LOST Theories - DarkUFO

In Defence of the Flash Sideways by Coolpeace

Here are my thoughts about the use of the flash sideways concept and why it worked within the construct of the show. Thank for reading and your comments are welcome.

At the beginning of season 6, we all looked at the Flash Sideways (FS) and went … what?? Did Jack’s plan work, they are landing at LAX. However, we immediately noticed inconsistencies with the story as we knew it to be. So what was the FS about?
We wondered about the Island being underwater. We wondered about the meaning of the FS, the Losties seemed to be happier in this ‘world’. We wondered why all the Losties were in LA. We understood that something was ‘off’ in this realm. How did these stories in the FS tie into our Island story … were they epilogue? Were they a reset?

In retrospect, the Island being underwater was clearly a very big clue as to what the FS was. As Mother tells Jacob, the light at the center of the Island is the source or think of it as a life force and “a little bit of this very same light is inside of every man. But they always want more.” Of course, man would want eternal life or simply longer life, if they knew how to harness it. Accordingly, there are two scenarios, one where the Island exists and mankind is alive; and one where the Island does not exist (or is not in play) and mankind has ceased to be …is dead – the life force gone.

There were clear parallels and mirroring to both season 1 storylines and the present time island story. Then along came ‘Happily Ever After’ and a light bulb came on. And as the characters started to “see” so did we. They were starting to remember situations that we, the audience, knew had previously happened on the Island. Consequently, the FS could NOT be a reset as Jack and Daniel had hoped, since they were remembering a common past. Therefore, what happened happened. Then, could the FS be epilogue? If so, there seemed to be inconsistencies with time in the FS. Events were happening at different times and yet converging at the same time – think of Sun getting shot and Locke getting run over by Desmond at different times but arriving at the hospital at the same time. Another clue that later was explained by Christian as he spoke to Jack – “Well there is no "now" here.”

I believe the writers had always wanted the final scene of Lost to be Jack’s eye closing … how do you go from that very emotional moment to showing us how the rest of our Losties ended up post Island or post Jack’s death – a very difficult task to pull. Instead we got the FS throughout the season to give us those resolutions and lessons learnt or evolution of the characters, if you will.

Personally, while some of the sideways stories faltered at times, ultimately, the FS was a very interesting, satisfactory and creative way of giving us character resolutions, instead of just ending the story on the Island and MIB’s ultimate demise. Lost has always pushed the structural narrative envelope and I for one am glad they took that risk in bringing to us the flash sideways construct.

Since the beginning, Lost has given us a dual narrative format. First, along with the main island story line, we had the flashbacks, which in retrospect, showed us how lost, flawed and self destructive each of our Losties lives were. Secondly, we were stunned into the flash-forwards (who did not love that reveal - ”We have to go back!”). Those showed us that learning life’s lessons was not going to be easy for these lost souls… they had to go back and make it right. They needed each other and they needed to help redeem one another. Finally, we got the flash sideways, which showed us the conclusion of the character arcs – showing us that redemption was possible, that no man is an Island (ha!) and that you cannot do it on your own, and you need to be able to accept what you have done and what others did to you and ultimately let it go. “To remember and to let go.” as Christian said.

I will quickly here give a few examples, but you know the stories as well as I do, so you could fill in the other details:

 Ben – spends his time on the Island undermining John Locke and finally killing him. In the FS, Ben befriends Locke and stays by his side in the ambulance, helping him and protecting him. Ben is also a better father figure to Alex and he is appreciated by her. Ben also forgives his father and takes care of him.

 Roger Linus – is kind to his son.

 Jack – learns to understand and accept his father issues through the construct that was David. He accepts Claire into his family. He helps John Locke with his father issues and with the help of many Losties he finally learns to let go.

 Locke – works out his need to find faith (it’s never been easy) and his feelings of inadequacies and finds happiness with Helen. With the help of Jack learns to deal with his feelings towards his father and learns to remember and let go.

 Anthony Cooper – is beyond redemption and has literally no say.

 Sawyer – does not take the road that would lead him to become a con man, he tries to find Anthony Cooper by becoming a cop.

 Kate – stopped running to go back and help Claire. Her connection with Aaron helped change her.

 Sayid – we see him continuously trying to atone for his crimes (this both on the Island in life and in the FS). In the FS Sayid realizes that his relationship with Nadia would always be tainted by his past actions and he pushed her towards his brother. But he will always protect her. With the help of Hurley, Sayid learns he is a good guy and that he can not let others define him.

 Eloise – atones for her murdering her son by giving him a chance to live the life he wanted to, and is afraid that Desmond will cut it short.

These people’s destinies were always tied to each other. The beauty of Season 6 was the telling of that redemption story, the back and forth and the mirroring between Season 1 and Season 6, between on Island and the FS. Our Losties have come so far in their journey and we were able to join them in their ultimate flash-forward, their redemption arc – the afterlife, Limbo, Bardo, or an abstract construct – choose your science or your faith.

The FS neatly tied and concluded each character’s arc, going full circle from where they were at the time of the crash to where they finished beyond the Island story. Lost’s narrative drew a straight line from the moment the plane crashed, through the Island adventures (before and after their return, including the Dharma 1970’s) through to culmination of the Island story with the death of MIB and finally Jack and continued further straight through into all their after death construct and their reunion in the church. Consequently, the church scene did not invalidate the FS, it happened BECAUSE of the FS. Without the FS, the church scene could not have been possible.

It is clear to me that LOST always played with perspective, giving you one thing and then make you see it from another side or another angle. The perspective always shifted, this always kept the story fresh and interesting, and created a show that challenged us, cultivated our curiosity and ignited a passion for discussion – a rarity indeed. The flash sideways was another of those shifts in perspectives. A shift to make us see how the Losties evolved as individuals from their experiences and emerged on the other side of these experiences changed or at the very least reconciled with their choices.

I believe that what will endure as a legacy for Lost is the wonderfully “unwritten”, the implied that permeated throughout the series. The juxtaposition, the subtext and the implied are key elements to the storytelling in Lost. We loved that the writers did not pander to the lowest common denominator, we loved that they did not dumb it down, we loved that they peppered us with clues and Easter eggs, we loved that they made us analyze and theorize. The show has always remained true to itself right to the end.

We could not have had the emotional resonance at the end without being invested and we were very invested because of the characters, their stories, their sacrifices and ultimately their redemption on the island and in the flash sideways.

As hard as it is for us, the fans, to see this LOST experience come to an end - can we not put ourselves in the writers shoes and understand how much MORE difficult it must have been for them who gathered everyday for 6 years around the same table and lived, breathed, and shepherd those characters into the story that became LOST.

It is my hope that whether you liked the end or not, you can come to accept and respect the farewell the writers have created for LOST. Unquestionably this farewell was as much theirs to their characters as it was for us their audience.

Namaste, Lost, you will be missed.

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