To my surprise, but probably not yours, I have moved on from but am unable to let go of this show. After watching the series finale four times, I have a few more thoughts and observations about The End.
Based upon feedback from friends and online comments, there appears to be lingering confusion about the Flash Sideways and when everyone actually died. Below is my attempt to shed some light (pun intended).
WHATEVER HAPPENED ACTUALLY HAPPENED
As Christian Shephard said, "everything that's ever happened to you is real." The flashbacks, island experiences and flash forwards all occurred in a linear timeline. The Flash Sideways existed above, beyond, aside and under that timeline; as Christian said, "there is no now, here."
GUYS, WHERE ARE WE?
Jack asked his father, "where are we." Christian's response explained exactly what the Flash Sideways was: "this is a place that you all made together, so that you could find one another.
I call this the Lobby of Letting Go (LLG), an ideal world created by this specific group of people to reunite and remember their time together before "moving on" to whatever afterlife awaits each of them. Because after all, "the most important part of your life was the time that you spent with these people. That's why all of you are here. Nobody does it alone. You needed all of them, and they needed you...to remember, and to let go."
That being said, keep in mind that WHEN people move on varies. Thus, Ben chose to stay behind, presumably to wait for Alex and Danielle to experience their island epiphanies and make amends with both of them before all moving on together.
Daniel and Charlotte just met, so logic would follow that they will soon remember their island time together and then meet in a LLG of their own creation. The same can be said for the remaining characters who were not in the church at the end with Jack and co.
If you think about it, almost all of the relationships and issues from the past were flipped in the Flash Sideways; this group of people created an improved set of circumstances for themselves after their souls were all tested in various ways before and on the island...
- Alex had a real relationship with and was raised by her mother Danielle.
- Ben was able to apply his book smarts as a teacher, mentoring Alex as a real father figure. He also took care of his ailing father Roger.
- Claire was able to meet her half brother Jack and have a family environment in which to raise Aaron.
- Daniel got to be a musician rather than a physicist.
- Desmond was friendly with Widmore, and found love with Penny seemingly free from Widmore's judgement.
- Hurley had good luck and was able to finally have that beach picnic with Libby.
- Jack was able to fix people with confidence as a spinal surgeon, and be a far better father to his son than Christian ever was to him.
- Jin and Sun got to start over and then conceive a child without fertility issues.
- Juliet was able to deliver healthy babies to healthy mothers.
- Kate started off on the run but had a change of heart after meeting Claire.
- Locke was engaged to Helen and his father was the one stuck in a wheelchair.
- Miles had a good relationship with his father.
- Sawyer was on the other side of the law as a detective, and he got to partner up with his Dharma sidekick Miles.
- Widmore was married to the mother of his son Daniel, Eloise Hawking, and allegedly had a good relationship with his daughter Penny.
Ana Lucia, on the other hand, was a corrupt cop - not too far from the vengeful, trigger happy cop she was before she died. That she created that role for herself in the Flash Sideways seems to indicate that she didn't think she was capable of change. Perhaps that is why, according to Desmond, "she isn't ready yet."
As for Sayid, he clearly created a situation where he would not wind up with Nadia. After Desmond asked him (while down in the well on the island) what he would tell the woman he loved about how he was able to see her again, Sayid realized that he did not deserve to be with Nadia in the end.
And while I understand that is why Nadia was not with Sayid in the LLG, I am still entitled to dislike the fact that Shannon was there with him. In my opinion, Sayid should have been alone in that church. Whether he would have acknowledged it or not, Shannon was always a substitute and second choice for Sayid, even in the afterlife. And yes, I realize that Shannon made sense to include because Boone was there, and because she had been on the island (whereas Nadia had not). So I understand but am still disappointed in her inclusion in that final scene.
One scenario that baffles me more than the others is Rose. In her ideal Flash Sideways world, she still had cancer. We will never know why she chose to be in that state before moving on, but I find it to be a fascinating choice. On a similar note, although Charlie placed himself in rock star shoes once again, he also chose to still have a drug and alcohol problem.
WHERE, WHEN & HOW THEY DIED
As Christian told Jack, "everyone dies sometime; some of them before you, some long after you."
Those we saw die on the island really died on the island. Those who took off on the Ajira plane died at some point, but we will never know when, where and how each of them died.
- Aaron: unknown, last seen off island with his grandmother
- Alex: on island, murdered by Keamy
- Alpert: unknown, after leaving the island on the Ajira plane
- Ana Lucia: on island, murdered by Michael
- Ben: unknown, last seen on island as Hurley's #2
- Boone: on island, after crashing down with Yemi's plane
- Dr. Chang: unknown, last seen on island before Jughead detonated
- Charlie: on island, after drowning in the Looking Glass station
- Charlotte: on island, after experiencing side effects from time shifts
- Christian: in Sydney, before Jack put his body on Oceanic 815
- Claire: unknown, after leaving the island on the Ajira plane
- Desmond: unknown, last seen on island with Ben and Hurley
- Eloise: unknown, last seen off island talking to Penny at the hospital
- Faraday: on island, after getting shot by his mother during a time shift
- Hurley: unknown, last seen on island as the new leader
- Ilana: on island, after blowing herself up with dynamite
- Jack: on island, after getting stabbed by notLocke
- Ji Yeon: unknown, last seen off island with her grandmother
- Jin & Sun: on island, after drowning in the sub
- Juliet: on island, after falling down Swan shaft
- Kate: unknown, after leaving the island on the Ajira plane
- Lapidus: unknown, after leaving the island on the Ajira plane
- Libby: on island, murdered by Michael
- Locke: off island, after Ben strangled him
- Michael: on island, after getting blown up on the freighter
- Miles: unknown, after leaving the island on the Ajira plane
- Penny: unknown, last seen off island with son Charlie
- Rose & Bernard: unknown, last seen on the island in their drama-free beach condo
- Sawyer: unknown, after leaving the island on the Ajira plane
- Sayid: on island, after blowing up the bomb on the sub
- Shannon: on island, after Ana Lucia's accidental shooting
- Walt: unknown, last seen off island with his grandmother
- Widmore: on island, murdered by Ben
Jacob died after Ben stabbed him and notLocke kicked him into the fire, and the Man in Black died after Jacob tossed him into the heart of the island (a.k.a. the magical watering hole). Of course his spirit lived on in other bodies as Smokey until Jack and Kate finally extinguished the smoke (seemingly) forever.
While I've heard rumblings about why everyone looked the way they did or how old they were at the time of their LLG reunion, I have no problem with those elements. THEY created this place, it represented THEIR ideal situation.
In the LLG, Sun was pregnant with Ji Yeon because for she and Jin...their happiest time together on the island was the beginning stages of her pregnancy. Remember that shortly after that, Sun thought Jin died on the freighter. He never had the chance to meet his daughter - so it would have been odd for Ji Yeon to be in the church as a child.
Along the same lines, Claire's ideal situation was to be with baby Aaron. Although Claire eventually did get off the island via the Ajira plane, she spent the first three years apart from him and we never saw their relationship after they reunited.
HEAL THE WORLD
I didn't notice it the first few times, but island epiphanies resulted in instant healing. As soon as Sun experienced her island flashes with Juliet and Jin, she was up and out of that hospital bed within minutes - regardless of her gunshot wound. The same happened to Locke, who was up and out of bed mere hours after major spinal surgery after having his island epiphany. A short time later, he no longer even needed the wheelchair. Sound familiar?
Just as those who ailed before landing on the island were healed instantly upon arriving there, the memories from that very location served the same purpose in the Flash Sideways.
Of course it could be as simple as...you realize you're dead, you're no longer susceptible to or feeling an actual injury. But that is not as fun to ponder.
THE LAMP POST
Could there be a more appropriately named locale? The Lamp Post served to illuminate the paths of this particular group. It was the heart of the off-island, and it was not mere coincidence that it was located below the very church where they chose to meet before moving on into that light.
BOONE & LOCKE
We did not see how Boone experienced his island epiphany, but in the end I found it appropriate that both he and Locke were the only ones in the LLG without a soul mate. Although it is debatable whether or not Locke is Boone's Constant, "the most important time" in Boone's life was spent with Locke on the island. Remember that on the new 815 in the Flash Sideways world that they created together, Boone told Locke that "if this thing goes down, I'm sticking with you."
It turns out that Desmond was "uniquely and miraculously special" in more than one way. In addition to his immunity to electromagnetic energy, Des had an acute awareness of the Flash Sideways and LLG.
Although at first it was not entirely clear why Penny was with Desmond in the LLG, as she was never on the island, I understand her inclusion for a few reasons. First of all, she did rescue the Oceanic 6 and was certainly in close proximity to the island. Second of all, she's Desmond's Constant and was allowed to accompany him because the rules did not apply to him...even in the afterlife.
HURLEY & BEN
In case you haven't heard, Michael Emerson revealed that there will be a brief epilogue scene featuring Hurley and Ben's island leadership on the Lost DVD sets (which will be released in August). Remember that although we never saw this awesome duo in action as the new Jacob and Alpert, it did happen!
I have a strong suspicion that Hurley's ability to converse with the deceased came in handy during his reign as #1. From Libby to Faraday to Sayid, the ghosts of Hugo's past may have helped him figure out a new way to allow people to leave the island.
After watching the opening scene with Jack in his office in the Flash Sideways several times, I felt as though the writers were messing with us when they deliberately filmed Jack through the brain x-ray. It was as if they were teasing us to believe that the entire show and story really WAS inside of Jack's head.
In retrospect, I appreciate how the cut on Jack's neck in the Flash Sideways represented a slow bleed of memories, seeping into his subconscious.
I loved that while touching his father's coffin, Jack's quick flashes of his time on the island were primarily memories of him attempting to fix/rescue/save people, from Claire to Rose to Shannon (inhalers) to Boone to the freighter call.
Despite the unfortunate network decision to show images of the fake 815 wreckage on the beach after the actual finale had ended, the plane that Jack saw flying above as he was dying on the island was the Ajira plane carrying Alpert, Claire, Kate, Lapidus, Miles and Sawyer.
To have received almost 100 comments on my final analysis post was such a treat and welcome surprise. Thank you all very much for politely pointing out my errors, for the feedback and very kind words.
The randomly pulled winning name for my last giveaway, a Kate action figure, is Cinematically Correct - please email me your shipping information!
I do have another Lost item up for grabs, but I have a small favor to ask in return...in the spirit of the charitable Lost community and in support of someone I know you all love and respect. Earlier this week, Jorge Garcia's beloved dog Nunu was hit by a car and passed away right before he and Beth were moving back from Hawaii. Thanks to Ryan (from The Transmission) on Twitter for this idea - here is a link to the Hawaiian Humane Society, where you can make a donation of any size in honor of Nunu.
If you make a donation of $5 or more, you will be entered to win this Lost Weekend tee (size L) autographed by Jorge. I've had it on my memorabilia shelf for a while now but would love to give it to a fellow fan for making a small contribution in Nunu's honor. Please email me your receipt to be eligible by next Tuesday, June 8. Thank you in advance!
*UPDATE: Congratulations to Joseph L, who won the tee above after he made a donation on behalf of Nunu & his name was pulled from a hat with others who made contributions.
As always, I appreciate and encourage constructive feedback and thoughts/theories in the comments section. Namaste, and good night.