After six years of having their brains scrambled and contorted by misdirection and numerous twists and surprises, viewers finally witnessed the end of the ABC television series, . A show known through the years for its chaotic storyline, multiple timelines and alternate universes, its finale was hoped by many to provide long-awaited answers to some of the show’s biggest questions.
Alas, a show that raises so many questions and twists can only expect to do so much in its 150-minute conclusion. While providing the emotional closure that will leave long-time viewers satisfied, the show failed to provide the casual viewer or the twist-seeker with any meaningful resolution.
For the uninitiated, here’s a quick synopsis of the show’s past six seasons. begins with survivors of a crashed commercial flight waking up in a seemingly uncharted island. Early episodes of the first season carried the tone of a standard survival series with characters handling their day-to-day lives and surviving while attempting to understand and coexist with one another.
Then, in a plot twist, the island is revealed to have its own pre-existing inhabitants, people who were a part of some previous colony. In addition, an unknown force known only as the “Smoke Monster” seemingly murders many existing characters. The first few seasons served to lay the framework of this seemingly inspired and unusual show, which not only concluded what was mentioned above, but also conspiracy theories, alleged “magic,” underground laboratories and polar bears.
As the seasons deepened, so did the narrative. The story had always been sprinkled with flashbacks. These bits of insight served to heighten the viewer’s relationship with characters and provide a greater sense of depth to actions in the story. However, the third season finale turned this concept on its head when it was revealed that the episode’s flashbacks were actually flashforwards. This narrative choice, while certainly creative, added an extra layer of confusion and intrigue.
To further add to that, this final season included flashsideways, another innovative storytelling technique that displayed a world seemingly like the original, but with the characters never becoming stranded on the island. This alternative timeline actually becomes the crux of the finale, taking precedence over the actual action.
Now, the finale itself starts off well enough. The characters are forced to fight the major antagonist, the “Smoke Monster”, who has now taken on the appearance of the deceased character John Locke.
For a show with one of the highest budgets, the room where much of the action takes place is rather ridiculous. A cross between a family pool and one of Nickelodeon’s old kid’s game shows, the main protagonists look terribly goofy frolicking around in the pool as they attempt move around giant rocks and shut off the island’s power. At times, this seems almost reminiscent of something out of a video game.
After shutting off the island’s power, it is revealed in a minor twist that the Monster has lost his immortality, rendering it possible for Jack, the hero, to kill him. The fight scene was relatively short and surprising because the finale was only half way over.
It all went downhill from here. After more frolicking in the island play pool, Jack shuts off the system and saves everyone at the cost of his own life.
The viewers are now left to speculate as to exactly what the island was, what the island hieroglyphics mean, why pregnant women die on the island, who the smoke monster is, etc. The unanswered questions are seemingly endless and leave the viewer coming out of the show feeling the same way he did coming into it.
As for the flashsideways, it turns out it is not an alternative universe at all, but a quasi-Purgatory, somehow created by the characters in order to meet after they’re all long deceased. In fact, the final episode’s flashsideways narrative seemingly consists of heartwarming moments of all the characters gathering together in happy reunion. Why the writers chose to include random plot points with characters that appeared only in the Purgatory and, thus were never real, is a mystery as unanswered as every other mystery in the story.
Ending the story in a terribly politically correct conception of heaven that featured symbols from all major religions ultimately seemed like a feel-good copout that skirted having to answer questions raised during the last six years of the show.
With its random bursts of action and intrigue throughout a fuzzy and feel-good narrative, the Lost finale proves itself to be what most long-running mystery shows tend to be all along: a giant pyramid scheme. By attempting to latch onto its viewers by answering a previous season’s questions with more questions, the show backs itself into a corner where it ultimately cannot provide a reasonable resolution.
ends with this feel-good ending as if to say, “Yes, we never had a plan for what we did, but at least the ending is happy.”