TV Club

Season 6: I’ve Had Time To Let It All Sink In, and I Still Think the Finale Sucked

So I’ve given it another day to sink in, and I’m still profoundly irritated by that ending. It rendered this whole season of Lost pretty silly. And it barely made sense on its own terms.

For instance: How did Sayid graduate from purgatory to Heaven when he was actively snapping necks? God smiled on this behavior? And why does Sayid end up spending eternity with Shannon, his ditzy island booty call, instead of with Nadia, his one true soul mate? If I were him, I’d want a do-over.

Why did Jack react so calmly when he realized with finality that he’d never had a son? Wouldn’t he be angry? Or at least extremely disappointed? He changed all those diapers, had all those stilted father-son conversations, paid for all those piano lessons … and the kid wasn’t real? If I were him, I’d want a refund.

I think the writers of Lost, as they pondered possible conclusions, realized their only shot at making everybody happy was to employ a tried-and-true method that the world’s religions have been on to for millennia: Tell us there’s a heaven where we’ll be reunited with our loved ones after we die. Everyone likes to hear that. Who could complain? Best ending ever!

I’ve seen the idea posited that there are two kinds of Lost fans: 1) those who watch for the sci-fi twists and surprises, and 2) those who watch for the characters and relationships. If you watch for the mysteries, this theory holds, you were disappointed by the finale. If you watch for the characters and relationships, you were thrilled to wallow in those happy reunion hugs in that nondenominational spiritual venue.

But who on earth watches Lost for the characters? That has always been the show’s evident weakness. If you want strong characterization and believable relationship arcs, you were tuning in to exactly the wrong program. (I suggest you flip over to Mad Men or Friday Night Lights.) Lost had six seasons to develop its characters, yet many of them haven’t changed one iota. Jack is exactly the same dour, earnest martyr that he’s always been. In fact, that character hasn’t even developed since Matthew Fox played him on Party of Five—he’s still got the weight of the world on his shoulders, trying to do the right thing, hoping to be the glue that holds everyone together, smiling approximately once per season.

I can only hope that some pissed-off, enterprising Lost fan will do for the final season what other irate fanboys have done for the Star Wars prequels: re-edit the whole sloppy mess into something better.