“WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?!”
Those were the first words from my mouth after the series finale of Lost last night.
In case you couldn’t tell, I was sorely disappointed.
According to the Washington Post, an average of 13.5 million people watched the show’s conclusion (apparently 2.5 million people caught part of it at some point, but that figure includes people that only watched for as little as six minutes.)
While apparently it’s not a record-breaking figure, there’s no doubt that it’s an impressive number. The way this show got 13.5 to watch their final show was with the masterful storytelling the writers exhibited for six years, and the nearly flawless execution.
The show’s mysteries got people hooked, but it was the characters that kept them engaged. Whether we saw Jack, Kate, Sawyer, et al, in the past, present, future or . . . whatever that flash sideways universe was . . . we came to know them and to love them.
When I looked through the comments on Hulu.com, those that actually liked the way the show ended commented on negative reviews, saying things to the effect that, “you didn’t really get what it was about. It wasn’t about the mysteries, it was about the CHARACTERS, and their JOURNEY.”
That last part is true, but it’s false to say that the show wasn’t about the mysteries at all. It was! And those mysteries should not have been introduced in the first place if the writers had not intended to answer all of them satisfactorily.
It seems to me that it was implied that the “flash sideways” was a result of the hydrogen bomb exploding during the season 5 finale. The “flash sideways” was supposed to have been a universe in which the bomb exploded and nobody was ever brought to the island.
Instead, it appears that the flash sideways was some sort of purgatory-like universe where all the characters had died and could find each other and be together before they walked toward the light? That makes no sense! And as the Washington Post’s Lisa de Moraes points out, Damon Lindelof said that the island was not purgatory and that the characters weren’t dead. How utterly infuriating to find out that was (sort of?) the case all along!
Don’t get me wrong, the way they actually executed the end of the show was beautifully done and very poignant. Beginning the show with Jack’s eyes opening, and ending with them closing, was poetic. But the whole, “they were all actually dead” thing has been done to death. Couldn’t the writers think of anything better?
And why were so many questions left unanswered? We still don’t know what the island was, who Jacob or the Man in Black were, what the “light” at the heart of the island was . . . and I’m sure there’s a ton of loose threads I’m not thinking of right now. How could they just leave us hanging when they built up those questions so much?
While I’m disappointed and always will be, I do admit that the more I think about it, the more I do sort of like how it ended. It’s open-ended enough to keep you thinking . . . were the events on the island real? Was the flash-sideways the only unreal part?
I spent six years of my life watching and loving this show. Now it’s all over. I’m reeling. And I’m disappointed. But in a way, that’s good. It’s reminded me that Lost was, is and always will be, just a television show. There’s a big wide world out there, waiting for me to weave my own narratives, to make my own stories, and now that I’m no longer under Lost’s spell, I have a little more time to devote to exploring it.