I highly recommend it, from beginning to end.
This post will have two sections. The first won't spoil anything and is just about my experience with the show; the second is about the finale, after the clearly marked “Spoilers” heading.
I think I started watching LOST because Jeeves was saying it was awesome, and I respect his good taste in entertainment. I downloaded season 1 and watched it quickly, then picked up during season 2 broadcast and have been watching it ever since. The plot and the mystery certainly kept the show interesting, but I found the characters very accessible too. It was easy to get attached to the characters and even relate to parts of most of them. If I had to choose one word to describe the show, it would be “redemption”, as this theme was woven through everything.
I enjoyed introducing the show to people and having viewing parties each week with friends. We even watched the season 3 finale in my hospital room in 2007 when I was recovering from the surgery putting in my pacemaker. :) I will really miss the show, but I'm sure the discussions about it will keep going for a while. Not to mention, we can start up the LOST book club, reading through all the different books mentioned in the show. The producers and writers included these books for their influence / correlation to themes in the show.
S P O I L E R S B E L O W
Really, stop reading now if you don't want the series finale to be spoiled.
. . .
I didn't really like the ending at first. I don't think anyone who was with us did.
My first thought was “But Darlton said specifically that this wasn't purgatory.” followed by “Well, I guess they said the island wasn't purgatory, which technically is correct with what they've shown us, but seems kinda cheap.”
The more I think about it and read comments / theories, the more I'm coming around to it. I plan to re-watch it soon, too. Maybe it's just because I want to like it and kind of feel defensive about it, but hopefully there's a bit more to it. I think there is. :) There's some pretty sharp “WTF, I hate you LOST! Waste of time!” reactions out there, which I don't really fall into.
I think a fair number of viewers took the ending to mean that the entire series has been “purgatory” - that everyone died in the 815 crash and everything since that time has been “purgatory”. I think this is incorrect, though. I believe the island is real, those people did survive the crash, went through everything, some left, then came back – yes, time-travelled – and finally Jack died in the jungle while the Ajira plane took off successfully from Hydra island.
Then we have the so-called “flash sideways” that started at the beginning of season 6. I don't think “flash sideways” is a very good term, though Darlton used it officially. It really wasn't a “time” in a timeline, it was the so-called “purgatory”. Or as Christian Shepherd tells Jack at the end, it's a place that all of the LOSTies “created” to meet each other, remember, and ultimately “move on”. If we want to place things on a timeline, imagine the island and the events we've been watching are at the beginning, then Jack dies and the Ajira plane flies away, then there's an undetermined period of time when they live on and Hurlinus (Hurley + Linus, get it?) protects the island, and finally at some point everyone dies, because that's how things go. After everyone's dead, they meet up in this “flash sideways”, but for whatever reason it's set up in such a way that they have to remember their lives, remember each other, connect before they “move on”.
It seems like a disconnect, and I think that's part of the reason I didn't care for it at first. Maybe there is more of a connection and I'm missing it. I don't necessarily think the island was something that the LOSTies had to experience in order to reach the afterlife – though it certainly brought redemption, love, and meaning to lives that were lacking all these things.
I'm ok with some things left unexplained. There are just some supernatural things: Walt's psychic abilities, the protector of the island living super-long lives and passing that torch to others, shirtless Sawyer, etc. I don't think when Jacob brought them there his idea was that they would have to go through all the hell to get to the point one of them could become protector of the island, it just happened that way. I think I was hoping for more of a connection between everything that happened on the island and the end. Instead the end is like fast-forward to when everyone is dead, then they meet up one last time to hug. In itself, I'm ok with that idea, and Christian Shepherd says some good things at the end, but it feels like it could be applicable to any story where a group of people become close. I'm not sure I'm portraying my thoughts on the “disconnect” part well, so I'll stop trying for now. The re-watch might help.
Some random thoughts / questions:
- In “Happily Ever After”, Desmond goes into the “flash sideways” from the main timeline when he's put in the giant microwave (“Hot Pockets”, brotha?). Obviously he's special in various ways, but it's interesting that he's the only one in the main timeline who saw the “flash sideways”. There's probably more to this that I'm just not getting.
- What really happened when Juliet hit the bomb? It just didn't go off and instead they time-travelled one last time to the proper time (2007)?
- An interesting user blog on LOSTpedia about the flash sideways, Buddhism, Narnia
- The church they were in is the same one that the Lamp Post station is under.
- LOSTpedia fan theory pages are fun to read
- I'm sure there's more I'm forgetting to type up, but I am le tired.
Update: I like how this post explains it, and it does seem to connect more this way:
But it wasn't only about helping Jack. The Losties all gathered in the church to cross over to the Light because Jack saved that very Light when he rescued the Island. As we were told this season, if the Light “goes out here, it goes out everywhere” and “everyone you love would simply cease to be.” If the Light had gone out, the Losties could never have reconnected with their loved ones again. But because Jack saved it, they all get to live blissfully ever after. The (brilliant) end.