LOST Finale Thoughts

My wife absolutely loved watching the show LOST for the past six years.  Consequently, I became a regular viewer, though I am probably unqualified to make any real conclusions about the show.  We have been discussing what the point of the whole show was about, and here’s my guess in a nutshell.

There were three themes common to life that LOST picked up on: good and evil, fate and free will, and purpose/meaning in life.  For the most part, the lives of the characters prior to Oceanic 815 was on a path toward evil because of their choices (free will) with little to show for as it relates to a meaningful or purposeful life.  They were lost and did not know it, and as Jacob explained, they were chosen because they were lonely, empty, and in despair.  Though they wanted to get off the island to get back to their lives, their getting “lost” was actually what proved to be their “salvation.”  They were chosen for a purpose.

So the island was where real life took place.  It is where they come face to face with good and evil, where they begin to ask and answer the question of why they existed, and in particular why they were on the island.  And when they had the opportunity to get off the island the first time, they quickly realized that the island was calling them back to their “salvation” and new beginning.  This new beginning was an opportunity for Jack to heal people, for Kate to love, for Claire to embrace motherhood instead of running from it, and so on.  Before they lived in isolation, and now they live in community, helping one another, hurting with one another, and ultimately going through life together.  In short, it was while they were lost that they found themselves–and one another.

About Jacob, the smoke monster, and his mother.  I think this was a type of Adam and Eve at the beginning with the “heart of the island” as the Garden of Eden.  Evil entered in the island because Jacob put his brother in the heart of the island after killing their mother, and as we recall, this is where his brother turned into the smoke monster.  The goal of the smoke monster is to kill others and destroy the island.  However, it cannot kill those whom Jacob has chosen, so what it attempts to do is to deceive and corrupt the minds of Jacob’s chosen ones and hence “lose their salvation” by following it to the island’s destruction.

The scenes of the characters’ lives before the island were to create the tension of what was vs. what is.  For the Christian, it is what is (already) vs. what will be (not yet).  The side-ways scenes were a sort of purgatory–of life back in the real world with the inbreaking (awakening) of their existence on the island.  The final scene was the afterlife that they had hoped for, where those who had died experienced life again.

That’s my $.02 (again from from a casual viewer).  Obviously, this was not a “Christian” show, although there were themes that Christians wrestle with in our worldview.  I think it is better to think of LOST as a show depicting to the life’s ultimate existential questions while appealing to a pluralistic/syncretistic path to finding the answers.  And because they did not leave you with a clear understanding of the show even in its conclusion, I think they took the postmodern position of a “viewer-response” theory where the viewer’s subjective interpretation ultimately becomes the reality of the show.  This is how you grow an incredible fan base, and this is also have you leave people LOST.


Your thoughts?

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4 Comments on “LOST Finale Thoughts”

  1. Timmy,

    For a self-described ‘casual’ fan I think your analysis is spot on. I think the postmodern/viewer-response point is well taken. By leaving many loose ends untied, the creators have made sure that chatter about the show will not just end. The message boards will still be going strong for some time with various posters posting their theories about what happened. Even Jimmy Kimmel has his own theory as to what exactly happened and what the entire show was about. Also, I believe the creators want the audience to try to figure it out themselves, which is why DVD sales will continue as old and new viewers alike will start watching them with the end in mind now.

    For all of the LOST haters, who don’t understand, etc. and are upset, my guess is they have not been watching the show since season 1. Fans that have been with the show since the beginning have long eschewed any false hope that the creators will answer every question. Much like the Bible, it’s purpose is not to answer every question. It’s purpose is to tell a story. And that is what LOST is about.

  2. Dennis Alcover Says:

    Very good analysis. Probably one of the more emotionally satisfying finales I have seen.

    I was also struck by the Christian themes (dare I say Catholic in some ways), for a non-Christian show. Purgatory, Jack’s father (Christian Shepherd, could we have had any better foreshadowing?) telling him essentially that “Now” had no meaning there (Eternity is outside of Time, and encompasses all time), and Ben deciding to stay behind for a while longer (ultimately it is our choice how long we spend in Purgatory before we are clean enough for Heaven).

    Not great theology, but nice to see a nod to these things. This was, after all, entertainment TV, not Bible Study…

  3. Regarding the relationship of Christianity and LOST, I think you both make good points. If we try to spiritualize every aspect of LOST, we are guilty of trying to make LOST fit within the grid of Christian worldview. It simply doesn’t work. There are questions and huge life issues that LOST raises that are poorly answered by their script writers that could be better answered by Scripture, but Scripture was not the script writers’ source. And for Christians to pretend that is was is foolish.

    Trevin Wax brings out some good thoughts on these points. Check out his post:


  4. Renee Teate Says:

    Since I didn’t ever watch the show a single time, but am amazed at the number of blog post (from Christians I admire) I was beginning to think I’d missed something of value. Your perspective seems grounded in reality. Thank you!

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