I began watching Lost as a joke. But let me flashback a little to my pre-Lost life. I was never able to keep up with Lost while it was on air. I would see an episode now and then and think to myself, “What is that dumb smoke monster? This show is dumb!” or “A polar bear on an island? This show is dumb!”. And just like that I created angst about Lost without ever truly watching the show.
And now for the confession, I started watching Lost years after everyone else and it took over my life. Literally. If you follow me on Twitter you’ve had to deal with my overwhelming amount of Lost tweets over the last few months. I would be out with friends wishing I was home watching Lost. Or I would skip out on a party to stay at home and watch Lost. When I said it took over my life, I meant it.
My journey began one fateful night when my brother and I were in one of our “let’s watch something silly and make fun of it” moods. So we downloaded the RiffTrax to the Lost pilot and did just that. However, after that episode finished we watched another, and another, and another (RiffTrax not included). But we continued to make fun of the show, for the most part. Before we knew it, we completed season 1 and immediately began season 2. By now, we couldn’t pretend we were watching it just to “make fun of the show”. So by season 3, I finally admitted to myself and the world (because I tweeted it) that I was a fan of Lost.
The reason it took me until season 3 to actually like Lost was because despite how many characters there were I disliked most of them. I’m used to falling head-over-heels in love with characters from my favorite shows and books, but Lost was a different story. I disliked more characters than I liked and that was a problem. But there was one character I loved through and through. The one character that made me spend my nights and weekends only watching Lost, and that character was The Island.
If it weren’t for the mystery of the island, I would have thrown in the towel seasons ago. That’s what kept me watching, not the characters, but the island. To my frustration, I couldn’t come up with any theories about the island because I didn’t know what kind of show it was. Was it science or spirituality? Fate or free will? But those frustrations were rooted in a love for the mystery.
Let’s flash-forward to “The End”. After a few short months of disowning my social life to watch Lost, I was closing in on the end of the series. And that’s when the anxiety starts to kick in and thoughts like, “What will I do after Lost?” flood my mind. I’m also bracing myself for a bad finale, because although I didn’t watch Lost while it was on the air, I remember everyone being angry about the ending.
So I watched the finale… And sat speechless on the couch for a while. Not because I was blown away. But because I didn’t know how I felt. The finale of a show that consumed my life for a few months just ended and I didn’t know how I felt. After a few moments I realized that I wasn’t angry about the finale, but it was underwhelming.
I explained to myself out loud what season 6 was to make sure I “got it”. Then I went on the internet and googled “Lost ending explained” to confirm that I “got it”, and I did. And after about an hour of thinking about it, the only way I could come to terms with liking Lost was by separating the island arc from the sideways purgatory timeline from season 6. So the Lost crew was fated to save and protect this special island? Okay cool. Then they created this purgatory world when they died so they could move on together because they were connected? Okay cool. But both ideas didn’t seem as cohesive as they should be.
If I view Lost as one complete story (which is how I should view it) I would probably be a little upset. But seen as two separate parts and ideas, I enjoyed them. Once I came to terms with that, I decided that I liked it. A lot.
I’m not going to sit here and analyze Lost or the finale because you’ve read it all before. I could complain about Lost not answering all the questions, but you’ve been doing that for years I’m sure. But I will say, my biggest complaint about the show is the same thing that made it great. Lost is too literary. You had to analyze the show like you would analyze a novel. If it were a novel, I wouldn’t be upset that they left so many questions unanswered. I would just come up with theories based on what I read, because that’s what you do with books.
Authors write every word with purpose. So when they leave something out, it’s on purpose. My issue with the show is, I don’t believe the Lost writers left everything out on purpose. Lost is not a book but you still have to analyze it like a book, which makes watching the show fun and exciting. But the not so exciting part is when you have to come up with your own theories for unanswered questions.
Perhaps if I spent several years of my life watching Lost and not three or four months, this post might have been very different. I did not enjoy a lot of the conclusions and answers, but I did enjoy my Lost experience. So I’ll focus on that. The biggest issue I have to face now is what to do now that I finished Lost?
PS- I still think the polar bears and smoke monster were kind of dumb.