I’m going to say right up front that I did enjoy the final episode. The last scenes were written so wonderfully that you had no choice but to feel happy about the peace the characters had found. That being said, I was disappointed with the way the show ended.
I had moments of unease during the two-hour retrospective that aired immediately before the episode. The producers multiple times expressed the opinion that the show was about relationships. That the connections between the characters were the central focus of the show. I tried to ignore this unease though as I watched, because these retrospectives are so often filled with trying to make the work they’ve created into something more than what it is. So I ignored my apprehension and settled into watch the episode.
I’d always viewed ‘Lost’ as a sort of fantasy mystery epic. A group of plane crash survivors are trapped on an island that isn’t what it seems to be. Was the crash really an accident or a predestined event? Who are the Others and what is their motivation? What is the monster of black smoke? What exactly is Dharma trying to study? Were we going to get answers to all these questions? Probably not. And by the end of season five, there were so many unanswered questions that I was willing to accept that some of them would go unanswered.
The last season of the show is two timelines. One we’ve been watching over the past five seasons, and another where the plane doesn’t crash, but instead lands in Los Angeles. The story telling in the series has always jumped back and forth like this and we accept that at some point it will be brought together.
This is where I feel the writers did a great disservice to the show. For five seasons, there has been established this epic struggle. There’s really no way for an epic struggle to end, than to end in tragedy. The writers can’t just let the bomb in the shaft reset the history so that the plane doesn’t crash. The fans would revolt. We have to know more about the island. But people are also going to want a happy ending.
So the purgatory timeline is created. The characters we see in Los Angeles are all dead. They are living out their lives not quite happily until they are all awoken to their memories of the island, and can all gather together to move on to the next life. Yeah! Sunshine! Rainbows! Happy Ending!
Except the final season didn’t really answer anything about the greater mystery of the show. It was one long set-up for an artificial happy ending. So that everyone could walk away from the episode feeling content. Until they stop to think, wait a minute…what about all that other stuff?
Thoughts? Comments? Please discuss.