The ending of LOST was one of the most controversial in television history. There was no middle ground; you either loved it or you hated it. The fact of the matter is that the ending of LOST was perfect. It not only fit the show and the themes that it had built up over six seasons, but it had a balance of being both character driven and had just the right amount of mythology. It was a deeply spiritual experience, and while that may not be for everyone, that doesn’t mean the ending was bad.
“It only ends once. Anything that happens before that, is just progress.“
LOST was the story of the life and ultimate death of Jack Shephard, and even the story of his life after death. It was his personal journey from being a man of science to being a man of faith. Life itself is a journey; it is full of struggle, it is full of loss, but it is also one of hope and one of finding oneself. Every character, every (or almost every) moment of LOST was to get Jack to the point where he accepts the Island and that he was brought there for a reason and that his life had a greater purpose. He is the most dynamic character in the show and the moment he accepts that he cannot die when he lit that fuse for Richard so that he could kill himself, and the moment he finally encounters the Man in Black, impersonating John Locke, he accepts the fact that Locke was right, about “almost everything.” He later tells Sawyer that they were all brought to the Island for a reason, a greater purpose, which further cements his character’s journey from the beginning of the show, where he wasn’t a believer, to the end, where he was. The ending of LOST shows Jack letting go and accepting his destiny, becoming the new protector of the Island in Jacob’s place.
While many wanted more answers about the show’s mythology in the ending of LOST, it’s a double edged sword; if they gave more answers, the show would have lost its appeal. If they hinted at nothing though, it wouldn’t be LOST. So they kind of explained some things without really explaining them. Yes, it’s very roundabout and it makes you think, but it is so fitting for the ending of LOST. At its heart LOST has always been a character-driven show. It’s never been solely about the mythology; the mythology has only been a tool to help develop the characters. Even creator Damon Lindelof says his favorite aspect of the show is the character driven aspect of it. The ending of LOST is completely character driven. It is about these characters remembering their lives, realizing themselves, and there is no better example than that than both John Locke and Benjamin Linus. They both have moments of clarity and have a nice little moment towards the end. Jack, even in his afterlife, still struggles with letting go. Once he realizes he died though, he is finally able to let go and his memories of his life on the Island is one of the most powerful moments in all of LOST.
“Sometimes you can just hop in the back of someone’s cab and tell them what they’re supposed to do. Other times, you have to let them look out at the ocean for a while.“
The ending of LOST is both perfect and fitting, as it’s about people trying to live their lives, despite how difficult it may be — these broken people trying to move through life despite the hardships they have encountered. It resonates with people so strongly because it mirrors us. We are constantly trying to find our place in the world and live our lives, despite the horrors, despite the struggle, despite the heartache we may encounter. Some may say the afterlife aspect of the show is convoluted, but I disagree. In my own head canon, the afterlife that the LOST characters live in the endgame of the show is only possible because of the Island. It is never quite explained, but quite honestly it doesn’t matter. The end of LOST focuses on the characters and how they’ve grown and developed over the course of six years, and that is all that matters. Why the “afterlife” exists doesn’t matter, but what does matter is the fact that it helps develop our characters and give them closure.
LOST is the best series to grace television in years. So many shows have tried to emulate its mixture of the supernatural with its mix of character development on network TV but have failed miserably. The ending only cements LOST as one of the greatest television shows of all time.