Never before has a TV breakup hurt so much...and left us blubbering like such babies.
Tonight we Lost fans lost our "Constant"—the show we connected with on such a soul-grippingly deep level for six years, it feels as if we've lost not just a TV series, but a true friend.
So did the series finale live up to expectations? And what did it all mean? Let's dig in...
One glance at Twitter, Facebook etc. tonight and you'll see that the fans are a bit divided on Lost's final episode. Some loved it, some hated it, and some are still trying to figure out what the bejeezus happened. I'm most definitely in the first camp: LOVED IT, as tonight's finale was perhaps the most emotionally gratifying series ender in the history of television. Damon and Carlton gave us exactly what they promised—resolution on the things that mattered most to the characters.
Jack, Kate, Locke, Desmond, Sawyer, Juliet, Claire, etc. all ended up in a happy place...but what exactly was that place?
WHAT WE LEARNED
The Sideways World Was a Passage to "The Light": Charlie's (Dominic Monaghan) iconic question from the very first episode—"Guys, where are we?"—came full circle tonight, as Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox) asked that very Q of his father, Christian Shephard, in Lost's epic final scene.
Jack: Where are we?
Christian: This is a place you all made together so you could find one another...Nobody does it all alone. You needed them and they needed you.
Jack: For what?
Christian: To remember and to let go.
Obviously, precisely "where" these characters were going will be long debated, but for what it's worth, here's my take: Damon and Carlton told the truth when they said the Island was not purgatory. It wasn't, and what happened there happened, and everyone was alive.
However, the Sideways world was a postdeath place of limbo where Jack was waiting until he was ready to "let go" and cross over to the Light, which is basically Lost's form of heaven. The Losties who appeared in the church at the end all died at different times in different places (some much later on) but came together in that space to help Jack move on.
But it wasn't only about helping Jack. The Losties all gathered in the church to cross over to the Light because Jack saved that very Light when he rescued the Island. As we were told this season, if the Light "goes out here, it goes out everywhere" and "everyone you love would simply cease to be." If the Light had gone out, the Losties could never have reconnected with their loved ones again. But because Jack saved it, they all get to live blissfully ever after. The (brilliant) end.
And something you probably caught, but just in case: Throughout the season, the blood that appeared on Jack's neck was an indication that Jack was already dead/dying and on his way to "another life, brotha." (A little Sixth Sense-ish. And spine-tinglingly cool.)
So What Is Lost's "Heaven?" It's "Light"...and That Other "L Word": Lesbians! (I keed.) Boss Damon Lindelof told me several weeks back that Lost is, at its very core, a love story: "Always has been. Always will be." And tonight, as each set of Constants reconnected and moved toward the Light—Sun and Jin, Charlie and Claire, Jack and Kate, Juliet and Sawyer--we saw that heaven is, indeed, being with the one(s) you love. It made for some of the most awe-inspiring, romantic scenes ever seen on television. I'm sure I'm not alone when I tell you I sobbed so hard at times, I found it hard to breathe. Everyone obviously will react differently to this finale but to me personally, it was the most cathartic TV viewing experience I have ever had. And no one can debate that away.
Hope This Helps: I'm seeing a lot of confusion on this out there, so want to point it out that I firmly believe the Losties did not all die in the plane crash or on the island. They were alive on the island. They all died at different times and in different places (some on the island; some off). This final season was about them being in a holding pattern (the Sideways world) after they died, and Desmond showing them all that they are in fact dead and it's time to move forward with the ones they love. They needed each other to "Remember and to move on."
Jack died on the island. Kate, Claire, Lapidus, Sawyer, Miles and Richard all left the island and lived out their lives. (Jack saw their plane taking off safely as he died.) When Kate saw Jack in the church, on their way to the afterlife (The Light), she told him how much she had missed him, because she probably lived on many years once she got off the island.
When Hurley and Ben meet up, they reference that Hurley "was a great number one" and Ben was a "great number two." That's because they lived on the island after Jack died to protect it, presumably for many years. Ben says he's not yet ready to move on because he doesn't feel he's ready to cross over (or doesn't yet deserve to).
The more I think about all this, the more I love it. I hope you do, too.
Jack Was Supposed to Die—from the Very Beginning: "There was an early version of the script in which my character was killed off in the first or second act," Matthew Fox told me way back at Lost's first premiere party. Jack was to be a guest role played by someone such as—can you picture this?—Michael Keaton. So instead they let us invest for six seasons only to find out that it was all about Jack's death after all?! Gaaaah! Of course, we should have seen it coming the second Rose told Jack in the season opener: "It's OK. You can let go."
On Kimmel tonight, Matthew Fox backed up Jimmy's theory that Jack's Island experience was real, and really happened (Christian Shephard also told him so), but the final season (and the Sideways world) was Jack's "test" to determine whether he would go toward the light.
"There's room for interpretation based on your spiritual beliefs," Matthew said. That would explain the stained-glass window in the church with all of the major religions of the world represented--and what looks like the frozen donkey wheel (though I'm told now that's actually a Buddhist symbol called the Dharmachakra). We gotcha, Darlton! Very on the nose.
"I knew that the final image would be [Jack's] eye," Matthew told Kimmel. "And I knew that he would die."
But did you know that Vincent would lie down next to Jack to keep him company while he passed over? 'Cause Jesus that was a tearjerker. So well done.
Hurley Got to Be the New Jacob! Yes, Jack fulfilled his destiny by drinking the wine, replugging the cork down in the light cave and saving the Island (and everyone we love), but it was Hurley who ended up as the next protector of the Island. Anyone else choke up as Hurley asked Ben to stick around and help him, finally giving Ben what he wanted all along: a real purpose? A chance to be special?
Of course, we should have seen that it would be Hurley, as he is the one true, pure spirit who never once lied to anyone, and carried a simple but sizable heart...just like Jacob. To quote that awesome West Wing woman C.J. Craig: "It was always you. I see that now."
And by the way, that scene with Jack down at the replugged cork, sobbing as the water and the light started rushing back in over him is arguably Matthew Fox's finest work to date.
Even Claire Got a Happy Ending. Kate convincing Claire to get on the plane, and that "no one knows how to be a mother at first, but I'll show you," was certainly one of the most satisfying moments of the finale—at least for this mom. After so much heartbreak—and the recent abandonment of Ji Yeon—Claire got to go home and be a mother to Aaron, whom we were told long ago should not be raised by another. And Kate got to stay close to the boy she raised for three years. Beautiful.
WHAT LIES AHEAD
Damon Lindelof just tweeted what he has said will be his last words about Lost: "Remember. Let go. Move on. I will miss it more than I can ever say."
Clearly, it's the message the producers would like us to carry from tonight. And though the debates will rage on over what Lost was about, why Kate ended up with Jack and not Sawyer, and why Josh Holloway runs like a girl (kidding...sorta), I think we all can agree that Lost was groundbreaking television unlike anything we've seen before--or will probably ever see again.
Lost, you will be sorely missed. Thanks for one hell of a ride. I'll see you on the other side cause you will always be my TV love.
Please check back later to see my answers to lingering questions such as the Man in Black's name (yes, he had one), what happened to Walt and more, plus reactions from me and the fans—straight from my Lost finale party tonight.
The Lost stars have lingering questions--and we got Damon and Carlton to answer 'em right here!