However You Feel About 'Lost's Ending, It Shook the Fandom and Drew Some Lines in the Sand

Many 'Lost' fans feel very strongly about the way the show ended.

Chrissy Bobic - Author

Jul. 2 2024, Published 2:01 p.m. ET

Jack and Vincent lay together in the Lost finale
Source: ABC

If you're a longtime fan of Lost, then chances are, you have a strong feeling about the way it ended. And whether you're a new watcher thanks to its arrival on Netflix, or a long-standing die-hard fan of the show, you might still need to have the ending of Lost explained. Because a lot happens from the majestic opening scene that shows an oceanic plane opening its doors at LAX to the bright flash of the church doors opening at the end.

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The 'Lost' ending, explained.

The entire sixth season of Lost is its own mystery in some ways. Fans have long since called it a "flash sideways," because it isn't a flashback or a flash-forward. Instead, it shows viewers what would have happened if Oceanic Flight 815 would have landed. Well, sort of. It also shows an alternate universe for some of the main characters where they have a life they wanted once the plane landed safely in Los Angeles.

Lost Season 1 cast
Source: ABC
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These changes include Jack getting a son, and Sawyer being a police officer instead of a criminal. We also see Claire decide to keep her baby instead of giving Aaron up for adoption, as was her original plan. But, it turns out, this flash sideways isn't one big what-if scenario. It's actually a purgatory of sorts. But no, the Lost characters were not in purgatory or dead the entire time. And don't let any naysayers tell you differently.

The only season where the characters of Lost were dead all along is the sixth and final season, because the flash sideways is a way of showing viewers an in-between afterlife. It's where the survivors go when they die, and where they remain until they're ready to move on. They move on by entering the church at the end of the season.

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And, while we don't see every character's death, which could have happened at any point following their final flight off the island, they all end up in the same place and wait for one another to realize that it's an in-between space for their souls to meet again.

The Man in Black as Locke with Jack at the heart of the island on Lost
Source: ABC
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Outside of the flash sideways, though, we have Jack fighting the Man in Black, who looks like Locke, to protect the island. Jack uses his final moments alive to make sure the Man in Black dies and he keeps the light on the island alive, which protects the island from outside forces and ensures that no evil can leave or come to it.

Wait, so were they dead the entire time on 'Lost'?

If you ask the fans who didn't love Lost's ending way back when, they might tell you the survivors were dead the entire time and that the final season is a testament to that. But that couldn't be further from the truth. As we see, and even hear from Christian in the series finale, everything that happened to Jack and the others did indeed happen.

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They are forever linked because of the experience on the island and they cross over together in their afterlife. But the only time there is any evidence of everyone being dead is in the flash sideways scenes of Season 6. Don't believe us? Go ahead and do another re-watch. Because if this is your first time watching Lost, you're likely already due for another go-around.

Lost is now streaming on Netflix.

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