Warning: the following contains spoilers for the show ‘Lost’, up to and including the finale. Read at your own risk.
I’ve watched a lot of television, good and bad. Except for perhaps the MASH finale, I can’t remember a time when so many people were glued to their televisions for a series finale. Lost was definitely worth the trip.
At its core, Lost was about the characters. It might have had glowing caves and time travel, but in the end it was the characters that mattered. What made the ending so satisfactory was that there were no gimmicks used to sell you the ending. In fact, the writers did a great job of allowing people to interpret it the way they wanted.
The didn’t answer a lot about the island, but we know all we need to know. Perhaps in time we’ll learn more through other mediums like books or comics, but for now, we’re happy with the information we have. We can postulate that the island was created specifically to keep evil out. Somehow, good and evil started sparring on Earth, and the island was a way to keep evil from spreading.
– Spoilers below –
There was a lot of discussion about the sideways timeline. When the bomb went off in 1977, the characters thought it would destroy the island, and Oceanic 815 would never crash. In a sense, it’s what we all believed until we saw Desmond on the flight. Desmond was supposed to be on the island pressing that damned button, so if he’s on the flight, is it because time changed and he wound up on the flight, or was it for some other purpose? If the island really was destroyed, it’s a pretty creepy coincidence that Desmond wound up on the same flight as everyone else.
People can analyze it for years, but in my opinion, the ending was rather clear. Jack saved the island, and in effect, the entire world. He did the job he swore to do, and sacrificed himself to do so. He passed the role of caretaker to Hurley and Hurley finally gave Ben the purpose he wanted by making him his right hand man. Awesome scene.
What the sideways timeline was, to me, was Jack’s friends coming together in a timeless purgatory after they died to help him pass on after he died on the island. To be specific, they all died at some point in time, but they came together at this one point for Jack. The ability to remember their past lives is what was necessary for them help Jack. Why didn’t Ben go inside? My guess is that somehow he’s become immortal and can’t die, so he had no place in the church, or maybe he’s not ready to pass on yet. People like Michael are trapped on the island and unfortunately cannot pass on because of their sins.
The writers did a great job of allowing people to interpret the ending the way they wanted. Did anyone notice the symbols of different faiths in the stained glass window of the church? That was most definitely done so that the viewer can take what they have of their faith and apply it to the ending.
I’m happy with the way it ended. I feel like the last six years of investing in this show and its characters were worth it. In the end, it’s about love, and friendship, and asking yourself who’d show up in that church for you.