Monday, May 24, 2010

Unanswered Questions Report Card

The final season of Lost was not without its faults. I’ll be the first to admit that, and will touch on that subject in much further detail in the near future. It’s totally understandable that the series finale didn’t connect with everyone the same way that it connected with me – it was more about the emotional connections with the characters and the big picture “fate” of the characters we grew to know and love over the years than the mythology. If you loved Lost for the sci-fi elements, you were disappointed. If you loved Lost for the characters and their relationships, you loved it. If you loved both (like me), you probably came down somewhere in between, depending on how the final scene connected with you. Again, for me, it was fantastic.

It’s very easy for a show to have a great season finale. I can rattle off a dozen off the top of my head that blew me away. However, it’s much harder to do a great series finale. Thinking back to all my favorite shows over the years, I can only think of two candidates: Lost and Scrubs. Both found a balance between staying true to the series and sending it off in an extremely emotional way that stuck with me for days and weeks after the fact.

But that’s not the point of this post. It seems like the biggest complaint that people had about “The End” is that it didn’t answer the big questions that they still had about the series. So I thought I would revisit what I deemed to be the “big questions” before this season began to see how many were answered… and how many were not ( – then we’ll see if this argument is justified:

10. Juliet and the Jughead – ANSWERED. I thought we would get this reveal early in Season Six – but as it turns out, it took until the final moments of the series before we got the real answer – The Jughead simply caused the Incident, just like Miles had predicted. It didn’t create an alternate timeline, it didn’t change the past, it simply reinforced “whatever happened, happened” – just like I had hoped all along. (Note: It also seems that a side effect was the transportation of our Survivors from 1977 to 2007.)

9. Adam and Eve – ANSWERED. Adam and Eve = Anti-Jacob and The Woman. Was it anti-climatic? A little? Was it proof that the writers had this whole storyline planned from the start? Hell no. Was it a question that was answered? Yes.

8. The Island History – PARTIALLY ANSWERED. More than any other question, this is the one that I wish we got a little more answers to. Yes, we learned how the Black Rock arrived on the Island, who built the FDW, and the history of Richard Alpert… which actually were the three things I specifically mentioned regarding this question in my original post – but I’m greedy and still want more. I didn’t need to go any further back in time to learn about the Egyptians (which would have undoubtedly come across as ridiculous), but I would have liked a little better answer about why it was such a bad thing if the Island was destroyed and what would have happened if SmokeLocke had escaped the Island. Getting these two additional pieces of information would have gone a long way in justifying everything that happened on Lost, and helping us understand the importance of the final battles between SmokeLocke and our Survivors, since we would know the repercussions of losing that battle.

7. Good and Evil – ANSWERED. Even though the answer was… there is no answer. As I predicted, things stayed predictably “gray” throughout the final season. Even when the writers went so far as to make SmokeLocke the “bad guy” by killing off a number of fan-favorites, they turned around and made his character totally sympathetic in the next episode by revealing what made him the way he was. The only disappointment here is characters like Ben, who flipped back and forth from good to evil numerous times throughout the last few episodes on a whim.

6. Jacob and Anti-Jacob – ANSWERED. They were two brothers, born on the Island, who became the Protector and Security System for the Island after some heavy manipulation by previous Protector, “The Woman”.

5. The Others – UNANSWERED. Yes, we spent some time at the start of the season in the Temple… which was a huge disappointment. But we never learned much about the nature of the Others and their society on the Island. Were they continually getting instructions from Jacob via Alpert? Did they develop the rules of their society on their own? Were they truly “worshippers” of Jacob who were acting to protect the Island, or were they a group of people being tricked by Anti-Jacob via Ben all along? What was up with the kidnapping and costumes from the early seasons? The writers had plenty of opportunities to answer these questions every season, and every season they decided not to – which means they didn’t know, didn’t think it was important, or wanted to leave it intentionally ambiguous to let the Others be whatever we wanted them to be. Disappointing.

4. Fate vs. Destiny – ANSWERED. Jacob brought our Survivors to the Island to become candidates to replace him, because they were all individuals who needed the Island as much as the Island needed them. Although I still think it would have been cooler to find out that Jacob didn’t know much, and was retroactively evaluating his candidates based on who accidentally ended up on the Island, the body of evidence seems to point to the opposite – Jacob was a flawed individual who “pushed” characters in a way to bring them to the Island. He wasn’t perfect – his actions resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people over the years (at least), but he brought them to the Island. It wasn’t just a coincidence.

3. Smokey – ANSWERED. We didn’t get the “nuts and bolts” answer of what Smokey was made of, but most of us didn’t want that anyways. We learned that Smokey was SmokeLocke who was actually Anti-Jacob, who turned into Smokey after being thrown into the heart of the Island a long time ago. There are still unanswered questions about why the ash and pylons kept him out, why he killed some but not others, and other miscellaneous “rules” that would have been nice to find out – but we got the big answer.

2. The Funky Island Stuff – PARTIALLY ANSWERED. We got answers to the Numbers, Richard never aging, the Sickness and the Whispers… and a lot of people thought they were lacking. So maybe it’s for the better that we never got firm answers to the other items in this category, like the time travel, moving the Island, random appearing and disappearing of Others, etc. More than any other question, I’m okay with leaving some of this stuff unanswered. The Island is a mysterious place where magical things happen – to find out exactly why takes away some of the “magic” from the equation. But like most, it would have been nice to get a little closure to the Aaron / Walt storylines from the early seasons.

1. The Fate of the Survivors of Oceanic 815 – ANSWERED. The most important question of all, and one that was totally answered in the finale. In short, they die. We all die, eventually.

  • Jack sacrifices himself to save the Island (and world?).
  • Hurley becomes the new Jacob, Ben becomes the new Alpert.
  • Alpert, Kate, Sawyer, Miles, Claire, and Frank escape the Island on Ajira 316 to live out the rest of their days in the “real world”.
  • Sun, Jin, and Sayid die on the Island.

As predicted, everyone got a little bit of redemption on Lost. Their time on the Island made them better people, helped them “let go” of the baggage they brought to the Island, and find love.

So looking back, it looks like in the end we received somewhere between 70% and 90% of the big questions answered. Sure, it’s easy to come up with a bunch of smaller questions – but these were the big ones I had before the final season started. Looking at them, I have a hard time being upset at the finale using the argument that “they didn’t answer any questions”.

But again, as we discussed earlier this season – Lost is open to interpretation. Maybe you didn’t feel like any of these questions were answered “enough” for you to be satisfied.

One more thing - after the episode ended, I started looking back at some of my earlier posts to see how close / far away from the real ending we were way back in Season One. I came across the following post from April of 2005:

Locke is already the most sage-like character on the island. Is he really serving as their "Christ-figure", giving them guidance for how to live through their new life on the island? If you buy the whole "They’re in purgatory" theory, it could be that when Locke met the monster way back when, he was changed to become a guide of sorts to get everyone else’s souls to the same place he is. That’s why he’s working to get them to "release their inner demons" and "move on", even though everyone has a TON of past baggage in their lives.

Replace “Desmond” with “Locke” and it’s pretty damn close to what we saw in Lost’s final season. That’s pretty cool.

What next? “The End” analysis, complete with an analysis of the big picture storyline of Lost. For now, keep on discussing – but let’s keep it civil, people!


JillyB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark said...

This is the first time I've commented on this blog but I really love it. It has been a valuable aid to my Lost experience. Thank you!

I loved the finale and put myself in the category of those that valued the relationships in the show over anything else, probably because that reflects my real values. As such, the ending was very satisfying if not even uplifting.

However, I'd like to point out a question that I haven't seen anyone address: what was the deal with the closing credits? Rather than read over black, they were below images of the plane wreck. No bodies, no people, just the plane wreck. I believe/hope that the writers were just giving us a nice visual reminder of where we came from by ending with the plane's carcass, but if that is actually intended to be a part of the narrative, I think there is a lot to still explore.

Otherwise, I agree with this post that Lost actually did a better job of resolving many of the "big picture" mysteries than people might otherwise give it credit for.

I look forward to following along as the discussion of the end of the series continues.

Gib said...

Good post Brian.

Like you say it leaves several small questions unanswered but that should keep some of the mystery and debate going when we rewatch the old seasons again.

I loved the finale and i think looking back at the full 6 seasons i can safely say Lost has given me more enjoyment than any other TV show ever.

Vishal said...

What was the answers to the numbers? I still dont know what the numbers are and why they were used in the dharma group, on the hatch etc...Can someone explain?

dj (David Jones) said...

Yeah, a fair share of people didn't like the finale. Particularly folks that aren't of a religious persuasion, and if you didn't ever get the faith theme of Lost then I'm surprised. That was always going to play a part in the end. It's been science vs. faith since the beginning of this show.

I do empathize with folks that were not satisfied with the Scifi explanation. While I'm open minded enough to consider an afterlife a possibility (despite the long odds against it), at the same token I feel that same open mindedness should be rewarded by the tons of mythological questions left on the table by the show.

It would have been nice to see where it all started... who the original protector was. Were the others all like Dogen? Did they all broker a deal to be on team Jacob? Or were they just on his 'lists'? We'll never know. I can handle not knowing things about Walt (and to some degree Aaron).

I think, at the end of the day, that the series should have really ended at season five. I think the whole time-travel-so-we-can-get-the-gang-back-together was a waste of time to a large degree. I think the show could have been written to introduce MIB in season 4, in my opinion the weakest season, and the whole issue resolved in season 5.

Scenarios just kept getting more and more outlandish. Although, I guess if you consider the possiblity of folks surviving a plane crash that broke apart a few thousand feet above an island guarded by a smoke monster realisitic you have issues too.

Ultimately, the show, (both the content for the viewers and the production) had flaws. Still, for my money, it will go down as the single greatest series in television history.

Unless team Darlton tries to come back and top it with something else. We'll see.

Rebecca said...

Love seeing most of the big questions on your list were answered, I think the Walt/Aaron stuff is the only big one that I would have really liked to had more story on.

Mark - I've seen people talk about the credits and am surprised how much thought people put into it - they trained us well lol. I thought it was just as you said, a reminder of where things started and nothing to do with the story.

David Moore said...

I enjoyed the finale and your post. Very concise and well documented. I'm still trying to understand the numbers as well....any thoughts here? Dharma also has me thoroughly confused now.

Niall said...

I enjoyed the finale, but as a series, Lost is intellectually less than satisfying.

Fine if they didn't want to give us all the answers, but that doesn't explain why everybody started acting so stupidly. Over the last few seasons, so many people could have asked the know-it-alls like Richard, Alana, Ben, Jacob and Smokelocke for answers to questions we've been asking for seasons. And the only reason they didn't ask those questions was because it didn't suit the plot.

The vaccine, the kids and the numbers were never addressed properly & really should have been.

Good, but could have done better.

Brian B. said...

Greatest series finale ever?


NathanColquhoun said...

I wrote a post about how I was disappointed in Lost after it was all over. It certainly was mostly because I liked and focused on the sci-fi side of it. That is really what it came down to. I think they took the cheap way out about really only ending that side of the story. Anyway, I've ready every word of your blog for the past few years and enjoyed it a lot, so thanks!

Post is here.

Mark Booker said...

A few other unanswered questions exist, simply from the last episode. Whose skeleton did Desmond see at the bottom of the waterfall? That couldn't have been anyone we knew, right?

Also, why did Jack not become a smoke monster after falling in? And why did he get teleported out into the river.. just to die? I suppose the answer is "so he could crawl into the bamboo and have a powerful last scene", but it didn't totally make sense to me.

I know everyone else was weeping, but I guess I just never really connected with Jack. Stubborn, bland, and kind of dumb. However, the scene with the people all gathering in the afterlife, so happy to see each other, and Locke walking and hugging people: I started to cry like a baby. I loved that episode, even if I didn't love the entire series.

Dyason said...

I enjoyed the finale and the series as a whole, but I'm not sure how it would stand up to a viewing now I know the end. Your big 10 questions were answered but surely others were more important? The mid seasons where Walt and Aaron were so important, and then they weren't important at all. The whole deal with Dharma and the Others amounted to nothing. This was never explained, never will be. Yes I loved the show, in the end I don't see how they could have made a better ending other than going with the emotion and feelings we had for the characters. But I can't help feel slightly Lost and wishing they'd done more. Did they have a plan from day 1? I'm not so sure.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

At the end of the finale, I could think of was Titanic! Very similar! I am like you Brian, I fall in the middle. The emotional stuff was great, but I wanted more mythological stuff thrown in there too. They did this beautifully with the Constant (even though we were left with questions after that episode too). I totally get the ending and I am very satisfied on a emotional level. I just would have preferred more answers about the Others, why was it soooooo bad if MIB go out (other than hey the world is doomed!) etc. This finale felt like this: A person who had never seen LOST before could have watched that finale and totally understood it...simply knowing that the show was about a plane crash where they end up on a freaky/mystery island was enough to understand that finale. And I just wanted more for the people that invested 6 years into it. Of course, a newbie wouldn't be able to catch the little things (like the date on the sonogram, etc.) but they would be able to understand and catch on quick. Would have been nice if the writers would have thrown us....the loyal 6 year viewers more of a the mythological sense.

zimmerman said...

is there nobody that also thinks that jack is the new black smoke. he was lying just like the man in black and nobody had him seen coming out of the cave

Steve said...

I loved the mythology more than the characters.. so I thought. I loved the finale.

I will say this one more time.. I know I'm a broken record.

They can't answer all questions, plots shifted as the seasons went on, it was a moving target. To focus on these details though is not only a waste of time, but the very 'holding on' to attachments and details that are not important.. we're making ourselves unhappy by nitpicking the details.
Sure, there are some things I think could have been done better, yes, I think they took some cop outs over the years, but as an entire series, I was very happy with the series and especially the way they ended it. If you didn't enjoy it, it's not about mythology vs people, it's about letting go of the little things to enjoy the big picture. It's a lesson in life as well. We can all be happier if we practice this same thing.

Anonymous said...

Once again...if anyone has read the comic Y:The Last Man (written by Brian K. Vaughan, who became a writer on LOST), I feel much the same way about that as I do with LOST. In both there were many mysteries and questions. And when you get those answers they may seem like a letdown because they could never be as cool as what you make up in your own mind. But in the end, it was never about the mysteries in the first place. It was about the people, and their personal journey. This series finale, just like the end of Y:The Last Man, was amazing.

Endymion said...

Well . . . could any episode wrap up entirely a tapestry woven over the course of six years? I'm no Christian, but I can understand faith, something that doesn't arise from analysis or logic. It's a cop-out, yes, but I'll let the writers get away with it, since faith vs rationality has been a theme since day one. The important thing for me was that the characters had their adventures and also got their happy endings (pretty much, anyway). Contrary to what most seem to feel, I think both timelines were equally "real" (perhaps a manifestation of quantum theory's "many worlds" hypothesis) and they blended together like Daniel's piano with Driveshaft's rock: if we're offended that the writers would dare to "break the rules" of narrative convention by doing this, we may be missing the point -- we're not living in Jacob's (old testament, arbitrary ruled) world (nor do we need to slavishly follow literary convention), but in Hurley's (he's the bringer of the new dispensation, the gospel which is enabled by the sacrifice of the son of the Christian Shepherd). Or, perhaps the characters are living in both, I suppose. Many authors grow to love their characters as real people and agonize over putting them through the torments which make up exciting lives: in this incredibly unique conclusion to a wonderful series, the writers get to have their cake and eat it, too. The heroes loved and lost, even died, and still got the happy ending. Perhaps that's too conventionally Christian for some, but I, at least, found it extremely satisfying.

Anonymous said...

This will absoutely not be my last comment here, as I COMPLETELY Feel like Charlie who wants his "bloody drugs" as far as LOST is concerned... and I just know that the end of LOST is something that will LITERALLY probably take me weeks to fully accept...

So I just wanna say TECHNICALLY they'd be in LIMBO... not purgatory.

Unknown said...

I think it's very possible that the two skeletons down in the light cave could have been meant to show that Desmond wasn't the first "special" person who went down there and pulled that plug. The skeletons were both sprawled on the ground in positions very similar to how desmond was laying before Jack went back down there and saved him.

Unknown said...

Maybe the images of the plane wreck with No bodies, no people at the very ends means that actually there were no survivors of oceanic 815. And everything that happened after the crash was purgatory and redemption.

Anonymous said...

I'm suffering the loss of LOST already. And this blog is fantastic with very insightful comments from everyone.
Early on I thought this was a purgatory type of thing and we were told by the creators in a live chat that no, it wasn't.
But I think all of us from the get-go saw that this was going in a direction of "pay attention to how you live your life." Human nature can be violent and uncaring. People out for themselves (Live Together - or Die Alone). I thought the finale gave me the peace of mind that I needed to get from the show. Sure, there are plenty of unanswered questions. That's ok. My curiosity can be curbed for now. I just liked how beautiful it all turned out at the end. I was so happy for Jack - and so sad that he died on the island - 2 things that needed to happen for him to move on. Vincent lying down with Jack got me bawling my eyes out. Not sure why - it just happened. I was processing the show all night in my sleep and woke up exhausted. I've never had such a connection with a TV show in my life! How powerful for the creators to have developed such messaging that we're all drawn to. Personally, I feel like I need to be a better human being right now, before I'm dead. :) LOL
Maybe that's just the point. Live. Love. Laugh. Now - before it's too late??
Who knows....

Dean said...

About the quote Freud...sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

I think people are WAY overanalyzing the credits.

Vidya said...

Great finale! Loved the way the Island story ended, but I think I could have lived without the sideways story for the entire season. I would have been more satisfied if the entire season 6 was about the island story told in a straightforward fashion (no switching back and forth between sideways and island). Having said that, I must admit I am not a religious person.

Anonymous said...

...Oh How can that be all I say.


I can honestly tell you that I have NO IDEA, and have COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN how I came upon your Blog, haha, but I do know that the first time I ever read one was very early in Season 4. And for over 2 and 1/2 years THIS Blog has been my go-to source, for LOST hype all throughout every week. From the Instant Reactions half an hour after the show is over, to the analysis days later and the previews the day before, Seeing that this blog has been update has always been a cause for just the TINIEST bit of "giddy-ness" on my behalf. And I'm not afraid to admit it. lol. And while yes, I will admit, there was in fact many-a time over the years in which I found myself a bit disappointed that you well, GOT-IT RIGHT, thus having me watch the episode and knowing exactly where it was going, because I might as well have been reading a spoiler while reading your Episode Previews... But I can tell you that no matter HOW MANY TIMES, I convinced myself I wouldn't read your blog, whether it just be the previews, or just not that week's episode or whatever, I could convince myself I COULD DO... without fail EVERY SINGLE TIME,.. your reeled me back in, and now that we've met The End,.. I'm so glad that I just DID NOT HAVE THE WILL-POWER to do it, lol, Because no matter what you wrote or I can honestly say that your blog has been such a Constant in my LOST experience over the years, that I couldn't imagine watching the final 2 1/2 seasons without it in my life

Not coming to this blog anymore will truly be as difficult for me to come to grips with as the fact that the show itself IS actually over...

So Brian, I don't know your last name. I don't know what you do for a living... And I don't even know what you look like. But I do know that you are responsible for adding to what was some very exciting times in my life, as it relates to LOST. So, from the bottom of my LOST Consumed Heart, I gotta say Thank You. Thank You for giving so much of your life to this fantastic story, and Thank You for doing it in such a way, that I could experience it along with you.

I have loved EVERY SINGLE SECOND of this show, this story. Since the very first day, six years ago, I have fallen in love with the characters and the mythology of a show about Human Life, Faith, Smoke Monsters, Polar Bears, and Frozen Donkey Wheels.

And I can never imagine a day where I don't miss being completely enthralled and submerged head first into this story, But I am so thankful to have had it in my life.

Goodbye LOST... I've loved you and I will miss you.

and Goodbye Brian. Thank You so much for giving me something to hold onto all throughout the week while LOST WASN'T On.. I know I'm not quite ready to "move on" and leave that church just yet.. but I know that moment will no doubt have to be very soon. So with that said...

I'll see you in another life, Brother.

Unknown said...

Brian - I've really enjoyed reading your blogs. And I'm looking forward to your indepth analysis of the finale and the series as a whole, because right now, I just don't get it.

So this show was about the characters learning to let go? I guess you can put me under the category of those who like it for the sci-fi stuff. I enjoyed the character developments and relationships. But I thought this was a show about a mystical island. From the very start the show introduced us to some weird things - polar bears, smoke monster, parapeligics being able to walk, cancers magically going away, the island not letting you die until it was done with you, infertile couple haivng a baby, time traveling, island moving, etc. But it seems like none of that really matters in the end. And if those didn't really matter, then what was the point of introducing those?

If we had known from the very start that this was about learning to let go and not so much about the weird island stuff, would it have been a successful show? If we had known that Dharma, the sci-fi stuff and all the other "minor" plot twists didn't really matter in the end, would people have continued to watch it?

I think I would have been happier had they ended it with everyone in the alternate reality going back together to the island one final time. I was thinking that the purpose of them getting together in the church was that they were going to need to recreate Oceaning 815 once again and return to the island. Hurley was the new Jacob and everyone else were the new "Others". Their purpose would of course have been to protect the island and when it came time, to select new candidates. And it would have come full circle from there.

Right now I feel dissatisfied. Maybe I'll change my mind once I read your analysis.

Unknown said...

Regarding #2: Did we get an answer to any of those that wasn't just "it's magic, don't ask questions"? I mean, Aaron and Walt probably took up an entire season's worth of plotline between them, if not more, and we got absolutely nothing. But even among the things you mentioned...
*The numbers are associated with the candidates--no details, and no reason why they're significant (those numbers, or even those candidates in particular).
*Richard never ages because Jacob doesn't want him to.
*The sickness is people coming back from the dead, and acting evil... somehow.
*The whispers are ghosts.

Out of all of those, the last one--yes, ghosts--is the most reassuring! I don't think I'm nit-picking in saying that the core mythology of the show has been completely ignored. "It's magic" isn't an unsatisfying answer--it's no answer at all. Supernatural or not, there is nothing to indicate its place in the show, or its significance, or give it any meaning at all. I won't tell you that you can't be satisfied, but I am just not convinced. I did like the characters myself, but the characters alone could not have carried the show, and would not have made it such a fantastic success. It was a great ending, but it wasn't an ending to the show I got hooked on.

Brian Hirschy said...

If everyone was going to go to purgatory and get a chance to kinda wrap things up there, Im not sure the island did matter. Plus the writers chose not to tell us why the island matters - a strong argument could have been made that MIB was right.

I felt like this thing/island that changed everyone (character dev.) over the course of 6 years was left completely in the dark. I honestly felt like the writers were trying to convince us that the island is worth figuring out - how? go back and look at all the questions that the Losties asked themselves, 95% island related.

I started off hating the finale but the more I think about it the more I'm shifting back to liking it. Felt like the "purgatory" was underwhelming at best, I felt like the final battle between Locke and Jack was confusing because I have no earthly idea what they are fighting about.

Lastly, I felt patronized by the fact that I was supposed to believe that there was some sort of runway on the island.

Bottom line - this is the story we have to work with and they wrote it the way they wanted to - open ended, so I guess all us who are like "What the hell was that?!" have to just deal with it and 'move on' - which I'm ok with.

Unknown said...

Kentfield, CA, USA

Unknown said...

Who did Juliet shoot on the raft in season 5?

Melbourne, Victoria, AU

Thank you for your blog all these years :)!

Hobbes said...

"..." Still Speechless

Dan Murphy said...

i thought jack was going to become a smoke monster at the end when he was in the pool sparking

jack said...

I am curious what powers Jacob...and subsequently Jack and then Hurley possessed as the new 'watcher' of the Island.

Ryan71 said...

I still can't believe how great the ending was.

I think the best part about the finale was that the lost characters had to let go of the unimportant things holding them back from seeing the big picture... JUST how its been for the viewers. If you were able to look past what didn't matter to the story line.. only then were you were able to witness something beautiful.

Unknown said...

I loved the series finale. Like the writers said, they kept it about the characters that we've grown to care about over the years.

I also think they did a great job of illustrating just how far all of the main characters have come. I thought the sideways being a segway into the afterlife was a perfect way to "blend" the two "timelines" during this last season. I also thought it was really great when Miles says to Alpert "welcome to the club" about his white hair. I took that to mean that Richard is finally aging again which in turn made him want to live! Brilliant

DaveD said...

@Ryan 71 (with respect) The mythology of the island WAS a fundamental part of the storyline; it DID matter. I appreciate the fact that many were able to love the finale and overlook its flaws, but to say that the mythology of the island was unimportant just ignores the fact that every episode promo was a teaser about the mysteries of the island, not the spiritual evolution of the characters.

Steve said...

So a few of my friends and I were discussing the finale of Lost and how it has a very similar idea to a little known movie that my group of friends quite like. The movie is called "The Waking Life", and in it there is a scene referencing Philip K Dick and one of his works. Philip K Dick is referenced as inspiration throughout Hollywood and it wouldn't surprise me if our favorite Lost writers used him as some inspiration.

I had written the below in an email chain to my friends.

What if they truly lived on the island as Christian may allude? Some died before, and some after. They all have memories of this, which doesn't necessarily mean it was real. Could it have been an afterlife "memory"? I don't know. They seem to interact about these things in their alternate afterlife prior to letting go. My thought on this side of the coin is that maybe they crashed and lived their lives on the island in that split second that Jack is on the flight scene we see in Episode 1 of this season. Were their lives on the island crammed into those few seconds that Jack is holding on to his chair? If so, then it is that time that Jack passes into the afterlife. Rose already knows and tells Jack, "Its ok. You can let go." It is immediately after this point in time that Jack notices the cut on his neck which would follow him getting stabbed by Locke on the island."

Watch this youtube clip from the Waking Life.

Anonymous said...

Someone mentioned that no one really got an answer to what the FORCE was in star wars. The magical powers on the island I liken to the force. It can't really be explained in a "nuts and bolts" sort of way. They gave us something magical, explained as much as we need to know about it, and left it at that. Just like Star Wars did. No one complained then...why now?

Anonymous said...

I must have missed it. What was the sickness?

Also, Since obviously he became mortal after the cork was removed, I think that smokelocke leaving the island meant the end of the world because that meant the cork was off and that the world was going to end, just like the island was being destroyed.

Unknown said...

LOL you were DEAD ON 5 years ago Brian, good job. Since the first season was really being made in such a way that they could end the entire series in one season, I think that Lost was originally just supposed to be the flash sideways (island) and the flashbacks (real world). The flashbacks would show over the first season how they all connected with eachother in their lives and why they made this place (the island) to come and meet eachother in the afterlife. However, obviously the series got a bit expanded, and thank god, because that finale was 100 times more powerful becasue of the past 6 seasons. But I think you were originally dead on which is amazing to say on a show like Lost, I think Desmond was just replaced with Locke's original job like you said. Crazy.

Amazing series, amazing finale, I have no regrets about watching this and being faithfully obsessive for the last 5 years.

John Seven said...

Great post, Brian!

I dispute what a lot of people say about faith winning, considering that a mere two episodes before the show outlined the dynamic between Jacob and MIB as handed down through Mother as a system of codes designed for control rather than enlightenment. Faith in these rules were not seen as positive. And the figure of faith, John Locke, still misinterpreted just about everything about the island. He understood that it was special, yes, but he didn't understand what it all meant. Part of the point was that he abandoned his scientific side - the side that could have worked in conjunction with is side of faith in order to parse what was actually going on there and not result in his own death, as well as the death of others. When Jack says that Locke was right, it's from Jack's perspective, not the wider one.

Perspective, ie relativity - one of the most important universal laws there is in context of Lost.

What saves Locke is not his faith, but rather his sincerity - he acted honestly and sincerely in regard to his beliefs and his compassion toward others. So did Jack.

And while it's assumed that the atomic bomb did not create this sideverse, I think that is up for debate and there really is no answer - I think it's entirely possible that is the alternate universe created by the divergence in time. I also think that it is some sort of mystical manifestation of Dreamtime as created by Desmond as he faces the light. That's the importance of Juliet's dying words - she saw that world and gave the bomb the credit. She couldn't have known about Desmond and the light.

I think it came out in the middle, with an emphasis on comfort and how people need and find it - religion being the biggest way, and comfort being the most valid aspect of religion.

In the end, I think how the audience approaches the show depends on what each person brings to it - just like the characters. Unlike the characters, we are given an overview of the action second only to the island itself. I think a more revealing edit than chronological sprawling would be chronological of each character, to witness how each character experienced the story. I think that would reveal a lot about their motivations and outcome.

I think the time travel season was partially a narrative conceit to work the island's own flashback into the show. It was also important to show that "what happened happened" simply and in a fun way.

Vidya said...

I know that the show is over and it's time to move on, but this question is nagging me...
1. if turning Smokey back to normal was just as simple as opening and cling the "cork", why did Jacob not do it before to restore his brother back?
2. Why did Jack not turn into Smokey when he was down in the light hole?

Michael said...

"I think the best part about the finale was that the lost characters had to let go of the unimportant things holding them back from seeing the big picture... JUST how its been for the viewers. If you were able to look past what didn't matter to the story line.. only then were you were able to witness something beautiful."


Ryan71 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ryan71 said...

You can groan all you want. People either loved or hated it based on that reasoning.


I don't think Jacob knew what was down there. He also was manipulated by him mom into never going into the light. Maybe he could have gone down but just didn't know it. Just like how Jack didn't turn into the smoke monster.. maybe being the "Jacob" of the island protects you while being in the light.

eltrock said...

I wonder. Is Lost so brilliant that it asks us to "let go" of our mythological grips and nitpicks as much as the characters let go of their baggage? I wonder how conscious the producers were of this "meta idea" and how much they intentionally made it that way.

Great blog Brian.
I too found myself in the middle between wanting more answers but also being satisfied with the finals emotional ending. Overall I enjoyed the final immensely.

Anonymous said...

I loved the LOST finale! I loved all of the “awakenings” in the sideways world. I loved the twist of what the sideways world really was. I loved the scene with Jack’s eye closing. I loved seeing everyone together at the end. To me, the ending was so powerful that all of the questions that were left unanswered didn’t even matter. Which I think is the entire point of the show.

Can’t wait to read your full analysis Brian!

Lisa G. said...

"Ooook, now what?" is what i asked my hubby as we looked at each other after the finale. I loved it, yet there were some unanswered questions. It was some closure, yet it was left open-ended. There could be a spin-off, or even a movie.

The more i think about it, the more i'm convinced that there is a lot of Truth in this show [and even the unanswered questions are just more distractions from the point]. Just as there is a bit of Truth in each belief system. The issues with dark vs. light, faith vs. science, creation vs. evolution, desiny vs. free will; it's both. Same goes for the two realities. I still stand by the idea that reality #1 is comparative to our current reality here on Earth.

The words purgatory or limbo seem to be throwing some off a bit as those are thought of as afterlives that are linear. In reality #2, there is no sense of time, therefore we co-exist here and there (we just don't realize it). This is against our traditional beliefs of only being in one place at a time. However, [if] there are parallel universes, or different dimensions existing at the same time, it only stands to reason that we wouldn't be aware of them until we are "awakened", or become "enlightened" (Juliet had a glimpse upon death which was misunderstood as being caused by the Jughead).

I think the Island, is a really good representative of this world, this reality. I think that the answer to what exactly the island is, is the same answer to what this Earth really is. It is our job to ask the question and find the answer within ourselves. What is this world, why am i here?

Some are confused by the plug being pulled and why Jack didn't die upon entering or turn into the smoke monster. Desmond could enter that light and survive the electromagnetic force of the light. Desmond pulled the plug (it was out when Jack went in) which nullified the previous "rules" set by The Woman (or her predecessor). When the plug was put back in, it was in effect, a "reset" (possibly done before). So, now new rules get to be applied. It seems that these new rules set up by Hurley with Ben's help will not include the extreme Dark vs. Light, but be a more balanced situation.


Lisa G. said...


What is the Light, the Force, the Source? Whatever you want to called it, it is the Energy that caused everything to BE [the way it is] and continues to maintain everything in existance to push it along in it's progress on every level. It governs by Universal Law and everything works within those Laws.

Whatever "rules" man makes, whatever stories he makes up...nothing is the complete Truth, but may contain some truths. Same as on the island. People made observations, realized some of the rules, others they just made up as they went along. Some were flat out lies, others they belived to be truths, but weren't. Some who thought they knew everything there was to know about the island found out later they didn't. They were just tools being used in "the game". They were guides, helpers, etc. but they were fooled into believing that they knew more than they did; by their own egos and choosing to believe they were more important than they really were. In the end, we are all equal and here to help/guide each other home.

You don't have to be highly spiritual, or even religious, to get something from this, but it helps if you are open to letting the Universe work and not being closed off to possibilities. What kind of sense would that make if, thinking scientifically, you don't consider anything is possible rather than just the probabilities? You would be really cutting in to your ability to learn or experience something new.

Some say if they knew that LOST was going to end like that, they wouldn't have bothered watching the past 6 years. I say: "Life is just a ride." (Bill Hicks), and if we all new THAT, would we bother to experience this life, this ride? If you now know that you exist in more than one reality at the same time and that physical death isn't really "the end"...would you really just skip this part? What if this ride is really the island? hmmm.

Unknown said...

First off I have been reading your blog for the last 2 years and I want to say thank you. Thank you for making me see things from your perspective and taking the time to feed my enthusiams for this wonderfull show.
I have to say that I understood the message and the ending that the writers tried to acheived.
Here are the few things that worked for me:
Jack death and deliverance and accomplishement on the island: True closure to a character we identified to and rooted for
Flash sideways reconnections: These were a joy to watch as all characters were reconnecting and finding themselves again
The message that we need people to grow and complete us... works for me
But that is it...
Here is what did not work for me.
5 years of watching a show that is so tighly written and intertwines that even if you know you will not get half of the answers you wish, it will be an experience that make sense...
Hence the problem with this season it does not make sense...
Does not make sense that Said would literally sell his soul to the devil to be with Nadia and in purgatory or heaven would end up with Shannon.
Does not make sense that Kate and Sawyer who has survive the Island would not have built a life with spouses or children and that in purgatory or heaven would only be with the people from the island
Does not make sense that the first images we see of the flash sideways is the island sunk when this has nothing to do with purgatory or heaven. It would have had relevance if the island was a portal, or doorway to a parrallelle universe or something... The writters wrote events that took place in purgatory that had no relevance other then confuse us without making any sense...
Does not make sense that Withmore, Anna Lucia, Lianna and all the others would be in purgatorory with Jack just to get them together and not go anywhere...
Does not make sense that the Island protector for Jacob role was split in 2 with MIB and that the women before them was just one and then Jack was only for 24 hours and when the Island came back to being the island Jack was not immortal like all others before him (with rules) and then Hugo was the protector for how long? without smokey or nothing evil... The premise of the Island was good and bad... Who’s bad if Hugo is in charge Ben? There is no sense of what this is for us and no epilogue on that front; with Hugo at the helm he should have been eternal since there would have been no real evil. We could at least have had a glimpse of all that... Instead we got a sentence it was great having you has number 2 you were a great number 1...
C’mon seriously...
I really did not enjoy season 6 at all. I thought it was loosly written in a rush with very little care to offer the viewer an experience that remains open but and experience taht connected with everything and made sense... This is what the show was about connecting every one and every thing... and beleiving that all of this made sense. They had 3 years to close the book and this feels like a Mickey Mouse ending, very disapointing...
This season made lost go from the best show ever to average. I am angry for that... I have been in a bad mood ever since :-)
I will survive I know no worries :-)... but still it could have been so much more...
The island could have be been so sort of a portal to other lives universe or state of consiousnous what ever now it is just an island that is huh well weird...
We could have undertsood more what becomes of all the remaining characters that stayed alive after a la six feet under. (That show had us understand the life on these characters in a 30 second flash forward to their death)... but no. We got every dies and needs to move on...
Hugely disapointed....

Steve said...

Someone asked why Sayid wasn't with Nadia(maybe it wasn't here) and this had me thinking. See, he wanted nothing but to see Nadia again. However, once he sold his soul to the smoke monster, he didn't feel that he was good enough for her... which is why he wasn't with her in the 'purgatory' reality. It's the best I can come up with as he knew shannon what? 2 months? tops? But was later married to Nadia

Steve said...

Lisa, very well done!

I try to tell people that the 'limbo' is outside of our timeline completely. Hobbes once compared time to a loaf of bread.. or in season 5, a skipping record.
This 'limbo' is a completely different loaf or record. It's not related at all. You don't go the the second loaf until you're done on the first one... as a matter of fact, the second loaf(limboland) starts AFTER everyone had already finished the first loaf. Am I confusing anyone yet?

So.. everyone enters the second loaf at the same time regardless of when they left the first loaf. It's not linear at all. It's a concept that I find easier to understand than to explain.

Steve said...

I feel that this ending 'saved' lost.

I had fully expected that there were going to be two timelines.. once where either jacob never interfered with the island, or one where the island sunk, etc... and that the characters would end up in this 'parallel' world where they were still alive but had their memories together on the island.

To me, this would have ruined the entire series and make the first 6 peasons pointless... as well as destroyed the 'whatever happned, happened' thesis that I so strongly believe in.

But this was different.. they were all dead! Waiting until they were ready to let go and move on. This was OK.. this saved season 5(the h-bomb was the incident), and explained how Ben was in the alternate world.. etc.

it also hits on my philosphy on life to let go of attachments that hold you back and move on. I don't expect an afterlife, but we simply can't know for sure... and the priciple of finding this way of letting go of attachments and moving on.. of finding peace with yourself and your life.. well, it's not entirely unlike the buddhist search for nirvana, or even the christian forgiveness of sins.
But the point is that holding on can hold you back. It's no religion if you are so inclined, or all religions if you look hard enough.

And.. it saved the series for me... as any other alternative would have ruined it.

Steve said...

"I think the best part about the finale was that the lost characters had to let go of the unimportant things holding them back from seeing the big picture... JUST how its been for the viewers. If you were able to look past what didn't matter to the story line.. only then were you were able to witness something beautiful."

This was very well said, and to me, a philosphy on life in general. We are too distracted by the details that always anger us and keep us back. Someone I know used to say this analogy:

"sometimes, when we're up to our necks in alligators, we forget that the intent was the clean the pool" What that means is that in our efforts to so something simple, we complicate it with details(alligators) that keep us from enjoying life or getting anything done. The irony is that this exactly WHY i life the finale so much. We're here to be entertained by a great show, and we let details prevent us from enjoying it..

Zeifgeist said...

Regarding the Lost Finale, my overall feeling is apathetic. It was nice to wrap everything up with the sentimental coming together of all the characters and their lost loves. The trials and turmoils of their real lives were finally released as they were able to pass over into the afterlife. But it was a pseudo religious/spiritual conceit that infused the ending. We are all connected to one another, or a soul mate, and all will be well in the end. All religions represented in the symbolic stained glass window of the room with Christian's coffin. To me, it was very shallow and facile. No real philosophical or spiritual question was posed. We were just left with the series wrapped up in a sentimental package.
As for the plot lines and mysteries of the show, the only development that resonated was the back story of Jacob and "Esau" (as I call him).
Really, a big cork holds all the good in the world from going down the drain. They took the symbolic image of the cork in the bottle and actually made it literal! I nearly laughed out loud.
The best thing about the show was the narrative element of the flashbacks (and flash forward and flash sideways), the flawed characters, and the mysteries of the island. But as each mystery was revealed, it diminished the effect. To make a silly parallel, kind of like the monsters in Scooby Doo episodes being revealed to be nothing but fat, balding men in costume.
I still feel that the first season of Lost was one of the best, most original network TV shows ever. But it diminished by degrees, season by season. I stuck with it to the end, but it end with a fizzle, not a bang. Just my humble opinion.

jack said...

All debate aside, evaluating LOST is rather simple if or when broken to component parts;

When viewed from a character development perspective, it is a winner. The characters were rich, complex and engaging. Who didn't grow to know and love Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley et al? Many of these will endure in many of our minds for years to come as amongst our favorite TV characters ever.

When viewed from a story telling perspective, the show was groundbreaking and ambitious. No other show in TV history employed this model of using a multi-dimensional approach employing a combination of flash-backs, forwards, etc to tell a story!

When viewed from a plot perspective, the show was sadly disapointing ultimatly displaying lazy writting. There is no defense and no real explanation for the gaping holes in major plot points, story arcs, etc. The mythology ended up being weakly revealed and was likely very unsatisfying for many that respect, myself being amongst them.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing left for us to figure out because the writers never figured it out. SO THERE WERE/ARE NO ANSWERS! They wrote themselves into a corner that they couldn't write themselves out of. And of course they have to deny they did, so to not lose any respect and to make us believe it was all planned from the start. Well it wasn't planned from the start. It is obvious they had no clue where they were going. Making things up as they went along. Too many loose ends that could not be tied up and not enough time to address all the ones they could make something up for on the spot.

Case in point, the man in black going down the waterfall and coming out out as the smoke monster. Just too lame for anyone other than a small child or half-wit. I can imagine their late in the season writing sessions: "Come on! We need to come up with answers...anything! Throw something out there...everything is fair game no matter how idiotic, absurd, or insulting to the viewer's time and intelligence. We'll run with anything -- we have to!"

Unknown said...

Watching it all over again here in the UK...makes a little more sense the 2nd time round guys!!

Unknown said...

Excellent post. I continually find myself wishing I had found it earlier than this season and am glad you are going to do to a few more posts to prolong the end of Lost forever.

I freakin' LOVED the finale. The idea that their time on the island was so significant that they collectively created a place to meet so they could leave their baggage behind and move on together to the "after-life" was extremely powerful. Lost was never a show that was big on answers so to expect them at the end is slightly ridiculous. In addition, as a person who recently lost their father, it was emotionally uplifting and hopeful that Christian was Jack's guide into the church. I suppose if I was less spiritual, it wouldn't have had as much of an impact, but the finale of Lost is one that will stick with me forever.

Mike said...

Personally I dont think the others are as important as all that. It seems to me, that throughout the ages and with the powers/knowledge they had Jacob/AntiJacob we able to attract people to follow them (either through them arriving by accident or on purpose) and do their bidding whatever that may be. We saw this with AntiJacob getting that group to dig him the FDW hole etc. It stands to reason Jacob could just as easily get his own group, which is what they appeared to be , a group of people who followed one of the 2 "leaders" in the greater time scale many hundreds of years pretty irrelevant.

As an aside, wouldnt a spinoff season following Hurley and Ben and how they chose to do things differently , be just awesome!

Unknown said...

I didn’t hate the finale itself, but I don’t care for what it did to the overall epic legacy of Lost. Prior to the finale, there were so many unique elements in this show that made it seem like one of the most original stories ever put together. In the end, while much of it remains very original (and in many cases unanswered or discarded as trivial details), the big reveal that the flash sideways and that the focal point of the story arc was so Jack could find faith and “let go” is weak sauce.

Also, I understand that many people are satisfied with the finale because it helped wrap up the story of many characters that they became invested in, but I feel like a lot of those same people are fooling themselves into believing that they obsessed over the show and watched it religiously for the interactions between the characters and for each’s back story. Really? You mean, you weren’t on pins and needles at the end of S1 wanting to know what the hell the hatch with the mysterious numbers and light was? Oh, you were just sucked in by the deep crisis of faith that Locke had and the hatch barely even caught your attention, huh? Yeah, I don’t buy that, especially considering how beloved characters like Eko can get booted for DUI and everyone just moves on. The reason? Because the island’s mysteries were the major pull, and the producers took advantage of that by advertising the hell out of “Questions will be answered!” They weren’t pushing “Characters will continue to develop each week and deal with their personal issues!” That’s part of EVERY drama on TV. Again, maybe the ending was ok for some, but it made the whole series far less original in my estimation. To find out that the island and everyone’s struggles was a metaphor for “It’s the journey, not the destination” or “The island is just like life, mysterious and filled with wonder” is just so cheap and tired. I don’t know why people are so satisfied with that, but that’s just my two cents.

timcourtois said...

In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (by CS Lewis, referred to multiple times in LOST), the core mysteries of the land of Narnia are explained as being caused simply by "Deep Magic From the Dawn of Time", and "Deeper Magic From Before the Dawn of Time". This is similar, I think.

The show and the writing has flaws, yes. But I have loved it, and still love it.

Now that it's over, I'm more curious how LOST applies to the ACTUAL LIFE of a person who watched & loved it: What's the point of a piece of art/entertainment if it doesn't touch and change you in some way?

Has it led you to value your relationships more deeply? To wrestle more intensely with your past wounds? To wonder about the existence of God? To long for a greater purpose to your life?

I for one, can't tell you the number of times over the past several years I thought how amazing and wonderful it would be to find myself marooned on a mystical island on which I knew my final destiny could be found - even if I couldn't be sure exactly what that destiny was. I long for a deeper purpose, a destiny for my life.

LOST tapped into and stoked that core longing within me again and again over the years. That longing is, I believe, one of the truest things about me.

I think LOST reminds us that we ALL have such a longing, and that a life lived well involves searching and striving for that destiny, never settling for easy answers, but also never giving up on the idea that REAL answers do exist.

Good art should offer us a temporary escape FROM reality, but should also point us back TOWARDS reality, that we may engage more fully in our lives, in our relationships, and in a broken world that desperately needs our full attention.

Hopefully that's what LOST does/did for all of us.

Endymion said...

While I can understand the desire for concrete answers to the many mysteries that tantalized us over the years, could we ever really expect any? Even the most "real", scientific explanation has boundary conditions you just have to accept. If certain complex phenomena can be explained by (e.g.) the fact that protons have a particular mass, there still is no explanation as to why they have that mass. If we find the Higgs particle, that won't explain proton mass either, but just add one more link to a chain of explanation that ultimately must end with: "it is as it is just because things are that way." I.e. it's turtles all the way down: Jacob wasn't the first guardian nor was his mom. I admit I dislike many of the logical inconsistencies in the show (e.g. that Jack doesn't turn into a smoke monster and there's no reason given) but I think a major conceit of the show is that the writers are the true gods of the island -- the needs of their plot (and the failings of that plot) dictate the "rules" of the show/island (note how quickly characters were dispatched when the island/writers didn't need them any more). As for the finale ultimately relying on the somewhat hackneyed premise of a spiritual paradise-afterlife -- what can we expect? These Lost writers are smart folks, but they haven't been any closer to the mountain top than the rest of us.

stephxox said...

Hey never commented before! But after watching the finale i realised it was like the film The Passangers with Anne Hathway in it. The storyline was pretty much the same as how lost ended!

DaveD said...


DaveD said...

@Jon: Well said! I thoroughly agree.

Anonymous said...

1.In the order of how it was revealed- The island was a A) a Cork keeping "Hell, Evil, Malevalence" from spreading to the rest of the world. B) The island was where "The Source" of EVERYTHING is located.

Okay.. Now, THERE IS LITERALLY NO WAY to explain 100% what that means.. It's literally like someone trying to sit down and explain what Heaven is, or The meaning of life. And in the context of the show.. thats the way it should be. The island was always presented as be the most important spot in the universe, so in reality, to have there be one "Ohhh thats what it is" would be largely disappointing. In that respect the answer to what the Island IS, is that it is the epicenter of just about every religion on the planet, The "Garden of Eden", in the LOST universe it is a physical representation of all of that which we cannot truly explain or comprehend. Even now, I cannot truly explain it.. and good. WHAT it is, will always be about faith. So I think calling it a variation of religion is the best that it can ever be explained.. Did you notice the stained glass window behind Jack in the chruch? The one with all the different religious symbols? Did you notice that amongst them all was the Fronzen Donkey Wheel, representing the island in the same light as these religions.

2. & 3. It is said by Jacob & Mother that the way the island affects the outside world, is that it is where The Source of everything is located, and is kept lit. If the light goes out, it goes out everywhere, destroying the island and causing evil to spread across the world. For 30 years, nobody ever asked for The Force in Star Wars to be explained... and APPARENTLY when it was revealed fans of the movie, hated what they found out. The creators, whom are Star Wars fans, knew of this.. and made the conscious decision not to try and over explain what The Source truly is.. and we as people should accept the answer we are given, just as we would have to if this were real life. If LOST was real life, no one would ever be able to explain the concept of what the Source IS..but they could explain what would happen if it were "turned off".

4. Where Did Mother come from?.. What was the beginning of time? If you said to me The Big Bang Theory...and I said What came before that? What would you say? The creators of the show travelled as far back into time as they possibly could while still keeping it relevant to the storyline of the show... the day that Jacob & MIB were born. Mother's line "Every question I answer will merely lead to another question" was very much to the audience... her line of arriving to the island "by accident" implied that she had never intended on being the protector herself...meaning that this never ending line of people coming to the island "by accident" in order to replace the current protector of the Source has been going on since the beginning of time. That is all that is needed to be explained.

Anonymous said...

5. What would have happened if the SMOKE MONSTER got off the island, seemed to be the true problem. And it seemed that the only the SMOKE MONSTER could leave was if there was No Protector of the Source and NO ONE alive to replace him/her. So the only way for the SMOKE MONSTER to leave was if NO ONE was protecting the Source and if no one was protecting the source it would no doubt, be "put out" and evil would spread across the world. It should be noted, that Jacob told Widmore to bring Desmond to the island. Once MIB finds this out, he abandoned his plan to kill The Candidates in order to (ironically) do exactly with Desmond what Jacob wanted him to do. As Sawyer says... It's a hell of a Long Con by Jacob, getting MIB to think he was benefiting from having Desmond LITERALLY UNCORK The Source. In reality one of the side effects of Desmond uncorking the source, was that the SMOKE MONSTER & MIB were separated from one another, MIB's soul was now simply Flesh & Blood once more inside of John Locke's body... so ironically, once this happened... Nothing would have happened if MIB left the island... the reason to kill MIB was much more personal now.. after he had caused so much pain and death to The Survivors.

9. MIB says that he and his people developed "a system, that channeled the water and the light, that would transport him off the island" What the system was is a bit of deus ex machina, in that I can't imagine its something that anyone could try to work out how it actually worked, but the explanation of being "a system that channels The Source" is more explanation than anyone had ever expected to receive regarding that wheel before that episode. MIB never says he knew it'd mess with time though, just that he'd leave the island. MIB was just "special" just as Walt was "special", Miles is "special" and Desmond is "special"... there are simply people in the LOST universe who are born with certain abilities... MIB was born with an amazing understanding of things beyond what he should... shown in how he "just knew" the rules of the Senet/Backgammon game and how he "just knew" where and when to find Locke when he was skipping through time... these seem to be the only real incidents where this ability is showcased.

Anonymous said...

I just rewatched the scene Sawyer/Juliet scene... and I realized she ACTUALLY said "It worked" to Sawyer about unplugging the vending machine... so it seems that was just a Red Herring.. and that she didnt think hitting the bomb "worked".

The entire rest of her dialogue before she died, is the same dialogue as in the moment with Sawyer at the machine

Anonymous said...

I don't mean to break up everyone's analysis, but I thought I'd pass along some information I read. The Wall Street Journal speculates that the finales of Lost and 24 marks an end of an era of heavily serialized network programs, i.e. stories that encompass entire seasons and multiple episodes. Networks have found these programs generate less revenue in the rerun market than series that tell single episode, stand-alone stories.

So whether your reaction to Lost is love, hate or something in between, it's probably worth appreciating its ambitions. It may be a few years before the networks greenlight something like this again.

Laura Jackson said...

Hi Brian,

First time poster, long time reader. I wanted to send this blog on to you. I think you'll find this guys thoughts interesting and right on target.


Sean Jackson
Seattle, WA

Anonymous said...

Fuck you lost writers. Fuck the end of the lost.

Jay said...

I really wish I'd found this blog a few years back. It's one of the few resources I've seen on Lost that values opinion and doesn't immediately flame anyone with an opposing view!!

For me the finale was very mixed. it was a sweet, uplifting and slightly melancholy ending, but lacked the punch I was expecting.

For me it just became more and more apparent as series 6 drew on that the writers had almost no clue how to finish the series, so overall I felt slightly cheated that they could not come up with anything more clever or complex than ideas mooted by fans 5 years ago! It was as if they took the path of least resistance to get it over with.

The emphasis on Jacob and MIB (and even Alpert) so late in the series was a really poor idea. It detracted from the struggles, and made a lot of what had happened between Series 2 and 5 pointless.

The flashsideways didn't really work for me because of how black and white the changes in the characters was; this contrasted with the millions of shades of grey that Lost typified. With the exception of Jack it all felt to fluffy! For me Jack was the only one who really changed and went on a journey... I loved the way he changed from a Man of Science to a Man of Faith; but it felt like every other character except him, Locke and Desmond was utterly pointless, and that includes The Island itself. I felt no closer to the characters at the end.

Ultimately Lost lost the mystery, attention to detail and intrigue that, for me, transcended the characters, the island and everything else. It was as if Lost changed from a mystery show where the viewer was the detective - to a drama where the viewer was passive, treated like a dumb sheep to be spoon fed nonsense.

As someone earlier posted... You didn't need more than a cursory understanding of Lost to be able to understand the finale - and that was the biggest disappointment to me.

Steve said...


Jacob couldn't go down in the light, only Desmond.. plus someone apparenltly had to put it back, and someone had to kill smokey. It was a multiple person job, and it wasn't Jacob's style to tell people what to do... he just sets the rules.

I don't think you get the move on piece... it's out of context with this question. I think with the finally, it's simpler that Brian suggested it's not whether you liked the character development or the mythology, it's just simply you get it or you don't. There are all types of people in this world, some love Coffee, others don't. Some are big picture people, others focus on what's directly in front of them. Neither is better, just different.

Steve said...


I'm not sure that I agree with you that they didn't know where they were going. I think the idea all along was two fold: to have a caretaker of the island, and I'm pretty sure this purgatory world was part of the big plan as well.

The whole way the parallel world was approached seemed forced. I did not care for the way that they suggested the H-bomb, though I am aware WHY they did it(to find a reason to present this purgatory world).

Does this mean I liked the flash sideways? Not really, I think it was a poor story telling device. Given that it was in place, the finale could NOT have ended better. I feel that the ending saved the show rather than hurt it.

Does that mean that the SERIES could have been better? Yes.. but I think that's our fault in all our theories and guessing, we created expectations that could not be fulfilled. As the series started to unwind it became clear that they needed to simpify things and it turned out that many of our cool ideas were more grand and interesting that what actually happning. If you see the big picture from a production standpooint, and human nature of us 'lost geeks' to ananlyze everything.. it's just amazing the show held together the way it did!
This isn't a movie or a book, it was a changing story over 6 years.
And I have to hand it to them.. Great Job.

Lisa G. said...

Note: The stained glass window in the church with all the spiritual symbols...The wheel is the Wheel of Karma, not the FDW -although the FDW could loosly represent the same.

Unknown said...

great point Brian.
I am still in somewhat shock right now. I love the show, felt satisfied with the ending, but somehow knowing that we wont ever learn more, the wind has been taken out of my sails.

I think my biggest criticism of the show is the flash sideways world. We spend 1/2 this season to basically create a curtain call for all the characters to find resolution with what they did. They didn't struggle with it, they just instantly "came to grips" with it. It felt very un-lostian. No inner strugle. Apparently them creating this world to find each other was literally that, so they could hug in a church. I guess i would have enjoyed seeing the sideways characters struggle with the accepting like Ben did.

It is hard to fault the writers, because this is clearly the ending they planned. They had a long time to map it out, and we wish they had more time, but the reality is... they did. They chose to do the light house, temple, sideways storylines.

I love the characters of lost. The show dangled mythology in our faces all along, so it isn't wrong for people to want answers when it was teased in front of us. i cried a lot in the finale. Loved seeing the characters, but wish these laster developments like the literal cork of the island were developed further.

Anonymous said...


I was talking to a friend about the Finale... a friend whom, until now, seemed to had been as big a fan of the show as I was.. and in talking to him and dissecting one another's brains I can honestly say that I think I've come to the ultimate conclusion as to why I LOVED it & he HATED it... and I think it applies to everyone else in the world as well..


Anyone whom watched LOST for the reasons he did, who wanted detailed answers, who didn't want vague, allegories and metaphors, who wanted to understand the quantum physics of what the island was and what the Light was.. and believed that this show was more about The Island, than it was about The People... anyone who watched this show with a Man of Science mindset... was surely disappointed in the end, because while it was fine to watch the show for years through the eyes of Science.. Just as Jack began as a Man of Science.. The point of the entire show detailed the need to, just as Jack's journey showcased, eventually become a Man of Faith.

So in the battle between Science & Faith that began Waaaaay back in Season One... Jack & Locke eventually flipped sides when this happened, FAITH was the one kicking SCIENCE off a cliff.

So, the fundamental question as it relates to the fans of the show, is the same as the one that existed IN the show... Are you a Man of Science? or of Faith?

jack said... chalk up liking or not liking the show as a matter of being a faith or science based person really may not entirely explain or address the matter.

LOST was a TV which I and millions loved. That said, it seems evident to most of us that the writters may have written themselves into a corner as evidenced by unresolved relatively major arcs of arguably the entire story and certainly the mythology.

To suggest liking or not liking it was related to one being a person of faith or not seems to ignore to a degree the fact that this was a TV show supposedly with a start, middle and finish.

LL said...

I actually thought the Jughead issue was left substantially unresolved. What did Juliet mean when she said "it worked"? I would have liked to see a bit more relating the alternate timeline to the island. It ended up too separated in my view.I blogged about my view on the ending at

timcourtois said...

@ Rob Rose re: Juliet's "It worked" -

That is completely awesome! Good catch!

cookie c. said...

this was the first lost blog i found when i found lost. i agree that they answered the big questions. as to the others, i think that jacob had been bringing people to the island for years, and it stands to reason that since they weren't all candidates, that some would have survived and create a society. but just like life, sometimes you don't get an answer and that's exactly what made lost so great, the viewer got out of it what they brought to it and just like any great experience, that relationship changed as each informed the other. i found this quote yesterday: 'we may not have it all together, but together we have it all' - unknown. lost was more than just a show, it created a community and your one word reviews/recaps/analysis/humor played a part in making my lost experience great. thank you.

Anonymous said...

Sorry John,

You can't speak for what you think others are doing. Fooling themselves??? LOL Nice try there guy. Are you shrink, if so, maybe I lend some creedance to your "opinion". Would my "opinion" that you never really understood what the show about hold any water? Not really, right. Hence yours means nothing either. I'm wondering why each show was "character centric" for the last 6 seasons and now, "the show was never about the characters...LOL


Anonymous said...

To jack

Since they really planned to make 1 season and hope to not be "canceled" like most shows you really think they had 6 seasons of content before season 1???

Either way, they told their story and the "mysteries" kept people talking and hopefully (for those involved) brought others to the show.

I think the ended it the best way they could given the position they were in. It isn't my fault critics are calling it a top 3 TV series of all time. THEY are more reliable in their opinions then us common viewers I think...

Lisa G. said...

I agree, Rob. I was trying to find a way to word it, but you seem to sum it up pretty well. My observation is that we view LOST the same way we do life.

For me, i liked the ending but still had questions and thought this show could/should go on. Some call me wishy washy because i seem to flounder or "ride the fence". What i've come to understand is that, like most everything else i've previously pointed out, i'm not either one of Faith OR one of Science, but am BOTH. I am very spiritual, but also very analytical & science minded. I ALWAYS want to know, have always been curious...guess that makes for a good Truth-seeker.? Dunno.

After having thought about my issues in not getting the answers i wanted, i realize that i have much "letting go" to do and perhaps in doing so will get answers i actually NEED when needed or when i "remember" [what/who I AM &/or who/what i am not]. Maybe, just maybe, the questions were left unanswered on purpose to get us to go within and ask...and just maybe this place isn't one or the other, but BOTH realities touched upon on LOST. In life, we are all LOST [souls]. Just a thought. Anything is possible, right?

Anonymous said...

In closing...

It is pretty hard to grade a series which encompasses 100+ hours by the last few....especially an hour after it ends

Just my perspective on all the negative we heard right after it ended

jack said...

Unknown said...

I'm one of the people that watched LOST for its mystery element. I was drawn in by the numbers, the smoke monster, Jacob's cabin, the others and the Dharma Initiative.

I'm pretty dissappointed with how it turned out. I watched all six seasons from the beginning thinking all along that the payoff was going to be more about unravelling the mysteries.

I could care less about the love triangles and who ends up with who and the "daddy issues" and all the relationship stuff. I endured it because I thought the writers were just adding that stuff in to appeal to a portion of the audience who would be drawn to such things. I didn't know it was going to be the whole "what it's all about".

What a ripoff. Whatever. The writers are entitled to write whatever the want to write. It's their show, but I just feel they were very misleading about what the premise of the show was.

Unknown said...

That being said, I'm going to watch the new show on NBC starting in June "Persons Unknown". From what I've read about it, it will be more like what I hoped LOST would be.

...I hope.

Anonymous said...

Found this amusing letter. It's definitely on the more extreme side of not liking the ending and going against not those who liked it, but those who liked it and think those who didn't just 'didn't get it'.

Chris said...

I believe the writer's explain the complexity of the plot with one scene. Boy Jacob is playing the black and white stone game with his brother. His brother (the chosen one at the time) makes up the rules because it is his game.

When Jacob becomes the chosen one, he decides the rules and his brother is left guessing as to what they are (except knowing he had to find a way to kill Jacob).

Jacob is hardly benign good, he is willing to sacrifice people and keep everyone guessing as to his strategy. This can account for many good or redeemed persons almost sacrificed to the smoke like pawns. (perhaps this is the significance of Ying and Yang, good and bad in all, even Jacob who is a reverse Cain and Abel)

To me it is like, Jacob's brother, without knowing the initial significance of the candidates, eliminates unnecessary pieces from the 'board/island' in the early seasons.

Anonymous said...

loved the ending. loved the series. love the blog.

a friend of mine sent this to me, pretty amusing:

(a recap of the unanswered questions on Lost)

Greg said...

Brian, remember earlier this season we were watching the page counter on your blog turn over to 1M? I just noticed that it is almost to 1.5 M now... looks like season 6 generated a lot more interest and/or followers in the blog.

Unknown said...

haven't read all 93 comments here to see if this has been posted or not but:

Michael Emerson Promises 12-14 Minute LOST Epilogue Featuring Ben/Hurley Reply
Michael Emerson Promises 12-14 Minute LOST Epilogue Featuring Ben and Hurley
by Brendan Bettinger Posted:May 26th, 2010 at 8:34 pm

When Lost ended on Sunday, it didn’t quite manage to tie up all (or really very many) of the loose ends, leaving the fans with a lot of questions. There may yet be answers on the horizon though, as cast member Michael Emerson (aka Benjamin Linus) visited G4’s Attack of the Show with this tease:

“For those people that want to pony up and buy the complete Lost series, there is a bonus feature, which is…you could call it an epilogue. A lost scene. It’s a lot. It’s 12 or 14 minutes that opens a window onto that gap of unknown time between Hurley becoming number one and the end of the series. It’s self-contained, although it’s a rich period in the show’s mythology that ‘s never been explored, so who knows what will come of it.”

Emerson denied the scene could launch a spinoff, although (and I’ma just throw this out there) that doesn’t sound like a terrible premise… hmm. I am certainly very eager to see the scene, as well as any other explanatory special features. Check out a clip of the interview for yourself after the jump.

Ryan71 said...

Did anybody realize that Jack's scar in the flash sideways was actually the knife wound from Locke?

Blu said...
Check it out - lost explained (by one of the writers?)

dj (David Jones) said...

I really do hope we get one final analysis. Usually, at the conclusion of a season, the blog fades away. Hopefully, though, we get one last in depth analysis. I really would like to catch things that I missed from the finale. Although there might not have been that much.

For those that haven't read it, Doc Jensen's recap at is brilliant. (especially part one)

Dave Harty said...

Of all the influences discussed re Lost, I think the one that finally won out was The Wizard of Oz.

In the end, the "Wizard" realizes the special powers he pretended to possess never really existed and he simply had to tell his followers that they were there and they would follow.

When finally exposed for being powerless to grant the wished he promised, he reached for the eplanation that what each wanted was always right in front of him/her. He gave them a token (diploma, clock, medal) in place of what they claimed to have been missing.

Finally, we (the viewers) discover that Oz doesn't exist and that the entire story was only to point out that the things most important in life are often overlooked, but always close by.

As far as the answers go, I was less concerned with the "how" and more concerned with the "why". I didn't need a scientific explanation to the "how" of Daniel's time change experiment, but I did want to know "why" that was important to the story line of Lost. The same can be said of many of the remaining questions left unanswered.

Finally, in a post from an earlier episode, I asked about the "new Jacob" and the "new MIB". Seems that the consensus was that both would have to be replaced because there needs to be a balance between good and evil, both must exist. Do you think that is no longer the case?

Unknown said...

"There is no 'now'here Jack." --Christian Shepherd

The writers told exactly what to take out of the flash sideways in that one simple line.

In the flash sideways they are nowhere!!!

Brian said...

In case you were curious (or still care), full analysis will be up at some point this weekend...

Harold said...

Good job; kinda wish I'd found your blog before tonight.

I think I heard Damon and Carlton mention, in at least one of their podcasts, (I'm paraphrasing this) that it would seem lame to try to answer all of the "nuts and bolts" questions of the series. They mentioned the midichlorians, George Lucas' attempt at explaining The Force -- an explanation many found unsatisfying and better left unmentioned.

Anonymous said...

When you talk about great series finales you have to have "Newhart" as number 1. Then "Lost" and everything else can fight for second.

Pedro dos Santos said...

Brian, nice! Of course we are! I visit your blog everyday hoping for it! :P

Angel Arzuaga said...

I got a question? Why does John Locke tell Jack at the church in the end " we were waiting for you" ? When we all know that jack died before most of them. Tnx. Angel

Angel Arzuaga said...

I got a question? Why does John Locke tell Jack at the church in the end " we were waiting for you" ? When we all know that jack died before most of them. Tnx. Angel