Last

Some vague thoughts on Lost on the day its two-part series finale aired and I got up early to watch it, along with America, Canada, Spain, Turkey and the Republic of Ireland. (Incidentally, did you all feel the same pain in your guts when the TRANMISSION ERROR screen came up after “Previously on …”?)

+++++++++++++There Will Be SPOILERS+++++++++++++++++

Come on! There will have to be spoilers. If you haven’t seen the final episodes yet, please read no further. Like even the most devoted devotee of Lost, I fell out of love with along the way – not least when they were all locked up at the beginning of Season Three and it didn’t seem to be going anywhere – but it really picked up again after Charlie’s dramatic death (“NOT PENNY’S BOAT”) and the flashforwards were a neat new device. That said, if anyone told me they bailed out during Season Four or Five, I wouldn’t have blamed them. All that time travel was difficult to take, and to follow. I was fortunate enough to spend the day with Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse and Jack Bender, the three guiding execs and showrunners (and in Lindelof’s case, co-creator) last year, when ABC flew them in to do a series of Bafta events and start to drum up interest in the final season, which they were literally just about to fly off to Hawaii to start shooting. Indeed, the 15-minute film we made on that day is yours to watch:

Although plenty of fans turned out to the special Bafta event that evening at the Curzon Mayfair, and were given the opportunity to quiz Lindelof, Cuse and Bender (whom they treated as if they were the stars of the show, which in a sense they were), the three execs were careful not to give anything away. What they did promise was that Season Six would be back-to-basics: no more flashforwards or time-jumps, and plenty of answers.

So, did they deliver? Yes. They did this by way of a new trope: the “flashsideways,” by which two parallel stories could be told, one in 2007 on the island, and one in 2004 which seemed to be an alternate version of events if the plane crash hadn’t happened. It didn’t quite turn out that way, of course.

They also took us further back in time, centuries in fact, to show us the birth of Jacob and Naughty Jacob, in Episode 15, and the arrival of Richard on a crashed slave ship in 1867, in Episode 9. These were bold episodes, especially 15, as it featured none of the regular cast except for one clip from Season One that brought it back up to date. I’ll be honest, although the island timeline had to be seen through to its apocalyptic-or-not conclusion, I was much happier and more engaged with the 2004 one, in which the passengers of Oceanic 815 land at LAX, pick up their bags and go about their lives, each of which crosses with the other, until the climax, in this morning’s finale, in which they are literally all gathered here today. Or yesterday. Or tomorrow.

The final episode skilfully ran the two together, using quick-cut  flashbacks to settle things across the temporal divide for all the main characters, brought about when they “met” in the 2004 timeline and “remembered” events that seemed not to have actually happened eg. Sawyer and Juliet at the vending machine in the hospital, Charlie and Claire over a hot newborn baby backstage at the least rock’n’roll “concert” ever staged, Jack over an empty coffin etc.

As observed elsewhere, The End did not answer every cosmic question previously raised, such as how the Egyptian statue got there, or why the island made some women infertile, or what happened to Walt (I read that the actor who played Walt had aged too much to return, and it seems the producers never did solve that one), or how the Smoke Monster was created, or how come Sawyer and Kate escaped with Frank, Richard and Miles, and yet both were among the “dead” congregation … and it didn’t actually explicitly state that we’d been watching them all in heaven, or at least a “heaven” of their own making. Theories already abound that Hurley was the architect of this heavenly “future” – he was, after all, handed the plastic mineral water bottle of power by Jack, and told he was good at looking after people.

It’s interesting to me that Locke was sat in the Jesus position on the promotional Last Supper photo. He didn’t feel Christ-like at all, especially when it all came together at the church: surely he was the healed, not the healer. And Jack, a healer by trade, and also the Shepherd ie. a humble man cast as the reluctant Messiah, came across very credibly as the son of God, when his father, Christian (geddit?), stood before that polytheistic stained-glass window and told him they were both dead. On reflection, I was satisfied with the religious guff direction. After all, so much of the island’s fate seemed to be tied in with “the light”, it made perfect sense for the survivors ultimately to be led, by Christian, into a blinding incandescence via a church door. Not quite the Bobby Ewing dream, you must admit, even if you didn’t like it.

It worked for me. And it worked on me. I don’t mind admitting, after all those hours I have devoted to Lost since 2004 (I’ve moved house twice since it started), I felt a certain relief – and release – when it ended before breakfast. I rate Season Six highly; it had an impossible job to do, but put explanation before sleight of hand, and balanced jungle thrills with mundane off-island life in great and confident style, allowing juicy glimpses of characters we thought we’d seen the last of, and just going for it at the end and showing us a plane taking off and leaving the island, while Jack closed the eye he had first opened seven years ago.

When Christian made his big speech to Jack, I admit found something in my eye. I don’t think I was crying because a television programme was ending (I’ve got enough bloody television programmes to get through), but because it was a very emotional episode. Too soppy for some sci-fi fans, I guess, but that’s their loss. Tears didn’t actually hit my cheeks until Vincent appeared from the bamboo and laid down next to Jack to protect and comfort him while he died – or “let go” and went to another place.

Those bastards, Lindelof, Cuse and Bender! They ended Lost by playing the cute dog card! After all that! And they got me!

*closes eye*

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30 thoughts on “Last

  1. I won’t claim credit as I didn’t spot it, but others have pointed out that Kate said she ‘missed’ Jack, and Hurley said Ben had been a ‘good number 2’ (Past tense), implying that the others who had lived after Jack, died later on, after presumably living normal lives post-island (Except Hurley and Ben who had stayed and played their part as protectors of the island for at least a while). All the dead were then brought together at the church at the end. That’s what I understand anyway.

  2. “r how come Sawyer and Kate escaped with Frank, Richard and Miles, and yet both were among the “dead” congregation”

    As Christian Shephard said “Everyone dies sometime”. The flash sideways is somewhere everyone meets eventually – irrelevant of when they died.

  3. “how come Sawyer and Kate escaped with Frank, Richard and Miles, and yet both were among the “dead” congregation”

    Not to get all uber-anal about what did and didn’t happen, but this was cleared up in this episode: the people we saw in the church were there because this was the most important time of their lives. Frank, Richard and Miles probably had other “most important times” to be at.

    Also, “everyone dies”. Hurley was there, and I think we can assume he probably outlived just about everyone else. Time was immaterial here. Christian died before everyone else, he was still there.

  4. God bless you all, for caring!

    (By the way, Gary, I don’t believe “uber-anal” is necessary a pejorative term, certainly not when it comes to Lost.)

    • Thank you for the absolution, I’m all about the details! But there are some Lost blogs and forums where this should definitely take the pejorative.

      I have to confess to being a touch misty-eyed at the end too.

      Whatever your opinion of Lost, no-one on the whole team performs more consistently than Michael Giacchino – the score is genius.

  5. While it was a gripping, brilliantly made two and a half hours of TV, and while I hugely admire the ambition of the whole series, I must also register frustration that I think a lot of fans will feel, summed up neatly by this sentence from the great tvsquad.com:
    “So they introduced a brand new concept at the beginning of the sixth season, and that’s what they explained in the finale. What about the first five seasons of questions?”

  6. I think the first five seasons of questions *were* answered – in a very broad sense – by elliptically showing us what *would* have happened to the survivors of 815 if they hadn’t crashed on the island. Six became more about the people than the island, almost as if the island had become something of a narrative albatross, and what we all really cared about was the people, the romances, the babies, the father-son relationships etc. That strikes me as brave, and necessary.

    Meanwhile, we saw that if the island dies, everything dies, which pretty much confirmed it as “the button”, perhaps just the centre of the universe or something. You can never really explain stuff like “the numbers” can you? Not in a truly satisfying, non-clunky way.

    • The thing is, the writers wrote all those mysteries in themselves, then hyped them up themselves & told people there would be answers.

      It’s like making a murder mystery film with clues as to who the killer was then in the last 5 minutes just going “it doesn’t matter who the killer was it was just about the journey”

      I’m not angry & I did enjoy it I’m just left feeling a little … Unsatisfied

  7. It’s a fair point to say that the new concept introduced in Season Six seemed a strange thing to focus on in the finale outside of the first five seasons of questions, but ultimately that concept was all about a “happy ending” for the characters, and it also had some very powerful moments. Charlie and Claire reuniting was my dust-in-eye moment, Andrew.

    Overall I think it was a season finale that was satisfying, and not every question was ever going to be answered.

    Infact, I believe it’s been announced that some of the unanswered questions will be resolved “in an entertaining way” on the DVD. and since the Walt actor was spotted filming a scene recently, it could be in the form of vignettes perhaps?

    • I presume the ‘entertaining’ alternative endings are the ones that aired on the Jimmy Kimmel show in the US last night. You can find them on YouTube, and frankly, they’re not that entertaining.

      As for the finale itself– I can’t say it was as stunning as I’d have liked, but I’m actually feeling a genuine sense of bereavement today. Not sure if it’s for the end of the programme, or for its characters, or just because my own life has seen some significant losses– and gains– over its six year run, but it’s certainly not something I recall feeling at the end of a TV show before.

  8. Infact, my only problem with the finale was that Richard commented to Sun in Season Five that he remembered the 1977 Losties very clearly because he “watched them all die”, which didn’t infact happen. I wouldn’t mind so much if it wasn’t for the fact this statement seemed to be a foreshadowing but didn’t lead to anything, story-wise.

  9. I told myself from the start of this last season, they won’t answer everything. I prepared myself. And despite being disappointed by the Sideways (too perfect to be true, I thought, and of course it was, but fittingly in the end), and let down by lack of deeper mythological reveals – particularly in 6.09 & 6.15 – I absolutely adored The End.

    If you are ok with admitting your eyes got a bit wet at the end, I’m fine with saying I was blubbering with joy and love and sadness in cycles of around 10 minutes from the perfect opening shots.

    I wept with many different emotions at the end, took a moment, and then went to say hello and good morning to my family, the ones who matter. This was, after all, what the whole thing was about. Not an island. Not an ancient struggle between opposing brothers. Not mystery.

    The people most important to you, at the most important time of your life.

    Today is a new chapter.

  10. I’m quite satisfied with the questions answered / not answered, at least the big ones. I think this was done in and on the way to the (IMO unfairly maligned) ‘her out of the West Wing’ episode.

    But in a way that was the problem with this finale – the reveal / emphasis was on flash-sideways world, and that mawkish outcome was a pretty enough bow to tie the thing up, but not immensely satisfying since the whole trope was a) only introduced in this series and b) strikingly familiar to anyone who watched Ashes to Ashes a few days ago (not Lost’s fault, of course, but deja vuey for the viewer nonetheless).

    Meanwhile, on the island things were playing out in a fairly linear if epic fashion, which was fine as we’d had most of the answers we needed before the episode began, but which nevertheless somehow, wrongly for me, rendered the story subservient to the off-island plot. I didn’t mind the way things panned out on the island, though I wasn’t altogether happy with the one ‘twist’ the island story had left. Smokey rendering himself mortal by having Des pulling out the mystic plug, I’ll buy, but the ultimate lack of consequence to the island/outside world itself – we’ll just pop it back in! – seemed a little soft.

    Still, I’m claiming the ‘vending machine as metaphor for the island’ theory as my own. You switch it off at the plug to make your, er, quarry attainable. Tell me no-one’s come up with that already..?

  11. That blog that you linked to on Twitter (http://bit.ly/ct3dq5) says it all for me. They copped out of answering the absolute central mysteries of the show, the reason why we all got hooked in the first place: it was a story about a group of people whose destiny was to crash-land on a mysterious island with supernatural properties. It’s all very well for the creators to say, effectively, “Move on, fans who’ve invested hundreds of hours, it stopped being about the island and was all about the characters and their journey… ” or as the blog puts it “What was the island?… Use your imagination”!
    Indeed, except the show’s entire structure was that of a mystery that WAS eventually going to be solved. Yet the finale was actually about a new mystery they suddenly came up with this season which they solved in a slightly lame (if quite moving) manner.
    And if they’re really going to solve some of those original mysteries on the DVD, then that’s really outrageous.
    Oh and finally, I was lucky enough to meet the writers during the first season filming in Hawaii – one if the greatest pleasures of my professional life, and I directly asked whether in the end they’d make it clear just what the island was and why the characters ended up there and they said that yes, of course they would.
    But they really didn’t, did they?

    • On the case of what the island was and why they ended up there, I personally think they answered these questions to enough of an extent. The explanation of the island wasn’t outright “it is this…”, but then how detailed can they realistically explain it in the course of a narrative? It was clear by the end that the island was some kind of spiritual base for humanity, with the “light” being some kind of metaphor for the soul. It’s always been about a battle between good and evil, and as Jacob and MIB’s false mum said a few eps back in reference to the light source, “a little bit of it exists in everyone”. Jacob also described the island as the “cork” ontop of the bottle, keeping the wine (evil in this metaphor) from being able to escape, so it all fits together.

      The characters were all hand-picked by Jacob as candidates to replace him, and thus were manipulated in their lives to end up on the plane which would fly over the island when Desmond failed to enter the numbers in time and thus, crash.

      Also, I don’t agree with the idea that everything should be explained. Most of what made Lost so addictive was all the theories people came up with – where would the fun be if we knew everything?

  12. Incidentally, for anyone who hasn’t watched recently, or doesn’t recall, the first scene (after the crash) of the first episode, you may wish to do so to refresh your memory: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjpWWn0jx5U

    One of the central themes of Lost was mirror images and opposites, of course, which meant there were a number of scenes over the years that echoed earlier ones. I’m guessing this was one that they really had planned from day one, whatever making-it-up-as-they-went-along may have been necessary inbetween times.

  13. For me, in the end, Ashes to Ashes might have been more successful because it was clear that the whole story had been heading that way since the start of Life on Mars. Here, although this was clearly the logical ending it seemed to be a victim of the lengthy run of the show, so that what might have worked over three seasons or so was badly undermined by six.

    As others have said, the resolution in Lost for the characters was absolutely fine, but the resolution for the Island was completely missing – and since that’s what attracted the “fans” in the first place, I think some of us can feel entitled to perhaps feel a little cheated. Whereas the non-obsessive viewer, who hadn’t been wondering about the Numbers or the Polar Bears since the start were given a fine send-off.

    Anyway, here’s the best comment I’ve seen on the Lost finale, which was posted over on the SFX magazine forum.

    Support Desk: Good morning, Magical Island Support Hotline
    Jacob: Hello, my Mum gave me this magical island to look after, and it’s got black smoke coming out of it that’s killing people
    Support Desk: Have you tried turning it off and on again?
    Jacob: Let me try. . . . . . . .
    Jacob: Thanks, worked a treat!

  14. Hi Andrew! Fisrtly I’d like to apologise for being off-topic and adding in a segway.
    Can I pick your musical mind? I wanted to ask you whether you believe we are seeing the eventual end of the New York band, Interpol following the recent resignation of bassist Carlos Dengler. They have recorded their album together, but he won’t be touring. Add to this that Paul Banks had a recent solo effort and they don’t get on that great at times. I fear this could be their last album. Have you come across them in your writing/broadcasting experience.

    This new series of lost will and better had some answers, although my patience has been tested like most I’d imagine, but sounds exciting. I think it may be a reflection of our society and our demand everything now lives that make us all want to know everything and thus lose patience. That’s a big negative.

    Best Wishes

  15. I’m impressed by anyone you watched the whole marathon…I watched about three episodes then decided to go outside for vitamin d. X

  16. Frank lapidus is alive and he has a blowtorch!!!!!!!!
    I loved the final episode but did feel a bit cheated in that Damon and Carlton denied that the island was purgatory years ago. Now it turns out to be a place where people (not just oceanic passengers; Des, dogan etc) hang out until it’s time to pass over/move on. Sounds like purgatory to me…

    • God dammit – I was just WAITING for someone to say that!

      The island ISN’T purgatory because everything that we’ve seen happen on it, happened. The characters were only dead in the flash sideways. For Jack, he was there because he died at the end of the episode. For Charlie, Sayid, Sun and Jin etc, they were there because they died previously in the series. Everyone else that was there died at some point in the future.

      Once again – all the characters we saw on island, and everything they did, all actually happened, and they were all alive.

  17. then the Flashsideways is purgatory/limbo. They’re all gettting ready to
    “leave”.
    OK, I grant you the island is not purgatory, but half of season 6 is.

    • Yes, the flash sideways is ‘purgatory’, but Darlton (yuk) were still correct in saying that the island wasn’t.

      It’s certainly quite possible that they originally intended the island to be purgatory, and they had to change their minds when a lot of people proposed that theory early on, and they still had (at that time) an indeterminate number of seasons to write.

  18. Just noticed another nice mirroring/constant aspect of the final scene v the opening scene… as well as the eye close-up, and the location, and his own tennis shoe still hanging from the bamboo where it had fallen from his father’s coffin in the crash, I’d forgotten that Jack was also wounded when he first woke up on the island — on the opposite side of his abdomen from his fatal stab wound.

    • So, the one thing I haven’t heard from anyone who’s pissed off at the purgatory ending, is any better ideas for how it should have ended. Anyone read any?

      • I really don’t get why some people are so pissed off at the ending to be honest – the purgatory side of it doesn’t affect anything that has happened on the island, it just serves to give all of the characters a satisfying resolution, and not only does it mirror the overall theme of the show (rebirth, redemption) but it was also foreshadowed when Michael appeared and explaining the on-island whispers with him saying “We’re the ones that can’t move on”, which explains why he and others weren’t in the purgatory, so it’s not like it contradicts anything they’ve set out before or anything.

  19. I’m pissed off at the purgatory ending because it seems lazy and trite – if they hadn’t used the narrative trick of mixing the future plotlines in with the current but had just tacked a nice “they all went to heaven” section on the end of the show I think everyone would have seen it for the Emporer’s New Clothes that it is.
    I agree with David – I found Ashes to Ashes much more satisfying because the ending fitted the tone of the show.
    Sadly for me, the ending of Lost means that it has zero re-watch value because I’ll just be spotting all the bits that will never be resolved (time travel, Widmore, statues and lighthouses to name a few).

  20. The most upsetting thing I read was in a recap which claimed that Vincent the dog lay down and died with Jack. Noooo!

    I just wanted to point out, big props to Michael Giacchino’s score for Lost. I was sobbing openly at a number of points – not because I cared too much for the characters, or the story, but just because the music was so affecting (or emotionally manipulative? Hmm, fine line) It’s the “First Ten Minutes of Up” effect, as heard here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93jxkqG0gWc

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