Damon Lindelof Talks at Length about the Ending of LOST

by     Posted 2 years, 212 days ago

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Lost ended almost two years ago, and the finale was predictably controversial and divisive.  After the finale, show-runners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse understandably went radio-silent, so the ending could sink in.  The duo also didn’t return to Comic-Con that summer because it wouldn’t have been a conversation with fans but an inquisition (although I would have liked to seen the room erupt in a massive conflict between people who liked the ending and those who disliked it).  While Lindelof eventually did open up regarding some of the fan questions, I haven’t seen a one-on-one interview where he has a civil conversation about the ending rather than an interrogation.

Today, a one-on-one interview has gone online, and it features Lindelof talking about the reactions to the ending, his intent, and providing a little clarification on some vague points, but never clearing up the ambiguity of the show’s final scenes.  Hit the jump to check out the interview and my reaction to it.

[Spoilers, obviously]

Via The Verge [via @DamonLindelof]

damon-lindelof-finale-lost_final_season_tv_poster_01First off, I really like that Lindelof stands by his authorship.  I’m sure there was a temptation to backpedal, or cop-out by saying that the ending was compromised by decisions that were made before the show had a firm end-date.  Lindelof admits that the wrap-up to Lost is “hokey and new-age-y”, but it’s the story he wanted to tell.  However, he also says that throughout the show, he loved trying to wrestle with the catch-22 of saying he knew where the story was going, but then trying to make adjustments in order to respond to the fans’ reactions.

Regarding the ambiguity of the show’s ending, I agree that Lost shouldn’t have what Lindelof calls an “Architect” scene, referring to the ending of The Matrix Reloaded where the Architect explains the entire Matrix.  I was also surprised to learn that Lindelof didn’t like the Jacob/Man-in-Black episode, “Across the Sea” because he felt it came close to an “Architect” resolution, and it got away from the central characters.  Personally, I kind of like “Across the Sea” because it feels like an old myth, and it was a nice change-of-pace from the generally weak sixth season.

It’s an interesting interview although it doesn’t really change my feelings on the show’s finale.  I went back and read the review I wrote the day after “The End” aired, and thinking more about the ending hasn’t really changed my reaction.  I love everything that happened in reality (Lindelof stresses that everything on the Island really happened) because it had weight.  It was in a timeline where people had lived and died and their actions had meaning.  The “flash-sideways” universe felt meaningless because I was no longer watching the characters I had grown to love.  The alternate universe had nothing to do with time like the previous seasons, and when the purgatory characters remember everything that happened, it undermines their lives.  If you woke up and realized everything you had experienced in a timeline wasn’t real, you wouldn’t blissfully accept it.  You would freak out and wrestle with a past life flooding into your current existence.  The show may be about acceptance and facing your sins, but the execution of that acceptance was completely botched.




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  • tarek

    The problem with series like Lost is that, by dint of changing the plot direction every couple of days, just for the sake of surprising the audience ( à la Russian dolls), it always ends up going nowhere.
    I stopped watching Lost at the end of the fifth season. that is, when I felt lost.

    • Hansel

      Firstly I’ll say that I think Lost was brilliant. I consider it the best TV I’ve ever seen, and I watch a lot of TV. That said, I know of lot of people didn’t much like it, I just disagree, and don’t care :)

      Now, you wrote: “he loved trying to wrestle with the catch-22 of saying he knew where the story was going, but then trying to make adjustments in order to respond to the fans’ reactions.”

      He didn’t really say that at all, he said that he DID know where the story was going, but the fans WANTED TO HEAR that he had a firm plan, but also that he would change it based on what the fans suggested. You can’t really have both of those things. It’s either a firm plan, or a loose plan subject to change by a screaming fanbase.

      Personally, since Lost, I’ve followed Lindelof a lot and he’s become someone I really enjoy listening to talk, because he’s a very smart dude with a fantastic ability to tell a good yarn. Can’t wait for Prometheus, and then Star Trek 2 after that.

      Keep up the good work Damon.

  • Kevin

    It confuses me that people still believe that “they were dead the whole time”, and that nothing mattered because nothing was real.

    By the end it felt very clear to me that all the events on the island happened in real life and the events in the flash-sideways universe were some form of purgatory (or however you want to see it).

    I’ve always been curious as to what led people to believe that the entirety of the show “didn’t happen”.

  • Kevin

    It confuses me how people still believe that “they were dead the whole time” and that nothing mattered because nothing was real.

    By the end, it seemed very clear to me that the events on the island were real and that the events of the flash-sideways universe were some form of purgatory (or however you want to see it).

    I’m curious as to what led people to believe that the entirety of the show “didn’t happen”.

  • TheHOYT

    Wow!

    Awesome interview, I loved it!

    I, for one, was happy with the resolution of LOST. Ultimately, it was character driven, and the characters got their needed resolutions. I’ve always loved the double meaning of the title ‘LOST’, and, because of that meaning, for me the ending had to be a little corny and happy; they had to be FOUND, literally and figuratively.

    However, I was also frustrated with the mythology, and lack of answers surrounding it. Mostly, because so much of it could have been tied-off with one line of dialog. Like, what was the deal with Walt? Or, how was DHARMA dropping off palettes of food on the island after Jughead was detonated? Also, it *did* feel like a much different show after season 3, but it redeemed itself with the latter half of season 5, IMO.

    I did like how he mentioned that Walt also watching over the island with Hurley and Ben.

  • TheHOYT

    I wrote a kick-ass comment to this, but the page stalled and it got deleted.

    Excellent interview, though!

  • Jean-Philippe Guérin

    To me, Lost was my favorite show on television. And as for the ending, I loved it and felt that they wrapped up the storylines of the characters well, even though they didn’t answer all the mysteries which doesn’t bother me that much. But I couldn’t argue with someone who hated the finale because I perfectly understand where they’re coming from. Either you love it or hate it, I will defend this series to my death.

  • Red Leader

    Jesus, the interviewer must be the golden god of hipsters.

  • GET LOST

    Bullsh*t !!! (SPOILERS)

    Most crippling ending of anything I’ve seen. I stuck with it as many didn’t. Every season was a huge mixture of questions, riddles, puzzles and “seemingly” geniously smart writing. Unfortunately it never gave any answers.

    Also the ending most people guessed out loud after about season 1 episode 5 ish. But we went on a jeorney with them, through time travel, ghosts, Dharma, babies getting sick with some disease, polar bears, pirate ships and Hot air balloons. Then final season, even more mysteries, Samurai, Temples and lazarus pits, some of the 7 wonders of the world, ie the Lighthouse etc.. All for NOTHING! What the hell is Dharma? Doesnt even matter.

    Lindeloff as a writer has me worried when I see he’s involved in something, hoping Promethius delivers!

    • EVD

      “Lindeloff as a writer has me worried when I see he’s involved in something, hoping Promethius delivers!”

      You hit the nail on the head and he should be ashamed that he causes people that sort of doubt.

  • THATguy

    The conclusion might have been somewhat of a cop-out, but I think the biggest problem was the sheer amount of build-up and hype people had for the finale. 6 years building up to a conclusion? There’s no way everything is going to be perfect or satisfactory; some people will always be disappointed. Personally, I found that the finale maintained the show’s strongest trait, which was character development. “Lost’s” greatest strength was it’s cast, and the finale absolutely nailed each and every character’s proper endings.

    • Edward Lee

      Precisely. And Damon’s full of cr@p when he says that they never promised answers to questions. What they said was that they wouldn’t answer EVERY question. Therein lies the problem when you answer NO question you raised. You create a bubble world — everyone with half-a-brain saw it as a bubble world from the show’s inception — everyone (online, at least) called it a ‘bubble world’ — Damon & company denied it being a ‘bubble world’ for six seasons — and, when it ends, you wonder why folks aren’t embracing you and the other writers as being “the best that ever worked in TV.” Everyone saw behind the curtain very early; that’s why you had to come up with a curve ball at the end of season 5 and the start of season 6 … and then the ending you fashioned (i.e. “the island still exists” even though you show it destroyed at the end of season 5) makes absolutely no substantive sense.

      Yeah, I’m still a little torqued, but that’s only b/c he keeps denying the obvious that all of us DID see with our own two eyes.

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  • Debo

    Plain and simple, as a writer for either TV or Film, you MUST, MUST, MUST know your ending. IMHO, as a writer/director, the blame should fall on Abrams. He created it, he wrote the first episodes, he was in charge of the show, he show have outlined the beginning and ending.

    • Debo

      *should have outlined the beginning and ending.

    • Mike

      Actually, Abrams wasn’t in charge of the show. Lindelof was the showrunner, main writer, and creative mind behind the show. Abrams was involved in a very Cloverfield-esque way… waaaaaaay behind the scenes, and the only episode he was personally involved with was the pilot, which he directed but didn’t write.

      So if you’re mad at anyone, be mad at Lindelof or the other main writer, Carlton Cuse. I don’t *love* Abrams, but his association with Lost is highly overrated.

      • Chris

        I don’t think you quite understand Debo’s comment. Although it’s certainly true a lot of people seem to overestimate Abrams’ involvement with the show, if you get mad that the show didn’t wrap up in a satisfying way, then consider the source. JJ Abrams was very much involved with the creation of Lost — that he didn’t stick with it beyond the fifth episode or so speaks to the larger problem. He isn’t particularly interested in ending his stories, which leaves someone else to clean up the mess. I would argue that he creates shows that are fundamentally un-endable, which makes the somewhat coherent finale of Lost a minor miracle. By this point people should know better than to go into a show created by JJ Abrams if they’re only in it for the answers, because by and large those aren’t forthcoming. And yes, I am aware that Lindelof was there the whole time, but if you think that everything about the show was his idea (and therefore his responsibility), then you’re wrong.

  • DanaQ

    I watched LOST from day one and was a huge fan of the show and personally loved the ending. I think that Damon was right in the interview by stating that people would’ve been upset up the ending no matter what it was. Also regarding the flash sideways in the sixth season, I don’t believe they lived that life all the way through. I believe that when they died on the island of wherever it happened to be, they were immediately “transported” to the flash sideways right when the plane should’ve crashed but didn’t. If you notice on the sixth season premiere Jack almost jerks when the plane should’ve crash and seems a little confused at first. I believe that this happens right after he died. That’s my take on it. Good interview and can’t wait to see Prometheus!!!

  • Caleb The Awesome

    Why would you do an interview with some random dude that didn’t even understand that everything on the island was happening in reality?
    Moron.

  • Underground Anthem TX

    DEBO- When creating and writing episodic storytelling, especially for network television, it’s many times impossible to have a detailed ending in place at the outset of development. Why? because the nature of television means that a show can be cancelled at any time.

    The origin of LOST is no mystery; the head of ABC at the time wanted a “mysterious Gilligan’s Island Show”, and J.J. Abrams helped create it. That’s it. There was no grand scheme in place at the outset– that’s what Cuse and Lindleof were tasked with bringing to the show, ultimately.

    I’m one of the LOST fans, or apologists as we’ve become known, and I really don’t get why people were so up in arms after the finale. I truly believe that people were expecting the writers to explain to them the very meaning of the viewer’s lives. Sorry, but that’s for YOU to figure out. LOST was about a bunch of characters whose lives were connected by a mysterious island. it was about CHARACTERS, not smoke monsters or statues or ghosts, but CHARACTERS. If you didn’t care about the characters and were watching to have all of life’s mysteries solved, you tuned into the wrong show.

    The interviewer in this video comes off as an entitled brat. “I was disappointed!” BOO HOO. Guess what? I enjoyed it, so there. Go jump off a cliff.

  • Kevin

    To some, the finale falls into the same category as The Sopranos, where you don’t really have a clear cut answer of what happened in the end. However, I would rather watch a great show for six seasons with an ok finish. Then watch a dull series with a great finish.

  • Lance

    The sixth season started out in a way that in retrospect feels like they were just running out the clock. But I disagree with Matt’s criticisms about the “alternate universe” because they were not in fact in an “alternate” universe. They were in Purgatory or the first stage of the afterlife. And really, if they were going to freak out about anything it would be that they were dead, not that the Oceanic flight wound up landing at LAX.

    Hard to listen to the interviewer in that clip as he comes across close to insulting, and Lindelof was very polite.

    The interviewer talks about ambiguity either being cool or causing people to ask if you knew the answer at all. Ambiguity just might mean you didn’t pay enough attention to get what was going on. To be fair, Lost and Lindelof and Cuse are going to get this criticism precisely because they didn’t spell everything out. They did leave a breadcrumb trail of clues, however, and I found the last episode to be deeply satisfying.

  • ScaredForMovies

    I know Lost was about the characters but they threw in way to many red herrings that went absolutely no where. I stopped watching after the 4th season. Did they ever explain where the giant statue foot from season one came from?

    • Caleb The Awesome

      Yeah they did, plus tons of other stuff.

    • T. Van

      Agreed, in terms of there being too many red herrings.

      The “answer” to your statue question, in fact, was a horrible one. It simply came from a big (Set-like?) statue— which basically raised more questions than it answered. Watching the show was a great experience, but the lack of answers to questions (and even the half-answers) was both frustrating and highly disappointing.

      On the good side:

      1) I’m glad Lindelof gave credits to the fans for recognizing the relationship that the island had to pergatory. This despite the fact that one of the initial pronouncements wasn’t that the characters weren’t all “dead,” but that the island “is not pergatory”— even though the main characters would turn-around and create their own non-island pergatory in the last season. I suppose that, during the first season, the characters weren’t all in pergatory “yet.”

      2) Credit goes to Lindelof for stumping the interviewer with the X-Files question. I actually was pretty surprised that the guy didn’t remember the answer. Even I could remember that ending, as it broguth resolution to the Mulder/Scully relationship and reconciled the prior ambiguity of their interactions.

      3) As aggavating as the series finale was, I’d go see a Lost movie were they to truly answer the big questions via that project.

  • ClarkKent2o6

    Why did we hate the ending..?

    For the same reason the country howled when Bobby Ewing was alive and well and taking a shower after he died giving birth to the “Dream” season. It was all bullshit and the writers weren’t good enough to close the show properly.

  • Edward Lee

    For an arrogant narcissist who’s said all along that he’s not gonna talk about the ending of LOST, I can’t figure why this guy won’t shut up about it. Damon, you lied to the audience all along, and, in the end, you copped out. Get on with your life. Methinks the rest of the LOST fans have.

    • Markeetundra

      He did. The interviewer asked him about it. He should be able to talk about it without getting shit for it.

  • Lance

    The sixth season started out in a way that in retrospect feels like they were just running out the clock. But I disagree with Matt’s criticisms about the “alternate universe” because they were not in fact in an “alternate” universe. They were in Purgatory or the first stage of the afterlife. And really, if they were going to freak out about anything it would be that they were dead, not that the Oceanic flight wound up landing at LAX.

    Hard to listen to the interviewer in that clip as he comes across close to insulting, and Lindelof was very polite.

    The interviewer talks about ambiguity either being cool or causing people to ask if you knew the answer at all. Ambiguity just might mean you didn’t pay enough attention to get what was going on. To be fair, Lost and Lindelof and Cuse are going to get this criticism precisely because they didn’t spell everything out. They did leave a breadcrumb trail of clues, however, and I found the last episode to be deeply satisfying.

  • junierizzle

    Matt, Jack’s dad tells him in the finale that they made that place, sideways world together. To remember each other and the most important time in their lives, being on the island. So the sideways world was like a waiting room. They were just waiting for everyone to be reunited. Once they had that realization in the sideways world there’s no need to freak out. They’ve known all along that the sidesways world was just a waiting room.

    I think the final season was uneven but I loves the last episode.

  • Slice

    Deus Ex Machina: Or How I stopped trying and made up sh*t to end the show.

    That was the original title of the final season. Hopefully he fares better with Prometheus, but I’m a tad skeptical.

    Just a tad.

  • Underground Anthem TX

    DEBO- When creating and writing episodic storytelling, especially for network television, many times it’s impossible to have a detailed ending in place at the outset of development. Why? Because the nature of television means that a show can be cancelled at any time.

    The origin of LOST is no mystery; the head of ABC at the time wanted a “mysterious Gilligan’s Island Show”, and J.J. Abrams helped create it. That’s it. There was no grand scheme in place at the outset– that’s what Cuse and Lindleof were tasked with bringing to the show, ultimately.

    I’m one of the LOST fans, or apologists as we’ve become known on the internet, and I really don’t get why people were so up-in-arms after the finale. I truly believe that people were expecting the writers to explain to them the very meaning of the viewer’s lives. Sorry, but that’s for YOU to figure out. LOST was about a bunch of characters whose lives were connected by a mysterious island. Let me say that again– It was about CHARACTERS, not smoke monsters or statues or ghosts, but CHARACTERS. If you didn’t care about the characters and were watching to have all of life’s mysteries solved or waiting on an answer to every little red herring the writers ever threw out to facilitate the ambience of the show, then you tuned into the wrong show.

    The interviewer in this video comes off as an entitled brat. “I was disappointed!” BOO HOO. Guess what? I enjoyed it, so there.

    Moderators: I apologize if posted twice; still didn’t see my comment after about an hour.

  • chuck

    I was a big fan of Lost and loved the final. To me the show was always about Jack and his journey. The last episode concluded that journey. A yr later I actually watched the episode in a movie theater off the blu ray. Im a board member of my local community theater and have access. It was great seeing it on a movie screen and the score is so great. A moving conclusion and I didnt care that every question wasnt answered.

  • warpcrafter

    I gave up on lost in the middle of the third season, because it introduced so many new questions all the time and never, ever answered any of the old questions. it just seemed to be stringing the audience along. Having a strong set of characters is one thing, but your plot has to be seen to be going somewhere, or it’s just a bunch of poor schlubs stuck on an island.

  • elchoss

    This guy didn’t get the ending, how the hell you’re gonna say any of that really happened !! WTF

  • Chris

    Lindelof is a very smart writer who understands the needs of story and I respect that he put them first, over the needs of the ravenous and fickle masses. Writers are always looking to bring something new to the table and, I hate to say it, but this interviews ideas are less than original. Aliens? Experiments? Not cybical, but boring. Overdone. Dark City anyone?

    Perhaps lost wasn’t perfect at connecting the dots. I’ll give its naysayers that. But the show has changed the landscape, which is why Lindelof is writing for Ridley f’ing Scott. Show some respect, bitches.

  • Alex

    Pretty funny how the interviewer was raising issues with a show he clearly just didn’t understand. Amateur hour.

    • Chris

      Amateur hour indeed.

  • Pingback: Sci-Fi Congress: See Damon Lindelof passionately defend Lost’s controversial finale

  • Josh

    This interview is so unsatisfying as the interviewer isn’t on nearly the same intellectual level as Lindelof. Not only did he misunderstand the entire finale (and not bother to watch it again before getting this incredibly exclusive interview), but he wasn’t even keeping up with Lindelof’s arguments, specifically the Catch 22 argument. Shame, I would have liked to have seen a more engaged Lost fan conduct this interview

  • Bucky

    Okay, this guy’s objections are completely null and void because he thought that the whole show didn’t happen and the all died in the plane crash which is the Big Idiot Response (and, sadly, mainstream) response to the ending.

  • Twojawas

    I loved Lost for the characters and the relationships. ‘The Ending’ for me was perfect in that sense. The mysteries weren’t what kept me watching.

  • katiegee

    Why is this weird guy pandering to Lindelof? He hated the ending, why suck up to the person who conned him?

    I think I made the mistake of thinking Lost was a lot more intelligent than it was. I assumed that setting the badly written soap opera characters against the mythology was irony on the part of the writers and now it turns out they were serious about them, ouch!

    Quite clearly, once the series took off, Lindelof et al regarded it as a cash cow which they spun out with more and more mysteries to milk us for cash and to build their fame/notoriety.

    Then, having got what they wanted, they couldn’t be bothered to think of an answer to the puzzles they created and tried to con us with the incredibly schmaltzy, overly sentimental, “let’s all go into the light with Jack’s daddy” ending.

    It was always all about the money and we were conned.

  • Jon

    Wow he watched the whole show and questions the validity of the ending and he didn’t even understand the show! Embarrassing!

    • tarek

      I’m all ears for you Jon. Please enlighten us. What really happened ?

  • Wtfmann

    Meh. Never liked the guy ever since his, “If you didn’t like the ending you aren’t a true fan,” bull, never mind that he apologized. I appreciated the emotion of the final episode as much as anyone, but come on.. a giant cork containing the mystical source of all goodness/light/darkness, quasi spiritual providential time travel inducing paradoxes, wannabe scientist-harvested limitless supply of energy watched over by an apparently omnipresent non-aging guardian dude, made so by drinking some water… ugggh, it saddens me in hindsight to think of how silly Lost became.

  • AceFreely

    I personally would have been happier with some jacked up, crazy ending. Like the kid with the dog actually ran the island from a distant future… or whatever. I was looking for a wham bam crazy ending. Not the vanilla they delivered. They could have gone in any other direction to satisfy me. Jack was hallucinating, Sawyer wrote the whole story on a prison wall, anything.

  • Chris

    I’ve never visited The Verge before, but it seems like an interesting site. I have to say, I admire the fact that this Joshua fellow asks articulate, generous questions, and the fact that he invited Lindelof onto his show has to count for something, but his passive-agressive reactions were getting on my nerves. If I were a writer trying to defend my work I’d probably have a harder time keeping my cool in the same situation. When he busted out that truly Boehner-esque eye roll as Lindelof explained the double meaning of the title “Lost,” I got douche chills You asked him to talk about the ending and then cop an attitude because he’s talking at length? That’s called a good interview, isn’t it? You would expect a little humility from a guy who just got caught out misinterpreting the finale (not saying my interpretation is any more correct, but I knew they weren’t dead the whole time at least), but Rule #1 of The Hipster Nerd is to always seem like the smartest guy in the room. I don’t know. I enjoyed Lost a lot more than most people so it’s fair to say that I’m just being overly protective. It was a pretty informative discussion and a lot of that has to do with the questions asked, so props for that.

    The bottom line, if you believe that they ended it the way they wanted to — if not, that’s a different conversation, is that some people are just wired differently. They’re curious about different things or are entertained by different things. Yes, the finale was “New Age-y,” and people who are turned off by that aren’t wrong, but neither are the people who found that ending to be more satisfying than learning they were in an alien spaceship, or that Jack was Jacob and he brought himself to the island to save the world or whatever. Those are provocative scenarios, but they’re no more a “correct” way to end the show than anything else.

  • Ray

    So, to everybody who is saying they loved the shows ending, ask yourself this, why does the writer still have to defend all these years later? Because, it’s intellectually dishonest, and he knows it. I’m not one of those people who’s confused by the ending, I get it, everything on the island really happened, the flash sideways in season six was purgatory, yadda yadda, I get it, but it’s still bad because they didn’t explain anything at all, but worse than that, in the church, I don’t remember who it was, either jack or his dad, says something like “it all really happened, but it doesn’t matter what exactly happened, cause we’re dead now, and that’s all that matters,”, in essence, he’s talking to the audience, saying what you want to know doesn’t matter. That would have been helpful info six years earlier, becuase you’re basically telling the audience that the journey doesn’t matter, which begs the question, “why should I watch your show, a six hour journey, if it doesn’t matter?”, that kind of a big frak you to people who watched. and his examples of other things like the soprano’s is also kind of dishonest. That show wasn’t a mystery, it didn’t have a big secret, and in fact, it only hinges on one question at the end, did Tony get shot, or not? it doesn’t tell you what happened, although it does give you some clues, but it never comes out and say “it doesn’t matter if tony got shot, you just wasted your time fretting about this show, because what happens is unimportant” They just leave it to you to decide. But that exactly, and literally what happens at the end of Lost, they tell you the the story was unimportant. So, why should I watch your unimportant stories ever again mister lindelof? If it the story doesn’t matter, why should I care? story telling 101, you’re supposed to care what happens.

    • Underground Anthem TX

      Wow, Ray– talk about completely misinterpreting EVERYTHING.

      Jack’s dad (who, IIRC, did not use that verbiage) was explaining the notion that how everyone came to be at the church in the afterlife didn’t matter; some died soon after Jack, some LONG after, but they all ended up “finding” each other because their lives were so connected. Everything that happened on the show concerning the island, DID IN FACT HAPPEN.

      I’m noticing a trend with the folks who were dissatisfied with the series finale– either they were taking things WAY too literally the entire time, or they were just “watching to see what questions were answered”. Well, if either of those was your approach to watching this show, OF COURSE you were going to be disappointed.

      And just as an aside, I don’t think you really understood David Chase’s ending to The Soprano’s, in my opinion. The final scene of that series was about what it feels like to be Tony Soprano, always watching your back and NEVER feeling comfortable; after all, you never know who is going to walk thru that door next.

      • Ray

        No, I did understand, I said I get it, everthing on the island happened, that’s what I said in my post, what I’m getting at is, I think it was a cop out to essentially say that the reasons for what happend don’t matter, which, while not a direct quote from the film, (I don’t have the script in front of me,), is the jist of what he says, that it doesn’t matter. So why did I watch? I could have just watched the last episode to find out that everyone dies eventually, as humans do, and that the details don’t matter and save myself alot of time.
        But about the Soprano’s ending, I would argue I did understand it. If you watch the last season again, I don’t remember the specific episode, but it’s close to the end, two characters are talking about “being wacked” and one of them says something to the effect of (not a direct quote, again I don’t have the script right in front of me), but say something like “if you do get wacked, you won’t even know it, all you’ll know is you sittng there, and everything fades to black”, I’m pretty sure he uses the specific words “fade to black”, which is exactly what happens to Tony. That kind of seems like pretty clear writing to me…….

      • Underground Anthem TX

        Ray- In a show that is conceptually set up as a mystery, not only would it be lame if they answered every little question about the island, but in my opinion it would be terribly disappointing. I don’t NEED to know when or who built that freaking statue; It’s a creepy-ass statue, and that only gets less creepy and cool when you begin to explain it. The important questions were answered, and those were questions about the characters. What character-related event or question did the show not answer for you, or tell you that “it didn’t matter”?

        RE: Soprano’s, that’s interesting– I always interpreted that last scene as though we THE VIEWER got “whacked”, not Tony. I guess that’s why the finale is so freaking genius.

      • brian

        Actually Underground, Ray is totally spot on. They hit us with one mystery after another on the biggest character in the whole series – the island. So your point about the characters is moot, the island brought them there and was central to the story above and beyond any of the other players. Lindelof and co choice not to answer many of the mysteries of the island was a clear signal to the intelligent and logical audience members that none of it mattered only the kumbaya moment where everyone walks into the light. For a series that started off really smart it didn’t end the same way. Smarter audience members wanted an intelligent ending not a hokey existential cope out which we got. Lindelof and his followers are still defending it to this day says a lot as Ray mentioned.

    • T. Van

      LOL. What you wrote is so very, very true.

      The thing that still gets me is that the show started off being so smart. The way seasons 1 and 2 explored some of our deepest fears (being trapped in a cave, attacked by a bear, stranded on an island, etc.) and developed its characters while giving us information about the island (“Walkabout”), you almost have to ask if the finale was somehow meant for another show. I mean, beyond a few possible missteps, the first few seasons were absolutely brilliant.

      Granted, I’m still a fan of Lindelof’s work. However, I’ve yet to read anything that persuades me into thinking that the ending was much more than a “cheat.” Not to offend anyone, but use of the phrase “it was satifying” almost always makes me wonder how much a person enjoyed the finale as compared to how much they bought-into the Matthew Fox created meme claiming that the ending will be “satisfying.”

    • Milo

      Let me preface my comment by saying two things. Firstly I am completely athiest and grew up spiritual church with a mother who had left Catholicism, and secondly I am finishing a degree at NYU in television writing.

      The writing in Lost is absolutely brilliant. The character development is outstanding, but also all the themes they bring in. I am one who loved the finale. So many of the questions are actually answered throughout the series if you really pay attention, and you have to rewatch it. My mother before the last season rewatched the entire series, read lostepedia, and made a timeline of events. She found that most things were answered. She loved the last season because she had put in the energy to figure things out. Now I understand that most people don’t want to do that. The great works of writing are often the ones that don’t spell out things blatantly. The greatest plays I have ever read are the ones I have to read and reread, and each time I find a new line that may be foreshadowing or answering something later in the play. Lost does this constantly. They do answer almost every mystery, and the ones they don’t answer are the ones that are simple, or unimportant enough that you should be able to answer them yourselves.

      As for the hokey elements of the ending, I loved it, even as a person who does not believe in God, because this show has had religious or hokey themes all the way through. To me Jacob always represented a God figure, he talked about free will and choice, he told Richard he brought the people to the island but he didn’t want to have to tell them what to do, he wanted them to figure it out for themselves. When Ben stabs Jacob he becomes a Judas figure. Rose and Bernard in the jungle alone seasons later are Adam and Eve figures enjoying the garden of Eden, and so they tell Sawyer and Kate when they find them “you people always find some problem to run after”. As someone who is unreligious I was still able to appreciate the constant ties to religion. So much of the show is about choice, do we have free will even if this omni present God is deciding our fate. Because I saw the religion in so much the episodes it didn’t bother me that the finale finished on that note. If you had payed attention to it in all of the seasons it wouldn’t have seemed so off kilter or so much of a let down. He finished the story he was telling the way he wanted to. The story he was telling was always connected to those hokey elements. If you want the answers to every mystery go back and watch the show and take detailed notes, you’ll find them, but in the end that isn’t what the show is about. It’s a beautiful story without all the mystery.

  • colin

    great interview. bad interviewer. lindelof is a genius. the ending of lost was great. I still watch the show all the time and enjoy finding clues to the overall mystery which is still alive due to careful omissions made by Damon and crew. many questions were answered, but a lot of loose ends are still open to interpretation. That is my favorite genre: The “that was awesome, but what the fuck just happened, i need to study it more to arrive at a better understanding” genre. Memento, Black Swan, 2001, Dark City, LOST. these are a few of my favorite things and they all have that in common. open to some amount of interpretation. Something spiritual to say about human nature without hitting you over the head with it. an enigma wrapped in a metaphor shoved in a screenplay, acted out on the screen before your very eyes by great actors. what more could people want? LOST is the greatest show of all time in MY opinion. but even if you don’t agree with that, you’ve got to appreciate it for what it is, not what you wanted it to be. life is all about the journey. if you aren’t prepared to make peace, then the seemingly simple answers may hurt your enflamed feelings. and if you ask me, “you all feel a little bit too much” -John Locke, Anger Management

    • Underground Anthem TX

      This– with the exception that The Soprano’s, Lost and The Shield all share my number one spot.

  • J85

    This has got to be the worst interviewer I’ve ever seen in my life. How did this guy get this job. Lindelof finally opens up a bit about LOST and we get a guy who apparently can’t even remember the show.

  • PCruzer

    For me, LOST was never as much about the questions raised as it was about the characters. The show excelled at character development. That’s how I was “hooked” from the very first episode. I don’t recall a TV show that has ever had the same effect on me as LOST did. And I doubt that there will ever be one again. The twists and turns and all the questions raised just made the show more interesting. But in the end, it was the characters that kept me coming back.

  • PCruzer

    For me, LOST was first and foremost about the characters. It is what “hooked” me from the very beginning. LOST excelled at character development. The questions raised and all the plot twists and turns just made it more interesting. I don’t recall any other show that had the same effect on me that LOST did. And I doubt there will ever be another show that even comes close.

  • wheels

    My husband and I just fininshed re-watching season 1 and are looking forward to season 2. (they were of course the best 2 seasons)I would have to say I am one of the people who wanted answers, and hated the ending. I have heard him say before everything on the island was real, but sometimes it seems like all the other characters know their “dead” already in season 1 and Jack has no clue.

    In the finale of season 1, Locke is sitting on the airplane and Jack is putting his things away and glances at Locke and gives him a smile, Locke on the other hand give him a look like “I know something you don’t know”. Another thing we picked up on was Sun says to Claire “do you think we were put on this island as punishment?”

    We watched every show from day one, and still 2 years later I am still disappointed that they never did a “sit down” and gave answers. Even in this ridiculous interview, all he said with certainty was “everything that happened on the island was real” and “the island is still there”.

    There are only 2 things during 6 years he can say with certainty?

    • T. Van

      Now that you mention it, there were a lot of instances where characters gave “mysteriously ambiguous” responses to one-another (they even got characters with absolutely no ulterior motives— such as Penny Widmore— in on the act). This would have been great had we gotten answers.

      Without answers, however, it made many of the characters come across as either strange or unnecessarily difficult. In turn, the show runners haven’t come across as much better, themselves.

  • wheels

    Must add…did he just say Hurley, Ben and Walt are still watching the island? Then why were they at the church? Hurley definitely passed on with the rest of the cast, Ben wasn’t ready but was at the church, and of course Walt just disappeared. That’s probably the main thing that bothered us, the story on Walt, he had such an interesting storyline and it was just dumped. Why? Because he grew too much? (from what we heard)

    • T. Van

      Because, conveniently, the church scene happened after all the characters had passed away in their “real” lives. Since they could only go from their shared purgatory to the church if they’d made peace with their actual lives’ (the reason why Ben stayed outside), the conversations were kept from getting too nasty.

      To say that Hurley, Ben and Walt are watching the island is to say that extra segment featuring them is the storyline’s closest point in time to the reality that we, the audience, exist.

      Speaking of Walt, another (albeit somewhat outlandish) “ending” that would’ve worked would’ve been to have Walt, Aaron and the other kids from the plane serving as island puppetmasters from the future. With an obviously vested interest in what happened on the island, they could’ve come-up with any number of reasons as to why the kids would’ve done that. Granted, the presence of “Across the Sea” would’ve made such an storyline more challenging to pull-off… but at least the writers would’ve committed to an actual ending.

  • wheels

    T.Van…you think just like me, lol. Tonight possibly my husband and I are going to start watching season 2. (we finished season 1 a few days ago) Even though I am upset at the ending, and a few seasons in the show were lame, it still is an exciting show to watch, and the actors are AMAZING! This show HAD so much potential to be one of the best shows ever made, but too many mistakes, pissed off too many people to ever be considered that. Or maybe it could be considered one of the best shows ever with the most idiotic ending? HA

    DO A SIT DOWN WRITERS, IT’S BEEN 2 YEARS, WHAT HAVE YOU GOT TO LOSE NOW? SCHEDULE A 2 HOUR SPECIAL (could you imagine how many millions would watch this? I guarantee it would be the top ranked show for that night/week/even month/year) FESS UP TO YOUR MISTAKES, AND TAKE QUESTIONS FROM VIEWERS. MANY SHOWS HAVE DONE THIS, WHY NOT LOST?

    • T. Van

      I’m with you, Wheels. A sit-down and, maybe, a movie. That last part would only be if they actually gave us answers to the big, global questions (i.e. “what the island is” and not extraneous things like “more info on the Hurley bird”).

      You and your husband are on the right track, because seasons 1 and 2 have stories that are incredibly well thought-out, and do a great job of exploring the human psyche.

  • Kellie

    LAME!

    I really loved the first couple seasons of Lost. And then I started to get the feeling that the show’s producers didn’t have answers to the questions they’d raised, and that they didn’t have an ending that was going to wrap things up … Yep. (Science fiction fan here.)

    Look, it’s not that hard to set up amazing story puzzles if you’re a good enough writer to make the setup come alive. But you’ve got to solve the puzzles at some point–that’s the hard part, right? That’s what the audience is trusting you to do.

    It’s not that no finale would ever be viewed as satisfactory. Just answer questions as you go along … you open up a new question, answer an old one … L is putting it on the fans that expectations were too high. But that was because they’d incurred a huge knowledge debt … and then they didn’t make good on it. Surely he understands this? Comparisons to the endings of story shows without mythology are irrelevant here.

    He keeps saying Architect exposition would be bad. Okay … so give us a book that addresses each question and provides the answer. The numbers! What did the numbers mean? Etc. And if they changed their tune on whether or not answers would be given midway through season 3, then tell us what the numbers were originally supposed to mean and explain when you changed it to, “They don’t mean anything … they just pop up over and over again.”

    I feel the reason they won’t do this is the whole thing would just fall apart like tissue paper. It’s like a hollow creation that has no insides. That makes me so sad.

    Life on Mars–I saw the British version. SPOILER. The ending wasn’t a disappointment because the show didn’t try to explore the HOW. Lost was all about the HOW. Lindelof is saying he’s got something like 2 1/2 seasons of answers we’re waiting for … let’s see them!

    I would also love to know: was any part of your “firm plan” scrapped after online comments pointed out flaws in the theories that matched your plans?

    And the whole “firm plan”/”pay attention to us”: oh, come on. You can’t blame this on your fans. I agree with Hansel’s comment, above.

  • EVD

    I’m getting ready to watch Prometheus and just found out that Damon Lindelof was one of the writers and now I’m wondering if the movie will be a waste of my time.

  • brian

    Actually Underground, Ray is totally spot on. They hit us with one mystery after another regarding the biggest character in the whole series – the island. So your point about the characters is moot, the island brought them there and was central to the story above and beyond any of the other players. Lindelof and co’s choice not to answer many of the mysteries of the island was a clear signal to the intelligent and logical audience members that none of it mattered only the kumbaya moment where everyone walks into the light – lame. For a series that started off really smart it didn\’t end the same way. Smarter audience members wanted an intelligent ending not a hokey existential cop out that anyone could have dreamt up. We wanted something smart and logical to the Lost world and not based in spirituality mumbo jumbo. Lindelof and his followers are still defending the finale to this day says a lot.

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