Damon Lindelof defends Lost’s ending

Lost co-creator and executive producer Damon Lindelof, in an interview with Joshua Topolsky:

I always just felt like the ending that we were shooting for was gonna be one that dealt with sorta the emotional reality of the characters, and gave some fundamental explanation for ‘why— what did these people get out of this plane crash?’ And the answer, as corny as it sounds, was the one that appealed to me the most, which is: each other. That’s what they got. They were all fucked up, sad individuals who were lost in their own lives and hated themselves, and somehow they found some fundamental community amongst each other. If they hadn’t met each other, and spent all that time on the island, then they would never have been able to forgive themselves for their past sins, and break through to some sort of level of self awakening and forgiveness. It is new agey, it is hokey, but it’s the story that I wanted to tell.

As I ranted after finishing it, I was disappointed by the concluding episode of Lost (the insane expecations set by the quality of all previous finales didn’t help). I felt that it failed to do justice to the six seasons that preceded it — Lost‘s narrative and mysteries were boxes within boxes, and each season we got closer to what was inside. And then at the last minute, instead of being opened, the final box was wrapped in pretty paper with a neat bow on top. The finale provided emotional closure, but it did not provide closure on the epic scale of the tale that Lost told.

The most common argument I’ve heard for why the finale worked (or was simply satisfying) was that it focused on the characters, and that’s what the show was about all along. This seems to be how Lindelof saw it.

While the characters were certainly important — the reason the show remained gripping even through undeniable ups and downs in quality and focus — I don’t feel like providing their stories with some purgatorial purpose negates an expectation that similar justice be done to the mysteries and mythology of the show.

Nonetheless, for both those who felt slighted and satisfied by the ending, it’s interesting to hear Lindelof’s perspective, two years later, on the finale and the saga of one of TV’s most interesting, unique and polarizing shows. It’s pretty amazing — a testament to the show — that I’m still interested after all this time.

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