Lost Finale Review: Let There Be Light...

at . Comments

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
  • 4.0 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 3.5 / 5.0 (1359 Votes)

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


This season had its moments but that half of it was dedicated to this sideways jump with its pretentious, contradictory resolution without answering so many questions is just inexcusable. Its not writing something that's open to different interpretations, its putting allusions to different things and pretending that's good writing. In 'The End' the emperor had no clothes. I thought seasons 3-5 were superb and that "The Constant" alone justified the existence of the show but after this season I want those 20 hours of my times back.


Personally I got most of the answeres I wanted from the finale. From my understanding they were all dead from the beginning, as suspected no one would survive a plane crash of that magnitude. Remember that episode where they showed the plane underwater? and the visitors to the island confirmed that there were no survivors....
At the end Christian Shepard says that yes everything happened , yes they are real etc etc, meaning that purgatory is real, everything really happened, but it happened in purgatory...
Adam and Eve closed it for me, in season one the skeletons were fity years old but in season six they were 2000 years old. As per Chistian Shepards words there is no 'now here', they were still in purgatory while having this conversation.
The ones that died before could be Richard and afterwards could be Penny or even Juliet
But ofcourse that's just my view


"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." SERIOUSLY?! Haven't the most boring/tedious parts of the show been all the flashbacks and alti-verse junk that have been telling us who these characters are? It began to be the "telling" rather than "showing" scenario, where just seeing how a character would react in distress on the island was more exciting and revealing than anything the writers were telling us about their pasts (Jack making a sandwich, yeah... that's exciting). Frankly, I believe those who were most upset over the finale put most of their attention on the plot (what the island was) rather than on the characters. I didn't need a good answer (it could have been weird and nonsensical even) but to be utterly distracted away from the island's storyline/conflict of Jacob and the MIB with the abundance of slow-motion hugs and kisses was like the writers dangling a kushy teddy-bear in our faces while holding Star Wars BLU ray DVD behind their backs. "Want to achieve a happy after-life? Simply love your fellow man in this life"... these are the things that should come out of an after school special, not a mysterious "sci-fi" thriller. If in the end it was all about the characters moving on and remembering their time on the island, I don't really buy the idea that they'd need to be reminded. The whole island experience (time-traveling included) seems to be something that would definitely stick in one's mind. Would you forget about it and attempt to re-create a better life for yourself in purgatory? Maybe the better life part but definitely not the forgetting part. Would it take an entire life-time to evolve from your experiences, probably not. Though maybe these characters were two F**ed-up. I mean, Jack had confidence problems... that's like... super serial.


Even after reading these comments I am still confused. If the island really existed in the real world and the characters grew as a result of their being stuck on the island together, why did the island have such a hold on the characters that it kept bringing them back? It seems like they were dead from the beginning of the show (they died in the plane crash). It seems like the island was purgatory. Once the characters learned how to live together and learned to sacrifice their interests for their fellow man/woman they were allowed to move onto the next world (afterlife). Of course, they first met in the church and then went to the next world together. All of the traveling through time and living in the alternate world just seemed to be further tests to determine who was ready and deserving of moving onto the next world (afterlife). In each of the characters' lives their priorities were all screwed up. As the program progressed through each season, the characters became more loving and more caring of those around them (eg Sawyer actually fell in love with Juliet - in prior seasons it was obvious that Sawyer was incapable of loving anybody). Jacob and the black monster were not necessarily good or evil. Each of them had elements of good and evil. I believe that they existed in order to teach the characters lessons about taking care of each other and sacrifice. I could go on forever with this so I will stop here.


if anyone noticed the church may have seemed tradinal but the stained glass represented something very different the final scene the stained glass has an ecleption of religions on it including jewdiusm, christian, pagan, ying/yang, and those windows were hinting that only the church represented his and proably most of the other survors idea of heaven, when in actuality their windows are there to represent mans ideas of afterlife, these religions, through glass shines a light!!!! the window is a big answer just think outside the box,


I watched this from the beginning, faithfully ! and the ending left me a bit confused but in reading and discussing w/ fellow watchers, I wasn't completely off. However, I have always suspected that the writers got a hold of some kick-a$$ "Maui Wowie" and just wrote, heh ! All in all, I'm glad I was part of it, sad that it's over.....and I TOO believe in duct tape !


The "Lost" finale was a great disappointment. Few questions were answered and the churchy ending was too pat. In fact, the writers used deus ex machina to end the six year series. They started to run out of ideas after the third season. Lost lost much of its audience.


Everyone who keeps saying the producers made it clear that the show as all about the characters clearly never read an interview with them during the first two seasons. Or live chat. Or read their blogs. Or anything. That the characters were important, and at time more important - might be true. At no time was it: "by the way, we're ditching this whole idea about explaining things".


While I will have to go back and rewatch the earlier seasons (I just got back up to season 3), I would say that yes there are some unanswered questions and stuff I'm sure the writers forgot about (though so far they were pretty good at covering everything that happened in season 1 and 2), but ultimately they did conclude the overall story despite those who feel they were cheated out of a resolution. With many unhappy with the spirtual ending (obviously primarily those that aren't spirtual in real life, but hey its a tv show not a documentary) that we received, the whole church sequence, I felt was really just a way to say goodbye to all the beloved characters of the show much in the way most series finales do. It was an ending for the overall show and for the fans, as far as the conclusion to the story: the monster was defeated and the end of the world was stopped. That's pretty much as resolved as its gonna get.


I have been a Lost fan since episode 1. Following the finale I remain a fan. At the conclusion to the first series, it seemed there could only ever be three plausible outcomes. One, it was all an individual or collective dream. Two, it's really a scifi thriller. Three, the writers were creating a contemporary Lord of the Rings type drama, although it turned out slightly more Dan Brown than Tolkien.
But none of this devalues its significance as pace setting tv
for the 21st century.
What does slightly jar was not the lack of definitive conclusions to the storey as whole, or to any of multi-layered plots and storey lines ( there was enough of this type easy answer tv in the 20th century). No, it was the quasi or wholly Christian religious references to the conclusion. This risks a backward step in the direction of pre Lost tv. By the time most of the characters assembled in the church it seemed the obvious place for them. Dead or alive, and all together for a happy ending.

Tags: ,

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.