5 years ago
Before I begin, I should offer two disclosures:
1. I stopped watching LOST on a regular basis around the close of the 3rd season. At that point, I had become convinced that there were too many threads waving in the wind, and a satisfying resolution was impossible.
2. It is impossible, even if the finale was really good, that LOST is the best show ever. This is because the Wire is the best show ever, even though about half of Season 5 was worthless. If LOST was the greatest, we would know the end times had arrived. Other signs? Soxy declared "World's Sexiest Man", Roadblock sings Whitney Houston like that Taiwanese kid, and TravisBickle posts. Now that we've gotten that out of the way...
So, wow, that was a pretty epic cop out, don't you think?
One of the problems I've had with all of J.J. Abrams' work so far is his tendency to repeat himself. When you're writing a TV show for a broad audience, it helps to build familiarity. When audiences get attached to characters, they develop an emotional connection. When something happens to that character, the audience cares, and watch to find out what happens next. But when familiar crosses into formula, it becomes a problem. I became convinced that Alias was wasting my time when every episode involved a mysterious gadget and a bad wig. My patience with LOST waned when every episode featured a time jump, a trombone glissando, and a cut to black. The finale suffered from similar problems, trudging through every character remembering their time on the island and sharing tearful embraces.
This brings me to a broader point. Did you think LOST was a show driven by characters, or the plot? If you said characters, maybe this was a satisfying ending for you. Some people I've spoken to seem to think so. Long lost lovers were reunited. The big bad guy died, and the little bad guy was redeemed. The flawed yet ultimately heroic main character did his duty and sacrificed himself for his friends. However, I never found LOST to be character driven. I kept watching for as long as I did because of the plot. I wanted to know what the hell was going on, and what the hell HAD been going on. My curiosity motivated me to turn on the television Sunday, assuming they'd answer the big questions.
Instead, the writers shirked the responsibility and opted for a happy ending. They played it as safe as they could. Rather than answer the infinite number of issues remaining on the table, they painted with broad strokes, creating a vague and emotional picture. This would be fine if this were a David Lynch movie, but it's not. Abrams, I know David Lynch, and you, sir, are no David Lynch. I've sat through movies where people in rabbit masks speak esoterically about domestic disputes over a creepy laugh track. I've stared intently while a woman lip syncs a particularly emotional acapella version of a Roy Orbison song. And I was fine with it. Why? Because David Lynch has made clear his films are often elaborate dream sequences. He doesn't delude you into thinking there are going to be answers to questions when there won't. My point is this: you can't make a show that starts as a detail driven science fiction mystery, then end it like a high school philosophy class.
I can't decide whether this ending was a case study in the problems of writing by committee, or this was how it was always intended to go. The show is over. It has its own Wiki filled with questions, most of which will never be answered. That's fine with me. I gave up on it long ago, and after I satisfy my curiosity about LOST a little longer, I will return to whatever it is I spend my time doing. Still, I can't help thinking this fanbase should largely feel betrayed. Now I'm just curious which show will next inspire such psychopathic devotion.