Well, the producers of Lost promised a season finale that would bring about a pretty big shift in the way we view the show, and you can’t say that didn’t happen.
Now that it has, though, I don’t know whether to be deeply frustrated (again), really, really confused (a distinct possibility) or just in awe of the incredible mind-[ahem] showrunners Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof, who wrote Wednesday’s finale, have pulled off.
(And here’s the part where we start discussing that in detail. You know what to do.)
Here’s one thought I had, soon after I saw the second car pull up to meet Jack at the airport and noticed that its driver was … Kate. (The first thought being, "What?" Followed by, "Oh, crap.") Feel free to shoot this full of holes in the comments, because I know there are problems with it. But what if:
What if everything we saw on the island tonight, the trek to the radio tower and Locke’s return and the disabling of the Looking Glass and the call to the freighter — what if that was the flashback, that was the stuff bearded Jack was remembering?
Granted, there are problems with that idea, not the least of which is that a whole lot happened away from Jack. Prior flashbacks have pretty much been confined to the featured character’s point of view, and so much else went on at the beach and in the Looking Glass station that it’s tough to believe he’d know all about it.
But whatever the scenes with bearded, pill-popping Jack were, they weren’t flashbacks. Yet they also don’t seem to be part of a timeline that jibes with what we’ve seen so far. For one thing, it sounded an awful lot like Jack’s dad was still alive — the fake prescription Jack tried to pass to get oxycodone, the way he challenged Mike from Las Vegas to get pops to the hospital to see who’s drunker.
Furthermore, if the Flight 815 survivors were rescued after 90-some days of being stranded — as the final island scene hinted at — wouldn’t it be reasonable to expect Jack and the rest to be somewhat famous because of that? If so, you’d think the ER doctor tending to him or the guy at the pharmacy might recognize him for something more than saving the woman and her son from the car crash.
Jack, in this future, is also actively looking for the island, with the piles of maps in his apartment and his speech to Kate about flying all over the place hoping he’ll crash again so he can get back.
And, of course, there’s this: Who died? In this screen cap of the story Jack tore out of the newspaper, the headline appears to read "Man found in [or at] downtown loft," and the person’s name includes the letters "Jo" and "antham." Far as I know, that doesn’t match up with any of the principal characters.
So am I confused about what this means for the (finite) future of the show? Heck yeah. Frustrated? Somewhat, because the final twist posited one other huge question (and several other sizable ones as well) without answering many others. Although that’s pretty much par for the course now. And in awe? Yeah, that too, because there was much to savor in the rest of the finale as well. Such as:
Charlie. After thinking he had cheated fate, our man had to die his noble death after all, and even managed to relay a crucial piece of information to Desmond before he went ("Not Penny’s boat"). He handled himself with aplomb throughout the ordeal with Bonnie (the blonde one) and Greta (the brunette) in the hatch, playing mind games with both them and Mikhail the Indestructible Soviet to help achieve his goal. Cuse and Lindelof certainly did right by him in what appears to be his final episode as a regular.
Locke. Not dead. And still a true believer in the island, which I guess makes sense after Walt(!!) told him he could still move his legs and that he had work to do. Based on the final bearded Jack scenes, Locke’s final line — "You’re not supposed to do this" — seems prophetic.
Ben and the Others. The group is clearly not all with Ben anymore, at least not in lockstep, which helped Sayid, Jin and Bernard take out a few Others at the beach and led to the disabling of the Looking Glass. But knowing now as we do that Naomi wasn’t part of Penny’s expedition, might Ben be have been telling the truth (I’m sure he thinks it is, anyway) when he told Jack that Naomi was one of the "bad guys"?
Side note: Anyone have a clue as to what Ben’s moral compass is? Here’s a guy who has killed, or allowed to be killed, a few dozen people at the Dharma compound and whose people have been responsible for several others, yet he bluffs Jack into thinking he’s ordering the deaths of Sayid, Bernard and Jin. I’m glad they’re all still alive — and how awesome was Hurley driving the van onto the beach? — but I don’t get the guy’s logic. Which, I suppose, may be the point.
Side note No. 2: That was one cold-blooded act Sawyer committed in shooting Tom. Just saying.
The outside world. If Naomi wasn’t with Penny, who was she with? And how, exactly, did Penny end up talking with Charlie in the Looking Glass? Penelope’s family is somehow tied up with the Hanso Foundation and, presumably, Dharma, so it’s possible she could have been broadcasting to a Dharma frequency on a regular basis. Aside from cult deprogrammers, who outside the Dharma/Hanso circle would be looking for the island or Ben or the Others?
There’s more to discuss, surely, but this is already a long post, so I’ll turn it over to you.
Mind blown, ticked off, counting the days until next February? Posit your theories on the Lost season finale.