Key Points from "The End"
Season 6, Episodes 17 & 18
Episode Air Date: 05/23/10
Point 1: Jack
And so it comes down to this ...
Six years of islands and smoke monsters and crazy French chicks and hatches and subs and time leaping and donkey wheels and Frank's chest hair. Six years.
And how did it end?
Well, that, like everything on "Lost," is open to interpretation. And there will be a lot of arguments. I have no doubt about that.
But before we jump in to the final review (can't believe I just wrote those words), I'm going to offer my "Lost-just-finished-and-here's-what-I-think" reaction. This may change in time, but this is a unique moment and I want to chronicle it.
First off, I liked the ending. I liked it because it was as twisty and ambiguous and open-ended as everything on this show. Moreover, it was a fantastic -- and "ultimate" -- representation of how the concept of time has always been malleable in the "Lost" universe.
I'm a sucker for that stuff because, really, time is contextual, not an absolute. And so if you accept that (I know many don't and won't), then you can see how the final moments worked. Everyone was in that church, but when they were there is irrelevant (or less relevant). As Christian Shephard said, "There is no now, here." It's all now. It's all then. It's all the future. Put another way: I interpreted that scene in the church as a flashforward, a flashback and a flashsideways all rolled into one moment. Some of those people died before Jack -- Locke, Christian Shephard, Boone, Shannon, Sayid, Juliet, etc. Some died after him -- Kate, Sawyer, Rose, Bernard, Hurley (and others). But they all, ultimately, came together. We'll never be able to know "when" that happened because "when" doesn't apply in that space.
Again, I anticipate a lot of folks are going to have a hard time with that. But for me, that is exactly the sort of "answer" I like. Will I feel that way in a week or a year, after I've had time to reflect? Hard to say. But right now, I'm happy with this. And I'm happy that I'll be turning this thing over and over in my head for weeks to come -- so the show surely won't fade from my mind for a very, very long time.
Now then. "Lost" may be over but I still have quite a bit of work to do. So let's put aside my metaphysical ramblings and dive in to the last chapter of this weird and wonderful little story.
One administrative note: I'm going to break with tradition and perform a postmortem (so to speak) on key characters rather than key points. That's the only way I'll get through two-and-a-half hours of developments in a respectable time. Moreover, examining what happened to each character seems like a fitting way to handle a finale (or so I've convinced myself).
We'll begin with the man whose eye opened and closed this series: Dr. Jack Shephard.
The big news is that Jack dies in the same spot where he landed six years ago -- amidst the island's bamboo. With Vincent nestled by his side and Ajira 316 zooming off to the real world, Jack's journey comes to a close. And for the first time -- like, ever -- he's content.
Getting to that moment of peace wasn't easy, though. He had to challenge Flocke to an awesome beat-down on the island's windswept cliffs (for some reason that whole fight was reminiscent of "The Matrix" -- but I'm not entirely sure why). Then, sporting a deep and bloody knife wound, Jack had to transfer Island Power to Hurley (more on that later) and then cram that oddly phallic cork back in the island's heartlight.
And that doesn't count the alt-universe stuff! Over on that side, he performed successful spinal surgery on Locke, had a few flirty moments with his ex-wife (Juliet! I knew it!), and then spent the rest of the time weaving through disorienting flashes of his island existence. And then there was that whole "You're dead, Jack" thing. Which, truth be told, he handled quite well.
A busy day for, Dr. Shephard, no doubt. But now he can rest in eternal slumber with all his "Lost" BFFs.
RIP, Jack. You were a righteous and ill-tempered turd for a lot of years, but you made up for an awful lot in that final act.
Point 2: Flocke / Locke
Things didn't end well for Flocke / MIB. His grand plan of island destruction backfired badly when the island "uncorking" rendered him mortal. And mortal is an unfortunate thing when everyone on the island is gunning for you -- literally (in Kate's case) and otherwise. A bullet from Kate and a swift kick from Jack sent Flocke sprawling from the island cliffs. And get this: Flocke didn't hit the water. His head cracked open on a rocky ledge. So even in death the dude couldn't make it off the island!
Our dear friend John Locke had a better go of it in the alternate timeline. Jack fixed him. He fixed him real good -- miraculously good, actually. Moments after the surgery, Locke could wiggle his toes. And mere minutes later, he was walking into Our Lady of the Donkey Wheel to meet up with all his old island pals.
Now, was Locke's recovery real? Depends on how you look at it. At this point I'm interpreting the whole alternate timeline as some sort of post-death "practice" environment where our characters rely on each other to work through their issues, confront their demons, and do the things they need to do to move on. That kinda-sorta explains why last week Desmond said Ana-Lucia wasn't "ready." And in this episode, Ben doesn't go into the church because he still "has things to work on."
Regardless, Locke can walk and he's happy. And that makes me happy, too.
Point 3: Sawyer and Juliet
There's something wrong with you. Seriously. If your face didn't erupt into an ear-to-ear smile when Juliet and Sawyer had their moment of realization, you are a deeply flawed person who needs a few more alt-timeline cycles. You got a lot to work on, pal.
That was an awesome scene. I particularly like how they worked in the "we could go dutch" line Juliet mumbled as she died in Sawyer's arms in "LA X." It just sort of flew out as the memories flooded both their brains. And then, when it all hit them? Damn.
I want to take a moment to tip my hat to Josh Holloway, Elizabeth Mitchell and the "Lost" writers for pulling off the Sawyer-Juliet relationship. On paper, it didn't work. Why would these two hit it off? And if you think about the amount of screentime this relationship was given -- just a few episodes, all told -- how could we have possibly bought it? And yet, it was fantastic. I was more invested in this relationship than with Sun and Jin's!
Getting back to the episode ...
The other Sawyer -- the island version -- appears to have successfully left the island. We don't know -- and won't know -- what happened to Ajira 316 and its motley crew of passengers, but let's just assume that everyone made it back to reality in a safe and happy fashion. And let's also hope the island is done with these poor suckers. Uncle, island. UNCLE!
Point 4: Kate
Alt Kate's moment of realization came when Claire went into labor and the duo re-enacted the birth sequence from their island lives (albeit in much nicer clothing and in a climate controlled room).
Alt Freckles was key to Jack's realization as well. With a mere touch, she flooded his head with all sorts of islandy thoughts. And I suppose it's fair to say -- although I really couldn't give a damn about this -- that Kate and Jack do end up together. Jaters, you win. So, you've got that going for you.
As for island Kate, she had quite an active episode shooting now-mortal smoke monsters and diving off cliffs. But it all paid off in the end. She convinced crazy Claire to jump on Ajira 316 and together they zoomed back to Aaron. (Again, let's be nice and assume the Aaron-Claire reunion occurs and Aaron's therapy won't be exorbitantly expensive.)
Point 5: Hurley
I had a feeling Jack's tenure as Island Protector would be short. Frankly, Hurley was always the best choice. He's kind. He's got leadership skills. And the man makes a great bucket of chicken. My only disappointment is that we will never get to see the hilarity of Hurley and Ben running the island. If ABC is wise, they'll set up a two-hour "Lost" spin-off block: 8-9 pm for Sawyer and Miles' cop show and 9-10 for Hurley and Ben's island comedy hour.
Point 6: Ben
Ben achieved a level of redemption on both the island and the alt timeline. On the island, he seemed genuinely touched when Hurley asked him to be Alpert 2.0. And in the alternate universe, Ben knows he's still got to knock off a few more to-dos on his personal improvement checklist before he'll be fully welcomed into the ever-after.
But there's no denying that Ben made progress. That was evident in that short but moving final scene between Ben and Locke. The little glimmer of joy that appears on Ben's face as Locke gets up the from the wheelchair deserves special recognition from the Emmy committee. "Best Facial Expression in a Drama" should do it.
Point 7: Desmond
Island Desmond is the ball in Jack and Flocke's ping-pong match. At first he's okay with that -- mostly because he's the only island character who's aware of the alternate universe -- but things turn sour when Des pops the island's cork and the heartlight goes out. Tremors and trees and falling rocks ensue and for a while it looks like Island Des is a goner. But Jack saves the day -- and the island -- and in the process Desmond is safely removed from the heartlight cave. Let's hope that Hurley's first action is to get Desmond home to Penny and little Charlie, pronto.
In the alternate universe, Desmond's most intriguing moment comes during a conversation with Eloise Hawking. After she berates him for his meddling -- a comment that has no effect on Des -- her defenses come down. She's not upset about the timelines or physics or destiny. And she's certainly not an off-island agent of MIB. She just doesn't want Desmond to take her son away from her. It was kind of sweet, actually. It was also quite interesting because Desmond tells her that Daniel will not be traveling with him. So what are we meant to take from that? Is Daniel another character that isn't ready?
Point 8: Sun and Jin
The abrupt Korean-to-English thing didn't completely work, but it was fun watching Sun and Jin go from troubled lovers on the run to content "knowers of the island." And the scene between Sun, Jin and Sawyer in the hospital was fantastic. I thought Jin was going to wrap Sawyer in a bear hug and call him LaFleur.
Point 9: Odds and Ends
A few other notable character developments:
Claire -- Claire leaves the island with Kate on Ajira 316, but I imagine she's going to have a rough time getting through customs because of that whole "infected" thing. Speaking of that, does Flocke's death free her from the infection?
Sayid and Shannon -- Alt Sayid and Alt Shannon didn't waste any time after sharing an island realization. The pair groped liked teenagers. And seeing as these two continued to be lovey-dovey during the church scene, I'm guessing that Nadia wasn't quite as important as we were led to believe.
Boone -- Boone got the pointy end of the realization stick. Unless I missed something, I don't believe we see his realization. Yet it appears he's in cahoots with Hurley and Desmond. Did they contact Boone some other way? And what did they use to flood his mind with island memories? A beechcraft airplane? Shannon in a bikini?
Miles -- Everyone on Ajira 316 owes their lives to the nimble hands of Miles Straum. In the eleventh hour, as the island shook and darkness loomed, Miles repaired the jet's hydraulic system with duct tape, sheer will, and sarcasm.
Richard and Frank -- I'm grouping these guys together because both exhibited uncanny survival skills. Richard made it through last week's epic beatdown unscathed (save for his first gray hair) and Frank ... good lord. YOU CANNOT KILL FRANK LAPIDUS. The guy took a sub door to the chest and it did nothing. He bobbed right up to the surface, got rescued by Richard and Miles, and had more than enough juice to pilot Ajira 316 off the island.
Rose, Bernard and Vincent -- I was pleased to see one of my ongoing questions was addressed when Rose, Bernard and Vincent made a cameo. Turns out, all three made the jump from 1977 when the bomb went off. Their homey island cottage and collection of Dharma supplies also jumped. Not sure how that works, but whatever. No point nitpicking now!
Point 10: The Island
A few closing questions and observations:
- Best Line: "Everyone dies sometime kiddo. Some of them before you. Some long after you." -- Christian Shephard to Jack.
- Second Best Line: "He's worse than Yoda." -- Hurley, about Jacob.
- Third Best Line: "I don't believe in a lot of things, but I do believe in duct tape" -- Miles.
- Fourth Best Line: "Christian ... Shephard, seriously?" -- Kate, plucking the foreshadowing from Christian's name.
- Fifth Best Line: "This would be so sweet if we weren't all about to die." -- Hurley to the amorous Jack and Kate.
- Sixth Best Line: "You're sort of the obvious choice, don't you think?" -- Flocke, after hearing Jack is the new Island Protector.
- Alt Jack's mysterious neck wound didn't come from a stray bullet or an old razor -- it was courtesy Flocke's big pointy knife.
- The shot of Flocke and Jack staring down into the heartlight was a nice book-end to the hatch shot from the season one finale.
- The writers worked a "Star Wars" reference -- "I've got a bad feeling about this" -- into the opening moments.
- Alt Charlie was sporting guyliner, which I took as a nice homage to Richard Alpert.
So that's that. I really can't believe this is the end of the road. It's been such a phenomenal experience in so many ways. And I feel blessed to have been part of the community that took root here. I am deeply thankful for all you've given me.
Before I sign off, I've got a couple other bits I want to share.
First: As many of you know, I set up a Facebook group so everyone can keep in touch.
Second: The Lost Blog will continue to be available and I may even post to it from time to time. If folks have other ideas for keeping this place going, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. I own the site so we can do whatever we like with it.
Finally: I thought it might be fun to mark the end of the series with a proper thank you. You know, an in-person one. So below you'll find a video I put together a couple days ago. It's 8 minutes of me rambling on about the show, the community, and what you guys have meant to me. Hope you enjoy it!
That's all I've got!
(I can't believe it's over ...)
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