I know what you’re thinking, and it’s this: “No one else has any opinion on the final episode of Lost, so I sure hope Rick Gershman can help me out with that.”
Happy to help.
It was an interesting experience, because I watched the show with my buddy Chase Squires, formerly the television critic for one of the nation’s top newspapers. (Ask your grandparents about newspapers – they might remember them from when they were little.)
Chase has followed Lost religiously since its premiere. He’s written about it extensively. He’s visited the sets in Hawaii. He even created a popular run of stick-figure recaps for the aforementioned newspaper. (It was like news, but it was written on paper. And you paid real money for it. Yeah, it makes no sense to me either.)
Suffice it to say, Chase knows Lost inside and out. And when tonight’s finale ended, this was his general take:
“That sucked! We didn’t get any answers! Are you kidding? Gershman, get out of my home!”
(That’s damn near verbatim, mind you. I would have been upset, but I live next door, so I stormed off on my 15-second walk home and wrote this up for you.)
Anyway, my take is this: I understand completely where Chase is coming from. And I’m sure many hardcore Losties feel the same.
Regardless, I disagree completely.
I loved it.
I thought it was one of the most kickass, most satisfying, most courageous series finales ever.
I’m not going to waste your precious time going into too many details, but I owe you an explanation for my defense of what Lost masterminds Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse came up with, so here are the highlights:
- I don’t need everything explained to me. I just don’t. If I’m watching a mystery or a police procedural, sure, break it all down. That’s required. But the brilliance of Lost always has been about reading between the lines and adding your own interpretations to the mix. Why should the finale be any different? If the writers handed us everything on a silver platter, wouldn’t that be the cop-out?
- It hit us where it counts. When you invest six years into these characters, you expect some emotional payoffs, and tonight’s show paid that off and then some. The fact that many of the characters had died in what we can likely consider the true “reality” made those moments all the more fulfilling. I’m not the type to get choked up, but I did several times tonight. It was unabashedly romantic, and unbelievably touching.
- We got closure. The closure we expected? Hell no. And thank god for that. The last thing I want is something I expect. The final episode turned me around and tripped me up several times, and that’s dramatic writing. Ultimately, I felt the producers found a perfect point where the story had come full circle, and I was satisfied.
- No cheap thrills/kills/surprises. Hey, I like a shocking twist as much as anyone, and Lost has given us several over the years. But tonight didn’t need that; the show stuck to powerful, meaningful storytelling, and that’s impressive these days.
- It was ballsy. Lindelof and Cuse knew there were many more easy-to-swallow ways to close out Lost, but they went for something artistic, thoughtful and challenging, which is what the show deserved. The very fact that people right now are debating “what really happened” and “did they all just die in the first place” is a testament to how poetically the producers handled it. Great storytelling isn’t easy to digest; it’s something you chew on. And we’ll be chewing on this savory meal for some time.