At the heart of the series is a complex and cryptic storyline that spawns numerous unresolved questions.
Yeah, no kidding.
Even after we finished watching "The End" episode last night, Laurel and I looked at each other and engaged in our traditional post-Lost viewing interchange: "Jeez, what was that all about?" "I have no idea."
We aren't Lostaphiles. We don't obsess over details of the show or study Lostpedia ("currently 6,897 articles dedicated to ABC's hit TV show Lost").
We just got drawn into the series early on and kept on watching even when we'd given up all hope that the mysteries of the island would ever be revealed in a satisfying way that made sense.
My biggest fear all along was that the Lost writers would conclude the series with something like "it was all a dream." The finale came close enough to this dreadful cop-out of an ending to leave me disappointed.
Well, halfway. Emotionally I liked the ending.
As churchless as I am (evidence: my other blog), I was happy to see the main characters reunited in some sort of afterlife after they'd earned the right to move on from some sort of purgatory into some sort of further post-death evolution.
(With "Lost," it's hard not to use terms like some sort of a lot, because nothing is ever clearly defined.)
However, I would have preferred a less religious'y finale.
When we got to the last fifteen minutes of our DVR recording and I saw that everybody was assembling in a church with stained glass windows, I got a sinking feeling that the writers had gone with a rather predictable feel-good wrap up that wouldn't offend our nation's Christian masses.
Granted, for some reason the church had a display of the symbols for all of the world's major religions (including Taoism, which to me is more of a philosophy than a religion).
But the notion, as explained by someone who was a writer for the show, that we have soulmates with whom we must connect in a certain fashion before we can bust out of purgatory and enter The Light strikes me as a trite fusion of theological dogmas and New Age woo-woo.
The conceit that the writers created, basing it off these religious philosophies, was that as a group, the Lostaways subconsciously created this “sideways” world where they exist in purgatory until they are “awakened” and find one another. Once they all find one another, they can then move on and move forward.
In essence, this is the show’s concept of the afterlife. According to the show, everyone creates their own “Sideways” purgatory with their “soulmates” throughout their lives and exist there until they all move on together. That’s a beautiful notion. Even if you aren’t religious or even spirtual, the idea that we live AND die together is deeply profound and moving.
Moving, yes. Profound, no.
After six years of busting my butt watching the show (by which I mean, sitting on a soft couch), I expected much more of a mind-blowing ending. Instead, I felt like I'd been presented with a cuddly white Shih Tzu to hold on my lap.
"Aw, it's so cute!" That was how the finale of "Lost" struck me: heartwarmingly adorable. I wanted Oh, my god! I can't believe it!
Instead, as the closing credits rolled I wasn't sure what to believe.
I understood that the main characters had been reunited in death so they could move on to a better afterlife. But when their crashed plane was shown on the beach with no living people around, both my wife and I felt this meant that everybody had died instantly, and the whole six years of "Lost" episodes had taken place in a purgatory of some sort.
However, I was disabused of this notion in a seemingly credible Lost Finale Explained blog post.
THEY WERE NOT “DEAD THE WHOLE TIME”
I don’t know why people are having trouble understanding this, as it is CLEARLY explained in the final minutes of the finale episode by Christian Shephard (Jack’s dad). The original Oceanic 815 plane crash happened. Everything on the Island through seasons 1-6 happened. The “flash sideways” universe introduced in season 6 was a sort of stop-over point between life and afterlife (referred to here as the “purgatory universe”).
Each person in this “purgatory universe” created a reality for themselves based on their lingering issues in life – that which they could not “let go” of. For Jack it was Daddy issues; Kate, the guilt of murder; Sawyer, the quest to find “Sawyer” and be a better man; Sayid, the unrequited love of Nadia; Charlie, looking for something “real” in his hollow life of fame, etc…
Everyone was still attached to their Earthly concerns (we’re getting very Buddhist here, bear with me) – but when they made contact with those people they’d met on the Island, they remembered the journey and growth they had experienced because of the Island, and could finally understand the connections and “purpose” brought into their damaged lives by being there. With that greater understanding of themselves, they were each ready to “leave” or “move on” to the next phase of existence – i.e., the true afterlife.
Well, I'm ready to move on to other TV shows. "Lost" started out as an adventure filled with gripping mysteries. When it became apparent that the writers weren't going to resolve mysteries, but merely pile more on, I began to lose interest in "Lost."
The final episode didn't do anything to rekindle my once vibrant enthusiasm for the show. It began strong and ended up weak, like so many other series.