Regardless of how well you do or do not understand what is going on while watching Lost – the Season 3 finale should have flipped you out. And if you are a Lost Theorist, it should have taught you to never write your theories in ink. I'm not sure "game changer" is a strong enough definition for what was dropped upon us in "Through the Looking Glass." Lost has never really followed the proverbial television rulebook as it is, but making the Jack-centric flashes scenes from the future, rather than from the past, broke some kind of Lost rulebook. So maybe the real lesson learned is that the Lost universe, as conjured up by Lost Labs, has no rules. At least, none that are restricted from eventually being broken.
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Rather than "game changer," show runners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse should have called it the "rule breaker." In fact, it was such a big rule breaker that they issued a moratorium against talking about the Lost Season 3 finale for months after the finale aired. It was like they knew that it would take the Lost fans that long to fully appreciate the mind-bending possibilities that one little decision – to press "FF" rather than "REW" on a character's lifestory (can't call it "backstory" anymore, can we?) – could have and most definitely will have on the series.
For me, a television show that is willing to take some risks and break some rules – even if it means possibly alienating a portion of its audience – is my kind of entertainment. A show that staunchly adheres to traditional (and safe) guidelines in the industry, or to its own "show bible," typically fades from my watch list within a season or two. It becomes too predictable – and with so many alternative entertainment sources available via the internet these days, predictability can be a show's death knell.
Lost was accused by some fans of shark-jumping because this twist was from so far out of the blue. So does that mean they were logically expecting the kidnapping of Walt by the Others at the end of Season 1? Or for Desmond to be living in the Hatch? As far out there as this notion of flash-forward storytelling seemed before it appeared on the screen, I believe in actuality it follows the most important rule of Lost – expect the unexpected.
- Amy J. Johnston, BuddyTV Features Writer
(Image © 2007 ABC)