Damon Lindelof on the Lost finale: A fan's response

Feature James Hunt 1 Jun 2012 - 08:13

A week ago, Damon Lindelof gave us his long-awaited take on the controversial Lost finale, and here's what one fan has to say in response...

It's now been over two years since Lost aired its final episode, and it's safe to say that whether you loved it, hated it or thought it was pretty mediocre, you've had enough time to come to terms with it. As someone who found the eventual conclusion quite a weak one, I was happy to just consign Lost to the pile of topics that I try not to discuss for health reasons, alongside The Matrix sequels and any posthumous adaptation of Douglas Adams' writing.

It was with some measure of trepidation, then, that I watched the 30-minute interview where Damon Lindelof finally gave his extensive, authoritative take on Lost's final moments. This was, in many ways, the holy grail of the disaffected Lost fan: Someone with authorial insight giving an explanation of exactly what the show's ending was supposed to be about. No ambiguity, no guesswork, just Lindelof's undiluted ideas about what, in a nutshell, Lost was about.

And after watching the video, the only question I've got left to ask is whether Damon Lindelof was actually watching his own show.

For those who haven't sat through the interview, the explanation Lindelof gives is that the central purpose of the show, over its six year period, was to take a group characters who were "lost" (in a spiritual/metaphorical sense) and get them to a point where they could forgive themselves and move on. Fair enough. The subtext of the show's title was not lost on us.

But if that was supposed to be the point of the series, a disparity arises when you look at the difference between Lindelof's description of the show's subject matter ("Lost was about the characters") and the show's presentation of its subject matter. Lost, quite famously, trained its audience to spot the tiny details. It encouraged, even rewarded them for caring about the show's internal mythology. It inspired wikis and articles and frame-by-frame analyses the likes of which David Lynch could've only dreamt about getting for Twin Peaks. Somewhere in my house, I still have an Apollo chocolate bar that I got for free as part of a Lost AR game. Nowhere on that chocolate bar does it invite me to consider Jack Shephard's role in all this.

It's no surprise, then, that we viewers felt led to believe that these lost characters would "find" themselves not in some nebulous concept of personal forgiveness (as Lindelof asserts) but by discovering their place in island's grander scheme. And we felt that like them, we would one day discover what that was, and that it would be a carefully constructed mystery that built on the past while revealing the answers to the biggest secrets.

Clearly, we were wrong. Lindelof is quite clear about his feelings on the matter, saying: "It’s not that I didn’t care about the mythology of the show, [but] 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 fucking touch that with a ten foot pole."

Now, without wanting to combine two of the subjects that get me worked up, I feel it necessary to point out that the problem with The Architect's scene in The Matrix Reloaded wasn't the fact that we were being handed the answers on a platter. It was that it wasn't done in an interesting and emotionally engaging way. The dialogue was excruciating, the scene lasted too long, and it was delivered by a character that reminded us too much of Colonel Sanders.

The big idea delivered in that scene – that Zion is a part of the Matrix system intentionally created to hold people who reject the computer reality, thus invisibly maintaining the machine's control over humanity even when they think they've escaped – is actually a good one. It turned the Matrix concept on its head in an interesting and complicated way. Had they been properly delivered, the revelations could easily have been successful.

And for better or worse, Lost needed a moment like that. Something that made us re-think what we'd seen. Something that gave its characters a narrative resolution to coincide with their thematic closure. It didn't even have to be great. Tell us that the island was a time-loop designed to keep the species alive forever. That it was built as a petting zoo by aliens. Tell us that it was an elaborate reality TV show. As long as it mostly fit with what we had seen, it could have been anything. Anything other than nothing. Battlestar Galactica may have had a terrible ending, but at least it was one that (mostly) answered the questions the series raised.

Because when you watch Lost, the questions you're left with aren't about the characters, but the mysteries that engaged you in the first place: What was the island? What was DHARMA trying to do there? Why did Jacob need a new steward? Those in charge can point at interviews from back then and reiterate that "we never said we'd give you the answers" - but the show's yearly progression flatly contradicts this position.

Lost, at least as we saw it, was driven by questions, and the answers to those questions. What's in the hatch? What happens if you don't push the button? How did the Oceanic Six escape? As it is, we don't even know why, in the most basic material sense, it would have been bad for the Man in Black to have left the island. That's not a small matter, either – keeping him from leaving is, as far as we got an explanation, the purpose of for every event in the entire series! To end the show without giving us the biggest answers wasn't just a bad idea, it was out of step with everything we'd been watching.

It doesn't help that in his interview, Lindelof calls Across the Sea (the origin story of Jacob and the Man in Black) "one of the most unsuccessful episodes" negatively assessing it as "rife with fundamental explanations" and "as close to the Architect scene as we got." Now, I recognise that I may be in the minority here, but that episode, in my opinion, was one of the best of the series.  Lindelof wanted ambiguity. He wanted things left to interpretation. We wanted answers. In that episode, Lost came closer than ever to getting it right. We saw the apparent origins of so much of the show, tacked onto a story that put character first - and yet the episodes that followed managed to simultaneously undermine it, ignore it and hand wave away what major questions it introduced so close to the end of the series.

Now, in fairness, there are parts of Lindelof's explanation that make a lot of sense. At one point in the interview, he says "At the very least, no matter what your interpretation is, you do know that everyone that you ever cared about died, and that you got treated to some version of an epilogue." Which is true. And it's probably one of the better things about Lost's ending: the fate of the characters was never in dispute. The thing that upset people is that the fate of the island didn't get the same resolution.

Of course, perhaps the only way we can really come to terms with the ending of Lost isn't by learning the answers, but by submitting to Lindelof's ultimate explanation: "What did these people get out of this plane crash? The answer, as corny as it sounds, is each other. That’s what they got. They were all fucked up, sad individuals who were lost in their own lives and hated themselves, and somehow they found some fundamental community with each other." As someone who has found fundamental community with hordes of other disappointed Lost fans, maybe Lindelof's explanation of the ending is more insightful than even he realises. And maybe next time a show built on mysteries and mythology captures the public imagination, we'll at least know to wait until the complete DVD box set comes out before deciding whether to watch it.

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One of the biggest problems (and there were many) with this finale was that it was a week after one of the best finales to a series in the last decade (maybe longer) - a finale with a very similar resolution - but infinitely better handled. Yes the winner of the 'they were dead all along and trapped in a metaphysical purgatory-like world until they could accept their death and move on to the afterlife' finale goes to Ashes To Ashes which blew Lost out of the water.

I very much felt the same and I think the A2A finale compounded the dissatisfaction with LOST's.

I still think there's mileage in finishing the islands story in a movie or two where they know they can have the right structure to do it properly.  I wouldn't trust them with another series.

Lost: the world's longest sahggy dog story.

As annoyed as I was with the Lost finale, it pales compared to my wife's anger with it. She still gets annoyed at the mention of the series & with good reason.

She says that Lindelof & co wasted several hours of her life that she can't get back & if she ever met him she'd be tempted to knee him in the groin & walk away.

Agreed, Lost let the fans down badly and I don't really think the writers knew how to end it. Plus why was Desmond built up as an vital component of the completion of the series then nothing was done with him, he fell down and Jack put the stone in the floor. What were they protecting on the island that was so important? Surely it just wasn't to keep evil from the world? Too mnay unanswered questions and poor resolution overall.

Absolutely agree with everything said here. Its so obvious they were just exploding with good ideas and theories, painted themselves into a corner and then just panicked...There was no way this series was planned in any procedurl sense, it almost seems that they were making it up as they went along.

Great article. I loved Lost and hated how it resolved itself. In fact my girlfriend expressed an interest in watching it from the beginning having never seen it and i had to say no purely based on how unsatisfying all the loose threads left danging at the end are. Such a shame as there was some gold along the way.

Sorry, but Lost turned into the biggest bag of pretentious wank after series two. I remember me and a mate of mine where staying in a hotel in Peru when flicking through the channels we realised that various networks were showing different episodes from different seasons in totally random order. We thought we were watching an entire season's run in sequence. There lies the problem. It was easier trying to understand the Spanish subtitles. 

How about you all write a TV show and end it how you'd like to end it? No? Then stop moaning.

A lot of people loved it a lot of people hated it. That's the same with many tv programmes. I mean look at the end of Seinfeld. That was pretty crap, but it was still an amazing TV season. Just stop moaning. 

Not moaning - Just pointing out the plain fact that it became incoherent and, pardon the pun, lost. Ashes To Ashes ran the same story for their finale, which was about ten times better, a week before Lost's was broadcast and Lost, the big budget Hollywood show, looked like the rank amateur in comparison. Just goes to show you that endless pots of money does not necessarily equal the best writing.

I wonder at what point people will get down from their high horses and just accept it for what it was. How many season and programmes do you watch on TV that dont even come close to entertainment, yet you all try to pick holes in something which tried to be different and entertaining.

When you write a series and get it aired, let us know and we will come to pick it apart. !

Yes, because as we're all aware you're not allowed to have an opinion on something unless you've bettered it. Think your food is undercooked at a restaurant? Before you complain, maybe YOU should try cooking for 40 people at once and see if you get everything perfect! Upset with the sub-standard work of your plumber? Hey, you try unblocking the toilet and see how well it turns out! Don't like the decisions of your government? Running the country isn't so simple, just stop moaning and take it!

Congratulations, you are an idiot.

As I understood the finale, everything "happened", except the flash-sideways material in Season 6, which was a form of afterlife/purgatory, and that's how Lindelof explained it too in that video.

However, the point I'm making in this article (to be clear) is that even though we got character resolutions in the finale, Lost, as a show, prepared its audience to expect a resolution to its mythology as well - and that's what it failed to deliver. If you enjoyed the ending, I've got nothing but respect for that. But I didn't, and I hope this piece articulates why.

Here here James Hunt.

Some people seem to misunderstand the point of a Discussion Board. Perhaps they would like to change it to an Agreement Board.

An article last week pointed out that disagreement was fine as long as it does not degenerate into name-calling - but it didn't account for the most bizarre and weakest of all arguments: The "Well-I-liked-it-and-for-some-inexplicable-logic-known-only-to-me-that-overrules-your-dislike-thus-you-have-no-right-to-complain" Gambit.

One last thing about Ashes to Ashes and then I will shut up... Matthew Graham, the creator of A2A, openly criticised Lost (along with the US LOM) for trying to be clever for their own sake and having twists and turns that have no logical explanation. So he did, as you request, write a TV show and he did end it how he liked. And it was better. And he moaned about Lost.

Good on Matthew Graham then, he has a right to complain as he has created his own show. 

I just think it's ridiculous when people say 'They let the fans down'. How did they let anyone down? They create the show, it's kind of down to them and their choice to end it how they like to, as it is their creation. Yes you have a fan base and yes fans get pissed off when things don't end like they want to. But, nothing is perfect and they can't make everyone happy.

I am not disagreeing with anyone or saying anyone shouldn't be entitled to an opinion, but just remember, while we are all typing behind a computer and not doing any work (like we probably should be), these people are creating shows/films for us to enjoy and as I said, it is their project and is down to them to finish it to how they want it finished.

I wasn't referring to you as moaning Paul.

And James I wasn't referring to yourself. I come here to read your points and your colleagues, I was more referring to a couple of the comments and with people saying they wouldn't recommend it due to it's ending and they let the fans down. 

Lost was and still is brilliant. I loved (and got) the ending. I never wanted every mystery answered, why would I? One of the best parts of watching Lost was the speculation, and the theories. After a forty minute show, myself and my friends would spend hours talking about it. There is nothing better than that, and barely any shows have that. So it didn't end the way YOU wanted it to. Who cares about YOU? YOU didn't write a script and hand it to Lindelof and say "this is how I want it to end". YOU don't matter. That's what YOU need to get. Very talented people made a great show and ended it way before it got stale or boring. I wish Lost was still on today, I really do, but I know that it wouldn't be as good. Had you got all the answers, would you be happy? You might think you'd be happy, but you wouldn't. You'd moan that the mystery was gone. As it is they managed to answer a lot of questions in the final season, they just didn't tie everything up in a pretty bow. Lost, like life, doesn't want to give you all the answers, then you wouldn't still be talking about it. Which, by the way, YOU ARE.

Its not that a lot of people loved it and a lot of people hated it.  Its that a lot of people who loved it ended up hating it.  The lesson now is - do not invest any time in a TV show until the DVD box set is available and reviews mention how well it ties up its many plot lines.

It was a shockingly bad ending. I loved the ride, then flet duped. It's tainted how I feel about the show a bit, because, despite how often brilliant it was, it was all leading up to a big pile of fumbled nothing. This article hits the nail on the head completely.

What would satisfy viewers, and I'm not being ironic, is if they didn't answer any questions. LOST was a thrill ride of a show that left fans thrilled at the end of each episode wanting more and wondering. It was a show that had great characters, but ultimately a sub-par story. Those who say it was about the characters, ok, but can't viewers have good cjharacters and a good story. House has enjoyed success because it had both.

It never ceases to amaze me the number of people who say it was a waste of time watching something just because they didn't like the ending.  What about the ride, people?? For 6 Seasons, I looked forward to watching Lost, and I enjoyed almost every minute of it!!  What a blast, what a ride, what a show!!! One of the most brilliant, thought-provoking, gut-wrenching, tear-jerking, edge of your seat, character-driven, drama/fantasy/sci-fi, shows of all-time!! So what if you didn't like the ending? Does that mean that Season 1's brilliance sucks now?? Of course it doesn't. The series was still amazing to watch!!!!

the majority of the questions you listed above were answered in the show if you paid attention.  They didnt have a big sign on them saying "this is it" but they were there. Some people dont want to do the work to find the answers, many of them were all in front of you, you just had to use your brain a bit.

The point is still invalid, regardless of who it was aimed at. You don't have to be an artist to judge how good (or bad) art is. Suggesting otherwise is fallacious.

" Now, I recognise that I may be in the minority here, but that episode, in my opinion, was one of the best of the series. Lindelof wanted ambiguity."

Nah, "Across the Sea" is the clunkiest sore thumb of an episode in the entire series and it doesn't work. Trying to explain the fantastic will always let you down.

Allow me to address your various points.

First: who cares about my opinion. Well, you, apparently. You opining at me is no different from me opining about Lost. Even so, I'm not suggesting that Damon Lindelof drops everything he does and listens to what I've got to say, nor that I'm right and everyone else is wrong. This is clearly presented as one fan's response, aimed at a site frequented by other fans, many of whom were similarly disappointed. I'm just trying to make sense of it, in the hope that it helps others make sense of it.

Next: Why do you feel qualified to tell me how happy I'd be if Lost had answered its questions? I love nothing more than to leave a film, or TV series, or book, and know that every word, every action, every scene existed in service of a greater point. Here's what I don't like: Dropped story threads. Inconsistent logic. Retroactive changes. Lost is full of things that, in my opinion, had no story point and were introduced without a clear purpose in the hope that they'd stumble into one. That makes me feel as though the authors weren't putting the same thought into the show as they expected the audience to.

Finally, the reason I'm talking about Lost is because I was asked to do so for the site. I don't see how that invalidates my disappointment with the series, nor justifies its decision to leave threads hanging. I still talk about Buffy, a show that I loved and which did give us a satisfying resolution, so I don't see how your point really holds up.

Pointless, the momentum's "Lost" and it would be a complete anti-climax just like the jokey scene of the guys in the Dharma manufacturing plant.

Do feel free to enlighten me. I'm not the kind of person who needs things spelt out (you'll notice I don't complain about the presence of polar bears on the island...) but if you think I brought up questions which were answered, please, tell me what those answers are.

Part of me agrees with you that up until that finale the show had kept me hooked (although season 6 did feel a bit overstuffed with the flash-sideways parts in order to pad it out) but by that point, most of those who'd stuck with it were expecting an answer to the island.

We had some backstory thanks to 'across the sea' but it still felt like there was one big resolution to come regarding that that would take place in the climax and never actually materialised.  For the show to continue to live on and become the ultimate boxset series it really needed to at least provide some clarity on the nature of the island to allow people to feel they had a resolution to both the characters story (which I acknowledge) and also to the mystery that everyone was wrapped up in.

Can you imagine if every show like Sherlock, The Mentalist or whatever ended five or ten minutes short and never actually revealed whodunnit?  That's how LOST feels to me now and ensures that I will never buy the complete boxset just like I'd been planning to until that final hour of the show, no matter how much I might enjoy all the rest.

The Ashes to Ashes comparison is largely pointless. Really, was there anyone who didn't call it was some form of purgatory? When Sam threw himself off a building at the end of Life on Mars, it pretty much confirmed the fact, rendering much of A2A pontification redundant (an elevator heading south, with evil cackling rising from below was a pretty lame metaphor). I agree, the execution was very good, but it only confirmed what I already knew. On the other hand, I went into the finale of lost, still completely unaware of the true nature of the flash sideways (and judging by reviews, message boards and conversations, so did 99% of the audience) and whether or not you enjoyed the reveal, it was exactly that. A very small portion of lost was dedicated to the afterlife while A2A was set there exclusively. Lost had single episodes that were better than the entire run of A2A in terms of suspense, creativity and pushing the boundaries of what television could do (DOG mainly gushed over the final season, rating many of its episodes as the best in series) and two years later, the only time A2A is ever brought up, is in conversations about lost. Lost had many flaws, and there are still things that I hate about the series (Adam and Eve and the whispers being the front runners) but I still say it delivered moments of entertainment that are unrivalled in any medium (and scanning the reviews and features of this site, at the time, DOG agreed).

I think the best way to view the Smoke Monster is as the Angel of Death in the book of Exodus that killed all the first born. They should have used this to connect the Island with Egyptian Mythology. It would have made sense, that after the events of the Exodus, the Egyptians turned a wheel or something and disconnected a temple area, island shaped first to Tunisia and then out to sea. It should a little hokey in retrospect, but it would have tied up a lot of lose ends, especially with the fact Jacob was Jewish(since in Roman times, only Jews took the name of Jacob), and made the show more real and mysterious at the same time. The show should have also made the alternate timeline in season 6 to have been a parallel universe which existed in an era when the Island was not as much a reality. I would have had the actions of the characters in the island universe have to combine it with the other universe and then destroy the smoke monster, Jacob, and the gateway to the afterlife(which would overcome the world if the Man in Black would be released).  In the alt verse, there should have been no Locke and Locke should have been the one to turn the wheel at the very end and destroy the island and combine with the other universe. Locke would have been the only person in the new universe to be proof of the old one, along with everyone's memories which would be expanded to include the events in the Island universe. It's sketchy, and may go against some of the canon of the show, but I was not one of the shows writers, so I have developed my own head canon to improve upon the final product. Also more Walt, more Titus Welliver and less Juliet.

Hear hear!

Lost has put me off buying box sets until a series is complete as it built and built and built, promising everything and delivering nothing. If I'd have purchased them as they were released (as I was tempted to) I'd have felt like I'd been the victim of one of Sawyer's long cons.
You're utterly correct in claiming that the show implicitly promised us answers which it failed to give. For me it failed, big time when with just one explanatory episode it could have been one of the best  TV events ever.

What does Lindelof care tho, he's got his career and millions. 

Yeah it certainly does, I enjoyed reading it and I totally agree with your point that they totally failed to explain most of the major plot points.  My only gripe is that a lot of people (my girlfriend included) seem to think that they were dead and in purgatory for the entire show, when that clearly wasn't the case.  Anyway, rant over, good article Mr Hunt.

That was what I actually liked about LOM/A2A - you weren't confronted with all the answers at once but slowly drip fed clues over five years. So what if you had worked out how it would end - the intelligent people who actually paid attention did and that was part of the point. Matthew Graham spoke, in an interview on this site, about his disdain for writers who suddenly drop a revelation out of left field which has to be forced, often even retconned, into the existing mythos.

Likewise if you watch any Agatha Christie or Sherlock Holmes mystery all the clues are there and you can work it out if you observe the minutiae. Those writers don't suddenly invent a brand new character or plot device right at the last minute to explain everything.

Not everyone, as you suggest, got A2A's ending either: There was a massive thread on A2A on Facebook which I started a week before the finale, asking people to submit their theories as to how it would end. I started with my own one - it was very detailed and it also turned out to be 95% correct - and people were either amazed at my deductions or suspicious that I was an insider at the BBC.
It's just a sad fact that people's attention spans are not what they used to be, and people don't want to work for their enjoyment opting, instead, for all the answers to be handed to them. Lost's finale catered to this demographic and insulted those fans who had some genuinely good and well reasoned theories for how it should end or who were expecting something a bit more logical.

For me, in terms of innovative and clever endings, Lost's finale was on a par with the US LOM's 'They were all spacemen in hypersleep'.

I was a bit disappointed with the ending and I think the article sums it up perfectly, but it didn't ruin the whole experience for me.  I just remember whilst whilst the program was at its peak, that I was looking forward to getting the boxset when it finished and watching it all the start as I was expecting a shocking finale with answers I never expected requiring me to revisit the show, but when it actually came I had no interest in watching simply because most of the question raised were not answered, or were  unsatisfactory and meaningless.  

I still think it was a good show and kept people on the edge of their seat and like I said, I enjoyed the journey if not the destination.

Well, we do know how the oceanic six escaped. Desmond called Penny, the 6 plus Desmound and Lapedis got took a helicopter, freighter blow, island disappeared, helicopter crashes. Penny picked them up on her boat, Desmound and Lapedis stay with Penny and the 6 get dropped off near an inhabited island near indosia. Just saying if you think on the series a bit we have a lot of answers or at least plausible possibilities. True we didn't EVERY answer (why prevent Man in Black from leaving is the most glaring).

I liked Damon's answers, but I also liked the finale. It WAS a character show that had a lot of mysterious elements. Personally I was more interested in Season 1 about who was who and everyone's past then I was about the sounds in the jungle or even the polar bear (don't get me wrong I did ask 'what's up with that?'). Season 2 and 3 obviously had filler which I think overall heard people's expectations for the show. What's the easiest way to extend the show? Add more crazy mythology stuff. I won't say it's not their fault that they didn't pay off that filler, it was they should've had 60 episodes after finding out they could end the show instead of 48 or whatever they had. I think it was a bit of an oversight that that they didn't do 20 episodes in the last 3 seasons because they certainly had the material for it. Even an hour feature on the final DVD could've done wonders to wrap it up for the fans. Overall though I like that I know all of my favorite characters found themselves and ended up together. Damon is right though,everyone who watched the show had a reaction (positive or negative) to the ending and will remember it, which I think is all you can ever hope for from a big ending like LOST. I mean I don't remember the end of the X-Files just as Damon points out.

Most genre shows tend to be repeated to death in the years following their conclusion. Lost seems to be an exception, presumably because it utterly fails to hold any kind of rewatch value. It was built on questions and, with the knowledge that answers never came, the whole thing looks like a waste of time.

Furthermore, to defend the ending on the grounds that the show was all about the characters is a flawed argument when the only interesting characters were Sawyer, Ben and Desmond.

 Did you read the replies to Geekdom's, similarly moronic, comments?

In fairness, I didn't say that we don't know how the Oceanic Six escaped. I was using that as an example of one of the questions that drove the show for a season and was eventually answered.

Also, regarding the X-Files, I think the reason many people don't remember how that ended was because Mulder and eventually Scully left the show, and they lost interest. If anything, Lost's strength was that it DIDN'T rely on a couple of central characters - and that's because people were tuning in for the mystery as much as the cast.

If I remember rightly Mulder and Scully ran away and were sat in a motel room waiting for the invasion to begin, unsafe in the knowledge that there was nothing they could do to stop it. It's 10 years since I last saw it.

It's because many of us trusted those making the show, that we assumed they had a place to go and they were going towards it. Turns out they didn't really, and that makes for a massive anti-climax and to realise in retrospect that you had sort of been duped; you judge what went before in a different light because you now know in the end it was going knowhere. So I had a last watching the show, but the whole thing is a bit tainted as they were just setting up mysteries that they had no answers for, and you expected better.

The only wank here is your useless review which doesn't back anything up with anything at all.  Your comments are childish and stupid.  There was plenty of brilliant Lost after Season 2. You clearly aren't a Lost fan, so go troll somewhere else, big man!!!

I didn't consider myself intelligent in working out the nature of the A2A universe. When a character commits suicide to return there, it's pretty basic, but it was nice to see how it played out. It seems whenever people talk about the lost finale, they talk in terms of the flash sideways, or the 'they were dead all along' element, which courts comparisons with shows like A2A but for me, it was a relatively small slice of the overall pie (and for the record, apart from a few notable exceptions, I was mainly bored by the stories that occurred there). At the time I was fascinated with the on island antics between Jacob and his candidates, and was largely satisfied how that played out in the last episode. While I can agree that the purgatory element of A2A was handled better, that was its entire foot. In Lost terms, it was just one of the four toes.

Agree - It's not like Buffy, TNG or X-Files where you can just say "Oh - TNG is on - I think I'll watch it" and you can dip in, have a general idea what's going on and have a satisfactory conclusion to each episode. Lost is All-Or-Nothing. Netflix is good for this kind of thing - watched Heroes from start to finish in a few weeks.

Great article. You hit the nail on the head. The problem was expectations for island resolution, which Lindelof and the writers nurtured, hinted, and teased. The series was like going to a fine dining restaurant with lots of advertising for its exquisite cuisine, and then (after long delay) finally being served a pair of sunglasses. Lindelof can argue until his last breath that the sunglasses are high quality and that you look cool if you wear them, and some will agree with him. But those of us expecting some kind of food, ANY kind of food, have a right to be disappointed.

Its interesting, I was and am a huge fan of the show, and I do not share these feelings of dissatisfaction.  I thought the finale was an engaging, emotional and completely satisfying ending to the Lost legacy.  I've rewatched the series a few times, and it remains constantly interesting because they don't spell everything out for you.  I can formulate ideas and see how they mesh with the facts as presented in the show.  And I do think the answers are there, you just have to make sure you have the right questions.  Lost relied, a lot, on unreliable narrators, and they shaped our questions early on only to have their sanity questioned (Danielle) or their integrity (Ben), etc.  All of the little questions do, I think, have an answer within the series itself.  The largest question, the origin of the island, remained a mystery, and I am comfortable with that.  I don't expect to learn how the Force was first developed, and I never expected to learn where the island came from.  The closest we got to an answer was in Rose and Bernard's episode SOS.

Damon Lindelof, Carlton Cuse, JJ Abrams, Et. Al. are artists. They created their art, and they did it the way they wanted to do it.

An artist does not need to feel compelled to answer to the desires of their audience.

Lost answering all the mysteries would have ruined it. Right now I am still mystified by the Island during subsequent rewatches and the point is to be mystified by the Island. It's something that no one can truly understand because it's bigger than everything.

That being said I have no narrative loose ends that I feel were left untied, they did an excellent job of wrapping up the stories on the Island, while leaving the island properly mysterious.

Like the best Stephen King novels Lost was less about the strange circumstances surrounding the characters and more about how those characters interacted in those strange circumstances.

If the show were truly only a sci-fi about a mysterious island they would not have spent over half of the episodes in the first three seasons in Flashbacks that weren't relevant to the island. The Island is simply a plot device, and the characters were it's hear.

The way they chose to end Lost not only left it a mystifying piece of art, but also an emotional reminder to not take for granted the time you spend with the people you love even in moments of great trial and chaos.

It's about finding forgiveness for the things you've done by working through them with other people.

The way Lost ended makes it a legend, had they ended it with trivial answers it would have simply been "some good show I used to watch"

So Damon didn't get the Matrix... no surprise there then...

can someone explain in the finale, how does Kate, Sawyer and Hugo move on and die when in fact Kate and Sawyer left the island on the plane and Hugo has stayed in the island as the new Jacob. 

Everyone dies sometime, kiddo. Some of them before you, some...long after you.

That's a fair point, but I'd argue that they could have still left that message intact while tying up some of the other storylines they introduced, and the show would have looked better for it.

Indeed, if the ending we got was always their intention, they should have placed less emphasis on questions and answers, which is what interested 90% of the audience. Artists are free to do what they like (the commercial enterprise of Lost notwithstanding) but again, my article's point is that the writers created a show which deliberately encouraged a dialogue with the audience. That the final episode switched unexpectedly into didacticism is what upset people.

All events in the "sideways" portion of Season 6 are set at a time after every character has died. Hurley stays on the island, but he isn't immortal. One day he dies, and so does Kate, and Sawyer, and they all join the others in the sideways-universe purgatory before moving into the afterlife together.

 the "you don't get to hold an opinion unless you too have created something of the same magnitude" is not just false, but weak beyond words.  The work was created to be consumed, digested and reflected upon--who else is supposed to have an opinion other than the audience?  Audience's are urged to grow familiar and close to their tv shows, to relate, to anticipate.

Lost was obviously a rare occurence in tv, or maybe even within stories in general.  The audience was asked to follow the writers for six years, they were constantly reassured that the story had a point and would go somewhere sensible.  They crafted an intricate complex world of science fiction and the macabre, as well as a possible theological supernatural story.  Then, when it came time for the story to conclude, they said everything they had done had nothing to do with the story, completely irrelevant.  the story actually was a bunch of folks making peace with shuffling off this mortal coil.  could have taken place in a cafeteria or a spa, or a paintball game.

It would have been better to end on a cliffhanger--like a show unexpectedly cancelled, than to get that revolting, condescending slap in the face.

Of course the audience was angry.  I suppose if you think of tv as simply a way to pass time or be distracted, then hell yes there was six yeas of lost. if you enjoy meaningful storytelling that you can really sink your teeth into, well it was a whole different thing.

What he did with Lost--how skittish it has made people about watching or buying televison with bigger stories, is set back the evolution of what could be done in the medium.  So the next time you complain that there is another police procedural, or reality show, one of the people you have to thank is Lindelhof for pretending he was telling a story and then defending his basic 'it was all a dream' answer as though he had crafted some grand epic.

 Did you just compare a complicated science fiction story with an utterly bland sitcom as your defence for insisting people not feel anything about the story they had been engaged with for years?

I once had a surgeon badly botch a surgery, by your logic, since i myself have never attempted surgery, i'd best keep my thoughts to myself?  Do you press your logic on yourself and feel you aren't entitled to feelings or opinions or the freedom to express them, let alone dialogue with people?  what a painful lonely world that would be.

There is little more pathetic in one of these discussions than the 'if you don't make movies/tv shows, then shut up' argument.  it is beyond nonsensical.  and it just so tiresomely common.

Long-time reader, first-time commenter.

I got into Lost between the airings of seasons 5 and 6, and watched the first five back-to-back that summer, so I missed all the initial hype. Looking back, I'm still (!) in two minds about the finale. From a character point of view, it was fantastic: very satisfying, and it gave closure of some form to pretty much everyone. It infuriates me to see people (usually on Amazon reviews and the like) proclaiming that they were all dead the whole time. They clearly weren't; how do people even get to that conclusion?!

But story-wise... hmmm. I think the review quote about the lack of MiB explanation has finally helped me put my finger on it. I don't care about Walt, or who was chasing them in the outrigger, or about that time we saw Christian somewhere off-island, or whatever. But with season 6 - the temple, the afterlife sequences, DHARMA, the Island's protector, and the threat of the Man in Black escaping - how much of it really *mattered* in the end?

I guess we'll never find out, and while it's too soon for a rewatch, I'd still like to at some point. But a phenomenal series, regardless of whether or not the ending was what I was looking for.

 you wouldn't believe how many people try and run that line concerning politics/governments

 there is also a distinction between artist and storyteller. Stories have begginnings middles and ends, they follow an internal
logic, the things in the story have a forward moving point--stories are
not the same as cubist paintings.  It seems to me, they said they were going to tell us a sweeping story.    It also seems to me that a large portion of the audience didn't feel it turned out to be a very good story once it was all told.  Would you blame anyone if the next time Lindelhof asked, 'hey, do you want to hear a really long story?'  that people just said, no.  As an artist, you can tell any story you want, you just may find yourself with less audience after you've cried wolf a few times.

I think I see the problem with Lost's finale and the marmite effect it had on everyone now. I think that all it boils down to is how people saw the show. Lindelof saw it as a character driven show, and wrote it as such. Because of this, the people who also saw it as a character driven show, and there are many out there, I'm one myself, enjoyed the ending. I was happy with it and I never understood the backlash.

However there were also people who watched it and saw it as "a show built on mysteries and mythology".  "Lost, at least as we saw it, was driven by questions, and the answers to those questions.", I think that you speak for yourself and only about half of the audience with that line, I for one saw it as a show containing mysteries and questions, I never saw them as the main focus. The bizarreness was always just catalysts for reactions from the characters and nothing more as far as I was concerned. If you didn't see the show for what it actually was, and what the writers wanted it to be, then you were always going to be let down.

"
we'll at least know to wait until the complete DVD box set comes out before deciding whether to watch it. "  HAHA!! This is exactly what I did and therefore have never watched Lost.  Great article.

I couldn't agree more (with Rik's wife), but does no one see a pattern here.. Lost, Cowboys vs Aliens, Prometheus... all of them are over-hyped under delivered self righteous sanctimonous bull$#!t and the common denominator is?  The day Lost finished I swore I'd boycott anything that tosser touched.

I was one of those who wanted to believe they knew where they were going and couldn't wait for the answers. Clearly in a show like this over so many episodes there would be some element of making it up as they couldn't plot 100+ episodes in excruiciating detail but the main beats, the core mythology I was convinced was planned out in detail and I held that faith for 5 of 6 seasons. Then the doubts started creeping in with S6 and the finale just shattered any trust they had earned from me. They never had a clue where it was going, saying its about the characters and coming to terms with their lives and relationships in some form of purgatory was such a weak idea. Honestly name a single show that couldn't have ended in that same way- everyone dies, everyone moves on in the afterlife: that could have been the ending of Friends, Buffy, Babylon 5, Heroes, Seinfeld- in no way did it tie into the larger mythos they'd built up and it made the ending completely impersonal. Nothing at all mattered and as a fan that left me incredibly resentful that they had duped me into thinking this series was about anything grander than a series about people living and then dying. 

Hehehehehe!  I was about to start watching Ashes to Ashes on Netflix...  That'll teach me for catching up so late.  lol

My opinion is that Lindelof thinks he is way smarter than us and everyone, and tried to pull an Evangelion with Lost -- in other words, setting a trap for a certain category of viewers, teasing them with what they want, and then completely deconstruct itself in a psychoanalytical way, offfering some brilliant metaphysical resolution.

However, he didn't realize that to do that, you need:
1) To have planned it in depth for a long time: if you look closely at Evangelion, you'll realize than anything was there from the very beginning -- surely, the christian symbols were mostly random (simply exotic touches for most japanese viewers), but the thinking of the show wasn't. In Lost, it was completely shallow and improvized as things went.
2) Good characters: none of Lost characters was really more than an empty shell and a plot device. None of them was interesting, they were mostly dull and passive, their reactions were forced and unrrealistic. Some supporting characters were pretty cool (Ben, Locke, Desmond, the Man in Black), but they were all destroyed one by one by the scripts - and there is a big difference between deconstruction, which implies that you master your subject, and destruction for the sake of it -
3) To have some deep insight into the human psyché : and for that, you need far more complex characters than the childish clichés with childish issues created for Lost.
4) To be smart yourself, and have things to say : none of that was in Lost.

Lost is a flawed masterpiece but it is a masterpiece. I know
that it contains massive frustrations, some of which I share, but I don't
regret a single hour spent watching it.

 

As for this article I think that it misses out the fascinating
insight into the battle between listening to the fans and the demand to have a complete
solution from the outset. Focusing on whether the show needed an ‘architect
moment’ (it did not – Beyond the Sea was a clunker) is refighting a battle that’s
being going on since almost the end of the first episode and at this stage is
utterly unwinnable.

Agreed with everything you say.
They can prattle on as much as they like, farting out excuses for the ending until they are blue in the face. At the end of the day it was obvious what happened. They made the show up as it went along, and couldn't write a proper resolution.
Citing the Matrix example is just lazy. Yes, that scene was done terribly, but like you said the revelation in that scene was superb, and made sense. There was no reason why season 6 had to be what it was. Even if they didn't have it all planned, they could have thought up SOME resolution. 
Lost was just a gimic for them to make money. They sold their show on the mysteries from day one. Yes, the character stories were its hard, but the mysteries were its body. I certainly wasn't attracted to the show because, "oh a cool group of people are on an Island!" I certainly didn't give two shits who Kate ended up sleeping with (something that is really starting to bug me over on Vampire Diaries). I was attracted because it was about a cool island, and although there were lots of questions, resolution seemed likely. 
Look at Harry Potter. I loved book 7. It told us everything we needed to know, and STILL managed to be a brilliant character driven book. Everything made sense and was tied off beautifully. Love or hate it, nobody will ever sit around and damn the entire series because of a hastily rushed and superbly lazy ending. 
Lost will only be remembered for the ending this bloke crapped out. The amazing stuff that comes with it, the characters, the awesome finals... none of that matters. The entire thing feels completely hollow now. They took what they had created; possibly the best show ever made on TV, and utterly raped it at the last hurdle.
So, sprout as many interviews as you want. You were a hack and the fans caught on, only slightly too late. How many shows are given THREE YEARS notice to come up with a conclusion? That was the best you could do? 
Shame.

The disappointment is not that they made it up as they went along, but that they probably had a pretty good idea of the whole plotline (or at least an explanation for the goings on) at the beginning but changed it to something they felt was more "profound" .  Consider : they come up with an idea for an SF series that becomes very, very popular and lauded by people who dont't do SF.  It is not just an SF/F  TV show now but "art".  Suddenly their original idea that , for example, the Lost characters got caught up in an experiment by renegades from a parallel dimension where the Roman Empire never fell, is not what the writers want as their epitath.  So they decide to make it more, what they consider, universal in its relevance, but in so doing destroy the whole internal logic of the original idea.  I bet if you asked them to reveal their first written drafts you would not see any mention of  characters in search of the ability to forgive themselves  

A very nice article. You are spot on about the episode, 'Across the Sea', which showed that Lost could be entertaining and insightful. I wish they had a couple of episodes, which were like this. It's fine getting your audience to question elements of the show but when you force your audience to question all the time, it can get a bit repetitive. It is possible to give answers but keep the big themes a secret. I suspect Lindelof had too many story threads going on that they simply forgot about them. I always suspected that Mikhail Bakunin (eyepatch Russian guy) had been blessed in the same way that Richard Alpert was, as always managed to survive against inhuman odds. I was disappointed that they never went into real depth of this character and because he was so good at surviving I was never convinced he was dead.

Comprehensive Explanation: The Island was the source of the Light which is fundamentally important to all life on Earth.  A little vague I know but so is The Force.

Anyway The Island requires a Steward/Guardian, but being fundamentally human those people are at least partially flawed.  Also when they become leaders of groups they pass on those flaws to their followers, not to mention getting crazier as time goes by since they are essentially immortal until they can find themselves a replacement. 

We have seen 3 (well 4) "rotations" of Stewards (BTW take another look at the number of skeletons on the floor when Desmond puts the plug back in and imagine how many times it has happened), although obviously the main story arc focussed on the transition of Jacob to Jack/Hurley.  The earliest one we saw however was "mother" and she clearly went batshit crazy because she was all by herself until a pregnant woman washed up ashore with not only someone who could keep her company but also could allow her to finally rest. 

Jacob then spent hundreds of years bringing people to the island and see above, they were even more human and flawed than he was (he was actually pretty damn good at his job and zen about the whole gig) which is how you ended up with a group that thought that Ben as a leader would be a good idea (this mostly happened I think through Jacob isolating himself from them).

One thing that Jacob did do (although we don't know when he started) was to recruit his own candidates.  Someone asked me once what the point of the Numbers were, and they were effectively a way of getting Hurley to the island.  It's like a spam message sent out to everyone but only one person in the world is the intended target.  Obviously because they were originally from the Island they were kind of magical and brought several people to the island as well as causing mayhem in the real world, but their entire point was to bring Hurley, who lets not forget ended up being the true replacement Steward.

Finally we have the show ending with the rotation of Jacob to Jack to Hurley (I always think of Jack as a "wartime leader" and Hurley as a "peacetime leader".  Both have different skills and usually one cannot do the job of the other.  Jack was great in a crisis, Hurley was good at everything else).

I will leave you with this: Are we really supposed to believe that Kate and Sawyer flew off the Island before they were 30 and both recently made single and *didn't* get together in the real world?  Their live's didn't just stop no matter what they told their soulmates when they died.  I am pretty confident that like many grieving friends, they found comfort in each other and were married for the next 50 years and had 4 children, 15 grandchildren, and 23 great grandchildren.

Oh and Dharma was a research company who wanted to find out the scientific explanation for all the wierd light-caused electromagnetic timey wimey stuff that happened on the island.  No mystery.

What was the island?  R: A mystical place, holding an ancient source of energy.
What was DHARMA trying to do there? R: Social and physical experiments, trying to get hold of the power of the island. In fact, Dharma was also brought to the island by Jacob.
Why did Jacob need a new steward? R: He was tired of being immortal and live in the island, guarding it.
Ahn.. so, i just gave you the answers, in fact, the series gave them to me. So you can delete you entire post, because you don't payed atencion to the show, back in the day.

The fact that you and Bobsuncorp have different answers to these questions pretty much says it all. It's not that everyone else wasn't watching properly, it's that you've filled in the gaps with your own theories. Fair enough.

But some of us wanted concrete resolutions. Lost was the storytelling equivalent of "Why did the chicken cross the road?" "Actually, what's important is that he found peace with himself. We don't care about the road or why he crossed it."

Yay, someone else who understands the finale, have my babies bobsuncorp! Even after two years, I still get frustrated when people talk about unanswered questions like "What was the island? What was DHARMA trying to do there? Why did Jacob need a new steward?" as in this article. These were all answered! And still there are people saying either that they were "dead all along", or "if they all meet up in purgatory then nothing mattered". Well that second one negates pretty much every story ever told. The stopped the Light from going out, saving life as we know it, I'd hardly call their lives meaningless.

I thought the answers he just mentioned were concretely explained in the show. If I wasn't at work I'd get quotes, but from memory Mother describes the Light as a physical manifestation of life and death. The Light is in the planet but it's also in all life at the same time, and if the Light goes out on the island, it goes out everywhere. The confusion people refer to might be DHARMA's theories about it being a pocket of negatively charged exotic matter, but eh that's DHARMA for you, and the way the island reacts when the Light is "unplugged" I think confirms the more mystical interpretation.

Actually I think it's really the "mysticalness" that people reacted badly to, in the sense that the show is really more fantasy than sci-fi, I think they wanted midichlorians and they got "the Force" instead. I should have seen this coming when everyone was theorising that the black smoke was a cloud of nanites and I said "or...it could be a sentient cloud of black smoke?"

But yes I wouldn't call his explanation "filling in the gaps".

I won't disagree but the part of me that took part in the ARG online and regularly consulted Lostpedia after every episode would still like to see something on screen that exists within that universe to explore the mystery more and bring it to a resolution of some kind.

 Thank you. These are my feelings about the island as well. I loved the show, still love it on re-watch, still ponder the mysteries of the island and do not feel 'let down' that everything about it was not explained. Hunting for clues every week, examining screen caps on the forums, exchanging wild theories with other fans: those things were hellacious fun for the fans, and I wonder if we didn't whip up our expectations by doing this.

Still, I think it's telling that two years down the road Damon continues to feel compelled to explain anything to the fans. Perhaps a better exposition episode would have been in order.

James I totally agree with you. I watched the finale open mouthed, stunned for all the wrong reasons. I understood it, I didn't like the concept at all, but that wasn't what annoyed me, it was the realisation that we had been being strung along the whole time. They were making it up as they were going along, inventing ideas and storylines they couldn't finish.
So many things unanswered, not because they didn't want to, because they simply didn't have the answers.
I have never been so disgusted in the space of one episode of a tv show. As you said James, i could have accepted an anticlimax, or a poorly done finale, just not the total kop-out that we got. It makes my blood boil just thinking about all the times me and friends would discuss what everything meant, Hurley's lottery numbers, the food drops etc, if only i'd know it was just made up to fill time and keep people watching.

I pretty much watched the first season and the last season and only saw bits and pieces in the middle. And quite frankly I'd have to wonder if the writer of this piece even saw that much. Its true that we weren't handed the answers on a plate, but we were given answers to the only things that mattered. You just had to think about it.

I realise television isn't exactly an art form which encourages thought so maybe its a bit of a surprise when its actually required. Yes I think the show went on far too long and lost its way but it was also very obviously a gigantic metaphor right from the very beginning. And that's not a hindsight comment. My partner at the time explained the show to me after two episodes that she had barely watched and got it totally right.

We weren't given the answers as they didnt KNOW the answers, they were making it up as they went along.

Thank you for writing this! I felt exactly the same way. After spending 6 years following the story and arguing with the nay-sayers that: "The writers know what they're doing!" & "The'yre not just winging it!" - after the final episode aired I just felt utterly cheated - I've never been so disappointed or frustrated by another show or movie. It's not that I need to be spoon-fed the answers - I love David Lynch's work mostly BECAUSE there are no clear answers - it's just that for SIX YEARS Lost insisted so relentlessly on it's own mythology, hinting and playing off the drama of 'the big reveal' which, while some plot threads did get paid off, it's incredibly disappointing of the writers to turn around at the end and say 'it was never really about the Island'. Then why make it a mystery-based show at all? Turns out it was all just a very calculated and cynical ploy to keep people watching.

 Except they WEREN'T dead all along and trapped in a metaphysical purgatory-like world. Only the FLASH-SIDEWAYS world was purgatory, NOT the island. Everything that happened on the island was real. See, the problem with the ending is that the majority of people were too stupid to understand it; not that the ending was stupid. And this is coming from someone who had his own frustration with Lost and hated the man in black vs. Jacob angle.

I understood it just fine (and I realise the difference between the flash sideways and the real world etc) - it just wasn't very good.

My apologies, having re-read my comment it seems pointed directly at you. I was trying to imply any fan at all, not just yourself! After reading your article, I also read all the comments, so it was more to lots of people. Sorry about that! :P Otherwise though, I do still get annoyed by a few things like dropped threads in Lost (the Ajjira boat-shooting incident is one in particular) but other questions which had a sense of mystery about them I almost never wanted answered so I could theorize about them forever more, as the theories were one of my favourite parts of Lost.

I can also understand frustrations about Lost too... but every time I hear someone talking about it, I can't help but feeling that they are saying 'Hey, over here, us in the minority can't understand why you did this or that or didn't answer these questions!' When in reality, the amount of people I come across who do that kind of thing are the majority, and I find it really difficult to say 'hey, I enjoyed it, it was a satisfying ending in every way, and while they may have dropped some plot lines along the way, they still gave me a wonderful show which I will cherish, and do my best not to whine about the inconsistencies.' JJ Abrams, Cuse and Lindelof could have easily came out and made a police procedural programme and the world would have loved in droves. Instead he took the difficult path and made a programme which split so much opinion for all the time it aired (and obviously, years afterwards). I respect that and can only see good in it.

And to finish. Buffy is superb. I loved the ending. Again, split opinions, lots of people did not. Go figure!

I don't know why it couldn't have been this: when the nuclear explosion happened, the island split into two alternate timelines. We were seeing pieces from either timeline, but they were bleeding into each other, such as when Jack hit his head in one "timeline" and bled in another. Desmond could span them both, for whatever reason. Widmore was trying to harness that capability, hence creating the reaction that would cause Desmond to switch back and forth. Such a waste.

and yet none of that matters because they were simply people who were lost and they found a way to move on and forgive themselves and so they did and they moved on and everyone's happy... Except the members of the audience who were expecting answers or at the very least better answers. It's not that we don't understand the show, it's simply we are unwilling to accept the atrocious cop out that was the series finale. Great they all went through their trials on the island, which were never truly explained, all so that they could move on from their temporal purgatory. As stated above, it was a show that presented ad immersed itself in questions and mysteries in order to give us one answer, it was all about the characters and nothing else really matters. And it doesn't truly negate every story ever told in regards to the person in agreement because the culmination of characters coming together and moving on should've been utilized as a way to resolve feelings and emotions held towards the characters, not to resolve unsolved mysteries and unanswered questions.

They weren't dead all along. Why do so many people say this? I'm convinced I watched a different finale to the one everyone keeps moaning about...

I am perfectly well aware of the differences between the 2007 timeline and the 2004 flash sideways timeline (in which they WERE all dead - were you watching it I wonder?).

The similarities with A2A were all too glaringly obvious - especially since the A2A finale was still fresh in the mind of viewers having been broadcast 6 days earlier.

For example, the principal character only realises they are dead in the final episode and they then have to enter into a mysterious building to accept this and move on to the afterlife.

If they were making it all up as they went along, how come in Season 1, when they find the caves, do they find a couple of skeletons, one of which is clutching a bag containing two small stones, one black one white, something that is then referenced a few episodes before the series ends, and something summarises the entire show; good vs evil, MiB v Jacob, etc.

When they showed that epsiode a question was raised, one that was comprehensibly answered in the final season, after 6 years of waiting. In fact, while we're on this subject, for me personally, pretty much all the questions, the big ones that really mattered that were raised throughout the show were comprehensibly answered.

I think the problem lies with people not being happy with those answers, not that they weren't answered. I think that in itself is really sad that people are moaning that questions they clung on two throughout the show weren't answered with the most amazing answers possible. If you weren't happy with the answers you missed the point of the show, which was to follow the journeys of the main characters and follow them all the way to their individual paths conclusively.

I also don't understand why people aren't happy with what the writers decided to do with the characters stories. I read somewhere someone said; "So they all died in the end? Is that it? We watched all that just to be told they ended up dying?"

Now don't get me wrong, I appreciate everyone has an opinion, but firstly a small point - everyone dies, if you don't understand that people all die then you really are dumb. But secondly, and really the main issue I have is this; how did people miss that Jack, undoubtedly the main character, the peoples hero if you like, sacrifices his own life to save the Island and therefore save life on earth, while also killing off the shows villian in the dying moments of the series? And if they didn't miss that, they saw it and are still claiming "they died for nothing" then that just confuses me. How is killing a villian, saving the Island and sacrificing your own life not f**king doing something majorly important to end a series?

And on that point, all the main characters were integral in making this happen. So they all played key roles in saving the Island, killing the villian and therefore saving people from MiB off the Island.

Does anyone actualy have any so-called "un-answered questions" they'd like to put forward. Because I've seen the show twice through now and I genuinely can't find any questions that weren't answered, and by questions I'm referring to all relevant questions, such as "what is the Island?" "what is the smoke monster and how did it come to be?" "what are the rules of the Island and who makes them?" "what are the numbers and what do they mean/what relevance do they have to the Island?" "why were the candidates brought to the Island?" "what are the whispers on the Island?" etc, etc.

All the big questions. Answered. Perfectly clearly and more than well enough.

Granted, there are some slightly smaller issues, where characters (in real life) left the show, such as the actor playing Eko, where the writers had to change things slightly, but hardly affect the grand scheme of things. There are some minor things that don't add up, like Claire being afraid to tell her Mum about her pregnancy, then later in the show it turns out her Mum was in a coma when she was pregnant. That doesn't quite make sense, but that's an incredibly small sub-plot. And I can't really think of any others.

Sure, the show was confusing around the Season 5 period, and I think it was hard to keep up with the physics aspects of it all, and it probably lost some viewers at that point. People who couldn't keep up. But that's fair enough, every show experiences that. For me personally I thought they ended the show brilliantly. They tied up loose ends, answered huge questions, brought a new and unexpected surprise with the flash sideways, and all while maintaining the high standard of clever writing the show had produced from Season 1. In fact, for me personally, it's so good, I don't really see how anyone can complain?!?!

Just the other day I finished Season 6 again, and was astounded, (knowing what the flash sideways meant) at how clever the tying up of characters stories was. I cried 5 separate times throughout the double epsiode - Sun and Jin's awakening, Charlie and Claire's, Sawyer and Juliet, all so brilliantly done.

I genuinely would like to know what it was that disappointed so many people?

Yes I watched it and understood every aspect of it. I never questioned whether you understood the difference of one timeline to another? I'm simply saying that your "they were dead all along" comment doesn't make sense because the Lost characters weren't dead all along. Only in the Season 6 flash sideways.

Now, I didn't watch Ashes to Ashes so I can't comment, but if it turns out that the characters were "dead along along" in the final episode, then that's completely different to Lost, where, for 6 whole seasons, they were alive and experiencing everything as we saw it happen. The writers used a clever device in the flash sideways to highlight the importance of letting go of their earthly misgivings in order to move forwards to the next stage in life, if you like.

The other thing to add, is how on earth would the Lost writers know what the Ashes to Ashes writers were going to do as their finale?!? Sure, the timing wasn't good for Lost fans who also watched Ashes to Ashes, but that's not the fault of the writers?

I realise you're intelligent enough to also work out that these things are written and then filmed weeks in advance, so I doubt that neither Ashes to Ashes writers or Lost writers had a clue what each other was doing. I somehow doubt the Lost writers even cared given that at the time of writing the final season, they were probably just trying to do the best they could for the show they'd spent the last 5 years of their lives working on...

Unfortunately, there is a small number of people amongst the Lost fans who watched the show throughout it's entire run, in order, never missing a show, who apparently it turns out were watching the show for the wrong reasons, and hanging on to things that weren't anywhere near as important as the shows main focus - it's characters and their ultimate journeys in life (and after life it turns out!).

I genuinely feel really sorry for the people who didn't enjoy the ending because it didn't answer all the questions they had. For me personally it answered all my questions, and even more than I thought they'd dare answer. If anything I think on a couple of points they actually went a little too far in telling us what the answers were to questions they'd raised, and I think I'd have preferred a little more ambiguity. But that said, it was still amazing to me that they managed to tie up so many loose ends so cleverly, while still maintaining high writing standards, and bringing it all to the boil so cleverly throughout the final season.

For the people disappointed with the finale because it didn't answer all their questions, I would simply say; which questions weren't answered?

In this article for example the writer says the show raised questions such as "What was the island? What was DHARMA trying to do there? Why did Jacob need a new steward?" All of these questions were answered as far as I can tell from watching the entire series through twice, once as it aired, and once all again since.

The writer also says... "The thing that upset people is that the fate of the island didn't get the same resolution." The Island looked like it had two options going in to the finale. Un-Locke/MiB wanted to blow up the island. He failed. So the Island lived on, and the characters we'd come to know and love throughout the show eventually all left / died / ruled the Island for a little longer. How is that not telling us the fate of the Island?

Please don't tell me you want to know things like what happened next? How long did Hurley and Ben run the Island for, and things like that...

I think the bit that annoys me most with this article is this bit...

"Tell us that the island was a time-loop designed to keep the species
alive forever. That it was built as a petting zoo by aliens. Tell us
that it was an elaborate reality TV show. As long as it mostly fit with
what we had seen, it could have been anything. Anything other than
nothing."

Nothing? Nothing you say?

Well lets see, what did happen at the end of the show. Our main character, our hero who we've followed through the show for 6 years, in the dying minutes of the series, along with the help of the other characters we love, saves the day by figuring out a way to kill the villain, then manages to save the Island (and therefore life off-island as well) and to do this sacrifices his own life, and while doing so finally comes to terms with all his personal issues, his fate and the purpose of his life.

So in character terms that was pretty conclusive and pretty good if you ask me. And what about in terms of the Island?

Well, we found out (without actual scientific explanations) what the Island is, we know roughly where it is, we know it has an energy source at it's centre that is linked to good and evil depending on who accesses the light at the heart of the Island, we know its been around for 100's possibly 1000's of years constantly being visited by people trying to harness its powers, we know about the electromagnetism aspects of it, we know it can cause halucinations for people, we know it can affect pregnant women somehow (most likely because of the electromagnetism), I mean seriously, come on people, what more do you want to know about the Island?

How in God's name is that not a brilliant, bittersweet and clever ending for the show? To answer all those important questions, and resolve all the character stories at the same time, I think it was amazingly well done.

I mean when you watched Back To The Future you didn't get upset because they didn't do a film to explain how the Flux Capacitor works, did you? Or a 4th Star Wars film to explain how the Force works?

What do you mean no resolution? We know what happened to all the characters and we even know what happened to some of them after they died! We also know whether the Island survived that part of its history, the part the writers wanted to tell us about.

Hell, they even showed us eventually who the two skeletons they found were (one clutching a little bag with a black and white stone in it) in one of the last ever episodes!

If they were making it up as they went along, how would they have been able to do that? Writers come up with concepts, but don't spend weeks and weeks writing something without being paid, that's not how it works. You have an idea, make a pilot and sell it to a network, it's a business. The Lost pilot was amazing and it gave them the chance to tell the rest of their story. The network however were resistant to let the writers have complete control and during seasons 2 and 3 were in dispute over how long the show should run for. Eventually they came to an agreement and the writers were allowed (never been done before in the history of network TV I might add) to announce when the show would end, SPECIFICALLY to tell the rest of the story as they saw it. They didn't ask for 3 more years to "make up an ending" lol

In the real world, sh*t gets in the way of creativity, such as actors leaving, networks forcing writers hands to produce more episodes, etc. You have to understand that with all those sorts of constraints the writers actually did an amazing job of finishing the show so well, and doing it for the fans not their pockets.
If you didn't like the ending from a subjective point of view, then tough, it ended the way the writers wanted and you wasted your time. Deal with it.

"Great they all went through their trials on the island, which were never
truly explained, all so that they could move on from their temporal
purgatory."

That's not what happened. It does look like you don't understand the show. What they went through on the Island had nothing to do with their time in temporary purgatory. Their trials and time on the Island allowed them all to finally go of all their issues in their lives.

In purgatory, they all took their own time, along with a little help from Desmond and Hurley, to truly let go of their earthly misgivings, enabling them to more on finally, to heaven I'm guessing, or wherever next.
What happened on the Island and their time in purgatory are two separate things.

I'm a member of the audience and I'm happy with the ending. What do you mean none of it matters? The main character saves the Island, finds a way to kill the main villain, but in doing so realises he will have to sacrifice his own life, in order for everyone else to survive, including everyone off-island as well. How exactly is that a meaningless ending to the series?

All the show did, which clearly confused some people, was to show you that after they had died on earth, they made a place where they could meet up and move on together. That part didn't really have anything to do with their time on the Island. It was clever because for the entire season you didn't know what the relevance was, but it turned out that it wasn't an alternate reality, or whatever. I can't believe people feel this wasn't good enough.

Do you have any better ideas?

The main character finds a way to kill the main
villain, saves the Island from sinking, but in doing so realises he will have to sacrifice his own
life, in order for everyone else to survive, including everyone
off-island as well.

You call that a big pile of fumbled nothing?

What would you have preferred?

Here here!

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