A Post-Finale Letter to LOST

Dear Lost,
More than anything, I want you to know I take no pleasure in doing this. It’s going to hurt me way more than it hurts you, because you still have thousands of satisfied lovers out there in the world, while I’m forced to disown the story that once mattered most to me.
I honestly wish I didn’t have to do this. But here’s the thing. You and I?
We’re done.
Our first three years together were blissful. Since then it’s been rocky, but I still didn’t leave you. Season 4 lacked suspense (since we knew everyone’s future); Season 5 misfired a bit by demystifying and trivializing the once-ominous Dharma Initiative; and Season 6 was the worst of all: an obligatory island-wide game of musical chairs.
And then last night happened. Or really, the last ten minutes of last night happened, because the 140 minutes before that, you were doing so good.
But then you embarrassed me. You betrayed my trust. You made a fool out of me.
And we have to break up.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking 1) I wanted more answers, 2) I’m an implacable cynic, or 3) I didn’t understand you.
But it’s not that I wanted more “answers” to your mythology.
(Though to be honest, you reeked of plotholes by the end, i.e. Walt, Aaron, infertility, food drops, an anonymous outrigger that shot Sawyer somewhere in time, an unclaimed glass eye in the Arrow, the circles of ash, the completely unaddressed sickness that claimed Sayid and Claire but only until the script needed them to be sane again, the bird that screamed Hurley’s name, the scales in Jacob’s cave, the mark on Juliet’s back, the Others’ actual purpose on the Island, the Others’ reason for kidnapping people in early seasons, why the Island can move by the turn of a donkey wheel, how said donkey wheel could have gotten the Man in Black off the island, how falling into a magic light could change you into an incorporeal, shapeshifting, mindreading column of smoke, how the Man in Black could exist without anyone ever saying his name, excluding the fact that the storytellers don’t want to give him one because of some misplaced idea that that makes him cool).
It’s not that I’m cynical or anti-spiritual, either. There are plenty of stories that sucessfully tackle themes of death, forgiveness, and the afterlife. The Sixth Sense, American Gods, and Sum, for instance.
And it’s not that I didn’t understand you. I understand that the characters didn’t die in the plane crash, that they died at different times in the real world, and then found each other again in a purgatory-esque, unreal world created so that they could “remember” and “be together” for their trip to heaven, or whatever comes next.
(Though, riddle me this: why did they need to forget their real lives for a while, live in a falsely constructed universe with bizarre, seemingly random differences, and then remember their actual lives? Why not just meet up in Heaven and skip the sideways stuff? They already changed and found redemption in their lives on the Island, so there’s no need for purgatory, especially not a purgatory laced with amnesia. Is there any logic at all operating in the Lost cosmos? Outside of the writers’ need for a new storytelling device to replace flashbacks and flashforwards?)
The reason I’m breaking up with you is this: you lied about who you were.
You convinced me for six years that I was watching a compelling drama with real-life stakes about 1) a unique place, and 2) a unique group of people.
And then at the very last second (or the very last ten minutes), you reveal your true colors. You admit that the Island itself wasn’t nearly as integral to the story as we thought, but instead emotional bonds between the characters and their subsequent redemption forged on the Island. The Island wasn’t a character anymore, and didn’t get the send-off it deserved.
Were the characters important? Absolutely! Did we need to see their post-Island fates? Yes! Did we need to go so far as to see them in the afterlife (and…um…pre-afterlife)?
Did we need to dismiss the relevance of the Island’s very nature, and its seemingly conscious role in the characters’ collective redemption?
Does dismissing the on-Island events (beyond their capacity to bring people together) and ending the story in a manner and form completely alien to the preceding 120 hours completely violate the essential premise and nature of the story itself and our trust in the storytellers?
It’s a long con. A cop out. The red herring to end all red herrings. You already had a great ending, potentially: the sideways world could’ve simply been a second chance at life created by the Incident/Jughead, where, after their deaths on the Island, the characters could have lived happily ever after, free of the machinations of Jacob and the Man in Black.
But no.
You changed the rules in the last second of the game. And you know what that’s called?
So farewell, Lost. I’ll remember our first years together fondly. But your place in my heart is vacant, and I’ll never recommend you again, because I wouldn’t wish this kind of disappointment on anyone else!
Your Once-Greatest Fan
P.S. If you’d like to discuss re-editing options, I’m not too proud to consider reconciliation. But all of the scenes in the church last night (and the entire ‘Across the Sea’ episode), will have to be completely eliminated.
P.P.S. While I’m definitely breaking up with the you (the story), I still have the utmost love and respect for Michael Giacchino, Jack Bender, Terry O’Quinn, Michael Emerson, Elizabeth Mitchell, and Matthew Fox. It’s not their fault.

10 thoughts on “A Post-Finale Letter to LOST

  1. Yes, it's absolutely a long con. Very well put. And I do think that the deception of what sort of show we were watching and what really matters is the hardest thing to come to terms with. After watching the last ten minutes, I feel like the show could have taken place in the Bahamas.


  2. Yep, that's what I was trying to say. The church scenes, and by extension the entire sideways timeline, made the Island irrelevant. We thought we were watching a show about people brought to a place for a reason. Turns out, we were watching people brought together so that they could love, learn, and die together. Which is nice and all, but…that wasn't the premise for six years.


  3. I decided just to pretend the sideways world didn't happen. I never felt connected to it and all along it seemed like there was no way they could reconnect in a way that wouldn't seem like a cheat. It totally devalued the entire on-island experience, so as far as I'm concerned it's not part of the show. It was a series of beautiful final moments ruined. Charlie, Locke, Sun & Jin, Sayid, and most of all Juliet–it's as if the creative team thought their touching and impactful deaths weren't good enough. On the contrary, they were as good as they could have been. I didn't want to see my favorite characters on life support. I'll shut up now, my full post is over at http://kingoftv.net


  4. Totally agree with you, Dan. I loved the on-Island scenes in the finale, regardless of whether or not my questions were answered. But yeah, I might have to try your technique of denial. Or physically re-edit my Season 6 DVDs.


  5. Amen! You took the words right out of my mouth. People have been trying to "explain" things to me all day as if I would love the finale if I just understood it. Wrong. I understood it completely. I get it. And I thought it was a cop out!


  6. I hate break ups and confrontations, so I'm choosing to focus on the beautiful scenes that made me cry. 😉 I kept waiting for more in the ending, though. I thought the church would be linked to the church Eko and Charlie were building on the island, or that Jack would open the door to the sanctuary and it would actually be the island again. Just something more than what it was.But I can't hate it, not when it finally brought Juliet back for a bit. And I don't think that the sideways timeline made the island irrelevant. Since we learned that the sideways characters did somehow also experience lives on the island, I think there was the point that the island made them all better people.Of course, I am a little peeved that I didn't get the number one scene I thought I was going to get: a real connection between Desmond and Penny in the sideways timeline.(I can't even remember half the loose ends that you mentioned, but I am still WTF about the Temple and the people in there. I mean, that was this season and they just left it hanging. Also Ilana's purpose.)


  7. Haha, oh Mel. And I completely forgot to add Ilana to my list of non sequiturs.However, recently the actress who played Ilana said that the writers originally told her that she was playing Jacob's daughter, they just didn't "have time" to cover that part of the story in the end. Womp, womp.


  8. I understand the need to keep it about the characters, their relationships, etc. I agree that the narrative is always more important than the Easter Eggs.But you're right- the island WAS a character. So much of a character that, as it was literally crumbling, I mourned its possible passing. But unfortunately, even though the island was "saved," it was still dead; unceremoniously dismissed like Ana Lucia or the original plane pilot. I don't have to know all of the ins and outs of the island. I just wish that (to echo the show itself) the island didn't "die for nothing."


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