Lost Producers Respond to, Defend "Divisive" Episode
They've been known as Team Darlton, but Lost fans have another moniker for producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse after this week's episode:
Team You Suck.
Indeed, no single hour of Lost has upset fans as much as "Across the Sea." It was poorly handled and - if, like me, you don't require specific answers to every question - simply unnecessary.
What do Lindelof and Cuse have to say about all the criticism? Admirably, these are producers that have always done what they wanted to with Lost, never catering to the questions or complaints of viewers. They had a vision and, to hear them talk to TV critic Alan Sepinwall, they're simply sticking to it...
Lindelof, on reaction to the episode : It's never exactly the reaction you're expecting. We knew it would be an episode that would be divisive. We've been talking since the beginning of the season about the idea that the great thing of doing a show on your own terms is you have no excuses, but it's also slightly terrifying that if you're a mystery show, there will inevitably be episodes that answer mysteries.
That has the potential to frighten, terrify, make people hate. This was going to be the season where we said, "Whatever your theory was, our presentation of the endgame of the show may disprove your theory, so we're sorry if you don't like the fact that you don't get the Man in Black's name, but you don't get it." So that's going to piss some people off, and it's their right to be pissed off.
In terms of what the specific reactions are, it's too hard to say 12 hours after the fact, and without seeing where this episode plays in the grand scheme of the series. That's all we can say.
Cuse, on the focus of the show: We've felt a desire to provide the audience with Jacob and the Man in Black's origin story and make it not the last episode of the show for a very good reason. The show is going to focus on these characters. That's what we believe is more important and that's what we believe the audience wants to see.
Lindelof on general fan backlash: We're going to have to deal the rest of our lives with questions about how Lost ended. We're comfortable with that, and at the end of the day, we have to remind people that we chose to end the show. We did not go on for a couple of more seasons and sort of pad it off to oblivion. And we knew we chose to end the show, that we were going to have to take our lumps. That's fine as long as we're happy with how we ended the show. We're not being obnoxious or cocky, it's just us saying we've done our best.
Cuse, on the timing of the episode: It felt like this was the perfect time to take a time out from the main narrative. And since this was the final big mythological episode that we were going to do, we felt like it was a good placement for it, and now we'll roll into the finale. We make no apologies.
Lindelof, on a motif of island life: The more curious you become about why the island has its properties, inevitably the protector of the island feels the need to engage in some form of mass genocide. It was more our attempt to say that history repeats itself, and this is an ongoing and continuing motif.
Lindelof, on flashing back to season one's Adam and Eve discovery: The idea was to say that this chapter of the series is significant to the story we've been telling you, and that the series is about the survivors of Oceanic 815. To have an episode that they did not appear in at all was never our intention.
So... there you have it. Does this interview change your thoughts on "Across the Sea" at all?
In our view, Cuse and Lindelof come across very well in it. They accept criticism, but they make no apologies for crafting the show as they always wanted to. If viewers had been looking forward to a single episode that revealed all answers and were only sticking around for these resolutions, you gotta admire the producers for essentially saying:
Sucks for you!