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.
First 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.