Wednesday, May 26, 2010

LOST: The End - Wuzzon with the afterlife...

* This is a re-write/edit of a post from the night of the finale. Not sure if it's clearer, but it includes a few more examples from the show of my ideas.

I'm gonna try to boil down the essence of the fate of the Losties here and ramble out a theory that fits. I know it's a bit foolish, the end, their end, is moving and kind and respectful (the show didn't delete/negate/overwrite our characters' experiences since the crash) and open to all kinds of interpretation, but I want to try and get an interpretation that works with my goofy LOST-gummed-up gears, y'know?

I won't address the endgame action on the Island at all, only the LOST2-as-limbo/afterlife aspect.


The Island and everything that happens/happened there is real. The Island exists in a reality-adjacent snowglobe pocket dimension, and is visited and populated by real, living people. The Island is NOT a purgatory.

What I've been calling LOST2 *is* a kind of purgatory, a zone of dreamlike pseudo-reality, created in the limbo of afterlife by the souls of those with a relationship/connection to the Island, and populated by those souls and the souls of those important to them.

LOST2 happens outside of time. If you absolutely need to force a temporal relationship between its events and real world events, you could say it happens at the end of everything. All the people who populate LOST2 have died in the real world. Jack dies in the bamboo forest in 2007, but those in the plane who leave the Island, along with Protector Hurley and Number Two Ben, die years later. Once they die, each of them arrives in LOST2 essentially "at the same time."


When someone connected to the Island dies in the real world believing they deserved a different life, they become a Whisper, a soul apparently "confined" to the Island. These Whispers wish to "move on." Once one of these souls is able to come to terms with the deeds and misdeeds of their life, s/he is ready to move on. For some, arriving at an existence as a Whisper is what they think they deserve, and many remain as such, possibly for eternity. For others, being a Whisper is just a first stop. They have an inkling that they can actually work out the issues that tether them to the Island and in that instant begin an afterlife.

A certain group of these souls, clustered around the 815ers we've come to know and love, through an accretion of wills, memories, and shared experiences, have managed to construct a shared reality out of the ether, an island, if you will, of virtual reality, in the sea of the afterlife, to inhabit together. In this constructed glitchy MATRIX reality of LOST2, they are living virtual lives that they think they deserve, but instead of living them solo, as most souls in whispering limbo likely do, they connect and interconnect with the afterlives of friends and individuals who were important to them during the most important and intensely lived times in their real lives—their time on the Island. Until they can remember and come to terms with their real lives—the relationships made and broken, words said and unspoken, the choices they made and their consequences, good and bad—they cannot move on.

They conjure up lives that they believe they *deserve*, not necessarily heavenly ones. There may have been choices that they regret, wrongs both by and against them that went unpunished, and opportunities missed. These can be undone and redone in their afterlives. Virtually realized karma.

  • Jack has a son who allows him to have the father-son relationship he could never have with his own father. He also seems to be more comfortable with his gift for healing, easily delivering a very empathetic bedside manner.

  • Locke is paralyzed again, but this time by his own accidental doing. In that same accident, he is responsible for nearly killing his father, which weighs so heavily on him that he feels he doesn't deserve to regain the use of his legs. I believe that this is guilt that Locke feels for his part in the death of his father on the Island. Yes, Cooper had it coming, but remember, Locke felt enough for the man that he couldn't do it himself. On the afterlife-affirming side, he succeeds at letting go of his fear of and anger at the world and allows himself to be happy and in love with Helen.

  • Sawyer develops the same shady skill set, but uses them in the service of the law as Detective Ford, living an afterlife with the same goal as his real life, but on the side of the (Los) Angel(es).

  • On the other hand, Sayid creates an afterlife of quiet torment, punishing himself for his acts of torture and murder, placing him near his true love, but forever apart from her. Remember his concern for what he would face after he died?

  • Charlie lives a reckless life similar to his actual one, perhaps believing that he isn't deserving of true love and happiness. Or, maybe he wishes to take his brother's place, so that Liam could go on and afterlive a good and straight family afterlife.

  • I have to say, it's a sign of her moral fiber (or is it her lack of imagination? =) that Kate's afterlife puts her in the same place as her living life. In her case, everything about her life before Oceanic 815 really does fall under the category "I'd do it again if I had the chance." At least, that's my take. The one big karma-altering difference is in regards to Claire and Aaron. She helps save her baby and ultimately keep them together.

  • Even Island "bit players" populate this after-world with their own mundane afterlives. Other foreman Shocky McShockington unloads Christian's coffin. Jacob's secret service agent Ilana helps unite Christian's half-siblings. Freighter communications officer George Minkowski works as Widmore's driver.

  • It's interesting to note Anthony Cooper's fate, perhaps an amalgam of his own guilt (he completely believes that he has arrived in Hell when he's brought to the Island by Ben's Others) and some wish-fulfillment on the part of Locke and Sawyer.

  • The souls of those who never visited the Island are drawn into this after-reality as well, most notably the loves of two important Losties' lives, Penny and Helen. (Someone told me that Helen wasn't in the church. I honestly can't remember. If that's the case, no frickin fair!)

In any case, these afterlives are a denial of their real lives, and a distraction from the goal of moving on. By setting all of these afterlives in the same, shared, stitched-together DARK CITY reality of LOST2, the Losties can all eventually help one another to remember and accept their real lives, and accepting them, move on. This is what we've seen happening in LOST2 all this season.

Some souls do manage enlightenment on their own, and end up playing parts in LOST2 as guides and cluegivers to help the others on their way. I suspect that Rose, Bernard, and Christian are such souls. Bernard is well aware of the 815 connection between Jack and John, and produces Anthony Cooper's name instantly. Rose is the perfect person to block and parry Locke's shoulder chip rage and redirect him to an ideal job as substitute teacher. And on the plane in the season premiere, Rose tells Jack, "You can let go now." Christian's MIA status brings John and Jack together at the LAX lost and found. Ultimately, the recovery of Christian's coffin triggers Jack's reconnection to his real life.


I believe that Desmond's time travelling ability allows him to visit LOST2. Until season 6, we saw how his power allows him to visit other moments in his life. In season 6, we discover that it allows him to visit moments in his afterlife as well. Of course, he doesn't KNOW this when it happens, and his interpretation of that visit is a little off, just the way most of ours were.

I think that Juliet, caught at the heart of the 1977 Incident discharge, was blasted the way Desmond was in the Hatch implosion, and ended up shunted forward in her own timeline into the afterlife. Her words, "It worked," were an echo from her conversation with Detective Ford. THAT, I'll say, was pretty frickin clever. Maybe a stretch, but connecting it to a "reboot" of the candy machine was another nice bit of resonance.


I believe that this "moving on" that the Losties and their loved ones experience is a post-life process that only those with a connection to the Island and its Heart can undergo. When someone who's never known anything about the Island dies, they may just turn to dust, or they may be reincarnated, or they may be sent to some kind of astral realm of reward or punishment. They do not get what Jack and friends get. For those with a history with the Island, well, the Island is *never* finished with them. The Island takes care of its own in its own way. And, I suspect that the place or state or plane that they "move on" to is the Heart itself, cuz, hey—why not?

In the church (did it HAVE to be a church?), we see that...
  • Kate and Jack are in love, and seem like each other's one-and-only. Jack dies in 2007. Kate lives on, and never loves again? Maybe...

  • Sawyer and Juliet are in love, and seem like each other's one-and-only. Juliet dies in 2007. Sawyer lives on, and never loves again? Maybe...

  • Shannon is more vital somehow to Sayid than Nadia? That's a tough blond pill to swallow.

These enlightened hook-ups tell me that this purgatory is truly Island-centric. These afterlives are only made possible by the Island, and within them, people MATTER and MEAN more the stronger their relationship is with the Island. Perhaps the experience of love itself is stronger on the Island. Charlie talks about Claire as the face, or essence of love, a "spectacular, consciousness-altering love."

I think that the Island and its Heart are selfish in a way, or territorial. Only those connected to it, and those important to them, get to experience an afterlife, for better or worse. If you buy my explanation so far, it makes a certain sense. The Island isn't for everyone, and in life, one can only be changed and affected by it thru a couple of degrees of contact, sometimes physical, sometimes emotional, sometimes genetic, sometimes psychic, sometimes even memetic (i.e. the Numbers).

There are also some clues to this in warnings from Island old-timers, two beings with intimate connections to the Island and its Heart. They are conspicuously specific about whose happiness and lives are at stake when it comes to the conflict over the Island.
RICHARD: You don't understand what you're dealing with! He doesn't just want you dead... he wants everyone dead! Everyone you care about! All of them! And he won't stop—

JACOB: I brought all of you here because I made a mistake. A mistake I made a very long time ago, and now, because of that there’s a very good chance that every single one of you and everyone you’ve ever cared about is going to die.
OK, extrapolating from those particular words and word choice the idea that the Island will reward its friends and their friends with an afterlife... that's pretty thin. But I have to say, those warnings, and others I can't recall now, always seemed carefully, particularly, worded, and immediately came to mind when considering the idea of the Island playing favorites when giving out afterlives.


Granted, there are real-world logistical reasons for certain characters not appearing in the finale, most notably, Mr. Eko and Walt. If I had to write LOSTiverse reasons for them...

Well, we know Mr. Eko's final testimony to the Monster. He asks no forgiveness for anything he did. He had made peace with his actions and decisions before dying. As a Whisper, he would have been ready to move on immediately upon arrival.

As for Walt. Well, maybe he never dies. =)

As for Michael. Maybe under Hurley's administration as Protector, he'll realize that he's already paid his dues, or he'll get the opportunity to do so by helping during the next crisis on the Island, allowing him to move on without after-living thru a virtual life. Or Perhaps Walt will return to the Island to free him with his own abilities.

I imagine Ricardo experienced a loving and happy afterlife with Isabella and many zombie children and grandchildren on a lush and lively farm in a virtual Tenerife, and then, moved on together.

Would've been fun to see a glowing Jacob and Momster appear outside the church to Hurley, then have Esau fade in next to them, RETURN OF THE JEDI style. =)


Anna Lucia's not ready. Her afterlife has her accepting bribes to free prisoners. Not exactly a redemptive scenario. She'll get it right in a subsequent iteration, maybe with a little help from one of the now-moved-on LOST angel/guides.

I think that Eloise has been aware of their state the "longest" within LOST2. If I had to explain this, I'd say that her gift of sussing out fate and destiny gave her a clue either while she was still alive, or once she arrived in LOST2. In any case, Eloise chooses to stay a while, to enjoy the experience of raising her son without being doomed to kill him.

Desmond kindly reassures her that he isn't taking Daniel with him. I'm thinking that although Daniel is awakened by Charlotte, he will remain until he can enlighten Charlotte as well, or perhaps win her love in LOST2 without triggering her awakening.

Ben chooses to stay a while as well, feeling that he still has things to work out. Once you're awakened in this virtual afterlife, you can choose when to exit, and until then, continue the simulation. In LOST2 Ben hopes to be a better father to Alex, as well as make up for the pain he caused Danielle, perhaps by building the family that he could never have in his lifetime, and ultimately, moving on together with all of them.


A couple of odd artifacts in LOST2...

David is a soulless construct, as are Nadia's kids. Juliet and Jack never had a kid, and Nadia never married Sayid's brother.

The just-born-in-the-afterlife Aaron and not-yet-born-in-the-afterlife Ji Yeon likely lived for decades after 2007 in reality, and died as adults (after telekinetically duking it out at the heart of an apocalypse?), but in LOST2 have been reverted to ages at which they don't even know who they are.

What about all the Losties that have visited and helped out Hurley since they died. Charlie and Ana Lucia's visits in particular demonstrated that they were very aware of his situation in the real world and also their livingly-challenged status. Did these interactions happen after their deaths but "before" the afterlife and LOST2?

Thanks for reading any and hopefully all of this.


Keep on keepin on~

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