Lost delivered one of the most polarizing series finales in television history. Through the misconceptions and frustrations, many viewers failed to embrace the finale’s brilliance and that Lost managed to create a series finale that stayed true to the heart of all six seasons. In the end it was still about the characters and their incredible growth. Part of what made Lost such a unique show in the first place is that it always chose to be character-driven rather than plot-driven.
The finale could’ve easily scrambled to answer most if not all of the remaining mysteries, sacrificing its character-driven nature. Instead, Lost stayed focused and in terms of plot focused on the two remaining core conflicts, both of which were already well established and developed. In the present and on the Island it was the Man in Black’s endgame. In what fans dubbed the “flash sideways” it was Desmond’s endgame to help the core characters “remember” and “move on.” The finale allowed the core characters to reach the final stages of their gradual, rich development through their reactions to these endgames, focusing on their incredible journeys rather than just the answers to remaining mysteries. The beautiful, touching scenes where each character “remembered” in the flash sideways perfectly exemplified the intricate evolution of these characters and their relationships with each other.
Revealing the truth of the flash sideways occurred in a way that proved not only creative, but also made the previous events of the story gain further meaning. The misconception that the characters were dead the whole time would’ve devalued everything that happened. Understanding that everything that happened really happened and that the flash sideways is essentially a purgatory the characters created after they all died to reunite and move on together is brilliant. It allows all the events of the show to remain meaningful and illustrate the culmination of these characters’ journeys and the next momentous step they’ll take together.
The final showdown on the Island revolving around the Man in Black’s endgame yielded satisfying results for the characters still living (I could go through all the characters but will focus specifically on Jack, Hurley, and Ben). Of course Jack got to be heroic but more importantly we witnessed his complete development into a man of faith that had learned to trust others. Hurley remains compassionate and loyal, but also demonstrated the true leader he has become. Ben restored his faith in the Island and learned to use his unparalleled intelligence and experience to help the remaining survivors despite everything he’d done to them.
Everything came full-circle in the final moments as Jack died in the very same spot of the bamboo forest where he awoke after the Oceanic 815 crash at the very beginning. The story began with his eyes opening and ended with his eyes closing. Both times he was accompanied by the dog Vincent, most powerfully in the end depicting that the show’s oft-repeated phrase “Live together, die alone” didn’t have to be true. Jack not only found meaning through the Island and healed, living with and forging beautiful relationships with the likes of Kate, Sawyer, and Hurley. He also didn’t have to die alone as Vincent lay beside him.
At the end of the finale certain mysteries remained or were not explicitly answered, however, enough of the pieces are provided that one can find the answers if willing to engage in thoughtful synthesis of the various pieces.
Thus, the unceasing weirdness and deep investment in the show’s characters and their turbulent, yet rewarding journeys stayed strong to the very end.
Do you agree that the series finale was brilliant or could it have been better? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
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