“Lost” conclusion full of highs, lows and crushing disappointments
Hollywoodnews.com: Like too many people, I stayed up late last night putting the finishing touches on six seasons of “Lost.”
Needless to say this column is loaded with spoilers, so bookmark it and come back after you have watched all 150 minutes of “The End.”
I’m not a TV critic. I’m a “Lost” fan. Have been since the riveting pilot. And as such, I felt let down by the sixth season (which the writers clearly had not figured out) but rewarded by the show, as a whole. “Lost” followers seem to have been broken down into two camps over the years: those obsessed with the myriad of mysteries, and those enamored with the characters.
I was a bit of both. The gooey moments in “Lost” usually struck the right chords with me, whether it was seeing teddy bear Hurley reunite with true love Libby in the controversial “sideways” world (even though this largely irrelevant “sideways” world ended up being the series deepest disappointment once all of the cards were on the table), or having Jim and Sun reunite for the umpteenth time. And the series finale had several of those moments. Some forced (Shannon and Sayid cute meet following a bar fight?), some authentically moving (Claire’s second childbirth, with Kate and Charlie in tow).
But I also wanted concrete answers to some of the island’s most intriguing mysteries. Yet the series creators, and team of writers, couldn’t stop creating more questions as they haphazardly doled out possibilities. Some are crucial to our understanding of the show we dedicated years of our lives to. For instance, why was Smokey suddenly mortal once Desmond performed a hard reboot by unplugging the island? And what, in the depths of that light-encasing cave, caused Man In Black to turn into Smokey in the first place?
Doesn’t matter. Very little of it mattered, in the grand scheme of things. The infertility on the island? Didn’t matter. That dark spirit in the cabin asking for Locke’s assistance? Didn’t matter. Walt’s location? Doesn’t matter. And forget about all of the “sideways” existences we puzzled over for the bulk of season six, because none of them mattered. Sawyer as a cop? Doesn’t matter. Kate on the lam once again? Doesn’t matter. Sayid in jail for defending his brother? Really doesn’t matter.
My disappointment, right now, boils down to the “sideways” storyline, which was a colossal failure. Not a misstep. An outright failure. The explanation given by the writers, that it was a purgatory for the souls of the castaways waiting to move on to the afterlife, negates everything we watched in season six with one broad sweep. Those who waited to see how the storyline would connect to the island events had to be blindsided by the realization that there was no connection, no link between worlds. That would be overthinking the situation, and perhaps attaching too much logic (and hope) to a storyline the show just wanted to erase away.
And for a show that hung its hat on tying loose ends together, the ending chosen by “Lost” shepherds Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof was disappointingly vague. It wasn’t quite a, “That’s it?” moment, because the show, as a whole, offered too much to simply dismiss it after one episode. But the potential of the conclusion carried such weight, and the actual conclusion offered was light as a feather.
Oh, and having the castaways stumble upon a floating Lapidas was laughably bad, by any show’s standards.
So today, we eulogize “Lost,” and other, better writers are putting their thoughts online. I suggest you check out Alan Sepinwall’s column at HitFix, and Robert Bianco’s 4-star rave in USA Today nicely defends the show’s emotional moments.
Me? I question the destination but thoroughly enjoyed the ride. Some of the show’s gambles paid off in spades. The flash-forward, in particular, was genius. Some did not. Leaving Kate and Sawyer in cages for half a season was a drag. In hindsight, I kind of want to remember “Lost” for five great seasons, chalking this final season up as a creative muddle that might have concluded as the show’s writers wanted, but didn’t quite pan out the way its fans had hoped.