Lost executive producer looks back at the series finale

News Simon Brew 23 Apr 2014 - 07:33

Carlton Cuse reopens the debate about the finale of Lost, as he discusses why he and Damon Lindelof went the way they did...

Spoilers for the Lost ending lie ahead.

Many years after it aired, the debate continues to rage about the final episode of Lost. And chatting to Entertainment Weekly, the man who co-wrote The End - Carlton Cuse - has been chatting about that last episode.

Cuse penned it with Damon Lindelof, his co-showrunner on Lost, and he affirms that the ending was actually planned from the start. "There was this grand plan that we had - the idea that the show would start with Jack’s eye opening and it would end with Jack’s eyes closing, which meant that Jack had to die", Cuse said. "That was right in the DNA from the very beginning, he added. "The finale is like a hedge. You plant it, but then over time it grows bigger and thicker, and as we went down the stream with the show, we kept getting additional ideas. While some of the basic ideas remained from early on, it was made much richer just by going through the creative process of making the 119 episodes that preceded it".

EW then pressed the point about the discussions in the writers' room leading up to the penning of the finale. And Cuse said that "we felt like a spiritual resolution was the thing that would ultimately be the most emotionally satisfying. We felt like there was no possible way to answer questions. We actually attempted on a number of occasions to shoehorn in things like who’s in the outrigger, and we found ourselves doing all these sorts of narrative backflips. To put something into a story that really didn’t belong in the story that we were telling".

Cuse also argued that "I feel like we did wrap up a lot of the biggest mysteries on the show. There was no way to sustain a mystery show for 121 episodes of television and tie up every loose end. It was just not possible".

The last season of Lost, as we've argued lots of times before, is excellent, and one of the show's strongest. The last episode, however, remains a quandry. Some love it, some really don't like it at all. Most of us here still feel that after sitting through over 100 episodes to get there, the ending was a heavy let down. But we know that many think differently. It's worth reading the full EW piece to get Cuse's take on it...

EW.

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Lost excited me when it started and seemed like a great ADVENTURE story.
It thrilled me when it appeared to be a cleverly disguised SCI-FI series.
It really annoyed me when it turned out to be a FANTASY show.

2001, one of the greatest sci-fi movies ever didn't explain all it's mysteries, it didn't have to. Lost could have done the same. Instead it copped out with the whole, weird fantasy ending.

Having said that, I still enjoyed the journey.

Exactly, I feel the same. People are jumping on the "they didn't answer anything!" bandwagon but they did actually answer a lot, and what they didn't answer doesn't take anything away. I love being able to theorise about what certain things meant.

I'm watching it through again at the moment, and it's just reignited my love for the show. Yes there were some less-good episodes and moments, but overall I love it.

I don't think that's the same thing. I haven't seen that CSI episode, but from what you say, it was clearly the intention of the writers to leave an open ending.

The writers of Lost were making things up as they went along. They were dropping in huge plot twists without giving any thought to how they would resolve them, and how much that might frustrate the viewers.

After the first season of Lost, I thought of it as the most addictive, most gripping and best TV show I'd ever seen. Now I feel like it was a waste of about 120 hours viewing time.

There was a Peter - Wendy - Tinkerbell love triangle.

And a mysterious pirate ship.

And a scary monster that made a ticking noise as it approached.

And dynamite.

And an unnamed mysterious island which nobody quite knows where it is.

And two separate worlds (on island / off island).

And a protective companion dog (Nanny) who had a similar role to the dog in Lost (Vincent).

And strange island natives that initially appear to be savages (then not).

And a kid carrying a teddy bear.

And a bunch of orphaned kids with parental issues known as 'The Lost Boys'.

And a boy with special unique abilities.

And an evil power crazed man who tries to deceive and manipulate people.

And a magically transformed vessel that flies off into the sky at the end.

At the time it was running - certainly the first couple of seasons - Lost was incredible; groundbreaking and mesmerising.

Me and my friends would often discuss the latest plot twists at length and pass comment on each others theories. The thought that the writers were making it up off the top of their heads wasn't even considered; we were in awe of the writing.

So, to find out at the end of the show that there was no forward-thinking or planning (and that many of our theories were actually better than what happened in the show) was just so disappointing. I was talking with a friend about this recently and we said we felt like we'd actually had the p*ss taken out of us.

Thank god for Game Of Thrones :)

They did a lot of things right, no question. Great characters, the best plot twists and cliffhangers ever on TV. One of the most iconic shows of its time.

However, you can't pose as many questions, and then not answer them, as it did and expect to be as revered as the Sopranos' or Breaking Bads of this world.

It was pretty awful wasn't it. The final battle was great (all of about 10 minutes) but the Starbuck thing was dreadful. I could have almost tolerated it if they hadn't put that embarassingly bad 'modern day Earth' epilog at the very end. Ugh.

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