A Defense of the "Lost" Series Finale

Ever since the series finale of “Lost” aired this past Sunday, the Internet has been all a-buzz. Fans have been in a sort of emotional whirlwind. Many loved it. Others were pissed off and demand a “recount.” Others are still, well, lost. For me, the finale was one of those things that needed to sit with me for a while as I worked out my feelings (and dreams) about it. However, by the next day I loved it.

In the end, it really was about the characters we had come to know and love. Yes, there were some questions that I would have liked to have been answered. But in truth, even if they told us, we may have felt frustrated still. Leaving some things up in the air is in some cases better. For example, what if they told you that the island was a space ship from another galaxy. Or, if it was the original Garden of Eden? What then? If you want, you could believe that about it now. But if they tell us, well, half the people would think it stupid. It had become so blown up in our minds, do you think any answer they gave about it could have truly lived up to the hype or expectation? Probably not.

For the record, he only question that kind of frustrates me is the one that was raised in the finale itself. Why didn’t Jack become a smoke monster when the fountain thingy was turned back on? How’d he get out of that hole! Other than that, I can live with the other unanswered questions. In many ways, the finale was a message to the fans too. Let go. Move on. Who cares why the polar bears were there. It’s not about the polar bears, the Others, Dharma, or even the island itself. The island is really just one giant MacGuffin. It’s about the people and how we relate to their experiences with the polar bears, Others, island, et. al. There are many other examples of classic film and television storytelling that leave big questions unanswered:

  • In Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds”, we never find out why the birds start attacking or why they suddenly stop.
  • In Star Trek the Motion Picture, we never find out where the giant “cloud” came from.
  • In Vincenzo Natali’s 1997 hit indie film “The Cube,” we never find out who built the cube or why.
  • We never find out what’s in the black suitcase in Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction.”
  • In Robert Zemeckis’ “Contact,” we never find out who built the worm hole technology or why.
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation we never find out who (or what) Guinan is.
  • And in 2001:A Space Odyssey, as well as it’s sequel 2010, we never really find out where the Monoliths come from or why they were created. (Hey, wait. It’s 2010 now. Is Jupiter still there? 😉

So you see. You can still not get the answer to the big questions and still have an amazing, long-lasting, utterly fulfilling story. In some cases you may be given an answer and wish you hadn’t. (Can someone say “midichlorians.”)

Lastly, so much of the fun of “Lost” are all the theories people dream up. All those “Lostie” websites and blogs can go on with all their fun speculating, debating, and engaging in philosophical conversations and pontification. In many ways, not answering those questions keeps a little bit of the show alive for those of us who’ve come to love it so.


5 thoughts on “A Defense of the "Lost" Series Finale

  1. Amen to this. I think the ending was perfect as is (and beautiful). I loved the way they handled each of the 'revelations', expecially the ones of the romantic couples. Sayid and Shannons was first, and it punched me right in the gut with how awesome it was and it just got better from there. As for the creators of a mystery not explaining too much, Midiclorians was all you had to say. Even with its faults, Lost was as good as television gets from start to finish.

  2. I'm afraid Lost lost me about series three. Talk about going round in circles for no apparent reason. However I have friends who have raved about the last series and in particular the finale, so I'm glad for them, I understand it turned out to be a great finish.PS. I thought V-Ger was the Voyager space probe sent from earth in their past?Avey

  3. Stephen King said “Nightmares exist outside of logic, and there is little fun to be had in explanations; they're antithetical to the poetry of fear.”I would argue that you could say the same for the mysteries of Lost. Answering the questions would actually ruin the show and destroy the part of it you love… the mysteries.If you see a magic … See Moretrick, you are in wonder, then if the magician said “No, its not magic, see the lady is just scrunched up in this box and these are fake legs.” Your like “oh ok” and that “magic” trick no longer holds your wonder.In ten years, we will look back and remember those deep mysteries and still remember the wonder we felt. But if they told us the answers, it would not have it's “power””No, see it wasn't a smoke monster it was actually a cloud of nanoparticle robots and it was confined to the island by the strong electromagnetic energy generated by the black hole in the center of the island…””oh ok”

  4. Hey Wayne. The “reason” for going round circles was to enjoy an emotionally powerful and gripping drama of faith, redemption, love, and self purpose. There stories these characters encountered and endured were provocative and profound. The finale was an emotional end to a six-year journey.As far as V-ger, you are correct. I was referring to the mysterious cloud that came to be earth looking for V-ger's creator. Thanks for the clarification. 🙂

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