The two-hour season finale of Lost was an entertaining ride, with lots of answers and questions, and an astonishing selection of characters who died, almost died or were resurrected (or, in the case of Clare, who knows?).
Quite a few things were wrapped up or clarified, snatching up threads laid all season:
Why Ben turned up in the desert in a parka; why only the six returned; how Penny was involved; and, in an extension of last season's stunner final scene: we see who is in the coffin. (They kinda tricked me there with the "Jeremy Bentham" thing: there's been so many new people introduced this season that I just assumed "Jeremey" was one of them ... duh, I missed the philosopher angle ... and was glad the producers hadn't cheated by putting secondary character in there)
I'm also glad the writers left some intriguing questions unresolved:
What happened to Sawyer, Juliet and whoever else is left still on the relocated island? And of course, where are they? Did the zodiac people get moved too? What is Sun Yi's agenda? (The last scene hints that she may be exacting revenge on Jack and the others ... blaming them for losing her husband.) Is Hurley mentally ill, or just better tuned in to the island's weirdness? (Notice how his offhanded guess are nearly always right.) How -- and why -- does Locke get off the island? If they all have to go back, does that include Aaron, who is sort of a half-survivor, half-islander?
But all this talk of having to go back, of the island being a special, magical protected place, of time/space shifts, and how the Oceanic Six seem to be faring poorly off the island, put me in mind of Lost Horizon.
In that James Hilton novel (later, a fine 1937 Frank Capra film, and a truly alarming 1973 musical), a group of plane-crash survivors (again!) stumble into an off-the-map paradise, a lush valley high in the Himalayas called Shangri-la. There, they find peaceful, wise monks, a renewed sense of purpose and seriously improved health and longevity. Yet, some itch to leave, to return home, and effect an exit. But once outside the hidden pass that marks the boundary between Shangri-la and the world, reality kicks back in, and they accumulate years of suffering and aging instantly. And the story's protagonist, who has left, realizes his folly, and sets off again, at any cost, to rediscover Shangri-la and regain what he's lost.
It's clear that next season will be the near-impossible trip back to the island, just like the Lost Horizon dude, though whether it will be motivated out of a personal desire (as it appears with Jack), or a larger, team-saving move, remains to be seen.
My final thought on this season: You can move an island by turning a big crank in the basement?