Lost: Wait, what? [Braak's View]
Okay, we all saw it, let’s take a minute to discuss what happened.
They all did NOT die in the plane crash. I think the answer to what happened is actually dumber than that.
So, when they detonated the hydrogen bomb, Jack and Juliet & al did NOT create a parallel universe where everything was pretty much okay. What they did was just send the back-in-time people forward in time. The sideways flashes were not an alternate universe, but actually, essentially, the anteroom to the afterlife. They were a place outside of time, where all future and past dead people can gather at once, and where people have to work through their own psychological hang-ups in order to move on (to, presumably, heaven), and where they psychically construct scenarios in which they are near to the people that had significant impacts in their lives.
Ironically: the Island was never purgatory; the alternate universe in which the Island was sunk to the bottom of the ocean WAS.
I have some problems with this. I would not have had a problem if, by the end of the season finale, the castaways had found a way to shunt themselves into a parallel universe in which they had always been in control of their destinies, and everything, whether it was fucked up or not, was at least a little their own.
Instead, we literally discover that nothing that anyone does matters. Jack kills Esau (because fuck you Cuse and Lindelof — if you have two diametrically opposed twins and one is named Jacob, you NEED A REASON why the other is not named Esau), but who cares? Wherever and whenever you die, you still end up in a Unitarian Universalist Church with the people that mattered most in your life. Juliet died detonating that bomb and sending them forward in time, who cares? She ended up in the church with everyone else. Just like Sayyid does, and presumably would have even if he hadn’t sacrificed himself to save everyone else.
But that’s not all. This purgatory that the writers gave us with the flash-sideways doesn’t actually jive with the characters we know. Consider: Jack, by this point in the story, has already well moved past his father. When, in the last two years, have we heard him talk about Christian? Hell, six years passed at one point, and he doesn’t say a damn thing about the guy. He has already moved on from his father’s death, and the pain of his miserable childhood. Why would we accept that the culmination of his character should be him moving on from his father?
Or look at Sayyid: why does he end up in purgatory with Shannon? Sure, he said he loved her, right when she was dying. But then he got back together with Nadia, and it was HER death that sent him over the edge. She was the one that he went crazy for, that he killed for, that he was talking about ALL THE TIME. Nadia was the motivating factor for Sayyid’s entire life — he knew Shannon for THIRTY DAYS. When was the last time he mentioned pointless, shallow Shannon?
I think that, frankly, this is an example of a show that actually got too smart for it’s own writers. The team inadvertently created a scenario that was so complex that they didn’t understand it anymore, and consequently couldn’t end it in any meaningful way. Not that it couldn’t have ended in a meaningful way; I’ll have more to say on this (Holland’s inevitable fatalism notwithstanding) later.
UPDATE! Remember how, before this season started, Carl and I were trying to guess where it was headed? And we basically turned out to be completely wrong, because the writers did everything we thought would be the worst possible choice? And how the solution that we came up with was actually about a thousand times better than the one we got? Hah. That was funny.