Coming up this Wednesday night is the season finale episode of the fifth season of Lost. In preparation for the episode entitled “The Incident” I watched the last four season finale episodes over the weekend. I picked up a few interesting trends here and there. Don’t worry, no spoilers.
The First Finale: Exodus
The first season finale was a much more innocent time. We hadn’t yet experienced any of the Dharma Orientation videos yet, let alone jump into the 70s and witness them being made.
Season 1’s finale brought with it three goals: get Aaron back from Danielle Rousseau, use the dynamite to blow up the hatch door (the hatch door which we now know belongs to the Swan) and attempt rescue using the raft the survivors built.
The raft that Michael built, actually. You remember Michael, don’t you?
Probably the biggest reveal of the those two episodes (“Exodus” part 1 and 2) was that the Black Rock was, in fact, a shipwreck sitting in the middle of the jungle. I remember watching this season and always wondering exactly what that crazy French lady was talking about when she mumbled about “the dark territory” and “the Black Rock”.
Come to think of it, we’re still waiting to hear about where this thing came from, aren’t we?
The Monster also made his first on screen appearance in this episode, taking a turn and seemingly attacking the eager John Locke in order to pull him down into a hole. This was a continuation of the writer’s technique of only bringing the Monster out of hiding when there’s something new to learn about it. In this case, that it wanted to… eat Locke? Way back then, we had no idea.
We also see the Others show up and snatch Walt from the very raft his dad built to help him escape. I have to say, though, it was more emotional to watch Vincent try to swim out to the raft after Walt on the raft than it was to see father and son separated. I may be heartless.
Thematically speaking, we see each of the main survivors immediately before boarding the plane. None of which, by the way, even comes close to Hurley’s awesome run to the terminal.
Claire, still waiting for the rescued Aaron to return, is the first character in the finale to bring up the topic of destiny. She says that no one is punishing them, that there is no such thing as fate. This sets the stage for a scene between Jack and Locke later, where Locke espouses destiny as leading them all to the island. Jack isn’t interested in anything like that at this point, of course. How things change.
Notice how separated the characters are in the midst of the finale episode. Locke, Jack, Kate and Hurley are all bringing the dynamite to the Swan hatch. Charlie and Sayid are chasing after Rousseau, who has the stolen Aaron. Sawyer, Michael, Jin and Walt are all on the raft seeking rescue. And the rest are hiding at the caves. The writers like to separate all of the survivors each finale, to make resolution seem impossible.
Season 2’s Finale: Live Together, Die Alone
The events of season 2 separate the survivors again. This time it’s Locke, Desmond, Eko and Charlie at the Swan fighting over whether to press the button anymore. Jack, Kate, Sawyer and Hurley are busy being led into a trap by Michael, while Sayid and Jin and Sun are sailing around the island in an effort to help their friends. And everyone else is enjoying lunch back at camp.
Biggest reveal of the season 2 finale? Pretty much, without question:
The four toed statue had everyone thinking. Keep in mind that, as of season 5, only Jin has seen the statue in both its single foot form and the behind-the-back view.
The most interesting thematic development of “Live Together, Die Alone” was Locke’s transformation from believer to doubter, after he discovers that an entire station was devoted to watching the Swan inhabitants pushing the button. Suspecting that the whole thing is a lie, an experiment, yet another black mark on his crappy life, he convinces Desmond (who has been pushing the button for 3 years) to see what happens when the button doesn’t get pushed.
The fail-safe is pushed, the sky turns purple, and the fate of Locke, Desmond, and Eko remain in question. Even thinking about it now, that was really mean of the writers to do to everyone. Not knowing what happened to them for upwards of 8 months? Cruel.
The primary use of flashbacks in the finale is to show more of Desmond’s backstory, such as how he received the boat that brought him to the island (Libby, by the way) and how he, apparently by allowing the Swan to nearly self-destruct, brought down Flight 815. The finale, again, nods back toward the very beginning of the show.
It’s also worth pointing out a couple of other correlations between the season 1 and season 2 finales:
- Locke refers to the hatch as “hope” in the first finale, then determines it’s all a lie and that they aren’t destined for anything in the second. Granted, he does admit that he was wrong.
- Jin spent the first season finale on a raft off of the island. He spends this finale on a boat, this time sailing around the island.
- The peak of both finale’s involve a hated character riding away from the survivors in a boat with Walt. And in that sense, both finales focus on Walt either being special or leaving. When will he be back again?
And we can’t forget what happened at the very end, after the button wasn’t pushed. Penelope’s minions seemed to see the blast on their radar (or whatever).
And then came that dreaded white on black logo. On to season 3.
Season 3’s Finale: Through the Looking Glass
“Through the Looking Glass” was a sort of turning point for Lost, as a show. It kicked everyone’s ass by tricking them into believing we were seeing a sad-from-the-past Jack, when in fact it was a flash forward, then gave everyone the biggest question ever to think about for the next 8 months: who’s in the coffin?
Ah, but there are other things to remember about this season finale. Charlie Pace, one of the most well redeemed characters on the entire show, drowned inside of the Looking Glass station when he saved everyone by turning off the jamming signal. Looking past the implausibilities (such as the fact that, oh I don’t know, he never would have drowned in that little room) the whole scene was pretty powerful. Not only that, but the lead up to it throughout the season, with Desmond seeing “flashes” telling him how to help Charlie avoid certain death, really brought the question of destiny to the forefront of the show again. Is there a destiny? Is there anything we can do to avoid ours? In this case, Charlie welcomed his fate.
Ah, the separated survivor game once again. Desmond is snorkeling with Charlie in the Looking Glass station. Jack is playing Moses and leading his people to the radio tower to call in the freighter people. Sayid, Bernard, and Jin hang back to wage war with the Hostiles, eventually to be joined by Sawyer, Juliet and Hurley.
Jack and Locke have another showdown on the topic of destiny, but this time it foreshadows Jack in the future telling Kate that they have to go back.
Season 4’s Finale: There’s No Place Like Home
The last episode of season 4 feels like it happened just yesterday. Maybe it’s because there has been so much action throughout season 5, or maybe it’s just because season 4 was a bit shorter. With the writer’s strike happening right in the middle of the would-be normal season of Lost, the season was shortened to only 14 or so episodes.
There were two OMG moments at the end of season 4. The first was that the island actually moved. The nice shift, the plop, in the water was all that it left behind.
The second moment was the open coffin. Exactly one season after the question was presented, it was answered.
And just like every finale before it, this one saw both a literal and a figurative separation between the survivors. The Oceanic 6 plus Desmond and Frank end up flying away from the island. Daniel Farraday sees the flash happen while ferrying people back and forth on the Zodiac raft. Ben and Locke travel down to the Orchid to move the island. Sawyer and Juliet watch the freighter blow up with the rest of the survivors on the beach.
With the reveal of Locke in the coffin, we also see Jack join up with Ben and begin to believe in destiny, same as Locke tells him on the island. It would seem that in the ongoing debate between Jack and John on the topic of fate, Locke has won it.
What I’m hoping for the season 5 finale
I’ve been keeping track of all of the questions I have, that I hope end up getting answered on Wednesday night’s finale. Feel free to add your own thoughts, just keep in mind I’m not interested in being spoiled on it. Just for fun, here.
- While they were flashing on the island they took one of the canoes. Juliet ended up shooting someone on the other canoe. Who was it that was shot?
- What lies beneath the shadow of the statue? (I’m not holding my breath on this one, at least not tomorrow night.)
- Why does Alpert say he watched the 1977 time travelers die?
- Will Locke kill Jacob?
- Where are Rose and Bernard? Where have they been?
- How did Hurley get out of jail and end up on Ajira flight 316?