Lost Finale Review: Let There Be Light...

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All of this matters.

Throughout season six of Lost, fans had wondered about what they were seeing. Would our beloved characters end up in a seemingly random Sideways World, thereby negating all we'd watched for five years, rendering life on the island meaningless?

In the end, as Jack's four words above to Desmond sum up nicely: no. It mattered. What happened happened. We'd been told this many times and the final 10 minutes of this series finale explained why: everything we saw on the island was real. These were the real lives of real people with seriously real problems.

At some point, they died. We witnessed many of these deaths. Others occurred at later dates. But, in the end, the castaways could only move on to a light-filled world beyond this one if they tweaked Jack's season one advice: after-live together, or die alone.

Sideways Characters Collide
Desmond Pic

See you in another life, brutha? How right Desmond has been all along.

The final message of Lost is an interesting one, a profound one and the mythology surrounding it will be debated among viewers for as long as the series ran. But let's start with events on the island during these two-and-a-half hours - because they were a major clusterf%$k!

Producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have spent season six telling us the show is about characters, not jaw-dropping answers. We've been on board with this assessment. However, "The End" sacrificed logical, suspenseful storytelling in the name of delayed character development/resolution.

Every development on the island felt arbitrary, something cooked up by the writers as an after-thought just to get individuals in place for the series-concluding revelation. To wit:

Rose and Bernard pulled Desmond to safety?!? Jack and Locke met in a field, and the new Jacob had no actual plan? He was on board with simply hoisting Desmond down a cave and seeing what his actions produced?

We understand Jack is a man of faith now, but it wasn't clear what viewers were supposed to be waiting for as all this went down. In the past, each season's end game was clear: get into the hatch... get off the island... get back to the island... But this sort of focus was missing from this finale (heck, from the season) because Lost purposely kept us in the dark about the Sideways World.

MIB wanted to destroy the island, and we were told this was bad. Everyone would perish. But Sideways Desmond was around, enlightening folks left and right, causing on-island events to lack a sense of urgency.

Clearly, everyone was not going to die, no matter what MIB threatened or did. Almost as obviously, they'd all be awoken to their experiences on the island. The past few weeks were building to that. What would this mean in the battle of good vs. evil? Where would the characters go from there? Those were the questions on my mind during the finale, all of which were tackled in the final few minutes - but all of which also made the preceding two hours and twenty minutes feel anticlimactic.

I found myself almost bored, anxious to get everyone enlightened so we could get to the show's overarching resolution.

I was especially disappointed when Kate killed MIB. After creating such a mysterious, indestructible force of evil, the show made him human again with the removal of a stone by Desmond, and then killed him off via a gun shot to the back? It wasn't the ending Smokey deserved. It also served as a bait-and-switch, as previous episodes hyped a looming showdown between good and evil. We never really got that. Instead, we got a story about Jack and his tussle with a light-plugging rock.

The Jack/Smokey climax was also just hokey. The driving rainstorm. Jack's slow-motion jump/punch. Kate's line about saving one bullet for Locke. I expect such levels of cheese from bad action movies, not iconic TV shows.

Of course, these aren't the developments fans will be debating and discussing in the hours, weeks and months to come. Did everything on the island feel sloppy and arbitrary? Yes. But it was what we learned about the characters' off-island lives that will be lighting up our Comments section below (be opinionated there, but please be respectful of each other).

Operated On

The Sideways World is a form of purgatory, a place the castaways unknowingly created because they could not "move on" without one another's support and love. In order to remember and let go, they needed to be reminded of what they experienced on the island, of who they met, of how they came together.

Did Jacob help them create this world? Was that the significance of his touch? He may have been a proponent of free will, but Jacob was also fond of pushing people in a certain direction. He didn't simply bring individuals to the island to find a successor; he brought them to prove his message: It only ends once. Everything else is just progress. Viewers were led to believe he meant his struggle with his brother.

But what better way to sum up a human life? Lost concluded its ambitious run by telling us: this world is filled with mistakes and regrets, but it's all a lesson. Learn from it. Rely on other people ("I can't do it without you," Kate told Claire during the latter's labor) and strive for progress in all you do. You'll never truly know any kind of higher power, so stop focusing on it (we've seen what happens to those that do. Sorry, pals of MIB and purged Dharma folk... and, really, viewers that craved answers above all else).

Want to achieve a happy after-life? Simply love your fellow man in this life.

That was the message, but getting there required twists, turns, questions and answers. We stopped wondering a long time ago about the Dharma Initiative, or what made Walt special, or any number of issues related to mundane island facts. Instead, when faced with this new information on the Sideways World, the following inquiries, points and observations come to mind:

  • What is Eloise Hawking's role in it? She didn't want Desmond to enlighten his friends... simply because she didn't want her son to move on and move away? She was made out to be all-knowing throughout Lost, but her motives were never clear.
  • Same for Charles Widmore. What did he know about the island and what was his end game?
  • Where did Jughead fit into all this? Did its explosion create the Sideways World? Having a specific event create it would seem to run counter to the concept that the castaways themselves created this place via their formed bond/community on the island.
  • Simply amazing acting all around. Every awakening scene was played perfectly by those involved.
  • On the season premiere, Rose told Jack it was okay. He could "let go." Guess he just needed about 18 more hours to come to that same conclusion.
  • David Shepard doesn't actually exist, right? That's always a frustrating type of cop-out: when a show focuses on a character and then reveals this was just an imaginary plot device.
  • The finale was filled with self-aware winks at the audience: Sawyer described Jack's plan as a "long con," Kate laughed at the name "Christian Shepard," Hurley might as well have been channeling Lindelof and Cuse when he responded to Sayid's questions about "rules" with the response: "Trust me."
  • In the end, one could interpret the arbitrary events on the island (as outlined above) as part of a grander message about the island and/or religion itself: it's all arbitrary! Jack caught on to this when he went along with the water con for Hurley's appointment. It was a made-up ceremony, as were the rules that governed this special place. After all, who can possibly say for sure what is right and wrong when it comes to such higher powers?
  • Sayid and Shannon?!? Barf! Somewhere, Nadia lovers are outraged that Sayid's enlightenment came at the hands (and lips) of this woman, as opposed to the one most of us believed was his soulmate.
  • Absolutely loved the fact that Ben didn't believe he had earned a place inside the church, as well as Hurley's nod to him making a great number-two. Ben truly had done everything in the name of the island, in the name of what he thought was best for mankind. After learning that MIB played him, and watching Jack's sacrifice, he apparently started his road to redemption as soon as Hurley's asked for his assistance - but he still didn't believe that was enough to warrant him a spot with the other survivors.

This won't be my final say on the show or the episode. Not by a long shot. There's a lot to analyze, critique and praise. It's been a pleasure to have taken the Lost ride with you this season, and I'd love to hear from readers now.

Many characters on the finale said "it worked." So therein lies the question: Did the conclusion of Lost work for you?


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 3.5 / 5.0 (1359 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.


Dude, I just finished LOST for the 3rd time. Thanks, dude!


I find it funny that people mock this show at all. Fantastic writing and acting, and the story ended exactly as it should have. The whole point of the show was to break the expectation of purely logical explanations and focus on the emotional connections between characters. The fact that it happened on a magical island that isn't completely explained is EXACTLY THE POINT. Everything happened for a reason in these particular people's lives, and that reason was to bring them close enough together to bind their souls forever. It takes balls to take it to the afterlife like they did, and I think it's about as satisfying as it could've been. Leaving Ben out makes sense, as he has what matters to him most in Alex and was never really part of the group anyway. For those angry about leaving characters out of the group at the end, I hope you have come to terms with your disappointment and realized that it completely made sense as none of the other ancillary characters shared very strong one or two way bonds with the final group.


After watching Lost for a second time, there was definitely a better way to end it. The fundamental difference between Jacob and "Eve" was that she did not interfere with the outside world. His brother interfered once they reached the island. Neither were protagonists. The light was fate that Jacob manipulated to his own whims. The reason that the island was underwater after the incident was because his brother succeeded in correcting the threads that Jacob had no right to change in the first place. We know that Jacob isnt God and his brother isn't the devil. The one true threat has always been Widmore but his death was uneventful. It is debatable whether Linus followed the word of Jacob or his own whims. No one can dispute that Jacob nor his brother had any regard for humanity before Dharma or after. In the end, the flash sideways were fate correcting itself without Jacob. His brother didn't deserve his fate but, that's


brilliant show i love all d actors especially jack and chalie.the show teaches one to think less of this world and more of heaven after life.


Lol only the people online complain about the ending. Most of the people I know liked it. Also, in a poll taken a while ago more than 50% of the fan base LIKED the ending. Suck on that one you fucking whining shits. A majority of the questions in LOST were answered/capable of answering if you just use your god damn (pun) mind and think for a second. It's pathetic how many of you wanted to be spoon-fed at the end of the finale. LOST obviously was never for you. Too bad, no one cares because LOST earned its place as one of the greatest shows of all time. *according to TIMES, ratings, other magazines, et cetera. Haha we win


All the people that complain are morons who are incapable of understanding a simple ending. THAT'S RIGHT. Lost ended "simply". There was no complex ending so I don't see why many of you can't seem to comprehend what happened. LOST was the greatest show of all time for me and will always stay that way. The rest of you are bandwagoning and essentially crying because LOST didn't end how YOU wanted it. Excuse me, but this wasn't your show. You didn't write it, I don't give a fuck about online theories that had no merit to them. In the end, MOST of the show's mysteries were solved and for those of you who disagree you obviously are fucking lazy and haven't don't ANY research or re-watched the episodes. I watched all six seasons of LOST twice. LOST ending perfectly, it was always about the character's life dilemmas and coming to terms with themselves and others.


Did the conclusion work for me? No. I hated the Sideways dimension or whatever it. I hated the fact that characters like Michael and Ana-Lucia were punished by being kept out, because they were disliked by the fans. The whole matter of MIB becoming mortal made no sense at all. It was just a mess, dressed up with emotional and action scenes.


I know that EVERYONE has their own "theories" on what really happened in the conclusion of Lost, but does anyone ACTUALLY know (for a FACT) what happened?? Is there any site where the producers actually Explain it?? I want to KNOW!!!!


What happened? What was the point of the side ways world? Was that happening simultaneously as the the island life was happening? Did they never make it back at the end? If so why didn't we see the plane blow up? I am a little disappointed by the end, it's as if they just wanted to end it and as many of you commented, not explain the small details, very frustrating.


I never watched Lost when it was on TV. I started season one in July this year and just finished the last season a few days ago. Everyone on here seems to be upset about all the questions going unanswered. For me, the show was not about learning why or how things happened. It was about getting to know and love the characters. The characters are what the show was all about. At first, it was easy to judge each character but every single one ended up surprising me. I guess some viewers were too focused on the random things that happened on the island to notice the relationships between the characters developing. That is until one of them died, and you find yourself sad or even crying. Amazing show. Sad I finally got to the end.

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Lost Season 6 Episode 16 Quotes

Jack: Where are we?
Christian: This is a place you all made together so you could find one another...Nobody does it all alone. You needed them and they needed you.
Jack: For what?
Christian: To remember and to let go.

You're not John Locke, you disrespect his memory by wearing his face, but you are nothing like him. It turns out he was right about just about everything. I just wish I could have told him that when he was still alive.