well, here we are. picking up the pieces that last night's finale left, reading all the blogs, all the rants, the praise, the expectations that were met, unmet, or turned on their head -- all the while, no one actually has the answers. not even lostpedia, although they attempt to as their storyline analysis and even summary of the last episode keep changing moment to moment.
the point is: none of us has the answer. we can all theorize about those final five minutes, about the "flash sideways" world, about j.j. abrams obviously not knowing where the show would eventually go, but i read something that seemed to help me with my LOST indigestion.
there is a short story called an occurrence at owl creek bridge, in which we meet a character who is doomed to die by being hanged on a bridge. we watch him escape and reunite with his beloved family, live happily with them -- and then we are back to the bridge, where his neck has just snapped from being hanged. the whole second part of the story -- his reunion with his family -- was in the split second before he died, it did not actually occur. or it did, but on another plane of being -- not in our perception of reality.
this helped me sort of accept the end of the finale. so maybe the flash sideways was in that split second before jack died, maybe it never happened, or maybe it was... something else. some other plane of being, not existing in our perception of reality. you can call it purgatory, you can call it the eightfold path or rebirth in buddhism, but many faiths have an idea of going through levels of living (or suffering, as in buddhism all life is suffering) until you achieve enlightenment and thus may move on.
on this show, we have watched the characters have many lives -- in flashbacks, flashforwards, flash sideways, island time, island-traveling-in-time time -- and each one carried different consequences, choices, sacrifices, questions of faith.
in the final flash-world we were given -- the flash sideways -- the characters were once again confronted with choices and with each other -- and, finally, they seemed to have achieved enlightenment once achieving their "purpose", whatever that was for each character. for most, it seemed to be reuniting with their love (more often than not, one or both had died an untimely death, and thus they could only be reunited in the afterlife); for some their purpose was the island itself as in locke's and jack's enlightenment, rather poignantly so that it was the two of them.
no, the island was not purgatory. and yes, i still have many questions about that world we were shown with a heavy-handed end. i honestly would have accepted every single thing that happened had we not seen that awful jack/christian exchange in the church/synagogue/temple thing. all i would have needed to follow the show all the way through was an empty coffin -- jack has his flash with it -- he goes into the church, embraces kate and everyone else -- they sit down all together -- and it fills with light as jack's eye closes on the island. it would have still been poetic, question-raising, controversial, but it would not have been heavy-handed. christian's speech was a little too grover's corners for my taste. just let it be.
but, as i've said before and as the say on the island -- whatever happened, happened. we can't change the finale, that is what they chose to show us. and i do find it extremely interesting that the questions many people are raising about those final five minutes are, in essence, questions of if they themselves are a man of science or a man of faith.
i am not disappointed, i enjoyed every moment sans that christian speech at the end. i just wish, as LOST so often has in the past, that they trusted the audience's intelligence enough not to hit us over the head with a message like they did in the end.
however you viewed the ending, i hope you enjoyed yourself as much as i did.
and, as LOST has achieved time and time again, i am sure we will be talking about the finale for a very, very long time.