The finale of LOST was one of the most highly anticipated television events ever -or at least hyped as such. The ratings seemed to support this, as they remained fairly steady for the duration of the episode – an unprecedented occurrence for a single event that lasted two and a half hours. If you’re reading this blog, you undoubtedly watched the episode, and you’ve probably been debating it for the last couple of days anyway. So rather than recap the full episode, I’d rather share with you my reaction to it and a couple of parallels I drew.
I loved it. I haven’t been uniformly positive about every episode of the series, but this was an amazing finale. Yes, it was sentimental. No, we didn’t see Walt or get the answer to what the numbers really meant or get the Man In Black’s name. (It was Samuel, by the way, according to a video clip on E!'s site.) And yes, it got pretty dusty in the room numerous times on Sunday night. But I feel great about “The End”.
Lost 6x17/18: The End
Top moments from the finale:
- The Jack vs. UnLocke Crouching Tiger-like fight scene on the cliff. Epic in the storytelling, this was an epic moment in cinematography, as well.
- Jack hands the keys to the island to Hurley. Hurley was always a fan favorite, and probably the most innocent among them. He was also a very simple, but that also made him pure and a very similar choice to Jacob.
- Locke and Ben's conversation outside the church. It was good to see Ben's redemption continue and that he wanted to continue his life with Alex and perhaps Rousseau to repent for his on-island denial of her. To see John Locke kick away that wheelchair and embrace the island was a great moment.
- Juliet and Sawyer finally go Dutch. The moment in LA X when Juliet is dying in Sawyer's arms is paid off finally as they meet at the candy machine over, of course, an Apollo Bar. To see their recognition was perhaps better than any other "awawkening" on the finale. (Though I'm sure some Sawyer/Kate "Skaters" felt otherwise.)
- The callbacks to earlier episodes. From Jack and Locke looking down the golden cave waterfall toward Desmond reminding us of looking down the Swan hatch at him, to Juliet giving Sun a sonogram again, to Vincent and Jack in the bamboo forest, to the literal cork in the island that was keeping good in and evil out...
- The score. Michael Giacchino's score was at least as important as any other element of LOST, and perhaps even more important than most. Thankfully, they made the decision for the series to use Giacchino and a live orchestra to score the series. In case the ending of LOST didn't get you somewhere between teary and sobbing, Giacchino's score undoubtedly did. Or else you have no heart.
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Some of my thoughts on the episode generally...
One theory of the Big Bang is that the Universe will eventually attain a critical density after many billions more years of expansion. It will reach its maximum size and then begin to contract, pulling in on itself and eventually ending with a dense mass of hot matter – known as the Big Crunch – resuming to a state similar to that in which the Universe started. As this happens, at least as I imagine it, the closer the matter returns to the Big Crunch state, the faster it moves.
This is how I interpreted the last season of LOST. We saw the Universe of the Losties begin to contract into the Big Crunch (or the big church?). And as we neared the end of the season, the action began occurring faster – Jin and Sun got a quick goodbye, Widmore no more, Sayid see you later…
The series ended much the way it began, with Vincent finding Jack on the beach and a close up on his eye. Except now, as the Big Crunch completes its contraction, we see Jack die, content as he sees a plane fly overhead that the next Big Bang will take a different path.
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One other thought I’ve been stuck with since yesterday… The final scene in the apparently non-denomonational church (on the stained glass window were a Christian Cross, a Jewish Star of David, a Hindu Om, a Muslim Star and Crescent Moon, a Buddhist Dharma Wheel, and a Tao Yin & Yang) felt to me a lot like the final scene in the 1984 film, Places in the Heart, a movie I saw as a kid. The film, set in the 1930s South, ends in an idealistic scene of redemption where all the characters are celebrating communion together at a church – black and white, killer and victim, alive and dead, etc. Regardless of their places or their actions in life or even when they died, they were all together spiritually. In the final battle of science vs. faith on LOST, the writers make the statement that the winner is faith.
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I can understand the confusion or even frustration of many fans. The ambiguity of elements of the final episode – and especially the final shots of the wreckage of an Oceanic flight – might appear to negate all of what we’d watched for the last 6 years…perhaps even negating anything we’d learned about the mythology of the island – from Jacob and MIB to the Dharma Initiative to the Others and the 815ers. I don’t believe that’s the case at all. Everything that happened on the island happened. After all, we know that on LOST, Whatever Happened, Happened.
In the Jimmy Kimmel reunion/recap special, Jimmy points out that in the season premiere, “LA X”, as the turbulence starts to subside, Rose tells Jack, “You can let go now. It’s ok, you can let go.” This was the first clue – in retrospect, a massive one – that the sideways was all leading to Jack letting go and crossing over. However, that off-island sideways flashes were happening in the limbo of Jack’s mind as he was stumbling through the bamboo forest. (Coincidentally, bamboo is tied to the creation myth in some Asian cultures.) He lays down there, just as we’d first found him, with Vincent escorting him again to his next phase…letting go.
As Juliet is giving Sun a sonogram, she tells Sun that her baby is "perfectly perfect in every way." LOST had its missteps, but as far as an overall television experience, it was a near-perfect experience to me.
Thank you, LOST, for six amazing years of unprecedented television.
Drop your comments, interpretations or recipes below.
- Sean Salo