Or so I’ve heard.)

  66. “But as a whole, the franchise is the biggest betrayal of a fan base since X-files. They had no idea what any of the foundational mysteries were based on.”

    Couldn’t disagree more. I could call this “The Sopranos” Phenomenon. A show ends on a note that is absolutely true to its original vision, a vision that it has been consistent with throughout its run, and people are upset.

    My reading is that Lost has always been about trying to understand the will of God, or God-like entities or objects. Whether it’s The Island, Jacob, God, the creators of the show itself, the ultimate will and goal of all these things and people wasn’t ever, and clearly isn’t attainable.

    To explain the island completely, or extensively, would have been a betrayal of that vision. Time and again, they gave us characters that felt their faith in the Island/Jacob/God/the writers was betrayed, Alpert, Locke, Ben, etc. They had to move past that false sense of betrayal to progress. I think fans who feel betrayal will hae to as well.

  67. Re: #73: I have some of those same questions and annoyances, but they come from a place of narrative, not scientific dissatisfaction. I’m annoyed that in many instances the writers didn’t even try to reconcile obvious conflicts. For me, I feel this more intensely in the area of character issues than pseudo-scientific ones. For instance, there were so many characters whose stories were heavily invested in by the show and then just totally wasted at the end. Ben, Widmore, most of the freighter folk (what good, really, did Miles being able to talk to dead people ever do? It had no bearing on the ultimate story and there was no reason for him to still be alive), Walt….. I could go on.

  68. Well, it’s been real, Lost. Thanks everyone for making this show much more interesting and thought-provoking – and especially to Greg for all the hard work.

    I feel pretty good about the conclusion after some contemplation. It had to be about the characters, relationships, faith, love and redemption – not the less-significant unanswered questions of Lost lore. I think, for the most part, we got enough of that and agree with Rusty – the answers were a bit anti-climactic and unsatisfying anyway.

    I don’t know about you guys but it’s time for me to start reading books from the Lost reference library that I haven’t read yet… Is it time to start a book club?

    http://www.squidoo.com/lost-book-list

  69. Wayne (#73):

    I don’t understand why every supernatural or science-fictional aspect of the show needs to be explained. My thinking is that, once you’ve proposed something that is beyond our physical reality, you can propose an explanation that is also beyond our physical reality, so there may be no point in doing so. It’s not real to begin with, so neither is the explanation.

    This is where I come down as well. After all would you rather have a mystical Force that is in and around everything and gives certain people special powers, or microscopic Midiclorians that can be detected in someone’s blood and counted?

  70. I think, looking back, the problem is that most of us were looking at it as science fiction when we should have been looking at it as Narnia plus a heavy dose of Kafka. There were plenty of hints that this was the case. (J. J. Abrams, in particular, was pretty explicit) I guess that most of us, even if we like Kafka, want there to be meaning in the background when there just isn’t!

  71. Just to add: I liked the finale despite it’s problems. I just think they should have and could have easily addressed more of the questions. (Say the Dharma ones last season and the smoke monster ones this season)

    I also think the ending confirms my earlier critique. (And remember I even liked the Jacob-centric episode) They needed about ten more episodes to really end this adequately.

  72. It’s funny looking at this from the pespective of someone who never watched the show. I haven’t read all the comments or even all of Greg’s lenthy post but it’s interesting to me that this show captivated so many people. I love the idea that it paralleled the Narnia series or Watership Down. Those were two of my favorite books growing up. Maybe someday I will start watching the whole thing and see what the fuss was all about.

  73. Jim and Jacob,

    I had similar thoughts about the ending, but I still don’t think it was necessarily a bad idea. I think that approach to the ending assumes that the series was about the ending. I don’t think it was. I think the real “ending” to the show is simply the Losties defeating the Smoke Monster, replacing Jacob and Jack sacrificing himself to save the island. The additional ending is simply an additional ending added because they realized their primary ending wasn’t emotionally satisfying enough.

    My guess is that most of the island mysteries really were made up as they went along. I think they probably tried to come up with some endings that provided an overarching explanation, but just couldn’t come up with anything that wasn’t silly. So instead of attempting to do so at all – they took a diversion approach, which Lindelof explicitly admitted to:

    when you spend time with a 3-year-old, you quickly find out that one question just begets another—there’s a “why” in the wake of every “why”—and the only way to end the conversation is to say, “Oh look, a Chuck E. Cheese!” The show is doing its best to say, “Oh look, Chuck E. Cheese!”

    Does this constitute a betrayal of the audience? I don’t know. Personally, I think they answered the questions that they really owed, but I suppose that reaction is subjective.

  74. I think one of the things that made Season One so irresistible was the prospect of eventually solving the mysteries that were introduced. What was down the hatch? Who were the Others? Will they sail off the island on their homemade barge?

    The problem is that show ended up being a smash hit so the writers had to keep it going. They ended up scrapping the Others and replacing them with the Dharma. It got out of control and hokey. It was like a B-grade movie from the ’70s. The explanations to the mysteries were uncreative– simply more magic behind the old magic. The Others were just wearing stage costumes to look like hillbillys when in fact they lived in clean middle class houses. Worm holes to the Middle East. Then they finally get off the island, but then they come back. Time travel. Then a character named Jacob who was intriguing because we couldn’t see him. Then we see him and he’s just a dude who is pretty clueless himself. Yawn.

    I think good writing delivers a plausible solution that you didn’t see coming. Granted, it’s hard to do this with Sci-Fi because it’s all made up. But still.

    The music was good. And Hawaii looked beautiful in Lost. I guess some of the actors were pretty cool.

    But after Season One the plot was a meandering mess. But a meandering mess that was at least watchable and entertaining.

  75. A finale that spent time giving answers would frankly have been a bore. In the grand scheme of things most of the unanswered questions wouldn’t really add anything to the narrative. It’s the characters and their lives that ultimately mattered.

  76. I finally got a chance to watch it, and I’m still mulling it over, but I did think it was very moving. And some of the shots/parallels to previous scenes were breathtaking. (Okay, maybe not Aaron’s birth for the second time, but Jack and Locke looking down into the unknown (where one Desmond Hume was) again was very cool.) And aww, Vincent.

    Thanks for all your recaps, Greg! I appreciate your effort and thought. This has been hands down the best forum for discussing Lost.

  77. Alpert, Locke, Ben, etc. They had to move past that false sense of betrayal to progress. I think fans who feel betrayal will have to as well.

    Har!

    BTD Greg,

    I do plan to shut up by I have to say something about this Midiclorians argument. If it seems from my complaints that I want something like Midiclorians then I am not explaining my complaint very well. I never wanted an “explanation” for the numbers or the physics behind Alpert’s immortality. I am fine with foundational mysteries. What I wanted was for the writers to have some larger framework for what the island was so that the crazy stuff they introduced would fit with that larger framework once it was revealed. That is, even if we didn’t know what the foundational mysteries were at the beginning, they should have.

    Quick example: a bunch of the mysteries in the first couple of seasons had very satisfying answers. The polar bear is a good example. What seemed crazy in the beginning turned out to make sense once we knew about Dharma. If you have some framework you are working within you can take care to only (or even mostly!) introduce the kinds of mysteries which could be explained if needed. They introduced a bunch which simply can’t be explained. That is not a demand for Midiclorians but just that the writers know what’s going on so they don’t introduce so many things that cannot possible make sense within their world as revealed. I mostly got sucked into this show because they DID have good answers through the first few seasons and seemed to know where they were going despite the endless complaints from whiners that they were making it up as they went along.

    Eric Russell, your comment is really spot on.

  78. A finale that spent time giving answers would frankly have been a bore.

    Maybe. Over the years, Lost offered plenty of answers. It’s just that they were so campy or corny. And the finale did nothing to compensate for that.

  79. I didn’t find most campy or corny. Especially in context.

    I think the problem was partially due to it evolving year over year and having to adapt to situations. (i.e. minor characters getting jobs on other shows or potentially getting jobs; actors making outrageous demands or leaving abruptly like the actors playing Michael or Ecko did; having started developing something one way only to have it evolve an other way) Authors writing books get to revise the earlier chapters after the first draft. Folks doing a TV show don’t.

    I don’t think this excuses everything. As I said Dharma should have in the context of the show itself been explained better. However overall I think they did a great job and it’ll still go down in history as a pivotal show. I don’t think any other show has managed to do a plot that complex that well, for all its flaws. It certainly didn’t fall apart like X-Files or Battlestar Galactica did.

  80. Greg, a hearty thank-you for putting together the best Lost recap and discussion in town. You’re a hero, man!

  81. Wayne (76):

    There is no end to the island, anyway. It’s there in perpetuity, so long as life exists. Only dead people can exist in a world where it’s at the bottom of the sea.

    That should have been a big clue for us that everyone in the LA-X world was dead. Great catch!

  82. Now, if any of you would like a Series Finale that is emotionally bankrupt, I present to you 24!

  83. That is not a demand for Midiclorians but just that the writers know what’s going on so they don’t introduce so many things that cannot possible make sense within their world as revealed.

    It seems to me that most of the unanswered questions are simply dead ends, not things that can’t possibly make sense. It could see if there where unexplained things that directly contradicted other things, but I don’t see that, not much, anyway.

    The Michael deal is one thing that bugs me a bit, only because he didn’t do anything worse than, say, Ben or Sayid, and he did make an important self-sacrifice in the end. Even his wrong-doings were acts of desperation to get back his son. I’d say there’s some moral mitigation there. So why is he stuck in limbo as a ghost on the island, while those guys got to go to LA-X with the opportunity to move on?

    My guess is that it would have been inconvenient to bring him completely back into the fold without Walt, who is now playing linebacker for the Bears or working as a circus giant or something.

  84. That should have been a big clue for us that everyone in the LA-X world was dead. Great catch!

    Thanks, Ben. But it was only hindsight on my part. I never saw it coming beforehand.

  85. A few things that still bother me a little:

    * Jacob’s ghost shack. What was that all about? Was it really the Man-in-Black trapped there? If so, how do you explain the various appearances of the Smoke Monster around the island?

    * Smokey’s psychic ability seemed to change. Early in the show (at least as early as season 2) we learned that Smokey can scan a person’s thoughts and experiences. At the end of the series, Smokey seemed to lose this ability and was able to be tricked and deceived. I don’t quite get this.

    * Aaron: why was he special? Why was it crucial that he was not raised by another, as the psychic told Claire. And what about the weird (possibly hallucinatory) appearance of Claire to Kate, telling him not to bring “him” back. I can sort of understand why the Walt thing never went anywhere (the actor outgrew the role too quickly), but what about Aaron? There were a lot of clues that never went anywhere.

    There are more. Probably a lot if I really sat down and thought about it.

    None of these things bother me enough to prevent me from enjoying the show, but Lost was ambitious enough to be messy sometimes.

  86. * Aaron: why was he special? Why was it crucial that he was not raised by another, as the psychic told Claire. And what about the weird (possibly hallucinatory) appearance of Claire to Kate, telling him not to bring “him” back. I can sort of understand why the Walt thing never went anywhere (the actor outgrew the role too quickly), but what about Aaron? There were a lot of clues that never went anywhere.

    One explanation is that there never was anything special about Aaron, and that the psychic was one of Jacob’s agents. He didn’t want Claire to give Aaron up in Sydney because he needed an excuse to get her on the flight to LA, that excuse being another adoption there.

    The problems are Jacobs’ not wanting mothers to be candidates, as he later told Kate, and that Claire didn’t seem to be a candidate in the eyes of MiB, so why did she need to be brought to the island at all? Does anyone remember if her name was on the cave wall?

  87. Smokey’s psychic ability seemed to change. Early in the show (at least as early as season 2) we learned that Smokey can scan a person’s thoughts and experiences. At the end of the series, Smokey seemed to lose this ability and was able to be tricked and deceived. I don’t quite get this.

    I wonder if this conincided with his only being able to take the form of Locke after Ben killed Jacob. For whatever reason, Jacob’s physical death affected his shape-shifting abilities, so why not his psychic abilities as well?

  88. Actually there were many times this season he seemed to have psychic abilities. He knew all Locke’s thoughts, for instance. He knew the losties had survived the sub. He appeared to know all the double crosses going on.

    Regarding Claire and whatnot. I wonder if a lot was picked up by both MiB and Jacob when the losties were in the past. Also we know both MiB and Jacob were manipulating the Others via Ben.

  89. I don’t understand why every supernatural or science-fictional aspect of the show needs to be explained. My thinking is that, once you’ve proposed something that is beyond our physical reality, you can propose an explanation that is also beyond our physical reality, so there may be no point in doing so.

    I think the creators set themselves up to have fans wanting explanations to every detail when they said everything was scientifically plausible after the first season.

    I don’t really care that many little things weren’t answered, though I am a little surprised that things I considered BIG never got a real explanation like the baby problem, the weird sickness and Walt. Something from the finale that bugs me is why Jack wasn’t turned into a smoke monster? He was in the Light area just like MIB and didn’t have any superpowers like Desmond (that we know of). Any ideas?

    Overall I’m satisfied though, those questions remaining unanswered don’t make the show any worse. I’ve loved the posts and discussion Greg, thank you so much.

  90. I liked these descriptions TVSquad gave of Ben and Hurley from the finale.

    In the kind of ‘Star Wars’ terms that Hurley would appreciate, he got to be Luke Skywalker instead of just Chewbacca. He’d actually been well-prepared for the job by Jacob (to whom Hurley referred to in this episode as Yoda). And he even managed to help convert nemesis Ben (who was once ‘Lost’s’ Darth Vader) to the light side of the Force and, with his help, defeat the evil emperor (Smokey). Ben’s redemption (another reboot) was satisfying to see; his history as surrogate father to Alex and his good deeds in the flash-sideways world suggested a potential for good that had gone unrealized because of his perpetual jealousy and need for control. Having shed those and acquired a willingness to submit to someone else’s authority, he became (we learned later) a faithful and worthy No. 2 to Hurley.

  91. re island at the bottom of the ocean, which means it was destroyed – I think the island still exists – it was only “destroyed” in the minds of the core Losties who needed to put it behind them.

    re Walt – two factors at play here – one that in original casting, they anticipated a much shorter run of the show. Two is that unlike many child actors who can play roughly the same age for several years, the actor changed dramatically as he grew up, in size and facial features.

    re pregnancy issues – I don’t understand why people around the internet are still focused on this. Sure they didn’t spell it out, but I thought it was rather obvious that the Incident caused pregnancies conceived on the island not to come to term. By showing us pregnancies, births and children born on the island before 1977, I thought the question was answered. For that matter, exposure to the light by NotMom could easily have been the reason she had to steal babies rather than give birth to them herself.

    re Aaron – Maybe Jacob set up the prophecy because after all he and his brother went through, he thinks babies should be raised by their own mothers. In the end, I think Aaron was just our introduction, in the early seasons, to the theme of children/parents in this show, culminating in the story of Jacob, and coming full circle in Jack’s reconciliation with his father.

    re why MIB died – I thought it was because he was thrown down the hole and didn’t survive it, whereas both Desmond and Jack were lowered into the hole. I actually wondered if the skeleton they saw was MIB.

    re Ben moving on – the other one who wasn’t ready to move on was Eloise. Both were involved in setting up Sideways world, if you consider that they were the main protagonists for all the Losties recreating the conditions of the crash etc. Only they both wanted to live in that world, where as everyone else wanted to move on from it.

  92. Something from the finale that bugs me is why Jack wasn’t turned into a smoke monster?

    Besides what Jenny wrote, Jack was the protector of the island at that point. MiB wasn’t.

    I actually wondered if the skeleton they saw was MIB.

    No, his skeleton was in the cave with Mom’s. (Does that mean we can start calling him Adam?)

  93. BTD Greg, thanks for the wonderful posts for the last 6 years. I’ve enjoyed reading them and all the great comments!

  94. They never showed the statue being built or anything. We did figure out it was a statue of Tawaret (mostly destroyed by the Black Rock’s crash), and we got the idea through multiple episodes that the island’s always been around and multiple groups of people have come and gone, leaving various structures behind (the statue, ruins, etc).

  95. Thanks for all the write-ups, BTD Greg! This was my #1 place for LOST news, because everything I needed was always here!

  96. The problem with “the psychic just relayed Jacob’s message” theory w/r/t Aaron is that it was the Others who attempted to kidnap Claire and take her child. At the time, the thought was that the psychic’s warning should be read as “should not be raised by an Other” instead of “raised by another.”

    Keep in mind that the Others were acting on Jacob’s orders (or, at least believed they were).

  97. After I have mulled it over, I am very satisfied with the ending. I am not satisfied with some of the explanations (most notably what LA X really was and the mysterious light/”heart of the Island”), but I’m okay with that. In the end, the characters’ growth (and redemption) was the most important to me, the heart of the show. I really enjoyed watching that (and discussing all of it here).

    The producers said that Christian in the shack was the MiB in Christian’s form (but I don’t know if they ever said he was trapped or not).

    Also, apparently the MiB’s name was Samuel. I don’t know why that had to never be revealed in the series.

    (I read those two items at the Ack Attack blog. She pulled them from an E! video I didn’t bother watching.)

  98. Let me add one more vote of thanks to Greg for keeping up the amazing recaps for SO long! I always look forward to the insights and intelligent (and kind) comments here.

    Personally, I loved the finale. I thought it was brilliant and well crafted. The points that I consider unanswered weren’t really important in the end for me. I found the whole journey thrilling and emotional and can’t imagine a more satisfying ending to a epic and fun filled ride!!

  99. A couple of things everyone seems to be talking about (not necessarily here) that I disagree with, or at least have a different take on:

    1. There seems to be an idea floating around that the LA-X world was all happening only to Jack, or only for Jack’s benefit. I don’t think this makes sense, and I don’t think it’s necessary. There were clearly scenes in the flash-sideways that didn’t involve Jack at all, or that involved events that Jack was unaware of. Each of the characters independently had their epiphanies, and not for Jack’s benefit. I think the LA-X was a collective construct and involved the consciousness of all the persons in the enlightenment waiting room at the end.

    2. Sayid and Shannon. A lot of people thought that it would have made a lot more sense to have Sayid’s true love by Nadia, the woman he had loved for so long. I was always a Shannon hater, so I was never very excited about the idea of a Shannon-Sayid union (or reunion, for that mater), but I think this can be understood in the context of Sayid’s character. Recall that Sayid’s love for Nadia was always a bit twisted, given that Nadia was someone he had tortured in Iraq. What we learned in the flash-sideways was that Sayid’s deeper feeling was that he could never be that close to Nadia because of his own internal struggle over whether he was actually a good or an evil person. Nadia reminded him of his past and that would always cause him to feel conflict. Sayid’s love for Shannon wasn’t saddled with that kind of inner turmoil and baggage.

    Then again, it might be as simple as the fact that love found on the Island is simply superior to everything else. Which would also explain the Claire and Charlie connection, I guess.

  100. I love this article in which Kyle Buchanan answers dozens of questions College Humor thought were still unanswered. For the most part, there really aren’t any questions that the answers can’t be drawn from what we already know from the show. In other words, use your imagination rather than forcing the writers to spell every single thing out. And the unanswerable ones? Not important to the plot of the show.

  101. Call me cynical but I think it was Shannon in the end because Maggie Grace was available. If she was really Sayid’s big true love, then surely we would have had more references to her since her death, she would have appeared on the plane as before (what was the point of her not being there?), and she would have been in his sideways world.

    Back when MIB and Jacob were granting wishes (ie Dogen your son will live if you agree to serve me), I thought that MIB was granting Sayid’s wish, which I assumed was for Nadia to be alive and well and safe. What MIB and Jacob were really doing was tapping into the same part of everyone’s psyche that formed LAX world – giving each person what they wanted most badly, which was often a chance for a do-over.

    Based on that theory, then it had to be Nadia, and they made it Shannon just because they could get the actress and it was a way to bring back the popular and missed Boone one more time.

    Agree also that LAX world was collective, but can see the argument that the church scene was specifically for Jack, his own personal redemption/conclusion, whereas others could have been different.

  102. Call me cynical but I think it was Shannon in the end because Maggie Grace was available. If she was really Sayid’s big true love, then surely we would have had more references to her since her death, she would have appeared on the plane as before (what was the point of her not being there?), and she would have been in his sideways world.

    I agree that they wanted to bring Maggie Grace back, being an original Oceanic 815 cast member. This isn’t mutually exclusive with my theory, though.

    Back when MIB and Jacob were granting wishes (ie Dogen your son will live if you agree to serve me), I thought that MIB was granting Sayid’s wish, which I assumed was for Nadia to be alive and well and safe.

    I think we all just assumed it was Nadia. It could just as easily been Shannon, since she was dead and her death was traumatic for Sayid.

  103. I read the Movieline answers. Some were pretty lame. Like these ones that I think are just errors in the continuity.

    How is Walt able to apparate before Shannon?
    Special powers.

    How did Walt communicate with Michael using the Swan computer?
    Probably got on one of the Others’ computers, checked his email, played a few rounds of Words with Friends, and still had a little time left over to tool around a bit.

    What is the deal with Kate and that horse?
    I mean, it’s an island with polar bears and zoo animals. A black horse may hold special resonance for Kate, but can’t it just be a black horse? We’ve seen people riding horses on the island before.

    First the horse wasn’t presented as just a horse but an apparition. Secondly if Walt’s appearance before Shannon led to her death it makes zero sense. It has to be the Smoke Monster but then that causes a problem with his only taking the form of dead people. Walt appears at other times as well. (Doesn’t he appear to Locke after he’s been shot?) I think Shannon’s death was due to MiB, but clearly there’s some issue with his taking the form of Locke that isn’t explained well.

    And the horse was just when they didn’t have the story worked out.

    The list of questions at Movieline is pretty good though even if most of their answers aren’t really. There really are a lot from the earlier seasons that are problematic. The biggest problems I see are Jack’s dad’s off island appearance and other apparitions like Walt not being explained.

  104. Rusty,

    That piece is pretty fun, but a good chunk of those “answers” dodge the real question being asked to make a joke, which is fine, since I like jokes, but let’s not pretend everything was answered just so we can continue to love the show. Just keep loving the show despite the lack of answers, I say.

    To calibrate:

    Example good answer:

    Why does the smoke monster make mechanical sounds?
    Because it’s cool.

    Example mediocre answer:

    Why did the Others want Walt so badly?The Others kidnapped children, since they were unable to reproduce. Walt was a child. Ergo, Walt was kidnapped.

    What this ignores is that Walt was clearly spun up to be special to the Others as more than just a child who they kidnapped because they were lonely for children. Obviously Walt’s special powers came to nothing, but the Others did all those tests on Walt and said they had learned so much from him just in the short time they kidnapped him. Clearly they were supposed to be doing something. In the end, we never got any clue about what Richard and the Others were doing wandering the island for decades. Remember when Locke was taking over for Ben we learned a bunch of the Others thought the baby research was a waste of time and wanted to get back to more important things? No idea what those could have been. This is the sort of thing people were hoping to have answered by the show. The Movieline answer just dodges the real questions.

    Example of terrible answer:

    How does Jack’s dad appear in a hospital in LA?
    I just thought this was crazy anxious Flash-Forward Jack’s vision.

    Dead people appearing in the show was a big deal in every season. It was a major mystery of the island. We finally learned that the dead people were either 1) smokey or 2) themselves stuck in limbo on the island (like Michael). Some of the island appearances are confirmed to be Smokey, but since he can’t leave the island, it can’t be him visiting Jack off island. It’s clearly not the actual Christian haunting Jack. So this appearance doesn’t fit any of the answers provided by the show. A better guess than the stupid Movieline “answer” above is that it is Jacob in this case trying to get Jack to come back to the island (would fit the plot). Problem is, the show never answered any basic questions about the extents or limits of Jacob’s powers. Do we have any confirmed case of shapeshifting? I don’t think so. MiB could do that because he was smoke, but it didn’t look like Jacob/Jack/Hurley could do that as protectors of the island. Which means we have no good explanation for who Christian was off island.

    As Lucy Lawless explained to Frink regarding Xena, “Uh, yeah, well, whenever you notice something like that …a wizard did it.”

  105. Clark, on Walt’s appiritions, recall that one of Walt’s special powers was appearing places he wasn’t supposed to be. They asked Michael about that in the hut. The best I think you can do in the context of the show (rather than saying it was just made up stuff which never fit with the final directon of the show) is to say this was his special power similar to Miles’ power of talking to dead people.

  106. Shannon had to be Sayid’s true love (for the ending to work) because Nadia would not have sparked Sayid’s memories of his life on the island. What epiphany would there have been that would have had anything to do with the rest of the group? It was strictly a group deal for island people.

    It makes me wonder if Nadia was really there from her standpoint or if she was just a figment of Sayid’s imagination [or that of anyone else who interacted with her in the flash-sideways (and who wasn’t just a figment of someone’s imagination, if you know what I mean)]. It’s not clear who was really experiencing the flash-sideways aside from those who acknowledged being aware of it.

  107. Saying Walt was teleporting around is pretty unsatisfactory as he wasn’t just appearing he was making important statements. But on what basis? Likewise when he appears to Locke it is when Locke is dying and is healed after being given a message. Clearly this is tied to the island and probably to the MiB’s nefarious purposes. (It’s after this that he goes on the path to get the others back to the island as the MiB is orchestrating)

  108. I think the writers were in a quandry as to what to do about Walt, given the fact that the actor aged more rapidly than the timeline of the show. One theory put forth on the Wikipedia entry for his character – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walt_Lloyd – that I can agree with is this: Walt’s powers had specifically to do with his ability to control and withstand electromagnetism. The bird crashing into the window in Walt’s apartment in Australia was a clue to that power. Therefore, Walt was originally intended to be part of the end-game involving Widmore’s fail-safe plan.

    When the actor outgrew the role, the writers had no choice but to transfer those abilities to Desmond, who by then was becoming a strong fan favorite.

    A case can be made that Walt’s appearances on the Island after he left with Michael were in fact appearances by Smokey, who was attempting to manipulate the Losties. Especially the scene when Walt appeared to Locke as he lay dying in the Dharma mass grave: like Christian’s later appearance to Locke, Walt in this scene tells Locke that he has work to do.

    This doesn’t tie up all the loose ends regarding Walt. For example, the dream Walt relayed to Locke when he was in LA as Jeremy Bentham hinted at other abilities Walt possessed. And the Others clearly assumed that Walt could appear in two places at once.

    But I’ll go with the general idea that the writers had greater plans for Walt’s character that they simply couldn’t do because of the actor’s age.

  109. A case can be made that Walt’s appearances on the Island after he left with Michael were in fact appearances by Smokey, who was attempting to manipulate the Losties. Especially the scene when Walt appeared to Locke as he lay dying in the Dharma mass grave: like Christian’s later appearance to Locke, Walt in this scene tells Locke that he has work to do.

    This makes sense, but it flies in the face of everyone’s understanding that Smokey can only impersonate dead people whose corpses are on the island.

    I confess, I never really understood how the appearances of the dead work on Lost, though. There were definitely dead folks who appeared that had never even been to the island (e.g., Richard’s long-lost love, who died in the Canary Islands, and Ben’s mom, who died outside of Portland, Oregon).

  110. Mudhead, that’s the theory I was going for except that Smokey says he can’t transform into anyone but Locke after he adopts the Locke shape. Why if he could before?

  111. Finally finished the 16 page Doc Jensen recap. Wondered whether we agree that Jughead didn’t go nuclear. _Something_ happened to catapult everyone on the island from 1977 to 200X (2004? 2007?) I wonder what observers left on the island saw.

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