The Lost Series Finale: One Sportswriting Fans’ Thoughts

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“Remember. Let go. Move on. I will miss it more than I can ever say.”
–Damon Lindelof on his Twitter feed at shortly after midnight Pacific Time, his last tweet and communication on Lost ever.

I feel fortunate to have a forum on which to be able to comment on things like this. Otherwise I would have spent all day trying to talk to people about the show, and glean little bits of knowledge from them in forming my own opinion.

Or…that was what I did anyway.

So I thought I would try to put my thoughts down in print, perhaps to revisit at a later date. I plan on purchasing and rewatching the entire series this summer — Knowing what we know now, the series, especially in the early years, has to have a completely different feel — and it would be nice to be able to compare my more primitive thoughts with later, more informed ones. And with a cultural event as far reaching as this one is (how many series’ of this nature do you watch while your 85-year old Nana is watching as well? I’m guessing none…and yet my Nan was as engrossed as anyone in the series), it becomes something that transcends sports or entertainment, and becomes something anyone can talk about anywhere.

Or at least, that was how I convinced myself that I could post this here without looking stupid.

Usual spoiler rules apply here: If you have NOT seen the series finale to Lost, airing Sunday evening May 23rd, then…well, proceed at your own risk.  I’m going to give away the ending. And strap yourselves in folks, this could get bumpy…

The Premise of the Series
I am in love with the way Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse wrapped up the series. Absolutely in love with it. In retrospect, with the final season careening towards the finish in the manor that it was, there was really no other way for the series to end that made any sense whatsoever. And yes, the questions that we didn’t get answers to…I’ll deal with all of you people later.

First off, and let’s get this out of the way first, the island was not purgatory. Everyone who said these people were stuck in purgatory, and then spent all day Monday spouting, “I told you so!!” are just plain wrong…you didn’t tell us so.

See, just like Christian Shepherd said, everything on the island was real. Was important. Had meaning. And, most importantly, it all actually happened. See, the actual purgatory, turning the theory of those smug idiots on its ear, was that the sideways world was actually the purgatory.  Or, perhaps more correctly, a holding ground. A fictitious construct, designed by all the castaways to, essentially simulate what they thought they actually wanted and what made them happy, when in reality what would make them all truly happy is spending all of eternity with their friends and loved ones from The Island.

The experiences they shared there, just like Christian said, were the most important of their lives.

So, no, I don’t believe that the passengers of Oceanic Flight 815 died when the plane ripped apart over The Island. I don’t believe they all died when Jughead exploded last year (well, except for, basically, Juliet). I do believe that we saw Jack, in an act of beautiful symmetry, die on the island just as he was when he woke up: In the same spot, except this time instead of his eyes opening, his eyes closed.

As a side note, I also DO believe, after seeing the finale, that Lindelof and Cuse both really did know how this series was going to finish from the start. I wasn’t always convinced of that. I wholeheartedly am now.

There is, however, one problematic scene to contend with this theory — the one that aired over the credits. The destroyed shell of what appeared to be Oceanic 815 sitting serenely on the beach with no survivors or, more importantly, any encampments around it certainly seemed to be indicating that maybe nothing ever really did happen, didn’t it?  I can’t parse those images — I found them a haunting and somewhat out of place finish to the series that I didn’t really understand.

So, the overlying themes to the show were still that of redemption, faith and defining yourself. The latter seemed to take on a much more important role last night as everyone talked about how you are who you want to be, or perhaps more specifically, that ‘You can’t let other people tell you who you are. You have to figure that out for yourself.’

The Island certainly showed these people how inherently good — and sometimes evil — they could all be. It took Jack, a non-believer, and turned him into someone who didn’t ever want to leave The Island because there was nothing better for him anywhere else.

And that right there, friends, was perhaps the most important reveal of the night. Everyone on the island felt as though there were better things elsewhere or with other people when the inherent truth was that they would all be happiest with all of the friends and loves and family that they met on the island. That, sometimes, the journey we take through life is really what is important.

That maybe we won’t get all the questions answered that we thought we would.

And perhaps sometimes polar bears would jump out at you in the middle of a tropical rain forest.

And maybe that sometimes, say, every 108 minutes, you’d have to type in a random string of numbers into a computer to some island that you were shipwrecked on from experiencing…an event.

And that maybe none of it truly matters as long as you’ve done good by the people around you. Because they need you. They couldn’t have done it without you. And likewise, you couldn’t have done it without them. 

Now take that and apply it to your every day life. THAT…was what the show was truly about. The religious overtones were there, but I found them to be a little secondary to the idea that we should all be cherishing the people all around us, and evaluating just how happy we really are. If we find that we aren’t supremely happy, then by God, we should all be finding the things and the people that bring us that joy.

Because, truly, as the castaways all showed us, even if you think you can’t be happier, or are settling for the life that you THINK you deserve, or perhaps even believe that you just don’t deserve to be happy at all, you’re just dead wrong. We’ve all got that one true thing.  It’s out there. You just might have to dodge a smoke monster to get it.

And truly, that was Lost. It wasn’t about people who were physically lost; it was about them being emotionally lost. And then, in the end, being found.

This wrap-up will be split into two parts — this is merely part one. Check back for my thoughts on the rest of the little tidbits from the finale, as well as the nagging problems and the lack of answers in part two.

—Paul Schmidt

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Comments

  1. Well done.

  2. paulmbanks says:

    wowwwwww. What a finale. I didn’t find it to be as transcendent as everyone is making it out to be, but it was good. and I agree with you on a lot of this. The finale filled with unanswered questions is the ONLY way this series could end.

    The only way

    Pete, you’re the Lost expert are you going to chip in here? I can’t wait to hear your response to this?

    That was Ben opening the doors at the end, right? He finally felt he was “ready” right?

    Felt good to watch the episode with the same anticipation I had in season 3 and 4. to be genuinely excited again

  3. paulmbanks says:

    The most I got out of this, is how it made think a lot about my own life. It was very introspective. Mostly, I never really liked Jack that much. I thought he became a tool too often. But last night I saw so much of myself in Dr. Jack Shpeherd. Because after all, a lot of people think I’m a tool as well. and I’m fine with that.

    But these are the things I can identify with Lost’s main protagonist

    -lives life with a devotion to that which is empirical, reasonable, rational, observable, measurable.

    -has issues keeping a woman because women by definition are anything but reasonable, rational, empirical etc.

    -Have to be the leader. there’s just no other way for us, even though we both feel it’s our cross to bear being the leader, and sometimes come off as complaining about the requirements of being the leader.

    -leadership roles manifest partially by choice, partially by the hand of the fate. we both think we’re the smartest guy in the room at all times, and act accordingly.

    -fatal flaw is the desire to “fix people” or “fix things.” Soxman can attest to this, he knows about all the “broken” women I’ve tried to take under my wing, and it’s been a big source of my undoing at times. A lot of our issues w women start with the women we initially choose

    -Now I just always need to be running somewhere and out of breath all the time, I dont share that trait with him.

    So you could say I got a lot out of this episode, and this series since I so subconsciously identified w the theme’s protagonist

  4. paulmbanks says:

    So, the overlying themes to the show were still that of redemption, faith and defining yourself. The latter seemed to take on a much more important role last night as everyone talked about how you are who you want to be, or perhaps more specifically, that ‘You can’t let other people tell you who you are. You have to figure that out for yourself.’

    EXACTLY. I rewinded and re-watched that passage 4 times at 4 am last last night. My path I’m currently on- to giving up drinking, and the opposition I’ve received from people I know, it made perfect sense to me.

    WELL DONE!!!! There’s so much more in this passage I enjoyed, but we’ll talk about the show and theories more in person, on the phone etc.

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