On the loss of ‘Lost’

“Lost” has concluded, and the Internet has now cracked in half as the naysayers and the yaysayers duke it out for What It All Means and whether this is the Best or the Worst Finale Ever.

My additions to this debate are of little merit. I’m already on record about how much I love the show: Nothing, just plain nothing, on TV comes close to offering the same big-ideas-per-minute ratio as “Lost,” and I’ve been fully engaged with every twist, turn and dead end since episode 1.

Now that the show is through shuttling story threads through its loom, I can say this about the finale: I am deeply satisfied.

It was perfect in its imperfection and surprisingly clear for all its ambiguity. This series resolved in the same tenor as it progressed (as always, some questions were answered as new ones were posed), and in this I find it to be an ideal period placed at the end of a long and difficult-to-diagram sentence. I push back from the table sated.

Not everyone agrees. I’ve read more than one Internet Philosopher today who asserted: “I used to love ‘Lost,’ but now I hate it hate it hate it with all the hot heat my heart can muster.” Which can’t be helped; it’s not a show for everyone, even for people who loved it for 5 seasons and 15 hours before changing their minds.

I take the long view of such things: Of all the time we’ve spent together, “Lost” and I, has it been a good and loyal friend to me? Yes, it has. And then some.

Some viewers invest so much time in a show, they think they are owed a particular resolution. But TV is a relationship proposition.  If you don’t like it, move on, the sooner the better. If you do like it — really, really like it — then be patient with it, forgive its occasional missteps, and reward it when it rewards you. As relationships go, this is a pretty sweet deal, since it is the show (and its creators) doing all the work. The rest of us just sit there.

When “Battlestar Galactica” ended, and the Internetosphere again gnashed its teeth in dissatisfaction, my counsel was the same:

Where this finale felt a tad thin, I’m happy to pat in on the back and say, “You did good. You entertained me for a long time. You’ve certainly given me more than I gave you, so go ahead — ask a mild indulgence or two of me. I’m just in the mood to grant it.”

“Lost”‘s finale might yet be dragged down by the list-keepers of the world, the people who had the pet favorite plot threads go unresolved and who Demand Satisfaction. But Linda Holmes at Monkey See, NPR’s culture blog, tries to talk these nitpickers down from their ledge:

I’m interested in bafflement and struggle and confusion about what’s the right thing to do. I’m interested in sacrifice and loss. I’m interested in devotion and loyalty and pondering other ways things might have worked out. … That’s why the most important thing to me, by far, is the human beings who are involved in this story.

I certainly hope that people who have enjoyed this show for six seasons aren’t going to retroactively decide that all their time was wasted because the finale didn’t satisfy them by answering an adequate number of questions. [The creators] are driving the bus, and you’ve got to give them the benefit of the doubt and at least give them a shot at showing you where they’ve been going all this time.

And that’s how I’m heading into Sunday’s finale. I’m leaning back in my seat, I’m relaxing, and I’m assuming that I’m in good hands, because I have been so far.

Count me in the ranks of those pleased with both the journey and the landing. Good show, “Lost.” You’ll be sorely missed.

2 Comments

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2 responses to “On the loss of ‘Lost’

  1. Kat

    I left satisfied. Although, I cheated a little. By reading this: http://designwoop.com/2010/05/lost-finale-explained-well/

    • jdrewscott

      I like the analysis, and I agree with most of it. (I take issue with a few of the assertions, such as that Jacob brought Dharma to the island to kill MiB … I’d prefer to think of it as a shadowy organization of resource exploiters…)

      Still and all, I LOVE that people are still debating the meaning of the show, and of the unresolved mysteries. So many good loose threads, so many great theories, counter-theories and counter-counter theories!

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