The following is pretty much right off the top of my head. These are my first reactions to the end of LOST and the totality of the series so there may be some clumsy wording (and analysis) ahead.
The LOST finale clearly worked on an emotional level. It hit all the right buttons as characters were dramatically reunited. But, hey, that's what LOST has been doing since season one: separating its characters and then reuniting them. The formula always provided an emotional punch: a tear in the eye and a lump in the throat. And so, in the end, we got that all over again. Only this time, dead characters were allowed in on the reunion. (Yes, I know, technically all the characters who reunited did so after death; but for awhile there during the finale the show played as if the dead characters were "coming back to life" in this "alternate" universe). Bottom line? The LOST finale was one big emotional reunion.
And it worked. Yes, indeed.
But did it work on an intellectual level? Well, I think here the show was clearly lacking. From the beginning, LOST has played like a mystery ("Guys, where are we?") Outside agents--external forces--were threatening our lead characters. We (and the characters) didn't know who was doing what or why. But we were promised answers. Oh, yes, we were promised. The producers promised answers. The network, with its constant barrage of promos, promised answers. Heck, even the characters regularly professed to have answers. And yet, I hardly think the answers we got were satisfying. Why? Well, they weren't answers to the mysteries that fueled the story. Sure, some might argue that those kinds of answers weren't important--that it doesn't matter if we know what the underground wheel was, or why turning it moved the island in time or provided transport off the island (to Tunisia, of all places). It doesn't matter why Walt was important, or how the giant statue came to be built on the island, or why the timer in the hatch flipped to Egyptian hieroglyphics. These questions don't matter because the story was never really about these mysteries; it was, instead, about the characters and their need to "find" themselves in one another.
Fine. I can buy that. But I would also argue that the narrative never became sophisticated enough to place those internal character struggles firmly and satisfyingly in the foreground. Time and again, LOST relied on a surface narrative--an urgent, concrete conflict--to provide momentum. Any story about character insight or revelation usually felt tagged-on.
In the end I don't think LOST lived up to its promise. There was something hollow about it, something missing.
Still, I'll miss the show. It was compelling and exciting and extremely well-made. And I have to say, I was engaged with it to the very end. But while it kept me guessing for six years, I don't believe it will keep me thinking for nearly as long.
6 days ago