Tuesday, June 1, 2010

My Thoughts on LOST Series Finale

I know I'm officially the last person on Earth to do this, but here's what I think. Don't worry, no serious spoilers until the last section, which will be properly labelled.

I absolutely loved the series finale. I honestly can't think of one thing, not one, that I would change. It was heartbreaking, brilliant, moving, awesome. I just don't understand the haters out there. They baffle me. Everyone is certainly entitled to their own opinion, it's just really annoying when they're wrong.

The whole series was an experience I'll never forget. Easily the best thing I've ever seen on television, by a trillion light years the best, and probably tied with the LORD OF THE RINGS movies and SAVING PRIVATE RYAN and LES MISERABLES in terms of media / entertainment that affected me on a superhuman level. I'll never forget it, especially the finale, which still haunts me as I write this.


Oh Jack. Jackity Jack Jack. Your face in the final scene has made me half depressed and half in awe since your eye closed. And the music! And the writing! And the acting! And the directing! Everything about that finale and the series itself can only be summed up by one word in my (sadly) limited vocabulary. (Hey, I'm just an author.) That word is BRILLIANT.

I can't get over it. I didn't think something could be that good. The writers and creators should be given a special award that no one else ever receives. And that award should be called the YOU'RE MORE BRILLIANT THAN ANYBODY ELSE EVER AWARD. I don't say any of this lightly. I see tons of movies, watch lots of shows, read lots of books. And LOST is one of a kind, a true once-in-a-lifetime experience. I'll never never ever ever forget it.

I'm really glad that we watched it, week by agonizing week, year by agonizing year, from the very first airing of the pilot. That waiting and expecting and speculating was half the fun. We plan on waiting about five years and then watching the whole thing over again with our kids. I can't wait!


There's a lot of debate out there about what happened in the finale. I think it can be summed up pretty easily. Just like Jack's dad said, everything, every single thing that occured on the island really did happen. It is the heart of the world and in the end Jack saved it. He died to save it. His best friends escaped and lived out happy lives back home. Hurley and Ben safeguarded the island for many many years, maybe centuries. All these people died at different times along an extensive timeline.

Once they did, all at their separate times, their souls entered an alternate reality which they collectively created, their very own Heaven, where past, present, and future are the same. Just like Jack's dad said, "there is no now, here." They all discovered each other once again, in several scenes that I can't imagine have ever been topped in the happy tears department. And then they gathered and went to some special place beyond.

Ben wasn't ready, still had things to atone for. That's why he didn't go.

That's about it. And how incredibly BRILLIANT is it that the very first shot of the series was Jack's eye opening, and the very last was that same eye closing. I know it's simple, but it's just really really awesome, too.


I don't know what else to say. I'd love to hear any thoughts you guys might have. Even from those who for some reason feel like it's their role in life to tell everyone how stupid LOST is, even though the vast majority of them haven't seen even half the episodes because it got too "complicated." Ya know, some things you just shouldn't admit to people.

Sorry if I sound petty or defensive. I just love this show so much that I feel like it's my kid or something, and it hurts to see people rip on it. And usually they have nothing intelligent to say, just, "Man, that show is so lame. I'm gonna go watch CSI: Kentucky."

And lost in all this (ha, sorry for the pun) is the effect the show has had on my own writing. I took something away from every single episode. The writing, the structure, the plotting, the character development. How they end episodes, even commercial breaks. The visuals. All of it helped my writing more than perhaps any other one identifiable thing.

Which leads to my final thought: to the creative talent of LOST, every one of you, both behind and off the screen, I say thank you. I can only hope that somehow you get neurotic in the middle of the night and google your own show and find this blog post. I can only speak for myself, but you gave me something, a six year experience, that changed my life and will remain with me FOREVER. Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!!!


Daron D. Fraley said...

James, I didn't watch it, but someone said the show REALLY ended like this:


Michael Phipps said...

James- I loved your post because I feel the exact same way. There has never been a show like LOST before. It was movie quality, but extra special because we got a chance to delve deeply into so many characters, and so many interweaving stories. What a show!!!

Melony said...

I didn't hate the ending, I didn't love the ending, but we did LOVE watching the show and I love that anything could have such a great impact on people. If your writing improved/was inspired by watching it than it was worth it just for that! Thanks for sharing your thoughts James! I am sure it has had an impact on my writing as well....maybe someday we will see mine in print! :D In the meantime, you better find another show so you can keep up that inspiration!

C.J. said...

Janet Jensen is the only other person I know that loves Lost as much as you did. All in all I really liked the show, but I have to admit my brain cells were confused much of the time. But I agree the finale was quite brilliant.

T.J. said...

I liked the Lost finale. I was disappointed, but mostly because I hated that my prediction didn't hold true. However, Lost was such a well-told story. And yeah, they didn't answer every single question, but when in life is every question answered.
It did leave me a little unsatisfied, but I know it was brilliantly done.

Summersfam said...

I'm glad to finally hear your take on it. I was wondering if your silence meant you hated it and you didn't know how to break it to everybody! :D I thought it was great, too. Yay, Lost!

Courtney Barr - The Southern Princess said...

It is often in life that we find ourselves searching for something. Occasionally we are unaware of truly what we are looking to find but sometimes we are given a grain of connection in order to discover what is just for us. LOST is in many ways that grain. It was a brilliant show that led us on a journey, connecting people of all walks of life and making so many question their own REAL journey. For an hour of television (mindless pass time for some) to be able to not only test us, to make us imagine, to make us believe and to make us hope...that is worth my time.

James - like you I watched week after week, year after year, I got some right, I got some wrong but in the end the journey was fun, entertaining, heartwrenching, hilarious, soul searching, devastating and enlightening - What more could I ask for? ;o)

Thanks for the post!

Visit My Kingdom Anytime

The Dixon Family said...

I loved it ending with Jack's eye closing too, it brought it full circle for me. I cried like a baby as I saw relationships and people that were so broken or selfish in the beginning become vibrant and giving. I loved how they found each other again and that when they remembered the past it was with a sense of triumph and realizing how precious love is. I'm still in mourning that it's over.

Unknown said...

Great ending of Lost...if you just considered the 'flash sideways' and the characters 'awakenings' after they had all died at one point or another...Terrible ending if like me you wanted some sort of explanation of what the island was, who was guarding it originally, why the Dharma initiative,...who was Sayid after he was resurrected, who was the Japanese dude, why did Jacob's 'Mom' kill the lady after she gave birth, who build the statue, why did they people in the arctic 'hear' the island?

I could go on, but maybe some of you would get my point...great ending in what it did...not so good in that it didn't answer even remotely some of the larger questions that my yearning mind needed answered after investing over 5 years in...

Still Lost...or maybe just dead.

Katie said...

I really liked it, as well. The alternate reality part where they all met back up and "woke up" was, by far, my favorite part of the entire series. I almost cried when Jack and Juliette reunited over - of all things - a vending machine. Although I was left slightly confused by the purgatory/alternate reality thing, I accepted it after thinking it over a while. My only lingering question was about the island itself: why was it so important? I felt like they never truly answered that question. Of course, that might have been purposeful. Could LOST really end on a totally "reasonable explanation"/Scooby Doo way? Then it wouldn't be LOST!

Leesie Jones said...

After reading that long post I have some things to say:

First of all, Thanks for blogging. I hope you're getting back on your regular schedule now. :)

ARCS. When are they coming! I'm going CRAZY!

American Idol is a good show. Maybe you can replace that with Lost. I know that you're probably mad at me for saying this because nothing will ever replace Lost, but just give it a shot.

Maybe I'll drop by your house in five years to watch it over again with your family. I can honestly say that I haven't seen a single episode, but you make it sound like a dream so I'll check it out.

Keep writing. Don't give up man. You're an amazing author. Don't forget it. :)

storyqueen said...

Oh, I loved it, too.

It made me FEEL. That is really the best reason to watch TV....to feel something.

(The only thing that bugged me a tiny bit was the Sayid/Shannon thing....but you know, I was happy for them so that was okay.)

I Tivoed it so I think I'm gonna watch it again. The scene where Jack and the fake Locke run at each other on the cliff was awesome!


Danielle said...

You're not the last person-- I've refused to talk to anybody about the finale since it aired because I'm still processing. ;)

This is a very lovely summary though, and I truly loved the finale. I still have a lot of thoughts to work through on it, but overall it was a satisfying end to one of the most "brilliant" (ahem) shows ever.

deadchickenman said...

Great post, James. We're big fans in our home too. LOST has really changed my writing style. I'm really into non-linear story telling now.

If you want a non-linear movie, I might recommend 500 Days of Summer.

The finale and all the "haters" does raise an interesting question however: When you build that many mysteries into a series or story, do you set up your readers/watcher for disappointment no matter what? LOST's biggest problem was that a legion of fans all talking on the internet could often think of better plots than the shows writers and that meant that no matter what the writers did, it was going to disappoint a lot of people.

Good to read the blog.


Jackson Porter said...

Wow, Dashner.

And I thought I was obsessive.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree with you - check out my blog (just last night, so you're NOT the last one!): http://mandysrunningblog.blogspot.com/2010/06/how-lost-relates-to-running.html

Post Lost Finale Stress Disorder said...

All you guys that are ‘blown away’ by the finale are forgetting some real important stuff here….. For 6 years the writers left us countless breadcrumbs and carrots to follow and ponder. A multitude of ideas and possibilities to theorize over. Coupled with the great character development of the earlier seasons, this is what made the show so amazing!!! Discussing last night’s episode with your co-workers and friends and debating interpretations and what this means and why so and so did this, etc. THAT’S what made the show so special. The writers created the LOST mythology and invited us to enter their world – a world that sometimes fell of the rails a bit (time travel, the island being moved, etc.) – but we hung in their because the writers had always promised answers in the end – at least answers to the larger story arcs. But nope. In the end we get Kumbaya and smores. I feel the finale was a total manipulation – they created a finale exploiting the emotions and connection we have for all the characters in the show and brought back old characters to distract (by the way – Nadia was Sayid’s true love – not Shannon). If Hurley is dead now, who is protecting the island?! I mean the entire culmination of the seasons was about the ‘candidates’ and who would replace Jacob and protect the island. Because if the island’s power got into the wrong hands, blah, blah, blah…..the end of the world!!! What about that? Oh wait……not really that important I guess. Puh-lease. Lindelof/Cuse - I want all the time I spent pondering what the island was back. You owe me that. Can you have Faraday pay me a visit so I can travel back to the day I watched the first episode?

Rice.and.Mr.Pudding said...

Lost is my favorite show of all time (so far). Other shows, like Flash Forward, have tried to replicate its success, but don't come close. They seem to believe that the hook of Lost was the mysteries and so they try to create a twisted, convoluted conspiracy instead of focusing on the characters. Lost's brilliance was in the way that it made you invest in the characters, and THEN pulled you along with its mythology.

Post Lost Finale Stress Disorder said...

Yes...they did pull us along with the mythology....but they never answered the huge questions that arose from the mythology....do you get my point? Yes - we all loved the characters, but the show has never been JUST about the characters - so how can you end it with resolution for the characters only???

Timm said...

I loved the Lost series and really enjoyed the finale as a standalone episode. But as a series finale, it was terribly weak.

Here is my favorite summary of the Lost finale:

Imagine spending 6 years reading a murder mystery, and just as you reach the end, instead of revealing the killer, the book concludes with: "The killer doesn't matter because the characters all died and went to heaven happily ever after."


Anonymous said...

First of all, I would like to say that the "Houston and Austin" post was written on my birthday. I was going to comment on that, but since it is around a month later, I figured no one would read it. Also, I would have just about nothing to say because I don't live anywhere near Texas. I tried watching Lost, but started during the last season (I know, lame, it's like only watching the movie when it's based on a book) and was unable to keep up with the plot and could not tell the characters apart, thus confusing me even more, so I just stopped. I've read the 13th Reality book 2, and really, really, really enjoyed it. I am getting the Maze Runner, but I can't find the 3rd 13th Reality book anywhere! I'm keeping my eyes peeled for it. I'm also looking around for stuff on quantum physics.

Hope Wagner said...

I've ben watching lost since the begining and i must say its the most enthralling, brilliant, superb show in THE WORLD!!! My sister didnt understand the end and she thought everyone died in the plane crash and she was super confused, but i explained it to her just like you did. I mind as well throw out the T.V. because nothing can EVER compare to LOST!!!

Isabelle said...

but i must agree with one of the comments and say that two things are not right: first yes it is true that Sayid's first love was Nadia but in the end he was with Shannon. And Also what ever happend to that guy from the looney bin that always played connect four with himself? yah know he always muttered "4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42"??? where did he come from?

Kasie West said...

This is good to know. I have been tempted to rent the entire series and have a "I LOST my mind and may look and smell as though I belong on the island after the week it takes to watch the series" marathon, but had heard so many bad things about the finale that I abandoned that thought. But thanks to you, it's back. Wahoo! My husband will be thrilled, I'm sure.

The Writer said...

I absolutely loved the ride I was swept on, complete with some of the best drawn characters in entertainment. The more time the show focuses on characters, the better it gets. The finale was beautiful, and it was such a literary way to end. I mean, I'm a writer, so I think I appreciate it more than my friends and family, but it just felt so right.

dandellion said...

I think that show didn't get the ending as good as it deserved. The whole purgatory thing seems to me like an easy way out. And there is a number of inconsistencies that lead to conclusion that the planned ending was to be a different one, but that producers changed their mind just a few episodes before the finale.

Still, even the bad ending like this one can't drop the shadow on the great six years of the show.

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

Im still not sure how i feel about it.

I twittered you about interviewing for the book you gave me at BEA. Thanks again ;)

Maren Hansen said...

I feel exactly the same way. My sister started ragging on the finale and I realized she had the wrong expectations. If you watched Lost for some brilliant story-telling that was about a group of people (notably Jack) and their evolving relationships, then you liked the ending. If you watched it for some fantastic 6th Sense-like twist (not to knock the 6th Sense which is also close to my heart), then you're going to be disappointed. And then there are the juvenile souls that watched it for the special effects. It goes without saying that they were disappointed... And yes, the closing scene that was the opposite of the opening was was truly inspired. Lost is a cultural phenomenon that I hope inspires many a copy-cat.

Matt Hayes said...


Check out my blog at http://www.grindingthepages.blogspot.com.

Fiona said...

One of the things I love about Lost is how it has bonded me to people that I never connected with before. It's almost as if we had all suffered on the island together and become instant forever-buddies after talking about our favorite bits. That is why the ending was so powerful for me. For the last 6 years-whenever I'll find another Lost fan — we'll review everything we love and can remember about the show (just like the characters did in the final episode when they would touch and remember the island). It was a perfect ending for a line-quoting/montage-loving geek like me. It showed some highlights and gave everyone a proper curtain call - you, all, everybody, well almost everybody.(I really missed Mr. Echo.)
Also, I don't think that it was a cop-out ending at all. It was an amazing study of human nature - of gestalt. I loved the flashbacks, flash forwards, flash sideways - all the possibilities. Life, and Lost, is about so much more than finding out stuff. It was about choice and redemption for the broken and wounded. The show was philosophical and made you think and argue. I never like having anyone spoon-feed me all the answers and loved being able to draw conclusions for myself. Lost rocked my world.
"See you in another life, Brother."

Anonymous said...

This is off topic, when are ARCs of the Scorch Trials "coming out"? Will they be at the ALA conferences?

Leesie Jones said...

Come on Dash!
We, as your followers, like to hear about the exciting life of a awesome dude named James! No offense, but Lost is just a TV show. Where's the style of my favorite author?

Matt Hayes said...

Uh, Leesie, I think he's gonna go ape on you. :)

nadiabcool said...

JAMES! I made a blog all about mazerunner!!!! please check it out! everyone here too! here is the link!


(P.S. I really want that ARC james. E-mail me back! nadiabcool@hotmail.com)

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Melody said...

I just finished The Maze Runner a few minutes ago and HAD to look up the release date for the sequel (not soon enough, btw!).

Couldn't agree more with your thoughts on the LOST finale. It was everything I hoped for, and more.

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