LOST Finale: Why I Loved It

It feels like the days after Deathly Hallows all over again. A great story which sparked a pop culture phenomenon has come to its conclusion: some people loved it, and some loathed it. I’m in the former camp, and for much the same reasons I was in the pro-Deathly Hallows camp: the story accomplished the imaginative satisfaction of ancient human desires. Spoilers below!

The biggest mystery of this season has been the Flash Sideways. Is it a parallel universe? Will the two universes cross? It turns out everyone was wrong. The Flash Sideways is a postmodern Graytown (from C.S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce.) It’s like Lewis’s Graytown, because the people there can stay or leave as they feel ready. Consider that AnaLucia wasn’t ready, that Eloise was not prepared for Daniel to leave, etc. But also consider that Christian told Jack that all the castaways “made” the place, because they needed it.

And in that case, it’s like King’s Cross. Harry perceives his meeting place with Dumbledore as King’s Cross, because it’s his own perception. What he believes actually shapes the place. In Lewis’s Graytown, the place is what it is and looks like what it looks like. Graytown’s citizens disagree on the meaning of the place, but not its makeup. At King’s Cross, and in this Sideways world, the place looks like what its inhabitants make it in their own imaginations. But all are able to proceed to love eternal when they are ready.

As the story ended, the people sitting with me immediately began discussing: So is the Sideways real? I just smiled to myself, being too exhausted to formulate an answer. I wanted to say with Dumbledore, “It was in their heads, but why on earth should that make it not real?” What LOST did was make the statement: what is in your head is real. Imagination vindicated. Faith vindicated. Spiritual reality vindicated.

In other words, this was logos epistemology, as I had hoped when watching “Across the Sea.” The light of the world is in every person. We recognize it in each other. We recognize the spiritual reality within and behind the physical world, and it’s in our minds – in our imaginations – that we perceive the truth. Just note the way the show opened and closed: Jack’s eye. And then remember your eye symbolism from Harry Potter.

People who wanted mysteries “solved” would have hated the answers. Why? Because these are mysteries unfathomable to the human mind. The imagination is the best hope of perceiving them. The Sideways was more real than what happened on the island, not some fancy or dream that fails to give answers. The Sideways gives all the answers that really mattered. Who cares what the stupid numbers were? The mysteries of eternity find their way into the world in manifestations we just don’t get. Who cares what the numbers are? In the end, there is peace. There is love.

To me, this is exactly the kind of bold ending that was needed. LOST was never going for a spooky/creepy ending. This isn’t a Gothic story. It’s not The Twilight Zone. It’s myth.

More than that: It’s the best television can possibly come to creating a eucatrastrophe, a “sudden joyous turn.” The reason the  LOST finale was bold is because in these days, happy endings are bold. Ken Tucker nails it:

Lost went out in a manner that was refreshingly not like that of so many dramas, which tend to become more dramatic, serious, and bleak in an effort to prove their ultimate profundity. Instead, the longLost last night was a combination of a greatest-hits album and a lively Sunday-school lesson. Everyone was forgiven; everyone smiled.

Other things I loved:

  • Jack and Kate: It was always supposed to be Jack and Kate. Sawyer/Kate always annoyed me.
  • Sawyer and Juliet: Kate could never settle Sawyer into the kind of loving person Juliet did. As Evangeline Lilly astutely said, Kate and Sawyer were “good at stumbling together.” Juliet and Sawyer flew together.
  • Jack, then Hurley: I was skeptical of Arabella’s position that Hurley would be the new Jacob, because I knew it had to be Jack. The way they made it Jack, then Hurley was fantastic.
  • The symbolism of the church at the end. Deliberate pans to Jesus twice.
  • Watching them realize their paths and recognize each other in Graytown: Simply amazing. I’ve never smiled or teared up so much watching TV. And it never got old, even after I realized it was coming for every single character. And as I write this, I’m watching it again, and it’s still not old.
  • No answer for fate vs. free will: the mystery was left fully intact, and both fate and free will worked together as they mysteriously do. I was so afraid they’d end this will a clear and decisive nod in favor of free will trumping fate. They did not. Jack was “supposed” to be the new Jacob, and Jack made the choice to be the new Jacob. It was both a “predictable” choice by Jacob, and an authentic choice by Jack.
  • Jack and Christian at “King’s Cross”: Because that’s exactly what that conversation was.
  • John and Ben: “I forgive you.”

(Only one thing I hated: Sayid and Shannon. Never believed it, never will.)

I’ll have more to say, I think, but I don’t want to say it all here and not leave room for a robust and insightful discussion, so I’ll turn it over to you after one last thought, and then see you in the comments.

Here’s the crazy thing LOST did to me. A friend of mine convinced me to watch it by saying that it was all about character studies, and that there were characters named John Locke and C.S. Lewis. A couple seasons in, I told him, “I love it, but not because of the characters. I love the mysteries.” But by last night, it was exactly the other way around. I love these characters. I love that they made their way, flawed and failing, through a messy, mysterious world, and the answer they needed was Love.

And in the end,
The end is oceans and oceans of love, and love again
We’ll see how the tears that had fallen were caught in the palms
Of the Giver of love, and the Lover of all
And we’ll look back on these tears as old tales.

~ Andrew Peterson, “After the Last Tear Falls”

144 thoughts on “LOST Finale: Why I Loved It

  1. Great writeup, Travis. I continue leaking and sobbing through the day, but the tears are good tears, not shallow sentimental ones. I feel such gratitude for the way the story ended.

    It was Jack who implored the castaways, “If we don’t learn to live together, we’re gonna die alone.” And he sacrificially helped the others live you all everybody together. Yet he himself died alone–yet not alone, with faithful Vincent at his side in one of the most touching moments I’ve ever seen (and there go the waterworks again).

    This finale was a perfect, profound, transcendant ending to the story of lost people who were found, who were blind, yet now they see. I said this on the other thread, but last night I saw greatness.

    Truly, in the words of Chris Rice, “Love has the final move.”

  2. Ah, thank you for saying this. I couldn’t articulate why I was satisfied and felt joyful (and was crying) in a room with five others who were loathing it. I’m rereading _The Great Divorce_ shortly. (Another friend mentioned that book to me this morning.) Of course, I’ll start reading after I finish watching the finale again, solo, without the peanut gallery, at least one more time. 🙂 BTW, Vincent lying down beside Jack – WASTED me…

  3. Travis, you are way smarter than me. Some of your comments do bring me a round.

    But here is my central beef. Shoot me down here if I’m wrong.

    As storytellers, we present dilemmas, problems, obstacles and they constitute a contract with the audience.

    The writers emphasized the big questions/mysteries so much that it WAS that kind of a story, as well as a character story.

    The character story ended somewhat satisfactorily. But the mystery/event story was, in my view, a totally insufficient delivery on the very clear promise made to the audience.

    That’s why I think the finale was not satisfying, by and large.

  4. Not familiar with Deathly Hollows, or King’s Cross (yet) but I also started watching the show because of the characters names! The pilots previews made me laugh, ‘What a dumb idea’ Dumb… foounding.

    So closely echoes my own perspective on the ending, that it was just right. Smiles, tears, and all.

  5. SD, I am not way smarter than you. I just pretend to be, because it makes me feel better about myself 😉

    You raise a very good and important point. I need to give it more thought, but my initial response is: You can’t give answers to magic. And when the writers backed us all the way up into a full-blown mythology, of which they were only giving us a bit of the overall story, I knew we were never getting “answers” to the numbers and other such mysteries.

    It’s sort of like we’ve got The Lord of the Rings now, but we don’t have The Silmarillion. (Not that LOST touches LoTR, of course, but the parallel is sort of similar).

    And now 24 is back from commercial, so I’ll have to write more later.

  6. Glad to see I wasn’t the only one who got the CS Lewis vibe. (I was thinking about those moments in The Last Battle — further up and further in! — but Graytown’s a better analogy) I spent most of the show last night pounding my wife’s knee and saying, “This is right out of CS Lewis!” over and over.

    She was rightly annoyed. 😉

    There’s a few fans where I work who showed up confused this morning. I felt very satisfied with the ending, and Travis, you articulated the swarm of thoughts in my head better than I could have tried (like-named = like-minded?). Thanks for exercising your talents in regard to this show. (And thanks to Arabella for her thoughtful write-ups as well!)

    The sadness I feel is that there will likely never be anything like this on network television again. At least not for some time. This kind of storytelling usually belongs to books, but it was nice to see the tube carry this kind of wonder into our hearts, if only for a little while.

  7. Well said, Travis.

    One of the (many) reasons I loved the finale ties back to the lingering dread I had been having all season: although the mythology revelations this season (and last) have been cool, I was starting to doubt whether the writers could play out the Jacob/Man in Black saga in a way that cohesively involved all that we had seen in the previous seasons. It never dawned on me that the Epic Cosmic Struggle of Good vs Evil really wasn’t the point of the show after all! Sure, they managed to resolve that thread somewhat, but in the end, it really was all about the characters. Having seen the show through to the end, I can’t imagine it ending otherwise.

  8. Just stopping by to say a thousand thanks for this, Travis. Could not possibly have said it better. HP rose above all other young people’s series of our time for the same reasons LOST–even with its flaws– will tower above all other programs of its genre for a long time to come: the courage to take its characters through true eucatastrophe, to go for a “bold ending,” to embrace that no matter now much science we bring to bear on this universe, there will always be unfathomable mystery at its core.

  9. Don’t most mythologies resolve major story lines?

    And on magic: Doesn’t magic only make sense in stories when there is a cost, when it has meaning? It seems to me that magic must be explainable in a sense, and not in another. Because, in the least, magic without meaning is not very interesting.

    Characters striving without meaning (without what they accomplish, or don’t, mattering) also is a lot less interesting. Sacrifice matters because of real courage, not a vague idea of self-fulfillment and community.

    Or, put another way: If something matters it has to actually matter.

    Ten seconds away from…confusing myself. 🙂 Thanks for the insights, bro. Eager to hear you out.

  10. Maybe some viewers are too jaded for happy endings. I loved the finale. It left me with a warm glow to see so much reconciliation and joy. Reminds me of that Fra Angelico painting of angels and blessed spirits embracing in Paradise. (Vincent was the resident angel–like Don Bosco’s mysterious dog, who appeared when needed and disappeared when not needed.)

    There is a 12th C Irish story, “The Visions of Tondal” which is a tour of the afterlife. In it, Purgatory has different levels, for the Not Entirely Bad and the Not Entirely Good. Are our beloved characters going to Heaven or to another purifying stage? “Higher up and farther in,” at least. Christian Shepherd’s explanation only amplified what ghost Charlie said to Hurley in the asylum, that he was real and here, although dead.

  11. Don’t most mythologies resolve major story lines?

    The question, I suppose, is “What is the major storyline?” And I think the major storyline is simply, “What happens to these characters who stumble upon the very mythological heart of the world?”

    Doesn’t magic only make sense in stories when there is a cost, when it has meaning?

    I think it had both a cost and a meaning. This is sort of postmodern Romanticism. Think about the set-up: the spiritual light of the world exists outside human beings. There is a spiritual reality. It also exists inside human beings. The Light of the World holds back the darkness and prevents Hell from breaking loose all over the world, and humans play a gigantic role in this. While the majority of the world has forgotten this light, it’s not entirely extinguished, and it is still reality. When human beings, after long neglect, stumble upon it, they don’t appreciate it for what it is, but try to scientifically manipulate it. Even the peaceful hippies get it wrong. But the light was all along pointing to the reality of another world for which the castaways (and all humans) were made.

    That sounds like meaning to me! It’s the fairy tale protest against Enlightenment rationalism on 21st century postmodern television.

  12. And doesn’t the creation myth in the Bible do the same thing? Too much of the Christian religion emphasizes the failure of the proto-couple, and the subsequent “original sin” supposedly passed on. They let Smokey off the island, and it’s all been hell on earth every since.

    What gets lost in all that is something even more stunning: YHWH has made being in his image and given up a bit of his sovereignty so that they have the awesome and very real task of safeguarding the world from evil. Of course they fail, but the rest of the Bible is about Jacob’s…oops, I mean YHWH’s attempts to find another guardian who can put the smoke back in the bottle. According to the Bible, that is the awesome reality of every human being.

  13. I stopped reading after the Deathly Hallows reference in the first line. You can’t compare Harry Potter with Lost! Harry Potter had a clear story, with a single author. The Lost people made it all up as they went along. The fact that it reached any sort of coherent ending is a miracle in of itself.

  14. A lighter note, more on the mystery answers/speculation side.

    Someone above noted how touched they were by seeing Vincent lie beside Jack as Jack died. I’ve been pondering why they did this ever since last night. Here’s my theory: Vincent died in the crash, and his body was assumed by Jacob. Think about it. If you had to make a dog version of Jacob, it would look like Vincent.

    Vincent disappeared into the jungle in the Pilot, yet kept returning at significant times as if to keep an eye on the Losties. He is the first to welcome Jack to the island. He often led the Losties to significant finds or encounters on the island, things that moved them along their destined journey. In the finale we see him looking after Rose and Bernard. His footprints lead Locke to their hut; I believe intentionally to force the final showdown with Desmond at the cave. And finally, Vincent/Jacob comes back to comfort his successor in his death.

    What do you think?

  15. Ali, I was hardly trying to say that LOST is in the same league as Deathly Hallows. I’m just comparing the fan experiences and responses in the finales of both.

    Which you would have known if you’d read past the first line before commenting.

    That aside, I think it’s a big assumption that they just made it up as they went along, and even then, does that matter? Rowling is one style of writer: a careful planner and plotter. Several writers every bit as good as Rowling write in much the opposite way: they plunk characters down in a setting and see what they do as they’re writing.

  16. Plus writing for a TV series is maddeningly different from writing a novel. The writers are never completely in control. Until after season 3, the LOST producers had no idea when the series would end…or if it might be cancelled before it could end. Imagine trying to plot out story arcs in that situation. To say nothing of the pressures from the network and sponsors to continually ramp up the action and suspense to keep ratings up. That such a decent (on the whole) story as LOST could be produced on network TV is almost, well, magical.

  17. Yes! Which is why I qualify this as the closest thing I’ve seen to euchatastrophe on TV.

    Regarding your Jacob/Vincent theory … fascinating 🙂 I’m not sure what else to say about it. Jacob suggested we’d never see him again after that fire went out. So if that’s the case, then Vincent at the end couldn’t have been Jacob. I’d perhaps be a little hesitant to have a character who is so central to understanding the series’ message about humanity end up being less-than-human at the end. But given the Lewis/Narnia type references, a human-animal might not be out of the question.

  18. Travis (taj), thank you for your kind words about my recaps–they were an enjoyable challenge. My “Lewis thinking,” as each character was awakened, was an increasing, joyful “the inside is bigger than the outside!”

    Jensen’s recap (part 1) is up at EW.com, where he tackles disappointment. I also recommend Robzzz8’s at darkufo and Bigmouth’s at eyemsick.

    I saw a lot of courage over the season(s) and in the finale. Jack’s in fully letting go; Claire in accepting the challenge of becoming a real mom; Kate letting Jack go for good; Hurley taking on an unexpected and critically huge job of guarding the Source via the dirty jamba juice; Richard going out into the world; Ben’s humble acceptance of being number two; Rose’s and Bernard’s willingness to die to save Desmond. I’m sure there are more I’m not thinking of. Jack didn’t work alone to save our reality from cataclysm, he had a team that made it possible.

    And we can be sure, by the way, that the Island under Hurley became a much better, more fun place!

  19. Jensen rocks:

    It’s funny that so many people cynically bitch about Lost not having ”a master plan” — the Lost story is all about the folly of ”master plans.” Anyone who has ever had a master plan on this show has failed catastrophically. Mother. Jacob. The Man In Black. Ben. Charles Widmore. Jack. Sawyer.

    Did I not say postmodern? I said postmodern.

  20. Thanks for this Travis…good stuff!

    Lost the show is about these castaways. We experience the show through their confusion dealing with the layers of inhabitants and systems of man that have come before them. So I liked that, in a way, we mostly leave the island behind in the finale to see where these characters wind up. They spent this whole last season preparing us for it as the intricacies of the island boiled down into a classic battle of good vs. evil.

    Lost, the mythology will carry on. And in not answering all the stuff, Lost has given us a gift for years to come. This fun kind of discussion as we re-watch and make connections and get to talk about the Hurley bird, Miles’ gift, why Richard was afraid when child Locke chose the knife, who put the stone in the hole in the first place, etc.

    Loved where our characters ended up and can’t wait for the DVD extras! : )

  21. So many people have told me that I’ll love this show that I can’t help but add the whole thing to my netflix queue. Friends, family, randoms on Twitter, even a Relevant Radio host have all sung its praises for six years. And now you’ve convinced me further.
    I’m glad you enjoyed it so much!

  22. I followed a link from a FB comment thread to this post, and I have never watched an episode of Lost in my life, and your post made me tear up anyway. I’m bewildered by that [well not entirely – the piercing joy/pain of God’s indescribable love will do that], but well done anyway.

  23. I was going to say almost exactly what Julie just said, except that I’ve seen a handful of episodes (not including the finale). This is a beautiful post, especially the quote from Dumbledore and vindicating imagination and faith and spiritual reality (that’s exactly what Harry Potter did for me) and the later comment that “in these days, happy endings are bold.”

    It’s been years since I saw an episode, but even I was rooting for Jack and Kate. I’m glad to hear things went that way. Also, the thought of Ben getting redeemed is really a joyous surprise for me.

    Hmm. Now I actually want to watch the show. Maybe someday…

  24. Re: Vincent

    I’m not really sold on Vincent being Jacob. But if you remember, there was a short mobisode with Vincent that was set right after the original crash. In it, Christian Shephard appears to Vincent and sends him to go wake up Jack because “he has work to do.” This scene is especially interesting considering that The Man in Black was assuming Christian’s form (or so he said!). So maybe Vincent was taking orders from MiB on other occasions too? (Unknowingly, of course. A loyal dog like Vincent would NEVER willingly take orders from the powers of darkness!)

  25. Beautifully put. As a Lost fan who’s been there from the first moment of the pilot, I agree wholeheartedly. And I think some of the books that have been shown repeatedly in the series provided some great clues that this would be the way the series resolved its storyline.

    One of the more beautiful sequences, to my mind, was the transformation in Charlie as he sees and finds Claire. So very well done!

  26. I’m not persuaded that every appearance of Christian on the Island was MiB. The one that led Jack to the empty coffin and the one with Claire at the cabin certainly were but others have a different feel, such as the farewell to Michael before the explosion. I think some were the authentic ghost of Christian, which could the case in the brief scene with Vincent. (The producers said that Jacob takes no other form but himself on the Island.)

    Vincent is like an angel in that he is Jacob’s agent (angelos = messenger). What if Vincent died in the crash and Jacob restored him to life, “claiming” him as MiB did with Sayid and Claire? The same could be true of Aaron, who doesn’t kick for a day after the crash but revives when Claire eats a bit of Island food, the sea urchin meat given by Jin. That link to Jacob (not reincarnation) might explain Aaron’s odd sensitivities, like suddenly crying at the moment Charlie dies.

    Doc Jensen thinks that David is an artifact of Jack’s imagination but I suggest that he’s an Alt of Jack’s son by Kate, conceived the night before the Ajira flight.

  27. Perelandra: Very helpful insights on Vincent; thanks! If the producers said Jacob takes no other forms, then I’ll abandon my Vincent as Jacob theory. But I really like your idea that he was Jacobs angel/messenger. That would explain perhaps why Vincent lies down with the dying Jack. Jack was the new Jacob, and thus Vincent’s new master. I think that has a lot going for it.

  28. I’m not much of a LOST fan, but I did watch the last few episodes and the finale. I just wanted to say that I immediately thought “King’s Cross” in the penultimate scene with Jack and Christian. I mean…a father-(figure), thought dead, greeting a hero after HIS death, in a sort of ambiguous space (Graytown! Why didn’t I think of that resonance?), explaining the whole situation, leaving the final decision up to the hero in question…

  29. I made another Lewis connection with the finale–remember in The Last Battle, when they are in Narnia but it is MORE Narnia, and they can see England, but it is MORE England? That ended up being the Sideways world for me. They were in L.A. but it was MORE L.A. and they could be, choose to be, their best selves.

  30. Travis and Dana, I love the Lewis references, both Graytown and Narnia–especially the idea of Sideways L.A. being “more L.A.” Still too stunned to say much of anything else, other than a thank-you to the show’s writers and creators for not tying up all the loose ends and explaining everything. That’s always disappointing, for reasons Travis said more eloquently than I could.

    I just know that when a story leaves me feeling this way two days later, that was powerful story-telling.

    Oh, I was also glad for the Jimmy Kimmel show afterward, if anyone watched it. I needed some comic relief, and there were a couple of interesting things in the actor interviews. Terry O’Quinn didn’t know he was playing the Smoke Monster through the fifth season. Thought he was just playing a much more confident Locke. And Matthew Fox said he had been told from the beginning that the last frame of the show would be his eye closing.

  31. Travis,

    You summed up pretty much my experience of the Finale. I was very much into the mysteries until sometime in the 6th season, and then my perspective started to change as we came to understand that the most “godlike” characters (Richard, Jacob) were themselves fallible human beings working their way through their own interpretations of the mysteries. In the end, what mattered most I think was not answers to the mysteries of the island but answers to the characters. It was enough that the island was a place where they could get a new start and be transformed.

    As a Ben fan, I was desperately hoping by the end of “What They Died For” that Ben had a plan to betray Smokey, that he had killed Widmore mainly because Widmore was betraying Jacob’s plan to destroy Smokey, and that Ben would be redeemed. In the end, it did not matter to me at all what Ben’s motivation had been when he made those choices. What mattered was that in a moment of instinct, he saved Hugo’s life. When the island was going down, he chose to go down with it. When Hugo asked him for help, he humbly offered it.

    And those choices and (I assume) the life he lived on the island as Hugo’s valued #2 are, I think, what transformed him into the man in Sideways who is reconciled with the father he murdered, who gives up his selfish ambition in order to protect Alex, and who protects and contritely reconciles with John Locke, another man he murdered. Even Ben got another chance on the island, and he took it. He wasn’t ready to move with the survivors on but he will move on when he is ready. They redeemed Ben beyond my wildest dreams.

    In the end, it wasn’t the mysteries or what a particular character’s motive was in a particular instance that mattered but the character’s ultimate destination. And since that ultimate destination is essentially spiritual in nature, it’s appropriate (I think) that the island itself remained Mystery.

    As for particulars… I was never committed to Jate or Skate, but I was a total believer in Suliet. 🙂

    And yes, King’s Cross and Graytown were exactly what I was thinking about Sideways.

  32. As for Jacob / Vincent – One thing the producers have said is that Jacob does not appear as other people. Of course, they never said he could not appear as a dog. But I think it’s Vincent, being Vincent.

    I think it would be more significant for it to be Vincent anyway, since Jack has had a relationship with Vincent from his first moments on the island.

    (No, I don’t believe Vincent – or any other survivors – died in the crash of Oceanic 815)

  33. I’m rewatching the last 30 minutes of the finale and just noticed what I’m sure was another intentional literary parallel.

    After the battle with Locke/MIB is over, Hurley half carries the badly-weakened Jack back to the Cave of Light.

    Frodo carrying Sam up the last bit of Mt. Doom.

    Strengthening the association is Hurley/Sam’s anguish and denial over Jack/Frodo’s acceptance that he might be about to die, and the latter’s urging that if that happens, the former must carry on the mission.

  34. I’m making a guess about Vincent but I still think he’s been affected by Jacob in some way. As for Aaron, an eighth-month baby who does move for 24 hours is in serious distress if not dead. Claire’s first bite of Island food triggers his revival/resuscitation.

  35. Travis, why do you say “It’s the best television can possibly come to creating a eucatrastrophe, a “sudden joyous turn.”” Why do you not say it was a eucatastrophe? How did the finale deviate from or be less than Tolkein’s definition?

    I know Shannon and Sayid didn’t work for probably a lot of people; on the Island, it didn’t work for me, either. Still, I predicted this outcome, and the reason, and was delighted by it. On the Island, Locke told Shannon that she could reinvent herself. Sayid was also seeking redemption after torturing Sawyer. In Sideways, Sayid had to let go of Nadia, as well as others’ beliefs about himself. Both characters represented second chances, one of the main themes of Lost.

    As for the mysteries, God is a mystery. Every person is a mystery. Life is a mystery. How it all works–and doesn’t work–is a mystery. And Lost wasn’t afraid to show that or to not keep things tidy. “The inside is bigger than the outside,” indeed!

    Good LotR catch, Mark Traphagen.

    Lostpedia has a good users’ post-finale interview (on subjects outside the story) with Team Darlton (http://lostpedia.wikia.com/wiki/The_Lostpedia_Interview:Q%26A_with_Damon_and_Carlton). I was especially interested in these:

    Lostpedia: What’s your advice for people who want to break into television writing and/or would someday like to be a television show runner like the two of you?

    Read, read, read! So much of LOST is based on our shared love for the great stories of our childhood (Narnia for Carlton, Oz for Damon) and young adulthood (Stephen King!)… getting the opportunity to create your own show and run it is a combination of perseverance, luck and knowing the right person… but once you’ve managed those things, you need to draw on STORY. So hit the books, dammit!

    Lostpedia: Carlton, I read that you worked with Robert Coles at Harvard. When I was a child, I was interviewed for Coles’ research regarding the way that children perceive God. Did your work with Coles influence your contributions to the Lost Story? And which one of you is the C.S. Lewis fan?

    Carlton: Coles had a huge influence on me. He was my mentor in college. One of the courses he taught was called Moral and Social Inquiry and in it we read many great writers, including James Agee, Flannery O’Connor, and Walker Percy. The course and much of Coles teaching was centered on the question: how does one lead a life? What matters as we make our way on our journey? Those questions and that inquiry has stuck with me. Coles also helped cement my desire to be a writer and taught me one of the first and the most valuable lessons about writing, which was — WRITE. Do it daily; do it on a schedule. I later learned that almost all the writers I admired do this.

  36. As for the mysteries, God is a mystery. Every person is a mystery. Life is a mystery. How it all works–and doesn’t work–is a mystery. And Lost wasn’t afraid to show that or to not keep things tidy. “The inside is bigger than the outside,” indeed!

    Exactly. That’s what I was trying to say with the notion that I think it’s ultimately appropriate that the island remained Mystery. LOST is ultimately about a transcendent reality, and Mystery is at the core of transcendent reality. As you say, “God is a mystery.” I come from a tradition that’s not afraid of Mystery, so I’m not having a hard a time with this Finale. I think it was a very courageous resolution.

  37. But even Mysteries are meant to convey something….

    Mr. Saksena makes my point more elegantly and without my irritatign trademark sarcasm.

  38. A Mystery that is fully transcendent can never be adequately explained. It can only be entered into and experienced. IMO, The Island was explained as fully as it ever needs to be.

  39. Thank you for this, Travis. It’s nice to have someone better equipped put my thoughts into writing. Haha. What’s so amazing to me is how you also thought of King’s Cross and Dumbledore’s great line, because that’s IMMEDIATELY where my brain went as the show ended.

    And Sayid and Shannon… no. Not in a million years.

  40. I was actually touched by Sayid and Shannon in the end. LOVED Ben and Hurley together; I really thought they’d end up in some kind of partnership and am so glad they did. And Vincent… very touching. Great finale!

  41. For those of us who loved the finale, this video might help shed light on why some were disappointed.


    I think once you strip away the silly questions just to be funny, the irrelevant questions, the questions that weren’t answered but don’t need an answer, and the questions he asks that have good or at least plausible answers if you spend a few minutes thinking about it, there are very few legitimate questions that remain.

    Still, it is obvious they were introducing ideas and mysteries they completely dropped. Like I said, this doesn’t bother me, and as Mark noted, TV writing is difficult and this kind of thing is bound to happen. But for what it’s worth, it might help some of us who loved it get better perspective on those who did not.

  42. Surely someone has already brought this up, but it hit me last night that our Core Four are like THE WIZARD OF OZ–Damon Lindelof’s childhood fave. Sawyer = Tinman (self-destructive), Kate = Dorothy, Jack = Cowardly Lion, Hurley = Scarecrow (who end up ruling the Emerald City) So is the Wizard Ben or Jacob? Smokey’s problem with water parallels the Wicked Witch, whom Dorothy kills.

  43. Great piece, Travis. The characters are what first hooked me to the show. Then I got into the mystery. But by the end, it was mostly about the characters again so I was pleased with the ending.

  44. Had a thought that Juliet died because she couldn’t trust Sawyer’s love, although she accepted it just as she was dying. She was dragged into a deadly pit by a “snake of chains” symbolizing the fetters of her past. (Desmond and Jack entered willingly and survived their ordeal.) Yet Sawyer’s rage and despair made his reconciliation with Jack more powerful.

    I’m still so glad she wound up with Sawyer!

  45. This is the best commentary I’ve read on the finale on the negative side. It’s from a former fan, so it’s much more meaningful than anything I could ever scribble down.

    It’s very respectful of the opposite opinion, and begins “If you enjoyed the finale of Lost, I’m not writing this to challenge your taste. You have nothing to apologize for, or defend….” I couldn’t agree more with that statement. The claim that the LOST series is anything more than a tabula rasa [thx real J. Locke] onto which each fan’s beliefs may be projected is what I dispute. I have contended from the get-go that it is merely a very good implementation of the primetime soap opera model.

    But I believe the series is a downright success in TV terms. I mean, I bought 2 seasons of DVD box sets for my wife, and I hated it. So congrats to them.

  46. Since Jughead didn’t go off (see Jeff Jensen’s two-part recap at EW.com), Pierre Chang remembered meeting his son Miles. Therefore he knew that time travel worked. I wonder how this affected Dharma’s experiments.

    Jensen writes wonderfully about why Jack “created” David–so Jack could be the kind of dad he’d longed for, thus working out his daddy issue. But I wonder if Jack also created David to be a forgiving and companionable father figure (David was awfully accommodating). I wonder if Jack was a very talented pianist like David and gave it up because of his father, becoming a doctor instead. So why did Juliet create David?

    I’m wondering if compassionate Ghost Christian in Jack’s hospital and on the frieghter was Sideways Christian (remember Christian told Michael, “you can go now”–kind of close to “you can let go, now”) What about Boone in Locke’s dream in S3? Dogen at the recital? They seemed to be pretty knowledgeable.

    Several people agree with me about Sayid and Shannon. Shannon is kind of a failed character because she wasn’t developed as she should have been. She was two-dimensional obnoxious for too long, without a backstory; we see only a bit of vulnerability, but not enough to make us like her. When we finally do see her backstory, she becomes more understandable and sympathetic, but is then killed in that episode. We don’t get to see her work through redemption and relationship with the others. How was Shannon any worse than the others, or different, really, from Sawyer? Both were angry, snotty people with parent issues, taking out their mad by using others with their bodies, and withholding. Sawyer did a lot more harm to people. I wish we had seen Shannon and Sayid’s love play out more fully.

    The only thing I was really keen to learn about was why Ben had Sayid kill those Widmore associates, “to keep your people safe.” Was this just Ben’s lying and self-serving revenge against Charles for Alex? Did Ben not want Charles to bring them back to the Island if he couldn’t be there, too? Or were they actually dangerous to the castaways and how?

    My enthusiastic feelings about the Finale have not waned.

  47. Arabella, great articulation of what is right with the Sayid / Shannon romance. A shame we weren’t able to really see the whole story there. And yes, I’m inclined to say that the people Sayid killed actually were dangerous…

  48. Erin, I can’t read your blog without signing in. Is it closed now to those who don’t? I want to read your recap and check out more of your song parodies that I couldn’t squeeze in.

  49. Arabella, did you just try it recently? I changed my settings briefly earlier in the week, but I changed them back so you should be able to look at it now.

    I don’t have a recap, though – I still haven’t been able to quite muster the energy…

  50. ABC is showing the LOST finale again tonight (for those who missed it, or missed recording it, as I did–hooray!) and also the Jimmy Kimmel Aloha to LOST, afterward.

  51. Thanks for the tip-off about it being on ABC again. I just got home in time to watch the last hour but I got to see what is finally my favorite scene, Hurley realizing that he’s in charge of the Island now, Ben accepting his leadership, and Hurley asking Ben to help him.

    “I think you’ll do what you do best – take care of people.”

    Gets me right *here*…

  52. I’m so excited about the extended Hurley and Ben on the Island segment detailing the years with them in charge. I’m unclear though – is that on the season six DVD or do you have to buy the boxed set? I got the impression it was the latter, and if that’s the case that’s really lame… I’m definitely buying season six but I’m not too keen on buying all six season when I have the first five already.

  53. Cheryl, it looks like Lostpedia has updated the page; it’s very similar to what I saw. It says redirected, so this is it.

    Erin, I googled around, and at tvfanatic, I found this posted today. Hope it’s true:

    “Lost fans will likely debate this show’s finale for years to come.
    But there’s no controversy when it comes to Lost: The Complete Sixth and Final Season. It comes to DVD on August 24 and is a must-have for viewers, containing an epilogue that focuses on Ben and Hurley’s time as island protectors.
    Based on an ABC press release, here’s a look at what else the box set will include:
    • All sixth season episodes
    • Bloopers and deleted scenes
    • Audio commentaries for four episodes (LA X, Dr. Linus, Ab Aeterno and Across The Sea)
    • The End: Crafting A Final Season – Producers and crew members examine the challenges of ending a landmark series.
    • A Hero’s Journey – Questions that are explored include: What makes a hero? Which survivors of Oceanic 815 are true heroes?
    • See You In Another Life, Brotha – This feature unlocks the mysteries of this season’s flash sideways.
    • LOST on Location – Behind-the-scenes feature showcasing stories from the set, including all-new interviews with actors and crew.
    • PLUS: A LOST Blu-Ray & DVD exclusive – Go deeper into the world of LOST with a much-anticipated new chapter of the island’s story from Executive Producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse.”

  54. Ahhhh. Now that’s what I like to see! 😀

    (Though I have looked into the Eye of the Boxed Set, and what I saw… was beautiful. Must. Resist. Superfluous. Purchases!)

  55. I just watched the finale so I’m a little late to join this discussion, but here are some of my thoughts.

    I think that when Jacob threw his brother down to the heart of the island it resulted in a sort of splintering of control of the island. Because they were twin brothers and Jacob took over the island in conjunction with an act of violence it led to two competing forces vying for control of the happenings on the island.
    One of the great themes of Lost is the struggle between black and white, but in the end I think the writers are trying to point us to a third way.
    Jacob represents order, rules, and law. He manipulates and brings people to the island and he doesn’t let them leave. He takes individuals and gives them a purpose to fulfill, as an individual. He asks the question “Who are you?”
    The Man in Black represents chaos and violence. He turns people against one another and believes in the purity (or unavoidable nature) of conflict. (in a related note, maybe the reason he didn’t kill Mr. Ecko the first time was that he thought he could use Ecko to create more conflict, but as Ecko was making peace with his past and building the church it was clear he was heading in a different direction, so the second time the Smoke Monster killed him.) The MIB asks the question “what do you want.”
    In the end both of these philosophies fail because they are inwardly focused. That is why with The Man in Black being killed and things being put back to rights through Jack’s self sacrifice the heart of the island (the inverse of Jacob’s violence in the beginning) Control of the island is reunified in Hurley, the one character who throughout the series is focused on helping others.
    The final scene drives home the fact that community was the point the whole time, but none of the people were ever able to trust each other and actually ‘live together’ so in life most of them ‘died alone’ but in death they are finally reconciled fully to one another and to their past.
    I’ve recently been watching the sci-fi show Babylon 5 and there are very strong parallels between Jacob and the Vorlons and the MiB and the Shadows in that show.

  56. Great thoughts, Matt. I’m really interested to know what Island life under Hurley’s rule looks like. I wonder too if he might have the power to release the trapped Island spirits like Michael. Given their conversation a couple episodes ago, and Hurley’s generally forgiving nature, I would think he would want to.

    I’ve been seeing a lot of comparisons to Babylon 5 in the past week. I’ve never seen it but am starting to think it ought to go on my list…

  57. I hope everyone knows that the scenes of the plane wreckage over the credits were tacked on by ABC and wasn’t part of the finale story. They were oblivious (!) that LOST fanatics would be combing over everything for clues.

  58. Arabella, I love your parenthetical exclamation point. Seriously, how could they not expect us to obsess over the possible significance of that footage?? 😛

  59. Okay, something’s been bothering me. When Jack looks in the mirror in LAX and the finale, he sees the wound on the left side of his neck. However, when he receives that wound from Smocke, it’s on the right side of his neck. Thoughts?

  60. Arabella, You are looking at a mirror image, so you have to think opposite side. It is the same wound on the same side of his neck — on the viewer’s left as you look at it in the mirror, on the viewer’s right as you look directly at Jack.

  61. Marion, in LA X we stand behind Jack as he looks into the plane mirror. Flesh Jack has the wound on the left side of his neck (Mirror Jack on the right side). I haven’t rewatched the finale yet (goofed the DVR, but recorded Saturday’s replay), but believe the S/Jack wound is still on his left side as he looks again into a mirror, increasing in size. Smocke sticks Jack on right side. I think this is a clue about what some call the mirror reality. I’ve not seen anyone address this.

  62. I think that’s kinda what I’m thinking – that it’s a sort of “mirror reality” and so the wound is on the opposite side. I’m trying to remember which side his scar was on when he noticed it early in the season and asked his mom about it. Was it the opposite side of where Smokey stabbed him?

  63. The location of the wound threw me for a minute when I saw it happened, and I had to convince myself that it was on the same side. It is in the same location — it is on Jack’s left which would be the viewer’s right as we look at Jack face-to-face. When we looked at him in the mirror we the viewer saw it on the left from our vieweing perspective, which is still on Jack’s left. Look again — it is consistent.

  64. Ah, thank you Marian! The stab was on the left, as I remembered, but I forgot that we saw Jack upside down. Mystery solved! Now, about the others….

  65. This is so three years ago, but I still find myself curious as to what exactly happened with Juliet’s ex-husband. Was his death orchestrated by Richard (or Ethan or Jacob)? Was it pure coincidence? Is there some other explanation? For half of season three, I was only able to think of Richard as “that guy who got Juliet’s ex-husband hit by a bus”. And then I started seeing him differently. But I still wonder if my initial assessment was somewhat legit….

  66. Never mind – I guess I found my answer, though I’m sure I’ve consulted Lostpedia on this before so this must be a recent addition…

    In a recent interview Nestor Carbonell revealed that Richard was responsible for the death of Edmund by having the bus run him over.

    Darn. Ah, well. It isn’t as though he wasn’t a multiple murderer already…

  67. Thanks for bringing this up, Erin. I’d been wondering about that bus “accident” , too. But this answer is like all other Lost answers–it leads me to another question. Was Richard acting on Jacob’s orders? Smokey posing as Jacob?

    I still have problems with this, obviously.

  68. Right – or was it Ben’s orders? Ben seems like the one so obsessed with the baby problem, plus he had a crush on Juliet, though I would assume that developed after her arrival, unless he specifically tracked down somebody who had both the skills he was looking for and the attributes he was seeking in a girlfriend… Then again, there was a Burke on Jacob’s wheel, number 58. And yet we conspicuously didn’t see Jacob touch her. So I’m pretty muddled about all that.

    I do recall that Richard didn’t seem to think much of all the fertility experiments, so though he went to great lengths to convince Juliet to come, he wasn’t totally sold on it himself. Maybe that’s part of the reason he seemed so ticked off when he was discussing it with John in The Brig; at the time he felt like Juliet was so important that he could bring himself to kill Edmund to snag her, but he gradually came to decide that he orchestrated that crash for nothing.

    On a similar note, I can’t help wondering what changed between 1977 and 1992 to make Richard and/or Charles (and/or Jacob) decide that Dharma needed to be eliminated. Seems like if they were going to wipe them out they would have done it when they started digging the Swan. So did they not know about it, and that’s why it was left alone when the rest of Dharma was purged? Or was it deemed important that the button continue to be pushed? And was Richard maybe worried that Dharma was going to try to gas the Others, so he turned it around on them? I still find the Purge pretty troubling…

  69. Yes, the purge is extremely troubling. I keep thinking if I rewatch the series (which I’ve started doing), things will make more sense in light of what I know now. I also keep telling myself that people did things in Jacob’s name when they were actually being led astray by the Man in Black. But I may not find any more answers the second time around.

    Good point, Erin, about Richard possibly being under no one’s orders but Ben’s.

  70. Thanks, Robin. 🙂

    One thing that’s been nagging at me a bit is Michael. Why is he trapped on the Island and Sayid isn’t? And Keamy, for crying out loud? But I think the answer is that I’m being thrown off by Michael’s apparent absence in the Sideways. My guess? He’s there, we just never saw him, and he’s got more stuff to work through. And – Keamy and Sayid and a whole bunch of other folks who’ve done bad stuff are stuck on the Island, and Hurley will do something during his tenure as ruler that will allow them to move on. Though Keamy will learn he was better off stuck in Island limbo…

    There was a moment in the finale, just after we saw MiB as a plain old mortal for the first time, and he realized it, when I thought that we might get an Anakin moment after all. I still kinda think Hurley, deep down, thought it might happen too. I’d been hoping for it, and there was this sort of look on his face that made me think that, un-Smokified, the horror of all he’d done might all come rushing to him and he’d repent, or he’d sort of come to as if emerging from a 2000-year nightmare, totally confused. Alas, no hint of repentance.

    It makes me sad because I like the nameless brother and really think he wasn’t a bad guy per se before he killed his mom and then turned into a monster. And I love Jacob, and while he seems to have been totally unaware of the Sideways, I’m sure he made it there. But then what? The poor guy’s never going to find any measure of peace knowing that he condemned his brother, the one relationship in his life that was most important to him, even after all those years of enmity. Or maybe he and Smokey are trapped on the Island together, and they’ll go on discussing their issues until the day the Island goes down…

    On a side note, have any of you seen this video? It’s a hip-hop tribute to LOST, and it’s absolutely epic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iggE4ImYwyc

  71. Read up on The Purge at Lostpedia. In the article, click on the Truce link, to read about that and Dharma’s many violations, including building the Swan. This helped me understand a lot. After the Incident, the Others had no choice but to be button-pushers.

    Great insight about Sayid being trapped for a time on the Island, because how were Michael’s crimes worse? I agree that Hurley may have been very helpful to Sayid in working through his stuff. Keamy, I don’t know, I bet he’s the last whisperer there, aaall alone, pining for omelets.

  72. Since we saw Keamy in the Sideways, I figure he must’ve moved on at some point; I imagine he would’ve been anxious to get outta there and jumped at whatever opportunity arose. I don’t believe Sayid would have been able to kill Kate or Jin or Jack or just about anybody else, but I think there was a bullet in Sideways world with Keamy’s name on it, and Sayid just wound up being the one to pull the trigger. I certainly don’t condone most of his violent acts, but that one, especially looking back on it now, felt positively providential. If I had to compile a top 5 list of characters I most loathe from all fictional worlds I’ve embraced, I can honestly say without reservation that Keamy would be on it…

    I definitely find Lostpedia helpful. I guess it’s mostly the timing that confuses me; it seems weird that it would have happened so much later when all of these violations had been occurring for years. I guess that’s at least cause to applaud Richard for really trying to avoid Dharmacide as long as he could… On a side note, I dig his printing! 😉

  73. Dang, I can’t find this, but the very end is a 108-second reversal of the very beginning of S1-1 with Jack. Wherever it was (I was combing through so much material and can’t seem to Google it), you could compare the videos side by side. Anyone got this?

  74. I *finally* got around to watching the last episode.

    I was not dissappointed :3

    To point out: Christian said that *everything* was real (I smiled when he said that, reminded of HP’s ending with Dumbledore ^_^ ).

    My favourite part of the episode was Ben outside and apologizing (he has apologized before, but you could tell he didn’t really mean it…). This time, you could see in his eyes that he meant it, not because he had to, but because he truly felt sorry for his actions.

    Another thing to point out: Hurley’s two invitations to Ben (to be his #2 and to come inside). If you recall, back when we first met Ben as himself (the leader of the ‘others’) he asked for Michael to bring specific people with him in order to have his son back. Hurley was in that group, then ‘rejected’ (in a way) and sent back. I think it really says a lot of Hurley’s character that he is willing to offer Ben another chance.

    My sister didn’t get it…she now hates LOST 🙁
    I tried to explain to her that where they are is just before heaven, there is no time and that all die eventually….but she didn’t get it (“What? Did they die when they blew up the island?! When they crashed the plane?” Nononononoo! >.< ).

    I just want to thank-you guys for the commentary, and I know I will probably end up buying the series when it comes out, so maybe there will be a rewatch-through in the future 😉

  75. Jessica, the Ben stuff, especially in conjunction with Hurley, was my favorite part too. And, boy did I cheer when Frank showed up!

    My good friend was very disappointed in the finale too. “LOST lied to me for six seasons,” she told me. And “They all died!” “But,” I countered, “they all lived!” But I don’t think she quite believed Christian about it all being real. I don’t know if she’s ever read Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge – which was referenced on LOST – but I get the sense she’s worried that’s what happened – that the whole Sideways happened in the blink of an eye as Jack was dying, and was just a coping mechanism for him and was not legit at all.

    But I believe Christian. And yes, I do think everything in the Sideways was real as well as the Island stuff, though I don’t quite know what to make of David. And I’m pretty sure it was specifically the church that Christian was referring to when he talked about “a place you built together so you could find each other”. And that’s why there were remnants of so many different religions in that room, I suppose, though we never really found out much about the religious beliefs of several of the people in that church.

    I’m anxious to do a rewatch too, though a friend of mine has season one so I’m gonna have to wait, or maybe start with season two and then go back…

  76. Just watched the finale again and have a little something to say. Please check my blog. Would love to have Lost experts there 🙂

    Travis Would you elaborate more on formatting in the Rules section? Not just making bold characters but other things such as hyper-linking?

  77. Pankaj said: “Travis said: You can’t give answers to magic.

    But, oh, Rowling gives all the answers in Harry Potter…”

    Not to magic, no. It’s never explained where the magic comes from, it’s unlimited (which seems impossible).
    Rowling may have explained the ‘story’ aspects, but she didn’t explain the origins. With LOST’s magic (ironically), most want to know where this power comes from (ie. who/what formed the island? who was Jacob’s and MIB’s ‘mother’? was she the first? etc.), but that would be an origin of the power.
    An example of a *bad* explanation of power:
    The Force (“It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together.” Very Mystical and almost God-like) = Midichlorians (“Midi-chlorians are a microscopic lifeform that reside within all living cells and communicate with the Force. … Without the midi-chlorians, life could not exist, and we would have no knowledge of the Force. They continually speak to you, telling you the will of the Force.”)

    Not 100% “equal” but it get’s my point across.
    What if Rowling had done something similar to explain where magic comes from….or the writers on LOST for that matter? :S

  78. Travis I understand that the writers of long running dramas have problems, but its not impossible to bridge the gaps.

    Prison Break is an example of perfect writing. There was not a single loose end and every little bit of mystery was solved. It ran for 4 seasons which is not that short a period.

    I guess the mysteries were left open-ended in ‘Lost’ on purpose, as I said in my post due to the obligatory postmodern compulsions.

  79. I’ll have to read your recaps later. I want to get this out of my hair at the moment.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about Sideways and the psychological aspect of what the castaways created for themselves there to work out unresolved issues. For one thing, most gave themselves support systems:

    Jack had an ex-wife with whom he had a friendly relationship (unlike Sarah); a son with whom he could both let go of his warped view of himself from his dad and break the bad daddy chain as the better father; a sibling relationship with Claire, and confidence as a doctor, fixing people (and himself) in a healthy way.

    Locke had the relationship he’d lost with Helen, and a good relationship with his father, which ended before Cooper could harm him (and Cooper was in the wheelchair for life). Locke eschews belief, which had frustrated and disappointed him so many times, for an acceptance of “what I can do.”

    Kate was innocent, though on the run. She connected with Claire, someone who really did need her (vs. her mother) and brought out Kate’s softer side

    Hurley, instead of disrespected and depressed, was prosperous, a beloved community figure, and met Libby. Yet he was the same Hurley, taking care of others, without prejudice toward others’ weaknesses.

    Claire was never separated from Aaron and was taken in by her half-brother Jack and nephew David as family; she gained a friend in Kate.

    Sawyer was a good guy instead of a con, and had a tough-love friend in his partner Miles. He began to see how empty his life was.

    Jin and Sun never had a bad marriage, separation, trust issues, or fertility problems. They escaped Paik, and had a fresh start ahead, with a child on the way.

    Ben, instead of a “who cares” guy, was a good person, teacher, and son. He was a friend to Locke, a mentor/father figure to Alex, and a potential suitor to Danielle, all of whom died because of him. Ben got to have the meaningful life denied him on the Island and apply his intelligence in the right ways.

    Juliet got to be the doctor she wanted to be, with healthy mothers and babies. She had a cordial relationship with first husband Jack (no wishing for buses here); she also had a loved and loving son.

    Desmond had the father/son relationship he’d desired with Widmore and no chaotic past, with the promise of a relationship with Penny. We can assume Widmore would approve.

    Daniel got to have a more normal life with both an attentive mother and father, a relationship with his half-sister Penny. He lived out his dream of being a musician and also attracted Charlotte, the girl of his dreams.

    Miles had a good relationship with his dad (I think we can assume his parents were still married), had a friend in James, no dead people thing, and an unnamed girlfriend (who I suspect was Naomi).

    Alex was raised by her mother and had a normal life. She had a full life, a future, and a father figure in Dr. Linus.

    Charles and Eloise were married and raised their son together (we don’t know how happy they were); Charles and Penny seemingly had a good relationship.

  80. Yes – everybody was a lot less lonely in their Sideways versions, especially as they discovered each other. Nice to see those meaningful Island relationships playing out in very everyday sorts of ways in the Sideways. I do kinda like the idea of Miles and Naomi; I wonder if they’ll ever tell us who his girlfriend is?

    One thing I’m a little curious about is Hurley’s ghostly visitations. Were those visitors coming from beyond the other side of the door? Because Sideways Charlie only knew who he was for a few hours before he left, and AnaLucia still had a ways to go before enlightenment… And then, I guess, there’s the fact that they were all in 2004, while Charlie visited Hurley for the first time in… 2005? 2006? I’m not sure. Then again, there is no “now” there, so do years really matter?

  81. Nope, they don’t. Because “it only has to end once, everything else is just progress.” Charlie was enlightened when he visited Hugo. Ana Lucia was when she pulled Hugo over, even though she wasn’t yet in the Sideways we saw.

    I particularly love that Mr. “Who Cares?” Ben became a caring man to those who died because of him, three murdered by him (I consider Alex in that category).

    JOpinionated’s recap is good; you might want to check it out.

  82. Thanks, Arabella. I agree, Jo’s finale recap is great – both of them. I stumbled upon her blog this time last year during the Great LOST Rewatch that I intended to participate in. I dropped the ball there, but she’s remained one of my favorite LOST bloggers.

  83. Speaking of Alex, do you think that Keamy knew who she was when he killed Danielle and Karl – that he picked them off to goad her into confessing her connection? Or was he just randomly shooting people in the jungle? I find both equally plausible… What I’m most curious about with that situation, I think, is whether Widmore specifically suggested targeting Alex to get to Ben. I always kinda figured that was a last-minute Keamy improvisation.

    I also wonder what Charles’ further intentions were once he had Ben. This was before his alleged conversion, so I’m curious whether he just intended to depose Ben or whether he did indeed plan to kill everyone on the Island, as Ben claimed. One does suspect that if you hire somebody like Keamy to do your dirty work, you probably aren’t too concerned about collateral damage.

    Smokey agreed not to kill Rose and Bernard if Desmond would come with him – though he also thought the Island was going to sink, so he didn’t think they’d have much of a life left. And as horrible as he was, I still feel like he had a sliver more humanity than Keamy. Even he, for instance, seemed to have a soft spot for kids, while Karl and Alex were barely more than kids and Keamy didn’t bat an eye.

    If Ben had gone peacefully, would Keamy have left Alex, Hurley, John, Sawyer and everybody else alone? Or would he have still gone ahead with his “torch the Island” plan? Ben does share in the blame for his daughter’s death, and probably Charles does too. But I’m not at all convinced that Keamy wouldn’t have killed her even if Ben had surrendered.

  84. Aarrgh. I forgot Charlie’s Sideways. Driveshaft was still popular and Liam appeared to be part of it (re his being at the police station). Unfortunately, Charlie was still a junkie. Like Kate, his life wasn’t improved very much.

  85. Seriously – Charlie drowns himself for everybody and that’s the thanks he gets? But once he and Claire finally connected methinks the heroin went out the window. Liam was in the finale, but I wish they would’ve given him a line; if it hadn’t been for seeing his name on the credits I doubt I would’ve noticed he was on the stage.

  86. Speaking of Kate, she narrowly escaped a long prison sentence once. Now she’s got a major parole violation to deal with. So is she heading for the hills the minute she reaches civilization, or is she about to get tossed in jail again?

  87. I’ve been wondering about Kate, as well as the other returning Ajira passengers. First, I was surprised that she got aboard Ajira. She must have gotten fake documents (another crime!), but her only disguise is dark glasses?? You’d have thought she’d have to do better than that, given her high profile with the public and police. How does she manage to not be caught during another high profile return?

    So Frank lands the plane. The world doesn’t know it was saved by these people. How does Captain Frank explain the Ajira crash and all his missing passengers, including the high profile Jack, Hurley (who mysteriously bought up so many tickets), Sun, and Sayid, with no legal, traceable landings? Explain returning with long “dead” Oceanic crash victims Sawyer and Claire? The presence of Miles and Richard? How do they explain themselves?

    Ah, sweet mystery . . . .

  88. That said, we know Kate is the critical factor to you all everybody, kind of the glue. She will buffer Sawyer’s reconnection with Cassidy and their daughter, and still be Aunt Kate to Clementine. She’ll help Claire adjust and reunite with Aaron and her mother, and be auntie to Aaron. She’ll be Sawyer’s lifelong friend, and probably Richard’s and Miles’ friend, too. She’ll explain to Hurley’s parents, and maybe something to Sun’s mother. She’ll probably talk with Walt about Michael’s heroic death, what the Island was, and the fate of the rest. I don’t envy her these tasks.

  89. Ah, good point about Kate being the glue. I can definitely see that! I still find myself wishing Sun had given Claire that ring, but I guess it’s not a big deal. It just would’ve been a nice thing for her to hang onto, or to return to Liam if she so chose. If Kate’s going to be the one making all these connections, I’d love for her to get ahold of Jin’s dad too, but I doubt she’ll be able to since nobody else knew about him. Unless maybe Jin’s mom shows up again when she goes to Korea. Assuming she can go to Korea.

    The first time I watched the finale, I was thinking in very metaphysical terms, and imagining Frank flying that plane and it somehow getting sucked up into a vortex and spitting them up in the Sideways, or maybe in the case of Richard and Frank (who we never saw in the Sideways), the other side of the portal.

    But no, they just landed in Guam, or someplace else, and went on with their ordinary lives. Except, as you say, they’re bound to be rather complicated now. How the heck do they explain it all? Will Frank be hailed as another Captain Sully or will he be blamed for the deaths of all those poor Redshirts who bought tickets before Hurley could? And what are they going to make of Richard? Will he end up back on Tenerife? Or just go back to his Mittelos position? I suppose he had some papers drawn up so he could do that… But anyway, kinda odd to think about what might lie ahead for them. And funny to think that if they’d just stayed on the Island, things would’ve been a lot less complicated… 😛

    Any chance we’ll see Rose, Bernard and Vincent in this Ben and Hurley on the Island segment? Those are the only three other (living) characters we know for sure are still there. Though I have a feeling Cindy and the kids are too, and a few other random Others…

  90. Agreed! Thanks, Travis, and Arabella too! Being able to confer here afterward definitely enhanced my season six experience. 😎

  91. Interesting answers. I’ve seen a couple of these, and I think I agree with how he answered more than how the others I’ve read answered. I considered trying to answer them myself but a lot of them make my head hurt too much… But I will say that I don’t think it was an arbitrary choice as to who else “survived” the plane crash. Boone and Charlie died heroically, in an attempt to help their fellow castaways, while Libby was a kind and compassionate presence until she was murdered as an innocent bystander. So I think Jack, or maybe all of them, felt it fitting to honor them in that way, and possibly open the doors of communication a bit with their families.

  92. Just going through some of Bigmout’s answers. I liked most of his answers about Walt, however I’ve always felt that it wasn’t actually Walt at the computer, but someone pretending to be him to lure Michael. I loved the psychic adoption scam–a great speculation that satisfies my ongoing curiosity about Mr. Fraud Psychic.

    I stand by my theory that Smokey wanted the candidates to remain long enough to find his loophole person. If the cave wasn’t any secret to him, he quickly learned that a bunch of candidates were on Oceanic. Why he killed the pilot isn’t clear, unless Smokey (as security system) feared the pilot might be able to contact the outside world. If he didn’t want people on the Island, he had plenty to slaughter at the beach (the pilot was inland), and the Tailies. Maybe he was just serving notice.

  93. Yeah, I thought that psychic answer was really clever. It’s still weird that she was on 815, but that’s true for any of them…

    I’m really curious how they originally intended for the show to proceed after killing Jack off in the Pilot – and if I’m not mistaken, it was supposed to be Smokey who did it. If so, that would’ve changed the Rules right off the bat. And who, I wonder, would have taken over among the castaways? My guess is John, but hard to say. They were a pretty ragtag group back then, and they were only just barely starting to trust each other. Season one probably would’ve been a lot darker…

  94. Erin
    I think that it probably wouldn’t have been that difficult if Jack had been killed off, he just wouldn’t be one of the candidates ^_^

  95. That’s definitely possible too. Was Jack initially just a not-very-important character, or a very important character who was supposed to get killed off really early? I’m also curious about Ben; was there supposed to be a later character like Ben, and they just merged him with “Henry,” or did that entire character grow out of Michael Emerson’s impressive performance?

  96. I’ve read that Jack was supposed to die, but the higher-ups said, “no, you can’t kill off this character!” So they incorporated him. As they did other characters and element in a throw-it-against-the-wall-and see-what-sticks. Darlton said their guiding force in the beginning was to have a reason behind each oddity, even without knowing how it would cohere, because they didn’t know if the show would be renewed. Emerson was signed for three episodes and kept. So the Ben (as we know him) character wasn’t planned until Emerson’s “Got milk?” portrayal.Same with Frank; fans loved him, so his part was kept and enlarged. I’m always impresed that except for a very few characters, each one wove seamlessly into the story and further opened up it up.

  97. I hadn’t heard that Frank was another one whose character was expanded. I’m so glad it was! He’s definitely one of my favorites.

    It’s just so strange looking back now and trying to imagine the show without Jack, or without Ben. Still, I suspect that aspects of those characters would have turned up in other characters. For instance, I can’t imagine that somebody wouldn’t have kinda taken charge of the castaways, and given the show’s focus on redemption, I suspect that there would have been a different character who was had been loyal to Jacob who wound up killing him, and then regretting it. But it’s hard to imagine a more compelling actor for that role that Michael Emerson. Of all the actors on the show, I think he’s impressed me most – though Terry O’Quinn is an extremely close second.

  98. Ben and Franks beginnings kinda remind me of Chloe from Smallville except that the writers *actually* killed her off, but because of fan backlash they explained away her death in the next season ^_^
    She is still on the show to this day (which is going into it’s tenth season O.o ), and is the only one (minus Clark) from the original cast that is still on.

  99. Was that back in season three? Chloe is such a fantastic character, and in some ways like Hurley, especially in terms of sort of being the voice of the viewer. I was really upset when I thought they killed her off. I’m sadly behind on Smallville; I’ve only ever watched it on DVD and, though I did at one point get caught up enough to watch it live, I let that chance slip by and I’m back to being two seasons behind again. My brother’s the one who got me hooked, and he’s going to be at home most of the summer; maybe this would be a good time to take a look at the last couple of seasons. I’m really surprised it’s still on the air; I thought Clark was getting awfully close to donning those tights at the end of season five…

  100. I wish the writers on Smallville would take a leaf out of the Lost writer’s book and told us when it would end and also tell us that they have it planned in general 😛
    I missed most of the last season, but caught the last two episodes. Although the season finale was a little overdone with the symbolism, I loved it! XD Although….it wasn’t as ‘cliffhanger-y’ as the previous seasons.

  101. Thanks, Arabella! I thought that was such a powerful moment, and really made the “whole circle” feeling stronger.

    I’m really intrigued by Doc too, and frustrated that just as he was really getting going it was… “Stay tuned for next week!” I’ve always kinda thought of the Island as an entity, but once we met Jacob and understood Smokey I wasn’t sure if the sense of personality I was getting was from the Island itself or just them in hiding. Still, there’s clearly something very unusual about it that predates those two. I love his idea of how that one ancient flashback from the castaways gave the Island a glimpse of its future. Very interesting stuff…

  102. Puh-leaze! Lost was the wallpaper of daytime television and after the series finale, every country in the world but America felt patriotic to have not produced this dribble.

  103. Interesting I just read this comment from Tom, because five minutes earlier I was hearing something similar from my husband. I tried him on the first two episodes (because I’m planning to rewatch the whole series). He has already pronounced it “typical Hollywood” and not worth watching. I guess you either love it or hate it. (But TYPICAL?????)

  104. Hmm. Would he have considered Lost “typical” six years ago, Robin? Or does it seem “typical” because of Lost’s game-changing influence on TV storytelling, the multiple attempts to imitate it, and its storytelling devices now common to subsequent shows? Like Lost or dislike it, I think this is a fair question.

  105. Erin, thank you; this is a fantastic interview. Jensen was pretty prescient about the ending, too. Tom, perhaps you might read this, given your comments.

    I really liked this: “[Lost] wants to be studied. It wants to be a text that people enter into, find clues and ideas, and apply them to all of Lost and come to these answers themselves.”

    And that deciding your own answers “is the ultimate expression of free will.”

    And Jensen’s approach to belief in a postmodern world of screwed-up people: “What I find in my life is when I talk to people who are not religious at all, the conversation can’t begin with, “Meet my friend Jesus.” These are people who don’t believe in God. They don’t believe in supernatural possibilities. They don’t believe in universal values, ideas like redemption, or good or evil as concepts that are real. These are good, decent, thoughtful, intelligent people. There’s something about the way they were raised, the culture we live in, and the world in these times; these things are so deconstructed and have been so poorly modeled that they can’t even believe in these larger ideas. We can’t even begin to put a face on them like Jesus. We have to talk about these ideas and whether you could believe them. What I find is that Lost occupies that level of conversation. Do you even believe in things like redemption? What is redemption, really? Do you believe in something like good; do you believe in something like evil? Do you believe that these objective values actually even exist? Do you believe that all you are is just stuff? Are you supernatural and natural? Is there spirit in the world or are you a spiritual creature?

    And the hope in Lost: “That said, I don’t know if Lost ends with people being deemed redeemed. If Lost ends with people leaving the island, returning to their life having their past processed, but they live the rest of their life wisely with re-oriented values or a faith in values, the journey begins for them after all of this. Lost isn’t about people being redeemed but about bringing people to places in their best possible scenario where they believe that something like redemption even exists for them and now shall pursue it. It’s about getting people to think about these things, saying this is possible for us, and hoping for the best for these people after that.”

    And comparing the “live together, die a lone” community to the emotional and spiritual support and demands of church life.

    I think Jensen very much nails the message and spirit of Lost, and this is one of his best and most thoughtful analyses.

  106. Very happy to see that! Though I don’t know whether to feel excited that more is coming, or frustrated that I have to wait… Really enjoying his thinking, though, and it makes a lot of sense.

  107. What I like is that it ties the story together in such a global way, mysteries and mystical; for example the creation of Smokey–ingenious. The formation of Jacob’s odd, passive personality. The time-traveling and frozen donkey wheel machinations with the fate/free will debate. How mother “made it” so the brothers couldn’t hurt each other. How the Island “brings” people, yet people come by chance; how having a guardian is a human construct.

    This interpretation not only makes sense, it illuminates. I plan to rewatch the series beginning this fall and will be assessing through this lens. Despite some squirreliness this season, I’ve always felt the Doc really understood the backbone of the story better than anyone. I’m seriously hoping for a LOST book from him.

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