Home » My Very First Time… » My Problem with the “Lost” Finale

My Problem with the “Lost” Finale

Lost - Sawyer, Jack, Kate, Michael

I used to wonder how “Lost” would end. Now I’m wondering by what means a lover of science fiction and mysteries can discern which work of art to partake of simply for the deliciousness of its physical execution, and which art deserves and can withstand more complex theorizing and philosophical discussion.

“Lost” was brilliantly filmed and acted, and often very well written, but I’m very ticked off that the ones in charge of this story refused to finish it. I can deal with open-ended, ‘draw your own conclusions’ types of stories that are more about motivations and human nature than answers and plot, but if you make up your own specific and fantastical universe with different physical rules from our own, I’d rather not be tasked with writing your ending. I also don’t like being told that there IS a satisfying ending which makes sense (you haven’t just strung me along) when it isn’t true. The makers of “Lost” should be ashamed for having lied to us. In my opinion, their ending is no ending at all. To me it equals Pam Ewing waking up and finding Bobby in the shower, rendering the entire previous season of “Dallas” just a dream that she woke up from. That was funny once.

“Lost” gave us a ferocious polar bear on a tropical island, time travel, machines that stop events from happening while having no apparent connection to them, a woman dressed like an ancient Greek or Roman who can affect the world with a light at the bottom of a pool or a cave or whatever — if this is poetry then call it that! Don’t pretend it’s a drama with a beginning, middle and end. Why not choose the form that supports your art? Why present it as a mystery over years of cliff hanging chapters with plotlines and characters to keep straight, when there’s no need? If it’s only about the beauty and emotion and fear and love that the mind can conjure up in its dream state, and we should just enjoy it just as it is, then let us know we don’t have to worry about the plot or the physical connections.

You have to be better writers than these, to make this sort of story work for the extended amount of time that they took to present it. I can’t think of any filmmaker who would have been able to make this work with the ending they used, outside the basic two-hour movie format or at most, the constrains of the trilogy. I know there were people who were happy with this ending. I’m not writing this for them. I’m writing this for those of us who agree that as a whole, “Lost” is a poor epic poem, too specific for what it seems to have been meant to be, too distracting from its ‘philosophical points’ or the artistic urgency its creators may have felt when the idea first came to them. (Or am I wrong? Was it mainly produced to sell commercials?)

Perhaps I’m not the best person to explain my point here, but I think the late Rod Serling would have understood exactly what I mean. And he would have been able to express it very well. In his hands, “Lost” would surely have had a satisfying ending. He would have wanted nothing less than that for a story that captured so many people’s imaginations for so long.

13 thoughts on “My Problem with the “Lost” Finale

  1. Pingback: This Year’s Birthday Card From Sis | Sparks In Shadow

  2. Yeah, I’ve been puzzling over the ending too. Mike and I are watching it together now – his first time, my 2nd, and I’m thinking of the ending as I’m watching it and I have to say it’s spoiling it a bit for me. Also, I’m only now this 2nd time through wondering what the heck happened to the whole plotline of pregnant women dying on the island.

  3. I know, right? I agree with you completely.
    My theory is a) they started way too many plotlines and ended up running out of time to finish them all, and b) they were too afraid of “upsetting” people by writing an inconclusive ending and letting us “write” the rest ourselves, and instead tried to tie it all up in a neat little bow.
    My ending would have allowed each character, after having lived two parallel yet quite different lives, to choose which of the two they wanted to continue in. This would have posed an interesting challenge, and a representation of the universal question regarding the “road not taken.”
    Alas, they ended with what I called the sterile and uninteresting secular view of heaven. I felt cheated out of all the years I spent watching the show, trying to unravel all of the twists and turns with the eternally optimistic view that there actually WERE answers to all the questions they posed. It did present ample opportunity to eat popcorn and watch TV with my teenage son, so I guess it wasn’t all time wasted.

    • I like your idea for the ending much better than theirs! I also agree that the ride was cool for a while, and not a complete waste of time. Besides what seemed to be a promising story, I was also smitten with the beautiful Hawaiian locales and the hunky “eye candy!”

  4. Jack was a little too uptight for me, and had way too highly-developed of a savior complex. Sawyer was too far in the “bad boy” category, although I definitely found him to be the more attractive of the two. Jack with a beard — Ick! As bad as Brad Pitt with one.

    I actually always kind of liked Desmond, although he was a bit slight physically for my taste. I liked his outlook, and how devoted he was to Penny. The accent didn’t hurt, either. And then there was Boone — what beautiful eyes! They killed him off way too soon for me to really know what I thought of him on a deeper level than that.

    Ha! Listen to me. As if!!!

  5. It’s funny– I think this is why I never got into the show at all, although my man was a huge fan. Because there were no writerly little clues that added up to understanding woven in along the way, I never bought in. When I read or watch, I like to have the sense that the writer is in control, that they know more than I do but if I pay close attention, I’ll be able to figure it out. Without that, it’s really meaningless, to me, just empty amusement. It was so popular, though, that I wonder if it’s going to be the new thing. Plots that go nowhere, the latest rage.

    • Oh, I hope not! I have noticed that a lot of the sci-fi offerings on commercial television that I like (yes, I’m a glutton for punishment) have been getting cancelled, if not soon, then after the first season. My theory is that we are not all gluttons for punishment, and most of us have said, “I’m not falling for that again,” after their unsatisfying experience with, “Lost.” I at least wish that AMC would brush off “The Cape” and let it’s writers and producers run wild. That could be fun!

  6. Running a decent ending to an errie mystery is hard. The only
    way I’ve ever suceeded in doing that is by first comming up with
    a truly mind blowing what if, and arranging the plot around it’s
    revelation – if you don’t already have an ending your screwed
    from the start – TV serials must also work on a basis of supply,
    that forces them to overproduce and over develope plot lines
    untill the decent ending is no longer possible – I stopped
    watching heros when they kept reserecting a villian that
    should have stayed dead. The lackluster ending to Harry
    Potter put me off it for good. Books or movies, good endings
    are as difficult for a writer as they are unessary, as once
    you reach them, your have more often then not, already
    been sold.

    • At first I was also struck by how unexciting the ending to the Harry Potter books was, but then I realized Rowling had constructed this world of people who wanted to be free to live, love, and learn. Why shouldn’t they all have that in the end? At least it made sense. Unlike the ending to “Lost” which I think you’re right about. It stretched on so long that they couldn’t conjure up a decent one that made sense.

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