So, after several years of hearing about Lost from friends and family, Brinestone and I finally decided to watch the series. It was available on Hulu, so every night after the kids were in bed we’d sit in front of my computer and watch an episode or two. We finally finished the series finale last week. (There will be spoilers below. Read at your own risk.)
I haven’t enjoyed a TV show that much in quite some time. I also haven’t been so frustrated with a TV show in quite some time. I already knew from friends and family who had watched the show faithfully that things got weird after a couple of seasons and that there was lots of mystery but not a lot of answers. This held true right up through the end, with a series finale that made approximately zero sense but was still somehow quite satisfying despite this minor shortcoming.
The most frustrating thing about Lost, of course, is that there were never really any answers. Countless mysteries are introduced and then abandoned or altered beyond recognition. For example, in season 1 we know there’s a monster on the island that randomly rips up trees and kills (though apparently doesn’t eat) people. Later we find out that the monster is a cloud of black smoke. Later still it’s referred to as a security system for the island and then specifically for the temple. There are a few references to it judging people and allowing the worthy to survive. Later still it’s hinted that the smoke monster might have done something to Danielle Rousseau’s team, changing them in some way so that she thought they were infected and then killed them all to prevent the infection from spreading. But then in the end we find out that the monster is just some evil entity that takes the form of dead people and wants to get off the island but can’t (though, of course, it’s never explained why). None of final revelations make any sense in regard to the previous ones. And that’s just one mystery out of at least a few dozen.
Yet despite all the convolutions and shameless retconning and pointless killing off of characters, I still really enjoyed the show (well, except for most of the last season, which I think really was pretty bad). Why? I think it was because of the characters. I often wanted to yell at them for keeping secrets and for all their other stupidness, but through it all they were all pretty fascinating to watch. They were well-written and and well-acted, and I enjoyed watching them grow and change over the seasons. I liked learning their back stories piece by piece and seeing how they were all connected. I liked watching them discover their purpose and find out what was important.
And in the end, I think this is why I enjoyed the finale, even though, as I said before, it really made zero sense and answered no questions. When it was all over I was satisfied because they had all found what they were looking for in some way or another. I think this is what the show was really about the whole time. What is your purpose in life, and how do you find it? What are the important things in life? Some people have focused on the cheesy everyone-goes-to-heaven ending, but I don’t think that was what it was about. In the end, the important things in life are time and the people you spend it with. I think there’s a lot of truth to that.