In the end, six years and 120 episodes of "Lost" came and went in the blink of Jack Shepherd's eye.
The groundbreaking ABC show's finale Sunday pulled heavy on the heart strings, rewarding loyal fans by staging emotional reunions that involved characters who’d died in seasons past while staging a thrilling showdown for control of the island.
As for finally explaining the island’s central mysteries, the series creators wouldn’t -- or couldn’t -- deliver. Just as the “Sopranos'” open-ended final scene provoked a polarized response among the show’s faithful, the final half-hour of “The End,” at first glance, disappoints for “Lost’s” we-want-answers crowd.
Did all the otherworldly drama of the last half-dozen years occur in some spiritual dreamstate? Were the characters all acting out an eternal fable in a place resembling purgatory? Did they survive the crash, or was the entire tale comprised of the fleeting images that flash through the mind as life ebbs away?
The climax occurred in a church where the former castaways gathered for a sublime reunion full of smiles and hugs. Jack reconciles with his dead father Christian, whose body had been aboard the doomed Oceanic 815 flight.
"I don't understand," says Jack. "You died."
"Yes, I did."
"Then how are you here right now?"
"How are YOU here?" his father replies.
"I died, too," says Jack, beginning to weep.
"That's OK, son."
And yet it's all real, his father assures him.
"Everything that's ever happened to you is real. All those people in the church, they're all real, too."
"They're all dead?" Jack asks.
"Everyone dies sometime, kiddo," his father replies gently.
Suddenly, the church is flooded with light reminiscent of the underground beacon at the heart of the island that must be protected from extinguishment. The impression left is that the light still shone because of an epic “Star Wars”-esque fight scene between Jack and the Locke-embodying Smoke Monster on the cliffs of the island.
The good guys win, and Kate and Jack declare their love for each other.
Many fans expected to learn nothing about polar bears and other small mysteries. Too bad after Sunday's show we can't even know for sure that the passengers on Oceanic 815 survived the original plane crash. As the finale credits roll, that fuselage is shown scattered on the beach, no survivors in sight.
And the show which opened so many mysteries ago with a prone Jack Shepherd's eyelid fluttering open, ends with the hero's eye closing.