LOST: Nine Years Ago Today

LOST aired for the first time nine years ago today. People are still talking about it. People still bring it up in conversations with me. Often they were dissatisfied with the ending – and I am surprised that there are people who have completely misunderstood the ending, thinking that “the entire thing was Jack’s dream” or “they were all dead all along” or other things that are incompatible with what the show actually depicted, never mind what writers and producers have commented about it.

As someone who works on religion and science fiction, it isn’t surprising that the show keeps coming up in conversations with me. But what about you? Do you still think/talk about LOST?

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  • Ian

    Were they not dead the whole time? Seemed like the obvious interpretation to me, since the plane crash was the beginning of their redemptive journeys culminating in their ability to ‘move on’.

    • What made that seem like the obvious interpretation to you, when their finding each other in the afterlife only makes sense because of the way they came to mean so much to one another in their experiences on the island? It makes the “flashes sideways/upwards” into the afterlife in the final season meaningless if they were already there all along.

      • Ian

        I took all the fractured timelines to be facet’s of their redemption. So the ‘afterlife’ timeline, culminating in the church was the venue for moving on. But what came before that was the purgatorial preparation for them to be ready.

        But, I’m definitely not the kind of mine-is-the-one-true-interpretation kind of fanboy. It just seemed like your post suggest the dead-all-along idea was an obvious misinterpretation, and I wondered why, since that was the one that I left the final series with.

        • It still seems to me to be an obvious misinterpretation. So you are suggesting that the Oceanic Six never actually got off the island?

          • Ian

            It seemed to me they never got on the island. They died, everyone did, in the initial crash in the ocean.

            Perhaps taking the whole magical lottery, moving healing island, smoke monster, nuclear time travelling, immortal beings things got too much to suspend disbelief!

            But I thought the idea that the whole thing, from the first episode, had been preparing these conflicted individuals to find themselves and enter immortality, seemed quite a satisfying ending!

            But on a deeper level, I suspect what actually happened was the overall multi-series arc was just not very well planned, and the saga meandered, got more far-fetched, more spiritual, and ultimately is a poor fit for any absolute interpretation!

          • So in your interpretation, the entire thing was a sort of purgatory, and then the flash-sideways in the final season were a post-purgatory waiting area to get into the afterlife beyond that? And so when Jack remembered dying in that afterlife, and then we are shown him dying on the island after having fought Jacob’s brother, he didn’t actually die then, he had been dead all along? I really got a very different impression from those scenes, and so I can’t help but wonder whether you had already fixed this interpretation prior to the final season, and thus filtered out details that didn’t seem to fit.

          • Ian

            It is possible. I also haven’t seen it for a long time, so I can’t remember all the details of specific scenes that might refute me!

          • This conversation would make a great parable… 😉

          • Ian

            I was thinking exactly the same thing myself!

  • T. Webb

    Dr. McGrath, I’m with you – I’m surprised how much confusion there has been about the ending; I thought it was pretty clear.

  • Billy

    No, no, it’s not a purgatory! When the Oceanic Six sacrified themselves, they caused a paradox where the original plane could never crash but yet it did. As a result they have the ability to experience the alternate reality where the plane did not crash under certain special circumstances (they experience a kind of a conscious time/space travel like Desmond). This effect seems to be most pronounced at the point of death. Throughout the last season we see snippets of each of the survivor’s alternate reality but in the last scene we see Jack’s particular version (with his Dad).

    Unfortunately most people write the series off but I think it’s an amazingly well crafted piece of storytelling.

    • Billy

      It has been a while since I have watched it but the last few episodes of the flashes come as a result of Jack’s death that we see in the final scene on the island.