Lost: Season 6 - The End (the final two hours reviewed)
Review by Jack Foley
THROUGHOUT its six seasons, Lost has entertained, baffled, thrilled, bewildered and provoked more questions that it did answers. Fitting, then, that the two-hour finale should have done the same.
For the most part, The End remained gripping, emotionally-charged viewing. But the resolution, while tear-jerking and exciting in equal measure, offered only a little bit of the closure most fans had been seeking.
The big reveal – that all of the characters were dead and therefore inhabiting some kind of purgatory – was vindication of sorts for those who had been peddling that theory from the start. It was also logical.
But even that resolution provoked as many questions as it did answers. Did everything tally up? Had everything that took place on the island, and during flash-forwards and time travelling, actually occurred?
The writers left it deliberately ambiguous. On the one hand, their ending invited its principal characters and its most loyal viewers to accept their fate and move on.
On the other, it left those seeking more frustrated and bewildered… tempted to relive the preceding 121 hours to see if it really did all make sense, but terrified by the thought of having to endure their own form of purgatory again.
So what was for certain? That Jack, Sawyer, Kate and company were, in fact, dead. For Jack (Matthew Fox) – the series’ eternal optimist – this realisation came slower than most.
On the island, he assumed the mantle of the mystical “Jacob” and became its protector… the only one who could prevent Terry O’Quinn’s Locke (aka Jacob’s evil brother, or the black smoke) from destroying the island and, therefore, humanity.
In the “Sideways world”, ironically, he performed the surgery that enabled Locke to walk again.
Thus, the eternal series-long battle of faith vs science, as personified by Jack and Locke’s struggle, was resolved in two alternative time zones. The ultimate leap of faith, however, was having Jack accept his fate. On the island, this meant death. In Sideways world, it meant reuniting with his former colleagues (or the people that had meant most to him during his life, his soul-mates as it were).
Once he did, and once his Sideways character came to the church that his fellow Lostaways had assembled at, he could move on, guided by his late father, who provided some measure of comfort, reconciliation and assurance.
Few viewers could deny the emotional resonance contained within this episode, particularly in the Sideways world segments as characters slowly re-connected with each other and remembered their time on the island.
It meant long-dead, and sometimes eve forgotten, characters all returned to enjoy a moment in the spotlight. Lost loves were reunited, conflicts resolved. Ben Linus (Michael Emerson) apologised to Locke for the suffering he had put him through, only to be forgiven. Hurley (Jorge Garcia) was reunited with a lost love, as was Sawyer (Josh Holloway) and Claire (Emilie de Ravin) with Charlie (Dominic Monaghan).
Heck, even bickering brother and sister Boone and Shannon (Ian Somerhalder and Maggie Grace) were back to properly make the reunion complete – and all of them tugging at our heart-strings.
It was an effective end… and a happy one for its principal characters, thereby going some way to making the “Sideways” device employed in this sixth and final series a successful one.
On the island, meanwhile, a race against time scenario unfolded. Jack took on Locke, Desmond attempted to kill the island’s light source, the remaining survivors attempted to flee. It was often breathless, frequently exhilarating, and – again – emotionally driven stuff.
Jack’s sacrifice was spectacular, Hurley’s promotion to protector unlikely but emotional, and Sawyer and Kate’s flight (literally) from the island with Jeff Fahey’s pilot exciting in the extreme.
And yet, the island – the mysterious entity underpinning the whole series – continued to baffle.
Did it exist in its multi-dimensional form? Was it a gateway to heaven or hell… a purgatory? Or did it hold the key to good and evil, maintaining a balance of both?
Likewise, questions over what really did happen? As Jack’s father told him once he had arrived at church, “now” was a fluid concept. It didn’t exist, implying that those characters who outlived Jack on the island (following his sacrifice) could have died years later (in Hurley’s case, decades), but were still waiting for him to arrive so that they could all move on.
So, again, we were left with questions… did the handful of survivors (led by Sawyer and including Kate and Claire) really get away from the island and what became of their lives thereafter? How long did Hurley remain island protector with Ben as his No.2?
Why didn’t Ben join the Lostaways in the church at the end? And why did the likes of Desmond, Juliet Burke (Elizabeth Mitchell) and Penny (Sonya Walger) if the implication was that those in the church were only those who had been together in Season 1, as part of the plane crash?
More pedantically, why did Season 5 – and all of its time-travelling elements – have to exist? Why did Hurley never lose weight? And what of the likes of the likes of Michael Dawson (Harold Perrineau) and his son Walt? What became of their fate?
Hence, The End did everything that Lost had done as a series throughout its run. But it did also provide the type of conclusion that guaranteed people would remember and be talking about it for years to come: surely one of its primary objectives.
Top marks, then, to The End for concluding the show on an emotionally powered, adrenaline-driven high. Its final two and a half hours zipped by. Zero marks, however, for dragging certain elements of the series out over unnecessarily prolonged lengths!
We loved the finale but questions remain over many elements of the series – both in terms of intent (from the writers) and whether we hadn’t wasted a lot of our own time trying to pick their brains!
What did you think?
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