TV Testimony: LOST Finale
SPOILER ALERT! Do not read any farther unless you have seen the final episode of LOST, “The End”.
After six glorious years spending our weeks with the band of LOST castaways, the legacy finally culminated in last night’s groundbreaking final episode, “The End”. Of course, in typical Lindelof/Cuse fashion, the episode was ironically named. It was not, in fact, the end of the castaways’ story, but the beginning.
As the episode opened, we were dropped back into the action brewing in the “now” time island storyline, with Jack, Hurley, Sawyer and Kate racing for a face off with the Lockealike (aka MIB). Trailing along reluctantly with Locke was the double/triple agent Ben Linus, still reeling from the sudden killing of Charles Widmore. Our faithful constant, Desmond, was nowhere to be found, although both sides now realized he was the lynchpin of each angle’s dastardly plan.
Meanwhile, in the “sideways” universe, Desmond’s quest to reunite the fated passengers of Oceanic 815 continued. Each castaway finally received their “wake up call” at a pivotal point in the action. Kate, Charlie and Claire were re-awakened at the moment of Aaron’s birth, Sayid upon meeting Shannon and Boone, Sun and Jin with the birth of Ji Yeon. In a poignant moment, Sawyer recalls his island past when touching Juliet’s hand. Finally, the two who were seemingly separated by death were together again. I found myself fighting tears as the two embraced, relief and happiness washing over them.
At last, we know why Desmond was chosen as the catalyst for all of this. Each castaway flashbacked to their island life once they came into contact with his/her “constant”, the person or people (in the cases of Kate and Hurley) that kept them grounded and tethered to humanity and morality. Finally, all of the castaways converged at a mysterious church, setting the stage for the game-changing ending twist.
Back on the island, we discovered that Rose and Bernard (nice to see them as well as faithful dog Vincent still intact) had rescued Desmond from the well, breaking their “rule” not to get involved in the drama that might get them killed. Wise practice, but unfortunately the Lockealike and Ben were already tracking them. Desmond agreed to go with Locke as long as he promised to never harm Rose and Bernard (collective sigh of relief – no adding to the body count).
Finally, Jack and his co-horts met up with the Lockealike and they decided to head to the appointed showdown location: the mysterious source of the island’s “light”. Jack and the Lockealike both believed that “uncorking” the light would bring about what they most desired. For Jack, this would be to save his friends and kill MIB. Locke believed it would bring about the destruction of the island, allowed him to leave. Desmond, with his immunity and resistance to electromagnetism, “uncorked” the source and soon the island was literally crumbling before our eyes. Turns out that BOTH Jack and Locke were right. The island would be destroyed, but it also restored the Lockealike’s mortality (in a nice twist, Richard Alpert was also rendered mortal, getting his first grey hair), leaving him vulnerable to attack.
Let the showdown begin. Locke initially got the jump on Jack, knocking him unconscious. While racing to his boat, Locke was attacked by a revived Jack, but Jack received a stunning wound to the neck, the very same wound that kept magically appearing in the “sideways” universe. As the two struggled mano a mano (or mano a knife), it seemed Jack was a goner until Kate appeared and shot Locke point blank. He had told her earlier in the episode to save her bullets. She did.
Alas, our faithful candidate Jack was mortally wounded. As usual, he lied to everyone about the state of his health(especially Kate) so that Kate, Miles, Sawyer, a rescued Frank Lapidus and Claire could escape the island on the Ajira plane. In a nod to the fans, Kate and Jack had their teary final moment, each stating ” I Love You”, forever cementing the fact that Kate and Jack were each other’s constant, much in the way that Juliet and Sawyer were similarly connected. In a unique twist, both Ben and Hurley elected to remain with Jack so that he could complete his final mission and “re-cork” the island.
Jack succeeds, and everything reverts to normal (well, about as normal as the island can get), leaving our faithful Hugo as the new candidate, with Ben Linus as his second. Kudos to the writers for getting this right. Hurley is the perfect choice for the island’s new protector. If Locke was the heart and Jack the mind, Hurley is the island’s soul.
If Michael Emerson doesn’t win another Emmy for his performance this year as Ben, I’ll eat my hat. All Ben ever wanted was a purpose – to be needed, to be “special”. Hurley finally gave him a reason to exist. The look on Ben’s face said it all. He was shocked, but profoundly humbled and moved. Ben had been redeemed.
And then, the final moments. As Jack lay dying, his counterpart in the “sideways” universe encounted a very much alive Christian Shepard. But wait – he WASN’T alive. As Dr. Christian regaled to sideways Jack, they were ALL dead. The sideways world was a world they had created of their own free will so that they would always be together. This “a-ha” moment was pure perfection. As the elder Dr. Shepard wisely stated, these people were the most important people in Jack’s life. They would all die someday, but they would be reunited in the world beyond. And so, all of our LOSTies got to walk into the light together in the end, exactly as it should be.
At last we know what Juliet meant in her dying moments when she told Sawyer, “It worked”. While it had not created an “alternate timeline”, the detonation of the hydrogen bomb, in tandem with the very souls of the castaways, had in fact allowed for all of them to be together in the end. Juliet no doubt saw what Jack would shortly experience – a glimpse of the “sideways” universe, where she would be united with Sawyer.
A dying Island-time Jack caught a last glimpse of the Ajira plane safely leaving the island. At last, Jack the Savior had achieved his true purpose. He had saved the island and the lives of his friends. Glimpsing the “sideways” world, he died content.
Thank you, J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof and Cartlon Cuse, for allowing us to experience the journey of these remarkable characters. We lived, breathed, fought and cried along with them for six years. Kudos to the writers, cast and crew for accomplishing what few television shows can: making us care and making us BELIEVE.
LOST may be over, but it will never truly “end”. Not as long as we still believe Hurley is still out there, protecting the island and keeping the world safe.