The Ending Of Lost We Really Wanted To See

Thanks to the ongoing march of technology, the network TV sci-fi drama "Lost" is available to watch on multiple streaming platforms. But the experience of watching "Lost" as it aired between 2004 and 2010 is entirely unique to its time, and impossible to replicate now. After three years of waiting, finally finding out why John Locke (Terry O'Quinn) can't walk felt seriously significant — but if a mere few days go by between watching "Pilot: Part 1" and the revelatory Season 3 episode "The Man From Tallahassee," the new info might not make your face explode.   

That's why it's difficult to appreciate the extent to which the devoted "Lost" fanbase went to the metaphorical zoo throughout the final season's unfolding in 2010. Did the various exploits and adventures of Oceanic Flight 815's crash survivors conclude to our satisfaction? Well, that's a complicated question that haunts O.G. "Lost" fans to this day. The short answer is, "Not really, but we're okay with it." The long answer is, "Yes, but if we were in charge of Season 6, we'd change a lot of stuff." Though newbie "Lost" aficionados might never be able to experience the wild ride the series offered as it aired, even they can understand the appeal of an alternate finale. These are the elements comprising the ending of "Lost" we really wanted to see.

This might go without saying, but massive spoilers For "Lost" are on the way!

The Sideways-verse never happens

Even if certain mystery-crazed fans don't want to admit it, "Lost" showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse made the right call by centering the final season of "Lost" around characters' personal journeys, rather than tying up pedantic loose ends. Their plan was fine ... we're just not sure about the execution. 

If everyone in the Sideways-verse — a place that initially appears as a "What If?"-style parallel timeline in which Oceanic 815 never crashes — is unknowingly dead, then nothing that happens there matters in any concrete sense. It's just ghosts working through their ghost issues. Yet segments in the Sideways-verse replace the show's signature flashbacks and flashforwards throughout Season 6, which makes it seem as though it has profound ramifications regarding events transpiring on the Island. In the oft-complained-about ending of "Lost," we find out that for all the impact it has had on the Island, the Sideways-verse might as well have been a different TV show for all it actually matters. It feels like a brutal bait-and-switch. 

We don't want to sound like Monday morning quarterbacks here, but this choice raises an unavoidable question: Was there really no way to center Season 6 around the characters' emotional development without detaching half of one of the most anticipated seasons in television history from the story fans spent five years obsessing over? We've got a better idea: Just cut the Sideways-verse entirely. 

Instead of a church, the survivors exit purgatory ... in a spaceship!

"The End" closes out the series with a handful of characters in the Sideways-verse, all newly aware of their collective post-life status, reuniting in a church. They greet each other warmly, sit in pews, and bask in quiet awe as mystical light engulfs the room. It's creepy, uncomfortable for folks who aren't mega-fans of the casual application of Christian iconography, and, in the opinion of some fans, a sentimental cop-out. 

But bear with us for a second here — what if, like many elements of "Lost," the church is not what it appears to be? What if John Terry isn't playing an implied angel presenting itself in the physical form of Dr. Christian Shephard, but an extraterrestrial being gathering the consciousnesses of Island residents for spooky scientific testing? What if Oceanic 815 never really crashed, and was in fact teleported onto a space station located in an adjacent solar system? What if the folks we think are living on a magic island are, in reality, the subjects of a space alien behavioral study and psychology project? 

If we had to choose between a final two minutes of "Lost" that sends all the characters to Christian Heaven and an ending that pulls hitherto unmentioned space aliens out of thin air, we'd sign up for the "X-Files"-style deus ex machina in a microsecond.     

Fewer new characters introduced at the last moment

When the time finally comes to take in "Lost" Season 6, most viewers are eager to learn what's going to happen to the remaining Oceanic 815 survivors. While "Lost" has an underrated track record when it comes to introducing new characters — let's remember, Ben Linus (Michael Emerson), Desmond Hume (Henry Ian Cusick), and Juliet Burke (Elizabeth Mitchell) appear in a combined total of zero Season 1 episodes — fans aren't necessarily keen on the idea of fresh new faces at that late stage in the game. And yet, a whole bunch of them get introduced.

Lennon (John Hawkes), Dogen (Hiroyuki Sanada), and Zoe (Sheila Kelley) don't stick around for very long. But do they all need to be on the show, really? As he eventually reveals, Dogen speaks English, so he doesn't require Lennon to translate for him. This means "Lost" doesn't need him to take up any screen time at all. As for Zoe, when she first encounters Sawyer (Josh Holloway), she introduces herself as a hapless newcomer to the Island. By doing so, she reminds the audience of how far our heroes have come since they found themselves in a similar position back in Season 1. But is that callback truly essential to the final season of "Lost?" No, and that's why the "Lost" ending fans really want wouldn't contain these characters.

Locke comes back and gets revenge on the Smoke Monster

"Lost" isn't really an action show — it's a sci-fi drama with occasional action sequences. But if there's an Oceanic 815 survivor who embodies the traditional action hero archetype, it's John Locke. He's rugged, independent, lets his instincts guide his decisions, suffers from delusions of grandeur that malevolent forces easily manipulate, and doesn't let anyone tell him what he can't do. Yet ironically, rather than perishing in a Rambo-style blaze of glory, Locke is quietly murdered in a hotel room in total obscurity.   

Of course, Season 5 wouldn't be arguably the best segment of the series without the individual we initially presume to be Locke revealing himself (itself?) to be something quite different. But we've got an even better ending in mind. Picture this: Somehow, after Sideways-verse Locke learns about his death and how it happened, instead of embracing a Pollyanna live-and-let-live (um, unlive-and-let-unlive?) perspective, he decides to get back to the Island and kick some Smoke Monster butt.

Granted, Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox) doesn't need more help rescuing the Island from "John Locke," aka "The Man In Black," aka "the Smoke Monster" in "The End." But Locke surely deserves some retribution against the entity who orchestrated his death and impersonated him. Plus, it could set up a hilarious exchange in which "Locke" yells, "I'm telling you, you can't do anything to stop me!"

Mr. Eko returns and helps Locke smash the Smoke Monster's face

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje has an incredible life story, so the fact that his stay in Hawaii didn't last beyond the production of Season 3 is a bummer. The actor portrays the redemption-seeking ex-gangster and Oceanic 815 survivor Mr. Eko, who has a fair amount in common with John Locke: They both view the Island from a spiritual perspective, and they're both killed by the Smoke Monster. Let us note that whereas the Smoke Monster's murder of Locke entails manipulating multiple individuals and a large amount of time travel, its approach to killing Eko is much more hands-on ... in a manner of speaking.

Eko isn't in Season 6, but since we see his fellow tail-end passengers Ana Lucia Cortez (Michelle Rodriguez) and Libby Smith (Cynthia Watros) in the Sideways-verse, it stands to reason that Eko resides there as well. If, hypothetically, Sideways-verse Locke were to come back to the Island to inflict merciless vengeance on the Smoke Monster, is there any reason why Mr. Eko couldn't come along to help pummel ol' Smokey into the dirt? We don't think so, and that's why we're endorsing the possibility as part of a better ending to "Lost."

Sayid lives happily ever after with a new girlfriend who doesn't get murdered

Sayid Jarrah (Naveen Andrews) is a dangerous man to date. He succeeds in his quest to track down childhood sweetheart Noor "Nadia" Abed Jaseem (Andrea Gabriel) after his escape from the Island, but as soon as he gets comfortable in his post-Island life, Nadia dies in a very suspicious traffic accident. Losing Nadia devastates Sayid. To make matters worse, it isn't even the first time something like this has happened to him. He and fellow 815 survivor Shannon Rutherford (Maggie Grace) enjoy a brief but intense romance before Shannon is accidentally shot to death by Ana Lucia. Worse yet, some time after Nadia's "accident," Sayid falls for a German woman supposedly named Elsa (Thekla Reuten) who turns out to be a spy. Sayid is eventually forced to murder her in self-defense.   

"Lost" fans of the 2000s were so concerned with mysteries like the meaning of the numbers and the origin of the Others, they forgot to ask why everyone Sayid dates dies horribly. Taken together, it's pretty weird! If we were in charge of the ending, Sayid's story wouldn't end with him exploding in a submarine. Instead, he'd meet his new girlfriend, who just so happens to be an unkillable immortal — kind of like a female Richard Alpert (Nestor Carbonell). This way, Sayid wouldn't have to wait to meet Shannon in the afterlife to date someone who is not about to die.

Everything works out a little bit better for Ji Yeon

The final season of "Lost" is loaded with tear-jerking moments. The award for the most emotionally harrowing of the lot definitely belongs to the deaths of Sun-Hwa Kwon (Yunjin Kim) and Jin-Soo Kwon (Daniel Dae Kim). Falling debris traps Sun on a sinking submarine, and after a valiant attempt to remove the rubble, Jin opts to say in the sub and drown with his until-recently estranged wife, rather than return to life without her. That's all very romantic, but shouldn't one of them remember that they have a small child together named Ji Yeon (Jaymie Kim), and that if one of them is doomed, the other certainly has some degree of obligation to go be a parent to her? 

Granted, we're not sure what year the Island is in during the events depicted in Season 6, so maybe flying back to the mainland and raising his daughter isn't on Jin's list of options anyway. Plus, removing Sun and Jin's drowning scene would be robbing "Lost" of one of its most dramatically effective moments, so even if it ruins Ji Yeon's life, we can't bring ourselves to imagine it any other way. But since we're making suggestions for better endings, wouldn't it be neat if Desmond and Penny (Sonya Walger) inherited all her dad's money and decided that, since they have functionally unlimited resources now, they can afford to adopt their dead friends' child? We think so. 

We don't have to relive Juliet's death quite as often

The death of Juliet Burke ends Season 5 with a literal bang. Jack's plan to blow up the Island's pocket of electromagnetism with a hydrogen bomb backfires, and overwhelming magnetic force pulls just about every metal object within a few miles — including a bundle of chains that catches Juliet's leg — into a deep pit. Juliet tearfully parts ways with Sawyer during his desperate and futile attempt to save her, plummets to the bottom ... and miraculously manages to detonate the hydrogen bomb, saving Jack's plan at the last possible moment. 

If Juliet has to go, at least she gets to create a time paradox on her way to the great beyond. It's an amazing scene, and through a ridiculous amount of overexposure on "previously on ... " segments, "Lost" squeezes every last drop of emotional gravitas it can out of it. This means that arguably, in the interest of repeatedly reminding us that Juliet is dead and Sawyer is sad, the show waters down one of its most impactful moments.

If we could go back and change the negative elements of "Lost" Season 6, we'd only show Juliet's death in the "previously on ... " segment of the season premiere, and maybe the Sawyer-centric episode as well. But that would be all — revisiting Juliet's terrifying demise just isn't necessary beyond that.

Ben reveals that he brainwashed Michael halfway through Season 2

Michael Dawson (Harold Perrineau) spends "Lost" Season 1 and the first part of Season 2 looking after his son, forming friendships with Jin, Sun, and Sawyer, and stepping up to take the lead on projects meant to help everyone trapped on the Island safely return to their lives. Michael is an all-around stand-up guy at this point. Halfway through Season 2, however, Michael turns into a dude who will murder two innocent people and betray all his friends because he thinks it might allow him to rescue his son Walt (Malcolm David Kelley) from the Others. Does Michael's capacity for morality and judgement decrease in proportion to his time spent on the Island? Could it be that Michael has to turn fink in order for the writers to execute the otherwise excellent plot of Season 2 and provide a reason to move Walt off the Island before Kelley hit puberty and abruptly turned into a much taller young man with a noticeably deeper voice?

Maybe it's worth doing Michael dirty to allow other aspects of "Lost" to work. But still, wouldn't it be quick and easy to redeem him, as long as the show is already on its way out the door? Ben could just casually mention that the Others found Dharma Initiative mind control tech and used it on Michael after he refused to go along with their plan. Problem solved! 

Libby gets a flashback episode

By the time we reach the end of "Lost," we're familiar with three phases of Libby's life: Her time in a mental asylum, the moment in which she bumped into Desmond at a coffee shop and gave him her dead husband's boat, and her brief tenure on the Island following the crash of Oceanic 815. Given those facts, it really seems like there's more to her story.

We know Libby was married twice before she met her deceased boat-owning husband. What was going on with those prior marriages, we wonder? What made the boat guy special? Is there any aspect of her background that explains her particular attraction to Hugo "Hurley" Reyes (Jorge Garcia)? Don't get us wrong, Hurley's a catch, but why him instead of the many other available and equally-charming men on the Island? Furthermore, lots of folks want to know what the deal is with that one scene that reveals Libby and Hurley spent time in the same mental institution.  

We're not suggesting "Lost" should've brought Libby back from the dead before wrapping things up, but if we could control reality and change the ending of "Lost," we'd make a little more room for Libby-related backstory. 

Vincent gets a flashback episode

Vincent, one of the comparatively few characters introduced in the pilot who survives all the way through to the series finale, never gets a flashback episode. Even Nikki and Paulo — the briefly loathed and promptly killed-off couple played by Kiele Sanchez and Rodrigo Santoro — get a pretty great flashback episode! Yet "Lost" inexplicably offers viewers no window into the mind of the beloved golden retriever.

Of all the survivors of flight 815, Vincent is just about the only one who links each phase of the show's Island-based story together without directly participating in any of them. We could learn things from Vincent: Maybe he's seen a more satisfactory explanation for the significance of the numbers, Walt's supposed special abilities, or other events, which could resolve any number of lingering questions "Lost" fans still complain about. 

Instead of Vincent-centric insight, we end up with, among other questionable choices on the part of the "Lost" powers-that-be, an entire Season 3 episode that devotes its flashbacks to the hilariously unnecessary origin of Jack's tattoos. We hope ABC never screws things up and brings back "Lost" for a true revival, but if this does come to pass, we insist upon an episode from Vincent's point of view. Or, better yet, every episode told from Vincent's point of view. Every dog should have its day, darn it!