Our Latest Distraction: LOST, the finale

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The series finale of ABC’s Lost aired Sunday night and this is one of the rare places where our interests here at MLD all converge. Seems poetic given the nature of the conclusion. Please feel free to share your reactions with us as well. So the question that gets it all rolling: what’s your verdict?

Angelique: I enjoyed watching Lost, but I clearly didn’t get into it the way most people did.

PTB: I liked it. There were some things that were left unsettled and a few things that really bothered me, but overall I felt it was decent.

KevinMLD: I enjoyed what they did, but it’s not at all what I wanted. And the more time that passes the more I realize it.

LydonWrites: I certainly did enjoy it. The end of the show, and the revelation (for me) that the sideways structure was the characters souls working to remember/let go of their former lives to move on spiritually, was particularly poignant for me. Although that’s my read. I can’t tell if others have the same read.

PTB: I think that’s spot on, at least how I took it. Some people I have spoken to did not get that impression. There was a lot of speculation as to what was real and what was a dying dream-like series of events.


PTB: The show managed to do something that I don’t know has ever been seen before in any work of fiction. They gave every character an ending. Everyone we see in the final scene, everyone we’ve ever seen before, can all be ascribed an ending in the Lost universe. It doesn’t matter when, where or how they die, they end up together or at least where they should be eventually.

LydonWrites: Right, and they’re telling it as best as they know how… which honestly, I thought was brilliant. If they would have crashed it back together in some way that meant they all got out alive, I would have hated the ending.

PTB: I spent some time thinking about that very thing, and I have to admit I cringed a bit when the plane was taking off. Even if people didn’t enjoy it, they have to admit it was a bold ending.

LydonWrites: You know what I see the plane as indicative of, though? Rather than the idea that Kate and Sawyer and Chesty, etc., were escaping the island? The notion that life continues in a cycle, and doesn’t stop for one person.

PTB: I can see that. I just didn’t like that anyone who escaped didn’t have any life to remember beyond when they left the island. Kate said it had been so long since she’d seen Jack, but there was no reference to anything else that happened to her or the others that escaped when they remembered their lives.

LydonWrites: But the reference to anything beyond what we’ve seen would really have been immaterial, and might have felt really, Hallmark-y television special event.

PTB: Possibly, but I think it would have really sold what was happening. Someone I watched with thought that everything on the island was the afterlife, so they were all dead the whole time. There was even an article on Philly.com that took that from it. Can’t see how it fits.

LydonWrites: I think those who escaped, escaped, those who were killed, were killed, and Jack died right where we saw him close his eyes, which, of course, was where he opened his eyes after Season One’s crash.

KevinMLD: I thought maybe the ending was too straight forward, to be honest. I’m a little stunned by all the discussion about what was real and what wasn’t. I thought Christian beat us over the head with it.

PTB: I’m inclined to agree with you there, but there’s absolutely some confusion among viewers. As clever as the sideways plot was, I’m somewhat confused by the show’s concept of the afterlife. Do their spirit go on with who they were with on Earth the longest? or the happiest with? Using the logic shown (and only what was shown), if a person has a life in love with someone, loses them and moves on, that doesn’t matter. They end up back with Juliet. Which seems oversimplified and disrespects the life they had after escaping.

LydonWrites: Well… I think it’s tied to the notion that we often have a central event in our lives that defines us or, for the sake of a lengthy narrative, that defines the life of the characters in a long work. No matter what we do or how we live after, we return to that event, time and again, in our minds.

PTB: And that’s clearly the limitation of what they can show. They’re characters, and we don’t see everything that happens in their lives.

LydonWrites: Well, consider that some people didn’t appear in the finale (ostensibly because of other projects). What if the reason they don’t appear is because their central life event was not this crashing on the island?

KevinMLD: There’s a report out in the last few days that the actor who played Mr. Eko (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) wanted five times what they were willing to pay him to reprise his role in the finale. But I guess it might be that he had some other central life event besides finding his brother’s remains in a jungle, fighting a smoke monster and carrying an awesome stick.

LydonWrites: Maybe what happened in Africa was far more central to Eko’s life, but it may also be that Eko’s effect on the more central characters was negligible in the long run. After all, we also didn’t see Artzt in the church at the end. Or maybe he was, spread in a thin film over the walls, out of focus?

PTB: That is graphic, but the notion of returning to a major event is a good one. Not appearing by that logic is fine by me, but appearing and having it not make sense is a different matter. It annoys me to no end that Aaron was there as an infant. That negates his entire life. Actors not be available or willing is part of the deal, but it’s still annoying.

LydonWrites: It may, unless we consider that like most great narratives, it really is only about one person: Jack.

PTB: I’d buy that if only he was having the awakening. His awakening should not involve the others having those moments of clarity.

LydonWrites: Well… I think I have a way to explain the other awakenings, too. We see Christian having to explain to Jack because Jack was always the hardest to believe in things outside the realm of observable fact/science/things he can control, but the others always had an ability to take things on faith. So their souls, clouded by their passing over, needed less work to reawaken than Jack’s.

PTB: But if the parallel world is only about Jack (by virtue of Aaron remaining an infant), we shouldn’t have even seen anyone else’s awakening.

LydonWrites: Well, it’s not only about Jack… but the focus of what we saw, by virtue of having to contain the narrative in 2 hours’ time, had to remain centrally with Jack.

LydonWrites: My friend Tom was a little fixated on the sideways timeline having no narrative point, as it did not actually influence events on the island. He was a little let down by what he called the sideways’ events happening “in some metaphysical realm elsewherez”

PTB: That’s fair, all along it was clear that it was there for the audience to go home happy. Everyone got to be alive and content on some level and it was really just too good to be true. Saying it has no narrative point might be too harsh though, as they’re telling the viewers the story.

KevinMLD: The weird thing was even in this sideways world where everyone was basically happy, Jack envisioned himself divorced from Juliet and with a broken relationship with his son. Granted he got the opportunity to mend that, it’s still stands out as an oddity to me.

KevinMLD: Just to add one more question, if this flash sideways universe is basically some form of purgatory, what happens to the people from the barge who were killed by Sayid? What happens when you kill someone who is already dead?

PTB: That’s a good question.  As we’ve seen, the sideways universe was also populated by “people” who weren’t real, like Jack’s son. It could be that anyone that wasn’t an established character from the show or didn’t have a name was really just symbolic in that world.

PTB: Before thinking about this, I would have thought that everyone who died in the Lost universe went to the sideways world, but maybe like the church, certain people or groups of people have their own sideways worlds just like they may have their own churches. It’s also possible that the people who had been to the island have their own afterlife that is unique because of their experiences. Christian Shepherd tells Jack, “you created this place” and I thought he was referring to the church. Maybe he meant the whole sideways universe?


KevinMLD: The idea of an adult Aaron showing up at the Church gives me bad memories of the ending of A League of Their Own where all the old female baseball players show up at the Baseball Hall of Fame and there’s that one pudgy kid hanging around who’s now all grown up. I’m fine with Aaron being a baby. Logically, I agree he probably shouldn’t be there at all though.

PTB: I just think that baby shouldn’t have been there. I’m fine with just about everything else. Why would Aaron still be a baby? I get his “birth” being a connecting moment for Claire, Kate and Charlie, but like Jack’s “son” he shouldn’t have been there in the final scene.

KevinMLD: Not to sound like a “what if they all died in the original plane crash” guy, but I’m willing to write off Aaron being there as a projection of how those three characters want to appear in that moment. The same as the clothes they see themselves wearing. Strangely, I think Kate’s clothes change between the car and the church.

Angelique: That dress justifies my owning a dress that small, but it was not appropriate for a funeral.

LydonWrites: Wow… you’re right, Kevin. Kate’s clothes do change between the car and the church. Some souls must need a costume change. Consider Aaron as not an entity unto himself, but as a mere prop for Clare’s awakening, and reconnection with Charlie. The central event for Clare being having been able to have the baby on the island at all, and despite the terrible conditions, to find a love she’s never known.

KevinMLD: I figure it’s not even really him. The real Aaron would live his own life and have his own church moment somewhere else with the people who were most important to him.

PTB: And I’m fine with that. It’s like Jack’s son. He was a prop for Jack to reconcile his feelings for his father, and was not in the church. I can buy the idea of their appearances in the church being how they see themselves, but I guess I just don’t like the idea of Aaron as part of the costume. He is/was a human being, not a prop. It’s minor in the grand scheme of things though since it’s hard to apply any rules to a shared vision of the afterlife.

KevinMLD: Aaron’s not so much clothes or a prop as an accessory. Like a purse.

PTB: Aaron, like too many babies these days, was absolutely a purse.

Angelique: I agree. A baby is THE hot accessory today. I totally had a purse-baby last night.

LydonWrites: Would you have preferred the Aaron of the flashforwards, 5 years old and with Kate as mommy? with the obvious return to Clare as mommy to settle things?

PTB; No, because again that means his adult life was devoid of meaning. It’s like the residual self image in The Matrix. People should have appeared as they perceive themselves. Some as they were when they died. The ones who lived on… I’ll buy them as connected to this pivotal time/moment in their lives, but Aaron as anything other than an adult bothers me, and Aaron having that as a place to move on as established by their time together seems wrong too.


LydonWrites: So then… what’s the significance of Ben choosing to remain outside while the others commune to move on, inside?

PTB: Ben’s decision is based on him not getting to be a “hero.” He did some despicable things and isn’t ready to move on even though he’s had the awakening. Which makes it a more tragic penance for him.

LydonWrites: So it’s a spiritual self-flagellation?

PTB: That’s how I took it.

LydonWrites: I think I agree with that. and I think his moving forward will have something to do with Alex and maybe even Danielle Rousseau.

PTB: I agree completely on Ben needing some closure with Danielle and Alex, but it’s hard to say if that’s even possible where they are right now.

KevinMLD: Agreed. He obviously has had his awakening. It doesn’t make sense for him to be able to go back to his imaginary life.

PTB: The characters building this “place” to convene was clearly limited to the central characters, and not just the ones on Oceanic 815. For instance, Miles, Charlotte and Faraday couldn’t be there, and I think I may have an idea of what separated who moved on and who didn’t. It comes down to whether people came to the island, or were brought to the island. The ones who didn’t move on seemed to be the ones who went to get something or to take something. Almost as if their motivations were too flawed to be ready to leave yet.

KevinMLD: The producers always said “Lost” referred to the characters rather than the island. Those characters who came with the barge weren’t lost in the same way as the passengers of Oceanic 815.

LydonWrites: I wonder if there’s a hut somewhere where Jacob, Smokey and Mother will reach closure.

PTB: We can only hope.


PTB: I was hoping we’d get some resolution regarding all of the other children out there. I’m just bugged by that baby being there in the church.

LydonWrites: Clearly.

PTB: I don’t mind it at all that he was “born” and connected Kate, Claire and Charlie for their awakening.

LydonWrites: But leave him outside the church

PTB: Exactly.

LydonWrites: But wouldn’t that be kind of cold, disconnecting Clare from her motherhood entirely? Which, leaving Aaron outside the church, would have accomplished.

Angelique: Claire being a mother was key to her role. Her baby played a key role in everything.  If Claire didn’t have the baby, Kate wouldn’t have taken him off the Island.  If Claire didn’t have a baby, she wouldn’t have gone crazy.  Kate wouldn’t have felt the need to go back.  Etc, etc.  Maybe he is dead and we just don’t know it.

PTB: The only way I can reconcile it is that there are no real rules to obey due to the nature of what was happening, but it seems like a mistake in context. I don’t know that the baby’s absence would have been noticed.

LydonWrites: Because he hasn’t aged to adult times. Oh I think it might have. Consider how often you hear mothers define themselves solely on the basis of merely having HAD kids.

PTB: So what about Sun and Jin’s daughter? She was without her child in the church and she spent more time with hers than Claire did.

LydonWrites: Well for the Kwons, their central event was their love/escaping the tyranny of Sun’s father, and being able to define their love on their own terms. Ji Yeon was just a by-product, and certainly not as integral to their narrative, as she was left behind a season ago, in terms of narrative flow.

PTB: I really thought/hoped we’d see all the children as adults. That’s one of the other things I thought might make it into the finale. In fact, I think it would have been a clever device to have them guide the awakenings.

LydonWrites: I agree, it would have. And the complainers would have been even MORE confused, and would have needed explanation as to who those adults were.

PTB: If these people were all connected and found each other again in the afterlife, why wouldn’t Miles be with them?

KevinMLD: Again, I think that boils down to him not being “Lost.” And having further considered it, I think Libby, Juliet and the others who didn’t belong in that Church are purses too.

PTB: I don’t agree about Miles, Libby and Juliet not being “Lost.” Libby was seen giving away boats and in a mental institution. Juliet had a lot of issues with her sister’s illness, pregnancy and their separation. Miles grew up without a father and was working as a John Edwards-style conman. That seems as “Lost” as any of the principal characters.

LydonWrites: I definitely have to agree with PTB on this one.


PTB: I don’t know about this dead all along business. And I took the wreckage as being outside of the story. Just a way to reflect on how it all started. All of them being dead from the start doesn’t really give them anything to connect to each other. And it really doesn’t jibe with who’s together in the final scene.

Angelique: They were not dead all along.  Everything that happened did happen.  If people want to believe they were dead all along that’s fine.  But hopefully purgatory isn’t that complicated.  I consider it to be more of a waiting room at the doctor’s office, or waiting in the chapel is fine too.  Purgatory being monsters and time travel and murder? That doesn’t seem right.

LydonWrites: I only thought about them all being dead in the first season, but when the producers promised the island wasn’t purgatory or in someone’s mind, a la Newhart or St. Elsewhere, I believed them. My trust wavered over time, but I never believed they were all dead the entire time. I even think the sideways device was a good way to get around their claim that “once someone’s dead on the island, they’re DEAD”. Ya know… since the sideways is the afterlife/purgatory.

KevinMLD: Honestly, I kind of had a problem with the ending because the producers had made such a big deal of ruling out purgatory early on.

PTB: That’s a distinct possibility, but I did enjoy the ending. While I’ve heard a lot of chatter about the characters being dead all along, I did come across one suggestion that the final scene with Jack on the island may not have been his final moments. It’s an interesting take on things, but I don’t believe it was the intention. Although, on some level I want it to be the story.

KevinMLD: I dont agree with this guy, but its a better read than everyone died in the plane crash. At least he’s basing it on what we saw.

LydonWrites: I don’t know that I buy that Jack and Kate get married and have kids, post-Island. It would make her line of “I’ve been waiting for you for a long time” unnecessary.

PTB: The only part that sways me is the fact that Vincent finds him and he was just with Rose and Benard.

KevinMLD: Am I wrong in remembering when Jack was waking up after the original plane crash that he saw Vincent? I thought it was just parallel scene.

PTB: I think Vincent led him to the crash site, and it was one of many parallels. Jack gets stabbed on the same side and location where he had a piece of shrapnel from the plane crash. It’s almost the same injury.

KevinMLD: Right, so that’s why I don’t read more into Vincent being there. It was just like the opening scene kind of in reverse as he dies.


Thank you, http://jackssupermanpunch.com/

KevinMLD: So can we talk a little about all of the unanswered mythology questions for a minute? Because I wasn’t that focused on it while I was watching the finale, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot today. And really I’m resigned to the fact that I don’t think the writers ever really thought out the mythology. There was no grand plan. They just threw cool ideas out there without ever knowing how to make any of it payoff.

That makes me kind of sad, but it makes sense when you consider who was one of the prime architects of the series during its early seasons…

A guy who has proven time and again he knows how to write an intriguing and mysterious story though never a true mystery. A true mystery has a payoff and this guy knows NOTHING about providing a payoff.

I blame Jeph Loeb.

Jeph Loeb wrote three beloved Batman stories. Every one of them has an ending so nonsensical and atrocious that it paints all those people who still love the stories as morons.

Jeph Loeb left Lost to produce Heroes. We all know how that turned out. He eventually got himself fired from that show.

He’s a guy who thought it would be edgy to introduce a new Hulk that was… wait for it… RED (and who apparently has a magical disappearing moustache).

Jeph Loeb also wrote Teen Wolf Too.

All of the unanswered questions just scream of his involvement. Though if he’d stayed with the show he probably would have answered all of the questions in ridiculous ways like the man in black was really a misunderstood-but-good smoke monster, but he had a sister who never appeared on screen and was the evil smoke monster.

That Lost was ever good with him involved as a producer is kind of a miracle.

I think Brian K. Vaughn knew they couldn’t stick the landing and that’s why he jumped ship before the final season. He had nothing to gain by staying.

PTB: I really couldn’t agree more with you here. There were so many mysteries that were started and never went anywhere, let alone had a resolution. The preview show before the finale was a pretty clear indication that some things weren’t going to be touched on at all. To name a few:

  • Walt’s abilities
  • Why children were so important to the Others
  • Why children couldn’t be born on the island, why Aaron was
  • How Libby came to have a boat, let alone give it to Desmond
  • Hurley’s friend from the asylum showing up on the island
  • Why Ben said that he and Widmore couldn’t kill one another and then Ben killed him
  • What exactly was Widmore’s plan upon returning to the island

It’s clear that a lot of these things (and others) made their way into the story but were then cut off for whatever reason. Loeb may have been the architect of some of them, but there’s a lot of blame to go around. I guess these things didn’t matter at the end, but they certainly did at the time.

LydonWrites: I will paraphrase what I said to a friend on Facebook, which is that Lost “was never about answering every question, and it was never why I watched”. As in all good storytelling, no matter where you find it, the reason people keep coming back is directly related to how much they identify or believe in the characters. I mean, you guys keep reading X-Men, Batman, et al, with all the ret-conning going on, right? It’s gotta be more about the characters and the psychological arcs those characters go through, wouldn’t you say?

KevinMLD: You say that, but paying off a mystery is important. You cannot end an episode of Murder She Wrote without solving the murder and justify it by showing Angela Lansbury having a nice afternoon in a park involving ice cream and feeding ducks. They didn’t need to address every question and I get it that the characters had a relatively happy ending as characters, but come on:


Angelique: I agree with KevinMLD too.  I blame Jeph Loeb for everything.  I mean, look at the way he spells Jeff.

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  • BleedRadioDave said,

    Wow… you guys have discussed so much that I feel bad just jumping in! Anyway, Kevin you know how I disliked this season… and naturally did not like the finale. BUT… after two days, lots of deep thought and internets reading I have come to peace with the show. Loose ends aside, I actually really liked the ending and am ok with things being explained only as “the island pushing people towards this eventual outcome” – which is really the only way to explain most of the unanswered. Good discussion though!

  • thatsnotjoe said,

    Great work guys! PTB asked me to share the following here with you all.

    I read this, http://j.mp/9uwwuI, article earlier today. It’s apparently from someone who works at Bad Robot. It actually supports a lot of what you discussed and maybe even answers a few questions that you had.

    As someone who only watched seasons 1-3 and pieces of the other seasons, I found that this helped me feel a lot better about my experience with the finale. I felt that I had grasped the concept represented here, but found myself doubting it too at the time.


  • pat said,

    This was a great read! I was hoping to read others’ takes on this and this was really cool, you all raised a lot of interesting points.

    I watched Lost casually. I never was a dedicated viewer, even though I’m definitely able to say it is one of the best shows in recent years. So, I never knew all the intricacies of the plot and usually had very little idea what was going on but the show was really well done. And, having far less expectations (and less questions I wanted answered) as more dedicated viewers, I liked the finale. And I agree, from what I saw, and the whole “there is no ‘now’ here” line that they certainly didn’t all die at once in the original crash or whatever. I thought it was a smart way to end it, and rather open ended, in that you don’t see the rest of their lives, and yet still it provides closure because you see the end of their lives.

  • kamila harris said,

    snap. i have to read all of this. after more coffee. but yeah, i think this is the whole point of the show – even after it’s over, even after there is no more, people like us HAVE to read things like this and it’s not just that i want to, I MUST read it and digest every morsel. and think about it. and process it. and such. No other show will ever come close to this.

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