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'Lost' Finale: Questions, Always Questions

Posted by Matthew Gilbert  May 29, 2008 11:41 PM

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They gaveth, but mostly they tooketh away. The writers of tonight's fourth-season finale of “Lost” delivered enough information to keep us giddy with conjecture until next year, when the series returns for its penultimate round. But, of course, they also handed us a bunch of new little questions about, oh, life, death, ghosts, time, space, Walt, Christian Shephard, Claire, and, most of all, John Locke.

The two-hour episode culminated in a fairly awesome reveal (spoiler alert -- continue after the break)...

...when we learned the identity of “Jeremy Bentham,“ the supposed suicide in the casket. The dead man was Locke, looking eerily embalmed, his head as smooth and round and baby-like as ever. Locke had come back and seen Jack, Kate, and Walt. “He told me that after I left the island, some very bad things happened,” Jack said to Ben, standing over Locke at the funeral home. What bad things happened after the Oceanic 6 and Desmond left, after the island was moved and disappeared like a stone falling into the ocean, after Locke took his place as the new leader of Richard Alpert’s Others?

Sorry folks. See you next year.

The episode was dynamic and busy enough as it relied heavily on action- adventure, including the explosion of the bomb on the freighter and a major smackdown with loud punch audio between Martin Keamy -- the head Rambo dude -- and Sayid. There was an awful lot of running around the island, and an awful lot of flying above the island in the helicopter. Sawyer made his selfless leap to the ocean to keep the helicopter light enough to fly, planting a classic action-hero kiss on Kate‘s mouth before jumping out. We also were treated to a majestic and satisfying reunion between Penny and Desmond, like the climax of an old big-screen romance.

But the finale wasn’t as mind-bending as last season’s farewell, during which we received the show’s first flash-forward. It wasn’t a game-changer, so much as a new shovel load of clues. We still didn’t learn much about the magical properties of the island, or Widmore’s motivation. The overall message was something we already knew -- that while Jack succeeded in getting the Oceanic 6 off the island, he had also come to realize that he shouldn’t have, that Locke, the man of faith, was right all along. The direction for next season seems fairly clear: Jack needs to find and return to the island, to assuage his guilt, and he must return with all of the Oceanic 6 as well as Locke’s body.

Why does he have to bring everyone, as Ben says? Surely it has something to do with a time-travel rule about not changing the future, or not changing the past.

That Jack will most likely bring Locke’s body back to the island raises interesting questions about the original flight 815. Jack’s father’s body was on that plane -- was he being returned to the island in the same way Locke must be returned? Is some kind of history repeating itself now, as Jack tries to get back to the island with Locke‘s body? Is Charlotte -- with her ever piercing, ever withholding eyes -- like Jack, desperate to be back on the island?

Questions, always questions. We took one step forward, for sure, but we also took two steps back. And that’s exactly how we like it.

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36 comments so far...
  1. The finale was a mind explosion. It will mess me up for weeks as I re-watch it 20 times to find that missing clue...some link I didn't see before. It was so good. A roller coaster of emotions, sadness, guilt, fear, wonder, amazement, anger. You name it, it took me there. Well done, well done. Oh and best dialogue of the finale? this right here...

    Locke: You just killed everyone on that boat!
    Ben: So.

    Posted by The Aitch May 30, 08 01:16 AM
  1. what about sawyer being basically alone on the island with Jack's boo? all four individuals believe that their honey is dead (jumped into the ocean, disappeared with the "moved" island, exploded on the boat while refueling). I see a relationship and possibly even children being created between the two while Jack and Kate are back in the States...ooh the drama. Plus now Jack knows that Aaron is his nephew, that forms a more important bond between him and the child than between Kate and Aaron, something that could either separate them further or bring them together. Oh and why didn't John and Ben put "king Rambo dude" in the time machine or remove his heart rate monitor and put it on themselves in order to avoid setting off the bomb? Send him back in time, kill his ass, then put on the monitor...the bomb can't catch up! Plus if Locke is dead in the States, does that mean that he moved the island too? in the next season? Anyone think Sun's hubby will survive the boat bomb??

    Posted by lhooq May 30, 08 01:27 AM
  1. I totally agree with the writer's assessment. The episode was everything I had hoped it would be. But what's up with Sun going up to Widmore? Has she turned rogue, so angered over the (apparent) death of her husband? Wow.

    Posted by Daniel in FL May 30, 08 01:56 AM
  1. But it is unfair to put a baby in the middle of all this. Ben said, with emphasis, "everyone" has to return. There's an infant involved here, too.

    Unless of course "Lost" is still holding to the idea that "a child shall lead them," and that Aaron is that prophesied child of myth and legend (Arthur; Moses, etc.). And remember that sometimes, perfect heroes are ... not. in the French romances, Arthur was replaced by Lancelot, who was replaced by Sir Galahad. Moses was not allowed to enter the Promised Land. They toiled so that their descendents may succeed.

    BTW, interesting that veteran torturer Sayid has met his match - in Keamey.

    Posted by Deborah SG May 30, 08 05:49 AM

    Posted by ANDREW May 30, 08 06:08 AM
  1. OK, this may be crazy, but I just had a thought. I just had a lighbulb moment that they have to all go back so that they can reverse time and that ultimately the series will end with them getting back on the island and because they have done that, Jack and Locke are then able to do whatever the action will be to turn back time to before the crash and they will prevent the crash and thus they will never have all met. The decision will be will it have been better to have met and gone through this or to prevent it and continue on with their previous miserable lives. Is it better to have loved and lost, or to never have done so at all. Please share your thoughts.

    Posted by David g May 30, 08 07:43 AM
  1. Good recap of a great episode, Matt. I especially liked the correlation of the deceased Locke needing to go back to the island as the deceased Christian did.

    I'm trying to figure out what Ben's relationship with the island is in the flash-forwards. He seems to have contacts there - earlier this season he reminded future Sayid that he (Ben) is protecting those left behind. And he supposedly can't go back to the island, now that he has moved it. But then why did he tell future Jack that he has an idea of how to get to the island? Also, his intention of bringing everyone back to the island (presumably including Aaron) seems to contradict what Claire said (warning Kate not to bring Aaoron to the island), and what Christian had said in "Cabin Fever", that Aaron is where he's supposed to be (i.e., on his way to getting off the island). Being that Clarie and Christian are apparently in cahoots with Jacob/the Island, does that mean that Ben is now an enemy of Jacob/the Island? Perhaps in this regard, Ben's story parallels Widmore's - perhaps at one time Widmore was a leader on the island, but somehow he had a falling out with Jacob/the island and/or had to move the island, and now he cannot go back there? "Questions" indeed!

    (BTW, Matt - is the title of this blog post intended as a shout-out to The Wire, and the Greek's line "Business, always business"?)

    Posted by Toeknee May 30, 08 08:03 AM
  1. I agree with Matthew that this year's finale was not as impactful as last years - as the flash forward (Hoffs Drawler) is old news to us Losties - but it was still a great finale. I thought for sure it was going to be Ben in the coffin, until he showed up and scared the bejesus out of me - he is so creepy, what a great actor. Also, last year's with Charlie being the hero and such toughy was great, I miss him. With that being said, what GREAT television. While I have a ton of questions, my head is spinning and I am more confused than ever, I kept remarking that never have I been so intrigued by a television show, thinking about it off hours, reading blogs, joining chats. Great to see and so much fun. Just really great television - that so many have tried to imitate - and I am glad that I am a part of it unlike my friends who would not hop on board. I am in it for the ride. Okay, now, some questions/comments:

    What were the horrible things that happened on the island after the O6 left? Why couldn't they have just lived on the beach and had the happy existence that they had before - especially with Locke leading the Others?

    Loved that they crossed last year's finale with this year's finale.

    What is up with Miles - why is he staying and how does he know that Charolotte (could care less about her) is a Dharma baby. Can there be a Dharma baby?

    Sayid kicks butt.

    No one talked about the favor that Sawyer asked Kate. Ahhhh, what is the favor? We rewound and rewound but could not hear or read the lips.

    I sure hope that Jin is not dead - love him. Could care less about Michael "my boy."

    I was surprised to see Juliet have such a low profile, milk toast role the past few weeks. She usually has pretty big cahoonies.

    Random that Claire show up in the dream but I am suspecting that Kate says sorry to Aaron because she knows she has to go back, with him.

    I could go on and on. Until next January, right ? UGH.

    Posted by Sayid Rocks May 30, 08 08:25 AM
  1. My guess is that, once again, Ben is exploiting everybody else for his own gains. First he is using Sayid to kill off Widmore's people, and then (next season, I assume) he will be using the Oceanic Six to get him back to the island. After moving the island, Ben mentioned that the person who moved it could never return to the island. But if the island needs Locke and the Oceanic Six (plus anybody else like Desmond, Jin, Walt, etc.) to return then Ben can hitch a ride with them and return.

    But for Ben to exploit anybody he has to have something they want. Thankfully for Ben most of the Oceanic Six left something/someone behind on the island that would be worth returning for. Kate has Sawyer, Jack and Hurley have their sanity and Sun (maybe) has Jin. The only two left are Sayid, who doesn't have anything to live for, and Aaron, who is too young to have a say in what happens. So you can see how Ben will manipulate each of the people needed to return to the island. If Desmond, Walt and Frank are needed to return I guess it could be more difficult, although Walt could be looking for Michael and Desmond might lose Penny (again).

    All I know is I cannot wait for Season 5 to start up!

    Posted by Tom May 30, 08 08:53 AM
  1. To Sayid Rocks, re: the favor Sawyer asked Kate:

    I assumed it had something to do with Cassidy and Clementine (his daughter) - the only apparent remaining connection Sawyer has to the real world.

    Posted by Toeknee May 30, 08 09:07 AM
  1. To David g:

    Interesting theory. My guess is that the time travelling aspects of the show do not allow the course of events to be significantly altered. Remember all the talk about "course-correction"? Also, I believe that D&C have said something about wanting to avoid contradicions with their time-travelling theory - for example, if you go back in time and kill your father when was a child, then how could you ever have been born? So, in the world of Lost, I don't think it's possible that someone could go back and prevent the crash of OA815.

    Posted by Toeknee May 30, 08 09:16 AM
  1. David G --
    I'm fascinated by your theory. But I agree with Toe-knee. That kind of undoing of fate doesn't seem to be on the table with "Lost."

    Posted by Matthew May 30, 08 09:31 AM
  1. Will this be a loose string the writers ignore, or something to play out: What happens to Faraday and the boat with nobodies who are floating in the ocean between a ship that sank and an island that moved?

    Posted by Kevin May 30, 08 09:35 AM
  1. Lapoids was supposed to be the captain of the flight. What connections does he have to the island? The movie Donnie Darko has a time travel theory that can apply to the show. Very complex and interesting. I hope Locke stays dead and he hasn't become manipulative like Ben. Whitmore could have been one of the contributors to the Darma group. It would explain his knowledge of the island and why he can't get back. Do you think its odd that Jacks father seams to want jack back on the island but Claire does not want Aaron. So many ghosts. Mr.. eco?. Could Locke become a ghost in seasons to come? Very good ending can't wait for the fall!

    Posted by jonathan May 30, 08 09:44 AM
  1. "jeremy bentham"' the philosopher...his real body is preserved and on display at oxford. i bet that's some clue as to the weird state of John's dead body

    Posted by mister ecko May 30, 08 09:45 AM
  1. The boat was beyond the reef. A natural Barrier for the island. They should make it back to the beach.

    Posted by Jonathan May 30, 08 09:59 AM
  1. Am I the only one who remembers the flash forward when Sun gives birth? We also see Jin frantically trying to buy a panda bear that turns out to be for someone else. So was that a flash forward or back?
    Why is it that Hugo seems to be the one to see those that have died (Ghosts?)?
    Were Miles and Charlotte on the island previously as part of the Dharma Project?
    Did Michael make it out alive when Jacks father told him "he could leave now"?
    Are Michael, Walt, Desmond, Jin (if he's alive) and Frank part of those who need to go back?
    Is Sun trying to make a deal with Widmore to kill Ben or to find the island so she can find Jin?
    What does Octagon Recruiting have to do with everything?
    Too many questions, once again, not enough answers. Love the show, but just once I wish they'd give us a few more answers than questions. Can we start a countdown clock til the next episode

    Posted by T.O. May 30, 08 10:19 AM
  1. Wasn't there an episode ("Ji Yeon" according to with a flash forward of Sun giving birth in one hospital while Jin was running around trying to buy a giant panda bear stuffed animal (which he lost) and then ends up in another hospital at another birth? Wouldn't that assume he survived the bomb? Or is Sun having a flash forward while we are having a Jin flashback?

    About having a significant other still on the island--that goes with "the constant" theory (i.e. Desmond had Penny). And my personal opinion is that Widmore and Paik are Dharma backers while Ben is rogue, fighting against anyone who opposes him. But can anyone remember who turned Ben against Dharma and convinced him to kill all those people including his dad? Was it Richard? Even if it isn't, Richard is becoming a more prominent character...

    Posted by capecodbrat May 30, 08 10:45 AM
  1. Ben was supposed to end up someplace cold, but a flashforward shows he ends up in the desert so the time/space travel is unpredictable.

    How much does Penny know about the island? Is she working against her father? Or did she just want to find Desmond. Do you think Richard does not age, or is he just popping in-and-out of space and time? Ben asked him - "you remember birthdays, don't you Richard?" and Richard laughs so it seem like he does not age so he's had many, many birthdays. I think Richard must have been born on the island. Will Aaron and Sun's baby has special connections having been born and conceived on the island? Does Jacob possess bodies, is that why Christien is representing Jacob? And is Claire dead? Also, Walt will be murdered - at least according to the episode where Miles visits the grandmother and charges more because she didn't tell him her grandson had benn murdered. Maybe Walt tries to go back as well.

    Posted by TBNR May 30, 08 10:47 AM
  1. In response to T.O.'s question about Hurley being the only one to see ghosts, he isn't, but he does see more than anyone else. But then again, he sees most things that the rest don't, which was exploited by Locke and Ben when looking for Jacob's cabin. From the beginning, theories abounded that the whole situation was a figment of Hurley's imagination, starting with the reoccurring numbers that only seems to plague him. Then there are the "ghosts" and then there are the cabin and the freighter which no one can see until he does. And he is the one to point out the obvious--the island is gone.

    Posted by capecodbrat May 30, 08 10:53 AM
  1. Jonathan - Faraday and the others were in the Zodiac when the island disappeared so I think they are now stranded in the ocean, similar to how the helicopter couldn't land and ran out of gas.

    T.O. - the episode where Sun gave birth was clear that Jin's story was a flashBACK because he mentioned that he had just gotten married. Also, Michael being able to "leave" seemed clear it was that he could now die - the island wouldn't let him die until his mission was accomplished and he had been trying to kill himself prior to being recruited by Ben.

    Posted by Lisa May 30, 08 10:54 AM
  1. Lisa- The zodiac was heading for the boat. Faraday said that the boat was going to get as close as the reef would let them. Also the zodiac had motor. They where on corresponding courses one coming and one going so they should of meet in the middle. With the plane going down though things got really messed up.

    Posted by Jonathan May 30, 08 11:25 AM
  1. Final was terrific. LOST has totally redeemed itself and is by far the best series on TV. Hope the writing continues at this level. Love the "Easter Eggs" in every name and place and thing. Check each out on Wikipedia. Can't wait for next season. Looking forward to the DVD set AFTER the series has ended as, if done right, the producers will include a wealth of information on all the secrets and fun imbedded secretly in the show. A must view numerous times for reveals.

    Posted by BigD May 30, 08 11:26 AM
  1. What/who are Widmore and Sun's "shared interest?" The island, Ben (Widmore says now you are trying to help me?) or Desmond (Sun says we both know that the O6 were not the only ones to get off the island. Questions, questions - love it all !

    Posted by Sayid Rocks May 30, 08 11:28 AM
  1. I have got to stop reading! It occurred to me that Ben evolved into the leader of the Others after killing his father, at the behest of the "Hostiles" led by Richard. Later, Richard told Locke he too had to kill his father. But Locke duped them by getting Sawyer to do it (or maybe it wasn't a dupe, but a show of ingenuity).

    Another non sequitur, Richard works for, Mittelos Bioscience (tried to recruit teenage Locke for science camp; recruited Juliet). Mittelos is an anagram of "lost time." Ironic, since Richard doesn't age (or he perfected time travel). And he is a "hostile", i.e. an original island inhabitant (pre-Dharma). So that opens a whole kettle of fish...

    Posted by sandstorm May 30, 08 11:31 AM
  1. On the whole killing your dad thing - many of the main characthers have more than your average share of father issues - Jack, Hurley, Kate, Ben, Penny, Sun, Jin, Claire - Charlie? in his dream of dad butchering the doll?

    Do you think there is anything to this?

    Posted by TBNR May 30, 08 11:53 AM
  1. I think it's pretty clear that Sun (in flash-forwards) has somehow found out that Ben is responsible for the freighter's destruction and Jin's death. That is her and Widmore's "shared interest" - they both want Ben captured and/or dead. Whe she says that the O6 were not the only ones to escape the island, she's referring to Ben.

    I also disagree that this finale isn't a "game-changer." The island, the main location of the show, is gone, for crying out loud! And we don't know where it went. Plus, we've now seen all of the people from the flash-forwards escape the island, but know nothing of the people who remained. I admit I didn't see how they were going to squeeze another season out of this show once people escaped the island, but they've done a great job over the past season of setting up a whole new series of conflicts to resolve. Amazing, amazing show.

    PS - Am I the only one to find Ben a sympathetic character, despite the fact that he is sociopathic and evil? He confuses me like no other character on the show.

    Posted by Tex May 30, 08 11:54 AM
  1. "Lost, the most ambitious show on television......" as written up by buddytv. Great article, synopsis and predications at the following link.

    Enjoy !

    Oh, two last comments:

    On Jin being alive or dead, he might very well be dead (hope not) if you hold any credence to the DUI Die theory, as all the actors that have gotten DUI's (Anna Lucia, Libby, Mr. Eko, Jin) have been killed off on the show.

    I DO NOT like Sayid's hair blown out :). LOL.

    Posted by Sayid Rocks May 30, 08 11:54 AM
  1. Re: comment number 15 - the real, historic Bentham's body is preserved and on display in England, but the head is a wax replica. If the use of the name as an alias for Locke is a clue, I'll bet it means that the body in the casket is someone else's, with a phony copy of Locke's head attached. Meaning Locke could still be alive, somewhere, and faking his death. Or someone else is faking his death. Wouldn't be the first time people faked death on the show.

    Posted by Tex May 30, 08 12:16 PM
  1. Tex said: "I also disagree that this finale isn't a "game-changer." The island, the main location of the show, is gone, for crying out loud! And we don't know where it went."

    It might help to think of it this way: its not WHERE the island went, but rather WHEN the island went. Remember the video in the Orchid Station says that it will appear as if the bunny disappears for a moment, when in reality it is just moving forward in time. So I'm thinking that the island has moved in time and will "re-appear" in the same geographic location at some point in time (probably in 2006 or 2007).

    One thing that is sticking in my mind is Ben saying that the man who moves the island can never come back. How does he know this? Has somebody moved the island in the past? If so, who was it? (If I had to guess I would say Charles Widmore moved it and was then banished from the island, which is why he is looking for it to this day) And was it during this move that the island "appeared" underneath the Black Rock?

    Posted by Tom May 30, 08 12:21 PM
  1. John Locke is actually Ben's brother from John's father's first marriage. They haven't revealed this yet. Bentham is Ben's mother's maiden name, and the name given to John Locke by the people on the island to protect his soul from Jacob. While it appears as though they've escaped the island, they will need to go back and retreive Walt....who is Jacob

    Posted by S. Tooth May 30, 08 01:28 PM
  1. Re: TBNR, comment #19.....
    Ben wasn't supposed to end up someplace cold in that flashforward, he came from someplace cold. Presumably, after turning the donkey wheel, he somehow got immediately transported to the desert (in
    And the house that Miles went to where the grandmother lived - that wasn't Walt's grandmother, and it wasn't Walt who got murdered.

    Posted by Toeknee May 30, 08 01:34 PM
  1. Bens father is Uncle Rico from Napolian Dynamite. and i don't think they will go all "Star Wars" on us.

    Posted by Jonathan May 30, 08 01:47 PM
  1. Here is a trip for everyone here. John Locke is in the coffin and he is still alive. How can this be? In Exposé the fourteenth episode of the third season, Nikki and Paulo get bitten by the poison spiders and everyone things they're dead, but they're really paralyzed. I think Ben and Locke have put together a ploy to use Jack to convince the others to go back to the island by paralyzing Locke and convincing everyone he is dead. Just a thought. Please comment and let me know what you guys think of this theory.

    Posted by Frank from Belmont May 30, 08 03:01 PM
  1. We already saw Ben w/heavy jacket in the middle east as he found Sayid who was burying his wife. Loved the tie in w/Desmond & Penny. There seems to be a "constant" with all the fathers involved with the characters.

    Posted by Nancy May 30, 08 03:07 PM
  1. So, everyone believes Ji Yeon had a flashback regarding Jin, because of him sayin he just got married...
    but can´t he marry someone else? I mean, peolple do it all the time

    Posted by Chukman May 30, 08 11:17 PM

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