As previously noted, today is the first anniversary of the “Lost” series finale. Ever since May 23, 2010, fans of the series that introduced us to Desmond Hume, the Hatch and Hurley’s bad lottery luck have argued about whether that final episode — entitled “The End” — was a wonderfully emotional conclusion to the series or a total rip-off that failed to answer key questions about the island that had lingered for six seasons.
Now that a year has passed, I wondered if some “Lost” bloggers and fans might have some fresh insights into the series finale. So I presented several of them with this question: If you could change only one things about the final episode of “Lost,” what would it be?
Read on to find out how “Lost” notables — including series co-creator Damon Lindelof, Entertainment Weekly’s Jeff “Doc” Jensen, bloggers DocArzt and JOpinionated and, yes, both myself and my esteemed former colleague Liz Kelly — responded. And I’d love for you to do the same, by posting a comment after you read the feedback below.
It only seems fair to let Lindelof weigh in first, since he co-created the show and all. Here’s what he had to say:
“Carlton [Cuse] and I have already gone on record and said that the credits would have basically rolled over black as opposed to those images of the fuselage and the gently lapping waves. I think that image system created a lot of unnecessary agita, not just for us but for the fans of the show. And it was not our intention.
To say that we would change anything else, you know — it sounds obnoxious to say we wouldn’t change a thing, but the fact of the matter is we had many opportunities [to change things] not just in the shooting but in the editing and in the finalizing of the finale itself. That piece of material was at the most sort of cynical projections, three years in the making, though we would argue it was longer.
To say we would have done things differently in hindsight is disingenuous. I can’t speak for him, by the way. Carlton might have an entirely different set of opinions. I actually loved doing interviews with him while we were on the show together because we have slightly different feeling about the run of the show and all that stuff, I think it’s great that we’re now free to comment on it as individuals, as opposed to the fabricated construct of Darlton.”
“Two things: A few additional cryptic comments from Eloise Hawking, to nourish additional theorizing about her motives and time cop function. Also, the light at the end could have been brighter.”
“I loved the ‘Lost’ finale, and thought it was near-perfect. However, if there’s one thing I could change about it, it would be that Sayid’s constant in the sideways world would be Nadia, and not Shannon. We watched him chase Nadia for six seasons, he’d known her since childhood, he’d been searching for her for eight years, and he was married to her for nine months. He was with Shannon for two weeks, and they were two miserable weeks where Boone died, she fell apart and tried to kill Charlie, and then she was murdered. Not exactly a blissful moment in Sayid’s life.
“When Sayid was reunited with Nadia when he became one of the Oceanic 6, that kiss he gave her outside the press conference is one of the best moments of the series. She’d come back from the dead in a way, because Sayid believed he’d never see her again. They got married, and her death is what sent him on a murderous rampage. So to suggest that after death, his only way to move forward into the afterlife was to be with... SHANNON... just seemed like a cheat. ‘Lost’ fans can explain it away (even I tried to in my book), and I’ve had a lot of people try to convince me why she worked -- Nadia reminded him of the killer and torturer he used to be; Shannon was someone who loved him for who he was, yadda yadda -- but in the end, I just can’t buy it. It was a bid to bring Maggie Grace back onto the show for a cameo, and it felt cheap. I wish Sayid had crossed over with Nadia, his one true love.”
“There is only one change I would make to the ‘Lost’ series finale, and that would be to replace Shannon with Nadia in Sayid’s flash sideways. My interpretation is that Sayid felt he didn’t deserve Nadia after his actions both on and off the island, and that Shannon understood and accepted him during their brief, ill-fated relationship. Yet in spite of the fact that “the most important time of their lives was the time they spent together” on the island, there is no question that Nadia was Sayid’s soul mate and love of his life; Shannon was a substitute and second choice. Some have argued that Nadia wasn’t in the church because she was never on the island, but neither was Penny, and she was present in ‘The End’ with Desmond.
To be honest, I still absolutely love the finale and flash sideways resolution, despite the Nadia exclusion. As someone who was deeply invested in the characters and the mythology for six years, I continue to find the conclusion of the series to be entirely satisfying and rewarding.”
“If I were to change one thing it would have been the tone of the finale. Less sentimentality, and more of a focus on the mysterious and mind-bending aspects of the show. I would have preferred it end as a conundrum, a la the finale of the original ‘The Prisoner,’ rather than the semi-closure of ‘M*A*S*H,’ or even ‘Six Feet Under.’”
Remember Stuart Kiczek, the Hurley doppelganger and “Lost” super fan profiled in our “Lost” Profiles in Fandom series? He’s the one guy who opted to answer “What would you change?” with “Nothing.”
“I had to think really long and hard about this and rewatch and reconsider your question as if this were my one opportunity to call out the show on some sort of disappointment I had to endure, but every time I rewatch the ending it improves my whole perspective on the show and I couldn’t ask for anything other than that for it to just seemingly get better. I honestly wouldn’t change a thing, even though that seems like some sort of cop-out that I have nothing to complain about.
If ‘Lost’ taught me anything about life it was to take the good with the bad and I think everything that happened on that show had to happen that way in order to get it where it needed to be.”
And now, let’s consult the two knuckleheads who devoted themselves to four years of dueling analyses of “Lost”: Liz Kelly and me.
Liz, formerly of this here blog and now with Pop2It, wouldn’t change anything about the finale, because she’d have to rebuild all of season five first:
“Well, to be honest — I wouldn’t change the finale. It would be futile without first a. retooling the entire final season to get rid of the superfluous (Dogen, Lennon and the temple), b. More clearly explaining the island mythology without resorting to “Indiana Jones”-esque sets and c. demoting Desmond’s story.
But, that said, I really disliked the fact that the ending was basically a ‘we’re all going to heaven’ moment. It was the easy way out. I’m not saying I have the perfect script written, but I wish the payoff had been more sci-fi than spiritual.
Also, to be nit-picky: If the significance of the gathering in the church was to let us know all the characters were dead and now ready to move on to the next level of the afterlife, where were Miles and Frank and Eko and Ana Lucia and — most important of all — Nikki and Paolo?”
So what’s the one thing I, Jen Chaney, would change about the final series?
From an emotional standpoint, I would not change anything. Unlike Liz, I don’t have a problem with the heaven element. In fact, I still think the last five minutes of the finale — the way it was shot to mirror the first few minutes of the pilot, Michael Giacchino’s score, the unabashed, grand sentimentality of it — was just beautiful television.
That said, I think the finale needed a dose of Dharma Initiative. Maybe this is just a different way of saying what DocArzt and Liz already noted, but so much of season five and the finale focused on the island mythology in terms of the temple and Jacob vs. MIB and that golden pool of light that Jack had to take care of in order to finally, truly, be the hero.
As a result, there was an absence of tie-ins back to the Dharma mythology that was such as major focus of seasons two through five. I am not sure how the writers could have incorporated that additional element of additional island history into the final episode — maybe when Jack descended into that pool of light, we could have realized that other Dharma-ites had made the same attempt and failed? I don’t know.
Ultimately, we did get a Dharma moment in the epilogue that appeared on the season six DVD. If at least the initial part of this coda — the portion where Ben lays off some leftover Dharma employees — had played right after “The End” credits rolled, I suspect the post-finale outcry from the “you didn't answer our questions!” crowd would have been far quieter.
Now it’s your turn: What one thing would you change about the “Lost” finale?