The End (Lost)

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"The End"
Lost episode
Jack dies.
Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox) in the bamboo forest with Vincent by his side. This scene mirrors the very first scene of the series.
Episode no.Season 6
Episode 17 & 18
Directed byJack Bender
Written byDamon Lindelof
Carlton Cuse
Production code617 & 618
Original air dateMay 23, 2010 (2010-05-23)
Running time104 minutes
Guest actors
Episode chronology
← Previous
"What They Died For"
Next →
"The New Man in Charge"
Lost (season 6)
List of Lost episodes
 
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"The End"
Lost episode
Jack dies.
Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox) in the bamboo forest with Vincent by his side. This scene mirrors the very first scene of the series.
Episode no.Season 6
Episode 17 & 18
Directed byJack Bender
Written byDamon Lindelof
Carlton Cuse
Production code617 & 618
Original air dateMay 23, 2010 (2010-05-23)
Running time104 minutes
Guest actors
Episode chronology
← Previous
"What They Died For"
Next →
"The New Man in Charge"
Lost (season 6)
List of Lost episodes

"The End" is the series finale of the ABC television series Lost, consisting of the 17th and 18th episodes of season 6. It is also the 120th and 121st episodes overall. As the final episode, it was first aired in the eastern United States and eastern Canada,[1] and then aired simultaneously in the western United States, western Canada, and eight other countries.[2]

The finale was written by co-creator/executive producer Damon Lindelof and executive producer Carlton Cuse, and directed by executive producer Jack Bender.[3] Unlike the previous season finales, which were two hours long with advertisements, the series finale was expanded by half an hour; running two and a half hours starting at 9 pm Eastern Daylight Time, with a retrospective of the past six seasons running for two hours, starting at 7 pm.[4][5][6]

"The End" was watched by 13.5 million Americans[7] and received a strongly polarized response from both fans and critics. Reviewers from the Chicago Tribune and IGN called it the best episode of the season and praised its emotion and character. Negative reviews from the Los Angeles Times and The Philadelphia Inquirer criticized the finale for answering so few of the series' questions. Web site Metacritic gave "The End" a score of 74 out of 100, suggesting "mostly positive reviews",[8] while The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph reported mostly negative reviews.

In the episode, the Man in Black (Terry O'Quinn) executes his plan to destroy the island as Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox) tries to stop him once and for all. Meanwhile, the true nature of the flash-sideways[9] is revealed.

Contents

Plot

2007

Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox), Kate Austen (Evangeline Lilly) and Hugo "Hurley" Reyes (Jorge Garcia) head to the heart of the island, while James "Sawyer" Ford (Josh Holloway) goes after Desmond Hume (Henry Ian Cusick), who was thrown into a well. Arriving there, Sawyer is confronted by Ben Linus (Michael Emerson) and the Man in Black (Terry O'Quinn), who reveals of his plan to destroy the island. Sawyer then steals Ben's rifle and reunites with Jack's group. Jack then tells Sawyer that he plans to confront the Man in Black. At the same time, Desmond, having been rescued by Rose Henderson (L. Scott Caldwell) and Bernard Nadler (Sam Anderson), is confronted by the Man in Black. The Man in Black threatens to kill Rose and Bernard if Desmond does not come with him, and he complies, provided the Man in Black leaves the couple unharmed. Meanwhile, Miles Straume (Ken Leung) finds a no longer ageless Richard Alpert (Nestor Carbonell) in the jungle, and they set out by boat to destroy the Ajira plane which would allow the Man in Black to escape. Along the way, they rescue Frank Lapidus (Jeff Fahey), who had survived the destruction of the submarine, and they decide to leave the island by using the plane.

On the way to the heart of the Island, Jack's group encounters the Man in Black's group. Jack tells the Man in Black that he is going to kill him, and together with Desmond, they travel to the heart of the Island. Jack believes that Desmond can kill the Man in Black because he thinks Jacob brought him back not as bait but as a weapon. Desmond tells Jack that destroying the island and killing the Man in Black do not matter because he is going down to the heart of the island and leaving for another place. Jack and the Man in Black lower Desmond down to the heart of the island and he reaches a chamber, leading to a glowing pool with an elongated stone at its center. Immune to the pool's electromagnetic energy, Desmond manages to remove the giant stone stopper in the center of the pool. However, the light goes out and the pool dries up, setting about the destruction of the island which the Man in Black predicted. A result of Desmond's act is an unforeseen side-effect of making the Man in Black mortal again. During a prolonged fight, the Man in Black stabs Jack in the same spot where his appendix was taken out and almost kills him when Kate shoots the Man in Black in the back, allowing Jack to kick him off the cliff to his death. The island continues to crumble and Jack realizes that he has to restore the light of the heart of the Island. He tells Kate to get Claire Littleton (Emilie De Ravin) on the plane and leave the island in case he fails. The two profess their love for each other and Kate leaves with Sawyer while Hurley and Ben follow Jack back to the pool.

Kate and Sawyer travel to Hydra Island via Desmond's boat Elizabeth, to the site of the Ajira Airlines plane where Lapidus, Richard and Miles have been quickly trying to make it air-worthy. Kate convinces Claire she can help her raise Aaron and they head for the plane. After Kate, Sawyer and Claire board the plane, Lapidus successfully gets it off the island. Jack leads Hurley and Ben back to the heart of the Island, where Jack convinces an emotional Hurley to take over as the protector of the island, stating Hurley was always meant to be the leader. Hurley and Ben lower Jack to the dry pool where he rescues a barely conscious Desmond. Jack manages to restore the light by replacing the stone plug, and is enveloped in the light that surrounds him. Hurley, in his role as the new protector of the island, does not know what to do. Ben tells him he should help Desmond get home and suggests there may be a better way of protecting the island than how Jacob did. Hurley asks him for help, and Ben is honored. Jack reawakens outside by a river and walks toward the spot in the bamboo forest where he first awakened on the island, reversely mimicking the opening scene of the series. After Jack collapses to the ground, Vincent approaches him and lies next to him. Jack gazes happily at the sky while watching the Ajira plane fly overhead away from the island. Jack slowly closes his eyes as he dies.

Afterlife

In the afterlife,[9] Desmond gathers many of the islanders at the benefit concert of Daniel Widmore (Jeremy Davies) and DriveShaft. One by one, each protagonist begins to recognize one another based on close contact with a person or object that was important to them throughout their time on the island, receiving flashes of memory. Eventually, most of them remember their past lives and are drawn to the church that was to be the site of Jack's father's funeral. John Locke (Terry O'Quinn) regains the use of his legs after being successfully operated on by Jack. After remembering his time on the island through the flashes of memory, Locke attempts to convince Jack of the truth, but Jack, although also experiencing flashes of memory, resists the revelation. Locke later meets Ben outside the church where Locke forgives him for murdering him. Ben then meets Hurley, who says everyone is inside, motioning him to join them, but Ben elects to stay outside. As Hurley heads back inside, he says to Ben that he was a "real good number two...", to which Ben replies back that Hurley was a "great number one", referencing the time they spent on the island after Jack's death. Kate later encounters Jack, and while her presence causes him to experience more flashes, he continues to resist. She takes him to the church and instructs him to enter though the back door, telling him the others will be waiting for him. In the church, he enters a room where there are symbols not just of Christianity, but also of other faiths such as Hinduism, Judaism, Islam etc. He then encounters his father's coffin. The coffin acts as the final catalyst for Jack's memories and he opens the coffin lid and discovers it to be empty. Christian Shephard (John Terry) then appears behind him. Jack slowly comes to realize that he is dead as well (cf. afterlife). After an emotional embrace, Christian reassures him that the events leading up to now actually happened and the time he spent with the people on the island was "the most important period" of his life. He explains to Jack that time has no meaning in this place and that they "made" the place to "find each other", independent of the time at which they died. Christian explains that place exists so the Oceanic 815 survivors could "let go" and "move on" together. Jack and Christian go out into the church to meet the others. Everyone is able to see, recognize, and remember everyone else and their lives together. After an emotional reunion, Christian opens the front doors, revealing another bright light that slowly envelops everyone inside the church.

Production

Damon Lindelof, producer, reported on his Twitter page that the finale completed shooting in Hawaii on April 24, 2010, exactly six years after filming was completed on the show's pilot.[10] When interviewed about the finale, Carlton Cuse stated that it had a real, definite resolution instead of "'a snow globe, waking up in bed, it's all been a dream, cut to black' kind of ending," referencing the series finales of St. Elsewhere, Newhart, and The Sopranos, respectively.[11]

Only Fox and Terry's scripts explained the nature of the Sideways world; Lindelof and Cuse explained its meaning to the others while filming the church scene, the last time the cast members were together.[12] They have expressed satisfaction regarding the finale; Daniel Dae Kim stated "If you think about how many pieces the writers had to put together in order to make it fall into place, it’s mind-boggling, and they did such a great job... For me it was very satisfying. After I read it, I had to sit for five or 10 minutes, just reflecting and digesting, because it definitely makes an impact."[13] Emerson said:

I have received the finale by degrees. I read the script without the secret scenes, then I read the secret scenes, then I shot the script and each time I’m thinking about 'what does this mean?' When I first read it, the ending wasn’t clear to me – but since then it’s grown more clear and I have to say, grown more satisfying the more I think about it. I expect a mixture of satisfaction and consternation amongst the viewers when it airs. But once they rewatch it, rethink about it and possibly look at the saga again, gradually they will feel like they have just read a good novel—but you have to chew on it for a while.[14]

Carbonell described the finale as being "all about everyone’s resolutions."[15] Cusick said "There are so many walks of life getting together to talk about the show and so many issues to be brought up and that's exactly what the ending will bring up. People will be talking about it for weeks afterwards and that's what the show has always done."[16]

After the finale, a post-finale special of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, titled Jimmy Kimmel Live: Aloha to Lost, aired at 12:05 am, showing three alternate endings, which turned out to be finale spoofs from Survivor, The Sopranos, and Newhart.[17] Lindelof and Cuse have stated that they shot only one ending for the finale. All three were spoofs of other classic finales and were produced by Jimmy Kimmel Live![18] An ABC source reported that the DVD and Blu-ray release of season six will feature twenty minutes of additional scenes, some of which will have answers to questions, cut from the storyline because of running time.[19]

All former series regulars who appear (Jeremy Davies, Maggie Grace, Rebecca Mader, Elizabeth Mitchell, Dominic Monaghan, Ian Somerhalder, Cynthia Watros) are restored to the main cast in this episode. Those who do not return are Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Malcolm David Kelley, Harold Perrineau, Michelle Rodriguez, Kiele Sanchez, and Rodrigo Santoro. Also, guest stars Sam Anderson, L. Scott Caldwell, François Chau, Fionnula Flanagan, John Terry and Sonya Walger are upgraded to the main cast in this episode.

Despite being killed off in the twelfth episode of the season and reprising her role only once more in the thirteenth, cast member Zuleikha Robinson received an on-screen, main cast credit for every episode. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje turned down an offer to return because of salary disagreements.[20] Despite the fact that it was earlier reported by Carlton Cuse that Malcolm David Kelley would appear,[21] he only appeared in archive footage.

Instead of being displayed along with ABC promotional material (which in most cases would consist of a preview of the next Lost episode), the finale's closing credits are shown alongside various shots of the Oceanic 815 plane wreckage. However, this footage was not added by the producers of the show and is not considered a part of the actual episode. ABC independently decided to add the footage as a soft, nostalgic transition between the final scene and upcoming local news broadcast.[22]

Broadcasting

The episode was initially broadcast on ABC in the eastern United States[1] and CTV in eastern Canada, then simultaneously[2] in the western United States, Western Canada, Fox in Italy and Portugal, Fox and Cuatro in Spain, DiziMax in Turkey and Sky1 in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, HOT 3 in Israel at 9 pm Pacific Time on May 23, 2010.[23][24][25] Because of the time difference, its initial Spain simulcast airing was at 6 am (5 am in the UK) BST. In Ireland, RTÉ Two decided to air it on Monday, May 24 at 9 pm rather than its usual Thursday night slot in the interest of fans who did not want the ending to be spoiled.[26] ABC charged up to $900,000 USD for a 30-second commercial during the May 23 U.S. broadcast.[27]

Ratings and viewership

In its original American broadcast, "The End" was viewed by 13.5 million households with a 5.8 rating/15% share in the 18–49 demographic, coming first in every time slot and boosting ABC to the highest rated network on Sunday. The best rated half-hour (the last one) was viewed by 15.31 million viewers and earned a 6.4 rating/19% share in the 18–49 demographic.[7] At least 20.5 million viewers watched at least six minutes of the episode according to ABC.[28] After its first broadcast, the series finale became the 55th highest viewed series finale in the United States. Entertainment Weekly's Michael Ausiello called the ratings "Solid, not spectacular". According to Ausiello, even though it was the show's highest rated episode in two years, it was still "far from a record-breaking performance".[29]

In the UK, 584,000 viewers tuned in to see the episode on Sky 1 during a 5 am broadcast. A later broadcast the following night was viewed by approximately 2.5 million.[30] In Canada, viewers averaged over two million viewers with the 7 p.m. special and the two-hour finale.[31]

Critical reception

"The End" received a strongly polarized reaction from both fans and TV critics. Response to the episode was positive and negative in equal measures, both in the United States and internationally.

Positive

According to the web site Metacritic, "The End" received "generally favorable reviews" with a Metascore – a weighted average based on the impressions of 31 critical reviews – of 74 out of 100.[8] IGN reviewer Chris Carbot gave the finale a 10/10, tying it with the initial review of "Pilot, Part 1", "Through the Looking Glass", "The Constant" and "There's No Place Like Home, Parts 2 & 3" as the best reviewed episode of Lost. He described it as "one of the most enthralling, entertaining and satisfying conclusions I could have hoped for." Carbot also noted that the discussions about the episode may never end, saying "Lost may be gone, but it will hardly be forgotten."[32] Eric Deggans of the St. Petersburg Times also gave the finale a perfect score, stating "Sunday’s show was an emotional, funny, expertly measured reminder of what Lost has really centered on since its first moments on the prime time TV landscape: faith, hope, romance and the power of redemption through belief in the best of what moves mankind."[33] Robert Bianco of USA Today rated the episode perfect as well, deeming the finale "can stand with the best any series has produced".[34] Hal Boedeker of Orlando Sentinel cited the finale being "a stunner."[35]

Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune highly praised the finale, stating: "The first two hours were exciting and emotionally engaging, especially when the island castaways in the Sideways world began remembering their 'real' lives. ... But the last half hour or so took the finale to another level. ... The emotional part of the finale worked so well that I don’t care much about the analytical/structural stuff." However, she criticized the supernatural aspects of the episode, calling it "wobbly at best" and "vaguely unsatisfying".[36] James Poniewozik of Time also praised "The End", calling it "full of heart and commitment."[37] Zap2it's Ryan McGee also went on to praise the finale, calling it "a masterpiece."[38] Jason Hughes of TV Squad stated that "as finales go, 'The End' will definitely go down as one of the more satisfying ones".[39] Todd VanDerWerff of the Los Angeles Times felt that the episode "provides character payoffs we’ve been waiting for. ... The important thing ... is not answers. It’s resolution. And 'Lost' provided that in spades."[40] Drew McWeeny of HitFix also lauded the episode, stating "no matter what I think of certain ideas or elements of not just this season but every season, I think "Lost" will stand as one of the biggest, boldest, strangest shows for a network to ever nurture and complete. The show existed on its own crazy terms for six years, and they've been six of the best years of TV I've ever enjoyed."[41]

Entertainment Weekly writer Jeff "Doc" Jenson wrote an extensive two-part review of "The End".[42] In it, he praised the final moments of the show, saying the encounter between Jack and Christian Shephard "spoke to and for any parent and child, young or old, who hopes for an afterlife where they can see their family again, especially their parents, and especially if they parted company with too much unsaid, too much unresolved. I know that some people found the Jack/Christian moment to be mawkish and sentimental. Not me. I thought—and felt—that the moment was painfully honest. It was direct and knowing about the very real and very frightening prospect of eternal separation and loss. I felt and could relate to the pain and the anguish and the yearning of both the father and the son."[42] Richard Roeper also gave the episode a highly favorable review with an A+ rating, saying " great finale to one of the best TV shows of all time.”[43]

Negative

Not all critics were satisfied with the episode: British newspapers The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph both reported that "The End" received negative reviews and disappointed its viewers.[44][45] Alan Sepinwall of Star-Ledger was less enthusiastic of the finale, stating "I’m still wrestling with my feelings about 'The End'... I thought most of it worked like gangbusters. ... But as someone who did spend at least part of the last six years dwelling on the questions that were unanswered – be they little things like the outrigger shootout or why The Others left Dharma in charge of the Swan station after the purge, or bigger ones like Walt – I can’t say I found 'The End' wholly satisfying, either as closure for this season or the series. ... There are narrative dead ends in every season of 'Lost,' but it felt like season six had more than usual."[46] Mike Hale of The New York Times gave "The End" a mixed review, as the episode showed that the series was "shaky on the big picture – on organizing the welter of mythic-religious-philosophical material it insisted on incorporating into its plot – but highly skilled at the small one, the moment to moment business of telling an exciting story. Rendered insignificant ... were the particulars of what they had done on the island."[47] Matthew Gilbert of the Boston Globe gave the episode a mixed review as well, citing "The mixed episode offered an abundance of emotional resolution and vague metaphor, some of which was compelling (Sawyer and Juliet’s reunion, Jack and Desmond’s farewell) and some of which was quite hokey (the cork?! the light? Locke becoming human again?)."[48]

"Lost ended tonight, and with it the hopes and dreams of millions of people who thought it might finally get good again. SPOILER ALERT: It didn't. What did we learn? Nothing. We learned nothing from two-and-a-half hours of slow-motion bullshittery backed with a syrupy soundtrack."

—Max Reid of Gawker[49]

David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun gave the episode a highly negative review, writing "If this is supposed to be such a smart and wise show, unlike anything else on network TV (blah, blah, blah), why such a wimpy, phony, quasi-religious, white-light, huggy-bear ending. ... Once Jack stepped into the church it looked like he was walking into a Hollywood wrap party without food or music – just a bunch of actors grinning idiotically for 10 minutes and hugging one another."[50] Max Read of Gawker was also particularly scathing, calling the finale "incredibly dumb" and remarking that "it ended in the worst way possible".[49] Dwayne Hoover, writing for Cracked.com, similarly called the episode "disrespectful to intelligence".[51] Mary McNamara of the Los Angeles Times gave the episode 1½ stars out of 5, saying that many fans would wish "for a time slip that would give them those 2½ hours and possibly six seasons back".[52] M.L. House of TV Fanatic felt "bored" and "especially disappointed" by the finale, and that the show's resolution was "overarching".[53] Peter Mucha of The Philadelphia Inquirer also spoke negatively of the finale, calling the series "one of TV's longest, lamest cons".[54] Laura Miller of Salon.com suggested that the finale episode was a failure because of its fanbase, calling the series "the quintessential example of a pop masterpiece ruined by its own fans".[55]

International reaction

The BBC's Entertainment reporter Kev Geoghegan said: "Honestly, the show ended the only way it could have possibly ended. It was emotionally satisfying while some of the questions were answered and yet others will remain a mystery. All in all, the show was wrapped up rather nicely with a positive affirming kind of message."[56] Geoghegan, however, criticized the lack of redemption for the Man In Black, calling him "a man who saw the limitations of his life on island and saw his destiny elsewhere" and saying that "killing him resulted in a loss of balance on the island".[56]

Shane Hegarty in The Irish Times said the finale episode was "about resolution rather than revelation" but admitted that the final scene in the alternative timeline was "somewhat of a letdown", while comparing it to the recent similar ending of Ashes to Ashes and contrasting it with the last ever episode of The Sopranos – "That show [The Sopranos] was not about mystery, but its final scene was so inscrutable that fans are still squinting in an effort to figure it out. Lost's finale, though, was not too obtuse."[57]

Michael Deacon in The Daily Telegraph expressed his relief that the show "didn't culminate in the revelation that the plot had all just been a terrible dream" and said he was "beatifically surprised" at the "great" ending.[58] The same newspaper reported that reviewers from the United States (apart from the reviewer with the Chicago Tribune) were "left cold" and "disappointed" by the result.[45]

Some reviewers ended puzzled about the meaning of Lost. Tim Teeman in The Times referred to "a global scratching of heads" in his review but concluded "The questions are ceaseless: it may be healthier, as one online fan put it, 'to just accept it and move on'".[59] Steve Busfield and Richard Vine offered a slightly more prosaic explanation for the remaining mysteries when they wrote in The Guardian "if you were after answers about the other mysteries of Lost, you may not have found them ... The aptly named Lost will continue to baffle, infuriate and delight fans for an eternity. Or at least until the box set."[44] TV critic Charlie Brooker, also writing for The Guardian, remarked that the episode's plot "made less sense than a milk hammock" and that its final church scene "might as well have been a pretentious building society advert".[60] British comedian Danny Baker called the end of Lost "an outrage".[61]

Awards

The episode was nominated in 8 categories for 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards, the most "Emmy" nominations for a Lost episode. For the "Creative Arts Emmy Awards", "The End" won for "Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series", while other nominations included "Outstanding Sound Editing for a Series", "Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series", "Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Original Dramatic Score)". The episode was nominated for "Primetime Emmy Awards" in the categories of Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series and Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series.[62]

In 2011, the finale was ranked No. 6 on the TV Guide Network special, TV's Most Unforgettable Finales.[63]

References

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