If I had to rank my favorite scenes of the Lost finale, Jack Shephard's Island death march crosscut with the afterlife launch of the castaway soul cluster in the Sideways world would be my clear number one. There was a lot of blood under his nose at one point. Did you wonder if exposure to the Source had given him the time travel brain-scramble that cooked poor Charlotte in season 5? During Jack's death rattle, do you think his mind was toggling between his Island head and his Sideways construct, yo-yoing between misery and bliss the way George Minkowski did in season 4? And didn't Jack's sacrifice in the radioactive engine room of The Island remind you of Spock's death at the end of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn? If John Locke could have been given a Shatneresque eulogy for his friend and ideological foe, he would have ended it like this: ''Of all the man-of-science souls I have ever encountered in my travels, his was the most... [pause to stifle sob]... faithful.''
A number of scenes are duking it out for No. 2 on my list. I loved Jack's long-awaited confrontation and reconciliation with his father. We had been anticipating this moment since ''White Rabbit,'' when Jack went chasing after Christian's ghost and found his father's empty casket. I had always imagined a slightly angry encounter, with Jack using the opportunity to settle some old scores with his dad. Instead, it was all about Prodigal Son joy. It spoke to and for any parent and child, young or old, who hopes for an afterlife where they can see their family again, especially their parents, and especially if they parted company with too much unsaid, too much unresolved. I know that some people found the Jack/Christian moment to be ''mawkish'' and ''sentimental.'' Not me. I thought and felt that the moment was painfully honest. It was direct and knowing about the very real and very frightening prospect of eternal separation and loss. I felt and could relate to the pain and the anguish and the yearning of both the father and the son. And it left me energized to be a better husband, father, son, and friend. I appreciate stories that can give me that inspiration, because I need it in my life. I'm thankful for Lost for the soul boost.
We had learned from Christian that the castaways had become or always were bonded on a spiritual level, a ''soul cluster'' to use a phrase given to me by a reader whose name I'll credit in a later column when I can dig up the correct e-mail. This cluster was a living thing unto itself, and a thing with great power. It had the ability to create a world, the Sideways world, from which they could meet anew after death and journey together into whatever comes next. Now, up this point, I have written this recap from the perspective and, admittedly, personal bias that the castaways moved into the ''afterlife,'' which I have called ''heaven,'' although it could be called other things, and we must consider that not all of the castaways went to the same ''place.'' But upon reflection, I'm realizing this is probably not the perspective or mythology of the show. Most likely, the castaways returned to the Source, the hub of life, death, and rebirth, and their energy was recycled back into creation. Does anything of their unique person endure and survive? Now that's a conversation! Let's go dutch on coffee one day and have it!
NEXT: Walk like a man