Throughout its six seasons (that’s 121 episodes in total!) Lost dealt with more themes than you could probably name (redemption, good and evil, religion, philosophy, parental issues, to name but a few), but right near the top of that list would be the issue of fate vs. free will. Do we really have a set course which we are destined to follow or can we choose our own paths? Two of the show’s key characters, Locke and Jack, had multiple disagreements on this issue, with Jack stubbornly holding his ground for most of the show as “the man of science” and Locke holding down the fort as “the man of faith.” It was only after Locke’s unfortunate death (which some say was a flat-out mistake for the show as a whole) that Jack began to see the light, as it were. By the end of season 6 he had taken a 180-degree turn from where he was in season 1 and had become the man Locke always said he’d be (“I don’t believe in destiny,” Jack once said, with Locke retorting, “Yes you do. You just don’t know it yet.”). This transformative arc of Jack’s could almost be looked at as a parallel of some of Lost’s most faithful fans, those who may have started the show thinking everything was clear cut and had to have an answer, but by sticking with it right to the end realized it was better to have faith in the unknown. That ambiguous and happy ending felt truly earned in my eyes.
So Lost may have been populated by polar bears in the jungle, a mysterious black smoke monster, strange research “hatches” all over the place and a four-toed statue (the list goes on...) but at its core it was a show about characters. And making the “Sideways” world (a clever development of the flashback/forward storytelling device) actually be, according to the theory I believe in, a holding ground before the characters moved on to a better place (whatever that place may be, it’s up to you to decide) was quite the stroke of brilliance. It’s an area of belief I don’t hold in my own life but I was invested enough in the show to believe in it within this context. A show which can temporarily change your whole philosophy is quite special indeed.
In the end Lost may not have been perfect however I believe the ending was. But that’s just me.
Namaste and good luck.