My Working Theory of The Lost Finale

[Huh, obviously, spoilers follow] So I was pretty disappointed with the finale, probably in large part because I hate series ending in religious mumbo jumbo (I’m looking at you BSG) but after thinking about it a little, I at least can find something that wraps it all up a bit for me, out of what they showed us. And yes, I know that it’s similar to what some people have been saying all along and yes, I’m sure some of you went in that direction right as you were watching it.

So the whole series is Jack. Jack dies, either abruptly in a plane crash or in some way we aren’t told. He then finds himself in some kind of limbo or purgatory where he doesn’t feel closure and doesn’t let go of his life and his friends. Either he’s injured and dying and delirious or it’s purely the way he “floats” in that limbo after death. But in that state, he dreams most of the series, a kind of adventure on an island after a crash, where the passengers, instead of being strangers are the significant people in his life. This is where him dying in a crash makes most sense because that’s the trauma his whole delirium is based on and the last bamboo scene might be is actual death.

When he gets some kind of partial closure in his dream / vision, by detonating the bomb, he starts seeing the real lives of all his friends (well, their real situation but in a dreamt up reconnection story) but he’s still half way imagining everything so the island story keeps going but at the same time he’s seeing flashes of his real life. For us, the characters are actually doing the opposite, living a more ordinary but new life and flashing sideways to the island but were’ seeing things from Jacks dreaming perspective, we see them seeing the island adventures but it’s him seeing his real life friends and flashing to their roles as the characters he made up for them in his vision/dream.

The whole finale is him closing off everyone’s stories on the island as they get together in church for him to smile at them, recognize them, be with them and let go.

I know some parts of this are obvious but the difference for me is that with this angle, nothing needs to make sense, they don’t all die,—which was my initial thought in the church but unless they were all on the plane for his dad’s funeral, they can’t all be dead—none of their connections between the island and real life and their adventures on the island need to make sense and be explained, they are all just inventions or metaphors for stuff Jack has lived with them, it’s also why the island is so complex with so many weird stories and lost threads, he’s just dreaming / delirious / having nightmares / flashing back to his life, etc. I’m sure there are hundreds of little hints to his relationships to everyone in the adventures they have. Why for example does Locke seem to only be a patient but play such a huge role on the island? Why is Ben there but doesn’t go in the church? (unless he’s the only one alive but again, how are they all dead?) What are all the flashbacks all along the series? He’s dreaming a backstory to everyone????? And on and on.

(Some very bad phrasing in there, I changed some things around and probably should re-write the whole post but the few minutes I put on this are quite enough already.)

  1. The way I saw it was that everything that happened on the island was real and that it was only the FST that was imaginary. Christian says some died before you and some after and Hugo tells Ben he was a good number 2 indicating they looked after the island after the finale. All of which means that the only thing answered was this seasons story arc and none of the actual mysteries of the past seasons.

  2. as was already said, Christian told Jack that they were all dead – but that some died after Jack and some died before. What happened on the island HAPPENED. All of it. Exactly the way we saw it. Sun and Jin died. Aaron was born, etc…but Jack died in the bamboo as Sawyer and Kate and all of them were finally able to go. This is where all of thier “souls” if you will came back together to “cross over” if you will together as their lives were so impacted by the island and what happened there.

    this was NOT an elaborate dream of Jack’s.

    /end hijack! Nice to meet you!

  3. My head hurts!

    I get frustrated as well when tv shows I’ve liked watching for years wrap it all up in a religiously toned finale (even if it’s a multi-religion one like that church in Lost).

    That’s the viewer in me reacting.

    But then the writer steps in and I empathize with the screenwriters of those shows: what else is there, really, when you’ve played on that level of metaphors, symbols and themes of redemption for seasons after seasons? If you want to bring some depth to your storylines, you make it about good and bad, purgatory/hell-heaven.

    Or you can end up making it all a dream (or someone’s imagination).

    In that sense, finales can never be fully satisfying. Just like the end of real life, when you think about it!

    Anyway… I expected to be disappointed by the Lost finale, but I ended up thinking that they did a good job, mostly because they managed to move me (and make me laugh!), which the show hadn’t done to me in a long while. I wasn’t surprised by the ending but I was surprised that I was moved. :-)

    I don’t know if you watched the Jimmy Kimmel “Aloha to Lost” special after the finale aired? There was a funny but very telling sketch involving the two main writers/exec producers. They were trying to come up with a variety of endings and we got to see some of them: the ironic one à la Survivors, the vague one à la Soprano, the “it’s all a dream” à la Bob Newheart, etc.

    It’s a tough job, writing such a thing, especially when you don’t know how many seasons the network will give you. But what fun it must have been to be working on Lost and to know you’ve made a nice chunk of tv history.

  4. @martine zero move for me. I felt absolutely nothing at anything that happened and for shows I’ve watched for 6 years, it’s rare, surprising and disappointing. And I probably should have waited to see it later on in one piece, the fucking ads every (literally) 5 minutes pissed me off. No respect for the viewer whatsoever.

  5. Yeah, the ads were a pain. I watched it with a 12 hour delay, so I didn’t have to suffer through them. I also made some very personal connection with the show (about some people I loved who died – long story) so it added a layer for me. Also, in that final church scene, I felt like the actors were moved while playing it, as if they were saying goodbye to the show… and their job!

    And of course: ” I don’t believe in a lot of things. But I do believe in duct tape.” ;-)

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