HOLLYWOOD — In last year's Lost season finale, Michael and Walt reunited, only to be sent sailing off the series. Tonight's two-hour finale (9 ET/PT, ABC) sees another emotional parent/child reunion.
This time, the characters are among the series' most mysterious.
Danielle Rousseau, or "the French lady" as she is known to many on the island, has popped up in the brush since Season 1. Her main objective: finding her daughter, Alex, who was kidnapped as an infant by the ominous Others.
Tonight, mother (played by Mira Furlan) and daughter (Tania Raymonde) finally come together in what producers promise will be an evening of conflict — and bloodshed — between the crash survivors and the Others.
Furlan, 51, and Raymonde, 19, have shared but one scene together, so during lunch at the French restaurant Café des Artistes, they eagerly swap stories about the show's super-secret closing scene and make plans to watch the finale together.
Their characters' on-screen reunion, shot weeks ago in Hawaii, occurred only minutes after the two met face to face for the first time.
"I think it worked out well that way," Raymonde says. "It was a huge moment for our characters and for me because I really wanted to meet this woman who was playing my mother. I was like, 'Mommmyyy!' "
"It's a basic human moment," Furlan says. "I'm glad I have such a beautiful partner."
With all the island mud scrubbed off their faces, it is easy to see why these actresses were cast as relatives.
"We have something in common, definitely," says Furlan, mother to son Marko, 8. "What do you think?" she asks Raymonde.
"I've talked to people who say, 'You look exactly like her,' " Raymonde says.
Both women, says Lost co-creator J.J. Abrams, "have given these characters such heart and soul. The challenge in a show like Lost with so many different people is characters getting lost, but they have made Danielle and Alex so identifiable and complex. I certainly think people are looking forward to seeing this reunion. It's something we've been playing to all year."
There was a moment several weeks ago when Danielle came close to reuniting with Alex, but chose to walk away. Furlan says she understands her character's ambivalence. "How can you ever be prepared for that moment?" she asks.
Adds Raymonde: "And how does Danielle expect her daughter to react? 'I've never met this woman before. I have no recollection.' "
"Maybe it has to come by chance, and not by choice," believes Furlan. "And that's kind of the way it might happen in the finale."
Furlan, whose character murdered her fellow scientific exploration crewmembers because they were "infected," is no stranger to treachery in her own life.
As an actress in her native Yugoslavia (now Croatia), Furlan fled the war-torn country in the early '90s. "Bloody, awful, hateful, horrible" are some of the words she uses to describe that turbulent time.
"My position as a very well-known actor (in film, TV and theater) put me in a very sensitive spot," recalls Furlan, who went on to play an alien on Babylon 5 (1994-98). "I was very outspoken about the war, and that brought me death threats."
With Danielle and Alex finally reuniting, the actresses now hope their characters will be given a chance to forge a relationship.
"It would be nice to have the characters develop," Furlan says. "But if it doesn't, it doesn't. I'm very Buddhist about this. Your life is a series of losses."
"They might have to eventually pick up where they left off," hints Raymonde. "But you never know. People disappear quite often on this show. We're just a part of this big machine."
All Abrams will say: "The ending is so mind-blowing, it's crazy."