NEW YORK -- The premiere of "Lost" ended memorably with Charlie's plaintive question to his fellow island castaways: "Guys, where ARE we?"
Six seasons and some 120 episodes later, many viewers might be wondering the same thing as the much-awaited "Lost" finale brought the series to a close Sunday night.
Viewers, where are we? The answer: Almost anywhere you want to be.
(Spoiler alert for what follows.)
If ever a TV series could be likened to a journey, "Lost" is it, and as it came to the end of the road it left its audience with comfort and inspiration more than hard answers. There was also, not surprisingly, a sense of being lost in the maw of a show that henceforth will give up nothing more, a show whose sweep and ambiguity will fuel debate and theorizing from its viewers for years to come.
That's where you are, dear viewers.
Preceded by a two-hour retrospective, ABC's Super Bowl Sunday-scale drama event then led to the two-and-one-half-hour-long finale.
As they have all season, story lines overlapped between the characters on the island and in their parallel lives in the "normal" world back home in California.
On the island, Jack (Matthew Fox) has volunteered from among the chosen candidates to take over from Jacob (Mark Pellegrino) as the island's protector.
The Smoke Monster, occupying the body of Locke (Terry O'Quinn), wants to stop the candidates, kill them, destroy the island and sail away.
Back in Los Angeles, Jack, who's a surgeon, is about to operate on Locke, who (in this incarnation) is crippled.
"If I can fix you, Mr. Locke, that's all the peace I'll need," Jack says.
But then back on the island, Jack and the Monster-Who-Looks-Like-Locke have a tense confrontation.
"So it's you," says Monster-Locke, meaning the island's new protector. "I assume you're here to stop me."
"Can't stop you," Jack says, but promises instead, "I'm gonna kill you."
Well, he doesn't. But a bit later, Kate (Evangeline Lilly) kills the monster-who-is-mortal-again with a single gunshot after a fierce cliffside fight between him and Jack.
Back in L.A., Locke's surgery is a success. From his bed, he gratefully tells Jack he has feeling back in his legs.
"Jack, I hope that somebody does for you what you just did for me," Locke says to an uncomfortable-looking Jack, who seems to be having flashes of memory of his alternate existence.