Yeah, so, I never really cared about the mythology of “Lost.” It was all about the characters for me, which is why I really liked the series finale.
I may not have it exactly right, but this is what I took from it after much thought and a little research: The “sideways world” was purgatory, and eventually all the survivors met up in purgatory so they could go to heaven (or wherever) together. Everything that happened on the island really happened. I’m so dense that Christian Shephard beating it into our heads when talking to Jack saying, “Some died before you and some died long after you” didn’t really sink in right away. My initial reaction was “What the?” but eventually it came together.
Was the finale perfect? No. Did it answer all the questions? Nope. Just like it did for its entire six-season run, “Lost” left me with a lot of questions. Sayid would hang out in purgatory and wait for Shannon; not his true love, Naydia? Really? Why was Penny in the church at the end? She was never on the island. What happened to Richard? They kept telling us that Walt was so special in Season 1 but then we never saw him again. What’s up with that?
But for every little quibble (and they are little), there were some truly great moments. I was so happy to see Rose and Bernard again. Boone getting his ass kicked just so Shannon and Sayid could have their “awakening” or whatever. The smile on Hurley’s face when he saw Charlie again. Kate being kinda bad ass and jumping off the cliff first. Juliet and Sawyer meet cute at the vending machine. (Yes, I got a little emotional during that scene.)
But my favorite moments involved my two favorite characters on the show: Locke and Ben. Seriously, “Lost” could do a spin-off with Ben and Locke walking through the jungle talking about nothing and I’d watch it. It would beat airing “The Bachelor,” so ABC you should think about it.
When Locke moved his toes after the surgery … I got a little misty. I’m not made of stone, people! And I loved the scene in which Hurley asks Ben to be his No. 2 on the island. That’s all Ben wanted. He wanted to protect the island, and the fact that Hurley would listen to him when Jacob never did; that’s like a dream job for Ben. And, of course, I worship the scene in which Locke and Ben are together: Locke rolls up to the church in his wheelchair and forgives Ben for everything and then gets out of the chair. Ben stays behind because he is not ready. Very appropriate. Ben was never one of them. His loyalties were always to himself and/or the island. I never knew what Ben was going to do, which I why he was one of my favorites on the show.
Finally, I got all choked up when Jack was dying and Vincent runs over and lies down next to him, so he doesn’t die alone. Ack! I’m going to start crying just thinking about it. What a good dog!
So, yeah, I didn’t need an explanation about the light in the center of the island, or why the man in black turned into smoke or why Claire never washed her hair. I didn’t care about that stuff. I cared about the characters, and I really wanted them to be OK.
You know, even when “Lost” was bad, it was still better than most of the shows on TV. And while some TV shows struggle to have one stand-out, memorable character, “Lost” had about 10. I always gave “Lost” mad props for being different. Most network shows are about doctors, lawyers or cops. Last night, after watching a network TV show, I talked to my husband about heaven, hell and purgatory, and about fate and science. I didn’t do that after the series finale of that hospital show with that one dude or whatever that lawyer show was with that chick.
I think the finale of “Lost” succeeded where other mythology-heavy shows such as “X-Files” and “Battlestar Galactica” failed (that’s right, I said it!): It gave the viewers who cared about the characters emotional closure that rang, for the most part, true.
I know. This is not a super in-depth analysis of one of the best shows on network TV in this decade, but it’s the best I could do while on my lunch break in my cube at work.