Originally Posted by JASONSAUTO
So everyone died at some point?
Then they were alive at the end?
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It's hard to explain without watching it. Every season had a "flash" gimmick. For seasons 1-3 it was a "flashback." We saw the castaways present on the island, and we saw flashbacks to their lives before the crash.
Season 6 initiated what was called the "flash-sideways." We saw their present lives on the island, and we saw flashes of their lives off the island. These flashes were different than before. Things had changed in each person's life. Jack had a kid, for example, in the flash-sideways. He never had a kid in the real flashbacks.
Everyone speculated on the reality of the flash-sideways. Many thought it was an alternate reality created by the bomb going off at the end of S5. The idea was that by blowing up the bomb, all the castaways would get a reset. They would erase their original pasts and have new lives, free of their original choices and the island.
It was revealed that the flash-sideways was actually an afterlife. It was metaphysical world created for the survivors as a meeting place.
Eventually, everyone on the show did die. As all human beings do, of course. But they all died at different times. The only one (IIRC) that actually dies in the finale is Jack. We see him close his eyes and die on screen.
This lead many to speculate that the whole show had been some sort of dream, or that the whole thing was a purgatory or afterlife. In fact, all the action on the island happened. It's all real. Not a dream. Not purgatory.
The flash-sideways was a sort of purgatory, but that's it. I get why that pissed people off, too. Because they sort of wasted a good chunk of season six making us thing what happened in the flashes mattered. It mattered in a spiritual sense, but not in a plot sense.