Breaking Down "The End" of "Lost"

I know I wrote that I was going to do a full recap of "The End", the series finale of "Lost", but let's be honest, that would be insanely long, and I'd much rather you took the time to watch the episode rather than read a synopsis of it.

However, I do still have more to say about this episode, even after my rapid reaction from last night/this morning. First of all, I've been reading a lot of opinions on the Internet today in which people said, "see, I told you, the plane crashed and they were dead all along." If THAT'S what you got from last night's episode, then I'm not sure what episode you were watching.

Yes, in the final scene in the multi-denominantional religious building (seriously, they had every major religion represented in the back room and the windows), Christian Shephard made reference to everyone out there being dead, but he was specifically referring to the events of the "flash-sideways" universe (which should really be considered a massive flash-forward, since it had to take place after the last of those characters died). Those scenes, which only existed this season, all took place after the deaths of the characters, and only existed to bring them back together one last time.

Christian even said to Jack, "You're real. Everything that's ever happened to you is real. All those people in the church, they're all real too." This isn't that complicated people. How much more fucking clarity do you need?

As for other common complaints I've heard today, I'm going to explain why I had no problem with them, one-by-one:

- They didn't explain The Island
Actually, they gave us a pretty solid explanation of The Island over the past three or four episodes, and it turned out that Jacob's "cork" analogy was more literal than we could have imagined. Sure, they could have taken the time to give us an exact scientific definition of how The Island got there and how it worked, but had they done that, we would most likely be picking that apart today. The explanation of The Island that we did get worked fine within the universe of the show?

- What about Walt/Libby/The Dharma Shark/etc?
There was a reason I was able to come up with an entire list of mysteries that weren't going to be answered in the finale. The show was never about the details. It was about the larger themes, and that's what the last episode was about. Imagine if as they were walking to The Light, Ben had pulled Jack aside and said "Remember when we kidnapped Walt a few years ago? Well, he was one of Jacob's candidates AND his special psychic powers were amplified by The Island, so we thought he could lead us to The Light. But then Jacob told us to let him go, because Michael had a different role to play." That would have been jarring as all hell, and wouldn't have really enhanced that storyline at all.

- Why wasn't [Character X] in the Final Scene?
Let's start with Ben, who was outside the building but chose not to go in. Clearly he felt he had more to atone for, which is why he said he wasn't "ready". As for the characters that weren't there at all, well, a lot of it comes down to actor availability. But leaving that real world issue out of it, there's something Christian said to Jack that really covers it. "The most important part of your life was the time you spent with these people." So, name any single person from the cast who wasn't in that scene, and the answer is probably "it wasn't the most important part of his or her life." And yes, even I'd take some exception to that when it comes to Miles, but we have no idea what Miles went on to do after he left The Island. Which brings us to....

- What happened to Hurley/Ben/Sawyer/Kate/etc after Jack died?
Doesn't matter. The show was about their time on the island (and yes, the whole Oceanic Six period still counts, since, to paraphrase Locke, "the island wasn't done with them yet"). The only key characters left open ended on the Island were Hurley, Ben and Desmond, and I think we can safely assume Desmond got home. We also got the only answer we're ever going to get about Hurley's time as the new Jacob during his interaction with Ben outside the church.

Hurley: "You know, you we're a real good Number Two."
Ben: "You were a great Number One, Hugo."
Hurley: "Thanks dude."
- So the "flash-sideways" universe never really mattered, did it?
I guess this depends on your interpretation of the events. Were the details important? Not particularly. It doesn't really matter who Kate was actually accused of murdering, or why Locke's plane crashed or why Shannon didn't come back with Boone on Oceanic 815. What mattered was the characters completing their spiritual journeys, which was visualized through the flashes they experienced.

- Who was really right, Locke or Jack?
They both were. And that answer applies to the entire series, as well as the "Desmond" solution in the final episode. Specifically last night, Locke was right that sending Desmond into the light would destroy the island and allow him to leave (because Desmond removed the plug blocking the electromagnetic energy), but Jack was right that sending Desmond down there would allow Jack to kill Locke (because the release of that energy essentially de-powered Smokey). In the end, Kate came along and killed Locke -- because in the end it was never about Jack vs Locke, but about people working, living and loving together -- and Jack set things right with the Island by putting Hurley in charge and putting the plug back in place.

I loved the symmetry of Jack dying in the exact place he woke up on The Island, and the final shot being a mirror image of Jack's eye opening.

I could go on and on, but it all comes down to that last scene between Jack and Christian. Last week I wrote that the Jacob campfire scene was the most important scene in "Lost" history, and it was, from a "what" perspective. The Jack/Christian scene was important from a "why" perspective. Combined, they serve as the Man of Science and Man of Faith versions of answer scenes.

Also, I'm not gonna lie, I got kind of choked up watching the episode last night, and actually shed some tears when re-watching scenes today to write this entry. "Lost" wasn't perfect for six seasons, but I think last night's episode was the perfect ending to the show.

For more coverage of the 2009-10 TV season finale episodes, click here. will be sharing thoughts on the finales of nearly 20 different scripted series that have been part of our viewing schedule all year.