The island was not purgatory. It was not Hell. Whatever happened, happened. Oceanic 815 crashed on that island because Desmond failed to push the button. Eventually, some of them got off the island. They came back. Juliet set the bomb off, which sent them to island present. And finally, the Jack/Fake Locke showdown happened. Jack, the man of science turned man of faith, sacrificed himself to save the island (and the world if you believe mother when she said “if the light goes out here, it goes out everywhere”) but for someone so obsessed with saving others, he had to let that obsession go before he could do the most important thing in his life. What an amazing character arc, from his eye opening to his eye closing. What an amazing show, from his eye opening to his eye closing.
After Jughead went off, some (myself included) were worried that a reboot would reset things and the first five seasons would end up meaning nothing. Luckily, that didn’t happen. It all happened. It mattered, as Christian said. It was the most important time of their lives. They needed the island and they needed each other.
The island wasn’t purgatory, and neither was the sideways. The latter was a place that didn’t have linear time like the real world; it just exists in the consciousness of those who were connected by the island. They waited for each other so they could move on together. They waited for Jack, the man who saved them. What they moved on to is open for interpretation; the church was nondenominational and all encompassing. Christian Shephard’s name got a whole new meaning here. Most importantly: they had to die alone so they could live together.
I liked that there were a few parallels and call backs to other episodes and seasons throughout the episode.
Did the scene (and camerawork) where Jack and Locke peer down into the heart of the island while Desmond does his thing remind you of anything? It directly recalled the season one finale, “Exodus” (also directed by Jack Bender) where Jack and Locke peered down into the hatch, where Desmond (unbeknownst to them at the time) lived.
I like that when (Fake) Locke was killed, he was killed in the way that (John) Locke was paralyzed. Fake Locke was thrown off a cliff and landed on his back; John Locke was thrown out a window and landed on his back.
Some people are upset about David, Jack’s son in the sideways. I don’t have a problem with his non-existant self; I understand what he means. Jack had to understand what it’s like to be a father to truly be able to let go of his issues with his own father. Additionally, he works because Juliet needed to let go of her issues with fertility; remember her despair on the island? Sorry, David. Thanks for helping Jack and Juliet, David.
The Sawyer/Juliet scene almost had me in tears. The coffee/dutch lines and “kiss me” / “you got it, blondie” really killed me. Great, great writing. I caught two important things about this scene. Remember when Miles told Sawyer that she had wanted to tell him “it worked?” We thought then that “it worked” was referring to Jughead, but now we see that (and the previous lines I mentioned) was just her having this sideways conversation in front of the vending machine. Also of importance here was her telling Sawyer to unplug it and plug it back in, a nod to what Desmond and Jack did down in the heart of the island. Clever.
The scene between Ben and Locke outside the church was phenomenal. Ben apologizes for everything and then John Locke gets up out of his wheelchair and walks. He says that he was selfish and jealous. John forgives him. Ben says he has some things to work out and says that he’ll stay “here” for awhile. It can be argued that he won’t be “moving on” because of the things he’d done, or it could be argued that he just wasn’t read. Perhaps he was waiting for Alex or Danielle, or maybe even his childhood love, Annie, so he could move on with someone he loved. Either is acceptable, in my opinion. Hurley comes outside and he and Ben compliment each other on how good they were as #1/#2 on the island, just another clue that everything that happened, happened. They did spend time on the island as the new Jacob and Richard, perhaps thousands of years, but eventually they died, just as everyone does.Continued below
The final conversation between Jack and Christian hit me really hard the second and third time I watched it. (And the shot of Christian opening the back door causing the light to shine through while everyone sat down in the church had to remind you of the plane ripping apart, right?) I think I was so nervous during my first watch that I didn’t know what to think, and simply teared up. The next two viewings really brought on the waterworks. The beauty and symmetry of the opening shots and closing shots of the series (seen here) is just astounding.
The show has always been about the human element, the human experience and human struggles at their core, not the mystery of the mythology. (I wrote this at the beginning of the season, and I think it still holds true.) It ended the same way. We all have something, and letting go can be the hardest thing to do. I don’t need to know what the island is, I don’t need to know about Walt, I don’t need to know anything. Would I like to? Absolutely, but I’m okay without it. As JJ Abrams said, “a good question if often better than a good answer.”
Finally, they decided to show the Oceanic 815 wreckage while the credits rolled, and some people seemed to think this implied a time loop, and some thought that was the Ajira plane signifying that Lapidus and crew never made it off the island. I disagree. I think it was a nice way to say ‘this journey has come a long way in six years’ but also something deeper. Many people have come to the island, and they’ve all left something behind. All the hieroglyphics, the temple and the statue are most likely there because a group of Egyptians once inhabited the island. The Dharma barracks and the stations are there thanks to the Dharma folks who had their time on the island. And just as those who came before them, the Oceanic wreckage is the footprint left behind by the people we spent six years with.
French philosopher Pierre Teilhard De Chardin wrote:
“Remain true to yourself, but move ever upward toward greater consciousness and greater love! At the summit you will find yourselves united with all those who, from every direction, have made the same ascent. For everything that rises must converge.”
Live together, die alone has never meant as much as it does now.
The End wasn’t perfect, but it damn near as perfect as it could have been.