How will Lost end? It’s the question that has most of Lost’s hardened core enlisted for the duration. However, is it a question we really want answered? What shape will the answer come in? What comes after Lost? In the grand scheme of television, Lost sits on a mantle that is host to similar paradigm shifts. There is a reason why nearly fifty years on, the most definable comparative is The Twilight Zone. In the interim, there are similar pleasant knots in the fabric of television entertainment: The Fugitive, The Prisoner, Twin Peaks, Nowhere Man, shows that mate high art with high concept and defy the cookie cutter mentality of the industries focus group-driven corporate culture.
Lost’s advantage when it comes to vying for a position in this stable of durable television legends is the fact that the creators have the opportunity to end the story on their own terms. Of course, ‘creators’ is a very loose term to use when it comes to Lost. Originally conceived as a high concept, this from that project, Lost has grown with every change to its creative hierarchy. Many of the people that were there in the beginning are either peripheral to the current upper echelon, or have moved on altogether. Yet, the story continues. Until 2010.
What will the end of Lost be. A slight wave of anxiety passed through the Lost fan community when producers spoke favorably of The Sopranos ending, but don’t worry. Both Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have guaranteed Lost won’t get a ‘blank screen’ ending.
It is very possible that Lost will end in a way that is unexpected even to viewers who have developed a sort of mental Novocain to the mystery’s twists and turns, adopting a new paradigm as part of the Lost experience, and just rolling with the plots punches.
From season to season, Lost has sought, at some level, to eradicate the mysteries of the previous season and introduce a new plateau upon which to debate the shows fundamental concepts of redemption, sacrifice, and the polarization of faith and reason. Fans may cling to the small mysteries the show carries, but on a very large level each new season has brought a new stage to play on,
The first season was very character-centric with small hints of what was to come such as the hatch and the presence of ‘the others,’ and of course the ‘monster.’ Season 2 dispensed the lore of the Dharma Initiative and began to build on the mystery of who ‘the others’ were, while dealing with the motivations of the Dharma people. Season 3 dealt with who the others were and begin to hint at the connections of the original people to the island.
While we have certainly learned some of the history of the island and the people on it, the one constant in the show is the concepts of human nature. These themes thread through every group, so far, and seem to be tied to the nature of the island in a way that has not been fully realized.
If it is true, that the themes of redemption, sacrifice, and the disparity of faith and reason are the heart of the show, it would seem logical to assume that Lost’s great final twist would be one that is some way dispenses with the hyperboles of plot found in the struggles between the others, and dharma, and the castaways, and those who have found their way to the island. If the show is truly about the human condition, its ending must neutralize, in a contained way, the frivolity of those adventures and leave us to focus and reflect, instead, on the personal dimensions of those journeys.
What shape that final strum of the stories’ string theory will manifest is difficult to imagine, but whether the story ends with the most satisfying level of closure, or with the most frustrating of absurdity, its place on the mantle is reserved with the distinction that it is one moment of legendary television that ended by its own will.
-Jon Lachonis, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of ABC)