Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A Few Final Finale Thoughts about The End of LOST & The Flash Sideways

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).  


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."  


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. 


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. 


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. 


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.   


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.  


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. 

Final Flight

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.



maven said...


Lovely thoughts, Jo. I always felt that this particular FS was seen thru Jack's eyes. When it was time for another person to "let go" and "move on", the world created could be entirely different. They would always end up in the church with each other. That is what makes it so beautiful.

And even though they died at different times of their lives (and who knows how long Hurley and Ben lived), they were brought together at that point in their lives when they meant so much to each other on the island.

Sherylm said...

Jo, What a very appropriate gesture by you and Ryan in honor of Jorge and Beth and Nunu. That was such a sad thing to have happen to them. All of the fans who listened to their podcastS and followed their blogs knew what an important part of their lives Nunu was.

As for you and your LOST posts at least with the Hurley and Ben gig on the DVDs, we know this will not be your last one.

Thanks again for all your hard work and have a good summer.

Anonymous said...

Just one comment, regarding Sayid and Shannon. You seem to view it through what is appropriate for Sayid and forget that for a season and a half, Shannon was a main character as well. While it's very true that Nadia was Sayid's soulmate, as seen in so many versions of flashbacks, flashforwards and even in the sideways when he was clearly showing he didn't deserve her, Sayid was very important in Shannon's life. He was the first of the Lostaways to take her seriously, to treat her like an adult who could contribute to the group, and she overcame her initial bigotry when she fell for him. So, Shannon may have been a second choice to Sayid, but he was definitely a first choice for her.


Jenny Raye said...

For. The. Win.

Rocket Science Mom said...

Jo, I have always and continue to love your analysis of this show. My own beliefs and feelings about The End coincide nicely with yours. And I have to tell you, I was thinking of you during the Juliet/Sawyer vending machine scene. :)

Thank you, also, for giving me a way to honor Nunu and Jorge. I am devastated for his loss and want to do something for him. He's become a fixture in my house, and someone I consider a virtual friend through the Hurley he brought to my TV every week. When I saw his blog entry, I wanted to do something to show him that Nunu meant something to us too.

I adopted my Suzy cat from a shelter (she's 1 this month) and I respect the work the humane society does. Maybe Nunu can help other dogs and cats find their forever homes.

Chelsea said...

Great analysis, I think you are spot on about the details of the FS and why everyone was where they were.

One thing I still can't wrap my brain around is this: If there is no "now" in the FS, why do some people need more "time" before they can move on? That seems contradictory to me. If they're existing outside a linear timeframe, there is no such thing as needing more time.

I also wonder about baby Aaron. It makes complete sense that for Claire and Aaron he would be a baby since that's how they remember him on the Island (that most important time for all of them) - but is that really Aaron, or just a prop of sorts? In other words, does Aaron have to spend eternity as an infant? I'm getting nit-picky, I know...

Some of the choices the writers made about the chapel make me think that perhaps that particular scene IS all about Jack. People appear there the way he remembers them. It's another explanation for Shannon and Sayid being together (ugh), Aaron being a baby, etc. I don't particularly like that explanation, I'd rather it be a collective experience than all about Jack.

Unknown said...

Just a thought, but how messed up would it be when the Ajira plane landed and there were a new "oceanic 6" the Ajira 6 & 3 of them were on the original oceanic flight. 2 supposedly dead and kate. Would have loved to see that.

Sommery said...

Thank you for the additional comments. My understanding of the Flash Sideways was exactly as you described - although I was briefly confused by the scenes played over the credits.

Over the weekend I came to realize just how sad I am about Lost ending. I caught a late night rerun of "The Incident, Part 2" and a lot of things triggered my tears that didn't the first time around. Just knowing what was coming (and not just Juliet dying)really called up the waterworks. When Jack was saying how he had Kate and lost her, and when he and Sawyer were fighting, I was sobbing like nobody's business.

I am looking forward to receiving my complete collection in August. I rented past seasons from Netflix, but didn't buy them knowing that there would be some kind of collection coming. That ABC went all out with the extras in this one makes me even gladder I waited. Thank you so much for your continued commentary. I will be following your work.

I was very sad to hear about Nunu. This is a lovely idea to honor his memory. Definitely something I can see scraping the change jar to contribute to.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Jo for all of your insights. I have not yet been able to let go, but I am working on it.

One thing - We know that Dr. Chang survived past Jughead because he was seen in several Dharma Initiative films which we made in the 80's.

Village Organics said...

My husband and I are fans of the show and always talked about each episode in length before we went to sleep. We had such a hard time going to bed after the finale because it was so emotional, as we both have experienced the loss of someone close to us. We hope that when we pass, we can meet everyone that was most significant to us before we "move on". I have really enjoyed your posts, thanks again for all your hard work.

Anonymous said...

A lot of what you said makes perfect sense, but i have different versions of what might have transpired with Jack's "letting go" or as Kate put it..."i ready to leave" which meant that she couldn't cross over to the other side without Jack. Now at this point with everyone in the church (which i refer to as Jack's group)we see Jack actually "dying" on the island with Vincent which i thought that was a very cool ending for Jack.

As far at who was at the church of letting go, it was Jack's group. And even though he "died" on the island, his consciousness was still hanging on to a "life" he created for himself through his "non-existing" consciousness. The people in his group was the most important people in his life on the island. And they appeared to him in the church as the same way when Jack last "interacted" with them in "real" life. Shannon makes perfect sense to me for being with Sayid. We know how Sayid died, maybe it was his consciousness that he created showing him with a life with Nadia, but then he remembered Shannon, and Shannon showed him how to "let go" of his love for Nadia and to swing it to her, and that really did happen on the island. Shannon was truly Sayid's soul mate and i believe that this was the way the island brought them together, they came to the island to make them see that they had to let go of their former selves, to find each other. So i was all for the Shannon thing. I have seen some comments also in regards to why Aaron and the Korean child (i can't ever remember her name) were mere babies in the church. Well that's because the last time Jack had any kind of contact with those characters in real life, that's what his consciousness remembers about the character. Jack knew Aaron from birth up to toddler age, but since he died on the island, he never saw Aaron grow up. Jack knew about Sun and Jin's baby girl, but again, he never saw her as adult either. So i think all the "members" of Jack's group was how he perceived them in real life. Because if you think about it, they all looked exactly as they did up to the point of his death. Well what about Boone? Are you kidding me! He was one of the most important persons to be there in the church. As we all gathered from Jack's character, we knew he was an over zealous doctor/surgeon who suffered from a "God like" persona, had a alcoholic father, and it was incredibly important to Jack to "fix things" through surgery or anything for that fact. Well when he couldn't save Boone's life, i really think that threw Jack for a loop!!!!!! So the reason why Boone is important here, is because Jack couldn't save Boone's life, and that was BIG for Jack. The last time Jack saw Boone, he was a big bloody mess. But in the church, Boone was in a perfect human form, adding to Jack's realization that even when he couldn't "fix" people, they still turned out okay in the end (after they die). I think some fans have forgotten that Boone and Jack indeed have a close relationship. It was Boone who was doing CPR on Rose in the Pilot, and he saw that Boone was doing his best, but doing it wrong! lol! So he gave Boone a "job" (to find pens) so that he wouldn't hurt Boone's feelings, but it gave Jack the opportunity to save Rose. Boone literally had a great respect for Jack, sorta of like a mentor, and it was the right thing for him to be in that group in the church. As for Ben, almost all comments i've encountered have said almost the same thing, most of the member's of Ben's group have not died off yet, so he will stay where he is until the entire members of his group gathers at the church, even though Hugo invited him in anyway, and it could be that Ben could have gone on with that group, but Jack never cared for Ben that much, and he mistrusted Ben, so that makes sense for Ben not to be in Jack's group.

Hillary said...

I'm watching for the third time and just noticed that where notLocke stabbed Jack looks like the same place of his "appendix scar" that he asked his mom about in a flash sideways.

Hazel said...

I just want to take this opportunity to thank you for your insights and for this blog. You never failed to amaze me and helped make LOST even better for me.

Hillary said...

Shaun said 'everyone' already knew that about the appendix scar...lol Dammit!

Michael said...

I also have a bit more to add on Shannon. Mostly, I just agree with a lot of what "Yukailin" and scarlettsusan had to say. For Sayid, clearly the FS life he created was one in which he had moved on from -- "Let Go" of Nadia. He told her he didn't deserve her. But just as much perhaps (totally surmising here), maybe she also was too much a part of the exact period in his life he most needed to move on from. That however much he loved her, he could never let go of who he'd been while trying to continue to be with her. This raises the question of whether Shannon is then his "real" soulmate, which in turn might be the reason she ended up in the LLG with him. Perhaps this was suggested, and it's not clear to me there is any rule or reality presented on the show where every person has one and exactly one specific soulmate. Perhaos he had found a soulmate in Shannon - who are we to say? but not much rides on that question in terms of Shannon's presence there, because as Yukailin points out, she was a fully integrated character in her own right before being cruelly cut down in all innocence by a reckless but not malicious Ana Lucia. I don't think the FS is just Jack's creation of his time on the Island, but rather a presentation of the reality created by the group, but as with much of Lost, presented from Jack's perspective. (Though I do think it is a pretty close question interpretively - one of the most ambiguous parts of he end of the show.) I don't doubt that if it were Jack's version, he would have included Shannon there: she was among his first and most desperate "cases," protectees, members of the flock, what have you. But as I think this is really the independently-existing LLG that we're seeing, I strongly agree with Yukailin that Shannon had every reason to be there. She was waking up from petulant childhood during her time on the Island, coming to find she had useful, worthwhile skills (French, withering skepticism), and had fallen in love, probably for the first time. This was clearly the most important time in her life. Moreover she and Boone share a very special, unique kind of bond (I'd argue they might in fact be each other's Constants, or at least Boone hers), and that relationship, if not hers and Sayid's justified her presence.

So: the fact that they were standing together in the Church might possibly signify a suggestion they were soulmates -- or, it could just mean that they each were there by virtue of having that time be the most important part of their lives and being ready to move on, and that, because they each had found each other's love (if not soulmate-itude), and having shared that love as the last of its kind in each of their lives before departing from the physical world, they naturally found themselves happily reunited in the LLG. Perhaps you can merely be in love with a person to be able to be with them in that place, not necessarily be soulmates, if each of you have reason of your own to be there separately. Or... maybe the WERE soulmates (though I tend to agree that they weren't yet when Shannon died).

Really enjoyed your thoughts on the finale, Jo, and all the comments here are top-notch, especially in this thread.

Ken said...

My love letter to Lost: http://keninthecity.blogspot.com/2010/06/fantastic-journey.html

Nurby said...

Thanks, Jo for all your hard work. It really made the Lost experience great! I am going to be doing the rewatch with jay and Jack it would be awesome if you joined along!

One thing I want to study in the rewatch is Sayid, Shannon and Nadia. At first I felt like Shannon might be his love because for most of Sayid's life he was looking for Nadia but had never been with her. Which makes me think of all the people in our lives that we think we are "in love" with until we actually find our true love. But then when Sayid does get to marry Nadia, but before that he had been with Shannon. Something I definitely would like to rewatch :)

Ken said...

My friend made a good point about why Sayid was with Shannon and not Nadia. Basically, because of his misdeeds after he was resurrected, all in the name of being with Nadia again. In other words, he wasn't rewarded with that after the bad things he did.

fuzzyHalo said...

Thanks Jo...I've really enjoyed your take on our favorite show...and I am missing the show like a friend who moved so far away I never get to see her again...

I love LOST and will forever...I am in total accordance with your take on the sidelife of our losties...and I really get the whole idea of the "life they made"...Still, it only leaves me cold with two huge questions of...

Why the island? Why them?

Maybe that was the point...keeping that debate going...I still feel like Richard though...spinning my wheels for no reason...although, I don't mind being lost on LOST...those people are my peeps...and though I yearn for a reason, maybe it just is what it is.

Thanks for your candor over the years!