"How do you plan to do that?" — Smokey
"It’s a surprise." — Jack
Lost ended its six year run last night, and as I predicted last Tuesday, it ended with a whimper, not a bang. That was me, whimpering.
I have not been a huge fan of the Jack Shephard character. Over the last six years, I’ve found him whiny and at the same time inexplicably headstrong, but that didn’t keep me from crying like a baby during the final scenes of last night’s episode. A good thing that I didn’t attend any last Lost parties; I would have embarrassed myself. Not that I was invited, mind you.
Now that the tears have cleared, and the writers have skipped town, what do we have left? What was that?
The “End,” making little narrative sense, went for the emotional jugular. In a sleight of hand, distracting viewers from thematic and unanswered questions of “what was the island?” and “why were the castaways part of a larger plan?” the episode concentrated on the alternate or sideways stories, a recent plot device for this season. Mysterious Scot Desmond Hume, set up since season two to be a big player in the island’s arc, proved to be surprisingly ineffectual on Finale Island, just a pawn between two competitors. In Sideways World, Desmond gathered all our castaways together in an enigmatic Messenger of Heaven function; he was the unexpected harbinger of the end for Doc Shephard and his not-so-motley crew of castaways.
Co-creator J.J. Abrams and writers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have been swearing up and down for years that the island was not Purgatory, but what about the Sideways World? "Not Purgatory" may have been a lie of omission. Last night, the alternate reality proved to be not a reality at all but more an Occurrence at Eloise Hawking’s Church: an instant 'would-could-have-been' life that flashes before Jack’s eyes as he lays dying in the bamboo field.
“I think you’re a little confused as to what I came here to do.” — Smokey