Island: Vincent lies disturbingly still. Jack's still alive, though. Once he sees Ajira 316 fly overhead, he smiles. His death is not for nothing -- it's for everything.
Sanctuary: Jack smiles until he and all our beloved are obscured from our view by the light of world.
Island: We zoom in on Jack's open right eye. It closes for the last time.
Title Card. Silent Robot.
The Island Isn't Done With Us, Yet: All my crying and schmooping aside, there are character resolutions (or lack thereof) I don't like or get, but there are other things that don't bother me in the slightest. The first one that comes to mind is Michael; his "fate" seems to be raising a lot of hackles. Just because Michael isn't present in the sanctuary doesn't -- to me -- mean that he'll never be released from the Island's Ghost World. I understand and agree that his crimes are lesser than Sayid's or Sawyer's. The murders of Libby and particularly Ana-Lucia are probably more comparable to Kate's murder of Wayne. Michael and Kate committed terrible wrongs, but they did them in a misguided attempt to save their loved ones. The thing is Sayid, Sawyer, Kate -- they grabbed their shots at redemption. Michael could have come clean before leading Hurley, Jack, Kate and Sawyer to the Others, but he chose not to. He betrayed his own team and then abandoned them. His fellow Lostaways weren't that important to him. He proved that on the Island. Similarly, I could not care less that Walt wasn't here for the end. He was on the Island for a few months when he was a child. It seems it wasn't the most important time of his life and the other Lostaways weren't the most important people in his life. Thank goodness for that. Wouldn't it mean the rest of his life was a sad, sad thing, if they were?
Now, about Shannon... Chicken-choking jokes aside, when Sayid failed to mention his love's name while making his Fauckian bargain, I started suspecting we were going to get a Nadia/Shannon switcheroo. Given Christian's explanation of the Sideways reality -- it doesn't make a lot of sense at first, that Shannon, rather than Nadia, is Sayid's one. But I have to admit, it works for me, anyhow. It works for me once I recall everything I've learned about Sayid. I love him, but he did a lot of bad shit for the love of Nadia, and hired himself out as Ben's henchman, after she died.
When Sayid was with Shannon -- he was working on being a better man. When Shannon was taken from him, he refused to give into his thirst for revenge. Add all that to the importance of the Island and Lostaways in Sayid's redemption -- and the fact that Shannon and Sayid have the Island in common, and it starts to look less ridiculous for them to end up together. I have to admit though, no matter how much I buy into the defense I've just presented (and I mostly do), I still get a whiff of fish. I can't prove it, but it still smells like Sayid and Shannon end up together, largely because Darlton got the chance to bring the lovely Maggie Grace back for an episode. Had she not been available, I bet folding money Nadia would have been in that sanctuary, instead. This is a place where the tale is a bit suspect. Functional? Sure. Beautiful and moving? Yes. True? Eh, 75 percent.
Penny and Desmond: I'm ashamed of myself for being as moved at her wordless inclusion in the sanctuary as I was. She was reduced to an object of desire in what ended up being fairly blatant emotional pornography. Okay, that's too harsh and not entirely true. Sure, Penny was never on the Island, but the Island had a profound effect on her earthly life. Consider this: Widmore's Island-ties stretch back before her birth, and his on-Island affair with Eloise must have affected Charles' relationship with Penny's mum; Desmond washed up there as part of his quest to become worthy of Penny; Penny spent years and fortunes trying to locate the Island; It was she who rescued the Oceanic Six. I'm good enough with this and am learning to let go of my shame.
Claire and Aaron: I get why -- emotionally -- newborn Aaron was in the Sideways. Claire has always been such a sympathetic figure. Heck, I wanted to see her get a second chance too, but I also like to eat more cookies than I should, you know? Given Christian's explanation that the Lostaways created an afterlife meet-up so they could find all their most important people -- it makes little sense (from Aaron's perspective) that Aaron was there, at least as a newborn. He was three years old, the last time we saw him, and would have no conscious memory of the Island. Even if Claire, Charlie and Kate were the people most important to his entire life -- it makes no sense that he'd enter his afterlife as an infant. His inclusion is emotional porn, for sure.
I mean, I basically have to decide that he's not real (or at least not the original Aaron, but some soul-clone), or if I choose to think of him as Original Aaron, I have to wave my hands until my arms fall off. And yet? I'm not sure how you tell Claire's story without giving her back her baby, that is, I don't know how you do it without turning Lost into a tragedy. It would have been possible, had the episode included a post-Island earthly epilogue for the Ajira 6 in which she was reunited with her boy and learned how to be his mum again, but that would have necessitated a different epiphany for not only Claire, but Kate and Charlie, too. Since the finale is 2.5 hours as it stands, I understand why the show sacrificed sense for sentiment. Still, it muddies the waters for those of us who like to imagine their afterlife once they exit the sanctuary. I mean, is Aaron a newborn forever? If not, do the other characters age -- even though they started their afterlife at the age they were when they left the Island -- regardless of when they died? Ick. I'm purposefully putting this out of my mind, because thinking about it too much ruins three terrifically powerful epiphanies.