LOST: The Ultimate Cop-Out

For those who’ve read my blog all these years they know what a big supporter and fan of LOST I am. However, the ending was simply a big let down for me. I felt cheated. Scammed. Conned.

The writers chose a “character-based” solution for LOST, rather than a more sci-fi solution that would be full of answers about the island and the surrounding mythos.

Here’s my problem with their route: the people who were watching LOST for the characters (mostly comprised by the “faith” people), left LOST mid-3rd season. The majority of viewers who stayed strong fans — like myself — were the “science” people. We stayed with the show because we were expecting what we were promised, a “science-based solution” — according to the writers. As the show progressed and became full blown sci-fi, we expected answers for these unnatural mysteries, in a way that was compatible with that sci-fi aura.

Instead, we got what we got with BSG’s ending: religious bullshit. And no real answers for any of the major mysteries like time-travel, pregnancies, the “rules”, the cures, agelessness, Walt’s/kids’ specialness, island Egyptian pre-history, what the island was really made of, etc etc etc. I should have known that the 6th season was just a patch-up the writers put together when I saw the Black Rock — a ship made out of wood — destroying the statue — that’s made out of stone. Right at that moment it was obvious that the writers would just quickly patch up as much as they could all the huge mysteries they were opening the previous 5 years without any clear direction. And of course, at the end, they failed to patch-up most of these mysteries anyway.

No, I’m not asking to answer every single mystery. Neither it’s possible to please everyone. But there’s a huge gap between taking a risk, and fucking up everything that was built-up previously.

Back in the 1st season, the most character-based season of all, the No 1 most popular theory was that the island was a purgatory. The writers many times said in the past few years that it’s not a purgatory, and that the ultimate show answer would be science-based. Instead, at the very end we were introduced to the flash-sideways, which actually WAS a purgatory! What a whole lot of hogwash.

The way LOST should have ended was about revealing what the island really was. And the only solution that would made sense for all these open mysteries would be that the island was an alien spaceship. Not a traditional spaceship, but one that uses exotic matter to move through wormholes (in fact, many real scientists theorized that as the ending of LOST, saying that it’s the only theory that makes sense). Millions of years ago it encountered a mechanical problem, and stayed put on Earth. Corals grew around it, and created the actual island (which is how many Pacific islands are formed anyway). But the core of the island, stayed operational. And the “computer” operating at the center, was the one that gave the powers to Jacob, cured Locke etc.

This way, the usage of the Dharma plots would actually be useful to the overall plot: it would show WHY the island needed to be protected from humans. Humans who would want to understand and use the island’s powers for their own selfish needs. Instead, even the Dharma episodes (5th season), were full of character crap (no, really, I don’t care who Kate will choose), instead of actually showing what Dharma was working on, which were their motives and how all that was tying to the overall plot (ultimately, the protection of the island from the different forces).

Instead, the way LOST finished, which was all about character resolution rather than the island, everything that happened on the island makes it feel IRRELEVANT. Dharma is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things, and the island itself is irrelevant too — since there are many other realities in the afterlife — as insinuated by the show. Everything that happened on the island for 6 seasons were just “stuff that happened”. We were fed time and again about how important the island is. In fact, it’s not. As also insinuated in the show, places like the island are to be found at many places on Earth. And put the afterlives on top of that, and there you go: the island is pretty much irrelevant, if only semi-special.

I don’t want to keep this opinion single-sided, so I’m linking to two reviews of the ending. One that seeks for answers and some scientific basis to the show, and one that’s taking the writer’s side (written by one of the ex-writers of LOST, apparently).

Finally, I want to say that having seen what the writers cooked up with LOST at the end, it was obvious that they were going blindly with the plot. They did not have a firm direction. Sure, they were better prepared than in other shows, but still not as good as such a show requires them to be. It’s true that more shows, and even book series, don’t have a known ending from the beginning, and most stuff are made-up as they go. But it is my opinion that shows like LOST do require a very clear vision from the very beginning, even on an episode by episode basis. It’s one of the things I liked with FlashForward, where its writers had pre-drafted all 3 seasons the show was supposed to last — even if FlashForward ended up being implemented in a way that was inferior to LOST.

So that’s the bad news. The good news is that it can be done better. The fact that there was a huge uproar online about the lackster LOST ending, it shows that maybe in 5 or 10 or 15 years from now, a young writer somewhere will pen “a better LOST“. Just like LOST was a better show than Twin Peaks, its grand-daddy, I hope that someone will create a better such show during my lifetime. A show that’s as deep, as exciting, as geeky, as well-shot as LOST, but with a grand plan from the beginning that doesn’t CHEAT on its viewers at the very end.

9 Comments »

William Eggington wrote on June 4th, 2010 at 5:09 PM PST:

I look at it like. . . most of the shows I love never even GET an ending. I’ll get one season, maybe 2 and its gone. Lost seemed to strike a really good balance that kept me happy as well as the unwashed masses who loved all the inter-personal “feeling” stuff. I was frustrated at all the un-answered questions but. . . thats kind of the theme through the whole show. “What the!?!” And to leave with a big whopping “What the. . . but!” was kind of in keeping with the feeling. 🙂

http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1936291


Andreas wrote on June 4th, 2010 at 11:00 PM PST:

I found the ending great. And it is definitely not a BSG ending. Yes, it is inspired from various theological philosophies, but the existence of God it is not even implied. And at the end it is shown that the supernatural creatures like the MiB and Jacob were not some kind of gods but common humans that they were transformed from the forces of the island. I am hardcore atheist and i do not believe in afterlife, but having afterlife in a story does not make it a bad story. The story is good as long it has a meaning. The end of Lost was meaningful and gave a closure to the evolution of the characters which were always the main theme of Lost. The sci-fi stuff and the mysteries were the background of the story. And even if there were moments that we didn’t think so it was because we were deliberately distracted from the writers who have every right to do so in order to keep the story interesting. The created a mythology of the modern times by mixing metaphysical ideas with science. We didn’t have answers for everything but we can imagine most of them with the information we already have. For example, the pregnancies mystery is explained by the fact that the island is by definition a Limbo-place, a world that you can only enter or leave, not created in it. I also always asked my self how the writers will manage to answer all the questions when they created more and more mysteries in every episode. They never plan to do so and at the end it does not feel bad because it is irrelevant. It is an unconventional way of story telling but the Lost was an unconventional series from the very beginning.

Therefore, I do not agree with your view about “religious bullshit”. One of the most touching and tragic moments in Homer’s Odyssey is the moment when Odysseus visits Hades and meets his mother not knowing, due to his long absent, that she was dead. You can view this event as “religious bullshit”: it has to do with afterlife etc. I find it as one of the most good literature ever. The moment at the end when Jack touches the coffin and realizes with the help of his father what happened is probably one of the most moving moments in tv history. The questions about the purpose in life and death are the most fascinating questions we face as humans.

So, the island was a second chance, a chance we never get in real life. And Lost was worth watching the last six years.


Andreas wrote on June 4th, 2010 at 11:12 PM PST:

BTW, nice to have you back 🙂


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on June 5th, 2010 at 8:52 AM PST:

>The sci-fi stuff and the mysteries were the background of the story.

Not for me. I wouldn’t give a rat’s ass about most of the characters. And besides, even the main story was the characters, leaving hanging fruits like this about the mysteries — on a mystery show — is unforgivable.


Ivan wrote on June 6th, 2010 at 9:43 AM PST:

I got suspicious about Lost when I read that the producers decided to (re-)introduce characters because of their popularity among the audience. In fact, it was a disappointment to learn that characters and plotlines were developed ad-hoc the bigger plan was conjured up season per season, and was missing a master plan.


memson wrote on June 7th, 2010 at 6:14 AM PST:

It was all very Quantum Leap. It would have been better if I hadn’t seen the final episode of Ashes to Ashes (a Brit Drama, follow up to Life on Mars, which I believe the US remade horribly like the Office) which used almost exactly the same blinking plot line about afterlife, purgatory and “walking through a door to move on”. *sigh*


Nate wrote on June 8th, 2010 at 3:03 PM PST:

“the people who were watching LOST for the characters (mostly comprised by the “faith” people), left LOST mid-3rd season. The majority of viewers who stayed strong fans — like myself — were the “science” people.”

Wait – so people of faith can’t be people of science?

Regarding the ending – we didn’t just get religious bullshit – we got flat out bullshit!

If the ending would have been scientific, it would have still been bullshit because clearly (and based upon what we know now) the writers must have been simply making this crap up as they went along.

If the writers actually had a very well written master story – I’m sure this show would have taken at least two more seasons after season 5 to end for a total of 7 seasons. But based on the way season 5 ended w/ the announcement that season 6 was the last one, I knew the ending was going to be a let down.


Glenn wrote on June 9th, 2010 at 4:19 AM PST:

I’ve actually never watched Lost. This is the first I’ve heard that it ended though.

The final Flash Forward episode was disappointing. I get the feeling they canned it after they’d already completed that episode?

Persons Unknown seems like it could be a good show. But it’s hard to tell with only one episode so far.

Universe has improved.


My Anonymous wrote on June 9th, 2010 at 8:49 PM PST:

Look, let’s face it … they made it up as they went along. There was no forethought to the series beyond the current one. It was probably planned out to end after 3 series (or maybe even two), but the story became a victim of its own popularity. Then I’d say they “reworked” series 3 to actually drop the conclusion of the series, and then in the end the money/popularity wears out, and they jury-rig a turd of an ending.


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