My favorite show is LOST.
I’ve probably watched it all the way through at least six times.
I’ve introduced a lot of people to the show. There’s an interesting trend that happens.
The first season is addictive from the start. Things really pick up in seasons two. The start of season three is mind blowing. And then…
By the middle of season three, after heavy binging of two full seasons of a one-hour show, pretty much everyone I know slowed or stopped watching.
It makes sense.
If you don’t know the backstory, LOST was written and planned out initially through the start of the third season. There was no expectation that it would ever become as big as it did.
So, when they got to season three, and had a smash hit running, the showrunners became stuck in a loop of writing and prolonging a highly watched show with no plan in place.
In a way, LOST reminds me of what went wrong with Neal Huntington’s rebuild. There was a great plan to get the Pirates to the national stage. Once they got there, the Pirates didn’t really have a solid plan going forward. Their hope was just to maintain that high for as long as possible. Perhaps I’ll write another article on this subject.
The show started to struggle, relying too heavily on mysteries of the island to get people talking and guessing about the show. Eventually, the show runners negotiated an end to the show — six seasons. That allowed them to plan out the rest of the story and the end of the show, much in the same way that the build up to the height of the show was planned.
Again, I could divert to the parallels between planning a hit show and planning a contending baseball team. Another time.
For now, I feel like it’s silly to warn about spoilers for a show so old, but I’ll add that disclaimer here. I’m going to be discussing the final season, and the end of the show going forward.
I’m discussing this season because the popular thing to say is “I don’t understand the ending of LOST” and I’ve never understood how people didn’t get the end.
Granted, I didn’t watch the show live, but on a one-year delay after it finished airing. I also binged it, so I didn’t spend years guessing and marrying myself to theories that didn’t prove to be correct.
No, they weren’t dead the entire time.
In fact, that confusion largely came from the “after credits” scene at the end of the finale, which showed an empty beach and the wreckage from season one. This was added by the network, and wasn’t really meant to be in the show.
I’m going to be focusing on Desmond Hume for the finale. He’s my favorite character from the massive ensemble show, and it’s probably not a surprise to anyone who follows my writing about fictional universes that my favorite character is a time traveler.
Desmond’s form of time travel is a pretty brutal one. It’s not willing. His mind transmits through time, sending his consciousness to a future or past self. He can’t really control it, as it’s caused from an electromagnetic blast and prolonged exposure from being in the hatch on the island.
Desmond’s story is pretty tragic. He got fired as a monk. He found the love of his life, Penny. He was deemed unworthy of his love by her super rich father. He set off to win a sailing race around the world, only to get shipwrecked on the island where he was stuck inside a hatch, pushing a button every 108 minutes to prevent the world from exploding.
Eventually, he imploded the hatch, became a time traveler who kept trying to save Charlie, before eventually escaping the island and reuniting with Penny. They had a child, who they named after Charlie, but before he could live his happily ever after life, he was kidnapped and brought back to the island, put through another electromagnetic wave, and that’s where the final season comes in.
What made LOST so special were the flashbacks. Each episode had a flashback to tell the backstory of a specific character on the island, typically reflecting what was happening to them on the island. In later seasons, they did a flash forward, looking at life off of the island for some of the characters after they first arrived.
Season six was different. It was presented as an example of life if the island was never around to crash Oceanic Flight 815. What it actually was, was a “flash sideways” to the afterlife.
In this afterlife, Desmond becomes the first to be aware that he’s dead, thanks to the help of Charlie, who had realized that they were all living in a universe meant to resemble real life and keep them busy until they found their people and moved on.
From that point, Desmond’s goal in the afterlife universe was to free all of the people from the island in the afterlife. Concurrently, his time back on the island for the last half of the final season was spent telling the same people on the island that none of that life mattered. He had already seen the afterlife, and knew they’d all be fine and together again, no matter what they did in this life.
In real life — which was the time on the island — Desmond served as a guide, but also the only person who could stop the heart of the island due to his resistance to radiation. He spent this time assuring his friends that they’d be fine in the afterlife.
In the afterlife — which were all of the season six flash-sideways scenes — Desmond served as a guide again, this time making all of the Flight 815 passengers aware that they had died, so they could all move on.
We never saw what awaited them when they all moved on in the afterlife. We’re not meant to know what happened to them after that point.
The entire theme of LOST, from start to finish, was about the people. It was about how people interact with each other, and how different people can change other people’s lives in different ways. It’s about dealing with loss, living with love, and wandering through life trying to find your people.
In the end of the show, Jack Shephard has a conversation in the afterlife with his father, which reveals what was really happening the whole time.
Jack Shephard : Are you real?
Christian Shephard : I sure hope so. Yeah, I’m real. You’re real. Everything that’s happened to you is real. All those people in the church, they’re all real too.
Jack Shephard : No. They’re all… They’re all dead. I’m dead. You’re dead.
Christian Shephard : Everyone dies sometime, kiddo. Some of them before you, some… long after you.
Jack Shephard : But why are they all here now?
Christian Shephard : Well, there is no “now”, here.
Jack Shephard : Where are we, Dad?
Christian Shephard : This is a 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 on that island. That’s why all of you are here. Nobody does it alone, Jack. You needed all of them, and they needed you.
Jack Shephard : For what?
Christian Shephard : To remember. And to… let go.
Nobody does it alone. We all eventually find our people. We all toil through our own island in life, filled with danger and strife, but also bringing us closer together to people who we help get through life and who help us get through life. We don’t know what will happen in the afterlife, although most popular religions have a believe that everyone will be reunited. In LOST, that takes place as you reunite with the most important people in your life — who aren’t necessarily the first people in your life, or the last people in your life, but the people who were there during the most important part of your life. And that very well could encompass the first part or the last part of your life.
In real life on the show, Jack died on the island. Desmond escaped and presumably reunited with Penny and his son to live out the rest of their lives. Then, in the afterlife, they were all together concurrently, with no regard to the order or time in which each character died.
There were mysteries all throughout the show — some resolved and some unresolved. But there was no mystery about the ending.
LOST was a show about people and relationships. In The End, that was the only thing that mattered — whether in real life or the afterlife.
THIS WEEK ON PIRATES PROSPECTS
Song of the Day
The Black Pumas have been one of my favorite new bands over the last few years. Their self-titled debut album was released in 2019, and sounds like it has been plucked out of history from a different time, while somehow also sounding completely unique. The song above, “Colors”, is off that album, which is filled with soul. Lead singer Eric Burton’s voice is clear, with effortless dynamics, leading to a cool, relaxing tone that overlays Adrian Quesada’s signature guitar riffs. I personally can’t wait until they release another album, though I’m not quite finished playing this first one to death. This debut album will still be a unique sounding classic decades from now.
This Week on First Pitch
TUESDAY: This Month on Pirates Prospects
WEDNESDAY: Black History Month
FRIDAY: Baseball Memories
SATURDAY: Killer Mike