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'Lost' exclusive: ABC sets the record straight about the series finale's plane crash images

You know those Oceanic 815 plane crash images that ran after Jack's (Matthew Fox) eye closed and the "Lost" logo appeared on our TV screens? Some "Lost" fans and TV critics have wondered if they were a last Easter egg from the producers, a clue meant to lead us to conclude that no one survived Oceanic 815's crash landing — and therefore everything we've seen over the last six years never really happened.

Well, ABC wants to clear the air: Those photographs were not part of the "Lost" story at all. The network added them to soften the transition from the moving ending of the series to the 11 p.m. news and never considered that it would confuse viewers about the actual ending of the show.

"The images shown during the end credits of the 'Lost' finale, which included shots of Oceanic 815 on a deserted beach, were not part of the final story but were a visual aid to allow the viewer to decompress before heading into the news," an ABC spokesperson wrote in an e-mail Tuesday.

That means, Losties, that we were not supposed to think that Christian Shepherd (John Terry) is a liar. What Christian told his son, when they were reunited at the church, should serve as guidance for our interpretation of the series' ending.

So let's review: Christian told Jack that he was dead and everyone else in the church was too — some had died before Jack, as we already knew, and some died long after. The sideways flashes then were a step in everyone's after-lives, a way to reconnect before moving on permanently.  While there still may be unanswered questions related to that religious and spiritual conclusion to the "Lost" story, the photographs were really just a nostalgic, transitional touch added by ABC executives — and not executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse.

Love or hate it, that's the final answer.

— Maria Elena Fernandez

Photo: A frame grab from the closing credits of the series finale of "Lost."  Credit: abc.com.


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Comments () | Archives (73)

Someone should tell LA Times TV Critic Mary McNamara. Then again, I don't think anything could help that woman.

I've read numerous comments analyzing that image; apparently many people thought it was significant. Give it up folks! Stop with the analyzing. The long con is over. None of the mythology meant anything other than what the viewers invented in their own minds (and some of that was better than what we actually saw on the screen). I'll bet many of the fans could have written a better and more coherent ending themselves.

@Sue - maybe you didn't see the same show or maybe you need to rewatch it. The mythology was amazing, almost everything was answered, and if people actually understood the ending they wouldn't be so upset.

LOL --- "I'll bet many of the fans could have written a better and more coherent ending themselves." YOU, for instance, This from reader Sue?? Gimme a break. The "Lost" ending was totally coherent for anyone who had followed the series with an intelligent mind. It was something that you and others of your ilk had no ability. Go have a nice drink.

I am really surprised to see that people thought the scenes of the original crash were anything but a nostalgic look back while the credits rolled. Like many, there were high and low points in the finale and some things I wanted explanations for left unexplained but thpse images to me clearly were not part of the finale and did not mean they all died in the crash. What else could Christian have said to make it clearer that not all died at the same time?

No offense to others, but I don't know how the finale was SO confusing to people and how they were thrown off by Jack closing his eye and then that final "shot" was seen. It was pretty self-explanitory when Christian was talking to Jack. I didn't think it was going to be confusing until I read some pretty angry comments on Facebook about it. Jeez. It wasn't rocket science. The answer was given nice and --almost--simple. I think some crazies were trying to further ANALYZE everything, so they looked for little clues in places where there weren't any.

It was PERFECT. Answers that NEEDED to be answered, were. The not-so-important ones were left alone. And the rest are all up to us to interpret on our own. That's what I love and respect about these writers. They kept some questions up in the air for us to think about; keeping the mystery alive. Because lets face it, writers don't know EVERYTHING. Some things they can't explain themselves, and that's a good thing.

This footage was of the Ajira plane carrying Kate, Sawyer, Miles, Richard, and Lapidus. That plane was rigged with bombs by Widmore just in case Smokey found a way to reach the plane. This was shown at least twice, and the bombs were never shown being removed. Widmore died before he could, for some reason, order them removed. Thus, they were still there, and presumably on a timer set to blow once the plane was airborne for 'x' number of minutes. Since the crash footage cut to another scene of crash footage, it was either more of Ajira, or else the next plane load of Losties for Hurley and his helper Ben to deal with so that the whole circle of life/death could begin once more.

It never occurred to me for this footage to be anything else, and it is certainly not some lame excuse offered by some ABC staffer stuck for to say.

Of course the images didn't mean anything! I was wondering why people got confused, they were just images of the crash set during the credits.

Those who hated the finale and now only down LOST never really got the show in the first place. The characters were first, the mythology and island were second. You spent so much time blinded by questions like what is the island? what is the smoke monster? what is the incident? that you failed to see what was right in front of your eyes all along - survivors of a plane crash who were lost in their own lives, seeking redemption, and finding that on the island. The island itself is the source of life, they returned to find themselves. The final scene shows them happy and content - a stark contrast to their lives before the island and the resolution the show intended. Sure certain questions about the island were not answered, but they didn't need to be to fulfill the overall story.

Also, could it be that Jacob knew all along that Desmond was the loophole to kill MiB? Could it be that he knew MiB would need Desmond to 'destroy' the island? Did MiB not realise by doing this that he would be mortal so whomever replaced Jacob could kill him and then replace the plug? Evidence seems to point to that maybe being Jacob redeeming himself for releasing the smoke monster in the first place (obviously not knowing what would happen when he sent his brother into the tunnel...)

"Some 'Lost' fans and critics..." were confused?! The only "exclusive" here is your own Mary McNamara, the only professional TV critic in America who somehow thought these people were dead all along (and therefore never would have met, negating the need for an after-life reunion) -- despite the clunky expositional monologue by a character in scene EXPLAINING EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED. But I guess this was easier than printing a retraction, or explaining how you could have gotten this so wrong.

I really don't see how some people go so confused over that last shot. I didn't even think twice about it until I saw the angry blogs about how they thought that the writers had "robbed" the viewers by making the last 6 years "a dream." I was very much taken aback by that and as I read the angry replies, I rolled my eyes. Some fans are just a little overboard with the analyzing. Let. It. Go. People! I know that there were a lot of twists and turns throughout this show, but I thought that Jack's dad gave a pretty direct answer to us viewers. Well, kinda vague, but direct.

There were a lot of people ticked over it because some questions were not answered, but do those unanswered questions matter? Like REALLY matter? Every much needed answer was given to us, I thought. We don't need EVERYTHING explained to us because it ruins the magic. The writers were smart to not have answered some stuff. That way, the show is still talked about and kept alive. Duuuuuh.

Sue,you just proved to us that you never payed attention to the ending.What the editor left out was the conversation of Hurley & Ben.That conversation discredits the "Crash Death Theory",cause they lived longer than Jack.Also,how was Ben & Desmond even in the "flash-sideways",if they weren't even on the plane? This will go down as the "Most Misinterpreted Finale Ever." 10 yrs from now,we'll still be bickering over what really happened.

There they are again. . . trying to explain themselves!

LOST was originally a great story and the audience was hooked. Then it slowly slipping into a convoluted conglomeration of unbelievable coincidences and absurdity. The writers didn't know when to leave well enough alone.

They figured the audience were as confused as they were, so they started with the closed captioning to explain themselves. They lost a lot of fans with the back tracking and repetition. They just couldn't let the story continue and unfold.
The ending was an additional disappointment.

Face it -- the producers were idiots for putting that shot in at the final credits. No producer should have to explain something after the fact. FAIL.

Well I hated it. Too simple. No explanation about Dharma anymore, polar bears, time travel, and all the cool things about Lost. I looked like another show. And everybody that I know feel the same. Just deal with it: The worst finale ever!
Oh And in six years I never saw so much love between Kate and Jack, yeah that was really one true pairing yeack!

I'm Lost, every pun intended.

Alam - Locke removed the bombs in Jack's backpack and put them on the submarine, didn't he??

I was a longtime fan of the show and for the last episode was a huge insult to everyone who believed that answers would be forthcoming. When in fact they answered questions that no one really cared about. I mean, what is the island and why/how did it move rough time and space? What about the recurring numbers? And even from this season they failed to answer questions about the temple and the band of hippies living there. So who can blame people for being confused by that last image?

Here's how clueless I am: I had no idea people were in an uproar about the photos. When they came on the screen, I thought, "Oh. How nice. A look back at where it all began." It reminded me of how EPIC the pilot was and how much had happened since the show began. I didn't think, "Look. Stills of the set from six years ago shown while the credits roll obviously means it was all a dream." How did people go there?

The LOST finale, I understand. Some people? No.

In response to Alam Grossman (as I am interpreting what you wrote, and if I misinterpreted, I apologize).

In "The Candidate", Locke took the C4 off the plane and showed the group, he said that Widmore had hooked it up to the electrical system and it was rigged to blow as soon as it was switched on. This was the same C4 that Locke used to blow up the sub with the watch he took off the guy he had killed outside the plane.

In "The End", they are trying to start up the plane, with no luck, and Lapidus has Miles and Richard go fix the electrical system (with Duct tape). Once he turned on the plane, it showed that all the C4 had been removed and everything was okay with the plane.

Also, we didn't see that footage in San Diego, as there had been an earthquake in Baja during the show at some point and as soon as LOST showed up on screen, they cut to breaking news with no credits. When I heard about it yesterday, I thought it was an internet hoax to mess with people, but went on ABC.com and saw that it wasn't. But since they made an effort not to interrupt the story at any point, I viewed that as just extra footage and not integral to the story.

Alam Grossman, the bomb on Ajira was removed by Fake Locke to blow up the submarine.. Don't you remember when the sub blew up because Fake Locke took the bomb and gave it to Jack in his pack? The wreckage footage was of Oceanic 815.. I thought it looked very familiar!

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