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Six years ago, Oceanic flight 815 crash landed on a mysterious tropical island.  This event was the start of a fantastic journey as her passengers not only had to learn how to survive, but they had to unravel the mysteries that the island possessed.  That journey came to an end last Sunday, as millions of die hard fans (now known as Losties) gathered around their television sets to watch the final two and half our episode. 

I was one of those Losties, a somewhat reluctant viewer who got wrapped up in the mystery of this epic television experience.  Not much has been said here about the show or its final season, but I have to believe that there are more like me here and I wanted to provide a forum for fans and non fans alike to discuss the show.  That being said I know that there are a few of us who have never watched a single episode and I also know that Hilden admitted to me that he was way behind on this final season of the show.  So I will be using the Spoiler Tag in places and I encourage those who want to post on the subject to do the same.   Type the word “spoiler” in brackets, then the text you want to hide, and follow it with “/spoiler” also in brackets. 

LOST was the brainchild of Damon Lindelof, J. J. Abrams and Jeffrey Lieber and since it’s pilot in September of 2004, each episode had an average of 16 million viewers.  The two part pilot was one of the most expensive in television history, costing an average of 10-14 million (most one hour tv dramas cost around 4 million to produce).  The show received critical success and even won several emmys. 

The show had a unique way of telling its story.  In the beginning, each episode had a flashback of one of the central characters.  Here viewers would learn more about the people stuck on the island and this would create a deeper meaning and expansive mystery.  Later the writers switched this tactic and produced flash-forwards as they told the story of six people who managed to leave the island.  Finally this last season we saw the use of a flash-sideways story of a parallel time in place where none of the events ever took place.  It was this continual change of pace and the cliff hanger endings that kept viewers coming back and wanting more. 

LOST was a show that never dumbed things down for their audience.  In fact the writers did just the opposite. Many mysteries about the island, who lived there, and what was going on were revealed throughout the show. Viewers were encouraged to come up with their own answers and discuss the mystery of the island.  Many times these theories were proven wrong, and many other times viewers were left with more questions than answers. 

The show also contained several Easter eggs for its viewers to discover.  Let’s start with the names of many of the characters as they were taken from famous philosophers and scientists:  John Locke (after the philosopher) and his alias Jeremy Bentham (after the philosopher), Danielle Rousseau (after philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau), Desmond Hume (after philosopher David Hume), Juliet Burke (after philosopher Edmund Burke), Mikhail Bakunin (after the anarchist philosopher), Daniel Faraday (after physicist Michael Faraday), Eloise Hawking (after physicist Stephen Hawking), George Minkowski (after mathematician Hermann Minkowski), Richard Alpert (the birth name of spiritual teacher Ram Dass) and Charlotte Staples Lewis (after author C. S. Lewis).  Several mentions and throwbacks to famous works of literature were also used throughout the show, most prevalent was the Benjamin Linus referring to himself as Henry Gayle a nod to the Wizard from “The Wizard of Oz.” 

[spoiler]For many LOST fans Sunday’s final episode was a chance to get answers to all the questions the show had given them.  Sadly, and yet predictably, this episode didn’t really have these answers.  What was the island, what power does it possess, who really was the man in black?  These and many other questions were tossed aside as viewers spent most of their time watching events unfold in the flash-sideways story.  I for one truly enjoyed that as the final episode of the show revealed what the show was truly about.  While the mystery of the island kept viewers coming back, it was the relationships between the survivors that were at the crux of the story. [/spoiler]

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[spoiler]The leader of the survivors is a surgeon named Jack Sheppard.  As a man of science he struggles with an understanding of his own faith, a faith that has been shattered by a feeling of never being good enough for his father.  Jack always looked for a way to help others, all the while struggling with ways to help himself.  In the flash-sideways Jack is himself a good father, and his son David is a promising musician.  But this world for Jack isn’t real, and neither is it real for any of the other survivors.  One by one they reconnect with one another and meet in the church where Jack was to have a funeral for his father Christain.  Here his Father reveals that he and everyone there was dead, some had died before Jack did, and others way past his death.  But this was a place that they created so they could all reconnect and move forward together.  It is never explained if this place was purgatory or not, but it is clear from a stained glass collage of religious symbols in the church that this is place for all religions.  Together they reconnect in love and move on toward a bright light. [/spoiler]

[spoiler]Many people I knew were very upset, “what about the island?”  What happened on the island was real, and why it happened isn’t nearly as important as HOW it affected those who went through it.  Life is like that in so many ways.  It’s not what we do or where we live, but HOW we connect with those around us.  It is the interpersonal relations that I have with others that ultimately determine my success in life.  I know many people who are rich beyond their wildest dreams, and yet lack any genuine friendships.  For Jack it was a journey of finding his own faith, for in the end he truly believes in what he is doing and others believe in him.  [/spoiler]

[spoiler]Like so many other LOST episodes, this one was brilliantly acted and had more touching moments than I can imagine.  There were more than a few moments when I found myself choking up as characters reconnected and rediscovered the love they had for one another.  As an avid fan who had already bought into and connected with these people, I found these moments to be quite powerful and, as Mitch put it so well, very beautiful.  [/spoiler]

[spoiler]Looking back at the successful final episodes of some of my favorite shows, they too dealt with the relationships of the characters we loved:  Captain Picard joining his crew as they played poker and was told that he was always welcome, Bj Honeycut (from MASH) placing rocks on the ground that spelled “Goodbuy” as Pierce flew home, or when Sam Malone turned the lights off for the last time at Cheers.  Bittersweet reminders of the characters we loved and how we will be missing them.   [/spoiler]     

[spoiler]The writers even gave their die hard fans something they could continue to talk about and go back to.  The story still feels open ended and the remaining questions only make for years of discussions and the possibilities for new story telling.  I for one applaud that and I’m looking forward to not only purchasing the series on blu ray, but reliving the experience by watching it with my son.  Bravo LOST, and well done…[/spoiler]

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24 Responses to LOST Series Finale

  1. carrotpanic says:

    I think we’re the only people on the internet who felt satisfied. It could have been better in a few ways, but it still came through in a number of areas that you mentioned.

  2. I loved the ending. All of the questions it didn’t answer were the questions I didn’t care about because they don’t really matter to the story. I didn’t need to see people from 200 years ago building temples.

    I do love all the truly clueless reviewers/ranters out there that didn’t get the finale and probably the series overall.

  3. I simultaneously hated and liked the ending.
    I thought that the overall message of the show was incredible.
    As far as the mystery show aspects of LOST, I felt that more of the priority questions could have been answered.

  4. ilduce620 says:

    Good write-up, Ryker. My wife and I didn’t hop onto the “Lost” bandwagon until the 5th season was about to air (we watched seasons 1-4 either downloaded or off ABC.com). This is one of the few sci-fi shows I’ve gotten my wife to watch with me, largely because it was so character-driven and didn’t rely as much on the “sci-fi-ness” as other favorites of mine do. When we went to bed Sunday night, after watching the finale, I don’t think either of us really knew what we thought, but by the next morning we’d decided we liked it. I kinda think that’s the mark of success for the series as a whole, in that the viewer really can’t make a one-off decision about anything in “Lost,” and it takes a little thought to come up with your own conclusions.

    I’ll second your sentiment of “bravo,” sir.

    However, I’ll be a little bitch and point out that they spelled “Goodbye” at the end of M.A.S.H. :-)

  5. Capn Chunky says:

    Great write ups everyone. I have read also a lot of hate about this episode but am a bit puzzled as to it’s apparent ferocity. While perhaps not flawless, I was perfectly satisfied. I viewed the avoidance of directly addressing the mystical qualities of the island as the smart choice. Any explanation would have provided a diminished experience of Lucasian proportions -Midichlorian’s anyone? For me Lost was at it’s best when it left a gentle “huh?” in it’s wake, so it appears fitting that it closed with this exact sensibility.

  6. The people that are really hate the finale watched Lost to find out what the island was and what was the cause of all the crazy stuff. To them the people on the island were simply there to either cause the crazy stuff or just experience it, in my opinion anyway.

  7. Ryker XL says:

    @ilduce620, oh gee whiz I thought Pierce was going to WalMart at the end of the show! My apologies for my spelling error, and I do hope it didn’t make Moe shoot himself (I hate it when that happens). I will also agree that the ending of the show took time for me to really digest and I will admit that I’m still thinking about it. You are corrent, that’s the hallmark of a great story.

    @Chunky, I LOVE the Midichlorian example, Star Wars was way better before they felt the need to explain that to us.

    I did finally wath the Jimmy Kimmel special on the show last night. Aside from being terrible, they did have the lead composer with the band at that reminded me on how wonderful the score was in this show. Their use of music would always move me and very few TV shows take the time to execute on that level.

    PS Pre-orders for the blu ray collection are available now at Amazon. It’s not cheap, but good things seldom are. :)

  8. maskedklaus says:

    I’m going to go against the grain here and actually disagree…to a point. Do I think the ending was just awful? Not really. The created an ending, and therefore a show for people who cared mainly for the cast, with the setting as merely a catalyst for their connections. In that, they did great, and the part of me that watched the show for that reason was quite pleased.

    However, I am also one of the people who wanted to understand at least a portion of the mysteries thrown at us. I don’t read Sherlock Holmes just to have Holmes solve the mystery without knowing how. I love to hear the explanation. That’s not to say I wanted Jacob to deliver a lecture on the island and its wonders fora. Hour, but I wanted a better hint — just a good solid peak at the islands true nature.

    I think to compare revealing that to midichlorians is a little much. It would be more like watching Star Wars where the Jedi did all of their crazy stuff without even mentioning the force. People would ask “how the hell is he doing that!?” and the other people would be like “I dunno” and at the end of one suddenly an announcer would say “stay tuned for episode 5, where all your questioned will be answered!” and they wouldn’t be!

    Thus I come to my real beef with the show. While we
    ight argue the show was made for people who wanted to know about the characters and not the island, it was never really marketed that way. What did we hear in ads for it? “All your question will be answered” or something receding to it. Not always, but they were there. Plus, look at all the viral marketing and LOST-made websites that teased information about the island (not the characters at all). All of this was used to keep people like me, people who like solving mysteries, watching a show that was never going to give us the answers.

    As I said, I didn’t completely hate the ending, and in fact quite enjoyed the wrap up for the characters, but after 6 years they could at least throw me a freakin’ bone.

  9. ilduce620 says:

    I’ll agree with maskedklaus that I wanted a little more detail in the ending (although, in the end, I was still satisfied with the episode as I previously mentioned). Scifiwire.com has been keeping up with the various questions asked throughout the series and which ones have been answered:

    http://scifiwire.com/2010/05/all-the-answers-and-quest.php

    If you skim the list (it’s rather lengthy…), you’ll see that quite a few of their questions were answered, however there are some from the first season that simply fell off a cliff, never to be seen again. Primarily: what’s the deal with the polar bear; and what was with Walt? They could have answered these rather easily, for example having the Black Rock (or some other ship) be carrying exotic animals, thus allowing for the possibility that some had survived all those centuries on the island. And Jacob could have, in one sentence, referred to Walt and his plans for him, only to have Walt taken from the island and, thus, unavailable to be a “candidate” (or fit whatever plan Jacob had). To my knowledge, neither of these were even mentioned in the final season.

    But, these are minor quibbles in my view. They answered more questions than most series even ask, so for that, I’m grateful. I’d be interested in having Lindelof and Cuse address these two particular examples, though (amongst others)!

  10. John says:

    I’ve never seen an episode of Lost, but this whole conversation reminds me of the ending of The Sopranos…which I loved, by the way. Anyway…proceed.

  11. maskedklaus says:

    I have heard that they are going to be deicating a 20 min section to answering some of those questions on the DVD, so I really can’t complain too much. Of course, they’ll probably end that Q&A with some new cliffhanger and *cue LOST title on black background* DUN!

  12. Ian (DJI) says:

    Can anybody recommend me some closed-ended television?

  13. tribrix says:

    One of my buddies stopped watching Battlestar Galactica because he perceived (half correctly) that the show’s driver had no idea which direction he was going. Early on, I got the very same impression from the things I heard about Lost and decided not to tune in, but, over the years, I’ve noticed that listening to people talk (and argue) about Lost has a lot of appeal to me. The finale has only increased my voyeuristic joy of second hand Lost discussions, like this one here. And that’s what I’m going to miss with the end of the show. No more, OMG did you see that last night, WTF was that? Followed by 30 or more minutes of trying to hash it out and reconcile it with what was already known. So, travel safe Losties, some of us are bigger fans of you than we are of the show and will miss the experience of your excitement and frustration.

  14. Ryker XL says:

    @Klaus, I totally agree, the show was marketed as a mystery and so if you tuned in expecting answers than you would be sadly disappointed. I can tell you for certain that the writers knew what the end was going to look like before the pilot aired. Matthew Fox admitted that he was told what would happen to his charcter BEFORE they started shooting a single reel of film. So a made up ending is a strecth. Made up red herrings and mysteries with no real explanation. Oh yeah you bet! In FACT here is a very real and yet funny list of all those questions from a show I loved.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eomWspUS8B0

    PS DJI, Dr Who is pretty closed ended try that. Otherwise your kinda stuck with the CSI shows and I’m so done with all that. :)

  15. @ilduce620, the polar bear was explained. Dharma brought it to the island to do tests.

    @Klaus, the 20 extra minutes will be cut back into the show to answer a few more questions. It won’t be like a sit down Q&A. I doubt it will be anything major.

  16. maskedklaus says:

    @Ryker XL, Yeah, I caught that list on College humor and laughed my ass off, while at the same time being reminded of even more questions that I could remember to be upset about! LOL! The greatest question of all…

    “Wasn’t it gross when Hurly was eating from that huge tub of ranch dressing!?”

    Yeah, I figured they had the ending planned from the beginning, which actually upsets me a little more, because, from a writer’s standpoint, it was a license to go absolutely ape-shit crazy with the plot/setting and not have to worry about answering for it.

    Seriously though…all that ranch dressing…makes me a little nauseated. I guess that’s one question answered.

  17. maskedklaus says:

    @Rusty,

    Oh…*sigh*

  18. ibanezdropd says:

    I thought the last episode was great. As confusing and twisting as this show was, I really enjoyed it. This is something I could watch years down the road and still enjoy.

  19. ilduce620 says:

    Thanks, Rusty! Happen to remember which season that occurred in? We’ve been re-watching it, but we’re still in mid-Season 4…

  20. goatdan says:

    My family got me into watching this show, and from the middle of last summer until the start of this year, we watched up to 7 episodes a night once a week to catch me up (and get everyone else who had wanted to re-see the show) up to speed.

    For the most part, the other people in our group were the hardcore people who dissected the episodes, listened to three or four Lost podcasts, and spent time reading and researching their ideas. The show never gripped me like that — they kept asking me from the start “what are your theories NOW?!” after nearly every episode, and I just didn’t have that many great ideas… so much of the show was so abstract that I personally didn’t think it was worth looking up 100 different references to try to figure out where it was going — eventually, they would tell me.

    The finale greatly disappointed those hardcore fans in our group who felt like there was so much that wasn’t answered. And the truth is I can totally see their side of it — the show set up this complex mythology and the writers came out and said that they had thought through all of this stuff. Then, so much of it wasn’t answered in any sort of definitive way, so I know those people in our group felt like they threw away a ton of time looking up this stuff.

    I thought that the show would cleverly answer a bunch of things, but since I had nothing committed beyond the watching of the show itself, I don’t feel burned that the show didn’t give any weight to the ‘theories’ that were out there. Having said that, while I sort of got the ending, there was enough to it that was left completely open that I feel rather ambivalent about it. We watched the finale, complete with Dharma water, beer and peanuts (they made labels), and it didn’t wow me with anything, but it also didn’t make me feel like the story wasn’t over.

    I get why people didn’t like the finale, and the truth is the people online have the most to complain about, as it was built that the theories and stuff would be answered. When the “Jacob / Man in Black” episode aired a couple weeks before the finale where they kept *almost* saying the other guy’s name, but then not — like they were taunting people, that’s when I figured the ending would disappoint the hardcores. Seems it was true.

    Ah well. It was fun to get together with family. I don’t think I’ll ever care to watch the show again.

  21. ilduce, It was in the 5th season. It was when Sawyer and co. were part of Dharma.

  22. Dan, you’re family and friends scare me.

  23. @John: I loved the Sopranos ending, also. Anyone who didn’t understand why the show ended like that, didn’t watch the episodes beforehand closely enough.

    And that Journey song STILL sucks.

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