Saturday, May 29, 2010

"The End" Analysis (That No One Probably Cares About)

I feel like this is a day late and a dollar short, since everyone has had massive discussions about Lost over the past week - but whatever. Here it is, in case anyone cares!


One week ago, I said the following:


“Part of me thinks that we shouldn't jump right into our normal over-analyzing of the episode, nit-picking details and trying to reconcile what we just saw with the previous 119 hours of the show. On a strictly emotional level, the Lost finale was fully satisfying, emotional, epic, sweeping, and felt more important than any television finale I've ever seen. The wife was in tears. I was confused as I tried to work it all out in my mind. In short, it was everything you would want from the final episode of Lost. If you didn't tear up a little when Vincent laid down next to Jack, you do not have a heart. The final ten minutes were about as perfect as anything I could have imagined for the last Lost - and the episode as a whole had everything I wanted - action, closure, callbacks to the major moments from the previous five seasons, and plenty of perfect "character moments" that are really going to make us all miss these characters.”


I still stand by that statement 100%.


However, the time has come to turn our critical eye to “The End” and do a full-blown traditional analysis. Let’s leave our emotions at the door and get down to business. What really happened in “The End”?



The End. One of my biggest complaints about the final season of Lost is the writers’ inability to frame the real “danger” on the Island. We were often told that it was a very bad thing if SmokeLocke left the Island – going so far as telling us that it would mean the end of existence – but never told why. They left it ambiguous, and because of that, the motives and actions of the final two episodes took a dramatic shift from what we were anticipating all season long. Let me explain:


  • Anti-Jacob just wanted to leave the Island. However, as long as Jacob was alive, he could not do so.
  • Even once Anti-Jacob found his loophole and killed Jacob (something that took him thousands of years to accomplish), he still couldn’t leave the Island as long as Jacob’s candidates were alive.
  • One Anti-Jacob found out about Desmond last episode, suddenly he decided that destroying the Island was a crucial part of his plan… or perhaps just an added bonus.
  • However, once Desmond removed the Cork from the Heart of the Island, Anti-Jacob immediately left for his boat to escape before the Island sank, even though a number of Jacob’s candidates were still alive and well.


It seems a little illogical that after spending thousands of years working towards one goal, Anti-Jacob would abandon it and focus on something else… and that magically, the rules surrounding the candidates tying him to the Island would no longer apply.


Yes, it’s possible to come up with some explanations for this – which we’ll touch on in a moment – but the audience shouldn’t have to make these logical stretches to understand the major conflict of the season. In the end, the battle between SmokeLocke and Jack was important to us because SmokeLocke killed Jack’s friends – but it lacked any sort of additional stakes where we cared if SmokeLocke left the Island or not… which, even though the fight was pretty badass, left it pretty hollow. Heck, part of the audience was probably still rooting for SmokeLocke, feeling sorry for him being trapped on the Island all these years. All he wanted was to go home… something he never got to do.



Jack. The best explanation for SmokeLocke’s actions is that once Jacob “knighted” Jack as the new Protector of the Island, he no longer had to kill the remaining candidates. He only had to worry about killing Jack – and when he left Jack knocked out with the Island collapsing around him, SmokeLocke assumed that Jack would eventually die as the Island sunk to the bottom of the ocean. (Again, for a guy that forged the most complex plan in human history to find his loophole, this seems like an outrageously unrealistic action on his part – there were no “rules” forbidding him from killing Jack. Even if this was the case, why not stab him in the heart before running off to the boat? Illogical.)


As for Jack himself, he finally fulfilled the destiny that brought him back to the Island in the first place. In Jack’s eyes, he’s screwed up everything else in his life (failed marriage to Sarah, failed engagement to Kate, failed career, drug addition, horrible beard), the Island is his one chance to right all those wrongs by doing something good, something important, and make his life all worthwhile. What Jack doesn’t realize – or doesn’t utilize – is that from the moment that Jacob makes him the new Protector of the Island, Jacob’s “rules” no longer apply. The new “rules” are Jack’s to make, but he doesn’t realize it (another example of the poor transition on Jacob’s part. He would never make it in upper management).


The only thing that Jack knows is that he’s confident in his plan, even if he doesn’t know exactly what it is. He knows that he is somehow going to use Desmond to stop and kill SmokeLocke, and that he, and John Locke, were right about the Island all along. It turns out that they were right.



Desmond. From Desmond’s perspective, ever since he was blasted by Widmore’s electromagnetic experiment on the Island, he apparently saw his afterlife – and it was a happy one. Widmore loved him, he was just starting a new relationship with Penny (free of all the drama and mistakes he made the first time), and he didn’t have some pesky kid running around forcing him to be responsible. What’s not to like?


That’s exactly why Desmond basically “gave up” on life at this point. He was back on the Island, he wasn’t confident that he would ever get off and be with Penny again in life, so he just wanted to die so that he could be with her in the afterlife.


It brings up an interesting, super deep philosophical question – if you knew that you had a perfect, happy afterlife waiting for you after you died, what’s the point in living through all the crap in life? Would you just look for the quickest and easiest way to kill yourself to get to that “happily ever after”, or would you continue to soldier on through the trials and hardships of life?


For Desmond, he picks the first option. He adopts the opinion that “none of this matters” on the Island, and thinks that he needs to carry out one final mission to “save the world” (again), and once he’s done, he will die and return to his “happily ever after life”.


He was wrong.


As for Widmore and Jacob, Desmond was basically another “failsafe” switch – a last ditch effort. Their original intention was to use Desmond to pull the Cork in case SmokeLocke was successful in killing all the candidates. This would render SmokeLocke mortal – but destroy the Island in the process. As a mortal, I suppose SmokeLocke leaving the Island wouldn’t be such a bad thing (since he couldn’t go all Smokey on the world and rule the human race with an iron-smokey fist)… but this also means that it really wasn’t that important that the Island exist in the first place, right? If the destruction of the Island meant that the light at the heart of it would go out, obviously it wouldn’t bring about the end of the world / hope / existence – otherwise, Jacob wouldn’t have sent Desmond back to the Island as a safety precaution that all the candidates died.


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Remember my original complaint about the writers not framing the danger of this season very well? This is exhibit B in support of that argument. The spent a season telling us how important it was to protect the Island, or else “all hell will break loose”, but then we find out that Jacob’s backup plan is to allow the Island to crumble as long as it renders SmokeLocke mortal.


Disappointing. But I digress.


Two weeks ago, I settled on “power” as being the thing at the heart of the Island – the thing that is inside each of us a little, the thing that everyone wants more of, but if someone had total control of, it would be a very bad thing. After watching “The End”, I still think that analysis is spot on.


The existence of the Cork in the Heart of the Island indicates that there was a time on the Island, pre-Cork. Once the Cork was in place, it somehow harnessed the power that was emanating from the Heart of the Island, which in turn gave the Island all its magical powers and “unique electromagnetic properties”. The essence of Smokey – the heart of his power – was tied to the Island. The area immediately around the Cork was so close to this power, that it would kill anyone who came close – a nice defense mechanism from preventing anyone from removing it… except Desmond. Once Desmond removed the Cork, that power was released, and SmokeLocke became mortal. Unfortunately, with all that pent up power suddenly being released, the Island began to fall apart under the impact of this surge of power. Even more unfortunate for Desmond, he survived the whole incident. Although logic would tell you that he would have eventually died as the Island collapsed, were it not for Jack, in his mind, this was the worst case scenario.


He was back trapped on the Island.



Smokey. After the epic battle with SmokeLocke (where Jack gains not only the bleeding cut on his neck that we saw throughout his Flash Sideways, but also the fatal cut in his side that we all interpreted to be a scar from his appendectomy – but now I guess it could be either), Jack realizes that his rule as king of the Island will be short-lived, since it’s up to him to replace the Cork and restore balance to the Island now that SmokeLocke had been killed. He passes the torch to Hurley (fittingly using the Oceanic 815 water bottle), re-corks the Island, but somehow is not killed by the exposure to the electromagnetic power that again begins flowing from the Heart of the Island. Instead Jack is “spit out” from the Heart of the Island just like Anti-Jacob was – where he stumbles to his death in the bamboo forest with Vincent by his side.


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All of this brings up one big question – what happened to Smokey with all these transitions?


My best theory from “Across the Sea” was that The Woman was both Protector and Smokey rolled into one, and she split those powers among Jacob and Anti-Jacob to create a balance and limit the chance for man to abuse those powers. Jack became the new Jacob, but SmokeLocke still had the Smokey powers (since Kate’s bullets this episode had no effect on him). Once SmokeLocke died, what happened to those Smokey powers? Did they return to the Heart of the Island? If so, why didn’t Jack become Smokey when he was exposed to the Heart of the Island? Or is it that since Jack (and later Hurley) were “pure of heart”, that there was no Smokey anymore?


In the grand scheme of things, I’m not losing any sleep over these questions – but based on the Egyptian hieroglyphics we’ve seen over the years, as long as the Island has existed, there has been a Smokey on it as well. For Smokey to suddenly cease to exist because Jack and Hurley are “good people” seems a little silly to me. On the other hand, the image of Hurley “hulking out” and becoming Smokey in a moment of rage seems super awesome to me, so that’s how I’ll pretend things ended up.


I think that wraps up the “main storyline” on the Island, but there are a few side items worth noting before we move on to the Flash Sideways…



Rose and Bernard and Vincent. It turns out that Sayid didn’t save Desmond from the Well, but Rose or Bernard or Vincent did. So even though Sayid did end up saving our Survivors from the bomb on the Sub, he wasn’t suddenly “100% good” again after his encounter with Desmond. As for Rose, Bernard, and Vincent, their existence on the Island was finally explained (they time traveled along with our Survivors). They remained uninvolved in all the silly drama that our Survivors found themselves entangled in, and as a result, had a pretty happy little life on the Island. In my head, I picture Hurley, Ben, Desmond, Rose, Bernard, and Vincent having picnics on the Island and talking about the good old days for years to come until each of them meet their natural deaths.


Of course, Vincent never dies. The Island has a thing for dogs.



Benjamin Linus. The flip-flopping of Benjamin Linus was a little far-fetched during the final few episodes of the series. I suppose we can justify it as being a “long con” that he was trying to pull on SmokeLocke – one that conveniently allowed him to kill Widmore in the process (talk about two birds with one stone), but even at the beginning of “The End” he was putting a gun in Sawyer’s back and leading him to SmokeLocke. Then at the end, he was helping our Survivors kill SmokeLocke. But the most confusing thing of all is the way that he magically escaped from being pinned underneath that tree. I was sure that was going to be Ben’s redemption. He saves Hurley from being crushed, but ends up dying in the process. Instead, he gets what he wanted all along – a true role of importance on the Island, as Hurley’s #2.



Richard Alpert and Frank. Thank God that both of these characters ended up being alive and well on the Island, saving them from unceremonious off-screen deaths that neither deserved. Alpert is finally aging, and Frank fulfilled his destiny of flying Ajira 316 after all (yeah, still super unrealistic to me).


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Claire. I’m sorry, but Claire really didn’t add anything to this season. The scenes with her were always awkward, the storyline with her being “claimed” by SmokeLocke never really panned out to anything, and she did little besides throw out empty threats to our Survivors and provide a purpose for Kate being back on the Island. They probably should have just let her die in Season Four.


Okay – I think that wraps up my thought about the Island. Let’s move on to the Flash Sideways.



Flash Sideways. First of all, should we continue to call them the Flash Sideways? Per Christian Shephard, there is no such thing as linear time in the Flash Sideways, but they are all taking place after each character dies in life – making them Flash Forwards, right? Oh well, we’ve called them Flash Sideways for this long, might as well stick with it for “The End”.


After a season of waiting, we finally got our explanation for what the Flash Sideways represented – a place created by the Survivors so that they could meet up before moving on to the next stage of their afterlife (heaven?). I loved this explanation because it made everything that happened on the Island over the past six seasons “count”. Dead characters weren’t magically alive again. People didn’t get a second chance to correct their mistakes. Everyone died, like I was hoping for – but by having the Flash Sideways, it wasn’t the most depressing finale in television history. It had a happy, hopeful ending.


Having said that, I definitely have some problems with how these Flash Sideways were handled this season.


The biggest complaint that I have is that for the first time in Lost history, the writers were intentionally trying to trick the audience with red herrings that make no sense now that we know the truth. Why would Jack be married to Juliet, instead of Kate – who was much more of his “true love” in life? Why would characters like Charlie and Faraday say things like “we aren’t supposed to be here” and “none of this is real” – when in fact, even if it wasn’t the final stop in the afterlife, it was apparently a necessary stop along the way? I understand that the Flash Sideways could be viewed as a sort of “dream world”, where things are based in reality, but slightly different – but some of it still feels cheap. We’re going to tackle some explanations for these differences in a moment, but it still doesn’t seem right that we’re making these stretches to explain something that should make total sense at face value.


In short, I think we could have spent a lot less time in the Flash Sideways and achieved the same end result.


The other thing that was weird was the collection of characters who “created” this reality. With the exception of Boone and Locke, who were kinda BFFs on the Island back in the day, it seems like unless you had a significant romance with another character on the show, you weren’t invited to the “moving on” party at the end. This meant that there was no unifying factor between all the characters who had their epiphanies and “moved on”, which seems a little weird. But I can’t deny that it made for a great, emotional final scene for Lost.


Let’s look at each character who “let go”, and what caused each to do so:


Boone – we never learned what led to Boone’s epiphany, but I’m guessing it had something to do with getting over Shannon, again.


Rose and Bernard – not shown, but it seems like both of them understood what the Flash Sideways were from the start. Rose made a comment to Jack about “letting go” on Oceanic 815, Bernard was weird and cryptic when Jack talked to him, and both seemed to have found a peace in life that might have carried over into the after-life.


Claire – giving birth to Aaron, causing her to “let go” of the guilt she felt for abandoning him in the first place?


Kate – helping Claire give birth to Aaron, which only happened because she stopped running and helped a very pregnant Claire in the Flash Sideways world… so I guess it was really about no longer running away? It’s a stretch…


Charlie – touching Claire, which showed him that he could be a good person and loving pseudo-father, instead of a junkie rock and roller? This makes no sense either, since Flash Sideways Charlie didn’t really do anything to prove that he could make the right decision and sober up – he was just in the right place at the right time… thanks to Hurley’s intervention.


Sun and Jin – seeing Ji-Yeon’s ultrasound, which helped them “let go” of abandoning their child in life so that they could die together? That doesn’t make much sense either, but it’s the best I’ve got.


Sayid and Shannon – touching each other, which apparently means that even though Sayid spent his entire life searching for Nadia, two weeks on the Island with a hot blonde made her his soul mate. Likewise for Shannon, two weeks on the Island with an Iraqi torturer was the best time of her life? It makes no sense, unless you play the “Sayid realized that he couldn’t be with Nadia because he didn’t deserve her after all the bad things he did” card – but it’s the afterlife! Isn’t that your chance to “let go” of the wrongs of your past?


Locke – regaining his ability to walk reminded him of all his time on the Island, which definitely was the best part of his life. Noticeably absent from his after life epiphany? His fiancé, Helen – so I guess he was “moving on” from her and didn’t really love her after all? Weird.


Libby and Hurley – kissing, which let them finally have the relationship that they were robbed from on the Island?


Desmond and Penny – touching, which might have helped Desmond get over his abandonment of Penny twice in life thanks to that damned Island (who knows if he ever returned back a second time or not). But Penny? She’s definitely the oddball inclusion in the final scene, having never set foot on the Island or even met the majority of the characters in the final church scene. But it made for good TV, I suppose.


Sawyer and Juliet – perhaps the best part of any Flash Sideways epiphany, we finally realize that there was no greater meeting in Juliet’s “it worked” comment from “LA X” – she was simply experiencing the moment in the Flash Sideways where Sawyer got his candy bar. Although if you think about it, this means that she must have been living through the Flash Sideways for quite some time before she actually died – and in dying, she jumped to the place in the Flash Sideways where she had her moment with Sawyer… unless I’m thinking too linearly about the Flash Sideways and time doesn’t really work the same way there. I also loved that she summed up all the weird stuff with the Island and the Cork with her “you an unplug it and plug it back in and that’s technically legal” line. Love Juliet.


But again, what did either of them actually “let go” to earn this epiphany? They just touched. Neither did anything to overcome the issues they had in life or prove that they learned some lesson, did they?


Jack – finally we have Jack. You could make the argument that Jack was the one who created the Flash Sideways, and it would make a lot of sense. In it, he learned to get over his daddy issues by being a good father to David (PS – sucks to be you David, you don’t actually exist or get to “move on” with your parents), accepted his own father’s death, and performed the ultimate “fix” of John Locke. If it was all about Jack, the Flash Sideways would have made perfect sense.


You can see the issues, right? Aside from a few characters, the Flash Sideways weren’t really about “letting go”, they were about connecting with your loved ones in the afterlife so that you didn’t have to go on alone. It’s like “live together or die alone” taken to the extreme. I’m fine with this explanation – but again, if this is the case, then a lot of the stuff that we saw in the Flash Sideways was unnecessary filler… it really didn’t matter what fake lives these characters were living in the Flash Sideways because they were all fake – all that mattered is that they found their loved ones, regardless of what it took to find them.


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Wrap Up. Originally, I was going to post my “what I would have done differently” thoughts here – but I think I’ll wait and do that for my next post. For now, let’s just focus on what actually happened in “The End”. In the end, I think that “The End” was a great episode – and I think that most of my issues with the episode actually had nothing to do with the episode, but rather the ones that led up to it. As you can see, looking back on the final season as a whole, there was a lot that didn’t make a lot of sense and seemed a little sloppy. But we’ll get to that later as well.


I feel like everyone is all burned out on discussion of “The End”, but if there are any outstanding items you’d like my take on, feel free to post them in the comments. Otherwise, I’ll be back in the next few days with my overall thoughts on the series and what I would have done differently.


Discuss!


http://facethewoods.com/lost/index.php?topic=569.0

81 comments:

dsack said...

Nice points. I enjoyed watching The End, but I think it was a fairly weak ending because of the points raised about needless red herrings and the fact that it seemed like they weren't working anything out, but simply meeting up with their significant other.

Even if they had gone with essentially the same ending I think it would have been better if they did a throw back to the earlier seasons where Dharma and Buddhism were discussed. People who achieved their "enlightenment" or cleared up the flaws with their lives could have gone to the white light while people like Sayid or Ben who were conflicted with themselves in the afterlife could go back as a reincarnation to work on their souls more. This would also have fit into the theory of a loop that many people had.

I am sick of "decide for yourself" endings. I think they can work, but have seen them too much lately. I would actually prefer a slightly unhappy ending to a story now and then if it keeps the ending from being indeterminate.

Beth@Not a Bow in Sight said...

Loved reading your recaps this season. Thanks for this great analysis.

About Locke in the sideways world- Helen died somewhere between 2004 and 2007 in real-time (remember when he visited her grave)so I think he was going to be with her when he moved on...just a thought :)

I completely agree though. I loved "The End" but had a bit of an issue with the episodes leading up to it.

Chicory Blue said...

I only question one point-
I am not sure Desmond or Juliet realized that the world they saw where everything was "fixed" was the afterlife. Juliet said "It worked." I think she thought at that point the vending machine scene was her life if the bomb had done what it they intended. Desmond want to take Jack and show him that life-
Just my thought on the matter.

Lindsey said...

I really enjoy reading your blog - you make some good points. I very much enjoyed the finale, but only after a good 2nd viewing.

I do have one detail that you missed that makes zero sense to me. If in the real timeline Aaron was raised by Kate and then left with Claire's mom, why was baby Aaron at the church moving on? That part I don't understand. If he was dead and moving on, then he should be at least 3 years old (as he was when Kate left him) if not older, b/c he probably didn't die immediately once Kate left.

That part gets me every time I watch.

Anyway, good thoughts! I agree, things could have been done much differently, but as a whole, and after much thought, I thought it was brilliantly perfect. A story of finding oneself, redemption, and moving on. They learned to live together so that they didn't die alone. And I believe that was supposed to be the final message.

ninja raiden said...

Nice analysis, but the Flash sideways were about "remembering" about what's important not "letting go" of things. It was a place of "remembering" what connections were really important, then "letting go" of that past existence, then "moving on" to whatever the next stage of existence was/is.

I would argue this: In "Across the Sea", "Mother" stated that the Light/Source was "Life,Death, and Rebirth". In other words,EVERTHING.

The real timeline was the "Life" stage of the cycle. The Flashsideways was the "Death" stage of the cycle with all of them dead in all existence and the "Light" going out(see:Island at the bottom of the Ocean.

After all segments of the "Light" rejoin in "Moving On"(with every human being having a piece of light within them)and not just our main characters but all of "manifestations of light"(all those "people" still considering themselves corporeal).

Since time doesn't exist in this "stage", could this Flash sideways be the "Source" of all things in a facsimile of the previous "Life" stage.


And because time doesn't exist here, could Christian had just meant that the Survivors just created that Unitarian church as a place to meet up and not the whole flash sideways? That the other dead souls came to their rememberances at later times but met up at same time when the "Light" embraced them all for the "Rebirth" phase of the cycle, because time doesn't matter(see Sun and Locke meeting up at the hospital at the same time?

Maybe the "Source" had to purge itself of darkness(ala Smokey) with all those corrupted souls residing within him/it(see the screaming souls flying over Kate and Claire in "Sundown").

The sin of brother against brother corrupted the Light but the community of the survivors balanced the equation and allowed for the "Rebirth" phase.

The Island at the bottom of the ocean represented the destruction of coporeal, so it did mean something to not "re-stop" the the crack at the "Source"

Rebecca said...

I saw the Jimmy Kimmel episode after The End with some of the actors and Jimmy made a guess that the show was centered around Jack and focused more on his journey in life and death - Matthew Fox agreed with him. So as the main character I suppose it makes sense that we saw more of his journey transitioning after death to move on. There were so many times that Jack would start to get an epiphany and then pull away, he wasn't ready to accept the truth and let go.

One other thing that didn't seem to wrap up well was Ben killing Widmore. In a previous season (can't remember which one - oops!) we saw Ben in Widmore's condo and found out that it was against the rules for Ben to kill Widmore...so what changed? Was it because they were on the island? Because Jacob was dead?

I did love the finale but will agree that some things leading up could have been done differently. This season was very different than others.

Gime said...

If smokey really wanted to leave the island, he could've done so much earlier by just going to the Orchid station and turn the wheel at the end of the tunnel down there, where he once led the real John Locke in disguise of Christian Shephard.

http://gozmosis.blogspot.com/2010/05/lost-ending-lost-finale-explained.html

Hobnail_Boot said...

If it was all about Jack, the Flash Sideways would have made perfect sense.

Well, it was.. so it did. What we saw was Jack's version of moving on. In fact the whole series was about Jack. The collected characters in the church were those who were important to Jack and his life's journey.

Renee' said...

Great analysis Brian, thank you. I care. :)

Michael said...

ninja raiden has one of the best analyses I've seen. I wish more people would see it than likely will here.

Paul said...

Firstly, thank you for saying that you thought the whole 'MIB leaving = death to all' thing was very vague. That is a complaint I have...and I thought I might be the only one.

Secondly, people do care. I've said for years that the moment LOST ends, fans will go rabid. Discussions and rewatches will begin immediately. The beauty of LOST is that even though the show has ended, fans can continue to discuss and make connections. The show will live on through the fans.

Very important: DO NOT stop analysing LOST! DO NOT stop thinking about LOST!

The end, for the fans, is merely the beginning of a whole new level of obsession. :)

Paul said...

Oh, and I came up with a theory on the 'MIB leaves = all dead' thing. MIB can only leave the island if Jacob and all other candidates were dead. There would be no rule to hold him on the island. He would leave. Without a protector, eventually the light would be damaged and the island destroyed.

Either that...or he'd kill everyone because he thinks people are evil. Hmmm. :)

Brian said...

hobnail_boot - but if the Flash Sideways really were just all about Jack, why did we see the "epiphanies" of every other character? If they were truly just centered around Jack, you could argue that every other scene not involving Jack didn't matter - since those characters would have had their OWN Flash Sideways experience going on in some type of other Flash Sideways.

Brendan said...

I had always thought that once LOST ended, I'd be lighting up the blogs looking for theories and discussions, but with the way it ended, I feel it's all pretty settled. I don't really feel the need for too much further analysis.

I'm rather grateful for that, actually. I've loved LOST, but it is about time to "let go" and get it out of my brain for a while.

The NY Times had the best summation I've read - the big picture/metaphysical side didn't end up making much sense, but the action and emotion on screen was spot on.

Steve said...

A couple thoughts..

- I think I liked this episode because it had a feel good ending and by having the sidways what it was, it redeemed the good parts of the series.

- The whole flash sideways was horrible, I like the ending as the lesser of several evils.. I was releaved, but the premise to base the season on this.. well, it was the weakest season in that regard.

- Just thinking. you protect the light.. I'm thinking that the Swan must have drilled down to this light if it hit the electromagnatism, and was another 'cork' but we didn't see this last season. I like the Swan being a Cork explanation, but why on earth would you nuke the heart of the island?

- If the idea was about and saving the island all along... I would have left that out to dry like they did the outrigger, the entire jacob/anti-jacob save the island thing ended up feeling forced. In other words, the ending of the series they originally had planned didn't fit too well with the way they wrote the series in the middle.

- That being said, I really liked this series.. I won't nitpick because it gave me 6 years of enjoyment and speculation, even if the speculation was sometimes better than what really happened.

- In the end, the speculation was so bad for what might happen that finding out that they were all dead in the sideways was a relief.

Abigail said...

I appreciate the break-down. . . and reading all the comments has been interesting! You made some excellent points; "The End" was emotionally satisfying but somewhat logistically frustrating. I think my big question is: Why did the "flash sideways" begin when they did? Was it just to prevent plot-line confusion and introduce a new element to the final season? Or was there some trigger in that moment of detonation that we saw about 5 times in the season premiere (poor Juliet!)? Did the nuclear bomb flash all of those characters full of electromagnetism or "light of the island" that caused them to then be able to move into that alternate realm of pre-"heaven"-limbo? The logical part of me wants there to be a link between the occurence of the nuclear bomb detonation and the beginning of all the flash-sideways visions. Almost as if the flash sideways was somehow begun for them at a certain point. If, as Christian Shepherd said they "created this place" to find eachother before moving on, than was the detonation the moment of creation for a LOST-themed limbo that exists outside of time?

Smaelb said...

Brian,

Desmond never was Jacob's back up plan. That what Widmore said, but Darlton strongly hinted in an interview that Widmore was not to be trusted.

So, Desmond was always a part of the only plan to kill Smokelocke. The scene with Sawyer and Juliet gives us a nod of what the rules were at this exact time. "If you unplug it, and then plug it back, it's technically not illegal." This scene with the appolo bar mirrors what happened on the island.

The Observer said...

I was really hoping that the finale (and last season in general) would provide information that completely change the way earlier episodes could be viewed. The kind of thing where you go back and watch something and think "Wow! What a game changer that was, and I never knew!"

I don't feel like we got that. I mean, I guess we understand the smoke monster better, and that could change things, but I'm not looking at the Others any differently, Dharma differently, etc. When I look at the survivors differently, I think to myself why on earth were the others, supposedly led by Jacob via Alpert, allowed to mess with the candidates so much?

So, the ending was rough for me, because I pretty much feel like the only necessary seasons were one, two, and six.

mark said...

i loved the ending episode. it was emotional and action packed from start to finish. the symmetry of jack lying down in the bamboo field where it all started, and with vincent laying down beside him was beautiful.

i also loved that hurley ended up as the new jacob, asking ben to be his right hand man. there was some question of what was going on with ben, considering some of his comments to locke, but i think you can chalk that up to ben trying to save his own skin while looking for an opportunity to stop him.

that being said, i agree that there were a number of points that i have questions about and wish were handled differently.

- the flash sideways as purgatory was an original and ironic twist we never saw coming. especially considering that at first everyone thought the island represented purgatory. but i feel like they could have trimmed down the time spent showing these scenes to answer, or even partly answer some long standing questions.

- the remaining survivors leaving on the plane WAS a bit farfetched, but i was willing to accept it, considering the fact that frank DID land the plane.

- the inconsistencies with locke and what would happen if he left the island, and the rules could have been fleshed out just a bit better. and earlier. the mission to stop locke from leaving the island would have had a more epic sense of importance and urgency. but hurley summed it up best after jack attempted to explain everything jacob said... "he's worse than yoda."

- i think it would have been AWESOME if jack came to the realization that he could make and impose rules on locke after becoming the new jacob. i think you could have come up with some incredible twists to the plot there.

but overall, even though a lot of my questions were left unanswered, i somehow had a feeling they would be and was prepared for that.

i've also heard that the season 6 DVD set will feature an additional 15-20 minutes in the final episode, including scenes showing what happens on the island with hurley and ben. should be interesting...

Abigail said...

p.s. Brian, what do you think about the theory that the panoramic of the wreckage at the VERY end of the episode "the end" was so meaningful? That Jack actually crashed in Episode 1 of Season 1 and that all the episodes following were in Jack's mind while he was dying from the original plane-crash?

per said...

If we look at what order Juliette is saying her lines in the coffee room she is saying "it worked" first, then while hugging Sawyer she says the coffeeline "go dutch" etc.
If we look in what order she says the similar lines on the island before dying, she says the coffee-line first - then dies - and then talks/thinks to Miles "it worked". Doesnt correspond.

So, what I think this means is, upon dying she definetly gets an epiphany or glimpse of her making it to somewhere else after dying, maybe, maybe also seeing them being together in this place, but we dont know that, since they all need their memories to be triggered to remember again. She might just have experienced being somewhere else.

This also means that the alt whatever timeline isnt created by, and doesnt depend on Jack defeating Flocke, since he hasnt done that yet.
It points more to that Jughead did something to create it, be it an ALT-Timeline or the possibility for an afterlife-type scenario depending ocn Jack > Flocke.

If the fight was the event that helped them reaching that timeline then the "It worked" line might be in regards to that, or that everything that they are doing "is working" and she somehow already knows this.

To sum it up.

1. "It worked" is not referring to the candybar see first two paragraphs, the lines are not said in that order originally.

2a. So it either means she is just comforting Sawyer as a means to make him less devastated over her death.

2b. She somehow is in between the ALT and the Island, waiting, until everyones has died, Jack defeating Flocke etc but she knows they will see each other again.

2c. She already is in the ALT and has seen glimpses of her meeting Sawyer again in the coffeeroom, which in turn means that they somehow already have created the ALT, prolly through Jughead and not Jack > Flocke which hasnt happened yet.
And if thats the case the fight wouldnt have had any importance to their ALT lives, WHICH WOULD SUCK and render that fight nothing more than an non-important action piece, although one would still route for Jack, but knowing he'd still end up happy in the ALT whatever happens.

3. I hope/think in order for things to sit well with me emotionally and to some extent intelligently, that, Juliettes words "it worked" means it actually did work. Jughead gave them a chance to see each other again and thats all she knows. Whether that is a good ALT or bad ALT timeline is dependent on Jack > Flocke.
With scenario 2b being a close second.

Yeah?

timcourtois said...

Agree with @Ninja Raiden that the sideways was about "remembering" as much as "letting go". I don't think it was so much that they needed to learn some specific lesson to "achieve" enlightenment, but rather that the sideways lives gave them time to process through their lives in some vague way, and - when they were ready - to remember what really happened and move on.

timcourtois said...

Sure, lots of holes in the plot, to be sure.

I think there is an explanation for why Flocke leaving the island was so bad:

- If Flocke leaves the island w/ his powers intact, "the light goes out everywhere" & he goes all Smokey on the world.
- If the cork stays uncorked, the island is destroyed and (I assume) the whole world dies because the light was allowed to drain out of the bottle.

Therefore, Flocke had to be kept on the island or killed. Jack chose to try and kill him. Only way to do that is uncork the cork. But once the cork is undone, the powers keeping Flocke on the island are unplugged. So then Flocke could leave. But before recorking the cork, he has to be killed so he doesn't become Smokified again. So they kill him, and then have to recork the cork so the world doesn't fall to pieces.

Good enough for me.

per said...

@ timcourtois

But why would smokelocke wanna destroy the island if he knew the world would be destroyed if he did, i mean where would he leave to? :)

ninja raiden said...

@ per: Because he thought all that "protect the island" stuff was a bunch of nonsense

Blu said...

We all care, pleas keep posting!!!!

Jack said...

@As for Juliet. I think the most logical explanation is that Juliet was in fact referencing the Flash-Sideways and when she was dieing/died had been the moment of her "Awakening" (So, it somehow corresponds with your death).

@As for the Philosophical-Suicide question. This entirely depends on your belief system. In regards to Buddhism they believe such acts as suicide move you away from the ultimate reincarnation. On par with Buddhism you have Hinduism which is all about a long-extended suicide so you don't reincarnate. As for Jewish & Christian views it is believed that God looks down upon it (because He wants you to do stuff for Him on earth/build up your character). And, well, I'm sure you are familiar with the Muslim view. And, lastly, I think the average person simply enjoys life for the most part not to. That or they simply aren't sure there is anything more to live for.

@As for your Smokey theory. I find a big hole in it that it doesn't correspond as to what Mother described being: "Worse then Death." When you go into the light. And that it seems more likely that Smokey is the incarnate form of "Worse then Death." (Thus, the Mother was Smokey & knew how it was "Worse then Death.") Of course, to the full extent we don't know how this is so, but it would seem apparent that through various mechanisms Smokey can die & a new one be born. Of course, the reason why Jack didn't become Smokey was because he hadn't actually been allowed into the light like Jacob had allowed MiB, or, supposedly the Mother had allowed herself being the Protector.

@As for the SmokeLocke ambiguity. I think it is pretty clear that SmokeLocke was trying to do away with the Candidates & Jacob ultimately to do away with any Protectors. This would allow him to actually break any impeding bonds the Light through the Protector had. That once he found out Jack was the new protector he couldn't see another way out except through Desmond. As for the fight scene I think SmokeLocke hadn't been concerned with killing anyone as much as getting away (I think suddenly realizing I was mortal again would have made me feel a bit off-guard), but once Jack appeared he realized he would have to do away with him to make a clean get-away.

@As for the tree managing to get off Linus. Eh, there was seismic activity, I can see it 'rolling' off.

@You. Finally, I think you forgot to go over a certain character: Christian Shepperd. Seeing he has had a minor role throughout the series it would be nice to see a small analysis on how what he's done has correlated to the series. Especially seeing how he makes a sweeping come-back in "The End" explaining what the Flash-Sideways have been all about. How much has he had a play in this in his earlier "after-death" encounters? That and I would like a take Jack's "fake" son.

P.S. I heard Mr. Echo was supposed to be inside the Church at the end, but couldn't be secured to appear.

P.S.S. While I hardly know this isn't sufficient it was said that the character "Caesar" was supposed to have a more significant role, but wasn't able to continue his role due to prior commitments. Furthermore, apparently on the Blu-Ray set there is supposed to be some sort of explanation as to Walt. It is obvious that the writers, while they could have done better, haven't been able to fully incorporate everything as they planned.

Nick said...

Abigail - ABC gave a press release stating that it was their decision, not Darlton's to put the imagery of the season 1 crash set in there. It was to allow the viewer to "decompress" before the evening news.

she demon said...

Hi there. I have just discovered your blog in my search for THE meaning in the Lost Finale. I am pretty upset I lost all your previous posts! Great Job! You rock! I have a question though. Didn´t Widmore say to Ben that he was always a step ahead of him regarding placing bombs on the plane? Wouldn´t that mean that the plane Kate etc boarded in the finale crashed? And wouldn´t that explain their death? Because we need to account how each one in the final scene died. Right? Thanks for clarifying.

Jack said...

@she demon

In the earlier episodes SmokeLocke already found the dynamite on the plane and removed it in attempt to kill all the candidates on the sub.

Rob Rose said...

Brian... you definitely got ONE THING wrong... Jacob never meant for Desmond to be a "failsafe"... as Sawyer even says, Jacob is pulling a very LONG CON on the MIB, by tricking MIB into thinking that Jacob wanted to use Desmond to destroy the island if he couldnt stop Smokey from leaving... in reality Jacob WANTED MIB to try to use Desmond to destroy the island, knowing full well that when Dezzy unplugged the cork, he would be PRIME for the KILLING, before plugging the cork back in...

Neal said...

Brian -

I sent this to you in an email, but I'll post here as well in case some other folks have an opinion.

I was just wondering if anyone else would have loved it if at the very end when Christian opens the doors to the church . . . the light that spills in is the golden colored light of the heart of the island?

I really love that idea! If you are of the "move toward the light" religious bent, it doesn't (necessarily) change anything about the finale. But, if you are not of the "light = heaven" school of thought, this would have given you a whole additional level of Lost meaning to dig into.

Oh well, maybe I'm alone in this . . .

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Rob Patterson said...

thanks brian.

i am still spinning from the finale. the more i thinka bout it, the more i get let down. i didn't pick up on juliet's just plug it back in comment. good catch.

that's all i got for now.

Dave Harty said...

Brian...the repeating theme I noticed in this last analyis was your use of the words "reach" and "stretch". That's how I feel too.

Just a few more thoughts/questions. In the episodes that had the "pop up" descriptions, weren't the flash sideways described as "what would have happened if 815 hadn't crashed"? That does not seem accurate now.

It seems that Michael was not a part of the sideways/afterlife because as he said he was trapped on the island for the bad things he had done. Yet Keamy made it to the sideways world. I'd think he'd be stuck on the island too.

In "The End" Flocke decided that he wanted to sink the island to the bottom of the ocean. In the beginning of LA X, we see the island sunk at the bottom of the ocean. Why, in the utopian afterlife, would the island be sunk - fulfilling Flocke's wishes?

Sam said...

after rewatching it over the weekend, i am more satisfied with the last 10 minutes knowing they were all dead. I wish they had let us know about that a couple of episodes in advance. I would have been more into what they were saving on the island.

But, I also became more frustrated with a lot of other things: would have loved to see Richard and Lapidus in Sideways (especially Richard knowing that he definitely could die); still don't get why baby Aaron was in the church and not baby Charlie (if Penny could be there, so could baby Charlie!); the whole waste of the Temple episodes took away time that could have been given to tightening the sideways or expanding on MIB/Jacob; need more Des/Penny; etc.

I think season 6 as a whole was not very good. THere were great moments (Ab Aeterno; the first Des episode; most of the finale), but the structure of it lacked. I still loved the ride.

Rachel said...

Thanks for the analysis Brian.

I rewatched the finale again and loved it even more. For me, it was a great ending and so the more I watch it or think about it, the more I enjoy it.

You said that you're not sure that Desmond got off the island after Jack died. But I really think he did. That was the whole point of Jack saying "you have a wife and child to go home to" and for Ben telling Hurley that he can "do things differently" in reference to allowing Desmond to leave the island.

Another point about the flash-sideways - it is just a place for them to meet and move on. So it is very possible that there are other people waiting for them in their final afterlife destination, whatever that may be. I say this in response to questions about why Helen is not there with Locke. Or why Boone is there alone. I don't think that they will have to spend eternity with these people. It is just that this particular group of people needed to gather together so that they could all "move on."

Can't wait to read more comments and some more of your posts on the finale. Thanks for the great work!

Vidya said...

Didn't read all the comments and not sure if somebody already asked this. But what the deal with the island being at the bottom of the ocean in LAX? Does it mean that once all the survivors died, the island sunk? or does it mean that Hurley and Ben sunk the island before they died?

Steve said...

Vidya:

They were intentionally misleading us with the sunken island, the "it worked" comment by Juliet, and the while Jughead thing and the comments like 'we shouldn't be here"

They were trying to keep us from guessing what would otherwise have been fairly obvious.

I guess they can justify all this as a 'dream' waiting world... but would they all have sunk the island in the dream world? Really?

I DO kind of feel taken advantage of.. but let me be clear.. emotionally, I was very satisfied with the ending.

Endymion said...

It's pretty tough, probably impossible, to reconcile all the contradictory evidence found in the finale and the 119 hours preceding it. The biggest problem I had with the flash sideways timeline was that, if it all was only some meeting place for them to find each other again, why did we get so much detail? Maybe it was just to confuse us or to waste time -- I don't know. I wanted the bomb to work somehow; I wanted these alternatives to mean something. However, if we take Christian's comment seriously, that "everything that happened to you was real," then both timelines are equally "real" (whatever that means, being spoken by a spirit who also says he's "real"). The place that they all made to find each other is the church itself, not the entire timeline. Earlier in the episode, Desmond speaks to Jack as though the entire alternate timeline is some kind of afterlife, but he admits he's wrong about a related issue later -- why not about this? Having the flash sideways reality as an equally "real" place makes a more satisfying ending for me, but it still doesn't resolve all contradictions. I don't think any theory can. As some have commented before, the way network TV forces people to structure a series makes it pretty much impossible to create something fully realized and coherent over X number of seasons. Anyway . . . keep commenting folks: it's helping me come to grips with my confusion, frustration and melancholy.

Rachel said...

@Vidya - I agree with Steve that they were trying to throw us all off, which is why they showed the island sunk at the beginning of the flash-sideways. Although I also think that it was part of the flash-sideways world that the characters created for themselves. It was a nod to their time on the island, recognizing that the island did exist during their life. But since they were dead in the sideways world, there was no longer a need for the island...no need for "the source" (which to me represented life).

Andrew Steger said...

Brian, thanks for all the years of analysis. Really appreciated your Let Go and Love Lost posting a few weeks ago. Helped prepare me to love the end (The End) even more.

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Steve said...

Endymion: See, I think this is why I liked the ending. To me, the have the bomb 'work' would have destroyed the entire show. My reason is that I've always been fascinated with thinking about time travel and the contradictions. These writers have stated that they liked stories like '12 monkeys'(whatever happened) and disliked stories like "heros" or "terminator" that had someone come back from the future to change the past which would hence change the future so they would never come back to tell anyone to change the future(Whew! I told you I've thought too much about it!).

See, if the bomb worked, then you've got the same issue, these people traveled back in time to cause an event that caused the plane to crash which would mean that they were never on the island to detonate the h-bomb?

If the people somehow were able to be alive and happy in one world and retain their memories from the other? That would be on par with the island being a dream.

The only way I had seen for this to work would be if the people had sacrificed themselves to save the world from destruction.. by giving their lives in the parallel world for the real world where most are dead. This was alluded to many times.. It COULD have worked.. but it would have been a story of sacrifice instead of redemption.
That is what I was expecting...

stephenf44 said...

The producers went way overboard in keeping the big purgatory reveal a secret, almost to the point that I'd call it a misinformation campaign. Exhibit A: those enhanced episodes with the misleading pop-ups explaining the flash-sideways. I call BS on that -- not cool, not cool at all.

As I understand the awakenings in purgatory, the idea is to get to the point when you can remember your death. (Matthew Fox referred to this on Jimmy Kimmel). It's an intriguing idea -- remembering your death, which I guess lets you see your life in perspective, so you let go of the little things, embrace what's important, and move on to the next plane of existence.

So the scenes with Sun/Jin and Juliet/Sawyer worked the best for me -- their memory montages culminated in Sun/Jin's drowning and Juliet dying in Sawyer's arms. (Obviously, we don't know how Sawyer dies, and Lost doesn't have time to set it up.) Jack's awakening was also excellent. I thought Sayid's was just strange. This was a man with significant violence issues -- he was Ben's hitman off the island, then became Flocke's thug on the island, and was still shooting people while in purgatory. So he meets Shannon, remembers his beach hookup, and everything's OK now? It would have made more sense if he stayed back with Ben.

Nick said...

Steve,

We were told at the very beginning of the season by the producers to not think of the sideways timeline as alternate or secondary, but to think of it as fully equivalent to the original timeline. Which is what I wanted: the bomb "worked", but just not in the way they intended.

The island wouldn't have to have been a dream and still resolve the timelines. I could have imagined that the island, being that we've seen that it is somehow outside of space and time, is the nexus and anchor for these two worlds, and that our characters in the secondary reality remember their time on the island right up until the bomb explosion (that is, everything before the end of season 5) and Faraday realizes that must be the problem and so they have to come back to the island to correct it somehow. I could imagine all sorts of ways for it to play out, but of course our sideways characters would have to meet their original counterparts at some point... You could have the Sideways side bring the Science and the Original side bring the Faith, and have them working *together* rather than being at odds and Faith 'winning' as it did in the real show's ending.

Of course there would be a *lot* to work out there, but I would have been much more satisfied intellectually with an ending along those lines, and it would give us a greater sense of what the importance of the island was to the world.

Dragos "Poetru" Nica said...

This was obviously NOT a "decide for yourself" ending...I don't get why everyone is saying that. They lived together, shared a bond, moved on and died together as a testament to the importance of the events which took place in the 6 seasons of Lost.

As for the flashsideways episodes leading up to the finale being unecessary, I completely agree. I would have enjoyed to see more on-island action instead of seeing about an hour or two of the flashsideways which could and should have been cut. They really could just have shown the final scene with Jack arriving at the church and talking to Christian Shepphard and then going into the room and seeing everyone and make that the last scene to show us how important their bond was. That way they wouldnt've wasted any time with unecessary red herrings and a pointless plotline like some of the flashsideways plotlines were.

jon. said...

Desmond: We don't have to interpret it as if Desmond "gives up" on this life and wants to jump to the next one. Alternative: After Desmond's flash he understands what needs to be done (and is bound to be done) to stop the smoke monster from escaping. He only knows that things will turn out fine and what he needs to do on the island. That makes him calm and without fear. But that's not the same as wanting to jump to the next life.


"...but this also means that it really wasn’t that important that the Island exist in the first place, right? If the destruction of the Island meant that the light at the heart of it would go out, obviously it wouldn’t bring about the end of the world / hope / existence – otherwise, Jacob wouldn’t have sent Desmond back to the Island as a safety precaution that all the candidates died."
...
"Remember my original complaint about the writers not framing the danger of this season very well? This is exhibit B in support of that argument. The spent a season telling us how important it was to protect the Island, or else “all hell will break loose”, but then we find out that Jacob’s backup plan is to allow the Island to crumble as long as it renders SmokeLocke mortal."

Yes, this is exactly what has been bugging me since the end too. The best way I can make sense of it is like this: "rescue the island" actually means "prevent Smoke monster from taking some of the island power off-island". Uncorking and sinking might be bad but not catastrophic. It could be the ultimate safety valve, maybe sinking the island for a very long period of time before it emerges again with the light intact/renewed. But having the island power (incarnate in smokey) leave the island would be catastrophic.

To make this more credible the writers could have planted hints about historic events where the dark island power has escaped for some time. The black plaugue was really the black smoke plaugue, the biblical deluge was really that evil power at it again, and so on. They could frame it so that those cases where only small escapes (maybe the smoke monster transferred a small part of his evil power onto someone else who then escaped and made a scene). Moral of such a story: the big escape will be much, much worse! Some backstory like that would have made more sense of all the sacrifices on the island.
[continued]

jon. said...

[continued]
I loved the end of the Ben Linus story (apart from the flaky tree scene): accepting and liking number two-ship is a great accomplishment for his character, and also a good lesson for many viewers.


"Why would characters like Charlie and Faraday say things like “we aren’t supposed to be here” and “none of this is real” – when in fact, even if it wasn’t the final stop in the afterlife, it was apparently a necessary stop along the way?"

I had no problem with those specific cases. As you say they're in that dreamlike state, now beginning to wake out of it. They're confused and are trying to make sense of it. And they AREN'T supposed to be (as in stay) there and none of it IS real (they're waking up from the dream). It is only a necessary stop on the way to ease the transision to something else.

On the other hand Eloise's reference to "the rules" when Desmond started asking in the pre-party scene now seems really ad hoc and planted just to confuse the viewer.

I also agree that the "letting go" part was really thin for some characters in the flash forward. I see no need for many of them to have fake beliefs and then "wake up" from them? Jack and some others - sure. But not all. Maybe it is a package deal though. Some really need that process (Jack!) and others are along for the ride.


"If it was all about Jack, the Flash Sideways would have made perfect sense."

Maybe it was. Maybe the idea is that each person has his perfect transition dream world thing. Others are in it too. But each of them also have their own separate dream world. Jack will be in other peoples transition worlds too, but there he'll be more in the background.

This is it for me. Travelling and the hectics of summer are coming up so I relax my mind from all things Lost (and even from the best lost blog!) for quite some time. Thanks again for your writings Brian. See you in another life brother! :-)

Dave Harty said...

I know that there is no time in the afterlife, but did it bother anyone else that in the day or two it took Desmond to get Charlie (and everyone else) to the concert Locke got fired, got hired, recovered from a hit and run and had major surgery?

And that was just Locke. The same could be said of all the sideways characters.

I know it is a small point, but I was disappointed when I saw the "the concert" was the same one Eloise was setting up for the day after 815 landed in LA X.

singhy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve said...

Nick,

I disagree completely. For some reason, I did a lot of thought about time travel as a child, and I figured only two things were possible.

- If someone went back in time, they had always gone back in time. Whatever happened, happened.

- The ability to view without interating....

Think about it.. if the bomb goes off.. and the plane never crashed... then who setoff the bomb? If you're suggesting an 'equal' world, sure, but that world must have always existed.. otherwise it makes no sense. In other words... whatever happened, happened.

Now.. you could try to minimize the damage with some ideas of the island being a gatway to multiple realities. And that the bomb goinhg off so close to the 'heart'(which always happened) opened a pathway to a parallel world. Something like "fringe" where the two realities bleed through to each other and this bleed through must be stopped or the bad things will happen. But... I'm opening theories that didn't happen.. and the show is what it is...

If you have a nice meal.. just enjoy it.. don't say "well, they could have used more salt".. it IS what it is. I enjoyed the meal.. just as I enjoyed lost. It could have been better, but it could have been a hell of a lot worse!

Nick said...

Steve,

That's exactly what I meant. The bomb always went off, and it always created (or made a link to, if that's more palatable) the Sideways Timeline. "Whatever happened, happened," still holds because the Island Timeline that we watched for 6 years remains intact and unaffected--their past remains intact and their future remains uncertain.

And sure you can enjoy a meal for what it is, but I thought I was in a five-star restaurant and only got four-star food. Sure it's good, and would be enjoyable in its own right, but I went to this particular restaurant because I was expecting a five-star meal. I'm stretching the metaphor a little too far, but I think you get my point: It was good for what it ended up being. I just don't think it reached its potential.

John Seven said...

I always felt that the reason the threat of MIB was so vague was to keep open the idea that there was no threat at all - this was built up through the human interpretation of Jacob's warning. That's why Lost does not seem to have fallen on the side of religion at all to me - it raises the concern that all the fears were unwarranted and that the characters were manipulated towards goals that were perceived as lofty and important, but were really just part of a personal conflict between brothers, inflated over 2000 years.

starrzy said...

The intense scrutiny of every last detail of the island is, forgive the pun, lost on me. In my mind the island is much like a dream where the rules of the world as we know it don't apply. Shit changes and doesn't make any sense. And it doesn't need to. Everything on it-- every event, every place, every character-- is just a symbol of their individual and collective unconscious minds to help provoke some memory, heal some old wound, solidify the lessons of their earthly lives, and catalyze their souls to move on to whatever is next. They were lost and needed purpose to keep moving forward, whether it was pushing the damn button or plugging a giant stone tampon in the vaginal opening to hell at the heart of the island. Who gives a shit about Smokelocke's shifting motives... he was only a reflection of Jack's shifting inner dynamics as he came closer and closer to comprehending and accepting his own death. LOVED the ending.

Steve said...

I saw the 2008 movie 'passengers' last night. Spoiler alert. A plane crashes on the beach. The survivors meet up for group councelling. People start appearing and get flashes of memories. Eventually they run into loved ones that make them 'come to peace' and accept that they really died. They explane 'everything else' in the world are people are souls to help you along, but only loved ones can help you come to grips. Others can't tell you because you have to realize it yourself.

OK, now.. I feel cheates. Unoriginal, and in 1 hou 32 minutes they told the 'sideways' story with more explanations than an entire series of Lost.

don't get me wrong.. I loved lost.. But season 6 was subpar and dare I say jumped the shark. ii did get enjoyment out of it and is in the top5 of all time.. But I think after seeing this 'average' movie sum it up better in less time... Lets say I wqs emotionally satisfied.. And actually satisfied with the answers.. Just not the sideways bs.

Sheebs said...

We are anxiously awaiting your FINAL ANALYSIS! Can't wait!

starrzy said...

So I've finally gotten around to reading some of the post-series commentary and I'm dumbfounded by the whole "Were they dead all along" question. Of course they were. Jack says in the second or third episode when Kate first volunteers to tell him what she did, "We all died three days ago." He then goes on to say that they all get a new life on the island and that every one deserves a second chance. I've been rewatching the series and it's amazing how many times and how many different ways they come right out and say that they're dead and what they're on the island to do... remember and let go. From my perspective, purgatory began with the crash and ended with the reunion in the church. Flash sideways existed because they needed the life and death stakes on the island to prepare their souls to "move on." So the dead islanders had to have somewhere to go to wait for the rest of the gang to be ready.

John Seven said...

They weren't in purgatory prior to the sideways flash because Walt grew up and new characters with their own histories were added to the stories - and stayed around, adding importance to the lives of the people who would already be in purgatory. After viewing the flash sideways and the rules that apply, it seems obvious that the island was very definitely not purgatory, except in a metaphorical sense in that it was the beginning of Jack's journey to letting go that was finished in the sideways flash.

dj (David Jones) said...

Well, if that was Brian's last post on this blog ever, I'll try to be the last one leaving a comment.

Brian said...

Don't worry guys - this wasn't my last post ever... just the last post I had to get out on somewhat of a deadline (before it became irrelevant). I still plan on telling you all what I would have done differently, even though it's kinda a jerk thing to do... because I guess I'm kinda a jerk. Then there will be the inevitable post about the new scenes on the DVD before we put a final stamp on Lost... for now.

Then we'll focus on other TV shows or something. Honestly, there is nothing worthwhile on TV right now so I am way too uninspired to write about anything with any consistency. But good TV will come around in the fall, right?

We can hope.

So yeah - more to come... just not sure when. Stay tuned if you care!

Ryan71 said...

I hope the Hurley / Ben epilogue rocks and then there is a spin off.

One can hope, right?

Elizabeth Trudgeon Brown said...

I miss you Brian! ~ http://tru-loveletters.blogspot.com/2010/06/love-lost-and-gone-forever.html

gigi said...

i don't get how Flash Sideways has any logic. it would have if all the people there where dead. but then again what are kate, sawyer, desmond & hugo doing there? i don't remember seeing them die.
for me the show finale was a big dissapoiment. probably the bigest pile of crap i have seen in my life, and Lost, didin't deservet to be murdered like this.

Ryan71 said...

Gigi,

Everyone dies at some point. So the flash sideways could have been 5 / 10 / 100 / 10000 years in the future.

The convo between Hurley and Ben made it apparent that Hurley spent a long time protecting the island but then eventually died and was then in the flash sideway.

gigi said...

very lame. Lost, that was the best TV series of the century, in my opinion, deserved a good ending. this was very lame. it gave me such a bitter taste after watching it that i keep wondering if i haven't wasted time from these last 6 years watching it. Even a cancelacion after season 5 (story hanging) would have been (unintencionaly) a better ending than this garbage.

Ryan71 said...

Well thats your opinion. Although I think that season 6 started off a little iffy.. I personally loved the ending.

Plus - you say the ending left a bitter taste in your mouth - but you didn't even understand the ending until like an hour ago. How's that possible?

Smaelb said...

Gigi, I don't think you understood the last episode of Lost. They all died, indeed. But in different times.

dj (David Jones) said...

Personally, I thought the ending was brilliant. I can understand being upset over the ending if you didn't get enough of your questions answered. But if you're just unhappy with it because of the flash sideways, or afterlife, portion of it then I don't really sympathize with you.

For a long time now, the element of faith has existed on this show. And a lot of the time, we were told by the writers that the man of science, Jack, had it all wrong. And according to the story of Lost, ultimately he did. If you're anti-afterlife, then I guess you can think it's lame all you want. Truth be told, none of us know what (if anything) happens when you die.

I'm not a particularly religious guy, but if you're going to be unhappy with a show because of a situation that you believe to be untrue based on a belief system then I really don't know why you ever watched this show. There were always moments of various faiths on this show. A character named Christian, a very Buddhist method of selecting a leader for the others when Richard tested John Locke, etc.

What's the liklihood of people crashing on an island and surviving to find a smoke monster? Pretty far fetched, but for some reason that fiction is cool yet the afterlife is lame to people that don't believe in it. That's bogus.

Maybe we just watched different shows over the last six years, but if you didn't see something like that coming then I don't understand how. It has been what the show has been about from the very first season.

I can also understand the folks that feel unhappy because all of the characters' lives didn't unfold through the course of the show. But in the end, the things that mattered over the course of the show were put on film. Would we really want to see Kate living out her normal life back in the US when she got off the plane that Frank flew away? My guess is no.

I think that, ultimately, the answers that we didn't get result from the fact that it would have been even more lame to give them to us. Except for perhaps Ben and Hurley. But we'll get more of that with the DVDs.

So, anyway, let others drink all the hatorade that they want. I will always love this show. I can't wait until my little girl is old enough to watch all of them with me.

Could it have been done differently? Yes. Could it have been done in a way to make me, personally and not a lot of others, enjoy it more? Yes. Would there have ever been an ending 100% of the viewers of the show were all happy with? Hell no.

Pun intended.

jack said...

Brian....I cast a vote that your next blog is on DEXTER!! Much depth to analyize. It's episodic to a greater degree than LOST was. For past seasons, DEXTER has been easily one of the best shows on TV in memory if not ever IMO.

franky said...

Dude where you at? i wanna hear your reaction to the whole series, and what you would've done differently.

gowiththeflow said...

I'm really sad that you haven't posted your "what I would have done differently" ending yet! I just didn't like the "all roads lead to heaven theme" as pictured in the stain glass window with all the major religions identified. OK they went to an after life....(like the ending of Titanic)... but it was weird that they sat down in the church as if they were waiting for something to start and someone was going to get up and speak, and then Christian just slips out the back door. Something I also often do in church, slip out the back door. I'm OK that they ended LOST with an "everyone we loved is saved" ending (except John Locke) I have always hated him. but seriously, I wanted to hear how you would have ended LOST differently! Where is your Wrap UP???

gowiththeflow said...

When are you going to post your Wrap up or alternate ending thoughts????

Eric said...

I read an interview with one of the writers where he basically said "none of the answers we provided to the unanswered mysteries would have been as good as the ones you already had come up with." While I agree with this and am glad for all the unanswered questions I was disappointed by a couple big things. Someone else said that only seasons 1, 2 and 6 were neccessarry. I would say that only 1 and 6 were necessary, and the remaining four could have been condensed into a few episodes.

I enjoyed almost every minute of the show, but I really don't think they knew where they were going from the beginning to the end. Of course they can say that and its "technically legal" because they had the last scene written at the beginning of the show, but everything in between was made up along the way. Its quite obvious that they explored several options, abandoned them and then started to tie it all together somewhere in Season 5. Even then they still couldn't bring it all together.

Walt, the vaccine, Dharma, the ARG, the Valenzetti equation, the time travel, the Egyptians, fate, destiny, Libby, Dharma, the Swan... all paths started down but not completed.

I also dislike the Flash Sideways. As Brian said it was intentional misdirection. Instead of when the big reveal came everything tying together it was almost possible to explain everything.

I don't think I could have come up with a better ending, while not intellectually satisfying it was more emotionally satisfying than I could have hoped for. In the end I am happy with "the end." It tied everything together exactly how they said it would - by focusing on the characters, not the sci fi questions. Asking the writers to answer all questions and solve all mysteries while providing emotional closure in a satisfying way would be asking the impossible.

Maggie said...

Where are you Brian?!?! I am looking forward to your wrap up.

Fahimeh said...

one of the most important things:I concluded that the Jacob was the bad man of the whole series!

Dan Michel said...

Please make a final post! I want to hear what you'd do differently!

Brian said...

Don't worry - it's coming. Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow... but soon.

I apologize. Life has been crazy busy right now, leaving little time for me to improve upon the grand story of Lost.

But be forewarned - once you read what I would have done differently, it will probably forever ruin repeated viewings of Lost as you think "Yeah, this is okay - but it would have been better if they did what Brian said".

Or you'll think "Man, am I glad that Brian did NOT write Lost. He sucks."

Either way.

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Sérgio said...

Hello Brian.

Just a quick question.

I've just watched "The new man in charge" (the 11 minute video) and almost immediately wondered if you saw it, and what you might think about it.
Well, i guess it's two questions actually.

Would love a post about it...