I like many other people sat down in front of the TV on September 22, 2004, and witnessed what I think will stand as one of the greatest pilot episodes for a TV show ever. I had seen many promotions for a new show about an island of castaways, and there was just something that piqued my interest. (Along with almost 19 million viewers.) When I sat down and watched the pilot with my best friend, and my mother, we were all left in amazement. Had we really just seen something that exciting? Something that had cinema like visuals, life like characters, and intense mysteries to top it all off? Yes, we had. That was when my love for Lost was born.
Since the first season I have yet to miss an episode. The first few seasons were watched with commercial interruption, but subsequent seasons were helped along by DVR viewing, where I could I skip to the next awe inspiring moment. The show created endless debate between friends, whether it be face to face, on the phone, or across message boards. For the past five and a half years Lost has been a cultural force in our society. I’m not the only one who let it dominate water cooler discussion, and for that it will stand the test of time as a pop culture icon. Phrases like “Not Penny’s boat!” will go down in history with phrases, “No, I am your father.”
It is because of my reverence for this show that I almost feel like I am writing an obituary rather than a discussion of its finale. I had a sadness I’ve experienced many other times with much loved stories. Over the course of six seasons it is hard not to get attached to these characters. We’ve laughed, cried, and screamed angrily at our TVs as their stories progressed. When our favorite characters were in danger (which was often on Lost), we bit our nails, and sat at the edges of our seats waiting for the inevitable outcome.
As I sat down to watch the finale last night, every piece of this was on my mind. How could I ever get the emotional payoff I was looking for from this show? My expectations were so high that I thought for sure they couldn’t be met. I now sit here writing this, after watching the finale twice, and both times the finality of it all hit me. The closure of the show was perfect, and it hit such great emotional highs, that I can’t be too upset at the mythological questions that were left unanswered.
Here is a nice long list of my favorite things about the finale. (Spoilers are contained within this portion.)
- The Score – There have been no shortage of great moments in the music of Lost. Last night was no exception. Michael Giacchino’s score last night was incredible. The sweeping melodies overtook the ominous tones that run through much of the series last night. The score was exceptionally good during “the awakenings” and of course the final scene. I’m not sure Lost would be the same without Giacchino’s score.
- “I could kill you.” – This line came moments after Jack’s promise to kill MIB-Locke, but instead it was said in earnest in the flash sideways world. The moment between Jack and Locke was made much creepier by the line, “I’ll see you on the other side.”
- Mirrored Elements – Much of what was happening on the island was mirrored in the flash sideways world. Each shot tied into each other in a way that isn’t noticed as much the first watch through. It just shows why Lost has always been a show that rewards repeat viewings.
- Richard’s gray hair – With Jacob gone, Richard Alpert is free to live finally after his years of agelessness on the island. After Ab Abterno it was hard not to feel sorry for Richard, and it’s refreshing to see he overcame his confrontation with the smoke monster.
- The Return of Lapidus – Despite blogs associated with the show, interviews with Lapidus actor Jeff Fahey, and internet rumor saying otherwise, Lapidus did survive the sinking of the submarine. It’s always good to see someone survive on Lost.
- The Valley of Good Vs. Evil – How great was it to see our heroes walk over the hill and confront MIB-Locke head on? Although, on the other hand, it was sad to see what was left of the original cast.
- Sayid and Shannon together at last! – This is one of the more controversial moments of the finale last night. Many people believe Sayid should have been with Nadia, but it was not meant to be. I was a fan of this coupling in the beginning, and I’m still a fan of it now.
- Hurley = Man of Action – Hurley once awakened seemed to have brought over his leadership skills. It was great to see a cool, confident, and tactical Hurley. There couldn’t have been a finer finish for this fan favorite.
- Sayid ≠ Emo – After dealing with emo Sayid much of this season, it was refreshing to see him save the damsel in distress, and seemingly realize that he isn’t such a bad guy after all. The audience has known it all along, we are just glad he finally realized it.
- Dishonoring John Locke – After seeing Jack butt heads with the real John Locke over the course of the first four seasons, it was refreshing to see him have John Locke’s back in the face of danger. After MIB-Locke reminisces about the old days of Locke vs. Jack, Jack kindly tells him to have a nice steaming glass of STFU.
- Desmond “pwns” Eloise – After Eloise asks him if he heard her warning, Desmond responds, “Yes, I just chose to ignore you.” Turns out ole Eloise was just concerned about her son Daniel leaving with the LOSTies.
- Two wrongs don’t make a right – The light goes out, and Jack is proved wrong, but a quick punch to the face proves that turning off the light wasn’t everything Locke thought it would be either. Who got a little too much satisfaction at that first blow?
- The Birth – I dare anyone to name a show that can do the same sequence twice, with a few differences, and up the emotion the second time? This is the beauty of Lost. This might have been the best awakening of the whole night with Claire, Charlie, and Kate all coming to their realizations.
- On the road to Redemption – Ben pushes Hurley out of the way of a falling tree only to be pinned himself. If this doesn’t show you something about the redemption of one of the best villains ever to grace the TV screen, then I don’t know what will.
- Jack’s Super Move – Probably the most infuriating commercial break of the night was Jack’s leaping punch to start the battle royale with MIB-Locke. Unfortunately, when we came back from commercial we were treated more to a tackle than a leaping punch. The next battle might have been a little cheesy, but it finally disposed of the character that was responsible for the deaths of many on the island. (Who was a bit surprised Jack didn’t yell out “This is Sparta!!!” as he kicked Locke off the edge?)
- The True Believer – The awakening of Locke was like a breath of fresh air. We finally were reunited with the Locke we knew and loved, before he was murderously betrayed. The knowing look he gives Jack as once again Jack is a step behind him.
- The world’s most important light switch – This mystical source has a fail safe to stop it, and it appears to be a really heavy light switch. If I am understanding correctly, then this is the “source” of all life. Don’t you think there should be a better fail safe?
- The Scoundrel and The Doctor – It is hard to believe that when this show first started everyone loved Jack, and everyone loved to hate Sawyer. It felt great to see the two of them finally come to terms. It was probably more heartwarming than the final embrace of Jack and Kate.
- How about that cup of coffee? – Sawyer’s line of “going dutch” wrapped this romance up perfectly. It is amazing that the original fan reaction to this pairing was anger, but this is one of the best romances of the series. It really shows the depth of Sawyer’s character arc.
- Missing you – Kate’s line of “I’ve missed you so much. ” seems so much more meaningful after the final reveal. She has most likely lived a long life in between that moment, and the moment she kissed her true love, Jack, goodbye on the Island. (Note: The first time watching this I was distracted by the beauty of Evangeline Lilly, and that hot little number she was wearing.)
- All rise for supreme ruler, Hugo! – Hurley joins the ranks of Mother, Jacob, and Jack as a protector of the Island. Jack’s sentiments of, “It needs to be you, Hugo.” and “Hurley, I believe in you.” are just statements many Lost fans have been uttering for a while now.
- Up, Up, and Away! – The final flight off the island. A bittersweet moment, as this signaled that the show was almost over.\
- Ben’s Attrition – Having finally redeemed himself by saving Hurley, and acting as his second-in-command, it was now time for Ben to do the hardest thing, ask for forgiveness. Ben revealed his true motives to John Locke, and receives forgiveness from the obviously content Locke.
- A Great #1 – Sure, Ben was redeemed, but he didn’t feel he had earned his way yet. When invited by Hurley to join them, he declines citing more work to be done in the flash sideways world. The exchange of “Dude, you were a pretty good number two.”, and Ben’s reply of “Hurley, You were a great number one!” was one of the best insights we got to life after the show. Will Ben help the others find their way?
- The Big Reveal – This is the thing people are struggling with. The flash sideways we have been watching all season is a part of the afterlife that all the LOSTies went to after their deaths. It is no set time, but their consciousness is all there at the same time. Charlie might have died 100 years before Hurley, but they all end up in the same place. Don’t get confused, the island, and everything that happened on it was real.
- No one dies alone – Christian told Jack that “No one dies alone.”, and he was correct. Vincent makes his second appearance of the episode to give Jack comfort in his last minutes. Man’s best friend indeed.
- It ends the way it begins – I’ve been thinking for a while that the show might end on Jack’s eye just like it began in the pilot. He was awakened to the island in the pilot, and he leaves it in the finale. There is no more perfect way to bookend the series.
Sure, there are some unanswered questions, and many of them will be debated endlessly online. That is one of the main points of the show. What fun would it have been if everything was answered so easily? There would have been nothing left to hold onto. That doesn’t mean I don’t hope that Carlton and Cuse will break radio silence to throw us a few nagging questions, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t.
So, what did you think of the finale? Let us know in the comments. I’ll be sure to debate with you.