To those who watched the last-ever Lost at its scheduled time of 9pm Friday night, congratulations. You held out against the hype. To mild obsessives who got up at 5am last Monday for the "simulcast" with the United States, are you nuts?
The fear for the latter group was that if they waited, they risked having the secrets of the mysterious six-year drama spoilt for them on the internet. But Lost is so gnomic, so "other" (to use one of the show's own terms) that even spoilers didn't explain much. Stuff, crucial stuff fans might say, was still left open to interpretation.
Should the finale have answered every one of the show's mind-warping oddities? It would have taken longer than two and half hours for that. The red herrings, McGuffins and random plot twists were many – the polar bear on the tropical island where the plane crashed, a man who could turn into black smoke on demand, a sequence of numbers that cropped up in mystical circumstances and the island itself, jumping through time. These quirks made it impossible for late-comers to ever really get with the programme.
So I'll 'fess up now: I watched every episode. When it started in 2004 Lost was what looked like a straight-up survivors drama with very high production values (the plane crash scenes were spectacular), but quickly became more intriguing and infuriating. The creators, JJ Abrams, Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, quickly confirmed that it was going to be a long, strange ride. But at times, when the madness of flashbacks, flash-forwards and flash-sideways came thick and fast, and 1977 and 2004 seemed to be existing all at once, it was hard to love.
For those who did stick with it, love was all around, in the end. Like Heroes, Battlestar Galactica and, to an extent, Ashes to Ashes, it married sci-fi with human drama – helped enormously by a thrilling score from Oscar-winning composer Michael Giacchino. The music soared in the finale, as the island's inhabitants found each other in the alt-reality of Los Angeles, where the plane had never crashed at all. It was deftly done, and this reviewer will not be the only one to admit to a few tears.
For, after all the time travelling, symbolism, slayings and explosions, what Lost had at its heart was a message about faith and connection. Right up to the very last frame, we learnt that no one has to die alone.
Meanwhile, seemingly irrelevant details took on new meaning. Lead survivor Jack Shephard's father, Christian, led the climax, set in a church. "Christian Shephard". Why had I not noticed that before? Religion played a huge part, just as widely predicted back in 2004. In hindsight, characters named Jacob, Aaron and John were heavy hints. The main on-going debate is whether the island, or Los Angeles, was Purgatory.
But what did all the rest of it mean? Weeeell, not much really. The last week has passed with much philosophising on the web but my guess is that the creators, having thrown every fantasy plot twist they could think of into the mix, ran out of ways to unpick it all and focussed on Jack, the man in the first frame of the first show.
His battle to save his comrades, save the island, and – without really knowing why – save himself occupied much of the last show, and it ended with his dying on the island as he accomplished the first two then, bathed in celestial white light in alt-world, accomplishing the last. Which was nice, because he was by far the best looking of the crash survivors, and when you've got up at 5am to watch telly, gazing at a handsome man stops you nodding off.