This morning at 5am, Sky1 screened the Lost finale at the same time as the US West Coast. And it was breathtaking. I’ll do a full recap and review later in the week, once I’ve had time to gather my thoughts, but for now, I’ll jot down my first reactions.
I’m still a little blown away by it all. I thought the ending of Lost was absolutely beautiful.
First things first, no, we didn’t get a big set of answers. There are plenty of things that remain unexplained, such as why the Others were unable to have children, what exactly was the ash that kept away the Man in Black, or my own personal bugbear, the other side of the boat shoot-out from when they were travelling through time in early season five – not really an important plot point, but a storytelling itch that needs scratching. Still, FlashForward is doing a very good job of almost obsessively answering every question and tying up every single loose end, but I know what series I prefer.
The lack of answers might be a disapointment, but then I thought about my favourite moments of the last six series. For me, they weren’t the times that we finally got answers, interesting as they often were, but always the emotional moments. Desmond calling Penny. Charlie drowning. Kate saying goodbye to Aaron. The series of tragic events that was the life of John Locke. What made this season’s Ab Aeterno such a good episode wasn’t finally discovering how Jacob made Richard became immortal, but seeing the stuggles he had in life and him being reunited with the spirit of his wife. This is a series that has tugged the heartstrings like nothing else, and on that front, the finale was faultless. We’ve been on a very long journey with these characters, and the way their story ended was about as satisfying as I could imagine.
Ultimately, we discovered that of the two stories we’ve been watching this season, it’s the one on the island that has been in the “real world”. This is where our characters live and die. It was full of action, we had great moments between Jack and the Man in Black’s conversion in the cave, before they looked down to where Desmond was below, echoing the season one finale, and the incredible fight on the clifftop, with the Man in Black now mortal and Kate of all people delivering the fatal shot.
I found the character’s resolutions to be deeply satisfying. Jack found the purpose he had spent so long searching for, finally getting to fix things and being able to let go. I really love the fact that Hurley and Ben are looking after the island, I think they’d do a much better job than Jacob, and I’m happily very surprised that everyone else – Kate, Sawyer, Richard, Miles, Frank, Claire and eventually Desmond survived the episode and get to go home.
And we got a completely unexpected explanation for the flashsideways. The bomb didn’t create an alternate reality after all – as we’ve been told so many times before, whatever happened, happened. Instead, we saw that it was some sort of waiting room for the afterlife, created by them and not fixed in time, meaning they came together at the same time even though some died in the past and some die in the future. From what Hurley and Ben said outside the church, they had a good few years together looking after the island. Rose, Bernard and Vincent lived on the island while Kate, Sawyer, Desmond, Richard, Miles and Frank went home, maybe lived long lives and then one day, like everyone, died. A clue to Kate’s long life was the way she very movingly told Jack how much she had missed him.
It puts the flashsideways into a whole new perspective and it’ll be interesting to rewatch them one day. Many people got what they wanted. Jack got to be the father he never had (for anyone wondering who David is, listen to Locke’s words, Jack doesn’t have a son – in other words, he’s not real), lots of people got to be with the people they loved and lived the lives they never could in the “real world.” Sayid seemed to be punishing himself with his reality until Hurley told him he was a good person. Some people, like Ana Lucia, we not ready to learn the truth of their situation, while others like Ben needed more time to put their things in order before they could “let go.” Likewise, it seems that Elouise wasn’t yet ready to give up the idyllic relationship she had with her son, giving him the “life” she couldn’t give him before.
But, as I said, it was what was happening on the island that really mattered, and I cannot fault the ending at all. The mirroring of the start the pilot episode, with Jack staggering past the tennis shoe his father was once wearing before lying down in the bamboo. But this time, he looked up and saw a plane flying overhead with his friends safe and sound inside. Vincent lying down beside him, to make sure he doesn’t die alone. And then, the reverse of the very first shot, Jack closing his eye.
I don’t think I could have asked for anything more from that finale. More thoughts later in the week.