The Ending of LOST Explained

Nik at Nite has shared an explanation of LOST that claims to be from someone at Bad Robot and reflect the outlook of the show’s creator, producers and writers. It may or may not be authentic, but at first glance it seems at the very least to come from someone who has insight into the show, and is thus at least as worth reading as anything else that has been written about LOST.

Some people are puzzled and/or disappointed by the ending. And so here is my attempt to explain it.

Imagine that you spend several years of your life on a strange island, then off the strange island, then return to that island. Your experience connects you with other people, and also raises perplexing questions and profound mysteries. If you’re a LOST fan, you have spent the past six years imagining this, so it should not be hard.

Now imagine that you find yourself in another reality and have no recollection of those events on the island. But then you “wake up” and remember your earlier existence, and realize that you have died and have now somehow in or beyond death been reunited with those people.

The ending of LOST is suggesting that when you have this experience, what comes out of your mouth will not be “So what was underneath the island?” but “I love you!” When you discover that you have lived and died and now continue to live or live again, you will rejoice rather than complain, connect with people rather than ask questions about what was really going on that time when such and such puzzled us.

Unless you’re one of those souls that can’t move on. Then perhaps you’ll remain on the island. And being there you may just possibly witness things that provide further explanations. But sooner or later you too will realize then that there was more to life, something important that you missed. Perhaps, like Michael, you killed rather than connected - even if it was out of a desire to save your son.

When John Locke was alive and confronting death, he wished Jack had believed him. As he died the thought that passed through his head was “I don’t understand.” But when he passed into the afterlife and remembered all that had happened to him, he didn’t mention either of those things. He didn’t ask for answers. He simply hoped that someone would do for Jack what Jack did for him in that moment – help him remember it all, recall all the connections. And move on.

And so that’s what we’re given at the end of LOST: the suggestion that everyone, even the “good guys,” will be wrong about some things, the realization that every answer leads to another question, and a challenge to appreciate human connections more than answers, because the former are, in the grand scheme of things, more valuable. And whether you like LOST’s vision of the afterlife, or don’t think there is an afterlife at all, I suspect that its message about there being more to life than solving mysteries is still one that most of us can appreciate – even, and perhaps especially, those of us who spend our lives exploring puzzles and trying to answer unanswered questions, since we are best situated to confirm that it is indeed true that every answer only leads to more questions.

  • http://foolishsage.com Mark Traphagen

    The Nick at Nite blog has now posted an update saying the message is almost certainly a fake, and that Bad Robot is investigating. I very much enjoyed and concur with your take on the ending and the real purpose of LOST.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10082942274393180407 Gary

    So you really need to see the attached 'Lost Reenacted by Cats in 60 Seconds.'http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-DShnvNNv0

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    I've seen it. Thanks for mentioning it!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12963476276106907984 Sabio Lantz

    Thanks for the link.I really appreciate your summary.What can be more important than love?Not much.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08991981434316036749 superlizard

    so basically the whole six years of show script writing and the entire plot makes no sense… it was a collection of random events just confusing everyone, with no resolution in the end. This is truly the one of the most disappointing TV show endings i've ever seen in my live. i don't need producers of lost to tell me that connections and love are important… i need them to resolve the puzzles they've set up and give me closure. Terrible terrible and very weak ending.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    Just out of curiosity, which central mysteries would you say remained unresolved? Some were, some weren't, and in the case of some we have enough information to figure it out (e.g. the polar bears). I'm curious which mysteries are the cause of disappointment and frustration.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06944653387800571289 Roxy

    There is alot of questions that i still have!!! Why was the dharma initiative there in the 1st place?? Why did Locke and them press those button for a whole series?? How did those planes come and drop the food for the dharma initiative?? One big mystery for me is those numbers?? Hugo won the lottery with them, the hatch they opened had those numbers written on them!!!The numbers locke and them would put into to that computer was those numbers!!It was a terrible ending… Until i watched the ending i was telling people who didn't follow lost that they were loosing out but now i would not recommend it to any1…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    Roxy, I think your disappointment and confusion probably reflect a failure to understand some things from earlier seasons. Did you miss some episodes? The button was being pushed to release electromagnetic energy in small amounts because it was feared that its release all at once would have dire consequences. They hit the pocket of electromagnetism in the episode "The Incident." The Dharma Initiative was above all else a scientific organization on the island to do research into its properties. They were that period's "men of science" in contrast to the Others' stance as "people of faith."The numbers were connected with the Valenzetti equation, the seat numbers of the candidates, and much else. As to why those numbers, it is like asking why the Golden Ratio is so significant in nature. "Every answer will only lead to another question."

  • http://www.paragonlifeblog.com Debbi

    I haven't watched Lost since the first season, but can identify with the loss of the series. I only watch a select few things on TV but have had the rug pulled out on a series and not been happy. Hoping you Lost fans find something else to do with the precious time you gave to the series.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10621239531969774218 Roasted

    very very lame explanation of the ending…why can't someone just admit, we ran out of money, we ran out of time, we ran out of ideas…and oh an apology would be nice too

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    That might just be plausible, if it weren't for the fact that they knew for several years how much time they had. They may not have paced themselves well, but being surprised by an ending that you know is coming for three years is not plausible at all.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with you, James! Truly brilliant ending. I think a lot of people were building it up so much within themselves that they would have been unhappy with the ending no matter what. If you "wanted EVERYTHING to be answered" you would have just complained about the answers. The writers said themselves they love the idea of the show living on in discussions about what was what. I like that a lot personally, and for me and all of my friends it was not a let down at all! One of the best television series' I'll ever see, hands down.

  • Anonymous

    The end just sucked, it was a very lazy way to end such an epic production. "Everything goes ok when you die" yeah… lets all die and then be happy, LAME

  • Anonymous

    So wait, whats up with the scene where Sun is actually married to the other Asian dude, and they have a baby? does that mean that Sun is actually Mile's mother?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    I'm not sure what you're talking about, but I'm going to guess that you misunderstood what was going on in the episode where they had a flash forward of Sun and a flashback of Jin simultaneously, so that we assumed it was a single story about Jin and Sun until the end, when we discovered that once again the storytellers had done something unexpected.

  • Anonymous

    A lot of the questions I am seeing being asked don't bother me.. I can piece together plausible explanations for some of these plot holes. The statue could have been from people who lived there in the past. The polar bears- who knows maybe brought over by dharma initiative and we didn't get let in on that. But others I really can't wrap my head around! If the island is real, why/how did it become that way? Are we just supposed to assume that we are talking about a mystical island here? We spent six seasons watching the characters run around looking for answers just to find out that there are none? We just have to accept it for what it is???And if these characters were not dead from the start, how are they all in this "purgatory" to meet up at the same time if some of them are not even dead yet?! Jack doesn't die until long after they all start meeting up in purgatory… but somehow he is there anyway? What happens to the plane? If we see in the final episode it is flying away apparently safely then when/how do these people die? Why is aaron a baby in purgatory if he grew up in real life? Is it not safe to assume that if some of these characters lived they would have had other important connections in life? That they would have grown older?And why is Desmond able to grasp that there is an alternate reality going on while he is still alive?! If you dont go to purgatory until you die- then it does not make sense that he would know about it before that had happened…so frustrated.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    Although I think there are mysteries that either should have been explained or which seem at odds with other myst dries in a way that leaves the viewer confused, the ones you mentioned aren't them, in my opinion. The polar bears are not a mystery any longer. They were brought to turn the donkey wheel and move the island (that's how one ended up in Tunisia). See my earlier post on the subject. An afterlife in which time is not a part of that reality is also no big deal, and certainly not on a show involving time travel and imaginary time. And the producers long said that they would not try to explain why there is an island of this sort, and that seems to me to have been a wise choice.Your comment about the plane leaves me puzzled. Are you confusing Oceanic 815 with Ajira 316?

  • Lindsay

    I think it was a brilliant, emotional and satisfying ending. It's very strange how some people clearly haven't 'got' it at all – they can suspend their disbelief for some mysteries, but god help the producers if they can't provide answers to every single little question, whether it's ultimately of consequence or not. Some folks need everything explaining to them, then think that if they don't understand it, it's the show's fault, lol!

  • Anonymous

    You guys trying to justify that ending must have been watching a different show to me! six years of our lives it took. SIX YEARS! Granted, there was enjoyment, but frustration in equal measure and a constant niggling thought of "They better not end with them all going to bloody heaven! I bet they will…" And what did they do?

  • http://www.facebook.com/#!/suzanne.day84 Suzanne Day

    I have a confession, I watched the last episode when I was only at Season 4, in an attempt to understand it as a whole. I didn't help at all, haha. However, watched it again last night after seeing everything else and I think it was a lovely ending..yeah, it does ago against the cardinal rule in writing of 'and they were all in heaven' but I like the way the complicated storyline ended up conveying the simplest message, appreciate life and love. Well done Lost :)

  • Anonymous

    im not too worried about the ending, but its just random parts throughout the series that get your heart racing and trying to solve wierd mysterys, thats what i like about lost. and the character jacob is just the best.

  • Anonymous

    please guys give it a rest it is what it is x its life and the after life…who cares aabout stupid details?????? its the message of the series that they weredriving home in the last scenes. fate, if people are meant to meet they will meet in one way or another "see u in another life brother" if any of u think u could make a better series with a better ending…fill your boots

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17199261942617339556 Wayne Allen Sallee

    Hi, James. Nice post. I think the ending worked perfectly, although too much time was given to the Sideways reality. Why would you have a past after death, unless it is for redemption? For those who think so many questions were not answered, well, thinking about them, they *were*, just not spelled out. From the Carthaginians (in Tunisia) to the Black Rock, then DHARMA in subs and finally the Oceanic flight. As Jacob said, progress.That said, I thought the good bro/bad bro thing was lame, unless we again go with science/faith or–as I saw all of Lost to represent–free will or determinism.I really don't get why some people who are disappointed in a show's resolution give it time and rewatch it? Sure, we never knew who Ilana was, or why the donkey wheel was a wormhole to Tunisia. Henry Gale? Ben killed him. I'm angry at some issues being unresolved, but I still enjoyed the show.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    Thanks for your comment, Wayne. I do think that a great many things were implied, and when a show is at least in part a puzzle to be cracked, why should anyone complain that you were expected to make connections yourself? The polar bears are a good example – obviously they were used by the DHARMA folks to turn the donkey wheel.I wonder if watching it over after having seen the whole series affects one's perception. What do others think who either have or have not gone back and watched the show again from the beginning?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17199261942617339556 Wayne Allen Sallee

    Thanks back, James. Another thing to be said for answers to mysteries, a thousand years from now, the interior of The Orchid might look as arcane (or primitive) as the glyphs at the Temple. I do believe a few things could have been answered, like one decent Ilana-centric episode, insead of spending so much time in Sideways.I did watch the entire run before S5 started, when all we really knew about was the smoke monster. I really did see the early episodes quite telling once I saw the mobisode with Christian and Vincent. The MiB was in Vincent–I don't think it was ever implicitly said that the monster could only inhabit the dead–and then went from Vincent to Locke. This was at the moment we saw Locke watching his toe wiggle. Locke later saw the smoke as a white light, so again, we never got the full story on its' limitations. From there, we see Locke showing interest in Walt, who might have been the biggest threat in "understanding" what the monster represented.There were many sublime moments, like Locke saving Jack just after he found the caves, that had so much worth. What muddied the situation for me was the ARGs and cross-promotions, which happened in later seasons.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17199261942617339556 Wayne Allen Sallee

    Oh, and you (well, me too) knew the polar bears turned the wheel once you saw the holes in the spikes(for collars), Ben stuck his cane into one. I'm a writer, so I know even a little foreshadowing works wonders. The entire purpose of Ben's needing the cane might have been for that one single moment in the cavern.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00751538314917967236 Jnathon Lee

    I think the Lost ending was great and they did answer NEARLY all the questions. I am getting a bit sick of hearing people say it was a rubbish ending and answed nothing, wear these people watching the same show as me!With a program like Lost you were never going to get a straight forward answer, its open to a lot of interpratition to the individual and requires a little bit of thinking (No offence to anyone intended)-Sorry for the spelling I am rubbish at it!

  • Anonymous

    Nonsense it was a lazy way to end something that was running out of road.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02396025987554835336 WizdaJiz

    way too lazy of an ending. When writing and creating a show you are suppose to give hints, and make you question. Seems like writer just opened too many doors, and they didn't know how to answer them all. It was a big dismantlement overall. I watched it for 6 years and it feels wasted. It was like the ending of Dalla(from what I hear from my parents). BattleStar Gallactica had a great ending, This was horrible, lazy, it was rushed to 1 season to end it all as JJ was busy working on the next Star Trek or Mission Impossible or other projects. Very sad.

  • Anonymous

    I was pretty disappointed that the show ended with so many loose ends as well. The series finale was a good episode, but it wasn't very 'final' (IMHO) given all the remaining unanswered questions.Several folks seem to be under the impression that being disappointed by not getting explanations to the MANY mysteries left unsolved and unexplained on the show is somehow wrong and that the audience should be happy with what they DID get.That's great that you were very satisfied with the show's wrap-up, but for those of us who watched the show BECAUSE we were waiting for the eventual resolutions and explanations of the various mysteries, the show ended rather abruptly, without providing much gratification to a vast number of their audience. So here's my take on it:If they were all dead the whole time, then I don't need any further explanation — strange and mysterious events that occur in the after-life don't need an accompanying explanation.If they were all indeed survivors and the events of the show were happening in their earthly lives, then A LOT of things were left to the "viewers' imagination" to explain. I'm personally not a fan of this style of story telling — especially, not in the mass quantities provided (or, not provided) by Lost.

  • Anonymous

    Its ashame many can't connect with the ending as it was intended. Life doesnt wrap everything up neatly and hand it to you on a plate so why should the ending of Lost be any different. Story's are made for interpretation and analysis by the viewer. If you want to regress to early childhood and be spoon fed thats up to you start watching sesame street instead.

  • Anonymous

    Loved the show – do not feel cheated by the ending – but don't understand how bens, richards, and jacobs killing of all the DI folks plays in – thoughts?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02321981484160698643 RhondaB

    The biggest question that remains is, What the heck was the deal with the Others? Why did they kidnap Walt, why did they have to be enemies with the Oceanic people, why did they all know Latin, etc.? There was absolutely no purpose in their animosity toward anyone who wasn't part of their group. The Others' behavior was the whole purpose of Seasons 1-5. We wasted all those seasons pondering questions that we thought were the purpose of watching the show, then at the final season, the writers threw us a curve ball and basically chose to change the premise of the whole show. It was so disappointing, no matter how much anyone might like the final hours. The last show would have been great, if only the answers were still to come!

  • Anonymous

    Just some ideas on the questions in the last 2 posts:I think the extermination of DI was because they had gotten too close to disrupting the 'Light Source'. Recall in the episode dedicated to Jacob and the MIB that Jacob's "mother" exterminated the group of people that the MIB had gone to live with because they were getting too close to the 'Light Source'. The DI extermination was likely a similar occurence, ordered by Jacob (the current protector of the 'Light Source').The 'others' were (mostly?) made up of names crossed off of the wall in Jacob's cave (i.e. originally candidates for Jacob's eventual replacement, but taken out of the running for some reason). I don't think is a good reason for them to have any animosity toward random folks stranded on the island, except that Jacob insisted it be that way…

  • Anonymous

    Having just watched all series a second time (getting someone else as addicted!) I was far more pleased with the ending. I agree on different points of both sides of whether it was a satisfactory/unsatisfactory ending. I have been back and forth on this but I think overall it was worth it. I think the ending can be satisfactory as I agree with the fact that life is just like that sometimes, we actually rarely know the 'truth'! Although I was initially disappointed with a seemingly 'cop out' ending, I have now come to understand it a little deeper and quite happily accept the explanation for who, when and where they were. (However, I was still a little miffed with everyone getting a happy ending – realistic? or am I being cynical?).I do not feel it necessary to have all questions answered. Except for the numbers, they excited me in early series as to the meaning of them but felt they were just dropped. :S

  • Rhonda

    While it's true that in life we don't always know the truth about important things, I find that unsatifactory in a TV series. At what point should we draw the line? If we never found out how Locke got in the wheelchair, would that be okay, because we don't always know the truth? The true is important in a TV series, because it forms the plot. Otherwise, all you have is a random set of circumstances that have no purpose. An English teacher might mark those portions of the script "Irrelevant." Unfortunately, in LOST, if they left out the parts that were ultimately irrelevant, much of the show would be gone. It would probably only go on for a couple of seasons, in fact.

  • Anonymous

    Did we ever find out the name of Jacob's brother? I think there is something significant in that, their obvious dark and light characters and the game they played with one another – black versus white pieces. I liked Lost and whilst I was left a little deflated and unsure after the last episode, I don't think there could ever have been an ending that fully summed up the facts and satisfied everyone because so much has gone on for so many years, unless it was something awful like "…it was all a dream"

  • Damian

    I found the whole “sideways world” rather pointless to the story. I didn’t think it actually added anything to the story arc. Sure it represents something “spiritual” but I don’t think it should have taken up so much screen-time throughout that season. Screen-time that could have been used to answer questions that the viewers still had by the end of the series. What are the numbers? Why were they broadcast across the sea? Why is this particular island so special? Is it just electromagnetism? What is that light? What actually happens when it goes out? No, I mean a proper explanation? etcThere were so many questions left unanswered. Though when I watched the show I understood the island was real and the sideways world was like “limbo”, I was still rather annoyed by it and felt the series could have ended just the same without it.But don’t get me wrong, the series was still fantastic, and the writers are to be commended.

  • Anonymous

    dave and jo just finished watching the whole 6 seasons on dvd. excellent series, had us glued to the screen. but felt the ending was a bit of a let down, as alot of things were left unanswered. going to watch it all again to see if we can work a bit more out. but if we cant then its time to just let go and stop feeling LOST lol

  • Anonymous

    Oh please some people, stop trying to defend what was an absolute shambles of a finale. it is quite obvious that the writers had absolutely no overall plan from the start and merely fed us crap to keep us interested and to keep those DVD sales up. When people started to get a bit fed up with it all they basically wrapped things up as quickly and as LAMELY as possible. Lots of good stuff but ultimately a let down.

  • Anonymous

    i love all the die hard fans who despite the poor ending still feel the need to back the series up with the whole oh its better not knowing, its all artistic like life there are many unanswered questions yada yada… i think its sweet really..but its all BS honestly. above all you need to look at consistency. lost up until the last series gave you a mystery worked towards the end of the series and answered it leaving its audience struck. that is the biggeset appeal and the beauty of a cliff hanger which they took advantage of at the end of every episode. theres a difference here though..this end is definitely not a cliffhanger as you know how it all ends but there are simply unexplained aspects of the show that are in noway hinted to their answers so forming a consistent conclusion is only limited by ones imagination which in theory sounds nice but is poor show for a tv series that built up so many questions over 6 years. it honestly seems like they threw in a bunch of mysteries at the beginning like the strange animal which calls our hurleys name and then forgets to answer them. going back to the consistency point though they are too inconsistent here and to suggest that this was all part of a beautiful 6 series plan would be you trying to convince yourself that watching it wasnt a big waste of time. watch supernatural not as many questions but that is how you link 5 series together and keep the audience dying for more. i think that if you were a true fan you would think that ending was a complete waste and no justice was done to the good old series which made lost iconic

  • Anonymous

    It would have been a HUGE waste of my time if they'd ended up explaining everything down to the last detail. THAT would have been lame. That would have forever landed the show into the definition of sci fi or/and fantasy. Sure, this or that happened because someone got to ride away on a flying pony. But they did NOT do that. Leaving that open ended allows everyone connected to the show for whatever reason to still care about it, whether they hated or loved the ending. People were into Lost for different reasons. It appealed to so many different fans of different genres that it never in a million years could have satisfied all of them with any ending. My God, for me EVERY possible mystery had been revealed by the second last episode. I mean nothing was really left untied for me – perhaps little stuff here and there, but who cared? All the big things had been answered and all I really wanted to know was 1. What would happen to the island? 2. Who will win? (Jack or smokie). 3. What happens to all the characters? The first two are clearly answered, and the last one – well what WOULD happen? Well – Jack died in front of us, and so did everyone else eventually.They all eventually got together in an after-life because their time together on the island united them to, and they recognized each other through shared experiences and love. Through six seasons we see ALL the characters fight with each other, like each other, love each other, fight again – much tension. For them to remember each other again and remember the love and what they learned from each other was, to me, absolutely perfect. There was no other way to resolve the characters. I guess that would not suffice for those only interested in the constant twisting of plots, but for people interested in characters, I thought it was great. In the end, it satisfied no specific group of people or genre, revealing much, but keeping some secret. There lies the power of the series AND its ending.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04465073088607996104 Fawaz

    Hi, just my two cents as a fan who spent 6 years following the show. It's been over 8 months since the show ended and I still keep checking periodically to see if the producers have had the courage to come out and try to explain thee fundamentals of the island. I for one did not follow the series for it's characters, I did follow it for the mysteries of the island. I believe that's where all the frustration is coming from the fans. I do not believe for a second that any of us ranked the importance of the characters as number one attraction of the show. We followed the show for the mystery provided on an episode basis. Now, I am glad that some fans are happy that the producers gave it a life lesson about life, but I bet if you had known from the start that you were gonna be taken on a 6 year ride to follow on the progress of characters u would not have been into lost at all. For me, stuff like how Jacob was able to see through the dial and the mirror what everyone is doing arou d the world is one of the things that signifies Lost as a series. Those things are what made all the fans glued tom the screen anticipating what is next. I for one consider the episode of Jacob, smokey and their mothers to being the best episode of the whole season simply because it was full of answers and explained how the others, the canidates, Jacob and smokey came into play. But, that episode is very much one of very few. The numbers are a major part of the story which I believe went on unanswered sufficiently due to their importance. I do believe the show wrapped up, but for me the show only wrapped up the characters only because the producers promised a logical explanation from the very beginning and realized that was impossible to be achieved and instead focused on the charcters. So, I still feel kinda betrayed by the whole ordeal and wish I did not watch the show from the very beginning.

  • Anonymous

    Whether or not you liked the ending is going to be purely subjective.. the people getting mad @ the others trying to say it was good or just as guilty for trying to ram the "it sucked" notion down everyone else's throats. I'm not going to weigh in on my opinion on it, but you're naive if you think they just didn't have any idea. It's not like they didn't have plenty of time, or like they wrote the season finale the night before filming after three lines of coke off a hooker and a six-pack of beer..

  • Anonymous

    They all died on episode 1. The 6 seasons are a story of being lost in the afterlife. A very good story in my opinion.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    They did not die in episode 1. the finale is unambiguous that they all died at different times, and subsequently found one another in the afterlife. So however much you may like that understanding of the show, it remains a misunderstanding.

  • Anonymous

    @fawaz: I absolutely got hooked on this show because of the characters. My wife and I began watching this series last fall on Netflix and just finished it a couple nights ago. We both felt the reason it was so compelling was first and foremost because of the characters and the relationships formed. In the end, there is nothing like a good love story! And that's exactly what this is all about.

  • Anonymous

    It was utter shit, and I can't believe I got sucked in for six years. At least I realised I had been taken for a ride as soon as it finished. I feel sorry for those who still think it was good television. I wish I'd listened to friends who told me that it was crap at the start and listened to my own suspicions at the start of season three.

  • Anonymous

    i really liked the ending however i have a few things i dont quite understand….1) when the 'oceanic 6' left the island- were they still in purgatory or what that back in real life and real time?2) Juliet was on the island before Jack. They had never met off the island yet they have a son together.3)Penny was never on the island yet she was at the church with desmond on the final episode? 4) Aaron left the island and didnt go back with the (oceanic 6) is he also dead?5)Claire, Kate and a few others left on the plane in the last episode so didnt actually die on the island but was in the church at the end.6) in the 'church' jacks dad told him that the church was built by all the 'survivors' to meet up at the end- when was this as they had only just realised that they were in purgatory.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    They weren't dead/in purgatory, except in the "flashes sideways" in the final season.

  • Anonymous

    My Take.They all died when the atom bomb went off.From that point there are 2 timelines/parrallel universes. 1 is where they are in "purgatory" and need to find eachother to "move forward".The other is them escaping the island if still alive, or staying to look after it (Hugo & Ben). Jack dies in this universe too, but somehow connects with his other self, and that is why he is so happy to die.The island is supposed to be real, and is somehow giving "life-force" to the earth through the waters of the spring.I'll be interested to see what people think of thses ideas.Thanks, Phil, England.

  • Anonymous

    I enjoyed how the endding turned out. I thought though it didnt sum up everyting, i think it was just enough to satisfy, yet still leave you hanging, just like all good stories should.I personaly think they died in the plane crash.I think that the island was kinda like purgatory i guess. They were already dead, and they didnt know it. So instead of trying to find the light like a knowlingly dead person would do, they looked for answers. They wanted to know everything about the island. Why they were there, why the island wa there, its purpose. Then at the end, i think they relized they were dead. They relized they didnt want/need anwers. Which is why the show did not provide them.The flashbacks, and the off the island, confused me. I didnt not like them the entire time. I found them pointless. Especialy when the ending came, and they were not explained at all. It would have been alot better if they foucased on the plot n the island, insead of off.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    They didn't die in the plane crash! The show doesn't make sense if they died in the plane crash. The writers and producers have said that they didn't die in the plane crash. Seriously, what's it going to take for people to stop misinterpreting the show in this way?

  • Anonymous

    I just watched the las episodes of Lost. I was really disappointed. I know the plot was extremely complicated, but what we all expected were answers. Now, p.e. Sun and Jin obviously drowned in the sub, right? But how do the rest die? They're all dead in the side-life and they are just trying to find each other. But we never know what happened to them. Richard was finally going to age… and he disappears?Also, Sayid had been "turned" by "locke" the black smoke guy, but he still takes the bomb and sacrifices himself. Who's side is he on? What happened to Rose and Bernard? And Charlotte, and Dr. Chang, and Ana Lucia, an so many other characters that just vanished? I think, after watching so many complicated episodes during all these years, we deserved a clearer and better ending. Anyone?

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    I thought I should mention here that my blog has moved and, in honor of the one-year anniversary of the season finale, I have re-posted this explanation of the ending of LOST there. I hope you'll follow the blog to its new location, and continue the conversation there!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09907150728619323805 TaylorCherri

    I just finished watching the all 6 seasons of Lost. I absolutely loved it, although I was as confused as some other people were. I get, and agree with the whole "real-world" and "purgatory world." The thing that I'm most confused with is Jin and Sun. They died in the real-world. Ok, got it. In the purgatory world, everyone ran into each other…but no one really "remembered" until they touched or something really familiar happened. Um… but Jin and Sun were in a relationship in the purgatory life! They were having sex, Sun got pregnant… so why is it that they didn't "remember" until Juliet was showing them the ultra-sound of the baby?? This is so confusing!My theory: They died together in the sub, therefore they had an automatic love connection in the purgatory life that brought them together, yet they didn't understand why until they saw the ultra-sound? HELP! Lol

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01827675468979229812 Buzz

    I Finished my last season today and I was totally disappointed with the ending,What the hell was this ending .I was expecting the mysteries and questions that were created on the show will come to a good conclusion after watching the finale i think it was worthless watching all the seasonI am totally Dissapointed

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    Wow, TaylorCheri, that is a great observation. If I had to come up with am explanation, it would be that Sun and Jin came to the island already having a connection, but a tense and difficult one, and they also faced the issue of infertility. Sun's pregnancy was a key moment in their reconnecting on the island, and so it also served as a key moment for the connecting in the afterlife.But that may just be an after-the-fact rationalization, and the real answer may simply be that the writers didn't notice the inconsistency.  :-)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01217159113415414084 brett

    I don't care about the unanswered questions of why polar bears, or the life source of the island in the finale…What I REALLY HATED was that we care about the characters, we wanted them to survive, and we were manipulated by the writers to think that it was going to turn out that way. They wasted all our time and emotion showing you "limbo land" of what could have happened if they wouldn't have crashed, then pull rug out from under you saying…Oh Suck… that didn't really happen after all in the life they would have had.The most disappointing part for me was the emotional let down, in movies and tv world what makes a good ending is giving the viewer an emotional payoff, this was NOT it. I agree with those who say this was a lazy writers way of shutting it down quickly…Oh, their all dead. See you guys later, I've got another show I'm writing now. I thought the show was great, ending SUCKED. I kept hoping they wouldn't do it it us…but they did.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02561146722461747647 James F. McGrath

    Brett, sorry to hear that you felt that way. I think that we all have an emotional aversion to thinking of characters we have grown to love dying, even if (in the case of LOST) they all died in different ways, some after full lives, and all were reunited in an afterlife. I wonder what it is about this particular way of ending the show that brought out such a negative emotional response. I'm considering giving a conference paper on the ending of LOST, and so I really would like to know!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09560363038814242343 DavieBoy

    Brilliant ending, Ive discussed/argued with many many people since LOST ended, and around 90% of the "Haters" simply didnt "get it" They clearly did NOT pay attention to a show that demands attention.And the "unanswered questions" myth is getting tired, NOT ONE person ive discussed/argued with over the last 14 months has come up with a question that wasnt answered directly or cannot be answered using clues, hints, from dialogue and events from the show.

  • Jay

    So in other words it was just a cop out, the writers realised they had gone far to far with their sci fi and couldn’t produce answers to their bizarre mysteries. So instead of answering what actually happened after Jack died, what would have happened if the black smoke left the Island, what was the incident and a whole load of other questions that kept masses of fans hooked onto lost for so long they just create another life where everyone is apparently happy to “move on”. Great series program, just a really dissapointing ending, it was so corney, unrealistic and rushed, especially with Ben and Whitmore, had they scrapped the afterlife idea they could have made a much better ending to what really mattered about lost, the island.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      I think you can remove the afterlife ending and just focus on the other bits, and most of what you want is there. Why not have the black smoke leave the island? Do they really need to spell that one out? Would you be happy with black smoke loose in our world? :-) What happened after Jack died? We are given that information. Hurley took over, and Ben served as his second in command. What was the incident? When they set off the atomic bomb after the drilling hit the pocket of energy. LOST often left us to put two and two together, and I don’t find that a problem. The real persisting questions that were frustratingly unanswered for me were other ones.

    • http://www.facebook.com/tar.robertson Trevor Robertson

      Your point might sound more valid if you didn’t list off a series of questions that are directly answered in the show.

  • Bubba

    This, by far, is the most satisfying answer I have read to explain The End. It is poignant and well thought out and I can see the logic in all of this now. It certainly answers no questions but rather, makes the questions and every other detail left unresolved unimportant. It creates as its focus, the moment between Jacob/MiB’s real mother and the woman who was the original protector when the real mother starts to ask questions to which the response is, “Your questions will only lead to more questions, You need to get some rest now.” Indeed. What Lost needs is rest. As do I from thinking about it….

  • kB

    THE AFTERLIFE ENDING WAS TRASH !! I COULDNT BE MORE DISAPPOINTED WITH THE AMOUNT OF UNANSWERED QUESTIONS I HAVE

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      It sounds as though you are probably going to be disappointed with life too, as it will also leave you with unanswered questions. But it may be that the problem is with how you are approaching both.

      Who on the show could you imagine speaking with the arrogant, ALL CAPS tone you did here? What is your impression of that character?


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