Man, there was a time when Lost was so exciting I’d blog about it here. When a series loses its way, as pretty much all of them have to in the merciless American format of multiple seventeen-hour seasons, it’s amazing how quickly it wipes your memory of how good it used to be. I was a Heroes fanboy, once.
But a lot of the complaints you could level at the way Lost ended up sound superficially like things you could as easily have said about season one: it raises interesting questions but never answers them, it’s too mystical, and you’re given far too much backstory for characters that just aren’t that interesting.
But I think a definable line was crossed somewhere in the middle, between unanswered questions that seem like they could have an interesting explanation, and just making arbitrary shit up in the same lame attempt to blow your mind usually reserved for the stoned, at parties, to the completely sober.
Smoke monster, rips up trees, makes a mechanical clanking noise – I’m fascinated.
Dharma Initiative, has bases here, investigating scientific properties of the island – I’m intrigued.
The Others, mysterious, seemingly superhuman, with horrible motives – I’m kind of intrigued.
“I don’t know what’s more curious, where the rest of the statue is or why it only has four toes.” – I’m, uh, nearing a borderline here.
Ben isn’t in charge of the Others. An invisible man in a shack is. He can cure cancer but he hates flashlights. Also the shack teleports.
At this point it’s clear that there isn’t going to be any kind of interesting explanation for this, and I stop caring.
Everything after that point sounded increasingly like a 12 year-old trying to bail himself out of a ridiculous lie by layering carefully constructed but painfully over-specific falsehoods on top of it. I never really cared about whether they’d answer the questions the series raised, only that the questions should hint at interesting answers. Once it strays into random land, there’s nothing for my imagination to chew on and I get bored.
At some point during Season Five – where one timeline is itself jumping back and forth through time – I stopped watching entirely – hence the 0. I never really came back, except for finales and premieres, and I only watched the two episodes preceding the grand finale this week.
I think that let me enjoy it. It was complete hokum of the laziest, stupidest kind, but emotionally well judged and oddly satisfying. Getting a shitty answer to some of the central questions, even the really interesting ones, turned out to feel better than getting none at all. What they gained by deciding not to do anything particularly special in the whole two hours was the freedom to pace it to give each meandering, pointless story thread its own little send-off. I’m not sorry I skipped what I did – in fact I wish I’d skipped most of seasons 3 and 4 too – but I’m glad I tuned back in for the end.
The crappy, crappy end.