Now that Lost is over, there are still many questions: was the island drawing Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley, Jin, Sun and Locke in, or was it all just coincidence? What will become of the island now? What’s up with the polar bear? Is there anything duct tape can’t fix? What will I do on Tuesday nights?
If you were expecting answers about science and the supernatural or free-will and pre-determinism in last night’s finale, you were probably disappointed. Jack volunteered to carry on Jacob’s role, but then tells Hurley he was only supposed to have that job for a little while. In the alternate Los Angeles reality, the passengers of Oceanic flight #815 keep crossing one another’s paths unexpectedly, however it’s not until Desmond gets a flash of “not Penny’s boat” written on Charlie’s hand that he begins devising an elaborate plan to help the survivors find one another. Chance or fate—it’s still a coin toss.
But even with all the unanswered questions, it was a happy ending. Sawyer and Juliet were reunited. Jin and Sun will never again be apart. What kept these cleverly-orchestrated reunions from being downright cheesy is that the characters saw everything about themselves—the best times, the worst times, and for some, even their deaths—and knew that after all that, they were meant to be together.
This is the real question of Lost: can humans know each other deeply, flaws and all, and still love and be loved?
Back in Season 1, when morale was low and the survivors were sick of eating wild boar, Jack gave a pep talk. “If we can’t live together – we’re gonna die alone.” Throughout the six seasons, sometimes the survivors worked together. Sometimes they didn’t. Sometimes they even killed each other, by accident or on purpose. If the central thread of Lost was whether the survivors can figure out how to live together, then the finale was deeply satisfying.
When the island reality and alternate-LA-reality converge in an interfaith afterlife set in a church guarded by Christ and cherubim, you can try to figure out what the hell is going on, as fans have done for the past six years. Or you can get caught up in the emotion of the scene, as Claire rests her head on Charlie’s shoulder and Jack slides in the pew next to Kate.
I’ll go further with the overt, sometimes heavy-handed religious symbolism, because I think the writers want us to go there. When it’s all said and done, the questions don’t even seem to matter anymore. It’s not important why all the survivors ended up together in the church, but how. How did a self-righteous doctor, a murderer, a wheelchair-bound man, a torturer, an unwed mother, a heroin addict, an unhappy couple, an orphan, and a lottery winner learn to live together? The answer lies in the question that was asked again and again in the finale: Will you help me?
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