Like millions of others, my husband Jody and I watched the series finale of LOST last night and came away a bit dazed. My first thought was that Jack had saved the island and thus his island comrades—and I’m still leaning in that direction. Jody’s first take was they were and had always been dead. Further reflection this morning gave me another theory: that all the people who crashed on the island were in their own personal Purgatory; that each one’s individual mission had to be completed before they could move on to the happily ever Afterlife. Later this morning, I’ll surf about the net and read what others are saying, but for the purpose of this morning’s post, what’s important is what I and millions of other fans took away from the story on a personal level.
Prior to the beginning of this final season, Jody and I re-watched the first five seasons. If you haven’t yet done so, I highly recommend it. You’ll pick up a lot of little things you missed the first time through that just might change your entire outlook. Take Sawyer’s character, for instance. The first time through, I hated him with a passion. On second viewing, he became one of my favorite characters. And in fact, I loved ALL of them more the second time. Each one filled with human flaws, yet always able to rise to the occasion when the moment of truth arose. Charlie sacrificing himself in hopes it would save Clair and Aaron; Sayid finding himself able to deeply love and thus worth redemption; Hurley realizing he has so much more than money to offer to the world; Kate being able to forgive herself; Sawyer realizing he can love and love deeply; Sun and Jin’s tragic but remarkably romantic, teary ending; and, best of all, Jack’s leap of faith from reluctant to insistent hero. My only character complaint resides with John Locke. I think he deserved better than to die so the smoke monster could use his body, but perhaps after I have time to analyze and re-watch the show again, I’ll figure out why that had to happen to save him. And oh yes, Ben. The much hated, despicable excuse for a human being Ben. How wonderful to see him being a decent person in the sideways universe, and his ultimate decision to stay out of the church and the journey to the light until he has figured himself out. Well done on that one, LOST writers. Very well done.
Not everyone will agree this was a satisfying finale. Some will complain of too many questions left unanswered. What about the theories surrounding the mysterious island, alternate universes, and time travel? Naturally all of those elements added depth to the show, but in the end, who really cares? We watched LOST because we cared what happened to the characters. The people we came to know and love will live on in our hearts and minds for many years to come. And therein, of course, lies the key to great storytelling for without such characters, they can be no great stories.