Lost Finale Review, Take Two: What About the Storylines?

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My TV Fanatic colleague, M.L. House, stayed up half the night and wrote an in-depth, interesting review of the Lost series finale. I recommend all readers check it out and I agree with many of his takes on various characters and developments.

But this is final episode ever of Lost! It requires multiple critiques from multiple points of view. That's why I must chime in and that's why I must focus my negative review on storyline inconsistencies from season six.

Let me start by saying: I'm not an answers guy. I've been hooked on Lost ever since the pilot due to the incredibly layered characters created by the show. I tuned in to the finale interested in their journey above all else. My problem with the final 10 minutes and the resolution of the Sideways World is not that it ignored certain aspects of Lost mythology (I don't care who Alvar Hanso is, do you?).

It's that it had nothing to do with the plot of season six.

Yes, on a grand scale, everything we witnessed on the island mattered. The actions and decisions by these survivors helped them arrive in an after-life community that allowed them to "remember and let go," as Christian put it. They can move on now. Relationships formed and lessons learned have made it possible for Jack and company to see the light. I can get behind that overall message. I believe in it.


But the final season sold us a battle between good and evil. It seemed awfully ambitious, but Lost set up a scenario in which the individual journeys of these characters would play a role in an ongoing struggle between humanity's light and dark sides, as represented by Jacob and The Man in Black (MIB). In this sense, the castaways mattered above all else... but we were also invested in the mythology that played out each week.

Now, though? All that feels like a waste. Think about a couple specific storylines that got us to the finale, and then ponder their resolutions:

  • MIB is pure evil. He cannot get off the island or else all will perish. This storyline came to an end when MIB was made human and gunned down by Kate. Would mankind truly have ceased to exist if he got off the island? We'll never know, and we never really had any basis for believing it would, considering the Sideways World was in existence this whole time and made it obvious that something existed outside of life on the island.
  • Desmond is special. Was he, really? In the Sideways World, it was actually Charlie that pushed Desmond toward enlightenment. On the island, we were led to believe that Desmond would hold the key toward stopping MIB. But he was lowered randomly into the light cave, and didn't actually know what to do. His actions didn't save anyone at all.

These were major focuses of season six. Do you feel like they had a point, though? Or were they just plot devices meant to kill time until everyone could assemble at the church?

Clearly, an ending that brings up issues such as the after-life will be left open-ended and full of mystery. That's fine. That's not my issue. I simply take exception to the fact that Lost baited us with a sixth season dichotomy between Jacob and MIB... and then switched it up at the end to essentially say: taken as a whole, events mattered. But individually? Eh, don't worry about what Eloise Hawking's role in the Sideways World meant.

There's a difference between mythology and storytelling. I was happy to not know many details of the former; but any quality TV show must first and foremost tell stories each week in which viewers are invested. Lost accomplished this, but it failed to pay them off.

Looking back on the season, I now feel duped by stories that didn't go anywhere. Take David Shepard, for example. He wasn't even real. The show made us care about a relationship that didn't exist, just to get us to Jack's eventual revelation.

It's too easy to say the show was all about its characters all along, as the producers and many fans (myself included) have done, and, therefore, an ending that focused on their grand journey paid off six seasons perfectly well.

That's as much of a narrow-minded cop-out as those that believed only a list of answers would bring the show to a satisfactory conclusion. There is a middle ground, or at least there should be. I wasn't going into the finale hoping for tiny bits of island mythology to be revealed. But I was going in expecting my investment in specific storylines (Jacob, MIB, Desmond) to be made worthwhile.

I left it with a message about community and love and relationships and letting go. But also with this nagging complaint: Does a positive, emotional message make up for a season's worth of dead-end storytelling?

I say no.


Editor Rating: 2.0 / 5.0
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The two main points in this are very lacking: •MIB is pure evil. He cannot get off the island or else all will perish. This storyline came to an end when MIB was made human and gunned down by Kate. Would mankind truly have ceased to exist if he got off the island? We'll never know, and we never really had any basis for believing it would, considering the Sideways World was in existence this whole time and made it obvious that something existed outside of life on the island. Why do you need a specific answer about what would happen if the MIB left the Island? He was pure Evil. Why is it out of the realm of possibility to believe that life on Earth would end if he ever left? Sometimes you do just have to beleive. As for the "Sideways world was in existence this whole time and made it obvious that something existed outside of life on the island". Of course something existed outside life on the Island. The entire world, where they all came from and went back to, existed. But the MIB had never left the Island, thus the world was still alive. The "Sideways" world was never in 'existence'...it was created by the castaways so they could all meet up before journeying to the afterlife. This was made perfectly clear by Christian at the end. •Desmond is special. Was he, really? In the Sideways World, it was actually Charlie that pushed Desmond toward enlightenment. On the island, we were led to believe that Desmond would hold the key toward stopping MIB. But he was lowered randomly into the light cave, and didn't actually know what to do. His actions didn't save anyone at all. Yes, Desmond was special. He was the only one who could enter the cave to remove the 'cork' without being effected by the electromagnestism/intense light down there (that turned the MIB into the Smoke Monster in "Across the Sea"). He was able to remove the cork, rendering the Smoke Monster mortal again, so that Jack could kill him. His actions, in fact, helped save the world, so that the MIB could be killed and never leave the Island to wreak havoc on the rest of the world. I don't understand why everyone is freaking out over every little detail. "Why did the psychic tell Claire she had to raise Aaron?" Why not? He's a psychic. Psychic's are crazy people. The entire series dealt with magical life forces, immortal people, a healing Island, time travel, etc., which people seem to accept. But asking people to beleive that the world would end if the MIB left the Island? No, that seems like too much to believe. Seriously people, it was a great show. We're all going to be talking about it for a long time. I guarantee that the true fans, who watch the show again in a few years, and actually pay attention, and calm down from the immediate emotion from the finale, will realize how incredible and well put together it was. Everything that happened on the Island for the 6 seasons DID matter. Everything they did, every choice they made, led to the finale... a showdown of good (Jack) vs. evil (Smokey/Fake Locke). I have watched every episode when it aired on ABC from day one...and I don't feel slighted or hurt by the ending. I think it was fabulous.


David Lodge, the British novelist, wrote a novel "Small World", in which he contrasts two literary forms: the Novel (in which a story leads to a resolution) and the Romance (where various stories happen one after another, with no resolution). He captures the tension between these two forms in a plot twist where you are waiting during the entire book for two characters to meet and fall in love, but their meeting keeps being put off by events. The book itself brilliantly veers between the novel form and the romance form without ever resolving. Life imitates art. The creators of Lost led everyone to believe they getting to the final chapter of a novel only to realize in the last 10 minutes of the show it was just a Romance. In various senses of the word. Magical adventures on a magical island. The lovers united in death. The heroes conquer nemeses but the actual events themselves aren't significant. Only the character of the heroes matters. Fine, if you're living in Homeric Greece. I agree with those who found the flashbacks in season 1 the most boring bits. And the acting in Lost, while competent, was hardly why I watched it. The touchy-feely bits -- the relationships -- were the most conventionally written parts of the show. And often the most bogus ones -- Ben kept going on about his love for his daughter, and yet I seem to remember her being in terror of him. (Probably because Ben was originally intended to be a guest character on the show before the actor proved popular, so they cut and paste relationships for him. Michael Emerson more or less admitted in an interview he didn't really understand his character's underlying motivation but played his scenes intuitively. And that's not the actor's fault.) Sometimes it was like watching that dire 1980s drama Thirty Something. Was it just me, but when Kate was facing imminent death by some supernatural force yet what was REALLY important to her at that moment was Claire's feelings about Kate raising Aaron, my reaction was "Hello? Priorities?" I read that Damon Lindelhof describes himself as a "lifelong Democratic Party supporter". I think that found its way into the script. As others have said, what was compelling about the show was the island narrative, the mythology. So yeah, the more I think about it, the crappier the ending seems. It should have ended like Twin Peaks.


I meant majority in the sense that 33% was the largest group in the poll. Second was it fully satisfied everything with like 28%.


First off to Granto17... you say "the majority, 33%".. is 33% a majority, no.. or did I read the sentence wrong (anyway, that was just bugging me). But I do agree with the rest of your post and I never looked at Desmond that way, as the writers's appeasing the audience's love of him. In reaction to this review... It seems that if the characters were the most important of them all, Jacob and MIB seemed to be the most important characters in the end. I never saw MIB as purely evil (only because they cleared up their ambiguous origins/motives only at the very end. On that note, Jacob always seemed fishy to me, too secretive and not very trusting eyes to be completely on the level). Frankly those two characters I had the most sympathy for... their mother was beaten to death by some crazy woman and then brainwashed to think they're imprisoned on the island. It seems Jacob and MIB had the most issues to work out and they never really got to resolve them. I get that they only really showed up this season, but they were the whole material reason for all the others to be there. In fact, that was the most revealing answer throughout the entire show, that there was a reason for the characters being on the island, and it was because of the conflict between Jacob and MIB. And to DB... I'd have to say that the fans of a show are probably the most discriminating, the ones most able to criticize and the ones with the highest expectations. Those that loved the ending probably just saw something completely different in the show (although I can't possibly see why they see it that way). They saw the character development as most interesting... but to quote myself from a comment on another review of the finale: "Haven't the most boring/tedious parts of the show been all the flashbacks and alti-verse junk that have been telling us who these characters are? It began to be the "telling" rather than "showing" scenario, where just seeing how a character would react in distress on the island was more exciting and revealing than anything the writers were telling us about their pasts (Jack making a sandwich, yeah... that's exciting). Frankly, I believe those who were most upset over the finale put most of their attention on the plot (what the island was) rather than on the characters. I didn't need a good answer (it could have been weird and nonsensical even) but to be utterly distracted away from the island's storyline/conflict of Jacob and the MIB with the abundance of slow-motion hugs and kisses was like the writers dangling a kushy teddy-bear in our faces while holding Star Wars BLU ray DVD behind their backs."


Mike, since you seem to have a fuzzy idea of what "answering" questions means, let's get specific by having you tell us the answers to a few of the big questions, which you seem to have received: 1. Why did the numbers show up in the Losties' lives over and over, and especially Hurley's? For example, why did the car his Dad remodeled have the numbers on the odometer? Why were they being broadcast in the emergency signal for the island? The producers gave us those numbers in every single episode as Easter eggs. Don't just say "they were important to their lives." WHY DID THE NUMBERS SPECIFICALLY SHOW UP IN THE LOSTIES LIVES? 2. Why couldn't children be born on the island, except for Aaron and Tom Cruise's cousin? 3. Why did the island time travel? Why did some of the Losties go back in time 30 years and others not? 4. Why was it essential that Claire raise Aaron, and no one else? The hint was that Aaron would be a monster if Claire didn't raise him, but Kate did for 3 years and it didnt' appear that he turned into the kid from The Omen. Please explain. 5. Mr. Probst is right - they never said what would have happened if the MIB got off the island, other than it would be "really, really, really bad." Since you apparently know the answer, please tell us. Everyone who is arguing that "most" of the show's questions, or the "important" questions, were answered, is only able to do so by forgetting what was the ONLY REASON Lost viewers came back week after week and lit up the Lost forums for 6 years - because people were interested in, and debating, the very questions that people are now claiming "didn't matter." If the Lost writers hadn't sucked us all in by throwing out some really fascinating mythology, all we would have had was people running around stuck on an island, then getting off the island for a while, then going back, for 6 years. IT WAS ONLY AN INTERESTING SHOW BECAUSE OF THE MYTHOLOGY. Period. Full stop. And to say now that the mythology wasn't what the show was about is just a major lazy-ass cop-out by the creators and producers, and mindless/unthinking allegiance by any fans who agree.


To Jeff, and everyone for that matter: I am sorry if you missed this, hence why i said i wish i had more time to reply. However that number, 33%, was in no way a number that i just pulled out of my head and is no way fabricated. If you have been paying attention to this site you will have realised that there was a poll asking the general readership what their opinion of the lost Finale was. From what I last saw, the majority, 33%, stated it was "massively disappointing". I'm sorry mate but if you want to get on at me for my facts, you should really put more effort into your own research. This was a poll started by the very website you posted upon. Anyway getting onto the important matters. Right so someone says that Desmond was important because he was the only one that was able to pull the "cork" (where the fuck did that come from?!) out of the island. Right so even if we take this at face value what does it even mean? Desmond has an ability to tolerate high levels of electromagnatism yet that is simply a point that is assumed by the writers that everybody knows. Its ridiculous. If you are to follow this line of argument what we have to believe is that because Desmond pushed the fail safe button, and in turn turned into the fail safe key, he is indeed the fail safe. Yet this makes no sense. He pulls the plug, that turns smokey "mortal" yet turns out the light, smokey gets killed, Jack then turns the light back on, and everything is fine.... Is that really the way you wanted the smoke monester, Desmond, and the mysteries of the Island to be explained? This is made even worse when you take Desmond as a case example and think about Desmond and his role post season 6. Desmond was a character that could jump through time and always wanted to help his felow "Lostees". Now, I understand that people will say that is why he was the only one that was able to pull the "cork" and surivive. Yet why cant people see that this is a ridiculous situation Jack did the exact same thing and ends up in the exact same place as MiB perious to his smoke form. Desmond is a character that we have grown to love through his relationship with Penny, and the outside world. Season 6 and the Finale as a whole does not even attempt to justify these feelings. This season has no coherence whatsoever with its predecessors. Season 6 simply exists as a poor explanation by the writers in a desperate attempt to assert some sort of meaning to Desmond (a fan favourite)and the rest of the interesting happenings in lost, in a crazy attempt to summarize the whole series as a religous cliche. What really gets me is the fact that noone is really addressing the fact that through six years of watching Lost, the conclusion specifically stated that none of what I/we have invested so much time upon even mattered. The way the seriers finale finished, it placed no emphasis upon what happened in the "real" life, it simply stated that these people needed to come to terms with the problems they had in order to move on. Move on to where? Oh yes heaven. Lost really was a great peice of escapism for me. I really did look forward to every week and having an episode of lost that I could fully concentrate upon, that I could forget all my real life problems and that I could divert all my attention to in a sociable and entertaining manner. However, the last season and the finale as a whole has left those who followed the show in detail hugely dissatisfied. We have ended up with a series that has coped out to the masses and has hoped that the general public will agree with its cliche; everyone must come to terms with themelves, and that is the only way to move on. Yet is that what we were really looking for from lost? Considering the multitude of interestings themes and developments that were made. Were we all looking for the same sort of polemic argument and obvious cliches that you get from 90% of fiction novels and new T.V series? Or were we wanting on an innovative series, one that pushed the boundaries and really made people care about the characters yet also care about the situation these chatacters were in? Were we really wanting the end of such a prestigious series to simply be; none of the foundations upon which the series was made really mattered. All of it was simply a rehashed philisophical cliche that i'm sure many of you have heard before. The ending of Lost makes those people, who really did watch every episode and invest time and thought into these, feel as if they missed somthing. The end in no way justifies how much time has been invested in the show. It is an emotional ending, yet is that really the hallmark of a great show?


Its really funny that you used the word "presumptious", then a sentence later completely fabricate a number '33%' as to the unhappy people about the finale. Did you perform some research no one knows about? That is presumptious of you to create a figure you can't back up. HappyChappy
Its amazing how much detail that you seem to have forgotten. MIB body is in the cave with his mother (not a skelton near the light). Those bodies were in fact shown during the first season, but were detailed more in the episode all about Jacob and MIB.


It was bad writing plain and simple. Bad writing can be entertaining but it's still bad. The LOST writers blew it with season five and they knew it. They were painted into a corner with no way out. Season six was nothing but 16 time fillers leading up to a very enjoyable but positively stupid finale. Over the course of six seasons LOST went from incredibly smart TV to nothing more than a guilty pleasure. In the end it was entertaining but it was bad. Really bad. We all knew it but no one wanted to admit it.


I Watched lost for the full six years and agree with your assessment on season six. It felt rushed and the finale was a typical Poltergiest ending, lets take all these wandering soles "into the light". I especially agree with your take on Locke, if he got off the island and could be killed with a gunshot, why so much fear of him??


Its really very frustrating to hear people complain about questions that didn't get answered. Especially when most of them did!!! Plus, if Lost had answered every question, it wouldn't be Lost. The unknown is part of the greatness of this show. If we had known what was going on the whole time, it would have been no fun. I don't think every question should be answered.
The producers/writers have been trying to tell everyone throughout the entire series that is was a show about these people. Anyone watching this show expecting to find out every answer was always going to be dissapointed. As a show about these characters, I don't know how this could have ended better. We know for sure now, that everything about the island was real. What these people went through was real. That would have been the real disappointment. Finding out that this world we came to love for the last 6 years was not real would have left me feeling cold. Now, we know that all these people we have come to love are happy and still together.

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Lost Quotes

Find a suitcase. If there's anything you want in this life, pack it in there, because you're never coming back.

Ben [to Jack]

Why there is a dead Pakistani on my couch?

Hurley's mom