The End of Lost


The last episode of Lost seems to have generated two camps of fans: those that “got” it and loved it, and those who felt there were too many holes, got confused, and were left with a big “What the F?”. Since I fall into the first category, I’ll try to outline what I think happened.

First, forget the whole Flash Sideways (the LA part of the sixth season where Ben is a schoolteacher, Desmond works for Widmore, etc). It turns out this had nothing to do with Jughead, nothing to do with the cave, nothing to do with any of that, except in the most incidental ways. All that setting off Jughead did was return the Lostaways stuck in the ’70s to 2007. It didn’t do anything else, except indirectly cause the deaths of Phil, some other randos and Juliet. And by the way, when Juliet, as she died in Sawyers arms, said “It worked”, she didn’t mean Jughead. But I’ll get to that.

So what happens in the sixth season? A lot of our characters die, Hurley becomes Jacob/Jack, Ben becomes his number two, and Jack, dying, sees the Ajira plane fly overhead and realizes he did get at least a few people off the island. Kate, Sawyer, Claire, Lapides, Miles, and Alpert are in that plane and we have good reason to believe they made it back to the mainland, but I’ll get to that later. That’s it, that’s the story of Oceanic 815 and the Island and how our characters met their respective fates. The End.

So what was the flash sideways? That was a different story. We’ve always seen that the Lost saga had religious overtones and this flash sideways was thoroughly religious. It was about the afterlife, about a place you have to pass through before you move on, a place where you work out whatever issues you have left so you can leave all your baggage behind. It’s a place where you appear as you were at the most crucial moment of your life, regardless of how long you lived afterward. It’s also a place that is eternally ‘now’, one where there is only a single day happening all the time. So Desmond finds Widmore is having a party, and Locke loses a job and gets a job and becomes friends with Ben and gets hit by a crazy man and is operated and saved by Jack and then goes back to teaching then has another operation by Jack and is cured and is able to walk and leaves the hospital and it is still the day of that party.

In the flash sideways, we see each of our characters working out their issues. Hurley had some issues with his mother, with women in general, and with luck. Kate is on the run, and on the run, and on the run again. Ben has issues with Alex, and Rousseau, and with power and manipulation. Sayid has issues with Nadia and whether he was meant to be with her, and whether he can stop killing. Claire has issues with whether she should have given up Aaron, Sawyer has issues with turning out good or bad, and whether his life should be consumed by revenge. Desmond had issues of self worth and the contempt of Widmore. Locke had his father, his love for Helen, his need to be in the wheelchair. And Jack, well, Jack had father issues, and the need to fix things, and his messed up marriage.

And here in this ‘now’ they saw each other as they were at ‘the most important time of their lives’, and helped each other nudge past the last of these issues and move on.

And what did Juliet mean when she said “it worked”? Well, it seems that being near death gives you a glimpse into the next life, and Juliet must have seen her and Sawyer at the moment they realized they were ready to move on, that moment at the candy machine when she showed him how to get it out, and when he did, she said that exact thing: “It worked”.

And why should we think the Ajira plane made it back to the mainland.  Because Kate, when she had realized she was in the in-between place, and Jack was just getting it, said “I missed you so much”, which seems to mean she lived a good long while after Jack had died.


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