After six seasons, Lost came to a conclusion last night.
Did I like the final episode? Was it a fitting ending to the show? Yes and no.
I understand what the creators were trying to do with the final episode, and by extension, the final season. They wanted to tell us that the focal point of the show was the characters, their interactions with each other, and their quests to find redemption or solve their emotional issues. And the finale showed us that they eventually earned and received a happy ending.
I take back my criticism of the “flash sideways.” I had said that the alternate universe didn’t matter because we didn’t know the characters in that universe, and therefore we had no reason to care about them. Once it was revealed that the sideways characters were indeed the same as the main universe characters, then it made much more sense in hindsight.
As a way to wrap up the stories of these characters, it was done very well.
But my problem with the finale – and the final season – is that it was only part of what the show was about. While Lost’s appeal did lie partially with it’s characters, the real reason the show was a success is because of the mythology of the show and the mysteries it presented.
If the show had just been about Jack, Kate, Sawyer, and company living on an ordinary island, would it have been as successful? Would people have been intrigued? Maybe, but probably not. But when you include strange phenomenon like a polar bear, a hidden hatch, and smoke monsters, then people become interested in what is happening.
There is a reason that over the past six years, there have been countless debates about what exactly was happening on the island. Who are the Others? What is the hatch? What is the smoke monster? People wanted to know what was happening on the island, and many people continued to watch so that they could find out.
In the final season, by largely ignoring those features of the show to deal solely with the characters, it felt like the creators missed the reason for their show’s success.
A big reason why many people didn’t like the final season was because things were happening. The smoke monster was doing things. Charles Widmore was doing things. The castaways were running around doing things. But we didn’t want to see people doing things anymore. We already had five seasons of that.
Instead, we wanted answers. We wanted episodes where Jacob sat down and explained some things about the island. We wanted an episode where the Others’ motivations were explained. We wanted to know why a buried wheel could cause people to move through time and space. Even episodes that did explain things like the Jacob origin seemed ike too little, too late.
Looking back, it feels like the creators threw a bunch of concepts out there with no real plan of how it fit all together. (In their defense, based on interviews, because they didn’t know exactly when the show would end, this was partially true, at least in the first two seasons) So rather than try to explain these concepts, they largely just ignored them. Either the creators completely misinterpreted their show’s appeal, or they themselves did not know the answers to these questions. Either way, by not doing so, they were unable to bring the show the resolution that it deserved.
So while I enjoyed the way they resolved the lives of the characters, the ending left me – and I’m guessing most fans of the show – half satisfied.