As we celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Lost, we remember the controversial series finale that people still argue about today. There are 4,938 questions showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse and the writing staff brilliantly left unanswered. Without trying to address each one, I’m here to take a stand on why the series finale kicked ass, with a little help from cast members Michael Emerson (Ben Linus), Yunjim Kim (Sun-Hwa Kwon), and Ken Leung (Miles Straume). Don’t agree? I dare you to rewatch that final episode and refrain from crying all over again.
I was a late bloomer hopping on the Lost train, having just finished the series in its entirety this summer. But with the show fresh on the brain, I have to admit, I couldn’t have asked for a better ending. The greatest reason being, I didn’t truly realize everyone was in some sort of after life until the very moment Jack (Matthew Fox) opened the coffin and saw that his father wasn’t there. At that moment, it all came together for me. Many people were upset with the fact that the hero, and everyone else for that matter, didn’t get their “happy ending.” But in a way, it was their happy ending — just not the one fans wanted. Each person was finally able to find and be with their soul’s true counterpart, redeem any sins they may have committed during their time on Earth, and accept moving forward to the next phase. Just because they weren’t still alive, doesn’t mean they couldn’t have their happily ever after.
I still go back and forth wondering if this was really purgatory. If it was, were they in it the moment Flight 815 crashed in the pilot episode? Did any of the flash forwards actually happen? I like that the writers pulled a fast one on us by having everyone dead in the “sideways” universe, without viewers realizing what had happened until the end. It was, to me, completely unexpected. And I enjoyed being tricked. Kim says the cast felt the same way: “We had many, many discussions on set, but the mutual reaction was: ‘How the hell did Damon and Carlton pull this off?!’”
What I’ve also come to terms with while trying to dissect every angle of the series’ plot, is to oddly enough, not look too much into things. The main quest was for every character to find their true peace, redeem themselves, and move on, regardless of the Island’s black smoke and DHARMA hatches. Since they were able to do this as the story closed, I felt satisfied. “Ambiguity defined our show, and if the finale was all about answering the ‘big’ questions, it would’ve been wrong in so many ways,” Kim added. Emerson has a more pointed response for fans who followed the series, but disliked the final episode:
I have to say for those people who complain about the finale: Look at the job that those writers had. On a show like 24 or even Breaking Bad, you have a linear narrative. Lost was exploding in all directions. The only way to find an end point is to bring it all back to the center or beginning which is what I thought they did. I didn’t care that much whether people were especially happy with it. It would have been a hard show to wrap up to the pleasure of everyone, but I am surprised how many people who profess to be passionate followers of the show to say, “Well I like all 109 episodes except the last one.” Are you kidding me? What kind of demonstration of loyalty is that?
Next: But what about the cast? See what some of your favorite Lost actors thought about the series finale.