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

Lost
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
twitter.com/writerchica

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

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Comments () | Archives (73)

Adding to that... many people's belief that they died on the plane had nothing to do with the fact that they showed the wreckage at the end, it more had to do with what they had been watching, for, like, the past six years. I'm getting so exhausted trying to explain the theory because it's quite abstract and philosophical just like the show was and apparantly people don't like that. I will say I have another theory though, and that it's more concrete and has to do with the island being a Bermuda Triangle of sorts, a purgatory in a way that we wouldn't normally think of it, a literal limbo between physical and supernatural dimensions that one could get sucked into (or go to after death) but possibly leave under proper conditions as well. High levels of electro-magnetic energy are found in areas of paranormal activity - perhaps a way for another dimension to bleed into ours. The Man of Science and Man of Faith would have joined for our show and they would have explained "purgatory" as a tangible place explained through fringe science. If you need more information on how both the island and alternate reality could both be "purgatories" hop around some forums.

I'm okay with the last shot of the plane wreckage. I do think it was an Easter egg and was meant to continue to move the discussion along as to the whys and the significance of the whole series. It's a little strange for ABC to really stand by the idea that it was just a production transition. How could the stills of the wreckage not be thought of that everyone died in the plane crash on the island. Gee, the last action shot is of Jack dying in the same spot he landed in when the plane crashed to begin with. After that last plane wreckage shot, it could be assumed that the entire series was a bunch of crazy, incoherent synapses shooting off in Jack's brain as he hallucinated before death on the island after the plane crash! A huge gaff on the part of ABC, or the best way to wrap up the idea that yeah, everyone died.

i watched the finale in australia and didnt see the shots of the fuselage with the credits, but when i heard that was what you lot in the US saw, i liked the idea. there was no notion to me that it puts the events of the entire series in question, i thought it was a nice idea, and a nostalgic look at where it all began. it was only after reading viewer comments on blogs such as this one that the notion that the escapades of the survivors never really happened. it was the 2 and a half hours beforehand you should pay attention to, not 30 seconds of credits.

The producers defend themselves over the horrible finale by claiming that it was always about "the characters," more than "the story." The same claim is made by many of the commenters here (I have not seen so many LOST defenders in one place before).

Truth: the characters were not all that interesting. Most were one-dimensional with simplistic -- yet over-explained -- flaws; most never did anything we wouldn't expect them to do after watching them for 5 episodes. I couldn't have cared less about the "sideways world" and what everybody's life would have been like if perfect... or whatever that world's point was.

The STORY was interesting; the characters were just good vessels -- due to their simplicity -- for introducing the interesting elements of the story. What the heck was that island? What was that awfully phallic stone holding back exactly? Why would the black smoke have caused death and destruction if it left the island? What was up with the time travel? Why were only the main characters at the church at the end; weren't there dozens of survivors? Why were Lynus and Juliet at the church but none of the other Dharma people / Others? The plot holes were big enough to fly Oceanair 815 through.

And, really, was all the Christian imagery necessary? It was overwhelming in the finale. "Christian Shepherd"? Jack was stabbed in a similar place as Jesus. The implied purgatory / heaven situations.

I don't watch TV shows to get a spiritual experience, unlike most of the people here it seems. If I want to be preached at about the epic issues of life and death, I can go to church. I watch TV shows to be shown a good story and be entertained. LOST had a good story the first couple seasons and, even as it got completely convoluted in the last couple seasons, there was a vague promise that it will make sense in the end. Instead, the finale was a cop out about "the characters" which failed to even mention the multitude of interesting things that actually happened over the course of 6 seasons.

Does Sawyer work for ABC? So, an image of the plane wreckage on the Island is going to to soothe me for the news after that saccerine happy ending? Does ABC, Bad Robot think we're idiots? Six years watching this show and they can't even tell us one big answer? Sideways World doesn't count because it was a big con job. Parallel Universe? Psyche! Memo to Bad Robot, please turn Star Trek to science fiction experts.

Unless ABC is also part of the alternate reality, and the network never really existed at all...

I have to say I only became a fan of the show in the last season... so I'm a bit of a poser. Based on everything I could figure out from the catch up shows and the occassional re-run, the ending was beautiful and brilliant. Jacob was nothing more than a control freak who was protecting the island from NOTHING. The Flash Sideways had ALL OF US fooled. We all figured they would go back to the island... nothing doing... it wasn't a flash sideways, it was a HUGE FLASH FORWARD. They were all dead... not from the plane crash, but from living out their lives...whether they escaped the island or were killed on the island, or whatever. They had a unique bond that brought them all back together in the afterlife, so they could be properly re-united and realize what a special part they played in each other's lives. Just brilliant.

i really don't see what's so confusing...

'Lost' was more than just plane crash survivors on a remote island. It was a group of people who were lost inside their own lives. There were glimpses of redemption and reformation of the many troubled and flawed, but mostly likable characters. In the end, they appear to be all dead. They died either in the original plane crash or one-by-one sometime later. Was the show all about the crash victims going through purgatory, limbo, or some other place on their way to the afterlife? Maybe, but what if it was not about that? If this story was truly about the survivors, toughing it out on a remote and hostile island, then this story was about a lost opportunity for the writers. It was also somewhat of a sadistic tragedy, where just as characters, begin to find love, meaning, or respect, the character or their love was killed off.

It's easy for writers to kill off characters. What is more difficult is to carry on their story lines in an interesting and entertaining way. Maybe when the writers could no longer come up with something interesting to write about someone, they took the easy way out and killed them off.

If you were hoping for an uplifting story of love, redemption, and triumph, then 'Lost' was about the time lost watching and waiting for something that wasn't going to happen. Then again, maybe they all died in the crash and it was just a sad story from the very start.

I love mysteries, but I also want to be uplifted. We all die in the end. I don't need to see another version of the inevitable. Give me a story about the improbable. Give me a story about how we live and triumph against the odds.

Huge let down. It could have been so good. They could have blown us all out of the water like they did in the pilot. Nothing was answered. How did they all die? What was the point of the island anyway? What happened to Whitmore, Walt, etc. Lost took us on a road to open our imagination...the cool polar bear etc (yes the damn polar bear)...and then this is where it finally took us? I mean come on...they are all dead. Really? Seriously? That was a guess from day one but we were told that's not it at all-so of course we expected bigger, better and something that would blow our minds. But that's the best they could do? Horrible. The entire island theme turned out to be a wild goose chase and a waste in the end. What was the point of showing Sawyer as a cop? Jack as a great surgeon with a son and all of that confusion...if they were dead? Doesn't even make any sense at all! They lost the wonderful imagination. What a shame!

This might check out... except that it was different from the wreckage in the pilot. There were no people scrambling about in confusion, no one at all was seen in the final images of Lost. Drastically different to the wreckage seen in the pilot... This was a new addition.

They did indeed intend to show that final footage.

This was dumber than the months of Pam's dream of Bobby being killed on Dallas!

I know this is way after the last post in this entry but...

How could they have gotten things completely wrong if so many people see so much in the story and think it is great? From what I understand, there is a portion of people who think it is crud, and others who think it is literature on the screen. To me this means they actually are quite brilliant...that people are able to have this sort of reaction to the show. To me the reaction to things, the preoccupation with the little mysteries on the show actually echoes the basic message they were trying to convey with the island itself; that is, with all the cultures and different structures spread across it, from temples to lighthouses to Egyptian statues, to the scientific Dharma expedition, that none of it really mattered and only showed different stages of thought for mankind until the ultimate destination, which is what they showed in the End. They showed us lives, and our own journey as human beings in a one hour a week show and I think that in the end, it came off brilliantly.

How on earth could that have been so wrong?

 
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