[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.)