I was disappointed with the Lost finale. There, I said it. It wasn’t very good. Actually, it was good — just like every other episode of the show, it was well acted and well made — it just wasn’t very satisfying. But there are a ton of people who are in denial about that. They are raving about the deeper philosophical meaning embedded in the show and how the finale was not only deeply meaningful but the only ending that fit. Well, I call bullshit. People who say that are just embarrassed to admit that they, like the rest of us, wasted 120 hours watching the show.
Perhaps that is too strong. I don’t feel like the time was wasted, necessarily. I was entertained by the show, after all, and the story is still intriguing. But I feel like I’ve felt in the past when a show has been canceled prematurely and didn’t get a chance to tie up all of the loose ends. This is especially frustrating since producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse deliberately called their own end to the show, limiting it to six seasons, claiming that they had to determine the pacing to tell the story they wanted to tell. Very well. You may have told a story, but you didn’t answer the questions — and that was your only job in the eyes of most fans. The questions were as confounding as they were incessant. The questions piled up season after season, like the mountains on the island. The questions were the yarn of the entire tapestry of Lost. And in the end, they are left dangling at the bottom of an impressive, but nonetheless incomplete, masterpiece. Why wouldn’t you leave yourself enough time to properly answer the questions?
I not only committed 120 hours of my life to watching the TV show, but I also indulged the producers for untold hours listening to their podcasts. The podcasts were entertaining in their own right. “Darlton,” as Damon and Carlton came to be called by podcast devotees, would spend a good portion of the show answering questions emailed to them. Sometimes the answers even shed light on the direction the show was taking, or would take in the future. On more than one occasion they refuted claims by fans that the island represented a kind of purgatory, and that everyone on the island was already dead. They assured their listeners that this was not the case, and that they had a much better explanation for the island’s strangeness. This is especially frustrating since this appears to be exactly what they ended up doing with the show. Everyone was dead and trapped in the island’s purgatory until they could find a way to collectively “let go” and move on.
I am left to believe that, despite their claims to the contrary, the roadmap for the show was not laid out in any great detail from Season 1, and that they were ashamed to admit that those fans who guessed purgatory way back in Season 1 were right on. Rather than rewarding those astute observers, they strung us all along promising us a grandiose mythology that could only come from the mind of a genius (or several geniuses), each season growing ever more implausible until somewhere around the end of Season 5 they realized that they had painted themselves into a corner. With no remaining path forward, they fell back to the only solution that ever made any sense and punted.
Lost had great potential, but like The Matrix trilogy, it just never lived up to it. Maybe one day after I retire, I’ll go back and watch the entire series again and find some new appreciation for its genius. In the meantime, I’m just disappointed.