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Lost Was Purgatory; Now We’re in Hell

By Roger Friedman

hollywoodnews.com: “Lost” is finally over.

And, as I surmised–and many others did a long time ago–the survivors of Oceanic 815 were in a kind of purgatory. All that flashing forwards and backwards and sideways was their lives flashing before them.

The best line of the night went to Kate, after Desmond told her someone named Christian Shephard had died. “Christian Shephard? Are you kidding?”

Back in the ether of my Fox News column I did say a long time ago that Jack’s father was named for a reason. The show had highly Biblical overtones, and they call came together tonight.

But, as with everything to do with “Lost,” and most series finales, this will be debated for a long time to come.

There were a lot of clues along the way. I’ll trust the folks at Lostpedia to sort them out, and all over the ‘net on forums devoted to the subject. But Jack’s neck wound coming and going should have been one, certainly. And last week, it made no sense in linear time that Michele Rodriguez’s character, Ana Lucia, could have appeared in a flash sideways after she’d died on the island. But neither did it make sense in the same episode that Rousseau and her daughter, Alix, could have existed in Ben’s story.


About Roger Friedman

Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411.com column in April after 10 years with Fox News where he helped create Foxnews.com. Friedman’s prior experience on the Internet is with MSN’s Cinemania column. Friedman also wrote the Intelligencer column as a contributing editor at "New York Magazine," where he covered the O.J. Simpson criminal trial. In addition, Friedman has been involved in book publishing and filmmaking (Only the Strong Survive). For more about Roger go to Showbiz411.com

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  • May 23, 2010 | Permalink |

    I completely disagree with your purgatory statement, there was absolutely NO purgatory at all..the island was real and it was all blatantly said in the finale that that was their real life nothing more or less all the island life was the real thing…and the producers have said for a very long time it was not purgatory! get your stuff right before you post an article where many people read!

  • May 23, 2010 | Permalink |

    while they did end up in purgatory the show didnt take place in purgatory. So your title and opening sentence is incorrect. Everything that happen happened.

  • May 23, 2010 | Permalink |

    “there was absolutely NO purgatory at all”

    that just false to, they ended up in purgatory(matthew fox basically said so on kimmel). They needed to reunite after death in order to move on. Again the show ended up with everyone reuniting in purgatory but it didnt take place there. Those that show the show took place in purgatory are wrong, and those that say theyreis absolutely no purgatory involved with the show are also wrong.

  • May 23, 2010 | Permalink |

    please try to read through the typos of my post. This sites should have an edit feature.

  • May 23, 2010 | Permalink |

    If they were all just reunited in death to move on, where was the plane going that left the island?did they not really survive?

  • May 24, 2010 | Permalink |

    You have got it all wrong.
    The show wasn’t purgatory. The only purgatory element was the timeline where the plane didn’t crash. Everythin else happened, Charlie drowned, Desmond had to push the button etc. All that was real.
    When someone died, whether it be on the island now, or 20 years down the line, they went to that alternate timeline and lived a better life – most anyways.
    When they remembered the island life, that was when they were accepting their death. So Jack died at the end of the episode, but Kate could have died 50 years later, but before passing over they all went to where they wanted to be, with the ones they loved.

  • May 24, 2010 | Permalink |

    Or maybe, jayjay, you should in fact be able to spell correctly in the first place.

  • May 24, 2010 | Permalink |

    I thought it was great! It’s like every good novel you don’t know what to expect till the end. I do believe they were all dead from the plane wreck. They shadowed their own existence doing the things they knew in purgatory. And if there is a purgatory you stay till you become aware that life moves on and you accept your own mortality. I especially liked that when they did become aware of their own mortality, it was in an instant which is the teaching of almost all religions that within that instance you know and then you can move on to heaven. And awareness is not the same for everybody, that is why some died sooner then others. The funniest parts or ironic were when Jake, Desmond and the smoke monster (Father Son and Holy Smoke) the Trinity went to the river of souls ak The Light. And when Jake laid down to die on the island. Here comes the dog to lay beside him. He’s to the right hand side of dog. But! If you read Hebrew and Arabic they are read right to left putting Jake on the right hand side of GOD. It’s hard to summarize 6 years in an instant but it was well worth the ride. Very stimulating and engaging mind game that a large group could participate in discussing nation wide or even world wide. To those that were disappointed, look where it brought you. You probably have a whole series of friend that you never would have had a conversation with around the water cooler. Let’s hope we don’t become lost in our trivial pursuit. Don’t we all feel a little LOST at some time? Sorry to end that with a question for those that want answers.

  • May 24, 2010 | Permalink |

    WRONG WRONG WRONG! As the other comments have said, LOST was NOT purgatory… only the “alternate timeline/storyline” in LA was purgatory. Everything that happened on the Island–including them leaving and then returning–all happened to them. Were you even watching the same show as the rest of us??

  • May 24, 2010 | Permalink |

    Lol, you are an idiot. The island was not purgatory. Did any of you people who think this actually watch the same finale or listen to anything they said? WTF???

  • May 24, 2010 | Permalink |

    Should we really be surprised Friedman doesn’t have a clue? Clearly he hasn’t been paying attention to the show at all. He can’t spell characters’ names correctly and has stated the premise of the show to be exactly the OPPOSITE of what it was! Lol. This is the same twit, of course, that bragged about downloading Wolverine and got fired for it.

  • May 24, 2010 | Permalink |

    im just sad its all over, it was a deadly show!! i got so confused at the end, i dont really know what it was, did seem like purgatory in some ways but im not sure 😛

  • May 24, 2010 | Permalink |

    Did you even watch the show? Wow, you should watch it again.

  • May 25, 2010 | Permalink |

    The alternate timeline was supposed to be purgatory, but isn’t it also possible that the alternate timeline was real as well as the events on the island, and that Jack went to purgatory only after dying inside the room of light under the river?

  • May 31, 2010 | Permalink |

    There is too much evidence to support the idea that the island was Purgatory and that the ‘survivors’ died in the original plane crash.
    1. Jack sees his father, Christian Shepherd, in the first episode. In a later season, it is alluded that Christian plays a larger role in the Island, and is perhaps the mysterious Jacob. When Michael dies, it is Christian who tells him that he can move on, and he also says that to Jack in the end.
    2. Naomi tells Hurley that Oceanic 815 was found…and that all passengers where accounted for and dead.
    3. Early on, Kate wants to tell Jack her ‘story’, but Jack tells her that it doesn’t matter, that they were dead, and that it was irrelevant.
    4. Syid was asked to kill some people and remarked that it didn’t matter because they were already dead.
    5. In The End, Jack says that he is already dead before he enters the bamboo forest, and mentions it again later in the episode shortly after.
    6. Other characters, and numerous times, mention that they are either dead or think that they are dead.
    7. When The Black Rock shipwrecks on the island, the MiB tells Richard that he is indeed dead, and in Hell and that he must kill the Devil -Jacob- in order to escape. Jacob informs Richard that he is not the Devil, but does not mention whether or not Richard is dead.
    8. Hurley tells Jack that they are all dead when Jack visits him in the hospital.
    9. The majority of characters on the island ‘die’ or leave after they make a revelation about themselves or clear their baggage by other means.
    And so on.

    The only real rebuttal to the ‘It’s not Purgatory” thesis is that JJ Abrams said in an early interview (after Season 1) that it was not Purgatory, but that sounds like a good idea, and that the show’s creators and main writers say that it is not Purgatory. However, during an interview with the creators after the episode where Naomi tells Hurley of the fate of Oceanic 815, they concluded the statement by adding “…or are they?” People believed that they were in Purgatory all the way back in Season 1. Part of Lost’s fun, and what kept viewers tuning in, was the mystery of the island. Why would they let the cat out of the bag early on and lose potential viewers? Besides, to the writers, the show is about the characters. The wackiness on the island is just a backdrop, and for the most part, irrelevant.

    As to the final scene where Christian tells Jack that everything that happened on the island was real, well, you got to rethink what the word ‘real’ means. Many interpret it to mean ‘the physical REAL world’, but could it also not mean real, as in a real experience? In that it was not a dream or a hallucination? That where ever the island was really located, physically or metaphysically, that they were there at least in consciousness, and would that not make it ‘real’?

    Perhaps the island was Purgatory and perhaps there was some sort of electromagnetic anomaly surrounded it that allowed ‘real, physical’ people who figured out a pathway to come and go. Quantum physics, and String Theory, has shown that it could be possible to move from one dimension to another, or from the physical world to the ether, if a pathway could be created. Well, at it is shown mathematically.

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