It seems like these days, the only reason ‘Lost’ makes the news is when interviewers try to be edgy and ask “What was the deal with the finale?”. And it looks like we’re back to that again. On EW.com, Carlton Cuse (who is now the showrunner for ‘Bates Motel‘) was asked question after question about the finale, as he has been asked many times before.
But really, what are we looking for? An apology? Well, as no sort of contrition of any kind happened in the past five years since the show ended, I think it’s safe to say that it won’t. So why do people persist on being smug about it?
So, yes. It’s true. ‘Lost’ is famous for having a controversial ending. So famous, in fact, that people who haven’t even seen it like to rag on it.”They were all dead,” they say with smirk. And if you’re a Lostie like me, you start to grind your teeth because a television show just isn’t worth an arrest for assault on your record. But by now, I don’t really know what we think is going to happen if the creators even said they regretted it. Would that magically make the show better?
I will go on the record here and say that no, I didn’t particularly like the last episode of ‘Lost’. I just didn’t. There are a lot of other Losties who would try to crucify me for that opinion, but it’s hard to care, and it seems like Carlton Cuse is of the same opinion. In his interview with EW, he said the following:
There’s this almost crazy expectation about finales. Somebody might say to you, “Well, I love Breaking Bad but the finale wasn’t the best episode of the show.” Like, really? It has to be the best episode of the show? This idea that you can watch a show like True Detective, and it was awesome, but is it really ruined for you if the finale is not your favorite episode of it? It’s just odd to me. I feel like if you enjoyed the 119 hours that precede the finale of Lost, is that whole experience ruined by the fact that you might not agree with everything that we did in the finale? I would hope not! I would hope that you would appreciate the fact that you were entertained for 119 hours even if you didn’t love the finale. Certain shows are harder than others — if you’re doing a show like Lost which is a mystery and everything about the show is mysterious, the expectation is just much higher in terms of what you have to do…. Social media has created this bell curve effect around finales that is really overblown. I can’t say that the ending of a story is always the best part of the story, and yet there’s sort of this implicit idea that the finale is somehow supposed to be the mind-blowing best episode of a show. The question is: Why is that? Why do people make that assumption? I don’t know why the expectation is that it should be…. For both Damon and me, “The Constant” is our favorite episode. The finale of The Sopranos is not my favorite episode, as much as I love that show. I would name a number of episodes before that — notably the episode where Tony takes Meadow to college and strangles that dude. Breaking Bad, I would say “Ozymandias” was an episode I liked better than the finale. The finale is an ending but somehow there’s this idea that it needs to be topping everything that’s come before it and I think that those expectations can only lead to disappointment.
This is a good question to ask. Why is it that we put so much stress on the ending? Why should it matter that the ‘Battlestar Galactica’ finale was not what any of were expecting when we have three amazing seasons before that. It’s an ending. It shouldn’t demean the most meaningful part of a series, which is the journey.
Think of it this way. Say you had a limited hard drive and you needed to delete information so you could keep on living and adding memories. You would probably try to save all the important parts; graduating, marriage, birth of your children. But when you delete everything in between, you wouldn’t know why any of these things are important. Putting pressure on a finale to be everything you want to be is a lot like deleting how a relationship with a spouse evolved into love. You do that and suddenly you’re just sitting on the couch watching ‘Parks and Rec’ with a stranger.
The journey is the most important part, and while I don’t care for the ending of ‘Lost’, it doesn’t stop me from rewatching the series.
So can we please stop asking Cuse, Lindelof, et al, about the finale?