"Ohhhh… did you see that?" - Awakened John Locke, to Jack

What about you? What did you see?


What I saw was the end of an epic story about what happens when the Here-and-Now finally becomes just the Here ("there is no ‘now' here," says Christian). I saw a show that debated Fate conclude with concepts about the one fate that inarguably awaits us all. I saw some answers, and I saw some questions remain. Pursuant to that, I saw the story ascend to a plane even higher than the desire for knowledge, and I saw an incredibly compelling case being made that in the end it's not that you were proved right, wrong, or agnostic about those unknowns, but that you believed.


Interestingly enough, Faith, I think was the key not only for our characters, but for we the audience. I might suggest that your level of satisfaction with the finale was directly proportionate to the faith you had that LOST would deliver an ending worthy of your investment. That there would be something for you to take away. That enough of your pet questions - whatever those may have been for you personally (we all had our own) - would be answered, or at the very least mentioned. That you would, once it was all done, be able to look forward to re-watching all six seasons at some future date and time, believing that it would look richer instead of poorer in the light of knowing the ending.


That's where I'm at as I write this. Emotionally and spiritually satisfied. Wowed at the scope, themes, sets, and performances brought forth in a television series. Mildly entranced, as a part of my brain has set itself aside for the last three days masticating on all it had seen and heard from this show. And a little bit confused, to be honest. But I also can't lie and say I am without appreciation for still having some things to think about! It's like the show has, in a way, given me a way to keep going with it, rather than completely and abruptly slamming a door in my face. Still, I'll close this sign-off blog with a look at some lingering questions, some of which unsettle me more than others.


Would I have liked the LOST finale and the way the six seasons ended no matter what? Good question, since I admittedly have been a fanboy and a staunch defender of the series all along. The more I thought about this question I realized what it is I wouldn't have liked: a finale about faith - or a series about deep themes in general - that solved everything, left no grey areas, clearly demarked who was what, didn't need me to reflect upon it, or was only about a mystery to be solved. How would that have served anyone, allowed us to continue to fight and debate, or been anything special?


"But still," you say, "couldn't they at least tell me the Man in Black's name?" (It was in the script as Samuel. Does that, while another cool biblical name to consider the meaning of, really add much to your life?). "Why didn't they tell me whether Widmore was good or bad?" (even actor Alan Dale remains unclear). "Or why the Others had trouble conceiving and birthing on-Island post-1977?"


Indeed. They could have done a lot of things. I'm not here to convince anyone to like what they didn't like, view what they loved as inconsequential, or begin a career as a LOST apologist (too late, you say?). All I can tell you in this space is what I saw, how I interpreted it, and how I'm interacting with all the raw material in the space between. My greatest privilege would be to function in a small way as the Hurley to your Sayid, saying, "If you stick with me, you'll be happy you did."


Six Seasons in a Second


Throughout our final season, I have always kept myself from reading the recaps of others until after I completed my own. This week was no different, except that I did hear from more of you about your own theories, things you liked or didn't, and what's eating at you. I noticed a lot of confusion, some of it centered around what the whole story was, what the Island was, who died when, etc. So before we get to the specifics of the finale, let's do a quick look at the general overlay of the series.


In 2004, an airplane full of broken people crashed on a real Island in the South Pacific. Several people died in the crash. Perhaps they were the ones who were fulfilled, healed, and restored already. Several people would go on to die on the Island. Perhaps they were redeemed or accomplished their purposes during their brief stay there. Still more would go on to have many unbelievable adventures, including learning that the Island sat atop large pockets of electromagnetic energy that made it special in several ways. It could appear to disappear by moving in time. It could heal people. There were forces of good and evil on it. There were Other people already there, living in a society that was all at once secular and religious, scientific and faith-(fear?)-based. The human drama had been playing out for longer than any of our survivors could imagine in this place. Part of that is because this Island required a guardian, because it also served as a metaphorical (even literal) cork to keep Hell and chaos at bay. Unleashed, this Hell would cause the Island to fall into the sea, and would result in the Light of humanity going out, and the ceasing of the flow of living water. Essentially, the elements of life and community would be gone. The Island was not allegorical (I'm with Tolkien, who disliked people asking him what "The One Ring" symbolized. He intended no one-to-one correspondence). If the Island symoblized anything, it was our Earth - is it just a barren rock floating in a wide sea? Is our planet just a barren rock floating in the sea of space? Or is there meaning, is there a spiritual side?

There never was any escape for the twisted, angry, consumed-with-being-right soul of the guardian's twin brother. The very thing that would allow him to be free of the Island would result in the destruction of the world he wanted to see. That world is worth saving because even though Death waits for us all, we can continue in death to deal with our issues and find all-important love, choosing to move on if we so desire. Faith is the key, hope is the gift it unlocks, and love is what endures, helps us find each other even across the great border, and allows us to move on.


Several of you told me, "I just wish they had lived." And I admit to being a little confused over that wish. All the characters lived, existed. "Some died before [Jack], some long after." There's no sadness to the fact that eventually death came to them all; it comes to all of us. Boone died on the island in 2004. Jack died at the end of 2007 after completing his mission on the island. Kate probably went on to live another 40-50 years after flying out on the Ajira plane, and for all of that time she pined for Jack like another Kate (Winslet, as Rose DeWitt) pined for her own Jack (Dawson, played by Leo DiCaprio). I base this, of course, on how DeadWorld Kate told Jack how much she had missed him. We get to imagine what it was like for Miles to go home as a very rich man with the diamonds he dug up from Nikki and Paulo's graves. Or that Desmond probably used the Donkey Wheel to leave the Island, return to his family, and live out his days. Or what challenges Claire would overcome on the path to sanity and motherhood. Or that Richard could go on to experience the joys of aging, knowing he would one day shake off the bonds of flesh to be reunited with Isabella in his own DeadWorld. We also get to smile at the idea of new-Jacob Hurley running the Island with new-Richard Ben for another couple thousand years. You heard me. No reason to think he didn't do the job as long as he could, and that's a spin-off I'd love to see - the Adventures of the Immortal Hurley and Ben, and the Compelling Events that Ultimately Resulted in Their Own Deaths and Turning the Island Over to A New Protector). It doesn't matter when you die, since once you do, you step outside of time. Thus, every character, despite dying at different times, can arrive in this DeadWorld together. Let's take a look at what that world is like…

Who or What was David Shephard?

David, Jack's son, never existed. Not in LivingWorld, anyway. Which, of course, you already knew if you think about it. We definitely knew our original Jack Shephard never had a son. But then we were presented this "separate reality" in which he did, and after a brief period of misunderstanding, the two of them seemed so happy together. In fact, it was one of the big questions / conflicts as we began to wonder how the show was going to merge the timelines. What would become of David? Which world would Jack choose?

But then we got confirmation from Locke that "you don't have a son." And we learned that the LA X timeline was not an alternate timeline at all, but a timeless DeadWorld where characters work through situations and look for love (not even aware they are doing it or that they are dead) before they can - if they so choose - "let go."

Consider the following about David: He plays piano. He likes baseball, specifically the Red Sox. He reads Alice in Wonderland, always so worried about Kitty and Snowdrop. And last but definitely not least, as pointed out just last week by Locke, HE LOOKS LIKE JACK. These are all because... he is Jack. Or, at least, the part of Jack who never got to deal with his father issues in life. Who didn't get closure. Who is in some ways still a child not certain he has what it takes. David was Death's way of letting Jack work through those things and let go. He was as "real" as needed while there, but he has disappeared by the time the concert is over when Jack comes across Kate, and we never see him again. We can even look back to the fact that David did not sign-in at the desk in Ilana's office building (Jack, Claire, and Desmond all did) as yet another clue.

What's more, we can extend this theory about David to other characters and events. Like, where did Helen go / why does Memory-Activated Locke no longer worry or care about Helen before he heads off to the church and the great beyond? I think it's because her presence and function here were similar to David's for Jack. She allowed Locke to have experienced real love. She gave him another something to "let go" of. But once Locke made the decision to let go by rolling himself into Jack's office, Helen is strangely never seen again (one would have thought she would have come with him to such an important surgery, no?).

Going even deeper, these experiences of Jack and Locke in the DeadWorld, and of others like Sayid (got to see Nadia again, despite the cruel twist that she was married to his brother; got to find perhaps his real love - the one who really and truly didn't care that he was a big bad burly protector of people - in Shannon) may just give us a clue into those promises the Smoke Monster kept making to his recruits. You know, the "what is the one thing you want more than anything" promises. See, I think Smokey knows a lot about death, and the promises he was making amounted to little more than promising to kill the people to which he made them, thereby sending them to the DeadWorld where they get to work on that one thing, or see that one person again. Charlie wanted to see Claire. Sawyer wanted answers. Locke wanted to be loved instead of irreperably broken. And so on.

The DeadWorld also sets up several possible endings. Kind of like the 3 choices the Smoke Monster once presented to Sawyer. You can "believe." This is what the love-struck, once-was-lost-now-am-found, memory-activated dead Losties have done. They are leaving. You can call their destination Heaven - the place where faith is the key, hope is the way, and love abides (Desmond told Jack about a place they could be with the ones they loved). Another choice is to remain blissfully ignorant (kinda like in The Matrix) and see what happens. Hugo told Sayid he can choose. We know Ana-Lucia is "not ready." Eloise wishes to keep her son Daniel in the dark as long as she can to keep her own personal demons at bay.

And I believe a third choice is to reject - or not take advantage of - this second-chance DeadWorld and go on being an evil, unredeemed creep. I base this notion off an idea I came up with when I was trying to think if we had ever seen any characters from DeadWorld "die." Sun was shot... and lived. Locke was run over... and lived. Charlie choked on a bag of heroin... and lived. Desmond's car crashed into the harbor... and he lived. Did anyone die in DeadWorld?


Keamy. And Mikhail. And their goons. Perhaps one message the show has sent us is that an eternal damnation only awaits those who throw away all chances and continue to just be flat-out evil. And guess what? It's even biblical. In Revelation 21:8 John refers to the "fiery lake of burning sulfur" as "the second death"! Makes sense, right? These characters died once to get to DeadWorld. If they die there as well, that's a second death. And it just can't be coincidental that this only happened to the real baddies; those who still had hope were kept from double-dying almost miraculously, almost as if there was Purpose to it, almost exactly like how certain characters couldn't die in our original LivingWorld timeline until they had completed their missions.

About that Fiery Lake of Sulfur


Was that what was under the plug Desmond pulled? Hell? Hey, you tell me. The show certainly left that up to your beliefs to determine. For me, the clues of the show given by Jacob as well as my own Christianity inform me that this is an accurate a reading as any, since the concept fits for me into much of the rest of the story.


Who put that pit, tub, and plug at the base of the waterfall? Who do you think? Me, I think it dates to the creation of the world, beginning of humanity. To life starting, to death being a part of it. To good beginning, to the choice of evil needing to contrast it, balance it out. The plug, to me, represents the ultimate result of free will, THE last place where it all comes down to it. In the Source is both Life and Death. When Mother said this, I think it was meant on two levels.


First, yes, the Light (and perhaps the water, too) are part of what is inside not just the island, but every man. The Cavern is a real macro-level thing, but each of us has our own hole in the soul on a micro-level, too. Do you dare go in? Are you so determined that you find impossible ways to get by the safeguards? Can you deal with the outcome of your ultimate choice? Will you be right or wrong about it?


Second, there is Choice in the Source. Venturing in you can choose life, or death. We saw a skeleton lying to the side in the caves. Perhaps that was someone who ventured down and chose life by NOT choosing to venture into the pool that would kill him anyway, but also not to pull the plug that would extinguish life for all others. You can choose death (and even then, you have to be REALLY SURE you want to choose this, because you are choosing it for everyone, not just yourself, as it will take the creation of an impervious-to-electromagnetism guy to wade through the pool and get to the cork).


So what happened to the Man in Black when Jacob sent him down there? He washed into the pool, and the electromagnetism literally ripped the soul from his body, which later washed out the back side (just as Jack did). He emerged a black-hearted, twisted version of himself. Angry at Jacob, bitter at the lies told by his Mother, blinded by these concepts and what happened to him to the point where even with thousands of years he would never take the time to consider the possibilities that anyone else was right, that Mother's lies were for his protection, that perhaps they were all she knew herself, that perhaps they didn't necessarily negate other truths. For all Jacob's own flaws, he was at least wise to consider these possibilities on the night his brother first told him about the lies.


Was the Man in the Black the first-and-only Smoke Monster ever to inhabit the Island? It's at least debatable. I don't think Mother was one. If there were others, we never met them, except perhaps in that Egyptian hieroglyph Ben found beneath the Temple. I put these possibilities together in the suggestion that there's a potential Smoke Monster inside all of us. That mankind has been dealing with the worst of himself from the inside out, the death and the black stuff, since the beginning of time. And there's a real danger in unleashing that darkness and deception on the world. Still, it's not him leaving the Island that would spell doom for mankind. As we've said before, there is enough evil back in the world to do just fine at bringing about our own end, thank you. It's the conditions that would need to exist that would allow him to leave that would spell the end.


And what were those conditions? Pulling the plug turned out the Light. I understood the light as a metaphor for a combination of free will and original sin. The light of humanity. The choice that makes us different from the animals. The gleam that allows us to do good but also pre-ordains us to sinfulness and selfishness. What I did not expect was for water to stop flowing into the cavern when the plug was pulled. This was a big clue for me, and it finally answered a very big but extremely subtle question the show had presented to us this season: what was with all the water? Characters continually filling up bottles or canteens. Drinking water at odd times. Downing it as the act of faith that transforms one into an Island protector. It was the textbook case of "Water, water everywhere." Biblically, of course, we know of the concept of "living water" that quenches thirst for good, and comes pouring out of those who know Christ. Empirically, water (and light) are the ingredients of life that scientists look for throughout the universe to see if we are alone or not. The concepts work for all views. What is important is that there is a flow. Input, output. Life keeps moving, water keeps moving, time keeps moving. Dry it up, and there is nothingness. Barrenness.


This is why, I think, the Island is shown at the bottom of the ocean in what we are calling DeadWorld. Life has stopped there. You enter with the spark having gone out. But that is also why it is crucial for the living not to let the Island sink into the sea. If you do that, all you have is the DeadWorld. And if that is all you have, then there is no playing field, no gameboard, no proving ground, no test facility that is this life. No preparation. No chances. No redemption. No beginnings.


Jack Shephard passed his test, as did several other characters. It was never easy for him, as Locke once told him. Embracing the faith journey is next to impossible, but nothing is irreversible. Well, except Death. Although even in death you can receive second chances to work through things. But what about those who are dead on the Island? Those - like Michael, apparently - who are stuck in something very much like purgatory, who don't get to enter second-chance DeadWorld, but neither do they appear trapped under the Island in the lake of sulfur? I can only guess that Michael and the other whisperers are there because the Island, with its close proximity to "hell," serves as their own prison. They aren't worthy of being "in" Hell, but they are doomed to walk "on" it. Or maybe because the Island does have such close ties to Death and inescapability, those who die on or near the Island are stuck there. For the record, though, I don't see how that can be the case, as Boone, Shannon, and Jack and others are able to exist in DeadWorld as well as move on to "Heaven."


Passing the test involves accepting your purpose, seeing and embracing the miracles that happen that allow you to accomplish it, and possibly even sacrifice for the good of others. All of these boil down to faith. We mentioned that Faith is the key in LOST. I do believe this, mostly because I think this episode went to great lengths to prove what exactly the Man in Black's fatal flaw was, and that we waste a lot of time in our own lives debating right vs. wrong instead of simply believing.


As Jack, Desmond, and MiB all made their way to the Source, each one of them had a different idea about what was going to happen. They argued about who would be right, who would be wrong. MiB, when trying to kill Jack, was so determined to force into Jack's brain that he died for nothing, that it was all a lie, that he - the MiB - was right. So much energy into this one little concept. So much energy wasted when there were truths he had no way of even considering, such as the fact that pulling the plug would not only restore his mortality and ability to die, but that there would be no world for him to sail to. So he was wrong. But so was Desmond. Des believed that nothing would happen if he went into the cavern. Nothing of significance, anyway. His experience had taught him that he'd probably just be flashed out to someplace else, and that all this fussin and fightin and warring had no purpose, not when there was another world he had glimpsed where you could live for love! But that too was all a pipe dream, as Desmond learned, and his grandiose visions of another world were little more than the experience of his own DeadWorld. So he was wrong. But so was Jack. Jack believed Jacob wouldn't have brought Desmond back unless there was a reason. Surely Des was here to save the day! Nothing bad would happen if he went down there! Wrong again, as the MiB took glee in telling him.


It might not be a comfortable message for those, like me, who come from a belief system that holds to Absolute Truth. But the LOST gospel says that nobody possesses every bit of knowledge. You can exist for thousands of years and be right about a lot of things, but there will still be things you have NO WAY of knowing will happen. You can be convinced of your own rightness and righteousness but still see evil. You can talk of love and peace but be blind to the reality that the very fact such things exist means they will ironically become worth warring over as people will choose to define them in their own ways. Just yesterday I read a quote from a devotional that said, "Right doctrine is never an end in itself." So what do we do? LOST suggests we give up our claim to being right. And in its place we substitute something much better - Faith. Faith is not the opposite of Reason, says LOST; faith is quite reasonable. More reasonable than right vs. wrong, anyway. More reasonable than worry, fear, or judgment. Faith frees. Think of Desmond after he came out of Widmore's electro-chamber ready and willing to go with anyone down any path, so convinced they all ended in victory and a return to Penny no matter what. Faith brings smiles, and laughter, and understanding. Listening and loving. Faith brings us to Jack's sacrifice, and any we ourselves would make, because it helps us see that Death is not the end, and nothing to fear.


And that, friends, is what I think LOST was all about in The End.


The Ending…


Several weeks ago in this space we took a look at several possible endings I and others had theorized. I think it turned out to be an interesting combination of several of them. Also, it bears mentioning that ABC - not the producers - added the end-credits footage of the 815 carcass on the beach. They needed something over which to lay the credits and provide a buffer between the emotional ending and the local news. It was never intended to have significance. Unfortunately, this choice inadvertently served to confuse a lot of people who interpreted it as a yank-the-rug-out clue that no one had ever survived the 815 crash in the first place!


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.


Was it the "This Place is Death?" ending? Yes, and no. The Island is the spot on the Earth where THE choice free will boils down to has its ultimate waterloo. Unleash hell, or operate by faith and trust that life will give you every chance you need, even in death. It is again referred to as a "God-forsaken rock," and in the world of the dead, it is underwater, left cold and dead itself. Several people did die there. But we can assume that the Island goes on for millennia under Hurley's leadership, doing what it has always done - providing a haven for lost souls to be born again. What I doubt is whether these souls any longer find themselves in the middle of "the game" between the Island protector and the soul of his evil brother over whether humans are basically good or basically evil. And no, it was never lost on me or any of you how the Man in Black was the one who espoused the prevailing Christian view that people are prone to sin, fighting, and destruction.


Was it the Jack's Eye ending? Yes, and no. It wasn't a reboot. There were no multiple timelines. Jack told Desmond that he tried once before to undo the past, but he was wrong. There are second chances, but there's no changing the past. Instead, this version of the Jack's Eye ending completed the circuit. Or as Darth Vader might say, "The circle is now complete." Speaking of which, that Star Wars reference the producers had referenced? Turns out it was a double-shot. Not only did Hurley say Jacob was "worse than Yoda" for his cryptic instruction giving (and hey - too bad we never got to see Jacob disappear before the Candidates), but he also pulled out the old chestnut, "I've got a bad feeling about this…"


Was it the kum-ba-yah coffee shop / (God is) Love ending? Yes, and no. I am so glad they took it to the church instead of the coffee shop. But other than that it was so similar to how I imagined it. Friends embracing. Conversations. Happiness. Connectedness. And good ol' down-home soulmate love. Jack and Kate (told you guys she loved him). Sawyer and Juliet (their memory-activation scene was the bomb). Hugo and Libby. What did you think about Sayid and Shannon? I know some folks were bothered this wasn't Nadia, but as I mentioned earlier, I tend to think Shannon was the one who truly accepted Sayid for what he was, and saw only the good side of his qualities - that he is a warrior, a protector, a strongman to make the bad man go away, the like to which we should all be so lucky to have watching our backs. I wonder if everything about Sayid made Shannon feel safe, while perhaps those same things always gave Nadia bit of uneasiness, as they did when the LAPD came knocking on her door.


Ben comes to see everyone off, partly because he has to apologize to Locke (Locke rocks the Forgiveness on Ben, which he says helps him very much) for his selfishness and jealousy, and partly because he is saying good-bye to Hurley, with whom he got to share what was no doubt a lot of excellent adventures during their time protecting the Island. He doesn't go in, he says, because he has some things to work out. I choose to believe he is talking about Love, something which Ben Linus didn't experience much of in life, and something which we know he has now been given the chance to know in Death, having found Rousseau and Alex. I like to think he spends several years with them before he helps them undergo their own awakenings so they too can move on.


But what about the babies? Claire births Aaron, and brings him with her to the church. Sun is pregnant with Ji Yeon. But Little Charlie - Desmond and Penny's son - is not there. My first thought about all this was jotted down on a notepad during my second viewing of the finale, right at the part where Kate helped Claire birth Aaron - again. My notes read, "Life in / amid / out of death? Births and love? And at the Natural History Museum? Poetic." And what I think I meant by this was that the symbolism of life occurring in death might be just as natural as death occurring as a integral part of life. Science and nature and the empiricists tell us that you can't have life without death, and that this process has been occurring since we crawled out of the ooze. So again, LOST makes room in one image for all sides, all views. I don't know if someone being born into the DeadWorld signifies that this person - Aaron in this example - just died in their real life. Ji Yeon, in this explanation, would apparently be nearing her own death, soon to be born to Sun and Jin. I like that idea, but…


The fact Little Charlie isn't there - this would indicate to me that in death he had his own group of "people most important to you" to be with. Did Aaron and Ji Yeon not have the same? Or for them was this always their parents - the ones that Ji Yeon never got to know and perhaps wants to meet, and for Aaron, the two special mommies he had that loved him like no one else (Kate and Claire)? That's the best I can figure.


The Finale


Before we get to the remaining questions, let's take one last walk around the block with the events of "The End" that we haven't covered yet…


That opening shot of Christian's casket being unloaded at LAX - that was an interesting choice. To me it symbolized the Death theme, and the way it was shot and the music seemed to say there was nothing to fear here. I did find it odd, though, that Desmond was the one to call Jack about the arrival of the casket. Why not someone who truly was an Oceanic rep? I think, basically, Desmond just knew. He's been doing a lot of stuff behind the scenes (obviously at some point he or Hurley went and "awakened" Boone, for instance, and told him to get Shannon out of Australia), so he might have even been the one to track down its whereabouts. Or else he just knew that today was the day it was finally arriving.


I loved re-visiting some of our old locales like the Dharma lamppost church, and the Flightline motel.


More about Faith - looking back over the series, the idea of tests and faith have been replayed over and over. Earlier this season we found Montand's remains with the book Fear and Trembling (based off the Bible verse "continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling" - very much echoing what the Losties had to face), and in which the author Soren Kierkegaard sets up a scene where he defends Abraham for being willing to trust God in sacrificing Isaac. This Abraham story was also part of Desmond's faith journey during his monkhood days, when the monastery's label was "Moriah Vineyards," Moriah being the mountain where the Abraham story took place. Des had the following conversation at that time with Brother Campbell: He comments that it's a strange choice, given how "depressing" a story it is that Abraham was asked to sacrifice Isaac at Mt. Moriah.


Bro. C: And yet God spared Isaac.

Des: Well, one might argue that God need not have asked Abraham to sacrifice his son in the first place.

Bro. C: Then it wouldn't have been much of a test, would it, brother? Perhaps you underestimate the value of sacrifice.


Not anymore he doesn't. He was ready to make the sacrifice Widmore told him he would. And in death, Desmond goes on to prophet like status as the one who - given an idea by Daniel Widmore that "this was not our life" followed by having visions of having known Penny previously - becomes "something like" a priest to guide and prod everyone in the right direction. And yet… some people still don't quite understand what he was doing. Just last night I was asked, "But I still don't get why Desmond tried to kill Locke." Kill him? Didn't you hear him explain to Ben that he was never trying to do that, only get him to let go, to understand he was already dead, to move on?


Speaking of Brother Campbell, I just remembered he had a picture of Mrs. Hawking on his desk in the monastery. And seeing Eloise in last night's episode was a reminder of why she's always known so much. Eloise Hawking was forever haunted by having shot her own talented son in the back. And when (obviously) Jack's plan to detonate that bomb never brought her son back to her, how delighted must she have been in death to have the chance to be with Daniel again. Her words to Desmond at the concert indicate that her greatest fear is someone awakening her son, and taking him away into "Heaven." Desmond lets her know that it won't be him doing this. But as we have just seen Daniel finally having a meet-cute with Charlotte, the woman who the mere glimpse of her at the museum had been enough to get him drawing physics diagrams in his sleep, we can bet that soon enough, Daniel, Charlotte, and others will soon be making their own journeys to the next great beyond.


Loved Desmond's line to Kate about "No one can tell you why you're here, Kate." You can take it two ways. You can ask why you're dead, but in the end, there's no good reason, as it's everyone's fate no matter what. No real rhyme or reason to it. You can also take it as you needing to figure out your own purpose and destiny within the world of the dead. Will you move on? Reject your second chances? Remain ignorant? What?


Good job of injecting humor into this episode. Loved Sawyer's lines about Bigfoot (Hurley), the Magic Leprechaun (Desmond), and the Burning Bush (Jacob). Ben and Miles also got a few smilers to say. This was a show that was totally underrated for its humor.


Free will still exists even in death, as Hurley indicates to Sayid. Dig it.


Rose and Bernard don't even know what year it is on the Island now, and don't even care. They have one rule of their own - don't get involved with Island events. They broke that rule for Desmond. Indeed, rules can be broken. And indeed, they have consequences. Helping Desmond brought the Man in Black to their doorstep, where he threatened to gut them if Des didn't cooperate. Des swings a deal to ensure their safety, and we can assume that Rose, Bernard, and Vincent lived out the remainder of their days in health and happiness on Hurley's Island. In death, I don't know what occurred that woke them up, but I am convinced that in the episode where Jack visited Bernard's office, Bernard was speaking as someone who was already Memory-Activated and was just waiting for the rest of his friends to join him.


Also liked bringing Rose's old line of "not going anywhere with" him / that man out of the closet.


Of course Richard and Frank both lived. As Damon Lindelof once told us, unless we show you something happening (like a death), you can't assume it happened. This m.o. goes all the way back to wondering if Jin died in the freighter explosion. I do like that we guessed right about the life preservers, though, back when Sawyer was watching them wash up on shore. It was pretty clear that was Frank's ticket.


Juliet - in DeadWorld - has the last name Carlson instead of Burke (since she never married that creepy hit-by-a-bus ex of hers from her first life). Carlson was her maiden name, which we know from it being the same last name as her sister Rachel.


I'm still wondering, though, why Miles' last name never changed from Straume to Chang in the DeadWorld. Did Miles ever embrace death once it came to him at all? He is not at the church with the group that is leaving. He was always kinda sorta in it for the money and to save his own skin. I loved him as a character but I can't help but wonder - due to the open questions the producers left us with about him and the fact he dug up the diamonds - if he ever truly "got it." I took a lot from his line to Richard as they are doing maintenance on the plane - "I don't believe in a lot of things, but I do believe in duct tape." First time through, I laughed at that line. Yay, duct tape! Second time through, my face fell. Faith is the key, Miles! And you are truly standing there in front of a guy who you just saw go from unaging to mortal - having been flashed through time and having seen sentient clouds of black smoke and having been gifted with the ability to talk to the dead - and you can actually still talk of what you DON'T believe in? I worry for you, my friend.


I loved the mirror to the D.O.C. episode with Juliet, Sun and the ultrasound, which serves to activate Sun's, and then Jin's, memories. So beautiful they way they both transitioned to English after that, and the peace they had on their faces after that, like when Sawyer came to visit them and Sun told him, "I'm already safe." It's this kind of peace I was thinking about when Locke, just before surgery, tells Jack he hopes that finding his father will bring him some peace. And truly, the ending of this episode and series was all about being at peace after all the tests and turmoil are at an end.


Richard was made mortal again with the official end of Jacob's rule on the Island, and this is just the push he needed to find a reason to live again. Immortality is a boring curse, the show seems to be saying. The other side of that coin is that mortality - knowing we are going to die - ironically enough makes for one exciting, albeit challenging, beautiful adventure. And Richard is ready for it. When it comes to an end, his Isabella awaits…


When Frank came up with the idea of stealing Smokey's plane so Smokey can't use it to escape, it became more clear to me just how skilled a game player this Man in Black was. Not only did he access the form and memories of a guy who knew how to fly a plane (Locke), but he left himself multiple methods of escape. Need to blow up the sub? Take the plane. Plane gets taken? I have a boat.


Jack knew he was going to kill the Smoke Monster, even when challenged as to "how" that impossible task would be accomplished. "It's a surprise," he said, knowing that it would probably come to him that way as well. I loved it when Flocke told Kate to save her bullets. Somehow I knew that would come back to haunt him. I just kinda wish they hadn't actually had Kate SAY "I saved you a bullet." Too Eastwood or something. Would have been more LOSTy to let us make that connection ourselves and then pat ourselves on the back for having caught it.


Jack speaks about Desmond as Jacob having brought him back. So is that who Jacob wanted Hurley to help find the island - not Widmore but Desmond? Makes sense, and makes Lindelof's ascertation that Jacob never visited a repentant Charles Widmore more sensible. Question: Do you think Desmond might have been No. 108 in the Lighthouse, the one Jacob sent Hurley there to look up before Jack smashed up all the mirrors? Because it makes sense to me that Desmond was a special candidate in that he was the exception, the sum of all the others, and that he was even referred to by Jack as "a weapon." Several items in the LOST story dealt with the valenzetti equation, which involved The Numbers as a way of predicting when humanity would cause its own extinction from the planet. If the equation results in 108, and "108" is a weapon (as in, people will keep building bigger and bigger guns until they build one big enough to destroy themselves), then the metaphor works. What Desmond does, pulling that plug, would have resulted in the end of the world. And another item of LOST lore comes full-circle.


Even in DeadWorld, there are rules. Hurley tells Sayid this. It has to be Sayid's choice to wake up. But what Hurley can do for Sayid is tell him that in his view, he's a good guy (harkened back to their first convo on the beach where Hurley says "You're okay" to Sayid after he has just fought with Sawyer, and Hurley learns that Sayid was in the Republican Guard). He tells Sayid he can't let himself be defined by what others think of him. He can't let others tell him who he is. And that's so true. But let's not forget that where LOST leaves off, we're still accountable to answer to a God, not simply to ourselves or to others.


Jack and MiB continue their right vs. wrong discussion when lowering Desmond into the cavern feels like "old times" when they stood atop the open Hatch. I loved the verbal beatdown Jack gives the MiB here about dangit, you aren't John Locke, you dishonor him, he was right about most everything, and I wish I coulda told him, so shut it. And once again, being-right-obsessed MiB can only retort that Locke was never right, and when you drop into the ocean with this island (foreshadowing his own end), you'll know that.


The producers had told us that Desmond's long-ago line to Jack of "You gotta lift it up, Brotha" would come into play. I put it to you. Did this refer to the heavy plug being lifted back into the hell hole? Did it refer to Jack finally lifting the lid to his father's coffin? Or both?


Why is it that pulling the plug suddenly puts flesh and blood into the body of the Smoke Monster? I honestly have no explanation for this, other than what we discussed earlier about unforeseen happenings. You can be SO smart and think you've played your game perfectly and were so right, but then something completely out of the blue can happen to you that you had no way of anticipating, causing your own arrogance and self-rightness to be your fatal flaw. His failure to believe ever since the beliefs handed down from his mother were challenged twisted him, ruined him, and destroyed him. But here's one irony - he never HAD to be bad. Could he have not chosen to be a good little Smoke Monster? And once his mortal coils were returned to him, could he not have suddenly chosen to embrace that miracle (he was so bitter previously about his body having been stolen from him unfairly) and work towards restoring the Island WITH Jack and Co.? I bet Hurley would have let him leave, and see the world, with his new order in place on the Island, and humanity safe. But he was too blind and too far gone to even consider the hell it would be to admit he was ever wrong.


Didn't you like how when Ben was trapped by the falling tree limb all these people who once hated and feared him so much wouldn't leave without him? Only question is, one minute he's pinned and the whole group can't free him. Next minute, Jack is off chasing Smokey, Kate has gone after him, and now a smaller group ends up getting Ben free? How?


We know what was up with Jack's neck wound now - but it doesn't explain why he never experienced a wound like that in his side during his DeadWorld scenes.


When Jack's neck started bleeding after Locke's surgery, and Locke wakes up talking about "You don't have a son" and "I hope somebody does for you what you did for me," I thought, oh, crap, it's just like the old days, and Jack's gonna start getting really insulted and pissy at Locke's crypto-faith comments! But no. He simply makes his way to the concert. There is no David there, only Memory-Activated Kate. She has missed him so… and she touches him and he recoils because he's not ready to let go, to remember, to accept that he's dead. She does manage to convince him, however, to go with her to the church, where his final reckoning can occur. "If you come with me, you will [understand]," she tells him. Such assurance, such conviction in her words.


On the island, meanwhile, Kate wants Jack to come with her, be done with this cursed place, let the island sink. "I can't," he says. Not only is he sworn to protect it, but sunken Island, he knows, equals DeadWorld. And that just won't do. The light must be put right, or "God help us all."


Ben shows how he was in some ways always a true Captain of the Island. If it's going down, he says, well he's going down with it. That's consistent. It was all he ever had, and he loved it to the end. But if you think about it, they told us all along (we always knew names were important on this show) who the next King of the Island would be. What is the meaning of the Spanish word Reyes? Kings. Still, Hurley was only able to do this job after his friend Jack placed faith in him, just like Hurley had earlier encouraged Jack with his own faith. "I believe in you" are meant to come across as the incredibly powerful words that they truly are.


Best scene of the finale - Sawyer's Apollo bar sticks in the vending machine, just like Jack's once did. Juliet catches him trying to get it out. She tells him a secret. When the bar falls, her words are the exact ones spoken during her death scene in the season's first episode: "It worked. We should get coffee sometime. We could go Dutch." Sparks fly and hallelujah! I especially love this scene for the meaning it gave to "It worked." All this time we assumed it meant the Jughead plan worked, but no. It was merely Juliet in death seeing and saying the lines from her meet-up with Sawyer, who won't die for several more years (we assume), but for her it's happening right then, right there.


You know, guys, I never got into the Jater / Skater thing, but one reason for that is that from where I stood, it was always going to be Jack and Kate, from the very moment she stitched up his wound on the island. And once they painted the picture of Dharma Days Sawyer and Juliet in love and having spent THREE YEARS together, there was likewise no doubt in my mind that these two had an everlasting love. Not much else needs to be said, but I am sorry if you were holding out hope for different romantic ending that never materialized.


Kate got Claire to come with them by assuring her that no one ever knows how to be a mother until they do it. It's another metaphor for the show itself. No one can show you how to play the game, what you're here for, how to live or care for another person. The key is just doing it.


Ben advises King Hugo that he doesn't have to operate under the same rules as Jacob. He can make his own. And they should be in line with the strength of his personality - taking care of people. And we can start right here with getting Desmond back to his family, and I think I can show you how we can do that… (wanna make a trip to the Orchid station with me?).


Jack and Christian's scene in the church was the crux of understand everything that happened. Much of it we covered above, such as the explanations of Death being a place outside of time, and that those who are most important to a person - the people with whom you faced the most challenging but rewarding times - they are the ones who will build a DeadWorld with you so that you might all find each other again. Life is lived in community - solo runners don't get very far down the love trail. And by the way, Jack, no, you're not "leaving." More like "moving on." Let's go find out what y'all's Heaven is gonna look like.


I neither loved nor hated the conglomeration of the world's religious symbols being so prevalent in that final scene. All those philosophies contributed to the making of the show, so the producers had every right to include them. Beyond the Christian ones, I felt the Taoist yin and yang, the black-and-white, good-and-evil dualism and sense of balance played the best and the heaviest among all the others over the course of the show.


So why weren't the following in the church?

  • Ben (still working some things out; probably going to explore love with Danielle and try being a real dad to Alex)

  • Ana-Lucia (not ready yet)

  • Miles (see above for my sad theories about him)

  • Charlotte & Daniel (won't be long before I think each of them find love with each other and are soon ready to move on)

  • Eloise & Charles (not sure it's a happy ending for them, either. Loveless marriage? Her son soon to "leave"?)

  • Michael  (trapped on the Island's purgatory with the other Whsiperers?)

  • Richard (his DeadWorld most surely involved Isabella and others closest to him)

  • Walt (he was only a kid when he spent a month with these people; surely his own DeadWorld experience involved those he lived the more meaningful portions of his life with)

And Frank Lapidus, master of the one-liner, had as his final line: "Amen." And I say Amen to that.

The Questions


A sampling of friends' reactions immediately following the finale…


"Amazing, awesome, perfect. Kind of puts the whole Dharma food drop questions into perspective, doesn't it?" - John Sizemore


"Wow!!!! I just can't believe it!!! All the questions ended up not being very important in the bigger picture!!! Just the people… :)" - Nicole Gardner


"I do not like unanswered island mysteries." - Davida Bloomberg


So which camp are you in?


I'm right in between. As I explained in my final blog post just before the finale, for me, LOST is "equally compelling in the ways it's about character / relationships / community and about mystery / revelation / metaphor. It all comes down to this tonight."


In the end of every game, one side wins out. In this case, the best one did. Can you imagine if LOST had ended with just a narrative about how this-was-that and that-meant-this and here's a line about how Yemi's Beechcraft flew through a wormhole and the MiB's name was Samuel just because we like Bible names and Hurley was really a space alien? Where's the heart, the pathos, the higher meaning?


That said, emotional satisfaction and character summation isn't necessarily the side I was rooting for. For several reasons, just like several of you, I watched LOST not to find out if Kate and Sawyer end up together (couldn't care less), but to find out what the Island was, why they couldn't have babies there, what the Monster was, and discuss these items with other true fans to see if we could puzzle it out.


Gradually, it became clear that LOST was telling a story that, despite all it's well-worn archetypes and references to literature, philosophy, music, and religion, had never been told before. It was going to be unique, and as such, un-figure-out-able. So I began to do a little bit more of just enjoying the ride and seeing where it would take me.


When it was over, I responded to my friend Nicole (quoted above) with this: "Well said, Nic! Ain't that the truth? And kinda the point to so many things? As much as I love playing detective, I'm still a romantic at heart. So I loved the love stuff as a way of always finding each other across time and space and death. And love (including all the trials of it) being the key to knowing who was important to you and figuring out everything you can "let go" of to move on. I also think I'm going to find it quite fun to answer the remaining questions for myself in light of this whole paradigm the ending showed us. Honestly, most of the remaining questions I don't think they truly left unanswered. They're all in the text - we just have to discern them in the proper light now. They did such a job of making both the show's themes and the audience's experiences all about community and doing this thing called life and love together.


So yes, I think my friend John (also quoted above) is right - one thing the ending did was make little thing matter less. But as we know in life, it's often the little things - the details - that matter more once we sit down and puzzle our lives out. If we ever intend to do that with the show, we've got to confront the mysteries. So, yes, I think my friend Davida (quoted above) is also right, and it's those items we'll address here as best I can. I understand you may have other questions that I'm either snobbily thinking are too basic, or which I stupidly have not thought of yet. Feel free to drop me a line about those, and I'll get them added.


Answers We Got in the Finale Itself


Are Frank and Richard Dead or Alive? Alive!


Do the Alternate Timelines Merge? If so, how? No, no merge, because they weren't alternate timelines. Don't you know that you can't change history and whatever happened happened? Our original timeline tells the life stories of the LOSTies, how they once we lost but then were found. When they died, all of them between October 2004 and sometime maybe more around 3004 or 4004, they all started running into each other again in Death. And we learned that even Death can not stop True Love. All it can do is delay it for a while (amazing how many times the Princess Bride has been a useful quote this season).


How Does the Island End up Underwater? Well, it never did. Not in any world of the living anyway. If that had happened, I do believe the world of the living would cease to exist. And underwater, Source-extinguished Island would equal only Death existing. And just as life can not exist without death, neither can death exist without life. There would simply be… nothing. Just like Widmore seemed to say (maybe he wasn't such a bad guy after all).


So Why Did We See it Underwater in the Flash-Sideways? What we were seeing was the DeadWorld of the 815ers. In that world the Island still had all its features which they remembered but it was just as dead and gone as they were, and could not touch them anymore.


Who Commissioned the Hydra Runway Project? This wasn't given any kind of direct answer, but I feel safe in assuming that if the MiB put the bug in Ben's ear to have the Others build it as a way to get Locke's corpse back to the Island, Jacob was a step ahead of him in their game knowing it could be used to fly the remaining survivors to safety after his replacement(s) saved the day and took over Island Operations.


Why Could Ben Kill Widmore When Previously He Couldn't? I think we got a sense from recent interviews with the producers and some lines from this episode that most "rules" were never immutable laws or anything. You could choose to follow them or not… but not following them would have consequences. I think off-Island Ben and Widmore both knew that if either of them killed the other, the consequence would be forfeiting any shot of ever getting back there.


Who is David Shephard's Mother in the DeadWorld? As we hoped and suspected, it was Juilet. This is even more rewarding when you consider what Ben said so long ago about why he chose Juliet as part of his manipulative scheme to break Jack in the Hyrda station - she bore a striking resemblance to Sarah, Jack's former wife.


Miles and the Diamonds - Do They Come into Play? Not in any direct way, as they let us imagine the life Miles goes on to live when Ajira 316 makes its way home. But the facts that Miles "doesn't believe" in many things, that even in death he doesn't embrace his identity as Miles Chang, that he isn't at the church in the final scene… these things have me believing he never shook off his temptation to value money above love and anything else.


"You've Gotta Lift it Up, Brotha" - How Will this Manifest? The producers had told us this phrase of Desmond's would show up. It wasn't spoken, but it was acted out. Twice. With the stopper in the pool, and with the coffin lid.


Is Ben Really Back on the Dark Side? No. I can't call his Widmore killing a nice thing (though I do like to think he let Charles die in a nicer, quicker way than MiB was going to), but in going with Smokey he just still was making the plays that were most convenient to him. But when he found out Smokey really did want to destroy the Island, he was horrified. And when he knew once and for all which side was aiming to save humanity, he signed right up.


Who Rescued Desmond? Those meddling Nadlers and their dog.


What Became of Rose, Bernard, and Vincent? Still there, still happy. They lived out their days on the Island in happiness.


What Was Up With all the Water Everyone Kept Drinking and Refilling? See above. This was a subtle clue all season.


Jack's Neck Wound - What's That About? Past experiences intruding on the world of the dead. Jack sustained it when MiB gave him the wound that would lead to his death.


What are The Numbers? We already kinda knew that they referred to Jacob's candidates and to their sum, 108, which was painted in a mural inside the Hatch - which just happened to be home to Desmond Hume for several years. It bothers me a little that Kate can be a candidate when she didn't correspond to one of the six special numbers, but that's not that big a deal. I think the fact these numbers were entered into the Swan computer was just because they were a convenient code to use (had to use something). 4-8-15-16-23-42 was the serial number for the Hatch lid, so they could have just chosen that for the computer code for the same reason. The Numbers were also broadcast via the Island's radio tower, and we can assume Dharma built that and started that broadcast sometime after the Incident. Or perhaps the Others built it on order of Jacob, as it did serve to call in groups like Rousseau's team, and to get Lenny to carry them in his head to Santa Rosa where Hurley would hear them, play the lottery with them, and set himself on the path of becoming the New Jacob.


Mirrors / Reflections? Well, a lot of time was spent over several seasons discussing the concepts of "Through the Looking Glass" and "See you on the other side." The mirrors, I think, represent the soul looking back at the body. Knowing now that the people in the reflections were dead, it gives a strong sense that they are having the chance in DeadWorld to "reflect" upon the lives they led, and to really see themselves for perhaps the first time.


Will We See the Kids? We were told we would, and we did. Though one was in an ultrasound, and the other as a newborn - not at all what I expected. I thought we'd see something like grown-up Ji Yeon, Aaron, Little Charlie, Clementine, etc. coming to the strange Island their parents once inhabited…


Was it all a Game? Nope. But as mentioned above, the gaming themes remain elemental to an understanding of the series. And sure enough, some did win. And some definitely LOST.


I Have My Educated Guesses to Keep Me Warm


The Beechcraft - How Did This Small Plane Get from Nigeria to the Island? My favorite theory is it flew over the spot in Tunisia (which I like to think lies on the exact opposite side of the world as our Island) just as Richard or someone was using the donkey wheel to leave the Island, and there was a "trade" in time and space. One swapped places with the other?


Who Completed the Donkey Wheel Project? It was either Jacob himself (and I'm not convinced he was brilliant enough), or it remained there until Dharma found the wheel and hooked it up themselves. I prefer to think it was Jacob, because I think this is the "privileged information" Richard once told Locke about regarding how to leave the Island.


Who destroyed the Roman village, killed the people, filled in the well? I think Mother and Jacob did this together the morning after she made him "like her." We know Jacob is a fantastic fighter (remember how he has pummeled his brother and kung-fu'd Richard) and that Mother has strength that belies her frame (smashing Claudia's head in, braining her own son against the wall of the well). Plus, their sennet game was found at the scene of the attack. What I don't think is that either Jacob or Mother turned into a smoke monster to accomplish this raid.


Why is Hugo Nicknamed Hurley? We never did find out, did we? He told us in Season One that he's "not tellin'"… and he never did. So I like to think it was something embarrassing relating to his eating problems and possibly vomiting. Something that doesn't come close to describing who he really is as a person, his real identity.


The Hurley Bird - What the Heck? I dunno, but this could be anything. From a talking bird that used to live in the Dharma zoo and heard either our Losties or the Whispers say Hurley's name at some point, so a simple foreshadow that Hurley would one day rule over the birds and beasts of the Island.


The Cabin - Whose Was It, What Happened There, and Why Does it Seem to Move Around? This is admittedly the toughest one for me to figure. I'll have to go back and re-watch some scenes, but I don't know if that will help much, as I suspect our writers were still kinda fleshing out all the little details of our story during those days. What we know is that it was built by Dharma's Horace Goodspeed in the 70s as a retreat for his family. It's entirely possible that Jacob used this place to give instructions to Dharma folks, just as he used his statue as his base for giving instructions to Richard. After all, there's gotta be some reason Dharma's presence was tolerated on the Island until Ben came to power. At some point, Ben used the cabin because it was Jacob's base, or because he wanted people to think it was Jacob's base, the place he went to get instructions from (from his point of view) the unseen, perhaps-not-there-but-I-can-use-this-to-my-advantage "god" of the Island, the one I can get my people to do whatever he says. At some point, as mentioned by Ilana, "someone else" began using it -- the MiB whom Locke saw throw Ben across the room and heard say "Help me." And who Hurley spied through the window as Christian, and who was probably also the scary eyeball that showed up at the window scaring Hurley.


Fertility Issues? If it weren't for flippin Ethan being born (albeit Caesarean) in 1977, we could theorize about these issues going back even further. What happened between then and now? I can only think The Incident had something to do with it. Post-incident, Dharma posted all sorts of Quarantine warnings in the Hatch, and came up with a vaccine for an apparent sickness that began to infect people. This same vaccine that Desmond took in the Hatch and was part of the food drops is what Ethan was giving to Claire, and which Charlie later secured some of to give to Claire as well. I'm not sure Claire ever needed it, as her baby was conceived off-island, and Juliet theorized that the problems began at conception, though they didn't end up threatening the life of child or mother until the end of the second trimester.


Why Does Ash Bother the Smoke Monster? Great question. Maybe because he's all mad about not having a body of his own anymore, and our bodies are essentially ash ("ashes to ashes"?)


Backwards-Talking "Special" Walt. How did he do that? Walt shows up dripping wet at one point, and speaking backwards to Shannon. He had a bad feeling about the Hatch - didn't want John to open it. He gave the Others all they could handle (if you've never seen this batch of "mobisodes," they're worth checking out, in particular the Room 23 one about Walt). All I really need to know is that several characters on LOST are "special" - Miles can talk to dead bodies. Hurley can see dead people. Walt can make birds fly into windows. MiB could see his dead mother and was adept at science. Locke was recognized in the finale has having been special - probably for his unwavering faith. Some things you just can't explain in life.


What did Richard mean when he told Sun that he saw her friends die in 1977? I think this was an assumption on Richard's part. All he knew was that he helped Jack and Co. take a nuclear device to the Swan site in 1977. He knew they detonated it. And they disappeared. Richard had no way of knowing they hadn't died, but had instead caused a time-flash reaction that had flashed them into Present Day Island Time.


Posed by the Finale


How does pulling the plug make Smokey flesh-and-blood again? And if it does that, why is he still in Locke's form? When he's killed, he leaves a body, so there are now two John Locke corpses on the Island? Yeah, apparently so. Sorry, don't really have any theories as to why the plug pulling made Smokey mortal again.


Stumped! Somebody Help ME Out


The Black Rock Journal - how'd it get off the Island to be found among the artifacts of pirates in Madagascar and eventually bought at auction by Charles Widmore? Did it contain any secrets?


Outrigger Shootings - who shot at Sawyer, Juliet, Locke, etc. while they were time skipping? Whoever it was had Ajira water bottles in their canoe, so… ?


Dharma Still Sending Food to the Island? A dozen years after the Purge, Dharma is still sending food. Some gets dropped in the jungle outside the Swan, while still more finds its way into the kitchens and pantries of the Others. Either Dharma HQ back in Ann Arbor is really dumb (don't they realize no data from any of the hatches is being sent back to headquarters anymore?), or Ben and his network of off-island Others tricked the system by putting someone inside Dharma who still makes it look like business as usual and keeps the foodstuffs coming (seems like Rose and Bernard are still enjoying Dharma goods in 2007, even).


What did Ben THINK he was going back to the Island to do that was such a big deal (told Jill the Butcher: "Keep [Locke's body] safe Jill, because if you don't, everything we're about to do won't matter at all"). Was it just making sure he got back that was so important to him? That's my assumption. Proving he could do it, and being in charge again.


Appearances of Christian. Right now, I'm going with Jack seeing Christian in the hospital lobby as a hallucination or a ghost sighting (although they sure made a big stink about the smoke alarm malfunction in that scene). I'm going with Christian appearing to Michael on the boat as an indication that the writers hadn't yet worked out that Smokey can't just fly about between islands over water whenever he wants to yet. And I'm going with Christian appearing at the barracks to Sun and Lapidus while Flocke was still over on Hydra as oversight.


Libby Stuff. We still never actually heard her last name in any episode (it's listed in several places as "Smith," but that always struck me as a cop out). Nor do we know who her late husband was who gave her The Elizabeth, or why she was in Santa Rosa the first time (or why she was on 815 originally).


Widmore & Zoe's Equipment. It ended up just being left in that outrigger. What was it for? What were they intending to do if they hadn't gotten captured/killed?


Just Have Fun with These Because There Was Never Going to be an Answer


Origins of Mother


Montand in the Tunnels (why'd his team as well as the Others just leave his body there?) / the Rest of Rousseau's Story


Why Was the Faked Crash Site in the Indian Ocean? Why Did the World Buy It?


History of the Swan Hatch post-incident


Finally, if that wasn't enough for you, there's this. It was forwarded to me today, but I have to say, while some of it is valid questioning (backwards-talking Walt saying not to push the button - the button's bad), some of it is remedial (the polar bear in the comic book? Simple foreshadowing; Walt didn't manifest the bears onto the island so he could see one. That we at one time thought he might have is just what makes the storytelling good), and some of it makes me think this guy just never got it (the Others' fake beards? Come on. If you are going to show up to people who crash landed on your Island, are you going to want to present yourself as clean, well-groomed, air-conditioned, fresh-baked cookies types? Or would that just make the newbies want to come gate crash your party? No - you're going to make yourself look scuzzy so they'll leave you alone and underestimate you). But, fair enough.


…And There's Always Going to Be Something More to Say…


I delayed a bit in writing this blog because while it remains unposted the show still remains open for me! It's hard to say good-bye! But it's not hard to say thank you, and I wish to express that sentiment to the following folks for their support and faith.

  • Steve McGarvey. Thanks, boss, for setting me up with the blog and letting me run with it. Hope you've been happy with it.

  • Chad Nykamp. I can't believe LOST was only 18 episodes in when I started with Salem. I still remember you looking at me cockeyed wondering if I was really a LOSTie, or just someone claiming to be. And all it took was about 50 good conversations to earn your trust and respect (cue email from Chad saying "Where did you get the crazy idea I respect you?"). Have truly enjoyed the Q&A sessions with you, so thanks for that, and the fact your mom was the first person to ever tell me she was a fan of the blog. Still waiting to get your take on the finale!

  • Kelly Good. Excellent job coming as close as possible to the new Chad once he ran away to Florida. You've been a real help with talking out theories and sending over your research.

  • John Sizemore. Just being the spitting image of John Locke would be enough. But contributing your takes each week has been much appreciated.

  • Fred Alberti.  My co-originator of the LOST Lunch. I do miss going to Buffalo Wild Wings for discussion, but we just grew too big for everyone to be a part of it!

  • Scott & Cindy Bartley.  We have endured scorn, my sad little friends, at the hands of those who don't understand our obsession. But thank you for helping me fend off the Philistines, and being the only ones who can truly even try to understand what it's like to try to watch the show with Val.

  • Nicole Gardner.  I always looked forward to your upbeat, excited takes, Nicole, on how it's "all about love. The rest is just chaos."Amen.

  • Holly McEvoy. Thanks for recommending and reading, Sis. I think you were my only fan for a while. I love that this gave us another way to connect.

  • Valerie McEvoy.  Thanks for being the Penny to my Desmond (yes, I said Desmond. This is my blog, my farewell, I get to choose to be the coolest character I wish). Your understanding that this was a journey I had to take, even if it began with you barely seeing me in January when I did the Seasons 1-5 Marathon, was so appreciated. If you want, you can take a page out of Faraday's journal and write yourself a note that says, "If anything goes wrong, Desmond Hume (a.k.a. me) will be my Constant!" And so I shall. Love you. Have enjoyed the LOST journey with you, even if I did have to banish you to the other room for thinking Frank's last name was "The [male anatomy]."

Bye, gang. It's been a blast. See you on the other side.