Final thoughts on The End…
In the final episode of LOST, we learn that the flash sideways is really a sort of purgatory in which our Losties are waiting to be re-awakened, to be made aware of their previous life. Once they all awaken and realise what they had all lived through… they were able to move on.
So how does the Island really connect to all of this? We were told the Island was a place that kept evil at bay. Jacob’s job on the island was to protect the island and to subdue the evil that was created when his brother was killed — a job he passes on to Jack. This task suggests a cultural mandate that humanity has in taking care of the earth. Moreover, we also know that Jacob brought everyone to the island not just to take over his role, but to deal with their problems — they needed the island as much as the island needed them. Through their strivings and adventures on the island, each of our characters learns to deal with their problems and to embrace who they are supposed to be and what they are supposed to do.
Jack learns to have faith in his role as a leader and follower. Sawyer becomes a protector and leader. Juliet successfully delivers a child on the island and has a meaningful relationship that she thought she could never have. Sun and Jin’s marriage is strengthened by their time on the island, and their having a child reinforces this. Claire conquers her fear of becoming a mother and learns to be a part of a family. Charlie overcomes his addiction to heroine and becomes a hero to Claire and the others on the island. Boone learns to accept the love he has for his sister but more importantly to let it go. Shannon accepts that she does have worth and she finds it in helping others and in falling in love with someone she previously stereotyped as a terrorist. Sayid’s dynamic journey on the island leads him to discover that he is a good man as he sacrifices himself for everyone on the submarine. Hugo overcomes the bad luck that seems to plague him, and he makes his own luck by helping others, falling in love and driving the Dharma van. Ben finds redemption in learning to set aside his own personal and violent agendas and learns to help others instead of himself. Ben pays a heavy price for what he learned as the lesson cost him the life of his daughter.
The losties learned how to have faith in themselves and each other. This is most prevalent in Jack’s character, and this is why Jack ultimately becomes the Island’s new protector — Jack is the twenty-first century everyman. A man who was lost, but was found. A man whose cynicism infected his life like a cancer and whose transformation leaves him as a man fully committed to a life of faith and meaning. A man who sacrifices himself in order to protect the island and give his friends a fighting chance to successfully leave it.
So how does defeating Smokey have anything to do with their post-island lives — or post-lives for that matter? The light at the heart of the island is what gives the island its unique powers — but it also created evil in releasing the Smoke Monster. Jacob and the Man In Black are pitted against each other as a modern Cain and Abel. Jacob’s vengeful murder of the Man In Black and sending his body down into the cave results in the physical embodiment of evil. As soon as Desmond pulls the Stone from the ground inside that cave — or moves the final piece in a game that has been going on for a long time — the light goes out. So as the island begins to self-destruct, the Smoke Monster loses his powers. This is what makes Jack and Locke mortal — as well as Richard. Therefore, evil is defeated, and light is restored as Jack moves the final piece back into play. This is echoed in Juliet’s suggestion to Sawyer when she tells him to unplug the vending machine and plug it back in. She says it is a valid, legal move — it’s not against any rules. The light goes out, but as it is plugged back in the and light comes back on Sawyer not only gets his chocolate bar — he is also reunited with Juliet.
All of our characters, whether they make it off the island or not, die eventually. But, as soon as they come together in their post-lives, they are able to move on into the light.
The show’s importance has always rested on the characters and their individual journeys as well as their journey together on the island. What we can take away from this show is that as humans living in this world, we have a responsibility to guard the light and keep evil at bay. We must have faith — in each other and in ourselves. Death is inevitable, but what we do in life will connect us to our after-life.
It has been a great pleasure theorizing with all of you… this last reflection on LOST is nowhere near comprehensive, but it is enough for me right now. I leave this site satisfied with the show’s ending, and like our Losties.. I can now move on.