Having had a little time to think about and rewatch this episode, it’s about time I wrote my final recap and review of an episode of Lost. This is The End.
The final episode of Lost opens with a montage of some of the main characters both on the island and in the flashsideways, set to the music composed for the arrival of Oceanic 815 from the first episode of this season. Jack looks at x-rays in his office, while on the island he washes in the river, taking in his status as the new Jacob. Dr. Ben Linus makes a cup of tea, while on the island he loads a gun before the camera pans across to show the Man in Black packing away the rope found at the well, bringing back memories of the way John Locke died. The real John Locke is taken on a hospital trolley towards the operating theatre while he looks at his empty wheelchair. All throughout Detective James Ford gets ready for work and looks at the mirror he broke, while Sawyer sits next to Kate and Hurley at their camp. All throughout, we see Christian Shephard’s coffin being taken from an Oceanic flight and loaded into a truck.
Outside the Church that houses the Lighthouse station, Kate sits in Hurley’s Camaro and watches the Oceanic truck arrive. Desmond signs for the body, the delivery man asking if he’s a priest or something. “Or something,” replies Des. While the coffin is taken into the church, Kate demands to know what’s going on. Des tells her that the coffin belonged to a man called Christian Shephard. Kate points out the humour in the name. She asks why she is here and Desmond replies enigmatically that nobody call tell her why she is here. Not outside the church, but “here”. He tells her that although she doesn’t realise it yet, he is her friend and they are going to leave. He will show her where to.
Back on the island, Kate watches Jack as he stands ankle-deep in the stream, in the knowledge that he is now responsible for the island. Sawyer, still clearly shaken up by the events of the previous night, asks if he feels any different now that he’s the new Jacob. “Not really,” he says. Sawyer asks him to “come down off the mountaintop and tell us what the hell the burning bush had to say for itself.” Around the campfire, Jack tells Kate, Hurley and Sawyer what Jacob said about protecting the light from the Man in Black, who wants to put it out, which would be the end of everyone. They talk about how Jacob didn’t really make very much clear, with Hurley noting that he’s even worse than Yoda in that respect. Realising the importance of Desmond, Sawyer goes off to get him from the well, after a lovely, nostalgic bit of banter with the injured Kate about talking her out of coming and her following him anyway. As Sawyer leaves, Hurley utters the immortal words known by any self-respecting geek, “I have a bad feeling about this.”
And that’s what happens before we even get to the titles.
Sawyer watches the well from behind some bushes before the sound of a rifle being cocked reveals that Ben is onto him. Sawyer comes out and sees that Desmond has already left the well before either of them got there. Saywer guesses that the Man in Black wants Desmond to destroy the island, and to Ben’s shock, he confirms that Sawyer is correct, saying that he intends to escape on a boat and watch the island sink, with the candidates still on it. Sawyer reveals that they’re not candidates and more, causing the Man in Black to be genuinely shocked. Before he can completely take in the news that his brother Jacob had been replaced, Sawyer grabs the gun from Ben and makes his escape. Ben expresses his dismay that he thought the Man in Black was only speaking metaphorically about destorying the island after being offered the chance to look after it, but it instead offered a place on the boat. Kneeling down, the Man in Black spots paw prints on the floor.
Those prints belong to Vincent! He licks Desmond’s face, who wakes up and finds himself at Rose and Bernard’s cosy jungle cabin. While Bernard goes off to check their fish traps, Rose tells Desmond that they built their humble abode back in 1975, stayed for three years, then the sky went purple again and they have no idea when they are. She gives him something to drink in a DHARMA mug and tells him that they decided to never get involved with any of the goings on around the island, but broke their rule to rescue Desmond from the well. Although she’s happy to see him, once he has breakfast, he’ll have to leave their little camp and never come back. Bernard arrives back and Rose happily comments on the large catch of fish he’s carrying when Bernard says sorry and.. oh no, the tone of his voice, the look on his face, this is not good. Behind he walks the Man in Black. He unsheathes his knife – no, Locke’s knife – and tells Desmond that he will kill them both if Desmond doesn’t come with him. Rose bravely tells Desmond not to do anything when the Man in Black says “I’ll make it hurt.” No, not Rose and Bernard! Desmond steps forward and asks for the Man in Black’s word that he will not ever harm them. He gets it and says that he’ll do whatever he wants. “Yes, you will,” is the confident reply.
In the flashsideways world, Hurley brings Sayid to the Flightline Motel, a place we’ve seen before on the show a few times. Hurley shows him a tranquilizer gun in the hope that it’ll remind him of that escapade with the knives in the dishwasher last season. Sayid is utterly perplexed. Hurley asks Sayid to stay, saying he’ll be happy if he does, and knocks on a motel room door. Charlie opens the door, and Hurley’s happy face at seeing his old friend was one of the highlights of the episode. Charlie, of course, doesn’t recognise him yet and when he’s told it’s time to go to the concert, he calls him one of “Widmore’s monkeys,” and continues getting drunk. Only one thing to do – a tranquilizer dart in the back, and Hurley carries Charlie to the back of his Hummer. Sayid has no idea what’s happening as they drive to the site of the concert at the museum. Miles is already there and spots Sayid, who was supposed to be on his way to jail, and calls Sawyer to tell him to check on Sun and Jin at the hospital to make sure they’re safe.
Back on the island timeline, and Miles is walking through the Barracks and discovers Richard Alpert on the floor. Phew, he is still in one piece after being thrown into the air by Smokey in the previous episode. They decide together to go and finish the job of blowing up the Ajira plane with the C4 that Miles still has in his backpack. They get on an outrigger and prepare to make their way across to the Hydra island, when Miles notices and plucks a grey hair from Richard’s head. Yes, Ricardos is finally aging now that the fire has gone out and Jacob has moved on. Upon realising that he is now able to die, he says that he now wants to live. They paddle together across the channel between the two islands when they notice something in the water. Lots of things in the water. It’s the wreckage from the destroyed submarine, some of which has floated to the surface. There’s a cry for help and Miles and Richard turn to see Frank Lapidus in the water. He’s still alive!!! They drag him onto the boat and explain their plan to blow up the plane to prevent the Man in Black from leaving on it. Frank reminds them that he won’t be able to leave on it if they use it to fly home, pointing out (if they haven’t noticed the uniform) that he’s a pilot.
Sawyer finds Jack, Kate and Hurley and tells them about the Man in Black’s plan, saying that they need to find Desmond he does. Jack tells him that it doesn’t matter who finds Desmond first, because they are all going to the same place anyway. Sawyer asks what happens next. “And then it ends,” is Jack’s reply. Cue the ‘pilgrimage across the island’ music that appears on every season finale as our heroes make their way over some hills. Soon, the come across the Man in Black. Kate suddenly grabs the gun and starts shooting as Ben and Des dive for cover and the Man in Black keeps walking towards her unaffected, telling her to save her bullets. He then tells Jack that he’s surprised the Jack is the island’s new protector, as he was expecting Jacob to choose someone more surprising, an amusing little comment on what the audience was thinking too. Jack tells him that he wasn’t chosen, he volunteered. He also says that he knows cannot stop him from getting to the light so he’ll come with him, but when he gets there he won’t destroy the island, instead he will kill him. When the Man in Black asks him how, Jack says that it’s a “surprise”. When Sawyer asks, Jack says that he thinks Desmond is a “weapon”. When they get near the cave, The Man in Black says that it’s just him, Jack and Desmond from here on in.
In the flashsideways world, Jin and Sun are still in the hospital. A doctor comes in to give do an ultrasound – it’s Juliet! As soon as she starts, Sun remembers the time that Juliet did the same thing on the island. When Jin sees the baby on the screen, all of their memories from the island come flooding back. I defy anyone who’s watched all six seasons not to cry at that point. Suddenly, with their memories returned, they can both speak English, and the both know that the baby is their daughter Ji Yeon. In another part of the hospital, John Locke is preparing for surgery. When he asks what could go wrong, Jack jokingly replies that he could end up killing him, but he’s sure it’ll be a success. He sees Juliet and gives her the concert tickets – it turns out that she is the mother of his son David. Jack says that they should take Claire, as he’ll be performing Locke’s operation. As Juliet steps into a lift to leave, she tantalizingly walks past Sawyer, who asks to see Sun.
Hurley and a very confused Sayid are waiting in a car in a street at night. Hurley says that, whatever anyone else says, he knows that Sayid is a good guy. Suddenly there’s a fight outside a bar and when a woman is hit, Sayid comes to her aid. As picks up from the ground, their memories return. It’s Shannon, the one girl he could be with without any guilt from his torturer past. As they kiss, her brother Boone comes up to Hurley’s car, saying with a smile that it was difficult to get her to come over from Australia, but totally worth it.
On the island, the outrigger has reached the Hydra island. Miles radios Ben, who’s now waiting with Sawyer, Hurley and Kate, and says that they’re going to fly off the island and they should hurry there too. Claire appears from the bushes with a gun, scared that Miles, Richard and Frank are there to kill her. When they ask her to come with them, she decides not to, and goes back to where she was hiding. Meanwhile, outside the cave, Desmond tells Jack that everything happening now doesn’t matter because he’s seen another world where everyone can be happy and with the people they love, and he thinks he’ll go there again when he enters the bright light in the cave. Jack tells him that he’s tried to do that sort of thing before and it didn’t work – whatever happened, happened. They enter the cave and start to lower Desmond down. The Man in Black, in John Locke’s form of course, remarks that it’s like the time they were in the Swan station together, pushing the button. Jack is not amused by the comparison, and quite brilliantly says “You’re not John Locke,” and accuses him of disrespecting his memory by wearing his face. Jack insists that Locke was right about pretty much everything. The Man in Black says that he was right about nothing, which Jack will realise when the Island drops into the ocean with him on it. Jack says that they should just wait and see who’s right, as they peer over the edge of the waterfall to where they’ve lowered Desmond down, recalling the end of season one, with Jack and Locke looking down the hatch, with Desmond at the bottom.
Desmond walks further into the cave, passing the skeletons of some of the men who came before and greedily wanted more of the light to themselves. He finds the very heart of the island, a chamber with tunnels in the walls, which water flows into from a pool in the centre – presumably these feed into the healing rivers around the island and the pool of water in the temple. A large stone is in the centre, with hieroglyphs carved into the top. It seems that the cork Jacob was speaking of could be more than a metaphor. Desmond pulls it out, confidently expecting to pass into another world once again. Instead, the water simply drains away and the light goes out. A hellish red lava-like glow comes from down below as Desmond screams “Nooooo!” and the Man in Black tells Jack that it looks like he was wrong. They step outside, with the island shaking with earthquakes. Jack suddenly punches the Man in Black and they both realise that he is no longer immune. As Jack tries to strangle him, the Man in Black strikes him over the head with a rock, and runs off, leaving Jack on the ground.
In the flashsideways, it’s time for the concert. Juliet gets a message from the hospital and has to leave David with Claire while she goes back to work. Backstage, Charlotte wakes up Charlie and meets Daniel. David and Claire sit at table 23, where Desmond and Kate are sitting, Claire recognising them both. Pierre Chang takes to the stage to introduce Daniel Widmore with Drive Shaft, probably the worst musical paring in history. Luckily for Claire, she’s able to avoid it by having a sudden need to go to the bathroom. Eloise sits next to Desmond and reminds him that she said he shouldn’t meddle. He says that she made it perfectly clear, but he’s doing it anyway. She begs him not to take her son Daniel with him and he reassures her that he won’t. Backstage, Claire is going into labour. Kate arrives and helps her to give birth, and as she does, she suddenly remembers doing exactly the same thing on the island (with, I’m sorry to add, a hilarious “shocked” expression on the otherwise great Evangeline Lilly’s face), followed by the same memories for Claire. Charlie comes along to bring towels and when he touches Claire, they remember their relationship on the island – time for some more tissues to wipe the eyes. Desmond appears and asks if Kate understands. She does.
The island is still being ravaged by earthquakes. Ben pushes Hurley out of the way of a falling tree and is trapped below it himself. Kate picks up Ben’s radio and hears Miles saying that Frank is fixing the plane and they need to hurry over there now. As everyone attempts to lift the tree, Ben tells them about the boat they can use. That boat is the Elizabeth, the boat that had once belonged to Libby’s husband and was used by Desmond to sail around the world. It is moored beside the rocky cliff with the ladders which descend down to the cave where Jacob had written his candidates’ names. The Man in Black stands on the clifftop, looking out to see as heavy rain pours down. He turns to see Jack standing higher up the clifftop behind him and draws his knife as they start running towards him, Jack leaping through the air in the most awesome moment of the finale. They fight in the rain on the clifftop as the island starts to collapse around them. The Man in Black stabs Jack in the right of his body and then attempts to cut his neck, the blade drawing blood in exactly the spot that Jack had been bleeding in the flashsideways. Suddenly there is a gunshot – it is Kate, holding the gun, saying that she saved him a bullet. Jack gets to his feet and kicks the Man in Black off the side of the cliff, in just the same way he had kicked Jacob into the fire. They look over the edge and see him lying dead on the rocks below, an ironic reminder of the event John Locke had once survived. As Jacob once said, it only ends once. Kate comes to the aid of Jack, who recalls the injury she stitched up for him on the day 815 crashed. The earthquakes continue, showing that it’s not all over yet, with Jack realising that he’ll need to turn back on whatever Desmond turned off – the ultimate IT solution. Sawyer prepares to go to the Hyrda island to catch Frank’s plane, but Ben says he wants to stay on the island, while Hurley doesn’t want to go near those wooden ladders (and who can blame him?). Jack tells Kate that she has to go, she asks if she’ll ever see him again, he shakes his head. They share a final kiss and tearfully say that they love each other. The island shakes again and Sawyer reminds Kate that they need to hurry. They both leap from the cliffs into the water, Davidoff-style, and swim to the Elizabeth.
In the hospital in the flashsideways, Jack notices the cut on his neck again after finishing Locke’s surgery. Suddenly, Locke wakes up, despite being fully anaesthetised. He says that “it worked”, but Jack tells him that it’ll take some time before they know whether the operation was a success. Locke looks at his feet and wiggles his toes, suddenly remembering the moment he did that after the crash of flight 815, and then seeing all of his adventures on the island. He asks Jack if he remembers and he suddenly sees a flash of them looking down into the hatch, but he resists and disbelieves. Jack said that he has to go and see his son, but Locke tells him “You don’t have a son.” In another room, Sawyer finds Sun and Jin. When they realise that he’s a cop, they grin happily and reassure him that they do not need protection from Sayid. They leave, saying they’ll see him “there”, and Sawyer goes to get something to eat. Jack tells him where to find a vending machine, but when Sawyer orders an Apollo bar, it gets stuck. Juliet walks him and tells that he needs to unplug it and turn it on again (just like the Island!) and then the chocolate bar drops down. When Juliet hands it to Saywer, saying “it worked,” they get a brief flash of the island. Juliet suggests that they get coffee, but Sawyer says the machine took his last money, so she says they should go Dutch – her dying words. They then remember everything about their three years together, terrific acting by Josh Holloway as he disbelievingly looks at the woman he loved and watched die, as they hold each other tight. “Kiss me James,” she says. “You got it blondie,” he replies. “Waaah,” I sob.
On Hydra Island, Frank, Miles and Richard are in the cockpit of the Ajira plane, testing the electronics. Frank finds that everything is working except for the one of the hydraulic hoses. Richard and Miles go down there and wrap some tape around it to fix the problem. “I don’t believe in a lot of things, but I do believe in duct tape,” says Miles, one of the lines of the episode. Over on the nearby beach, Kate and Sawyer swim ashore and find Claire. They look back to the main island to see more cliffs collapsing into the sea and then hear the plane’s engines start. Claire doesn’t want to leave because she doesn’t want Aaron to see how crazy she is, but Kate convinces her. Frank is preparing to take off, but sees Saywer, Kate and Claire on the runway just in time. Miles and Richard help them climb on board and they all strap themselves into their seats as the plane takes off and soars into the air just in time, before the runway crumbles away before them.
In the flashsideways, Jack arrives at the concert which has now finished. He sees Kate and asks her where he recognises her from. She tells him that it was her who stole his pen on Oceanic 815, but after a few moments says that that’s not how he knows her. She tells him how much she missed him, and he has another brief flash to his life on the island, but again he resists. Jack is confused, asking why this is happening to him. Kate says that if he comes with her he will understand.
Hurley, Jack and Ben arrive at the cave at the heart of the Island. Jack tells them that he needs to go down and do this one job, and tells a distressed and upset Hurley that he’s the one who has always been meant to look after the island. Hugo agrees, but makes Jack promise that it’s only until he gets back. Jack fills an Oceanic bottle with water from the nearby stream and gives it to Hurley to drink, before saying “Now you are like me,” completing the process of making Hugo the new protector of the island. Together, they lower Jack down into the heart of the Island. At the bottom, he sees Desmond, who says that he was wrong and needs to put the rock back into the hole. Jack tells him that he’s done enough already and should go back to his life and son, saying “I’ll see you in another life, brother.” Jack steps down into the very source of the Island’s powers and puts the rock back in place, before collapsing on the floor and both laughing and crying as he sees the light return and water start to flow into the pool once more. Hurley and Ben pull on the rope, with Hurley being slightly more disappointed than he should be when he realises that the person they pull to the top is Desmond and not Jack.
In the flashsideways, Ben sits outside the same church we saw at the beginning of the episode. John Locke arrives in a taxi and the driver helps him into his wheelchair. As he goes past Ben, they greet each other and Ben tells him that “most of them” are in the church. He then apologises for killing him, saying that he was selfish, jealous and wanted everything he had. “What did I have?” replies Locke, which I loved – so much of what Ben did to Locke was driven by jealousy, yet he had such a difficult life. Ben says that he was jealous because Locke was “special” and he wasn’t. Locke forgives him and Ben tells him how much it means to him to hear that. He also says that he won’t be going in the church as he still needs some time to work things out, so will stay for a while. He adds that he doesn’t think Locke needs to be in the wheelchair any more. John Locke slowly gets up and walks into the church.
Outside the cave, Hurley is struggling to come to terms with the idea that Jack has gone and he is now in charge of the Island. He doesn’t know what to do, so Ben tells him he should do the thing he does best, take care of people, starting with getting Desmond home. Hurley says that it’s difficult to leave the island, but Ben tells him that was just the way Jacob ran things, maybe there’s another way. Hurley asks Ben for his help in looking after the island, saying he could do with his experience. Ben says he would be honoured.
In the flashsideways, Hurley opens the church door and sees Ben outside. Ben tells him he’s not coming in. Hugo says that Ben was “a real good Number Two,” and Ben replies that he was “a great Number One.” Jack and Kate arrive. They talk about it being the place where he was going to have his father’s funeral. Kate tells Jack to go through the door around the back, while she goes through the front door, and will be waiting for him once he’s “ready.” Jack asks, “Ready for what?” and Kate replies, “To leave.”
On the Island, Jack wakes up in the by the stream near the cave, in the same place that the Man in Black’s body was found after he became the Smoke Monster. He gets up and starts to stagger away, his stab wound clearly serious.
Jack goes into the church and finds himself with a room decorated in the iconography of every major world religion. He finds Christian’s coffin and touches it, finally remembering everything that happened to him on the island. He slowly opens the coffin but it is empty. He hears a voice and turns around to see his father standing behind him. Jack says that he doesn’t understand because his father is dead. He asks he can be standing here in front of him. “How are you here?” The realisation painfully comes to Jack. “I died too.” He breaks down in tears as Christian holds him tight. Christian explains that they are real, Jack’s life on the island was real and all the people in the church are real. Jack asks if this means that they’re all dead too and his father says that “everyone dies sometime, kiddo. Some before you, some long after you.” He goes on to explain that, although they all died at different times, they are there together at once because “there is no ‘now’ here.” It is a place they made together to reunite with the people that mattered to them most, because the time on the Island was the most important time of their lives, and now they are finally ready to move on together. “Nobody does it alone,” he says. Inside the church he meets Kate and sees Locke, who says the final line of the series, “We’ve been waiting for you.” The group of friends hug and happily greet each other.
Jack stumbles through the bamboo forest, past the white shoe his father had been wearing in the coffin, now grey and tattered three years on. Jack, now clearly dying, slowly slumps down and lies back on the very spot where he woke up after the crash of Oceanic 815. Echoing his first moments on the Island, he looks to his left and sees Vincent running through the trees, lying down beside him, making sure that he will that he won’t die alone.
In the church, to the sound of Michael Giacchino’s beautiful soundtrack, Christian Shephard opens up the doors, engulfing everyone with a bright white light.
Jack is lying down on the spot where everything first started in 2004. He looks up to the sky to see the plane his friends are on flying overhead and he smiles a bittersweet smile. Finally, he closes his eye. The end.
I’m still not entirely sure what to make of this finale. My feelings when watching it on Monday morning were more of the heart than the head. It was a deeply emotional end to a six-year long journey, and I thought that the characters’ arcs were brought to a close in the most beautiful way. The end to the flashsideways story in particular is one that I’m unsure about, but it was essentially a post-script, an epilogue to the main story on the Island. And that story on the Island, I thought, had a near-perfect ending. The series being bookended with a reverse of the opening sequence of the first episode (at times shot-for-shot) was predicted by many, but just wonderfully executed. If there was one thing I would have changed in the episode, it would have been to have Ben shoot the Man in Black rather than Kate – it would have been the cherry on top of his redemption, and of all the characters on the show, he’d been messed around by Jacob and the Man in Black as much as anyone and would have deserved it more than anyone. But so many sequences, from the clifftop fight, to the plane taking off, to that closing scene amongst the bamboo, were as bold and cinematic in nature as anything seen in all six seasons.
As I said, the flashsideways turned out to be of less consequence than first thought, but still served a good purpose, being the emotional core of the finale, with so many weepie moments, and above all were a device to show how far we’ve come since those first episodes of season one. They also make season six instantly rewatchable, with so much food for thought in the previous flashsideways. As Christian said, it is a world they made together while they wait to move on. I think the world began the in the very first scene of this season, when they were on Oceanic 815, and this is the place were they all went when they died – or for some, like Kate and Sawyer, will go many years in the future (Kate’s “I missed you so much” signified that she lived a long life). And who knows, maybe Hurley and Ben will spend a couple of thousand years on the island. Some fans want to see an unlikely “Adventures of Hurley and Ben” spin-off, but there will be a bonus 15 minutes on the DVD and Bluray showing a little of their life together on the island. The fact that they created this limbo world before the afterlife poses a few interesting questions. Many people got what they wanted – Jack had a fictional son so that he could be the father he never had, Hurley got to enjoy his lottery win without the bad luck, Desmond finally had Charles Widmore’s approval and many people got to be with the people they loved. But Sayid seemed to be punishing himself by not allowing himself to be with Nadia, but instead was reunited with Shannon, the girl he could be himself with, rather than being the ex-torturer. What are we to make of Anthony Cooper’s fate? Locke’s con-man father is confined to an eternity in a braindead stupor after being throttled by Sawyer. It, at the very least, gives us more to debate over for years to come.
Speaking of which, there are many people who were unsatisfied with the finale because of the number of questions left open. For me, most of the big questions have been answered. It’s just unfortunate that some of the answers were inevitably disappointing, like the Island’s powers coming from an underground light, and the numbers being assigned to the candidates by Jacob, with their other appearances being either coincidence or fate, depending on whether you’re a man of science or man of fate. Other questions we thought needed answers, such as the importance of Walt, turned out to be sadly inconsequential. I suppose that because I was already prepared to not have much more light cast on these sorts of questions, I wasn’t as let down as others. Instead, going into the finale the questions I most wanted answering were things like “will Ben end up as one of the good guys?”, “will Hurley, Desmond, Kate and Sawyer survive to the end?” and “what exactly is the flashsideways?” and on those fronts, I was mostly satisfied. I still wish we got to see the other side of that outrigger shoot-out from early season five, though.
FlashForward has turned out to be a series that is very good at answering its questions and wrapping up every loose plot thread, but Lost, despite it’s disappointments, is still the better show by a very long way. I do think a lot more things have been answered than some people think, although sometimes the answers have been between the lines (some people, for example, still ask about the polar bears despite the reasons for them being on the island being spelled out by the end of season four). However, the fact remains that a number of ideas have been thrown in along the years and later forgotten about. If it wasn’t for this, I’d have no problem with saying that Lost is the best television series I’ve ever seen. Instead, that particular accolade remains with The Wire.
Whatever the opinions on the finale, over the course of six seasons Lost has produced some of the most incredibly ambitious, beautifully made hours of television drama I’ve ever seen. I’m very glad I’ve been along for the ride, it’s given us scenes and characters that I’ll never forget. But now it’s time to let go and move on. Namaste.