"If we can't live together, we're gonna die alone."
- Dr. Jack Shephard during Season 1 (played by Matthew Fox)
I've been trying to decipher the final 2 1/2 hour episode of Lost since I watched in on Sunday night. I re-watched today, and I think I know what happened. Here is my explanation of the "flash sideways," the Island, and Jack Shephard.
Each season of Lost (post season 2) brought us something new as a means of storytelling. Season 6 a.k.a. The Final Season gave us the "flash sideways," which is simply an alternate reality that the characters "all made together" to "find each other" and to get closure so they could all move on. I think of it as sort of a stepping stone to Heaven. They all became reunited in this "place" realizing that they were meant to be together, that they were meant to be on The Island and know and love each other there in real life. The Island time of coming to know each other was the most important part of their lives as Jack's Dad puts it, so they (in some far off future after they have all died) created a perfect "real world" where they could become intwined with each other and remember that they once were all together on The Island and that it was important that they were there. Their destinies were fulfilled on The Island. It really DID matter that Jack stayed to save the Island and die there. The only way they could all be together again was for Jack to finally fulfill his destiny. Saving the Island, restoring good and peace.
The show is truly about Jack and his inability to get things right. He had to keep trying to fulfill his destiny. He had to become more like Locke was in the beginning. He had to believe in something, to gain and understand and practice faith in something. He had to keep trying to get it right.
Trying to "fix everything" didn't work in the first few seasons, leaving the Island didn't work (seasons 3/4), coming back and trying to blow up the Island didn't work (season 5). Season 6, the final season, was about Jack becoming what the Island wanted him to be, to accomplish. He could only make things truly right with his family (his father, Claire)in the "flash sideways." He kept getting chances to be truly good, to do what he was meant to do, and the only way for him to do that, to save everyone was for him to die on the Island. Don't worry, I'm not ready to start delving into the Biblical allegory just yet in this, my initial thoughts on "The End." However, Jack was always meant to die, to sacrifice himself for the Island, for good.
In Season 2, Jack and Locke were at odds on how to protect The Island (ie. the hatch, the button, "Man of Science, Man of Faith"). They were polar opposites. When Locke died, Jack brought him back to the Island. Locke became the Evil side and Jack became the Good. But Jack knew that this evil wasn't really Locke. The fact that Jack made Locke walk again in the "flash sideways" gives me the most satisfaction. By doing this, Jack was able to prove to HIMSELF that he could be a "Man of Faith" like Locke, a man of miracles, and could finally be at peace with all of those he came to love on The Island. He knew he had to die, so he could see them all again and "let go"/"move on." In doing this, he didn't truly "die alone."
Note: I have without a doubt left plenty of things out of this as far as many other characters go, specifically the importance of Desmond, Ben, and Hurley. Maybe you readers can add them into my discussion here, and we can see what happens.