Damon Lindelof finally explains the Lost finale

News Louisa Mellor 24 May 2012 - 06:15

In a revealing On The Verge interview, Lost creator Damon Lindelof has finally explained his take on the Lost season six finale…

The fact that two years on, a 25-minute YouTube video in which the creator of Lost, Damon Lindelof, lays bare the reasoning behind that season 6 finale is being passed around the internet like a well-thumbed copy of Forever at an 1980s high school, is a reminder of just how strongly fans still feel about Lost’s send-off.

Interviewed for On The Verge about upcoming Ridley Scott film Prometheus, Lindelof was confronted about fan disappointment with the Lost finale, and engaged in almost half an hour of tussling about his reasons for writing the ending. 

“I take responsibility and authorship for Lost, and in terms of my own feelings about the ending, I make no apologies for it”, Lindelof says, adding later “It’s the story I wanted to tell".

“It’s not that I didn’t care about the mythology of the show, it’s just like, many shows have come and gone that are very focused on their mysteries and their mythologies and their ambiguity and there is no worse scene in the history of genre than the Architect explaining to Neo everything that happened in The Matrix, and I wasn’t going to [rude word] touch that with a ten foot pole.”

It's a detailed discussion that takes in the controversial endings of other hit TV shows, the “filler” episodes that came as a result of network indecision about when Lost would end, Lindelof’s least favourite episode, and why he’s unlikely to ever do Lost: The Movie. It is, in short, the interview that Lost fans have been waiting for since 2010.

Our resident Lost expert is busy scribbling a response to what Lindelof had to say as we speak, but until then, the full interview is available to be viewed below.

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On The Verge

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Despite the expected fanboy outcries that might surround this, I think Damon's interview is an interesting insight into his philosophy and process as a writer.

I stopped caring after season 2.

Great interview and very honest.

It's interesting to get some perspective on the show as I was one of those disappointed with the ending and who was more interested in the mythology than the characters.

Hearing his opinion on the expectations of fans like me compared to the story he was trying to tell shows some of the pitfalls perhaps that a show like LOST had to navigate to last six seasons and which subsequent copycats failed to get.

I would still watch a show based on Ben and Hurley having more adventures on the Island.

but you care enough to comment on this post. Bless.

I coincidentally finished watching lost again the other night. It's still a great show with great characters. I think it's out of order the amount of abuse this guy gets just because people had different expectations for the ending. If it wasn't for Damon Lindelof there would be no Lost at all.

Well after having suffered through the whole series a few months ago, the the GF watched it in a box set (I had only seen the first two seasons until then), I came to the conclusion that the writers definately seemed to ignore vast amounts of what happened in previous seasons to get their new ideas across. There are so many plots and storylines that start and are never concluded that is spoils the entire show. I am convinced the writers tied themselves into so many knots that not one of them had any idea how to write themselves out of it. I'm sure the ending of Lost bears no resemblance to the ideas and themes that started at the shows first season.

Another case in point is Donnie Darko. Looking back now it wasn't so much a great film as an interesting one. Once the Director's cut came out it crept down to being a mediocre film.

Why? Because the joy was in guessing what was going on, and I think that's where the fun in Lost lay. Almost nothing could have satisfied the speculators as they'd spoilered every possibility for themselves (and occasionally others) by the end of the first season.

He hasn't said anything we didn't all ready know and the hipster interviewer is as dumb as a rock.

Sorry, but the interviewer had clearly not understood the show - it wasn't that tough to get... Not to say that I was completely satisfied by the end, but the explanation (island real etc...) is actually simple.

I'm pretty sure you are right.  You'd be right to say exactly the same about Fringe, with its morass of a rambling 4th season and its hastily cooked up mess of nazi/alien invasion cliches introduced to engineer a fifth final series too.  I'd like to have seen the finale we would have got if the whole thing had been planned in season 1 with a definitive end in sight.  Serial TV is doomed to disappoint, just because of the commerical pressures.

I think FILM CRIT HULK hit the nail on the head with his interpretation.The show always offered up alternative perspectives - the scientific and the spiritual. This was often a key part of the shows dynamic, and the conflict between characters. All through the show this was consistent, until the final moments when an exclusively spiritual interpretation was offered in regards to the 'afterlife' world they created. I REALLY wish they would have left it more open and suggested that the 'sideways' world was created by the nuclear blast and was an actual alternative reality.

Funnily enough me too.

Right when Channel 4 lost it!

I do occasionaly think I'll watch it, but I dont think I can invest that much time into it!

Wow, that was the longest question I've ever heard!

Its quite freaky how many people still think the island was all a dream, and dont get that the sideways flash was the afterlife, and when you explain they want to know how hurley and sawyer died, I blame the mess they made with the bomb at the end of season 5 and start of season 6 I still dont get how they got to the present and why they felt the need to show the plane not crashing as the introduction to the sideways universe, no wonder people are still confused

Lindelof is being really kind to that interviewer who seems to be completely out of his depth, unprepared and, well, dumb.

Like so many other fans, I have been waiting for this interview for two years -so why is the interviewer gabbling away and talking over Lindelof?! Shut up, shut up you hipster fool, let the man speak! Also, do your research - the 'all of season 6 was a fantasy' clanger was just embarassing. With regards to Lindelof himself, though I would rather he had been more mia cupla and admitted season 6 was mostly hogwash, he was affable and interesting.

 I have to agree. Anyone who is actually angry about not getting 'real answers' didn't appreciate the concept of the show. Saying that, the sentimental nonsense of the flash sideways offended me on a deep level.

You stopped caring, yet 5 years later you feel the need to comment on the explanation. Come on you know you care !

Yep, a group of people coming together to find themselves. Never happened in Season 1!

I know that I'm in the minority, but I thought the final episode was beautiful and a perfect end to the series.  To me, the show was more about the characters than the mythology and for the characters, it was the PERFECT ending

Rather pissed off  with this. I have lots of problems with Lost and this interview seems to start off really well. Then the interviewer reveals himself to be a douche who can't even remember what happened in the finale. Any criticism he has is invalid as he wasn't paying attention, and Lindelof can bat him away easily. That said, the Matrix architect analogy is flawed. The Architect scene, flawed and irritating as it was, didn't provide the answers to a bunch of questions; it provided a clunky twist and a setup for a futher (even more rubbish) instalment.

Interviewer actually out of his depth there... entitled to his own opinion of course but clearly annoyed when he was told many of his complaints were founded on his own misunderstanding of a fairly simple tale..... and if it had all been on an alien spaceship like he suggested I think even more people would have shouted lame.... me included!

Loved Lost and I got it.  Sideways was totally off set reality to cope with their tormented lives.

Think you guys are being a bit tought on the interviewer, I think he got it but just didnt like it, and had a weird obsession with the movie Dark City (or at least I think thats was what it was called) the one where it was a city controlled by aliens in space lol

The interviewer was annoying, but overall, Lindelof really gave some good insight as to what happened not only during the finale, but the overall lifespan of the show...

fast & loose: the way TV was meant to be.

I completely agree.  I have seen many finales that failed on several levels.  Although I wasn't 100% keen on the cork in the island visual, I loved the finale, and it has had great replay value for me.  I was one who loved the Sideways world simply because it allowed us to revisit past moments.  And I am certain that the Sideways world is not simply the afterlife, but is only possible because the island exists.  Sideways was somehow a product of the island, and there are hints in the last few episodes that the new Jacob (either Jack or Hurley), intentionally or not, used their new rules to form Sideways in an attempt to reunite with their loved ones.

It was a great show and a terrific ending. The "Lost" creative team was constantly up-serving it's most dedicated fans and the finale was no different. The scene with Jack and Desmond in the last few minutes where Desmond questions how much everything mattered and Jack tells him that "everything matters" is one of those 4th wall moments that touches all the actions and characters in the show while reaching thru the screen to interact with your experience of all 6 seasons. I can go back at anytime and watch any part of Lost and interact with it fondly which I can't say of other shows that botched their endings in such ways as to make you question your whole experience with the text: a la BSG (won't even think about it), ME3 (no additional playtime or interaction with text).

Personally I wasn't looking for EVERYTHING to be explained by the end of Lost but the fact that they didn't even try and explain any of the big things like what the island really was or who the others were was disappointing....even if they had come up with an explanation that was naff at least they would have tried.....and remember they had 6 years to get this right....

I understood it, isn't it time people moved on?

You're a "Doctor Who" fanatic! You shouldn't even know what "moving on" is about. Just "moving-in" over-and-over-and-over-again (that sounds pretty sexy though not intended).

Agree Completely ... Brilliant Series, Brilliant Characters, Brilliant Ending......

I watched the show because of the mytharc, not because I gave a damn about who Kate ended up with or whether Jin & Sun ended up happily ever after. To me, the fact that they were initially going to kill off Jack in the first few episodes (until John stupidly saved him from plummeting to his death) tells me all I need to know about how important *those* particular characters were.  They could have had a completely different set of people, with completely different jobs/backgrounds and it wouldn't have mattered a bit, it was the situation they were in on a strange island that was interesting.                    

The (annoying) interviewer nails it: (paraphrasing) It's not that you didn't answer the questions, it's just that the answers you gave sucked.

The *nerve* of Lindelof to bitch about an ep. that was about the utterly pointless Jacob & the MIB and their backstory and then go "Waaah! It didn't have the characters I cared about!".  WHOSE FAULT WAS THAT THEN?!?!  He talks as if we'd just bought in to the sappy ending where things like John and Jack --who couldn't stand each other-- were hugging like long lost brothers in the big glowy church happened, we wouldn't be complaining.  Guess what Damon, sometimes people die unhappy and lonely and sad, that's OK, we're adults, we can handle that startling revelation.

Plus, he's a liar too.  The fans babbled on about The Big Book Of The Plot Lines because HE said there was one, in response to criticism that they were making it up as they went along.  HE is the one who constantly told us "Trust us, we know what we're doing, you'll love where this is going".  Then, when the criticism started to mount during S5 it became "Well, too bad, we're going to do what we want, you don't like it? Tough!".  How pathetic that they listened to the fans about Nikki and Paulo > offed them but couldn't be bothered when people told them "Hey this isn't what we signed up for, it's not why we're obsessing about the show".

Lindelof almost quit during the first half of the season because of the pressure, I really really really wish he had.

 Woops, Lindelof almost quit during the first half of the FIRST season.....

I think want annoyed me most about Lost wasn't the lack of answers but the fact it was inconsistent. Some episodes were great, others were boring and didn't add anything to the series arc. I was also frustrated with the focus always leaning on Jack when he was one of the most boring characters on the show. Sawyer and John were far more interesting and would have been better to focus on. The show had so much potential - the first half of series 1 was really exciting but I don't think it ever captured that excitement again.

I understood the ending (unlike this interviewer) I just wanted to know what the island was. I'm going to assume it was a giant, ancient UFO covered with soot and foliage and who knows, maybe it was.

Courtesy of NetFlix I just watched the 120 episodes of LOST all in a row. I had not watched the show when it aired on television...I began watching with curiosity and got hooked...even through some of the less than interesting patches (Nikki and Paolo - did I get those characters right?...and I was happy to see them buried alive! LOL!)....I will admit that I would have liked a few more answers...Romans and Egyptians in the South Pacific? Where did that big statue and lighthouse come from? Heiroglyphics all over the place?...But even with that I went along with the possibility that things might get a bit more of an explanation...What threw me off was the SideTrip to a different arranged life in LA post-Oceanic 815 landing safely. BUT...and this is a BIG BUT...I still loved everyone getting together with the right partner at the very end...in the totally ecumenical church (look at the stained glass window in the sacristy and the artifacts of
so many world religions represented...so non- but totally multi-sectarian)...
It kept me interested for 120 episodes all in a row...and for that I highly praise the creative team that made LOST what it was...

I think "Fuck the audience" is the sound byte to live for with this interview. :)

Yeah, you're the only one.

"Two players, two sides. One is light. One is dark." - John Locke (Pilot)


I agree, David_mouriquand -- the interviewer missed much of what was plainly understood by MOST people.

Nothing but respect for Damon. I agree with David_mouriquand, the interviewer had clearly not understood the show. He thought they were dead the whole time! c'mon... he just assume and didn't see the facts. it`s dissapointed because the interview could be EVEN BETTER.



if you love lost then you love lost. simple as that

The church takes place after everyone has died. Everyone died in reality at separate times. Everything in the flashsideways is not bound by time.

I have to agree on the point that I'm not a fan of the "it's up to the fans to decide what it means or how it ends" philosophy of writing. Part of telling a story is building to and delivering a cracking ending. I'm all for shades of grey but as a storyteller you have to make my investment as an audience worthwhile by paying off what you set up.

this interviewer is a complete moron. what a complete idiot. i hate you for being the one given access to Lindelof for this interview. You are so unworthy. I could have done better without notes you complete sad sack. You are a "fan"? You don't understand? AHHHHH INFURIATING.

this is a monster fail of an interview. i can't believe this boring hipster loser is so stupid and was picked to give this interview. embarrassing.

Ya, keep removing my posts. Like its my fault the guy WHOSE JOB IT IS to do a good interview doesn't understand the show whatsoever. This site is a joke.

This interviewer likes to listen to himself too much. I would have gotten more specific answers from Damon

Wow, this interviewer was obnoxious and arrogant. He made this video extremely unpleasant to listen to. He kept rambling on about how frustrated he was for quite some time before actually getting to an actual question to answer, and the kept trying to interrupt when he was *getting* an answer. Next time, he needs to make his point quickly, ask his question, and then let the person answer.

Did anybody else hear him say Hugo, Ben, and Walt? Where was Walt? Why was Michael not in the church?

Was actually amazed and facinated with all 6 seasons esp the ending. I managed to rewatch all 6 seasons and it made perfect sence. Lost is much more than being lost in an island. Its also about being lost in time,lost in the after life and lost in hope

not to mention, kind of a douchebag

haha that smile lindelof gave at 6:28 said "ive got this guy. he has no idea what he's talking about." you could see he couldn't wait to make this guy look like an idiot.

Man, they really did pick the least prepared person for this interview of all time. He's ridiculously vague, completely missed what actually happened in the last episode, and didn't follow-up on his one point which rang true: 'I was expecting a smarter ending.' Lindelof has him on the back-foot from the get-go.

This was a waste of Lindelof precious interview time. This reporter asked all the wrong questions. We all had some sort of disagreement with the ending, but they want you to make your own conclusions! That can't be disappointing. They won't tell you what THEY wanted out of the story, where's the fun in that? He should have asked questions like: "Why don't you want to share it with us?", "Will you ever share it?", "Will ten years from now, will you tell us the MIB's name?", "What happened to Jin and Sun's daughter or Aaron?", "What about the other people from the tail section or Others?, Do they get to 'live' in that alternating world they all created after dying?", "Was the Island what controlled the 'good and evil' in the world?", "What can you tell us about the mythology that holds the Island/ Jacob/ MIB? Where did their mother came from?" Those are little details that bother the viewer when they go to sleep.

I'm glad I got to see the interview, as I have just finished watching the entire series as of a few minutes ago. I read the comments before watching the clip and did not find the interviewer at fault at all. The show spawned the confusion which lingers in the mind of most of us and in the end, as eluded to by Damon, there was not much that could be done to stop this juggernaut. It's a shame that telling a story has become such a convoluted process where the writers seem to come off like politicians of a sort, defending their positions. People want to be inspired and moved and this show did it brilliantly, with well chosen cast and story lines, but it is really simple for anyone to see - the show traded on a false promise of an ending that we were just incapable of seeing, like a murder mystery where the killer isn't revealed until the end. Just because you switch from telling people 'the answers are coming' to 'don't expect the answers' in some sort of interview equivalent of fine print, does not absolve you of the responsibility which had been your charge for three seasons. For this, you should burden yourself with regret not only to teach yourself a valuable lesson, but also to stop the process of shrouding your ego in shells of esoteric and mythological nonsense that you happen to be able to correlate with literary masterpieces on your book shelf. The show really explored the meaning of what it is to be 'lost' and ironically, quite a few viewers were left with a similar impression at the finale. In the end, the message you were hoping to give regarding the meaning for the show was not placed in the forefront of the viewer, but after six careful seasons of build up, left awkwardly in the back seat of the unconscious dwarfed and obscured by plot details introduced earlier in the seasons, not to tell the story, but as a vehicle to sustain viewership. I applaud the show, the writers and the cast and as much as one man cares to take responsibility for the wrap up, I suspect we all need to reconcile ourselves with the fact that all that glitters, isn't always gold. Thank you for the experience and the thrilling ride.

I think the "architect" ending would've spoilt the show. The people were more important than the mythology, and the earlier Jacob/MIB provided all the back drop you really need.

In the meantime, was the interviewer's opening "question" the longest ever, and is he Ross from "Friends"?

Always be wary of an 'interviewer' who never shuts up.

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