WE DID IT FAM!!! We made it to season six!
I wasn’t fully aware of what we were getting into when we embarked on a rewatch of Lost almost six months ago. (We started season one in June, if you can believe it!!) Half of me was convinced that all the newbies would drop out, that the veterans would lose interest, that it would just be me and Shannon tearfully watching “The End” in the end. How wrong I was!! If anything, our Lost group watch picked up the deeper we got into the series, everyone getting more and more invested the weirder the show got. This has been a wild ride, gang, and it’s been quite possibly the brightest spot of this garbage year. I can’t thank you all enough.
So, for one last time, let’s get into our Lost feelings. Joining us for this recap are the final two members of our #GuysWhereAreWe gang, Heather and Evan, both of whom are new to the series. As you read this, I HIGHLY suggest going to Spotify and pulling up the concert recording of Giacchino’s score. Y’know. For feelings.
Thank you for not letting me do this alone, friends. Namaste and good luck. — Kim
- Favorite Episode?
Evan: I struggled between choosing this episode or the finale, but since we’re gonna have a lot of time to talk about the finale, let’s talk about my other favorite episode of the season: “Dr. Linus.” This episode has our notorious but lovable liar Ben Linus at the lowest he can possibly be: digging his own grave, and it spends that time really digging deep (heh) into his psyche and greatest failures. When his lying and incredible sense of self preservation fail him, Ben is forced to confront his game-changing decision in the Season 5 finale of killing Jacob. When he is given the opportunity to escape by the Man in Black, he chooses to put himself in harm’s way and explain his decision to Ilana, this group of Losties’ current leader, instead of killing her. The scene where he confesses to her his reasons for his actions is a stunning performance by Michael Emerson, and the final dialogue exchange of “Because he’s the only one that’ll have me.” “I’ll have you.” makes me sob.
This is also coupled with the great flash sideways story showing Ben scheme in a completely new context as a high school history teacher who, in a karmically significant way, works to heal his relationship with his alternate-universe daughter. And that’s just the Ben storylines; the episode is also a magnificent outing for our stubborn man-of-science Jack who puts his faith in Jacob’s plan as he confronts Richard for answers within a rigged-to-explode Black Rock. After five-ish seasons of him being irritatingly stubborn towards the magic of the island, Jack makes one of many steps to being our new man-of-faith/Locke evangelist fanboy. That’s the Jack stuff I love baby!!
Kim: “Dr. Linus” is a RIDE, y’all. When we reached the credits during the live-watch, I was so spent it felt like we had watched multiple episodes in that 44 minute span. The RANGE she has, darling!!!
Seriously though. I feel like I could say this about any Ben-centric episode, but what a tour-de-force this is for Michael Emerson. We get to see every single shade of Benjamin Linus in this one, from the puppeteer and master manipulator to petty and bitchy to heartbreakingly vulnerable to Benjamin actually making an effort to contribute to the good of the group. And that’s just in the Island Timeline! We get Dr. Benjamin Linus, European history teacher in flash sideways which is just…inspired story telling. It’s delightful seeing Benjamin fondly bicker with Arzt. It’s a Bocke shipper’s DREAM to see him instantly bonding with substitute teacher Mr. Locke, who sees greatness in Dr. Linus immediately. And then, in perhaps one of the most on the nose but that’s what makes it so fucking gratifying flash-sideways moments, we see Benjamin choosing Alex Rousseau’s life happiness over his own shot at power. It’s all just so BEAUTIFULLY realized.
If that weren’t enough to push this episode into favorite territory, the various B-plots definitely do it. On one hand we have the callback to “Exposé” with Miles using his ghost whispering skills for personal gain by digging up Nikki and Paulo’s diamonds. And on the other hand we have the emergence of super hot and gives no fucks Jack as he confronts a suicidal Richard. It’s all SO MUCH! It’s Lost firing on all cylinders and truly, “Dr. Linus” represents the best of Season Six.
Sage: I resisted picking “The End.” I don’t know why. It seemed basic to choose a finale full of tearful, fan-service-y reunions, hi, that’s me! I’m basic.
The thing is, it didn’t matter to Jacob whether the people he brought to the island learned to care for each other. That was never part of his agenda, and yet he facilitated these bonds. And through them, the castaways are able to transcend even what Jacob knows. It’s made clear to us that when they experience their flashes, they also realize that they’re dead. But there’s no sorrow or regret in those performances – just the joy of finding each other again and the relief of recovering those memories, even the painful ones. And it’s beautiful.
I’ve watched the finale twice, and still my finger is twitching to open Hulu and do it again. There are so many scenes that will stay with me: Jack weeping in his father’s arms as he finally lets go; Benjamin sitting straight-backed on a bench outside the church, not yet feeling worthy to join the group; John Locke wiggling his toes after his spinal surgery; Juliet and Sawyer passing each other in the hospital like ships in the night; Vincent laying down next to Jack so he won’t, after all the times he’s said his catchphrase, actually have to die alone…Of course, none of Dharma’s hippie sci-fi nonsense or the island’s ancient magic amount to much in the end. These relationships are stronger than all of it, and I’m very content to leave the show on that note.
Heather: “The End” because…obviously. And, just to be clear, I could answer every single one of the remaining questions with a scene or character from this episode, but that’s a little boring, so I won’t. But I could.
To be completely honest, I have been more captured by other TV shows, but I can’t think of a series finale that has moved me as much as this one. Tears come to my eyes as I write about it, even now. First, the episode did a commendable job tying up the significant number of the loose ends of the show. I’m sure if the writers’ had not met that goal, it would have impacted the entire experience significantly. But tying off those loose ends was like making sure the foundation of a house is strong, but it’s not why you fall in love with the house when you step inside. For me, placing our greatest realization of self in the context of both connection to others and our journey beyond this life just hit me in the heart. Once this episode ended, I kept replaying Christian’s line to Jack in my mind, “This is the place that you…that you 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 does it alone Jack. You needed all of them, and they needed you.” Please let that be how it actually works.
Shannon: Yes, hi, hello, I am here to tell you why “Across the Sea” is my absolute favorite episode of season six.
First, a caveat. The placement does the episode no favors, and it’s certainly a choice to base one of the final episodes of an ensemble show on three characters we’ve barely met. It’s jarring and weird! It’s meant to be jarring and weird. Jarring and weird is the perfect way to explore the origins of our oldest connection to the island. Mother gives us the thesis right up top: “Every question I answer will simply lead to another question.” How did she get there to begin with? No one knows. How did Claudia and her people land there? No one knows. What is their purpose, their reason for existence, their status as gods or ancients or immortals? No one knows. And the thing is: no one has to. It’s pivotal and unimportant. Everything is two pieces of the same game.
Nothing about “Across the Sea” is trying to be specific or scientific. There is no technobabble, no mumbo jumbo trying to explain the mythical cave that protects all good in the known world. It’s just a cave with some light. It’s love and goodness and grace. It doesn’t need more explanation than that. We have no idea how the Man in Black or his people planned to harness the island’s electromagnetism. But someone did, eventually. Someone, somehow, turned that donkey wheel into a mechanism that would allow Benjamin Linus to move the island, just as countless others must have done before him. How did they finally do it? Why did they start? Well. Every question I answer will simply lead to another question.
And what of Jacob and the Man in Black? What of their Mother? She clearly preferred the Man in Black to Jacob, clearly saw herself in him. They had the same disdain for humans, though she was more inclined to protect humanity. All three of them were comfortable with murder. All of them got their hands dirty. The whole damn show is based in this duality: one is light, and one is dark. Man of science, man of faith. But by the time we go across the sea, everything is grey. The god of light was vapid and insecure; the god of darkness just wanted to be accepted. The man of science became the man of faith. Everything is two sided; everything is in the same coin.
Every question I answer will simply lead to another question.
- Least Favorite Episode?
Heather: “THE CANDIDATE.” This was one of the saddest episodes of the series. Sayid, Jin and Sun die. Only losing Juliet (and watch her die over and over) was worse than this one. Not just because of how sad it is, but because the deaths just DON’T WORK. Jin and Sun’s deaths have no relevance to their character arcs. In fact, I didn’t believe that Jin would stay with Sun knowing that they had a daughter waiting for them. While Sayid’s death at least has some rational connection to his seasonal character arc, I didn’t believe the arc itself was worthy of such a dynamic and complex character. I mean, he gets possessed by a demon and becomes a zombie. What?!?
Shannon: It pains me to pick a Jin and Sun focused episode, but “The Package” is just not good. It’s not quite one of the worst episodes of the show, but it sure as hell leans into some of the show’s worst tropes. We get pregnancy trauma with Sun, announced at the most melodramatic moment possible. My poor beloved Sayid cements his status as a brainwashed zombie, wasting one of the best characters in the show. (I’m biased but STILL.) And what in the HELL made them think that having Sun lose the ability to speak English was a good idea? That is not the clever synergy to Jin’s season one plot that they wanted it to be. It’s tacky and thoughtless and I hate it.
Evan: Oh boy, I gotta say I am not a fan of “The Package” at all. The plotline of Sun losing the ability to speak English makes no sense to me and just draws even more attention to the fact that they have no idea what to do with her or Jin’s character this entire season (or even more, if you include her handling in Season 5). This along with the foregrounding of the baffling and frankly boring Charles Widmore return storyline really just peeves me the entire way through.
Sage: “The Package” isn’t all bad – few least favorite episodes are. Turning Jin and Sun’s cooling marriage of the prime timeline into a torrid, secret affair in the flash sideways is inspired and fun, especially since they’ve been separated for so long in our universe. And the Desmond reveal, while not that shocking, is still great. But there’s a whole lot of filler in this hour, especially looking at it from the other side, after the Charles Widmore plotline fizzled quietly out. Its worst crime by far is the baffling (and also kind of disturbing!) choice to take Sun’s ability to speak English away from her, which has no narrative point except to make her life more difficult. Has this woman not been through enough? Also, it’s Season Six, for god’s sake, hire a consultant.
Kim: “The Package” comes in as my least favorite of season six for reasons that are three-fold. One, like many of my previous least favorites for these posts, “The Package” suffers because it is surrounded by two FAR superior episodes in “Ab Aeterno” and “Happily Ever After.”
Two, at this point in season six, it feels like the show is jumping through hoops to keep the Kwons separated. Sun is moving towards MIB’s camp? Better make sure that Jin is kidnapped and taken to Widmore’s camp at Hydra Island. And for why? It’s not organic anymore, keeping them apart like this. I guess they wanted to go for the “oh they JUST found each other again and now they’re going to die” tragic ending? Newsflash!!! The ending for Sun and Jin was going to be horrifically tragic no matter which way you cut the deck. They could have been together this whole fucking time and I still would have cried like a fucking baby. It didn’t have to be this way and I’ll be mad about it forever!
And three, the othering of Sun, who has proven time and time again to be one of the most capable (and ruthless) people on the island, by taking away her ability to speak English is very icky and NOT GREAT. Even when we view the show through the optics of 2010, which I always try to do when faced with questionable storytelling, this sticks out as quite possibly one of the most YIKES decisions Lost ever made to me.
- Favorite Character?
Sage: Going from being my least favorite character of Season Two to being my number one guy of Season Six, Hugo just wasn’t going to stop until he won me over.
I maintain that his writing in the first two seasons was often atrociously bad, but everything makes sense to me about where Hugo lands. Lost ended up being about people who need people, in every plane of existence, and Hugo was the only main character who came into the action already knowing how true that is. Because for as much of a fuck-up as he’s been, Hugo is a caretaker. He wants to help even if he’s not sure how to. Jack accepts Jacob’s cup out of a sense of duty; Hugo accepts it because his friend Jack asks him to. And then Hugo accepts Ben as his second, refusing to judge him by his past actions alone. That’s who Hugo “Hurley” Reyes is, that’s why the light couldn’t be in better hands, and that’s why we love him.
Shannon: I started this whole rewatch out with a list of my top characters (many of whom were redacted until we met them on the Island). Somewhere in the back of my mind, I figured I’d pick one of them each season depending on who got to shine the most in the moment, and that this section would be pretty sorted. But then I had to reckon with Ben coming close to matching my number one fave Sayid, and Charlie falling off the list entirely, and never quite knowing when to call out Desmond, and while the list itself didn’t change a ton, the plan fell by the wayside. For season six, I’m going completely off book and raising someone new to the ranks.
It’s Hugo Reyes, I’m going with Hugo Reyes.
As the seasons progressed and his writing improved, Hurley slowly morphed into the character I remembered and loved. Season six is his high water mark – and he’s treated accordingly. But I’m not here to talk about how perfect it is to have Hugo replace Jacob. There’s so much beautiful, subtle work happening even before Hugo takes over as number one. Hurley’s habit of talking to ghosts is perfectly seeded, culminating in his discussions with Jacob and Isabella. He gradually settles in his skin, secure as a kind hearted, sensible, and level headed leader. He inspires confidence and trust. He’s comfortable facing off with the Man in Black and batting Jack away when he gets off course. He’ll stand up for himself, his decisions, and his people. And STILL he’s just as loyal, just as casual, just as much himself as he always was.
Hugo, my man. Welcome to the list.
Evan: Jack Shephard has not always been a character I particularly liked. Since the beginning of the show, he’s been incredibly stubborn and hotheaded, and his denial of the island’s mysterious properties are enough to get under anyone’s skin. But as the show goes on, it sort of becomes obvious that this frustrating side of his character is kind of intentional, and all of that becomes clear when you see Jack’s character arc complete in this season.
Season 6 is Jack’s season for sure, and that’s why my favorite character of the season is Jack. This is the season where he really shines, because he’s gone through so much and is finally learning to let go and believe. Throughout the season, this character we’ve known to jump and act on his own impulses instead chooses to wait and think. Every decision he makes he mulls over, even if in the end, he makes the reckless choice (such as swallowing a pill of poison or sitting in a beached ship rigged to explode). You can really see how far the dude has come, and it probably doesn’t make up for the five-ish seasons he was incredibly frustrating, but they stuck the landing with his character.
Heather: I have been dreading answering this question throughout the entire watch. I have so many, I really want to cheat. But I won’t. Despite being thrilled every time Rousseau peered through the foliage, my huge crush on Hugo from episode one, the way that James finally won me over after five seasons, and the on-going battle for my heart between Ben Linus and John Locke, my heart belonged to Elizabeth Mitchell’s Juliet from the moment she appeared on screen. (See what I did there? Hee, hee, hee)
Kim: Benjamin Linus, my number one boy. Of course it’s you.
Like Shannon, I thought I had this all planned out when it come to my favorite character. There are some seasons of Lost that I strongly associate with one character. Season two belongs to Locke, season four is Benjamin Linus coming into his own, season five is all about Sawyer, blah blah blah. For the most part, my associations held up. But I never really had anyone in mind for season six, because for me, season six is so much more than ONE character. It’s all of them. How can you even pick one? The whole point of season six is that no one does it alone!
But then halfway through “What They Died For” I texted Shannon saying “It’s Ben, for me. It has to be Ben.” Season six is all about redemption for our beloved Benjamin, and boy, does he take us on a journey or what? He goes from being the most reviled person on that Island to earning an invitation into that church with the rest of the castaways, though he chooses not to take it. That, my friends, is GROWTH and I feel so privileged that I get to watch it.
At the end of the day, Benjamin Linus is as synonymous with Lost as Jack and Locke are. He’s the third point of the triangle. Lost doesn’t WORK without him, and it will forever be the defining role of Michael Emerson’s storied career. Of COURSE it’s Benjamin. And though we got less time with Benjamin in season six due to the nature of its story structure, it doesn’t feel that way because Michael Emerson just…he FILLS the screen every time he’s on it. And not in a selfish look at me showy kind of way! He’s the most generous of scene partners and everything he does is just so fully realized that you can’t help but watch him. He should have an Emmy for season six sitting next to his Emmy for season five and that’s all I have to say about that!
- Least Favorite Character?
Heather: Demon-possessed, Zombie Sayid. It is necessary to explain this? Wait, I already did. See my answer to question 2.
Evan: I had gone into the season knowing Zoe, our glasses-wearing knockoff Tina Fey type, was not a well-liked character, but that did not prevent me from disliking her (and by extension, Widmore’s presence in the story). The season is full of various unnecessary things, and nothing really encapsulates that more than introducing a second set of extraneous characters after our first set of new characters, the Temple people, had been killed off.
Shannon: There is a right way and a wrong way to lean into new characters in the last season of an ensemble show, and Zoe is the epitome of the wrong way. We learn nothing about her connection to the Island, its mythology, or Widmore. (Who also sucks this season, sadly! But not as much as Zoe.) She barely has any reason for being there. She’s not threatening, she’s not interesting, she adds nothing narratively, and somehow she gets a ton of screen time throughout the whole damn season! No one asked for this.
Sage: I don’t have an eloquently worded reason for why I hate Zoe and her weak Ellie Sattler cosplay with the fire of a thousand hydrogen bombs. All I can say is that I applauded when the Man in Black slit her throat mid-sentence.
Kim: The only good thing about Zoe is the incredibly satisfying way that Flocke slits her fucking throat. BYE FELICIA.
- Most Underrated Episode?
Shannon: Look at me picking a Jack episode in the positive rankings! Season six Jack is the best Jack of them all and “Lighthouse” specifically has so much going on for it. The switch starts in “LAX,” but for me, it gets cemented here. Flash sideways Jack Shephard is trying to be there for his kid in all the ways his father wasn’t. He even pulls a Sister Act 2 and shows up to his son’s secret piano recital, for fuck’s sake! Yes, Jack’s meltdown in the lighthouse is frustratingly self centered, but it’s true to character and makes sense as a natural flaw in his final season of evolution. Also he got set up by a god, so.
Speaking of that god, I obviously am all about the lighthouse itself. (As Kim said on twitter, Hugo declaring himself in this very episode to be “a big fan of, like, temples and uh, history” is…me.) The fact that Jacob had a whole invisible sanctum to watch over his candidates is so fucking cool – and explains just how much Jacob understands everything about the folks who land on the island. Oh and by the way, the hieroglyph Hugo has to find to mark the pathway to the lighthouse? That’d be a shen ring. ANTIQUITY!
Evan: “What Kate Does” rules. I loved seeing Kate and Claire hang out in the flash sideways. It’s a perfect display of what was so interesting about Kate’s character and reminds us of who Claire used to be. It shows how great the flash sideways is; we get to see how much our characters have grown as well as see them find each other under new circumstances. The island stuff in this episode is also quite good, and the scene where Kate keeps a grieving Sawyer company is touching and could’ve easily been grating. Plus, it’s another excellent outing for Jack, who takes Sayid’s pill in front of Dogen after he doesn’t receive a straight answer about its contents.
Kim: Richard Alpert, you ageless thirst trap, your backstory was worth the wait.
Think about it though! We met Richard back in Season Three’s “Not In Portland” which was episode 56. We don’t get “Ab Aeterno” until episode 112. That’s a whopping FIFTY-SIX episodes of just…Richard being mysterious and handsome with his thick eyelashes and his natural eyeliner, always just appearing out of the jungle of mystery at the right time. Which, don’t get me wrong, I can’t complain about that. But Jesus Christ, it’s good to get Richard’s backstory. It’s good to get some answers that literally no one can complain about.
And the thing is no one did. “Ab Aeterno” can hardly be considered an underrated episode. It was met with nearly universal acclaim from both critics and fans when it aired. It’s Lost at its most epic and it’s a self-contained story that somehow manages to illuminate the bigger picture. It’s one hell of a performance by Nestor Carbonell, who is the textbook definition of “seize your moment” here. So why am I picking it as my underrated episode then? Because, quite simply, I forgot how fucking good it is. It’s never one that springs to mind when I think of my favorites and yet it provoked such a strong reaction during our live watch that Sage said I was basically doing lamaze exercises for the last ten minutes. All I’m saying is…YOU try getting through Richard and Isabella’s reunion via Hurley WITHOUT heavy breathing, okay? It’s not possible.
Heather: This is a difficult one to answer because, as one of the newbies on the team, I have no idea how the episodes were rated when they first aired. I do know, however, that there was SIGNIFICANT drama about the finale, which I find totally perplexing. So, my answer is “The End.”
Sage: I’ve got two words for you: Detective. Ford.
It tracks that I, an “Exposé” fan and Sawyer stan, would eat up the sideways version of our favorite redneck that we’re first (fully) introduced to in “Recon” – an obvious attempt at a curveball and a delight nonetheless. The episode doesn’t do much to push the action forward besides seed island Sawyer’s attempted dual double-cross of Widmore and the Man in the Black, but who cares when we get Detective Ford honeypotting himself, enjoying an adorably grumpy partnership dynamic with AU Miles, and relaxing in front of Little House on the Prairie with a sad, single-guy frozen dinner?
- Favorite Cameo/Guest Star?
Evan: It’s so good to see my boy Charlie Pace again. Of all the season’s return-from-the-dead-in-the-sideways characters, he’s probably the one who has the most screentime and he’s still a joy to watch. He’s given a proper season-ish long storyline and it was so lovely to see him interact with everyone again (especially Hurley). Charlie’s death in Season 3 really marked the beginning of Lost going maximum weirdness, so it’s cool to see Charlie in the center of that maximum weirdness in a way he wasn’t able to be before.
Also, shoutout to the fortune teller from “Tricia Tanaka Is Dead” showing up in “The Substitute.”
Shannon: Alex has been sprinkled through the whole flash sideways in perfect, heartbreaking, beautiful ways, but I was still taken aback when Danielle finally showed up and invited Dr. Linus over for coq au vin night. It’s just so good to see Mira Furlan back and in all her wonderful, French glory, and these two making dinner and washing dishes and crying about how much they love Alex is everything I never knew I always needed.
Heather: Claudia Jean! I mean, Allison Janney. My head exploded a little when the camera panned up onto her face during “Across The Sea.”
Kim: As an episode, “Across the Sea” lives or dies by the casting of “Mother” and the audience’s willingness to invest in her story. So truly, who else do you cast in this role other than Emmy winner and Certified National Treasure Allison Janney? It somehow feels incredibly out of left field yet it makes absolute sense at the same time. And let me tell you, after managing to keep Allison’s casting under wraps for the entirety of our watch, there was NOTHING more satisfying than to watch this episode with Sage and HEAR her sharp intake of breath and her quietly screeched “Is that National Treasure Allison Janney?” as her face came into focus.
Yes, Sage. Yes it is.
Sage: Kim was violently adamant that the big guest star in “Across the Sea” not be spoiled for me in advance, and it wasn’t! I had zero idea that National Treasure Allison Janney played Jacob and his brother’s ruthless “Mother,” who’s officially the beginning of the line, as far as our story is concerned. And, look: it’s not an easy role to step into, nor is that an episode that goes down particularly easy. But Janney sells the shit out of it, leaving her stamp on the show in a singular, tour-de-force performance.
- Best Flash Sideways Moment?
Evan: Oh god, it’s hard to pick just one, isn’t there? I adore the flash sideways; it’s among my favorite aspects of Season 6 full stop. I love seeing the characters in a new context, and I love revisiting old characters, and it all just completely reframes the show in such a fresh and wonderful way. A true favorite is seeing Juliet show up again; I love everything about her role in the finale, from her reunion with Sawyer to her interactions with Sun and Jin to her implied history with our sideways-Jack. It was just so wonderful to see her again.
Heather: So, is the scene in the church during “The End” a flash sideways? Because, technically, I think it may be a flash forward. Well, maybe for everyone but Jack. But here is where my brain turns into spaghetti cuz I just can’t keep it straight. Regardless, my answer is the scene between Jack and Christian in the vestibule of the church at the end of “The End.” Yes, definitely.
Kim: I feel like I say this a lot in these recaps, but I have visceral memories of seeing “Happily Ever After” for the first time. It was a college friend’s birthday. He had a bunch of us over to his apartment for a Dharma themed birthday party and we all sat and watched that week’s episode together. AND WHAT AN EPISODE TO DO THAT FOR.
Before “Happily Ever After,” the flash-sideways world was a lot of fun, but it was hard to see where they were going with it. But of COURSE it all comes into focus with our constant, Desmond Hume. Through Desmond it becomes clear that this world embodies wish-fulfillment in some way. Desmond has the approval of the one person he’s craved it from for most of his existence: Charles Widmore. But still, even when Desmond has everything he supposedly wants, something is missing.
Enter Charlie Pace. Charlie Pace, who helped define Desmond’s time on the Island. Charlie Pace who brought Desmond back to Penny. Charlie Pace, who Desmond named his SON after. Charlie Pace, who knows SOMETHING about this world, even if he’s not sure of the answer yet.
Charlie Pace, who drives Desmond’s fancy car off the road, plunging it into the harbor. Charlie Pace, who calmly presses his hand to the window as Desmond tries to rescue him from the submerged car. A smile. A MEMORY.
NOT PENNY’S BOAT.
A season flipped on its head in a single moment.
Shannon: I love the vast majority of all the flash sideways moments, but I am under obligation to call out my dear sweet Daniel Faraday. I have so missed his gravelly, kind hearted, brilliant voice, and it’s so good to see him again. But also, it’s the fact that the constant and the variable are here, together again, trusting each other and challenging each other. And how beautiful that Daniel finally gets to be a musician, happily playing piano in his weird hats with questionable hairstyles and a scrawny tie. He’s so beautifully comfortable in his skin, even when he suddenly finds himself capable of elaborate physics equations. There’s no one better to set Desmond off on his season-long quest to find and guide the castaways. Daniel Faraday has always been one to guide the island, even when he doesn’t know he’s doing it.
Sage: As that “gifted” kid who took pride in befriending all the most demanding teachers, I have got to give this one to Dr. Linus and his entire arc.
It’s particularly bittersweet to see Dr. Linus living a normal – if lonely – life, because our primary Ben never got that chance. The rest of the island folk fucked up their own pre-815 existences to some degree, even if they did it with the best of intentions. Ben, however, was transformed without his consent as a child – transformed into the sexy little agent of chaos we all love so much, but still. Who would he have been if Sayid hadn’t shot him and Sawyer and Kate hadn’t delivered him to the Others? Who would he be if Roger had eventually gotten bored with Dharma nonsense and just taken him home? Here’s our answer: He would have been an overqualified public high school teacher devoted to the only five dorks who would rather go to history club after the final bell than do anything else.
His flash sideways is genius, because amid the power struggle with the school principal, we see Ben’s innate killer instinct emerge. He’s just as crafty as the less cuddly version of himself. But this Ben doesn’t have to experience remorse to conceptualize it. The mere suggestion of Alex losing out on her dream school because of him is enough to quell Dr. Linus’s urge to take what he deserves by force. And he’s rewarded for that kindness with something better – a possibility that never even occurred to him on the island.
I’ve gone on too long about this already, so I’ll just add that Dr. Linus and Mr. Locke are soulmates in every universe and that Michael Emerson plays that first meeting like he knows it too and leave it at that.
- Favorite Ship?
Kim: We’ve bemoaned over and over again how heterosexual Lost is and it’s true! Lost is painfully straight, even when it has one of the greatest ships of all time staring them right in the face in the form of John Locke and Benjamin Linus.
But THAT, dear reader, is why the flash sideways is so fucking fun. Because it’s never confirmed how Kate labels herself in that world, so in MY head, she’s a very messy bisexual and the energy between her and Claire Littleton can’t be denied. And do you know WHY it can’t be denied? Because in the prime timeline, when Kate and Claire finally make it back to Los Angeles, they raise Aaron together and Uncle James always looks out for them, and eventually, Kate and Claire fall in love and live happily ever after. And THAT, dear reader, is also why of all the castaways, Claire and Aaron are the ones to wake her up in the flash sideways. Not Jack. Not Sawyer. Claire and Aaron. BOOM! Head canon accepted.
Shannon: In every damn timeline, it’s Ben Linus and John Locke. These two are an item the moment they start bantering in the high school teacher’s lounge. I love that they never call each other anything but Dr. Linus and Mr. Locke, I love that they have each other’s sweet, awkward backs, and I love that the flash sideways running parallel to the island means we get to see their chemistry in all sorts of different ways all at once.
Sage: I’m not letting the fact that one of them murdered the other several seasons ago keep me from picking Ben and John again. First of all, who else is even left? And second of all, why would I? Why, when Ben is so clearly still hung up on John? (Which, by the way, is something we know to be true because his punishment for killing him is to be forced to run around the jungle with a supernatural imposter wearing the face of the man he loves!) The torture is exquisite and the regret is real. (“He was…a much better man than I will ever be.”) And to have all of it paralleled by the two of them becoming fast friends in the flash sideways? Well, my friends: that’s the kind of tragic romance I live for.
Heather: Ben and Locke, of course. Those two. Man, what a deep and profound love affair. Love and hate are the same side of the coin, and despite the overtly platonic nature of their relationship, these two CHOSE each other to do their soul work. And they succeeded in the way that only those couples who have perfectly complementary shit can do.
Evan: It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I just wanted to nominate the smorgasbord of men getting really close to each other and talking about ~~true love~~ in the episode “Happily Ever After.” The weird closeness that Charlie, Desmond, and Daniel seem to show throughout the episode just gives me heart palpitations, even though I love (most) of their canonical, existing relationships. (Though, if I were giving a real answer to this question, it would probably be Suliet.) Also shoutout to my personal, completely-non-canonical ship of Charlie/Hurley because even though there’s barely any of that in this season, there’s still a little hint of it enough that I was pleased.
- Best Shipper Moment?
Evan: Okay with that out of the way, SAWYER AND JULIET AT THE VENDING MACHINE. Absolutely incredible stuff, makes me cry every time, no holds barred the best shipping moment of the season. There’s just something so magical about two strangers suddenly discovering their grand, timeline-spanning love for each other in such mundane circumstances and these two actors sell it so well.
Sage: After being put through various iterations of Juliet’s gut-wrenching death, we were owed an unapologetically sentimental reunion. And by fucking god, that’s what we get. If your eyes aren’t stinging by the time Sawyer is stroking a stunned Juliet’s hair, whispering, “It’s me, baby,” then you may be malfunctioning.
Kim: Oh man, it has to be when Jack…
Did you ACTUALLY think I would say anything other than Sawyer and Juliet and the vending machine? BITCH PLEASE.
The thing about all the flash sideways “wake-ups” is that once you REALIZE what’s happening, you’re basically holding your breath waiting for your OTPs to collide in the flash sideways. And man, do they make you wait for the Suliet reunion or what? It’s the last one before Jack! You know it’s coming and yet…you’re still surprised when she shows up, delightedly amused at this hunk of a man with his arm up a vending machine trying to claim his rightful Apollo bar.
And this! As painful as Juliet’s death scene in “LA X” is, the pay off is MASSIVE. BECAUSE! It makes absolutely no sense that Juliet talks about getting coffee sometime and that they should go dutch as she lays dying in James’ arms! It’s not like a running thing with them, and James writes it off as Juliet hallucinating, which is WHY he says “Juliet, it’s me” in that moment. I don’t know if they told Liz Mitchell what was happening or if they looked back at the dailies for that episode and were like “OH!” because look at her fucking face when she says “We should go dutch.” She’s SMILING. And WHY is she smiling? Because she’s experiencing their reunion in the flash sideways at the exact same time, hovering between this world and the sideways world. She SEES it and she is OVERJOYED. She knows they’ll find each other again…it’s only a matter of time.
“My love…take your time. I’ll see you on the other side.”
Shannon: After much deliberation and multiple last-minute changes, I am cheating. It’s a three way tie.
- Hugo and Libby finally getting their picnic date. It’s so sweet! It’s so lovely! I love them! They are sweet and lovely!
- Jack and Kate kissing on the cliffs, also known as the only moment I have truly loved and bought them as a romantic pairing
- THE VENDING MACHINE, OBVIOUSLY, JESUS H CHRIST.
Heather: Claire and Kate in “What Kate Does,” when Claire hid Kate, and then every time Kate went back for Claire. Kate delivering Claire’s baby -twice. Kate REMEMBERING when she delivered sideways Claire’s baby!
- Best Warm Fuzzy?
Heather: Kate telling Claire that the only reason she came back was so that Claire could parent Aaron.
Evan: Hugo going and gathering everyone up in the flash sideways makes me feel fuzzy inside. You can see his love and admiration for all these people he once knew and it’s so lovely to see him become his own person. Shoutout to Vincent, who makes me feel fuzzy as well but also makes me cry.
Kim: I don’t think I will ever get over how Hurley, freshly minted as the new Jacob and panicking about the gravity of his job, turns to Benjamin Linus, of ALL PEOPLE, and asks him for help. BENJAMIN LINUS, who has tried to kill all of them MULTIPLE times in the name of the Island. Benjamin Linus, who flip-flopped his allegiance up until the very end. Benjamin Linus, who somehow wormed his way into the hearts of the castaways, leading them to fucking SAVE HIM when a tree pinned him to a rock. Benjamin Linus, who has wanted NOTHING MORE than to matter to this Island, who looks at Hurley and states with his whole ass heart that he doesn’t have to run things the way Jacob did, that Hurley has always been best at taking care of people, so maybe he should just do that.
BENJAMIN LINUS, you guys!! He gets everything he’s ever wanted!!!! Hurley would NEVER say “What ABOUT you?” to him. Benjamin MATTERS to Hurley, after every terrible thing he did, he still matters. He’s SPECIAL and Hurley sees his value. And THAT, my friends, is how you get the most loyal number two on the planet.
Sage: Most of our friends seem to be at least marginally better adjusted in the flash sideways, with Charlie Pace as the most glaring exception. Sideways Charlie is circling the drain without the crash to have interrupted his sprint to rock bottom. But, lest we forget, it wasn’t the crash alone that saved him – not with a whole other plane full of pure heroin on the same island. It was meeting Claire – #1 on his list of greatest hits. Reaching for the person that she thought he could be is what allowed him to go out a hero.
So for me, it’s that LOOK that he gives her in the finale when he sees her from the stage. He’s not even back on the island yet, he’s experiencing something else – the same thing he experienced when he got a glimpse of her on the plane, as he explains to Desmond in the dive bar. It’s Claire waking up WHILST GIVING BIRTH and greeting her newborn son like an old friend. It’s Charlie, the junkie rockstar, searching around for a blanket backstage, because babies need blankets. It’s that Claire taking Charlie’s hand is what makes him remember. It’s seeing their family – this family that two lost people who were nonetheless full of love to give built under the most dire, hopeless circumstances – finally reunited. And it’s our old pal Michael Giacchino going straight for the jugular.
Shannon: The mere concept of Bernard and Rose chilling by themselves, in a cool house they built with sea glass decor, far away from any conceptions of time or drama or elaborate struggles for good and evil is warm and fuzzy enough. Then you’re gonna tell me they’re spending eternity with Vincent, the very best of dogs? Honestly it is what they deserve.
- Thirstiest Moment?
Shannon: That’d be a scruffed up Ricardo, barreling across the countryside on a horse. In the rain. *fans self*
Evan: Jin just standing in the bathroom doorway shirtless in “The Package.” Just posin’.
Heather: Harder question for me since Juliet was barely in this season, however…I would say Kate kicking down the bathroom stall door with the bounty hunter chasing down her ass in “LA X, Part 2.”
Kim: Y’know, I had a whole list of possible Jack Shephard moments for this one, because I did want to acknowledge how hot season six Jack is, but then I rewatched “What They Died For” and I’m sorry! I have to go with Flocke and Benjamin here. Like I said, I’m a simple, basic woman with simple, basic needs and my knees go fucking WEAK when the Murder Husbands RISE. SPECIFICALLY my knees go weak at the way Benjamin leans against the door jamb of his panic room after he shoots Charles Widmore, saying “He doesn’t get to save his daughter” without even blinking. And then it’s how Flocke simply wipes off his knife after casually murdering Zoe, telling Ben that he never ceases to amaze him. (AMAZE HIM, OH MY GOD!!!!) And FINALLY it’s in the way that Benjamin tilts his head and looks up at Flocke through his eyelashes as he says “Did you say there were some other people to kill?” SIR. PLEASE! STEP ON MY NECK AND MURDER ME BENJAMIN, IT WOULD BE A GREAT HONOR.
Sage: I really tried to nail down the moment when I started to come around on Jack Shephard, my sworn enemy until the beginning of Season 6. But, in the immortal words of Jane Austen, “I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.” I don’t know what’s more responsible for my change of heart, the fact that he finally let go of his exasperating need to be right all the time or those distinguished greys at his temples. Either way, I went from mostly hating Jack to begrudgingly admitting when he had a point to just full-on swooning over his suddenly selfless actions. I didn’t even cringe when he and Kate kissed in the finale – in fact, I kind of wanted them to??? – and that’s really saying something.
- Right in the Feels Moment?
Evan: Sosososo many, but a favorite is Locke and Jack’s dialogue exchange at the end of “LA X”. Like I’ve said before, one of my favorite parts of the flash sideways is seeing these characters connect in a new context, and Locke’s “They didn’t lose your father, they just lost his body.” is just a massive gut-punch of emotion. The show has been defined by their contentious relationship for so long, it’s so nice to see them connect in a non-contentious emotional way where the two of them seem to understand each other.
Sage: Richard Alpert has been cursed with a long life, and he has split his time between serving Jacob and flagellating himself over the death of his wife hundreds of years ago. But for all the power that exists on the island, there’s nothing there that can give him closure – not until Hugo arrives. Isabella’s message may end with an ominous warning, but the release that Richard experiences thanks to Hugo’s mediation is tremendously moving. He still has humanity to save, but at least he can let go of the guilt he’s been carrying.
Heather: Other than the entirety of The End? In Dr. Linus when Ben says that he has to go back to Flocke because no one else will have him, and Ilana says, “I’ll have you.” Right in the gut.
Shannon: “This is the place that you 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 does it alone, Jack. You needed all of them, and they needed you.”
Kim: It’s so fitting that Jack, maddeningly stubborn in the prime timeline, is the one that clings to the life he’s constructed in the flash sideways. He really fights it! Locke is the first one to shake him in the recovery room post-surgery. Kate TRIES to wake him up, lovingly taking his face in her hands because mere touch worked for Charlie and Claire. But still…even with those flashes, Jack isn’t quite ready.
Really, it’s no surprise that it’s his father that finally gets him to let go. It’s the relationship and the trauma that’s DEFINED Jack, and from the moment Christian utters “Hey, Kiddo” in that vestibule, you palpably FEEL the strings that kept Jack Shephard tethered to this mortal(ish) coil come loose. It’s a gorgeous performance from Matthew Fox, from the moment he realizes that he’s dead to the healing embrace with his father (those gasping sobs, my GOD!) to his childlike wonder as he asks what’s next for him. It hits you right in the feels EVERY TIME.
- Best “WHAT THE FUCK?!” Moment?
Shannon: Sawyer and the Man in Black making their way down a cliffside on a death ladder is dramatic enough on its own. Then we get to the dark, creepy, mystery cave and find an ancient looking scale with two evenly weighted stones (one is white and one is black, obviously). And THEN the Man in Black shows Sawyer the ceiling, and shit gets real.
The concept of all these familiar names – and countless others – scrawled out in chalk is so supremely WHAT THE FUCK. There’s endless questions about the how and why, the mythology and the meaning. But ultimately it’s just unsettling as all get out to see the disorder and chaos connected to something so seemingly orderly and methodical. It’s like these were Jacob’s messy, slapdash brainstorm notes before he went on to neatly list the names in the lighthouse and hide the numbers across multiple versions of reality. What a weird god, y’all.
Sage: I don’t know that Feral Claire was the brightest idea that the Lost writers ever had, but I do appreciate that they went full-tilt into her psychosis, including that terrifying substitute Aaron she constructed for herself out of animal bones and skin. Those button eyes have haunted me since the first reveal.
Evan: I don’t know if I would consider it the “best” but Sayid, Sun, and Jin’s deaths at the end of “The Candidate” sure are a shocker. It is definitely not my favorite plot development of the season, and generally leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but it did make me go “What the fuck” so I gotta give it to them. It’s mostly a shame because everything leading up to it is so excellent and Sawyer and Jack’s mirroring of Season 2’s button-pushing conflict is so good.
Heather: Absolutely, 100% the Cave of Light. I tweeted out, “This is the WTF of all the WTF’s.”
Kim: I fully recognize I’m cheating here, but this is 50% my website and I can do what I want. How am I cheating you might ask? Because my “WHAT THE FUCK” moment has less to do with what happens in “Across the Sea” and more the placement of “Across the Sea” in the greater context of the series.
First, before Shannon reaches through my computer screen and throws me into the heart of the Island therefore turning me into the Smoke Monster, allow me to say that I think “Across the Sea” is a fantastic episode that’s at the very crux of Lost’s lore. I KNOW that in my brain, and I am not debating the validity of telling that story. But ten years later, I still can’t get over the WHIPLASH effect going from “The Candidate” and killing off three OG cast members (all three of your Asian characters to boot!) to the WACKINESS of “Across the Sea”. That’s what will always make the episode a WHAT THE FUCK moment in my head, I’m sorry. I’ll never forget watching it the first time. I spent MOST of the episode MAD about it, wondering what the fuck was going on with my REAL FRIENDS only to be like “oh cool” when it was revealed that Mother and MIB were our original cave skeletons.
Obviously, I’ve come around on the brilliance of the episode in the interim, but still, if I were to ever get the chance to sit down with Damon and Carlton, I would ask just one question: leaving the potential issue of actor availability aside, thematically why tell that story THEN, when the audience is still shell-shocked and grieving the loss of Sayid, Sun, and Jin? ESPECIALLY when it would slide perfectly in between “Lighthouse” and “Sundown”? WHY DAMON WHY?
- Favorite Weird Island Happening?
Shannon: Listen, I hate what becomes of Sayid after he’s mythically resurrected in the temple, but the resurrection itself is extremely cool and extremely weird! The geography of the more ancient areas of the island are, shall we say, unclear, but the temple has got to be connected in some way, shape or form to both Smokey and the cave of light. Temples aren’t just built in random spots, they’re located where they are for a reason. Who knows what the reason is for this particular temple – but I’m willing to bet it’s down to that mythic pool of water that brings Sayid Jarrah back from the dead.
Kim: I love all that weird shit that happens at the temple from their shabby chic hippie wardrobe to the fact that Cindy and those kiddos from the tail section have been chilling there the whole time to the Lazarus Pit that brought both Sayid and Baby Benjamin Linus back from the dead. But what I love most of all about the weird shit at the Temple is Dogan’s mystical workshop and that medieval torture contraption he uses to “diagnose” Sayid after he comes back to life. HOW DOES IT WORK? How does he know that the Man in Black will claim Sayid? Does he foresee Sayid’s humanity coming back at the last and most important moment? Why is he SO WILLING to say Sayid is better off dead and strike him off of Jacob’s list? TELL ME WHAT YOU KNOW YOU WEIRD ISLAND WIZARD.
Evan: Jacob throwing the Man in Black into the light in the cave and the smoke monster erupting out of it. Moments later, he discovers the Man in Black’s dead body near the river and lays it to rest. What the fuck does that mean? Is the smoke monster pretending to be the Man in Black the same way the smoke monster is pretending to be John Locke? Is the smoke monster the Man in Black’s soul, separated from his body? What properties of the light causes this behavior? We see Jack get exposed to the light and he doesn’t become a smoke monster (at least that we see). Drawing attention to a distinction between the Man in Black and the smoke monster is super cool and weird and I love it.
Sage: I take a lot of joy in this show’s unexpected use of the literal and pedestrian to explain many of the strange goings on. (How do you move the island? With a big wheel, obviously!) And that includes Jacob surveilling his candidates with…magic mirrors? In a big lighthouse? Absolute fairytale insanity. 10 stars.
Heather: This question is hard because there are SO MANY this season. I think my favorite is the Lighthouse. Even though it only survives a single episode, a lighthouse is such an iconic image and the episode uses it so effectively to both answer questions and deepen the mysteries of the island, it holds a special place in my Lost heart.
- Best Use of an Episode Title Within the Script?
Evan: It’s dropped multiple times in the episode, but “There’s nothing across the sea.” really encapsulates the conflict of the episode.
Sage: I’m still walking around the house saying, “And Desmond Hume as… ‘The Package’” in movie-trailer-guy voice, so let’s go with that.
Heather: It may be obvious, but I have to go with “The End.” I mean, come on! It’s a triple entendre! (Jack’s death, the end of the show, and the end of mortal life)
Kim: Listen, this bitch (being both me and Lost) loves a good bookending parallel, so I was already sold on “Everybody Loves Hugo” for this category simply for the fact that it is the reflection of season two’s “Everybody Hates Hugo.” But what really seals it for me is the booming way Dr. Pierre Chang enthuses that “Everybody Loves Hugo” in the “This is Your Life” style montage at the dedication of the Hugo Reyes Paleontology Wing at the Golden State Natural History Museum. Island Hugo would have lost his mind knowing the star of the Dharma films did that for him!! Plus he gets a little Dinosaur trophy! EVERYBODY LOVES HUGO!
Shannon: So many good options here! Practically every episode title in season six gets seeded into the script, and all of it’s done well. But as with so many things, I gotta pick “Dr. Linus.” Benjamin Linus would never leave us without first offering up a third and final name change. Just like Henry Gale before him, Dr. Linus is a whole different person from Ben Linus in so many ways. It’s all wrapped up in “Dr.” The persnickety, particular, overqualified energy of a high school teacher with a doctorate changes his whole being. There’s so much character in two little letters.
- Favorite Hero Moment?
Heather: I admit it, one could make an argument that I’m cheating here. But I argue that since we had to watch Juliet’s death REPEATEDLY at the beginning of this season, and then again in “The End,” her choice to blow-up the hydrogen bomb (which technically occurs at the end of Season 5) still counts for Season 6.
Shannon: A lot of fucked up shit happens on that submarine, but the lead up gives us a FANTASTIC big hero moment. Every damn time I watched Jack Shephard square his shoulders and declare “John Locke told me I needed to stay” right before he shoves the Man in Black into the water, I screamed. Loudly! Every time! Jack morphing into a man of faith and defending John’s honor this season is always so much, but this moment is top of the list for me.
Evan: Jack jumping across the rainy, Lion King-esque collapsing island towering over the crashing sea, fist raised to strike at our now-mortal fake Locke. Bam! Cut to commercial. It’s so cheesy, wonderful, and exhilarating. Lost ends on a gigantic, climactic Star Wars-style, fight-to-the-death showdown between the forces of good and evil atop a perilous, collapsing battlefield. How can this not be my hero moment?
Kim: I haven’t given Kate Austen much credit over the course of this rewatch, which is not entirely Evangeline Lilly’s fault as she is saddled with the most inconsistent writing on the show. But I will give credit where credit is due and the way Kate appears out of nowhere to deliver the kill shot to the Man in Black is Arya Stark showing up at the last minute to kill the Night King levels of heroism. She saved him a bullet!!!
Sage: Lapidus was kept around until the bitter end to do one thing and one thing only. And I’ll be damned if he didn’t do it well. Amid all the other heroics going on, Frank Lapidus got an abandoned commercial jet (the very same one he kept intact and upright through an emergency landing, btw) in the air with only the assistance of a ghost whisperer, an ageless thirst trap, and a roll of duct tape. As Kim pointed out when we watched, the Han Solo energy had never been more apparent.
- Were You Satisfied by the Finale? Why or Why Not?
Evan: Overall, I was completely and utterly satisfied with the finale. I came into it with a lot of foreknowledge, but the finale still delivered an emotionally satisfying, exciting finale. There were some questions I wish were answered (what was the deal with the bomb at the end of Season 5? did it go off?), but this episode is the episode of Lost that made me cry the most and it’s an episode that made me so excited and overjoyed as I watched it.
It just feels so good to see all our favorite characters again and to see them look back on their time on the show like we are. Seeing them remember their past life one by one and slowly find each other is so beautiful and such a good send off to all the characters we love. The episode also concludes Jack’s character arc in the most beautiful way and really makes the show feel whole. The dude really finds his purpose and feels content in it as he dies and then Vincent shows up and then you cry a lot because dogs are the best, and honestly that’s the best conclusion Lost could’ve ever had (“Dogs are the best”).
Heather: I was more satisfied with “The End” than I think I’ve ever been with any other TV finale, except maybe The West Wing. It’s been over a week, and I still find myself thinking about it. Not the remaining mysteries so much, though I do keep thinking about those, but more about the idea I opened with in my first answer here, that we built the place where our important people, who are important to each other, come together to move forward. Can’t get it out of my head. That is good story-telling.
Shannon: I cannot fathom being unsatisfied by the finale. I know it happened, and people were mad, but I had the benefit of watching it for the first time with a fan who told me from the start to ignore the hearsay and form my own opinions – and my opinion is that I have always loved it and I always will.
I would so much rather get a thoughtful, character driven, meaningful exploration of love, loss, and what it means to be alive and to depend on one another than I would an explicit explanation of why a polar bear lived on the island. (Also, Dharma had a zoo! This is not hard!) I want plots to make sense and be satisfying on their own, but I will follow good character growth into a questionable plot every time. And the thing is, that’s not even the decision we’re being asked to make! The storytelling is well done here! The audience is given everything we need. The story is complete. It’s powerful. It’s subtly told. I stand by it, always.
Kim: I was deeply, deeply satisfied with Lost’s ending when “The End” aired in 2010 and I remain deeply, deeply satisfied with “The End” in 2020. I have ALWAYS been a staunch defender of the finale. It’s brilliant! I would solidly put it in my top ten episodes of the entire SERIES! I don’t know what else you want me to say! I’ve never understood why people don’t like it! If you don’t like it, I’m sorry to tell you that you watched the show wrong and you missed the ENTIRE point of it. The point is not how a polar bear is on a tropical island or the exact significance of the number sequence 4-8-15-16-23-42 or whatever minutiae of the show you spent hours of your own time dissecting in search of an answer that could NEVER truly satisfy you.
LIVE TOGETHER, DIE ALONE, BITCH!!! THAT’S IT. THAT’S THE POINT.
Look, I’ve watched “The End” three times over the course of this group pilgrimage and I’ve cried like a baby every time. It’s just so cathartic, you know? Aside from the Shannon/Sayid misstep that can’t even really be called a misstep because it was the only conclusion that could come for Sayid in terms of someone on the Island (Danielle has her own shit to work out with Alex and Ben!) waking him up, “The End” hits every single emotional note perfectly without feeling like it’s pandering to the lowest common denominator. It brings everything back to the characters, the reason we all watched this weird fucking show for six seasons in the first place. I truly don’t know what else people expected it to do! If you aren’t moved by the sight of our entire ensemble (sans Ben, who DID get the invite) in that church being shepherded into that next phase TOGETHER after HAVING LIVED, then…well I don’t have much else to say to you. LIVE TOGETHER, DIE ALONE, BITCH!
Sage: Throughout this whole process, I’ve been thinking a lot about how shows like Lost literally changed the way people watched TV. And, you know, change can be painful. It can breed resistance. Though I am a huge fan of and participant in recap culture (a lost art now), I feel like the luxury of having a handful of next-day explainers to read that outline everything that you missed when you were watching the episode set up a certain expectation for having all the bubbles filled in and pieces connected. The Lost finale isn’t hard to understand. Neither is The Sopranos. Or Mad Men. But they all (the first two especially) were talked about for so long as being ambiguous and unsatisfying. Whereas, if any of them aired for the first time today, just a few years later, I think they would be received much differently.
Basically, nobody knew what to expect from a Lost ending because Lost had never ended before.
Anyway, to me, it’s an almost flawless capper. (I see why they felt like they had to do what they did with Sayid and Shannon, but I’m also here to tell you that they didn’t!) The DNA of it has been woven through the show since Day 1, so I’m not sure why anyone was shocked: Needing other people and being needed are all that matters. Gods won’t protect you, only your fellow humans can do that. (And if your gods aren’t serving you, then you can kill them off! They’re not that great!) You are who you are, not what you’ve done. Whatever happened happened. Live together, die alone…and then live together again.
See you in another life, brutha.
- Sum Up Your Feelings on the Season?
Evan: Lost Season 6 is messy and a good bit of it doesn’t work. Why did they feel the need to turn Sayid into a zombie? What really did the Widmore storyline amount to? Why do nothing with Sun and Jin for a season and a half and then kill them off? All those questions and more gnaw at me, but I cannot deny that Season 6 has a lot of stuff I love as well. For one: the finale. The finale is incredible. It makes me cry, makes me laugh, makes me feel. It’s nearly perfect television (sorry Shannon/Sayid), and it really does feel like payoff to everything they’ve been doing.
I also LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE the flash sideways. I love it. It’s just AU fanfic but on the actual show, and it’s glorious and fun and it’s just great to see all these characters play out in a different way but still have the core of why we like them. It’s so wonderful to see these characters find each other under different circumstances and bring out the parts of each other that they brought out in our island timeline, and discover it all through a completely different lens.
So yes, it is a mixed bag, but I can’t help but feel good about it, especially with that finale. There’s so much good stuff in it and it does fumble a bit, but the good stuff is just so easy to get lost in. Goodbye, Lost, I really enjoyed my time with you.
Heather: The first few episodes of the season were grim, gritty and bitter. Due to several “Previously ons ” that reminded us of “The Incident,” the Season 5 finale, we had to watch Juliet die over and over, which sucked. In addition, nothing good happened to any of our buddies at the beginning of the season, no matter which timeline they were in. In fact, at first it appeared that they were all better off on the island than they were if the plane hadn’t crashed or if the bomb hadn’t gone off. However, “What Kate Does” begins to turn the season around and “The Substitute” made me feel like we had taken a detour into Sadville, but had finally arrived back on the Island Misfit Toys and Bizarre Happenings. It felt good to be home.
This is when I started feeling all kinds of goodness as the island began to act up and our fave relationships returned to the sideways flash storylines. When the sideways flash storylines started to give our friends better lives than their island counterparts, it gave me a sense of optimism and I settled into my Happy Lost place. Then, lo and behold, Jack begins to get some character growth in both storylines. One of the funniest parts of watching this season with our crew was how upset we all became about beginning to LIKE Jack. It felt very strange. But, again, that’s a sign of some really good story-telling.
Season six feels like the best and the worst of the entire series wrapped up in one delicious bundle. While I didn’t enjoy every moment, I was captivated every moment. Can we ask for anything more from our TV?
Sage: The season as a whole benefits from a rapturous ending, as well as the introduction of the flash sideways. But watching some of it back, I was reminded of how much marching around the island there is, and, as Kim talked about earlier, keeping people apart in increasingly irritating ways. For a red herring, the Widmore stuff gobbles up way too much screen time, and the island storylines for Sayid and the Kwons are borderline unforgivable. Not to mention, we suffer for the main cast being thinned out more and more. But that’s why the flash sideways as well as the island flashback episodes are so vital here. It really feels like they could have gotten Jack and Desmond to the heart of the island in a matter of a few episodes, but there was a lot of parallel story to tell, so the island action in general is stretched out to an almost unmanageable degree. But honestly…who cares? There’s way more to love than there is to criticize, especially when watching with the amazing community that came together to take on this show during quarantine. I love you all too much, I can’t be objective!
Shannon: I love this season, folks. I do. I acknowledge that it’s not the show’s best. There are definitely some missteps. Hell, the vast majority of my favorite characters are either not involved in this season at all or spend it being unjustly maligned. (WHY IS SAYID A ZOMBIE. FREE HIM.) There’s some bizarre character choices with Widmore and his annoying crew and that whole thing goes on for far too long; meanwhile, my beloved temple is abandoned pretty early on. BUT! As I look back on the whole run, with the experience of a second watch, I keep coming back to season six as my favorite of the bunch.
It’s the payoff of the whole thing. And it’s that the payoff starts right from the jump. The themes of the series finale start in “LAX” and build and build and build until we get to “The End.” The whole thing is of a piece, even when it looks like it’s not. Every episode is a movement in the symphony. Charlie Pace puts it best, in the bar with Desmond in “Happily Ever After;” “it’s like we’ve always been and we always will be.” These characters, this story, the way we as humans support and love and push each other – it has always been, and it always will be. It’s vast and eternal and plain and simple all at the same time. So no, season six isn’t perfect. But it is so, so beautiful.
Kim: Season Six holds up way better for me on rewatch than it did watching live, especially with the ability to watch it consecutively, without the exhilarating yet exhausting fan discourse filling the echo chamber between episodes. I remember feeling frustrated with the first half of season six watching in real time, feeling like it moved too slow but too fast at the same time, that they spent too much time languishing at various locales, and GOD they spend a lot of time walking back and forth this season, don’t they?
But then “Happily Ever After” hits and everything about the season and the flash sideways suddenly comes into sharp focus and it’s just like…OH! I understand! And HOLY SHIT THAT’S BRILLIANT. Everything we thought we knew about the season is flipped on its head, and even if we don’t fully know what the flash sideways is at that point, we know it’s something bigger than us and bigger than our heroes. And then it’s mind boggling to see how Damon and Carlton got to have their cake and eat it too. Yes, the castaways are all dead, but not in the way you think they are. The flash sideways is purgatory but not REALLY purgatory because it’s a place of healing and atonement, not a place of suffering.
CHRISTIAN: You’re real, everything that’s ever happened to you is real. All those people in the church…they’re real too.
JACK: They’re all…they’re all dead?
CHRISTIAN: Everyone dies sometime, kiddo. Some of them before you, some…long after you.
What happened on the Island HAPPENED. It was all real and it all fucking mattered and that? That is everything. Ultimately, “The End” is WHY season six works. It’s all about sticking that landing, folks. And boy, did they stick it or what?
Sad you missed out on the group watch? Fear not! We’re moving on to Damon Lindelof’s “The Leftovers” starting 11/30! Join us on Twitter by tracking the hashtag #Oct14th