Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Jack's Daddy Issues: Lost Finale

And now... more thoughts on the Lost finale.

I know what my regular readers are thinking… “What?! Lost ENDED? I had NO IDEA.” Heehee… I have more thoughts on the Lost Finale, says Nikki. And in related news, human beings require oxygen to live.

First of all, I have to apologize for not posting anything today. I booked all of last week off to work on the book (and ended up doing a ton of media and almost NO writing, so I officially ramp up into full-on panic mode today!) Then I booked off the two days following Lost so I could totally focus on this blog and do the extra media stuff I had to do. But today it was back to work, actually thinking of things other than Lost. (Well, I should say, working on things other than Lost, but still thinking about Lost all day long.) And in the middle of the day I had the pleasure of chatting with many Lost fans about the finale again through the Globe chat, so that was fun.

But seriously, all this typing? (This one’s for Gillian Whitfield): “I’ve got blistahs on my fingahs!!!!”

So now, when I should actually be finishing up my chapter on Dostoevsky’s Notes from Underground for the Season 6 book, I’m going to write up some more thoughts for this blog instead. Yesterday I wrote up a post where I talked about that end scene and why I think the plane wreckage during the credits had absolutely nothing to do with the ending, and was instead just extra footage tacked on (and, it turns out, as we’ve been discussing in the comments, I was right: ABC has admitted to adding that into the credits, not realizing the brouhaha they would create by doing it… it actually had nothing to do with Darlton). In that post I suggested that in the final scene, everyone had gathered for Jack’s send-off, and that’s the part of my post that has caused the most resistance. The arguments against that were immense, and really caused me to turn my thinking around. At this point I’m still on the fence, but really coming around to the idea that it was a send-off for everyone (and in my book I think I’ll write both perspectives and not adhere to one over the other, just so I don’t eliminate a theory).

So, let me try to rework that idea in that context. First, as many of you have pointed out and I completely failed to so far in ANY post, even though I’ve been talking about it in the comments, let’s look at the stained-glass window that Jack passes by on his way into the room with the coffin. I loved this.



The window contains the symbols of six major world religions -- going from left to right starting at the top and going down, they are: Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism (no, not Frozen Donkey Wheel), and the yin/yang symbol of Taoism. This church is not necessarily a Christian one, but is simply a house of worship that spans all kinds of religions and belief systems.

I focused on parts of the Christian speech – and the fact that it was, in fact, Christian opening the doors to eternity, placing it squarely in Jack’s world view – but the part that was probably most important was this: "This is a place that you’ve all made together so that you could find one another. The most important part of your life was the time that you spent with these people. That’s why all of you are here. Nobody dies alone, Jack. You needed all of them, and they needed you.” They all made this place together, and together they are going to pass over. I think that’s the strongest argument to be made about the fact that they are all doing this together. Kate had said to Jack, “We’re leaving.” And when Jack asks Christian about this, he says, “Not leaving, no. Moving on.” Notice he leaves out all pronouns in that section, but if we simply look at Kate’s comment, “WE are leaving,” then she’s including herself in this.

I think the reason my mind immediately thought this was Jack’s world only was because we’d seen it through Jack’s eyes, and in the real world of the island, we’re watching Jack’s death… it’s not an ending that runs through every person and how they died (that was Six Feet Under), just Jack's. And then we cut to the gathering here, but we only see Jack.

But here’s why that’s important: Because of all of them, Jack was the one who struggled the most to believe in something this big. In “Orientation” Locke says, “Why do you find it so hard to believe?” Jack counters, “Why do you find it so easy?” Locke yells, “It’s never BEEN easy!!” Jack just glares.

What does Jack need to let go of? He needs to let go of that determination to fix things, that believe that he and only he can save everyone, can help everyone. His moment of realization is a flash of all of the people he HAS helped, and he realizes that he’s done so much, he’s fixed so many things, but that he also helped give tools to others to help them help themselves.

But most importantly, he let go of that fierce reason of his. He allowed his mind to expand and to believe in something bigger than the questions of the island, the answers he so desperately sought, and his dire need to see empirical evidence of something before he’d believe in it. On the island, he’d already come around to that. He believed in Jacob and the smoke monster. He sent Desmond down into the cave because he believed in something that three years earlier, he would have laughed at. And now, in the sideways world, he realizes he’s died, that he’s at peace, that his father always loved him even if he couldn’t show it. And he lets go of his doubts. Doubts about himself, about the people around him… and about his father. And the moment he lets go, he is finally able to move on.

Many have asked, “So, then, what exactly WAS that sideways world? I get it in the end, but what about all that other stuff we’ve seen all season? Why the hell did he have a kid?”

Let me put it this way: I remember watching “My So-Called Life” when I was in my 20s and loving it. Loving the angst that Angela went through, yelling at the television about her parents who just don’t understand. I remember watching Buffy and rolling my eyes at Joyce and her harshness, especially that moment at the beginning of season 3 where she humiliated Buffy in front of everyone at the party after hitting the “juice” a little too hard. As a teenager, I didn’t get along with my parents particularly well. My mom and I were always at each other’s throats. In my 20s I’ll admit my father and I drifted apart and it wasn't easy.

Buffy ended in 2003. Lost started in September 2004. And in August 2004… I became a mother. So my entire lens shifted, and it was through THAT lens that I watched Lost... and rewatched other shows.

Suddenly, I wish Angela would stop rebelling and look at her poor mother and how much that mother loves her. I wish Buffy would understand the hell she put Joyce through when she disappeared to L.A. for a summer without telling her what she’d done. Or what it must be like for Joyce to see her cozying up to Giles as her father figure and not telling her a damn thing. And I understand my own parents a lot more.

And I think that was David’s purpose in the sideways world. Jack was so caught up in his own daddy issues that he never once thought, Maybe Christian was such a hard worker, trying so hard to provide for his son and fumbling through this whole dad thing because, quite simply, he’d never done it before. He was going to make mistakes -- there's no handbook when it comes to parenting, after all. He was going to screw his kid up, even if he was going to try his damnedest not to. He probably hated his own dad and thought, “Oh, I’ll do better than he will.” And then look what happened.

And when Jack fell into the same routine – not being there for David, working his fingers to the bone, all the while wondering why his kid was so morose and hating him – he suddenly saw Christian in himself. He talks to David, tells him how he feels, and David for the first time realizes his dad was a kid once, too, and Jack finally understands that his dad probably felt this way, but didn’t know how to show it.

I think the sentiments of the whole Daddy Issue subtext of Lost could best be summed up by the inimitable Philip Larkin’s “This Be the Verse”:

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself.


In the real world, Jack heeds Larkin’s advice, and doesn’t have any kids himself. But it’s only through having that kid that he finds the redemption for himself, and for his own father. And he decided to break that cycle of man handing on misery to man, and he decides he’s going to be there for the kid, knowing that that’s not only going to strengthen his relationship with David, but that it’s probably the sort of relationship Christian always wanted with HIS son, but he just didn’t know how to go about getting it.

So when Locke tells him, “You don’t have a son,” it’s the first step to Jack’s realization… that David wasn’t his son, but in fact, HE was David. And only by being in Christian’s shoes was he going to actually understand what it was like to be him, and he would finally stop hating him and know that he loved him. It was a strange irony that in “316” he put Christian’s shoes on John Locke when Locke was in the coffin, but it was Jack who ultimately had to walk in them to find redemption.

So Jack was the one who held on the longest, and took the longest to let go, which is why everyone else was already waiting for him in the church. They’d worked through their crap earlier, and came to terms with their life, but it was Jack who held on, who refused to let go. And when he finally did, they were all standing there waiting for him. And they all moved on together.

123 comments:

The Question Mark said...

Wow, I've never thought of the whole david scenario like that before! Really insightful stuff, Nikki! I think I agree with this 100%.

Missing Georgia said...

Thank you for this Nikki. This is the way that I have felt about why Jack had a hard time letting go and how everyone was moving on together. The people that have been so mad about the ending have not seen how the ending followed the science/faith arc of Jack's character. I just could not articulate my thoughts in the beautiful manner that you have in this post. Thanks! I totally aggree

LoyallyLOST said...

Wow! Deep. Thanx! You always clear things up for us!

lostreflash said...

I agree that the LOSTies moved on as a group. And to take it one step further, I believe this "crossing over" scenario plays out for each person. What we are seeing is Jack Shephard's crossing over, and the whole group accompanies him. But I also think that each character had their own crossing over too, perhaps with different people. This is what allows Kate to be with Jack, but also to be quite possibly with her other loved ones, perhaps those she met and grew close to after Jack died.

I seem to remember that one of the messages of Room 23 (maybe it was a whisper -- can't remember) was this:

"Only fools are contained by time and space."

And from Charlie to Hurley outside the Mental Hospital

"I am dead. But I'm also here."

In the Bardo/Purgatory/City of Angels/Los Angeles Sideways world, since there is no "now, here" there should also be no "here, now". e.g. multiple "here"s.

This allows each character to be omnipresent in all times and all spaces simultaneously. From the lens of any one character, they have those whom were most impactful on their lives. From the lens of all characters, all possible permutations are allowed. We always get to be with our loved ones, no matter time and space.

**

With respect to David: I like the explanation. However, I think Jack knew Christian wanted to be a better father. In the mobisode "The Watch" (Season 4 DVD/Blu-Ray Extra, but also considered "canon" by the writers), Jack and Christian share a conversation on a beach (not the Island) just before Jack is to be married to Sarah. Christian gives Jack a watch, and in the process basically apologizes to Jack for being a crummy father. Christian says something to the effect of "Try to be a better father to your son that I was to you."

So, I do believe Jack was driven to be a better father than Christian, but I think he was more concerned with the execution than the realization. Doesn't invalidate your theory, just shifts the emphasis a little.

I'm going to stick to my theory that LOST is in it's simplest form, the Life and Times of Jack Shephard. We are seeing the LOST story through Jack's lens. But the writers were smart enough to make their constructs/conceits applicable to everyone -- if you suspend time and space.

Thanks for the great post Nikki!

lostreflash said...

I meant The Life and Death of Jack Shephard (call back to Jeremy Benthem).

It must be getting late. :-)

LoyallyLOST said...

One more thing~I loved the ending shots of the wreckage. I didn't think one way or another about what it all meant. I just thought it was kind of eery how they showed the wreckage at the beginning of the show(pilot)with all the mayhem & then, at the end~lonelyness(I swear! I am soooo getting a dictionary!), utter silence. Creepy, sad silence. Knowing they are all gone. LOVED it!
I don't need perfection in anything. I don't need to have a logical explanation, or even an explanation PERIOD, about every little detail! Yes, it would have been cool to have the credits rolling against a black screen after Jack's eye closed. But, that was what everyone was expecting. This, I feel, was better.
I'm still a little confused about the sideways world. But, Nikki is clearing more & more of it up for me with every post. I soooo appreciate that!
Ok, how come when Daniel & Charlotte touched, nothing happened? Also, where was Sun & Jin's sweet little bundle of joy?
Nikki had mentioned that Nadia wasn't there & Shannon was instead of her. I think Sayid finally found true love with Shannon. Ugh. That was one storyline that just didn't fit, in my opinion. Not to offend anyone else here. I think he truly loved Shannon. That poor man had so much darkness & sadness in his life. He wanted to be a better man. He gave the ultimate sacrifice by going boom! Absolved? I think so.
I still don't know what is up with the white tennies Christian wore. Purity?
My husband has been wanting to know how Mama 'Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs' killed all those people in MIB's camp. This is my theory~she ISN'T the smoke monster(MIB killed her), but I think she can summon ol' smokey & he did her dirty work.
Just my theory.
This is so much fun! There are so many questions still unanswered & we could be on here for years & it would be just as exciting as it is now!
Like I stated in another post, I just don't care(well, I actually do)whether ANY questions were answered or not. I just was so impressed by how great the finale was! How so many things were 'bookended'. I.E.~Jack's eye opening in pilot, closing in finale, he saw Vincent in pilot, Vincent(NOT the same pooch!)in finale, new tennis shoe on bamboo in pilot, aged one in finale, Jack & Locke looking down the hatch in pilot, Jack & Non-Locke looking down the heart of the island in finale, just to name a few.
Oh! Did anyone else catch Penny's last name in SW? It was Morgan, I believe. Why? Is she not Widmore's daughter in SW? WHO is her father, then?
Did anyone else see that coming?~Juliet being David's mom? Cool!
Yay! Lapidus lives! I was so glad to see him!
My husband said it would have been better if Non-Locke had transformed back into MIB when he died. Good point. I guess he really did 'leave the island', so to speak. He just can't enjoy it!LOL!
Now, we know that Jacob & MIB are 2000 years old. See? Those enhanced
episodes are filled with tidbits of
valuable info! LOVE it!
Well, I hope we have lots of discussion left for many months to come.

lostreflash said...

I've been trying to find a tie-in for the book "Everything That Rises Must Converge". Recall that this was the book Jacob was reading on the park bench when John Locke was pushed out the window.

From Wikipedia: The book's title is a reference to a work by the French philosopher Pierre Teilhard De Chardin titled the "Omega Point": "Remain true to yourself, but move ever upward toward greater consciousness and greater love! At the summit you will find yourselves united with all those who, from every direction, have made the same ascent. For everything that rises must converge."

Fitting I think, and perhaps another call out to the viewers that the writers knew where LOST was going the whole time.

JS said...

Hey Nikki - thanks for this.

I definitely think this was shared, but we happen to be seeing this from Jack's point of view.

I am not going to say this very eloquently, but...

Why is Christian there? Was he really a shephard to all of them? No, he wasn't part of them - he didn't sit with them in the sanctuary. He touched Jack on his way out, but didn't acknowledge anyone else. And he was never part of the sideways world outside the sanctuary.

I think he was there only for Jack, solely to help Jack join his cohorts.

@Lostreflash - I have said it differently in other posts (and as Nikki says in the post) - David was a construct for Jack to work on his Daddy Issues. Once he started to lose his grasp on the sideways world, and Locke further ripped its fabric by telling him he didn't have a son, he no longer needed David, nor could continue to tell himself David existed.

Though Jack was the hero, they were an ensemble, and needed each other to move on. His point of view, but their collective story.

JS said...

@lostreflash - more pedestrianly (?), the streams leading to the golden light converge just before the mouth of the cave.

wv - magnerds: Losties

Benny said...

Nice write up Nik. Your thinking never stops on this and you can write like crazy. A-MAZE-ING!


I, myself, never felt this was for Jack at all. A lot of the sideways scenes we saw were never related in any way to Jack, including characters he had never met (i.e. Anthony Cooper).

I also don't think everyone has a different send-off. Point is, out of those in the church, only a few lived past Jack's death; these people would be the most important/significant to each other.

Regardless, I think the tipping point for me is Eloise's talk with Desmond how she had warned him and whether he is taking her son.

I'll keep coming back here, and here alone, and post my thoughts little by little.
Best place to read and discuss thoughts.

lostreflash said...

@JS

"David was a construct for Jack to work on his Daddy Issues."

Yes, I absolutely agree -- never in question. My point was a shift in emphasis from Nikki's point. Jack wasn't "fathering" to realize Christian's crumminess/flaws and relate to them (since Christian told him this in the mobisode), but to actually see if he could be a better father (as Christian implored him to be in the same mobisode). Subtle, but I think the difference removes Jack's need to see himself as David -- making David even more of a construct.

I'm probably not explaining this very well, but I agree with you.

Also, with respect to the stream converging, good catch. I had noticed the "forks" coming together, but was focused on them being more representative of the two "timelines" converging -- that is before they revealed the FSW to be the bardo/purgatory/City of Angels/Los Angeles waiting room in the afterlife.

Ken said...

Yes, I agree 100% Nikki- you've finally got it in its entirety!

Benny said...

I think Christian was there because he was the only one who could convince Jack, who could make him understand.

Jack, as a man of science, never embraced the flashes of memories; not when he fixed Locke, not when Kate kissed him.

He only started accepting these visions once he had found his dad, and only Christian could help him understand. Christian had always been a shepherd to Jack.

This world was created by all of them so they could find each other, but is there another world created for: 1) Hurley, 2) Kate, 3)Sawyer, etc.?
Do they have to find each other multiple times?
The reality they created is familiar to all of them (lottery, escaping Korea, adopting family, etc.) This all makes me believe that it is the only one and is from everyone's point of view.

The end is Jack-heavy as he has been the central character throughout the show and the end of the episode. Any way I look at it, I can never see it as a Jack-only point of view.

But... that's my take on it!

Anonymous said...

@Benny

"...out of those in the church, only a few lived past Jack's death ..."

Kate, Sawyer, Hurley, Desmond, Claire, Aaron, Rose, Bernard, Penny.

More than a few. And some pretty significant ones at that.

Just saying.

Ish said...

I'm newly in love with your blogs! Can't wait to read any other theories you may have on LOST! It was easily one of the BEST shows ever!

Goober said...

"The end is Jack-heavy as he has been the central character throughout the show and the end of the episode. Any way I look at it, I can never see it as a Jack-only point of view."

Respectfully disagree.

Who (ala Christian) was there to explain to [fill in character name here] what this was, how it was created, that there is no "now, here" before they entered the church? We don't know because we didn't see it. Because it wasn't from Jack's point of view.

Another clue: Kate enters the church wearing a dress, but is clearly seen in a different outfit (the blue-green top) inside the church, even though she entered just "moments" before. Different point of view.

I do appreciate your position however -- it's what makes the discussions so interesting!

Anonymous said...

@LoyallyLost

"Oh! Did anyone else catch Penny's last name in SW?"

Milton.

Erin said...

Well written and well thought out, as always! Thanks for this. I'm really enjoying the continued discussion about the finale.

I have been thinking a lot about the sideways world and the roles the other characters played in it, Sawyer in particular. Regardless of when he died (and I'm hoping he lived to be a very old man, possibly with Kate, having had an opportunity to watch Clementine grow up and be a father to her...), the thing he needed to let go of was his hatred for Anthony Cooper. In the real world, Sawyer killed him, and it only caused him more pain. I think in the sideways world when he finally came clean to Miles about why he'd gone to Australia I felt like maybe he was making a move to let it go. Maybe? Or am I just obsessed with that man?!

Also, Claire was able to make connections to a real family in the sideways world.

Hurley believed he never had bad luck (the opposite of his idea that he was cursed)

Ben got to be a positive role-model, father-figure to Alex. In the real world, he regretted so much of his relationship with her.

I don't know. It's late. Maybe I should go to bed and re-visit this tomorrow. Yes, I think I will.

Good-night, all!

Anonymous said...

Niki,

Love your comments as always - and just wanted to give a shout out to Lost Mamas: I had my eldest May 28, 2004. I also watched L O S T through the newly 'inaugurated' ;> eyes of a mother and it contributed greatly to what my experience of this show.

Best,
Mama Lost

Joan Crawford said...

I keep going back and forth on this issue. I originally thought it was all of them but...now I think everyone but Jack was a construct in Jack's own purgatory. I say this because if we are going off of the "everyone" who was super-important to you is there idea then - Baby Charlie has to be there for Des and Penny. Even if the rule is that the person has to have been on the island, then Penny can't be in "purgatory" either. There is no way that Rose means more to Penny than Charlie does. As would any kids the people who flew away in the plane.

Thanks for sharing a bit of your own story with us, Nikki :) I've always loved that poem too.

Joan Crawford said...

This world was created by all of them so they could find each other, but is there another world created for: 1) Hurley, 2) Kate, 3)Sawyer, etc.?
Do they have to find each other multiple times?


Yeah, what Benny said! His post doesn't have weird half sentences in it either :D

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I read your blog (and books) often, but rarely comment. I am among those who were disappointed in the finale. Your post allows to explain why and maybe to see how your readers respond to this perspective.

First, if David was primarily (solely?) Jack’s construction, then why is he there with Juliet in the hospital and at the concert. Does he have a similar function for her as your interpretation suggests he has for Jack? (Yes, I know it’s supposed to be a collective construction, but how does that work? How many other people seen in the Sideways world are not *real* (despite Christian saying we’re all real) Could Anthony Cooper be equally a phantom construction?

Second, and much more importantly, many people seem to be ignoring what I see as a potential paradox. The Sideways world is supposed to be “outside of time” (how this works is not explained). But everyone acknowledges, and your post shows, that *within* the Sideways world something has to happen to each character. First, they must be awakened (often it’s a complex process to do this). Second, they must “understand” what this means (this is what your post is about vis-à-vis Jack). But these are *processes* (transformations, changes), and thus they seem to have to happen “in time”? (Even “moving on” implies process.) I don’t see how the writers can have this both ways.

Third, throughout the show, the writers certainly flirted with a Manichean view of black-white. But whenever it came to portraying these “poles”, whether in characters—Jacob/Dark Boy, Jack/Locke—or in themes (freedom-fate; good-evil, faith-science), the show seemed to be searching for a third alternative, either a Hegelian synthesis of some sort or at least an intermediate position. In countless posts, you have stressed this tendency of the show. The finale, however, seems to imply that this potential third alternative is empty: White wins; Faith does not need Science; the Dark Monster has to be killed not transfigured. I take this to be the implication of Jack moving over to the side of destiny (“this is what I’m supposed to do”) and of his angry defense of original Locke to Dark Locke. Thus, the finale seems to *betray* what appeared to be a genuine aspiration of the show. This is why I find it disappointing. (Isn’t it just too easy to come down for one side of a white-black opposition; isn’t formulating the issue in this way itself too easy?) Am I not seeing the finale properly on this score??

Bill

Fred said...

It is interesting to contrast LOST with another island tale: Castaway, with Tom Hanks. Hanks desperately trys to form community, even if only in his imagination. And that negative capability proves so strong, a volley-ball becomes a companion, Wilson. In a parallel to the Biblical creation of man, Hanks paints a face on the volley-ball with his own blood. But Hank's character is not God, and what he has made is not a real person. His return to civilization is presaged by the visit on the ocean of a whale--mightn't this symbolize the power of God (one of the questions God asks Job concerns his presence there at the creation of the whales). In American literary myths, the whale symbolizes the presence of God. In the end, Hank's character Chuck Noland (no-land) is rescued, unable to form a relationship with his former lover (Helen Hunt) who is now married. Noland stands literally at the cross-roads, trying to find a new direction as he scans a map.

The Losties never really returned to civilization in any comfortable way--their lives off island proved to be failures, especially in Jack's case. By focusing on Jack's journey off island we can see it echoes Noland's own existential crisis; but unlike Noland, Jack seeks to return to the island, once he reads news of Locke's apparent suicide. Like Noland, Jack's wife Sarah had left him for another man (even though this occurs before his flight to Australia and the island), and it is repeated once more with Kate, with whom he tries to form a relationship but fails. Just as Noland is left staring at a map on the crossroads, Jack is isolated in his house surrounded by maps of the world, seeking the island, a place that is truly no-land.

But we arrive at two completely different philosophies. Chuck Noland arrives an alien in the U.S., unable to fully connect; he is simply alone, and we may surmise this is his future condition as he seeks out a new direction for his life. Jack Shephard is also alientated back home, but desperately seeks to reconnect by returning to the island. (It is ironic that the only place Chuck Noland truly connected with anyone was on the Pacific island where his connection was with a volley-ball named Wilson). It is as if both stories are telling us that modern life often leads to disconnection, to an isolation from our fellow beings; but the simpler and rudimentary life offered by the islands affords the possibility to reconnect with each other. Noland, we surmise, will never try to return to the island as Jack does. On the other hand, Noland does not die at the end of the film; whereas, LOST closes on Jack's death scene (more on that later).

Fred said...

continued ...

A telling line in the finale is that by Christian, when he tells Jack that they all made this place. The alternate reality is itself an island outside of time, a place to reconnect with one another. There is no open road as with Chuck Noland; indeed, in the alternate reality it narrows down to the church where they all meet. When Christian opens the doors we are met with a bright light; but we are not allowed to move into it (as the Losties are/will), just as we cannot see which road Noland will take at the end of the film (that decision is his alone). In each story there is the idea of moving on; but that movement is either done together or alone. How telling that Castaway proved so popular a film even with its existential theme, while LOST was equally as popular, ending on a spiritual theme. We would think the two stories were incompatible despite some parallels. Yet, I know for myself I feel equally moved by both stories despite this distinction between themes--I am still not sure why? Perhaps it is for the same reason i can appreciate Shakespeare's Hamlet soliloquy "what a piece of work is man," knowing it comes before Hamlet sends Rozencrantz and Guildenstern off to their deaths. We can live with irony, and so we can live with two stories that contrast one another; yet, clearly the former shows its influence in the latter, though not in any deep and profound manner.

That80sKid said...

I wish I could word this in a new way, but thanks Nikki for the comment I found it very insightful.

I haven't posted anything about my thoughts on the end...because it's very hard to gather all my thoughts. To break it down and all.

I enjoyed the ending on an emotional note, which is what the writers we're going for...so they won with this sap! Moving on...(ha-ha)

After reading dozens of news articles and blog posts, I've loosely concluded that the Flash Sidways was a some type of existence that the Losties made for eachother with "The Incident."

Far-fetched but for now I'm going with it. Christain did say that they created this place.

And as you've stated, along with many others, I feel that the FS was from everyone's point of view. Due to some dialogue that was said in.

I think it mirrors how in season one, everyone was looking to Jack to help them with there own needs. I shouldn't say everyone, but most people we're.

AND in the FS, Jack is still a doubting Thomas. BUT haha I love this, THEY'RE there to help HIM. It's beautiful. Not a theory that isn't resistent to plotholes...but I love the concept.

Also. Just for the sake of saying it.

Those last 5 minutes or so of Jack stumbling across the woods when he started collapsing to the ground...I said aloud "He's GONNA DIE ALONE!" but before I could finish Vincent's bark interrupted. AND I LOST it (pun intended).

Vincent laid next to Jack, assuring Jack would not die alone. That HIT me hard, choked me up...man...I get misty eyed just thinking about it.

I'm still dealing with some of the unresolved questions, or silly things similiar to Sayid and Shannon.

M9 EGO said...

I think your totally right about them ALL leaving , although we kind of see it slightly biased to Jack (he was the central character on the biggest bucks so it seems fair). Kate does say "WE are leaving" and we see everyones realisation/relief of what is happening to them. The change of clothes issue doesn't really make sense to me...Kate looked HOT in that little black number, so if it was Jack's view why would he put her in the trousers and top ?!

Anonymous said...

I think that is right. I also think that is why Kate went in the church wearing one thing but then we saw her in a different outfit. Time had passed. That scene with Christian could have lasted months. No time there and all that. I think that was to show us it was a different day...time had passed.

Also, was Helen something Loche imagined in the sideways world or had she died? What about his dad..,did loche make up that his dad died because of him because he needed that too?

Ali Bags said...

@Anonymous

Maybe Locke needed his Dad to be the victim?

I have a problem with why Nadia is married to Sayid's brother in the sideways world. Maybe because being married to Sayid led to her death? And at least she gets to have children in the Sideways world?

redeem147 said...

Kate's clothing change didn't bother me - at that point they all knew they were dead, and that they were shaping the 'reality' they were in.

All the episodes have focused on one character (in the finale it's Jack). Other episodes focused on different sideways characters (Sayid, Sawyer etc.)

QAIS said...

Thank you Nikki for this post, I totally agree that every change we've seen in Alt reality was soleley to help the characters redeem themselves, live out thier deepest desires, fullfill thier wishes and help them to move on.

In Jack's case it is exaclty how you wrote it down, please go ahead and write up an analysis for the other characters whenever you have time to breathe :D

@Bill: May 27, 2010 2:17 AM: (if David was primarily (solely?) Jack’s construction, then why is he there with Juliet in the hospital and at the concert.)

I don't think that every character imagined his or her Alt world differently. It is the same for all of them. Jack and Juliet shared a son, Anthony Cooper did exist and as i mentioned before. They are tools that help the Losties to move on. I'm leaving this to Nikki to share her ideas on this like she does sooo well with everything else. I'm really bad at writing down what i think.

poggy said...

Bill, I'm obviously not Nikki but here's my two cents on your comments.

I see dreams as being the closest thing to the sideways in our reality. Do you ever take a ten minute nap that ends up in some epic, detailed dream? and from *inside* the dream, they really don't feel like ten minutes - maybe the story of what you dreamed of spans over days and you experience feelings, have realizations... also depending on what you ate at lunch ;) Joking aside, of course dreams aren't *exactly* the same thing as the sideways, but I think they're a pretty understandable example of how human consciousness can detach itself from time and space and experience imaginary things as if they were real. I am in the field who believes the sideways were some kind of collective limbo/waiting room; from this POV, it isn't hard to think that, after death, the now unattached consciousnesses of the Losties were able to forge the sideways world in order to get connected again. FWIW, I think Jack might have experienced the whole sideways right before closing his eyes, just like Juliet was referring to the vending machine when she said "we can go Dutch" before dying. Yet that happened days before Jack died, but that didn't matter because her consciousness was out of time.

Re: manicheian references - of course your mileage may vary, but I think that most of the times Lost made them it was in order to deconstruct them. I mean, even Star Wars, which has the Dark Side and the Light Side of the Force eventually showed that Vader wasn't essentially bad. I think what Lost was aiming at was showing that the human factor - the variable - can always choose between light and dark, because men always have a bit of both. And the Island did, too - the same energy (call it EM/exotic matter or the Light, it's the same - none of the faith-based explanations canceled the science-based ones) that gives life can also take it away. I guess that the whole deal with Smokey was that these two impulses became separate entities. It's the whole yin/yang thing.

On David existing for Juliet as well - this might be relevant only through my shipper lenses, but Jack and Juliet have been important for each other for a while. He was the one who gave her resolution to leave the Others and escape Ben's control, and she was relevant to Jack's growth too - I think they would both have acknowledged this, even if their soulmates ended up being Kate and Sawyer.

Benny said...

One thing that does get to me in the "the sideways is Jack's point of view" is that semi-important characters appear that Jack never met:

-Randy Nation
-Omer Jarrah
-Liam Pace
-George Minkowski [only talked to on SAT phone]
-Helen Norwood
-Anthony Cooper

As for Kate's wear, I'm not too worried. Locke is the only one we see wearing the same clothes as earlier.
This could lend credence that the inside of the church only is from a certain (Jack's) perspective.

Benny said...

As for baby Charlie, here's what I think: Age matters!

Now let me explain. Charlie, as we know him, is only a child (like Aaron). But this begs the question why does Aaron appear as baby Aaron? And Ji Yeon still in utero? Fact is: they all appear in 2004-form.

I think baby Aaron was just a construct as well to help Claire, Kate and DriveShaft-Charlie remember - (I don't think that Aaron is the real one) he didn't remember, he doesn't have any cognitive faculties.

I believe Aaron, baby Charlie an Ji Yeon will ultimately form their own network of friends and loved ones to help them "let go" and "move on".

Family IS important, it was shown to us. But I think these people moved on as friends and lovers. As a different type of family.
They needed each other and helped other.

Their children will go through a similar process (though not necessarily as epic).

SenexMacDonald said...

I have had a busy week since last Sunday. I am trying to at least read your blogs as they come up. Every time I burst into tears.

I loved these characters and this show in a way I have never loved anything before... even Buffy - which I loved immensely or so I thought. The only other current show that has come close to how I feel about LOST is Medium... also about family, even more than the cases solved each week.

I will continue to read what you are posting, Nikki - but it might be awhile until I am actually able to coherently respond. Meanwhile - back to the tears...

Benny said...

@Joan: Yeah, what Benny said! His post doesn't have weird half sentences in it either :D

Euh! Did you just contradict your previous post by agreeing with me?
I think you just did...

I'm glad I could easily change your mind ;P

TM Lawrence said...

@Nik: I believe you've almost nailed the David issue and LA X. But David is his son in the same way that Juliet was his wife and Christian his father. It was all real according to his father. David is as real as anything else in LA, at least. He does provide agency for Jack to forgive his father by reflection, but that reconciliation requires the complex interplay of Locke, his mother, Juliet, Claire, Ilana, Dogen, Bernard, Helen, and others no doubt off camera. Jack's satori was the toughest to accomplish, consistent with his character, and was the most rewarding because it was not a flash awakening.

The broader redemptive structure of LA X belongs to all of them, however. Consider that Ethan and Juliet are colleagues and both appear entirely beneficient and ethical in their duties. Ethan is reconciled to Claire and Juliet to Sun. It has always been Kate's task to keep Claire and Aaron together and she does so. Juliet has an amicable relationship with her divorced husband and has learned to let go and still love. The list goes on, but James Ford, John Locke, Daniel Widmore, Ben, and Desmond deserve separate treatment in order to understand the church scene.

James Ford existed in LA X, not Sawyer. He was no longer a grifter, and in fact busted them. Still flawed and susceptible to the temptations of Kate and vengeance, he did not stray far from rectitude. Miles, Charlotte, and Juliet at the vending machine were all in this timeline to keep him on a truer path. Juliet, not on the plane and dead long before him when Jughead detonated, provided his satori and was his Platonic other half.

John Locke has always been the other side of Jack's coin, in name, family structure, and beliefs. It makes sense that their father issues would be worked out through each other and that they would be the instruments of each other's awakenings. Both were men of deep faith and of science and were healed by each other in the confluence. Helen's absence in the church only makes sense if John is Jack's platonic other half, which leaves out Kate, or if John is the other side of Jack. I'll take the latter.

Daniel Widmore still has Charlotte to win, his parental time tyranny issues to work through, a hat to lose, and a whole image consultation to arrange. If he keeps playing bizarre concerts as Little Lord Fauntleroy, that may take a couple more life iterations. Clearly no church for him. But without his abrogation of his mother's rules, Desmond would not have started the chain reaction, so his place in LA X is firmly established.

Ben is now a leaderless Panchen Lama and needs to install the next Island protector. He also seems to have just discovered the Joy of Cooking, French edition and some lovely, if overly onioned,Coq au Rosseau. What with the Yale tuition on a highschool teacher's salary, preparing for all the explaining he's going to have to do when Alex and Danielle wake up, and changing out all those oxygen cylinders, he's going to be too busy to go to church.

Finally, Desmond gets Penelope in both timelines, baby Charlie in the original, and transcendence in LA X. Not bad for a relapsing drunkard who leaves women at the altar, steals monastery wine, kills island mentors, crashes planes by neglecting his duties, and allows his protege to get killed by a one-eyed polyglot. With that charming accent, and in recompense for repetitive coerced radiation exposure, the universe forgives all. Clearly Penny is his soulmate, and Charlie's sacrifice on island is repaid by the joint efforts of Daniel, Desmond, Hugo, Kate, and Claire.

LA X is real and belonged to all of them. Some were ready to pass on, some still had work to do. Jack was simply the hardest nut to crack. The final message seems clearest in the reversal of Jack's tagline:

Die alone, Live together.

JenniferS said...

During the finale, I was making a list of characters who made the connection to the real timeline, and slowly realized that Jack would be the last. Then I remembered how many times we've heard "let it go, Jack" since the beginning of the series and slowly started realizing what was going on. You articulated it beautifully.

I love your explanation of David. And thanks for the Philip Larkin poem -- I like his stuff.

TM Lawrence said...

My last post presumes that the church of universal faith is "the place" jointly constructed in Christian's answer to Jack. I think many are taking LA X to be the illusory joint construct. I am at peace and moving on only if LA X was another reality and not an illusion.

We can be struck by an apple or enlightenment and pass to a higher plane of understanding in any lifetime or any alternate timeline. Geez, LA X is a touchy subject.

LittleMo said...

Ah Nikki - what a great blog of yours and all the replies to it. It is now really starting to make sense to me, many thanks to you and everyone else here.

It seems that in alt-world everyone has made maybe just one or two different choice(s) but enough so that their lives have turned out differently.

Not only has Jack had a son (from a different wife- Juliet, who wasn't someone he felt pity towards) but Sawyer didn't kill Cooper and became a good guy/cop not con man, Daniel Faraday's mother did a couple of things differently as he is now Daniel Widmore and instead of her pushing him to be a scientist she allowed him to be a musician. Desmond seems to have not split with Penny or joined the army, and so on. Though Kate still seemed to have been on the run and ended up on the flight in handcuffs - poor Kate.
And as the island hadn't existed, then Oceanic flight didn't crash etc.
So yes it is for all of them not just Jack.

But I still have trouble when people say that the church is somewhere out of time, separate and remote from real time. Since we whave been shown a sequence of events through time that brought them all together into the church and Desmond seems to have been the instrument for that. I don't feel that has been properly answered. But I guess we can't have answers to everything. !! :-(

Another part of me thinks that this is another aspect of the black and white theme. We have real time which is black where planes crash, people die nasty deaths and it all ends pretty badly. Then we have alternate time - white - where through a few simple actions/decisions lives change and things turn out for the best. I like this one as I'm always a sucker for a happy ending !!

And then the writers somehow had to join the two together at the end and came up with the waiting room/church scenario to bring the two halves together.
I'm not too sure that they did such a great job of that - but then I sure as hell can't suggest any better or more satisying way of tying the two together.

Its like Terry O'Quin said in one of the interviews - you close the book and think - that was a damn good read !!!

So yes Lost was great, maybe not perfect, but what is?
It has enriched my life, I've enjoyed it, am glad for the possible happy endings and look forward to more great posts from you Nikki and most important of all your next (not last) book !!! (no pressure :-) !! )

LittleMo said...

There is going to be an official Lost Encyclopaedia published in about Aeptember (already on Amazon)
I just can't wait to see what it says about all this and how it explains it !!!!

TM Lawrence said...

Final thoughts for the morning on daddy issues. FLocke is made mortal by cutting off his connection to the vital source, by unplugging the omphalos (western) or the lingam (eastern), by getting the yang out of the yin. The most apt mythologic reference would be that of Antaios.

The giant Antaios was yet another accoster of wayfarers that roofed his hut with the skulls of those he defeated in coerced wrestling matches. He drew his strength from Gaia, who was both his mother and his great-grandmother in a sordid incidence of consanguinity, as his father Poseidon's mother (Rhea) was Gaia's daughter. Anyhoo...

Herakles, fresh from stealing the apples of the Hesperides off Tenerife way, decided enough was enough and lifted Antaio's off the ground, weakening him, then crushed him in a bearhug.

Wait, where's the daddy issue? A fun fact from a fouled up family tree wherein sons castrate fathers, father's swallow sons, and the omphalos is cast out into the world.

Anonymous said...

Just FYI...Part of Christian's speech to Jack is often misquoted. (I have a habit of watching TV with the closed-captions on.)
Christian says,"Nobody does it alone, Jack" not "Nobody dies alone, Jack."

Teebore said...

@Benny: Fact is: they all appear in 2004-form.

I've appreciated all your comments in this thread, Benny, but this one stuck out to me as key.

I don't think Lil'Charlie is missing from the church because he's stuck in limbo or isn't ready to move. He's just not there because the church represents those people as they were in 2004, and Lil'Charlie isn't born yet.

Hence, Aaron is a baby, Ji Yeon a fetus, and Lil'Charlie just a twinkle in Desmond's eye, because that's how they were in 2004 (and Walt is missing because the actor is now 8 feet tall and 87, no longer how he appeared in 2004).

It never occurred to me that Desmond and Penny are moving on without their son; rather, he's probably already moved on, because he isn't tied to this group: he didn't contribute to its manufacture, and is most likely waiting for them in the next stage.

@Ali Bags: I have a problem with why Nadia is married to Sayid's brother in the sideways world.

We know Sayid has always been somewhat self-loathing. I'm not at all surprised that in creating this world, his soul's contribution to it would have him unconnected to Nadia, because he doesn't believe he deserves such happiness.

(Contrast with Sawyer, who, while still recognizing the darkness that so informed his life (Sideways Sawyer is still hunting for Cooper) has accepted that he's capable of being a better man, a hero, even. So when contributing to the creation of the Sideways world, his soul casts himself as a cop rather than a criminal. Had Sawyer died in season one, I imagine his soul would have contributed to a world where he was still a conman).

And with Nadia placed out of reach by Sayid's own volition, it takes someone else, someone more connected to that most important time of his life (his time on the island) to awaken his consciousness: Shannon.

paleoblues said...

I think the entire “Sideways” world actually took place well after all to the characters were dead. And since that includes Hurley and Ben it could be centuries in the future. When Jack dies on the island and his eye closes we see an immediate flash after/flash fast forward/flash way forward. We only consider it sideways because WE witnessed it concurrently with the island world. But, since time is irrelevant, I guess it doesn’t really matter.

Jack was simply the last one to have his “awakening”. We saw it start with Charlie forcing Desmond into the bay. Then Des awakened Hurley and so on.

Watching the scene during LA X between Jack and Rose now has new meaning to me.
After the turbulence, she tells him he can let go and you’re almost home. She already knows what’s happening. She’s already had her awakening.

I always thought it was a little schmaltzy when Bernard came back from the bathroom and Rose told him how much she missed him. I mean, how long could he have been gone in the bathroom? But now, realizing that they are both dead, they have been apart from the time the first of them died until the time the other one died. They are now back together on the plane and Rose stating how she missed Bernard (as Kate also said to Jack in the church) actually brings tears to my eyes. They are flying into “LA” on a true “Soul plane”. (Even Arzt and Frogurt are there).

All of the rest of the characters are already in LA. One by one (or two by two) the characters begin to have small flashes of the island world (when they were alive) and eventually their full awakening. As each one does they realize they are supposed to head for the church. My favorite was when Jin and Sun meet James in the hospital (having had their awakening) and just smile at him and say we’ll see you there. They now know what’s going on, recognize Sawyer and know he will be “awakened” and will be at the church.

So, I think we focused on Jack because he was the last to arrive/let go. Also, it was Christian who opened the door to lead the way. He had no relationship to any of the others (except Claire). All of the others appear as Jack remembered them, not as they would have looked whenever they actually died.

Locke says to Jack “We’ve been waiting for you.” Not just waiting for him to arrive, but to finally let go.

Marebabe said...

For now, I would just like to ask two questions. I like these two questions because they’re small, bite-sized, and (maybe) uncomplicated. Here goes:

In the hospital room, Locke said to Jack, “You don’t have a son.” Now, Locke had just experienced his own awakening and remembering. How did he know that Jack didn’t have a son? Even we in the audience didn’t know it at that moment.

Just as Locke was leaving Ben outside the church, Ben told Locke that he didn’t need the wheelchair. How did Ben know that before Locke did? Surely Locke would have had sensations and wiggly toes, etc. if he was able to get up out of that chair. I don’t think we’re supposed to believe that Ben’s words suddenly and miraculously completed Locke’s healing.

Benny said...

@Marebabe: thoughts to questions!

1] I'm sure Jack and Locke had talked to each other about family. Jack possibly mentioned his not having a son.

2] I'm sure Ben is aware that, being dead and in their 'waiting place', Locke doesn't NEED a wheelchair anymore.

paleoblues said...

If Locke is dead why did he NEED an operation in order to walk. Or did he not need it and had it only for Jack's benefit? But then why use a wheelchair when Jack wasn't around? (Maybe he did go on his walkabout). Or did he no longer need it because he was in the proximity of the church? Does every answer lead to another question?

Benny said...

@paleoblues: here's the short answer. At least how I see it!

This 'reality' was constructed in order for them to meet each other and move on together. Locke was in a wheelchair and met Jack so that he would perform the operation.

Locke wiggling his toe was the catalyst for him to remember everything, that was probably one of the biggest moments for him on the island, wiggling his toe upon waking up post-crash.
Therefore Locke was in a wheelchair because being fixed was THE important moment, the one that would help him see and understand.

For Jack, it partly helped in see his relationship with Locke. Then Kate came along, followed by finding Christian and making peace with his death - having his father's funeral.

This reality (815 not crashing) was created for them to meet each other under circumstances that would help them remember.

Andrys Basten said...

@TM Lawrence,
--- "I am at peace and moving on only if LAX was another reality and not an illusion."

I'm with you. As time passes and I see all the individual and quite varied interpretations and our attempts at reconciling the last 15 minutes, I am more and more remote from it. I think it was a new-agey, glibly whispy mistake because every time I think about it, something else doesn't work.
And real work it is, to try to reconcile any aspects of it.

However, my hopes re LAX reality are again dashed remembering the moment JLocke tells Jack that he has no son. And, yes, in the church there's no David. There's no Sideways-LAX reality whatsoever outside of wishful thinking it represents in the therapy-land that it is meant to represent.

By the way, on the Kimmel show, Jack said, yes, that ending was Jack's story.

This was a great sci-fi/fantasy and it should have kept the faith and stayed one. It stopped working for me at the simplistic story of Jacob and MIB (when we found out they were serious), of the universe-destroying concepts of black vs white, even if they tried to soften it with WHY some become Black=Evil, exonerating the still much-worshipped but dim Jacob.
Doesn't matter what he caused himself. All can feel for him and rightfully hate the creepy MIB.

The paper mache scenery, dialog, acting (they were embarrassed?) and direction in that J & MIB episode were on another plane from the previous 5.5 yrs.

But I did love Sideways world and real redemption, not the fuzzy 'interpret it your way' last 15 minutes. And I loved the first 2 hrs & 15 and wish there was not that smoke-like stuff over it :-)

But see a good way to view all this from another malcontent: http://assaultonthesenses.com/

I feel it works best if we don't try to make sense out of it and accept it's Darleton's nice copout :-) and they gave us a great 6 yrs.

paleoblues said...

@Benny; I agree totally, but my question is how does Ben know that or is he somehow aware of everything that has happened to everyone in the SW.

Teebore said...

@paleoblues: If Locke is dead why did he NEED an operation in order to walk.

My take is that Locke's paralysis is symbolic of his needing to let go. Only by accepting that he needs to "let go" and succumb to the operation does he "awaken": the catalyst for his awakening is walking again like he did on the island.

Theoretically, I suppose, Locke's awakening could have come about another way, but as it is, he only "woke up" after succumbing to the operation and being able to walk again, like on the island.

Note also how quickly after the operation he was able to walk again; because Locke had "awoken" the physical constraints of the sideways world no longer applied, and he was able to walk again far sooner than he would have under normal conditions.

It seems it's only after "awakening" that the laws of physics, time and reality no longer apply to you in the Sideways world.

Benny said...

@paleoblues: Ben knows this is a waiting place, that these individuals are dead (as per his talks with Locke and Hurley)... since Locke is now also aware that he is dead, it stands to reason that he, in fact can walk.

I don't think the operation had anything to do with it. Had he realized he was dead without the operation, I believe he could have gotten up from the wheelchair and walked.

Benny said...

@Teebore: It seems it's only after "awakening" that the laws of physics, time and reality no longer apply to you in the Sideways world.

Personally, I would change it slightly to say: only after you awaken to do realize the laws/rules don't apply.

They never really applied but you still believed this world to be real.

Teebore said...

Personally, I would change it slightly to say: only after you awaken to do realize the laws/rules don't apply.

They never really applied but you still believed this world to be real.


Yes, good point. That's realy what I meant.

Benny said...

FANTASTIC!

paleoblues said...

So he had the awakening, told Jack the operation worked, realized he was dead, but still got in a wheelchair without trying to walk, was released immediately from the hospital, got in and out of the taxi using the wheelchair and didn't realized he didn't have to until Ben told him?

Marebabe said...

Ever since Sunday night, no matter where you look on the Internet, if people are discussing “The End”, they are throwing around the words “Purgatory” and “Limbo” interchangeably to mean “the mysterious realm between this life and whatever comes after”. Right? Can we agree on that?

Clearly, words and their meanings evolve. Every year, dictionaries are updated to keep pace with the latest new words and changes in meaning. South Park did a memorable episode exploring the evolution of the word (rhymes with maggot). Anyway, my dictionary defines Purgatory as a temporary place of PUNISHMENT and purification in Roman Catholic doctrine, and Limbo as a place that is neither punishment nor reward, reserved for innocent but unbaptized souls. (I don’t believe either place actually exists.)

Given the way that everyone is using Purgatory and Limbo in discussing “The End”, I think that eventually dictionaries will define both of these words as “the afterlife’s waiting room".

Teebore said...

@paleoblues: and didn't realized he didn't have to until Ben told him?

Pretty much, yeah. I think of it this way: even though he'd been awakened, it took Ben to remind him that he no longer was beholden to such notions as "surgery" and "recovery time" in this world, and could walk whenever he wanted.

It's similar to how some characters "woke up" and immediately remembered everything from their lives (and, presumably, the reality of the Sideways world) whereas for other characters, their memories and understanding of the situation came more slowly.

@Marebabe: Given the way that everyone is using Purgatory and Limbo in discussing “The End”, I think that eventually dictionaries will define both of these words as “the afterlife’s waiting room".

I'd agree, and while the dictionary (or a dictionary) might specify Purgatory as a place of punishment, for me, and I'd imagine, others as well, it already has a more general connotative meaning along the lines of limbo, that of a waiting room somewhere between punishment and reward.

While the dictionary may define it as a place of punishment, I've, for many years, used it synonymously with limbo and meant no implication of punishment when using it.

Fred said...

@benny & Teebore:Personally, I would change it slightly to say: only after you awaken to do realize the laws/rules don't apply.

The thing is, the rules never applied to even the world we were looking at, the so called real world. In that world, Miles climbs up the stairs and there are wooden frames round the pictures. He comes back down, and they are metal. The "rules of reality" just do not apply.

So suppose all we have been seeing is just another plane of existence. The sideways world is just another plane of existence, and the purpose of existence is simply to move on through the planes. But to do so, the characters need to let go of each plane. Sounds very Buddhist.

In fact, Ben remaining behind to bring others to enlightenment before he himself moves on fits with the notion of the Bodhisattva: a being who acheives enlightenment but refuses to move on until other beings achieve enlightenment.

The writers have given us a story in which there is no firm foundation, everything we see is just an illusion that moves from reality to reality. In many ways it is reminiscent of Ursula Le Guin's The Lathe of Heaven. Ultimately I think we do find the spiritual basis for LOST can be found in Buddhism, though there are symbolic references made to other religions; but Buddhism is its core foundation (just as it is for Le Guin).

Of course, it is possible to read the final scene in the church as Jack dying, his mind making a last gesture of love before his consciousness expires. Here we'd have Incidence at Owl Creek. But there seems a lot of evidence against such a conclusion.

The light source also connects, and it connects through the water. Recall, Claire felt Aaron had not kicked until she ate some fish given her by Jin. Fish are in water, and although the ocean it- still has a connection with the island as it is within the periphery of the island (recall Jin moving along in time becasue he was close enough to the island). Water is what they have all been drinking, and island water once the airline bottled water was exhausted. That is why Edward Mars died, he did not have access to the island's water and its healing powers (he was still being given bottled water). Water is also a perfect symbol of the interconnection between the characters.

Fred said...

continued ...

Furthermore, Jacob's tapestry depicts a group of people with the light from Osiris' eye touching their outstretched hands. Here again is the idea of interconnection between the source and everyone.

At its heart, I think LOST is a Buddist inspired story, filtering a great many other sciencefiction stories, especially Le Guin (not to mention Philip Dick--Le Guin's novel was itself an attempt at a Dickian type story).

This is not to say we cannot give it a Solaris point of view and imagine the Source is Solaris, and the afterlife they all go to is really a pocket (love Radzinsky's word) in the Source. Jack et al. are in effect the residue of memories or thoughts recorded by the Source. BUt the recording is so perfect it "captures" them, as outlined in Bioy's novel, The Invention of Morel which invention is said to capture the "souls" of the people it records. And like the paradox of quantum reality, pwerception creates reality. Which is why Jack sees Aaron as a child, because he wishes to perceive him as such, despite having raised him with Kate up three years.

It's a real hodge-podge of lines of writing. The writers have basically thrown in so many strands and tried to make them work, that how we as the audience see what is going on takes on multiple readings. (A point we've hashed over before, and perhaps a failing of the show--not to mention why Jack swimming in the water and Source didn't survive his wounds).

On the last point, Damon Lindelhof wrote an op-ed piece about why Harry Potter should die at the end of the series. That Harry did not is testament to a separate aesthetics based in a different culture. So I wonder, why did Jack die? From my cultural perspective I find it maudlin.

Benny said...

@Marebabe: and that's why I refuse to use either term here.

Neither applies properly to what we've seen/been told this place is. And while the dictionary definitions may eventually be changed (I've seen that episode), so far it has not.

This is not a place that simply exists, it is one that they CREATED for themselves, and, to me, should not be confused with either notions of purgatory or limbo, both of which attach a definite religious attachment (Christian and Catholic respectively) which was somewhat being pushed aside given the stain glass window in the chapel.

Teebore said...

@Benny, Marebabe: While I've certainly used "purgatory" in the shorthand during these discussions, the term I used quite often in my blog post that I'm rather fond of for the way it rolls off the tongue is "purgatorial gestalt", a purgatory-like but not explicitly "Purgatory" place created by the joined consciousnesses of a group of people. :)

paleoblues said...

@Teebore: I agree that maybe Locke came around a little more slowly (but time doesn't matter, does it?) and was still in the habit of using his wheelchair. But I still think he would have at least attempted to stand up when he got out of the hospital bed. Anyway, I actually think it was just more dramatic to see him stand up at the church after speaking to Ben.

Benny said...

"purgatorial gestalt"

I like it!


While I gave my two cents on the use of purgatory/limbo, I certainly won't let out on anyone who will use them to describe what this world was - unless they are used literally, in which case I (we) disagree.

I understand their true meaning has dissolved somewhat.

Teebore said...

@paleoblue: Anyway, I actually think it was just more dramatic to see him stand up at the church after speaking to Ben.

Oh, absolutely!

Andrys Basten said...

paleoblues, yes, I wondered the same things! But Ben tended to be a step ahead of the others (no capital 'o') at times.

Besides, it would make just as much sense if they could just float into church.

Matthew Fox: after watching his interviews I'm surprised by how much of Jack is Fox. He also sometimes has a really remote way of relating also, and looks away a lot. But when he feels like smiling or laughing, it's very contagious. Odd. I liked the character so I'm not complaining.

Andrys Basten said...

Fred,
---" why did Jack die? From my cultural perspective I find it maudlin."

So we could have that awful last 15 minutes that makes less sense the more we try to reason it out.

Eventually some kind of acceptance will be needed, like "I give up.!" Nothing's perfect.

I have buddhist leanings myself,
but I also have alternate-reality leanings!

At my stage of 'grief' I am thinking of Sideways and its beautiful way of showing what those lives could have been and not even ideal at that! which was realistic.

AND we could have had a spin-off of our characters living their lives in this new place, taking trips down memory lane, evolving or falling back etc. :-)

But making Jack a self-sacrificing but Ninja-style lamb, we got one completed arc - After failing to fix so many things, the guy fixed the world and died for it.

Unhappily, how many ever really believed the central theme that the glow from the electromagnetic forces, if dimmed to Off, would take the light from the rest of the world?

I still can't believe they were serious about that, but that was the ONLY rationale for his dying. I don't think I will ever get over that, as a storyline.

I think I'll make a copy of the show up to the point where John Locke says that Jack has no son.

I can't remember where Charlie, Claire, Kate and Aaron were in the timing of this but I'd include that. The first 7/8's wrecked me emotionally in a Good way but that last part I'm hoping to forget now, although... how could I do without the Locke/Ben scene?
Maybe I'll just leave out John Locke's 'post-recovery' advisory to Jack...

paleoblues said...

A quote from Woody Allen: "Eternity is very long, especially toward the end".

gigi said...

I know this is a couple days old and nobody will probably read this but re: Jack taking the longest to work through his issues and move on, I actually think Ben is still resolving issues with Alex and that's why he's staying in the Sideways world, because he just found a way to redeem himself to her and Russoau (however you spell it) and wanted to see that through before he moved on. The only thing that doesn't really make sense is that he does have an understanding that he's in a fake reality, so you'd think that would take the fun out of it.

Also, I really wish they would have just hired a little 10 year old Walt lookalike and only showed the back of his head hugging someone. We all would have known who it was supposed to be.

Benny said...

@gigi: ...I'm sure we're a few still reading comments on here.

I think Jack's issues were mostly related to island stuff and his Dad, especially his Dad. And now that he's come to terms with it, there's no reason for him to stay.

For Ben, the way I see it is, he's remembered but still feels he needs to forgive himself for what he's done. Even though this may not be real, he needs to make right.

You're right that Ben still hasn't let go and will take longer than Jack. But I also believe the point we were making is that it took Jack longer to realize and remember, and once you do that you can move on.
Ben is hanging on because he wants to, it's a conscious decision to not let go he makes, that he is still not ready to move on.

Ben is ready on a para-psychological level, but not on a more personal one. We see him appologize to Locke and I believe he wants to make right by Alex and Rousseau, he never had a chance in the real world.

I don't think the 'fake reality' of it would take anything from it. He would still be putting in real effort and real perceived time.

gigi said...

True about the real effort and timespan. I suppose if he can make peace with fake Alex and Russeaou, he may finally be able to make peace with himself. Oh, Lost! Always one step ahead of me.

Gracie said...

Yes, Nikki, I think you've worded that beautifully, and I also "got" that (or much of that), out of "David". I think that this is what I understand from the show that Spouse is missing, or part of what he is missing.

LoyallyLost said: " Also, where was Sun & Jin's sweet little bundle of joy?"

I think Ji Yeon is unable to be there because she hasn't died yet. And Jack never knew her in life, only while she was being developed inside of Sun. Never in life. The baby that is there I think is Aaron, who is seen as Jack knew Aaron, even though Aaron may have, in fact, died in his 20's, his 40's or even further in his life. Of course, he could have died right after Kate left him at age three when she returned to the island too? But it's important that Jack sees all these people as he knew them when he knew them.


I've been looking into something else that I don't think anyone else has mentioned, but maybe nobody else mentioned it because it's wrong. I don't think so, but I can't fully understand the underlying significance of it.

I've been looking up pictures of the Lamp Post on the Internet. Most of them show the Lamp Post Station as it appeared to us underground, with the pendulum. But the Lamp Post was in the basement of a church.

I believe the church at the end of "The End" is the same church which held The Lamp Post. Am I the only one who sees the resemblance and the significance? The Lamp Post sent Jack back to the place where he ultimately died.

Look it up, but I think they are one and the same. The Lamp Post IS the church where he wanted to have services for his father.

Fred said...

@Gracie:I believe the church at the end of "The End" is the same church which held The Lamp Post. Am I the only one who sees the resemblance and the significance? The Lamp Post sent Jack back to the place where he ultimately died.

Not the only one. It is confirmed that the church at the end was the same one Ms Hawking was collecting everyone into. In fact the hotel Charlie was at when Hugo went to pick him up is the same one Claire's mother was at when both Jacke met her and when Kate returned baby Aaron. It is also the same hotel where Sayid ninja'd the guy into the dishwasher.

But it's important that Jack sees all these people as he knew them when he knew them.

That's why a lot of people see the final send off as Jack's, because everything is from his perspective. But really they could have had a stand in for Walt; we'd have understood if it wasn't so perfect.

QAIS said...

You guys are stressing waaaaaaay to much to try to figure out what might be the ONLY lost mystery with an answer.

All we need to know is that the flashsideways was a Limbo world. A transition between death and the afterlife. It was a tool to confuse the fans with the consequences of the H-bomb and a very neat way to delve into the characters backstories and bring back many familiar faces that have shaped lost for many years.

I think the flashsideways is the least thing that needs analyzing because we know it was a made-up world, no rules apply and if we start thinking why did locke need the operation, why wasn't ana lucia ready, why was penny in the church etc then that will seriously give you a headache, and to be very very honest it needs no further explanation than what was already given because it all spreads out according to your faith and releigon.

What needs to be analyzed is the 1000000 questions the writers decided not to answer, becasue A) They had no answer and everything was made up as they went along with the story OR B) They want me to suffer!!!

Benny said...

@QAIS: A or B...

I suggest [C], that they wanted most of the show left to interpretation of the viewer(s) with no single answer to everything - as mentioned by J.J. Abrams during a launch interview for the show in 2004 - and also represented by negative capability, referenced several times by Lindelof.

Gracie said...

LoyallyLost said: "My husband said it would have been better if Non-Locke had transformed back into MIB when he died."

Actually, what I think would have REALLY been cool would have been if, while he was dying, we could have, in some way, seen John Locke reclaim his body from MIB, and by the look on his face we'd have known that Locke was back to himself BEFORE.....

we saw the body again revert back to MIB. So the last time we saw the body it would be the body of MIB and NOT Locke. As it was, I'm not sure Locke would have been welcomed there at the church, but I'm sure he would have been if everyone had been reminded that what his body did, was not done by him, but by someone/something else using his form.

Also, I want to ask about something Matthew Fox said on Jimmy Kimmel. They were talking about Jack's behavior when 815 went over the island the second time, specifically when Rose told Jack he could let go now. From what was said, this is where Jack creates HIS flash sideways. From what they said about Jack's grip on the seat and Rose telling him he could let go now, it was inferred that there was something "hinky" in the way Jack was gripping the seat.

Then in the Ajira flight which is just taking off as Jack is passing over? We are shown a lot of camera time was devoted to "hands" as the plane takes off. The more I thought about that, I wondered if we were supposed to draw something from that? Some of it is self-explanatory like Lapidus' grip on the handles as he is trying to maneuver the plane into flight. From the people shown as well as the hands shown we have Lapidus gripping the instruments, then Sawyer grips his seat much like Jack did on the second 815 flight, Kate takes Claire's hand, then Lapidus is gripping something again. Does anyone have a clue what I'm saying?

Lapidus looks reasonable in the way he's extending his nervousness into his grip on his flight instruments. Kate simply takes Claire's hand. But the way it shows Sawyer sort of gave me the impression that THIS is where Sawyer creates and passes into HIS own flash-sideways, which would mean that this is where Sawyer died?

Come on guys, straighten me out here, but watch it first and remember what Fox said to Kimmel about his grip on the seat.

Fred: I saw your reply to my question about The Lamp Post. Where did you see anyone confirm this? I haven't even seen anyone mention it much less confirm it? Where did I miss what? (I understood all the references to the hotel immediately when Hurley takes Sayid there to get Charlie. I didn't need help with that one. But it seems the Lamp Post was a major connection to the Jack story because that's where he got the information which sent him back to the island.

Gracie said...

To Blam and Rainier:

(There are several things you could say here about my mental state back at the time of the following. I trust you'll play nice.)
For some reason known only to God and the evil gnomes of carelessness, I put this in my Favorites way back in the day. It's a new comment from Blam to Rainier after "Happily Ever After" posted at 4/8/10 11:51:57 PM

I think I must have kept it because I wanted to remember something about the search function reference (?) because I cannot fathom why I would want to remember Bram's love for Kohr Bros soft swirl serve. (Although I DO appreciate your love Bram. I just can't figure out why that information would be special to ME? It's not like I was planning to go to Philly to get you some soft serve, ya know?)

I even went back through Nik at Night posts to try to find out what the heck you two were talking about, and if it's there at all, I can't find out.

Do either of you two have any idea what the heck you were talking about that I may have wanted to keep this in my Favorites for future reference?

"From: Blam
Date: 4/8/2010 11:51:57 PM
To: xxxxxx.xxx.xxx
Subject: [Nik at Nite] New comment on Lost 6.11 "Happily Ever After".

Blam has left a new comment on the post "Lost 6.11 "Happily Ever After"":

Rainier: Wow! Thanks, Blam! I didn't know that either & was kind of wondering whether there was a search function somewhere here.

I live to serve. Or do I live for soft-serve? Mmm... I gotta get me down the shore for some Kohr Bros. swirl with chocolate jimmies. <— will make no sense to folks outside the Philly / South Jersey area."

Let me know guys. I'm perpuzzled here.

Fred said...

Gracie, the confirmation is at Lostpedia (just type "Lostpeida" into Google, and it will send you there).

Nikki Stafford said...

Also, I'm pretty sure I actually said that in my initial post following the episode, that it was the same church. (And I outlined the history of the Flightline Motel.)

Gracie said...

Erin said (while talking about Sawyer): "the thing he needed to let go of was his hatred for Anthony Cooper. In the real world, Sawyer killed him, and it only caused him more pain. I think in the sideways world when he finally came clean to Miles about why he'd gone to Australia I felt like maybe he was making a move to let it go."

I haven't been able to make heads or tails of this specifically at all because if we are to believe that the flash-sideways started because of Jack's inability to move on, HE (Jack) never knew about Cooper, did he? (OR is this an example of where I have to keep Jack's sideways separate from everybody else's sideways?)
Then, whether Jack did or didn't know about Cooper, when Sawyer got ON 815 he was in despair over having been conned so easily into killing someone he "thought" was Cooper, but who really wasn't. His anger lay in being such an easy mark to someone else who wanted this man killed and so easily sold Sawyer on the idea that it was Cooper.

In either case, whether 815 crashed or it didn't (it did), I think Sawyer realized that his own anger at Cooper cost another person his life and while on the plane Sawyer would have to be dealing with being the cause of that loss of life while in Australia. I can't lose sight of what that knowledge alone would have done to Sawyer. I also believe that in coming clean to Miles, there is a chance for Sawyer to find redemption and to move on and forget Cooper because he knows he killed that innocent man in Australia. THEN I have to add in the not so small facts that:
A. Sawyer himself did in fact kill the innocent man in Australia,
B. Sawyer himself did in fact kill Cooper during his time on the island,
C. Although Miles is real enough to Sawyer in his sideways to tell the truth to, Miles isn't really real, THEN
D. I'm so confused my head literally spins because by the time it appears that Sawyer might actually be able to let it go, he's already killed Cooper, AND somebody he was lead to believe was Cooper.

So regardless of whether this was Jack's sideways or Sawyers, what was the point? By the time we get here, the two men are still dead, and both died by Sawyer's hands? How is that supposed to help Sawyer in any way?

Gracie said...

Nikki said: "Also, I'm pretty sure I actually said that in my initial post following the episode, that it was the same church. (And I outlined the history of the Flightline Motel.)

Nikki where am I not getting that? If I go to Nik at Nite and do a search for The End, it takes me to your original post for The End. Then if I do a search for the Flightline Motel, I DO get where you talk about that too. But when I search for the church, I don't see any mention of yours, or in any of the comments about the Lamp Post being the church, and when I search for the Lamp Post itself, there are zero hits.

So where is that? I'm not hitting on anything that points out that the two are the same.

Nikki Stafford said...

Gracie: Nope, you're right. I just checked the blog and was perplexed, then checked my handwritten notes and sure enough, that's where I wrote it, and didn't transcribe that into the blog (hm... I wonder what ELSE I missed?) All I said in my notes was, "The room in the back where Christian meets Jack is where Eloise talked to Jack in 316." If that's the same room, then it's in the same church, and the LampPost is in the basement. One leads to the next.

(OK, why the heck am I being asked to sign in every time I try to post something here??)

Nikki Stafford said...

Gracie: I think where you're getting stumped is trying to find a beginning to the sideways world, and I don't think there is one. I didn't take it as that world was created by Jack at some specific time due to some event, but that that world simply exists, for all of us, as a place between worlds. It always existed, and will always exist, and there's no beginning point at all.

Benny said...

@Nikki/Gracie: If we take Christian's words at face value, and I don't see why we shouldn't, then:

"This is a place that you created together so that you could find each other."

I would think that, upon their death, everyone just gets to this 'moment' in this 'world'...

...possibly at the moment of the flight?

Gracie said...

Nikki said: "Gracie: Nope, you're right. I just checked the blog and was perplexed, then checked my handwritten notes and sure enough, that's where I wrote it, and didn't transcribe that into the blog (hm... I wonder what ELSE I missed?) All I said in my notes was, "The room in the back where Christian meets Jack is where Eloise talked to Jack in 316." If that's the same room, then it's in the same church, and the LampPost is in the basement. One leads to the next.
(OK, why the heck am I being asked to sign in every time I try to post something here??)"


Uh, Nik? I hope you know that I mean this with all the love in the world, right? But thank God you screwed up! Cause if you'd just been able to point me in the right direction, and I'd have actually gone there and found it, I'd think I was batsh*t for sure!!!

I've been looking and looking and I never saw it anywhere, and I thought "Nikki would make note of that for her book, wouldn't she?" but I still didn't find it. And when you replied the way you did, I had a Holy Sh*t moment, and STILL couldn't find it. So, I'm not as far gone as I might think I am sometimes, and that's good to know.
Regarding your question about being asked to sign in for every post? When you see the bloggers complaining from time to time about the Blog, that's what they're complaining about. It does that without reason from time to time and then it just stops.

Then Nikki said: "Gracie: I think where you're getting stumped is trying to find a beginning to the sideways world, and I don't think there is one. I didn't take it as that world was created by Jack at some specific time due to some event, but that that world simply exists, for all of us, as a place between worlds. It always existed, and will always exist, and there's no beginning point at all."

Didn't they talk about this on J. Kimmel? I understood that Jack walked into his sideways world while on the second 815 right before Rose said he could let go now. Jack's world was real and true until the plane started shaking, and Jack created a sideways world for himself right before Rose said you can let go now? They said that, didn't they?

Gracie said...

Benny said: "@Nikki/Gracie: If we take Christian's words at face value, and I don't see why we shouldn't, then:
"This is a place that you created together so that you could find each other."
I would think that, upon their death, everyone just gets to this 'moment' in this 'world'...
...possibly at the moment of the flight?"


Yes, Benny, I agree with you. That's what I understood too. For each of them this place is there, but they can only access it upon death. Each death could happen as close together as Ana Lucia's and Libby's or as far apart as, well, who knows? But I think we were told during J Kimmel that Jack walked into his sideways world during the second flight of 815. I have to watch that again.

Nikki Stafford said...

Which is pretty much what I just said... that we all have that place and we all create it, obviously when we die. Perhaps in the plot of the show we're to take the flight itself as being the jumping-off point, but when Christian talked about time as a fluid thing in this world I take that to mean that there's no specific starting point. To Jack, he has memories of this world extending long before that moment, so one can't say exactly when it started, or if there is a definitive starting point.

Benny said...

@Gracie: But I think we were told during J Kimmel that Jack walked into his sideways world during the second flight of 815. I have to watch that again.

That's certainly a valid way to look at it. But be careful, anything told on Kimmel was not necessarily what actually is/was. That instance, Jimmy was proposing a theory that Foxy expressed that "it's possible".

Most of what was said about the show on JKL was supposition and interpretation, it can't be taken as a given.

Going with your interpretation that we saw the moment Jack crossed over, then I also suggest myself that is the moment everyone crossed into their 'waiting reality', whether they died in 2004, 2007, or decades after... we were just with Jack at the moment.

Gracie said...

QAIS said: "What needs to be analyzed is the 1000000 questions the writers decided not to answer, becasue A) They had no answer and everything was made up as they went along with the story OR B) They want me to suffer!!!"

Nikki: I don't know if you saw this the other day, but for all of this time since I first saw it, I didn't realize how completely and thoroughly the story of the pregnant women and Ben's attempt to kidnap them, had been dropped. This was such a big story line for such a long time, and then all of a sudden, it no longer deserves even a mention? This is one place I have to agree with people who are upset with the ending. I didn't realize the full extent they had dropped it until just the other day. (Yesterday?) They dropped it hard and fast, and people still want to know why. In this particular instance, I agree with them!

For whatever reasons: At the end of each and every episode I've ever seen, I have always gone immediately to Lostpedia to see what they picked up that I didn't have. Until about a half hour ago, I did not go to Lostpedia after The End. Probably due to ongoing computer problems. It pays to check Lostpedia out!

Benny, I did see your follow-up post, and I just have to watch that again. Will do!

Benny said...

There is certainly a lot to ponder here, were the memories created... or did they relive a big part of their lives to get to the remembering part?

What we saw in the sideways was over the course of a week or so. Was it just this period that was created or going further back?

This really burrows deeper into the philosophical interpretation of creating a post-life reality to find each-other - which I don't believe there's extensive research on - so it really becomes a starting point for further discussions.

There's also a possibility that this world goes as far back as the 90s, 80s, 70s and that the individuals jump 'arrive' at different points; Jack in the plane, Kate when in Australia, Hurley, Desmond, Sawyer and so at other times. Given that we don't know these backstories, we don't know what happens really.

However we take it, I think most possibilities are right, until we are told otherwise by the writers - in this case I don't expect it!

Nikki Stafford said...

Gracie: Actually, I have a perfectly logical explanation for why Ben did that, and for almost every question raised in the series... and they will all be answered in my S6 book! Heeheee!! [scurries away and hides... er... writes]

Benny said...

@Gracie: This was such a big story line for such a long time, and then all of a sudden, it no longer deserves even a mention?

See, I will disagree with you. Not because I feel good with it not being addressed but because I feel that it was resolved, at least to the some extent that, to me, the story was closed.

Benny said...

@Nikki: EVERY QUESTION?

Are you sure meant logical? Not irrational perhaps?

Nikki Stafford said...

Benny: Every. Frakkin. One.*


*Nikki does not guarantee the truthfulness of these words.

:-D

To be honest, like you just said, for much of this week I've been like, "Really? That question was a big one for you?" when people have been telling me what they're so angry wasn't resolved. I think I'm really happy these weren't resolved. And no, I'm being facetious about putting it ALL in my book (if you were to fire them at me, I'd answer them, but I actually think it's better NOT to provide answers in my book for the same reason the writers didn't -- because it's my personal take on it, and everyone should come at this their own way).

Gracie said...

Benny, how was that story line resolved?

Nikki: You are bad!

Nikki Stafford said...

Maybe I'm oversimplifying, but wasn't it simply a case of:

-women who got pregnant on the island died and their babies died, too.
-the population of the Others was dying out because Jacob hadn't brought anyone new to the island in a LONG time
-they were kidnapping the women to make them Others -- the same way they did with Cindy and the kids -- to try to boost their population numbers. The younger the better for them, because they always found their "special" ones among the children (young Ben, Walt, etc).

Again, this is just my perspective.

Benny said...

@Nikki: Agreed, some questions I did think were more important and were not addressed. But after the finale, I distanced myself from the online community and I realized I didn't need them anymore. I was able to let go.
And given the smart people on here (and elsewhere) we can always discuss what these things meant together. We are not alone in this journey, and we never were.

@Gracie:
1. Something after 1977 (h-bomb/incident) caused pregnancy issues.
2. Ben, as leader of the others, got sidetracked and wanted to resolve the pregnancy issues.
3. Cue in kidnapping - kids for population issues, women (Claire) for studying purposes (cue in Juliet)

Gracie said...

Nikki and Benny: If you go back to where that storyline just stopped, just say for a minute that Ben had ordered the murder of Sayid, Bernard and Jin (which he did), and it WAS carried out (which it wasn't). I think the viewers would want to know what they died for, don't you? And I asked this at the time that I realized it: They never did come back and say what that was all about, did they? And everyone told me, NO, they never did. So I only have that to go on, and an upcoming rewatch too.

Nikki: I thought you had said your final book was going to include a section on each episode called "Answers"?

And I was talking specifically about the story line that starts with Ben sending his men a day earlier to kidnap all of the women which gets waylaid by Karl giving everyone a heads up; most head to the tower, Charlie and Desmond head to the Looking Glass where Charlie died, Sayid, Jin and Bernard stay behind. Sawyer and Juliet get caught, Hurley saves the day with the VW bus and it's never mentioned again.

Benny said...

@Gracie: If you rewatch that scene, Ben's orders, while on the talkie was to kill them, it actually was to NOT kill them.

Tom and Pickett argued later why they didn't kill them, to which Tom's answer was that those were the orders. They were on the list.

I think the pregnancy/kidnapping issue was resolved earlier in the dreaded season 3, and the kidnapping scheme was not an intrigue to me but more of a catalyst for the end of season climax.

This might be a case of how we seen things. To me, this had been resolved, to you, things are unclear and need to be addressed more. And this could very well be jsut a case of different perspectives.

Gracie said...

Benny: You are absolutely correct because I remember Ben saying to Tom, if he, Ben, didn't say anything more in the next minute, to shoot all three of them. About a minute later shots were heard. We assumed they'd been shot. I DO remember there was a discussion between Tom and Pickett, but not word for word, so I need to see this again.

I hope Nikki understands a lot of her book fans are going to be looking for answers in Finding Lost. Some are in concrete, others are vague, some are in individual perceptions or beliefs. I hope she's including the answers in concrete and the answers she found that were vague to some, but allowing us to use our imagination where perception is required. That's what I'd figured when she said she'd have a section for answers.

On an entirely different subject Spouse and I celebrated(?) our 30th anniversary today. I put a question mark after that because it wasn't much of a celebration from here in the chair. (We did make plans to try to get out one day next week while he's taking a week's vacation.) Talk about perception! Didn't we just get married a few years ago? That sure went fast!

Benny said...

Well... on that different subject, congratulations!

Gracie said...

To which said Child always says "Is that what you guys always did on the weekends?" Hang out at dad's and play computer games?"

Yep, sure kid, that's what we did. (What was a computer in 1980? Who had one?) And if you made a phone call, you could lay on the floor and twiddle your fingers in the cord. (Remember those?)

redeem147 said...

On an entirely different subject Spouse and I celebrated(?) our 30th anniversary today.

Congrats, Gracie. Our anniversary is the same day, but thirty-three for us.

Actually, what I think would have REALLY been cool would have been if, while he was dying, we could have, in some way, seen John Locke reclaim his body from MIB, and by the look on his face we'd have known that Locke was back to himself BEFORE.....

we saw the body again revert back to MIB.


I think it would have been a neat scene, but I believe that pulling the 'stopper' out caused MIB to be trapped in a mortal Locke body. If he changed back to smoke he wouldn't be dead, defeating the purpose.

Locke was never in that body, so he couldn't reclaim it. Or as Jack said, he wore his face.

Gracie said...

redeem said: "Congrats, Gracie. Our anniversary is the same day, but thirty-three for us.
Actually, what I think would have REALLY been cool would have been if, while he was dying, we could have, in some way, seen John Locke reclaim his body from MIB, and by the look on his face we'd have known that Locke was back to himself BEFORE.....
we saw the body again revert back to MIB.
I think it would have been a neat scene, but I believe that pulling the 'stopper' out caused MIB to be trapped in a mortal Locke body. If he changed back to smoke he wouldn't be dead, defeating the purpose.
Locke was never in that body, so he couldn't reclaim it. Or as Jack said, he wore his face."


Well, Happy Anny, Redeem! Congrats right back to you! 33, huh? So I should expect to see that one, what? Tomorrow? Day after? They just go so fast! Don't they? I remember thinking, "They say beware the seven year itch." So I was bewared of that, but then it was 10, 17, 21, 25, and now 30.

Anyway, many good wishes to you Redeem and may you both enjoy good health, happiness and 33 more!!
I know by that time Locke had been dead for a long time, it was just a mental visual I'd picked up somewhere else of Locke telling Jack "thank you" while Jack was alive to appreciate it.
Anyone: Does anyone know if Nikki had the video on her blog for Sawyer and Cowboy Casanova? I'm trying to find out where I'd seen that.

Rufus said...

@Teebore: I agree what you said about Sayid. To me his pursuit of Nadia was about who he wished he was. By being with Shannon both characters became better people. It's a love that was unexpected and untied to his past.

TM Lawrence said...

Nikki Stafford said..I think where you're getting stumped is trying to find a beginning to the sideways world, and I don't think there is one. I didn't take it as that world was created by Jack at some specific time due to some event, but that that world simply exists, for all of us, as a place between worlds...

Now I'm truly confused. Again, I think that the church is "the place" they created together. LA X is as real as the original timeline and was specifically created back in the 70's when Juliet Burke slipped from Sawyer's hands into the well and detonated Jughead. "It worked" and it allowed James Ford and Juliet Carson to reset the candy machine and go dutch for coffee. Where is the evidence to view this any other way?

I challenge all to follow the story from Eloise Hawking/Widmore's viewpoint, acknowledge her sacrifice of her son because Desmond failed to push the button, her dedication to getting everyone onto Ajira so that they could deliver Jughead to the well, thereby creating a timeline in which she still had her son.

Benny said...

@TM Lawrence: Then are they alive AND dead in the sideways world?

As Christian said, they needed this place to find each other and remember. They remembered in the 'LA X' world, not in the church.

As for Eloise, everything stands on it own. She sent her son to be killed because that's what was supposed to happen - just like she convinced Desmond he was ment to push the button. She was always seen as a 'time cop'. We see her ask Desmond about taking her son with him; now that they are dead, they can be together.

The whole 'this place' brings me back to Desmond's talk with Kate.
D: "Why are you here?"
K: "You brought me here."
D: "I'm not talking about the church Kate, I'm talking about here."

If you say the sideways world is real, then this puts the whole "Why are YOU here Jack?"/"Because I died" dialogue into question. When did THAT Jack died then?


As far as the James/Juliet speech goes, to me the "It worked" certainly must refer to the 'unplugging the machine trick' - and was misdirection on the part of the writers - and "we can go dutch" was simply the follow-up to that. Juliet was dying in LA X and was likely in that moment, remembering from the other side.

TM Lawrence said...

So... I keep trying to avoid using the dead or alive label and am concentrating on the real or illusory experience, because the show has asked us to from the outset. Ghosts, psychic projections, entheogenically induced spiritual experiences, and flashes into another time/space have all been part of the original island timeline. It is not cognitively rigorous to allow the reality of the original timeline in which these things occurred and cry illusory construct at the LA X timeline simply because more people experienced their awakenings to a higher plane in a soul cluster there. If you insist that LA X is a limbo or terminal bardo in construct, which is certainly one read, then it is fair to cast the original crash and island happenings into the same category, though certainly a lower plane of awareness, one more consistent with a western purgatory.
In other words, not alive and dead, in LA X, but existing and experiencing at different vibration levels in OTL, Oceanic 6, and LA X.

Note, the above is based on textual read, not personal belief system.

Fred said...

@T M Lawrence:If you insist that LA X is a limbo or terminal bardo in construct, which is certainly one read, then it is fair to cast the original crash and island happenings into the same category, though certainly a lower plane of awareness, one more consistent with a western purgatory.

See what I posted above from both a metatextual interpretation and as it applies to Buddhist thought (I am being very lazy and just reposting the whole thing):

The thing is, the rules never applied to even the world we were looking at, the so called real world. In that world, Miles climbs up the stairs and there are wooden frames round the pictures. He comes back down, and they are metal. The "rules of reality" just do not apply.

So suppose all we have been seeing is just another plane of existence. The sideways world is just another plane of existence, and the purpose of existence is simply to move on through the planes. But to do so, the characters need to let go of each plane. Sounds very Buddhist.

In fact, Ben remaining behind to bring others to enlightenment before he himself moves on fits with the notion of the Bodhisattva: a being who achieves enlightenment but refuses to move on until other beings achieve enlightenment.

The writers have given us a story in which there is no firm foundation, everything we see is just an illusion that moves from reality to reality. In many ways it is reminiscent of Ursula Le Guin's The Lathe of Heaven. Ultimately I think we do find the spiritual basis for LOST can be found in Buddhism, though there are symbolic references made to other religions; but Buddhism is its core foundation (just as it is for Le Guin).

Of course, it is possible to read the final scene in the church as Jack dying, his mind making a last gesture of love before his consciousness expires. Here we'd have Incidence at Owl Creek. But there seems a lot of evidence against such a conclusion.

The light source also connects, and it connects through the water. Recall, Claire felt Aaron had not kicked until she ate some fish given her by Jin. Fish are in water, and although the ocean it- still has a connection with the island as it is within the periphery of the island (recall Jin moving along in time becasue he was close enough to the island). Water is what they have all been drinking, and island water once the airline bottled water was exhausted. That is why Edward Mars died, he did not have access to the island's water and its healing powers (he was still being given bottled water). Water is also a perfect symbol of the interconnection between the characters.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the whole sideways thing only makes sense if you think of it as Jack's soul group and his need to let go and move on. Everyone is operating from the time in their life that Jack remembers, needs to remember to let go. I imagine Claire, Kate, and Sawyer all lived lives with new loves or children....... those people in the church were people important to Jack's journey specifically. That sideways world could have existed in a moment's time. The whole sideways world could have been for Jack. Most of what happened revolved around Jack. If it was meant to be about all of them, sorry Darlton but it makes more sense if it's about Jack.

I also think there was a huge missed opportunity in those sideways final scenes. What were they doing in a church? if it was about their most important times, the times they were together.. why weren't they on the ISLAND to move on? the source of life and death etc... and it would have been a beautiful setting.

ninja raiden said...

I would argue this: In "Across the Sea", "Mother" stated that the Light/Source was "Life,Death, and Rebirth". In other words,EVERTHING.

The real timeline was the "Life" stage of the cycle. The Flashsideways was the "Death" stage of the cycle with all of them dead in all existence and the "Light" going out(see:Island at the bottom of the Ocean.

After all segments of the "Light" rejoin in "Moving On"(with every human being having a piece of light within them)and not just our main characters but all of "manifestations of light"(all those "people" still considering themselves corporeal).

Since time doesn't exist in this "stage", could this Flash sideways be the "Source" of all things in a facsimile of the previous "Life" stage.


And because time doesn't exist here, could Christian had just meant that the Survivors just created that Unitarian church as a place to meet up and not the whole flash sideways? That the other dead souls came to their rememberances at later times but met up at same time when the "Light" embraced them all for the "Rebirth" phase of the cycle, because time doesn't matter(see Sun and Locke meeting up at the hospital at the same time?

Maybe the "Source" had to purge itself of darkness(ala Smokey) with all those corrupted souls residing within him/it(see the screaming souls flying over Kate and Claire in "Sundown").

The sin of brother against brother corrupted the Light but the community of the survivors balanced the equation and allowed for the "Rebirth" phase.

The Island at the bottom of the ocean represented the destruction of coporeal, so it did mean something to not "re-stop" the the crack at the "Source"

Marebabe said...

I’ve been having broken computer issues for the past few days. May need a new motherboard, or goodness knows what else! Anyway, I got behind on reading comments here. (And reading emails, just so you know, Nikki.) Allow me to extend belated Happy Anniversary wishes to Gracie and redeem. May you have many more wonderful anniversaries!

To date, I’ve watched the finale three times. Continuing my quest for understanding of “The End”, I still don’t feel like asking the BIG QUESTIONS. Here’s another small one:

Doesn’t it seem odd that Jack and NotLocke worked together to lower Desmond into the cave of light? They were the bitterest of bitter enemies, each wanting the exact opposite of the other, and mutually sworn to their opponent’s destruction. It reminds me a little bit of the stylized, formal rules of dueling on the “field of honor”, where one’s murderous rage took a back seat to following the strict rules of combat: “Take 10 paces, turn, and fire.” Jack and NotLocke wanted to kill each other, but, “C’mon, it’ll be easier to lower Desmond if we do it together.”

Any insights about this?

TM Lawrence said...

@Marebabe:
Think Jesus heading to Jerusalem, knowing what was in store, with Judas in either the betrayer or heavily burdened accomplice to the martyrdom, depending on your canonical or apocryphal leanings. Think of the burden of the cross shared by Christ and Joseph.

Or think of the secret meeting in Aslan's tent when the White Witch demands Edmund's life as a traitor, and of Aslan's solemn nocturnal amble to the Stone Table accompanied by forlorn Lucy, he alone aware of the deepest magic weaved into the universe when it was made; the old magic that would be the downfall of the White Witch when she sacrificed an innocent.

Or think of the unfathomable mercy granted Gollum repetitively and of his role as guide into Mordor permitted because of a dim awareness by Gandalf, Faramir, and Frodo that he had a role yet to play in the destruction of Evil.

Peter Kreeft at Boston College has covered this issue far more intelligently and coherently than I could. In summary, Evil, not Good, defeats Evil. The Eye turns to concentrate on slaughter of the champions of right at the Black Gate, and so neglects the two weary halflings creeping up the volcano. Evil undoes itself when Saruman incurs the wrath of the Ents and demeans his wormtongued servant one time too many. The orcs carry hobbits toward their goals. Powerful Evil is always brought low through Good taking the path of sacrifice, decoy, and baited traps rather than superior force.

Ultimately, in most stories that ring as truth, Evil and Good share a path for some period, and Evil is conquered because it fails to understand the latent power of sacrifice, love, friendship, and protective logos.

Benny said...

@Marebabe: ...while TM Lawrence has an an interesting and well thought out posting, I'll give my two cents.

While it seems odd indeed that both work together to a purpose, both believe that this is what they need in order to achieve their own goal (Locke, destroying the island; Jack, killing Locke), and it turns out they are both right.

Locke believes that Desmond eliminating the source will destroy the island and kill Jack and the remaining 'candidates' with it while he'll sail away on the Elizabeth.

Jack, as the new protector/Jacob, believes that Desmond removing the source will render Locke mortal (given that Locke/smokey is tied to the island/source).

Both are right, or as it was presented on screen, both are wrong.

Each of them has an incentive to lower Desmond into the cave. So while it may seem gentlemanly, they are not doing it simply in order to help the other, but also to help themselves.

Marebabe said...

@TM and Benny: I thank you both for your responses, and I am currently mulling/pondering what you said. I agree that very often, evil hurts evil. But, using your analogies, was there ever a time when Jesus and Satan figuratively pulled together on the same rope? Or Saruman and Aragorn? As enemies, they were never seen working together on ANYTHING, but were always, consistently, working in opposition. (It’s interesting that Satan and Saruman and Sauron were all defeated because they were in a sense blind, unable to imagine what their enemies were up to.)

Obviously, in the case of NotLocke and Jack, they were each expecting/hoping for a different outcome after lowering Desmond on that rope. What I find so extraordinary is that they could be so civil and cooperative while such murderous feelings were bubbling just below the surface. I’m suddenly reminded of the James Bond villain who famously said, “I expect you to die!” So cordial, and yet so venomously evil!

TM Lawrence said...

@ Marebabe:
As for blind, the big bads are blind to the things of the heart and overestimate their ability to sway. Through agency of spies (flocks of crows, Nazgul, palantir, and of course the all-seeing eye), neither Sauron nor Saruman were blinded to the goings-on of the "good guys" and could even look into their minds, sometimes yielding false and sometimes true news.
As for Aragorn and Saruman, Aragorn delivered not evil southern men but disgraced and restless undead in the black Corsairs: Sauron's troops thought that reinforcements were arriving to the Field of Pelennor. The townsfolk of Bree saw in Strider a dark, ambiguous loner, not the elfin-raised heir of Gondor, and he encouraged such misperception.

Though Jack and Locke are headed to the same place, Jack is unequivocal in his message to FLocke: "I'm going to kill you." He is certain that Desmond is a weapon against FLocke. How that will happen is, I believe, both a secret and a mystery to even Jack, but he does not tread that path or lower Desmond with the assistance of FLocke as a collaborator, any more that the Pharisees and Saducees collaborated with the Roman occupiers in strengthening and solidifying the messianic heresy in turning Jesus over for crucifixion.

I am not aware of Jesus and Satan collaborating, though YHWH demonstrated Job's faith through cooperating with the adversary in his tribulations.

And Snape?

Marebabe said...

@TM: Does YHWH = Yahweh? I’ve just never seen that before. I also thought about Satan being allowed to enter God’s presence to talk about Job, and all that followed in that record.

I’m not ready yet to have a conversation about Snape, as I am currently on my first-ever reading of the Harry Potter books. I’m well into the fifth one, “The Order of the Phoenix”, but I have a long way to go. However, I’ve been slightly spoiled (how could I avoid it?) by reading off-hand remarks about Snape appearing to be evil, but not really being evil. At this point I have no idea how this is going to be revealed. At the rate I’m reading, it will probably be midsummer before I’ve finished all seven books.

TM Lawrence said...

@ Marebabe:
YHWH is the tetragrammaton and the most frequent name for the Hebrew God in earliest texts. By the time of the Greek Septuagint, adonai (Lord) had been substituted to keep from taking "the Lord's name in vain." Yahweh and Jehovah have both been used as phonetic approximations but doing so may both be wrong and may offend the most observant of Jews, as the name is only to be spoken in the Holy of Holies by the High Priest. As odd as it sounds, the custom is to see the tetragrammaton, recognize the intent, and if vocalized, say Lord or Adonai.

Don't worry about Snape being spoiled; I'm done and still believe his nature to be pretty ambiguous. Enjoy the rest of the series!

Marebabe said...

@TM: Thanks much! :)

Poltercow said...

In contemplating the connections between the Sideways World and the "real lives" of the characters, did the Sideways World "matter," other than to provide some sort of "way station" for the characters until they achieved some sort of enlightenment and "moved on"? That brings up the question, "Did any of them take something from the Sideways World that helped them while they were alive?"

Desmond may have.

The other characters have their epiphanies in the Sideways World, remembering things that happened when they were alive. Desmond's experience is more complex. During Widmore's "electromagnetic experiment," Desmond "experiences" the Sideways World as the others do, but then, he carries that memory back with him to the "real" world, when he was still alive. Nobody else does this.

This changes the way Desmond behaves back in the real world. It has an effect. Causality is thrown for a loop (literally)!

We see Desmond become preternaturally calm in his responses to Widmore, Flocke, Sayid, etc. Flocke is at a loss for words at the well when he asks Desmond, "Why aren't you afraid?" Desmond "remembers" that everything is going to turn out all right. He knows that he will "remember" what to do when he gets to the bright light.

But his memory is faulty. He was unconscious after pulling the rock out of the hole, then he spoke with Jack, but fell unconscious again for who knows how long after that. He recalled pulling the rock out of the hole, but like a trauma victim, doesn't get all the details right. He never saw Jack put the rock back in.

Widmore told Ben that Jacob visited him and convinced him to come back to the island -- to bring Desmond back. If that had not occurred, it seems reasonable that Flocke would have simply left the island after he thought he had killed the candidates. But once Widmore told Flocke why he brought Desmond back, Flocke couldn't resist the opportunity to destroy the island -- "something I could never do myself." Desmond was indeed a weapon, as Jack surmised -- the rock had to be removed, and the light put out, in order for Flocke to be killed. But it seems he was also bait to hold Flocke on the island and give Jack one last chance to fix everything.

It was fun to ponder this. Desmond has always been a wild card in the game, and this would be interesting if it holds up under scrutiny.

QAIS said...

@Poltercow

Desmond was not the only one who experienced the afterlife. Juliet experienced it too right before she died. So i think Desmond did die for just a few moments when he was shocked with the electromagnetism.

What i don't seem to understand is why did jacob want desmond back to the island? We know he is special and cannot be affected by the electromagnetism, but Jacob said that Desmond was his last plan if the whole candidate thing did not work out!

Teebore said...

@QAIS: What i don't seem to understand is why did jacob want desmond back to the island?

Desmond was Jacob's failsafe because he was the only one who could survive the island's energy long enough to pull the cork out, releasing the energy and making Smokey mortal (and thus, killable).

Anonymous said...

Hi Nikki, I discovered your blog after the finale aired (linked from somewhere else) and was taken with your 2 posts on the finale.
Someone left a comment at "Lost Central" (washingtonpost.com) that David existed only in Jack's imagination and he couldn't to admit to being dead because he didn't want to let go of that dream.
I rejected his interpretation because it was just too sad - Jack's best relationship is imaginary?! [Of course, for many of us, the best relationships
are...] - but the second time he posted it in response to a question of mine (which is at the bottom of this over-long post!) I started to think about it, and your post helps me to accept it.
I would quibble with one statement in your posting though: "[Jack] needs to let go of ... that belief that he and only he can save everyone, can help everyone." I would say "need" rather than "belief" - as well as his compulsion to earn his father's respect and love.
You become a surgeon because you care fiercely about helping suffering people, and your training gives you the skills to act, and the confidence in those skills, because if you don't act, and act confidently, someone will die or suffer terribly. And when they Losties are stuck on that verkakte island he's the only doctor, so he takes that responsibility as seriously as you would expect a trained healer to.
Where Jack was foolish [or deluded or arrogant - choose the word that you are comfortable with!] was in thinking that because he COULD help people in the O.R. that he could help anyone elsewhere, i.e., that his life-saving/decision-making skills were transferrable to other spheres. Surgeons are also competitive and constantly trying to prove something to themselves...which is Jack all over.
A question about the finale that keeps eating at me, and which I suspect I'll get some answers to here - based on your posts and the comments of your readers - is WHY the characters did not instantly recognize each other in Sideways World? Why do they need to be FORCED to remember their island lives if it was the nub of their existence? How could they have forgotten it?
I still can't see a reason for this - unless that's just the 'rules' of Sideways World - which of course is a cop-out.
Thanks,