I never went down that road, mostly because that would go against everything we had just seen, not only in the finale but for six seasons, plus the fact that there were no human remains strewn about. I myself thought it was an homage to the plane, or the show, or just a quiet moment to reflect. When I did rewind and look for any deeper meaning (before I got confirmation that it meant nothing and was ABC's doing), it looked to me like there was a single path of footprints in each of the three shots we saw. And it got me to thinking about the famous (to Christians, anyway) poem "Footprints." In a show that dealt with faith, eternal destiny, love, religion, and hope, one thing LOST was careful to do was never really bring God into the equation. We had a "God" character in Jacob in some ways, but they carefully - as we know from the merging of religious symbols in the final scene in the church with Jack and Christian - stayed away from adherence to any one God concept. Still, knowing we had some obvious Christian archetypes, I wondered if these shots might actually have been a way to throw God into the picture quietly via subtle references to the aforementioned poem, the one where the man has the dream about the single set of footprints appearing during the toughest and roughest parts of his life - like the ones our castaways went through. And it turns out God was carrying him through those times. That was a beautiful metaphor for me from those scenes, and even though I know there was absolutely no intent there, I'll move forward with this in my thinking about the show.


The REAL ending took place before the final "LOST" black and white screen appeared. And in it, Christian shepherds everyone into the light to see what awaits. I do know, however, why Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof seemed to be in disagreement during this interview about the actual "final scene." It's because there were two final scenes, intercut. In the other, Jack, mortally wounded by the Man in Black, is washed out the back side of the cavern after putting the hell-plug back in place, restoring the Light and the Flow. He stumbles out to the bamboo - his original landing place on the Island (to my grave I'm going to believe he "flashed in" to that spot, just as he did from the Ajira flight, rather than having landed there from the wreckage). He lays down, Vincent comes. He smiles. Even laughs. Vincent lays down in exactly the same manner our family dog did when my father was dying, which brings me to tears. Jack sees his friends - the Ajira 6 - escape safely on the plane. Mission accomplished. Eye closed.


I simply loved these intercut endings. The shots in the church, especially with the light streaming in from the back, were beautiful. The final shot of Jack's eye was elemental, inspired. A great way to come full-circle.


But about those theorized endings I mentioned - how did the show relate to them in the end?


Was it "All a Game"? Yes, and no. "The End" didn't really deal with the game concepts we've seen so much throughout the series, but it did end up making a point about testing and proving, and about time and what we do with it. It dealt with issues of why we are here, and how we spend our "now." And I think one of the things the show knew it was saying all along was that we naturally come up with ways to spend our time ("pastimes" if you will). These things tend to have relevance to the themes and questions we deal with. We sort ourselves into sides. We're dropped here needing to figure it out as we go along. "Everything is an option," said Dogen. Life is a team sport. "Nobody does it alone, Jack," said Christian. Community is important, even if I see something white and you see something black. We can play these things out and see what happens as long as we have more faith in the Game than we have in our own interpretations of the rules. There are rules, but there is also choice, so rules may be broken, so long as one understands there are consequences.