So, I’m not going to go with that whole Spoiler warning thing and page jump. It’s the day after the Lost finale– you know what I’m talking about. Plus, in my experience it’s easy enough to scroll down to the next post without any great revelations being revealed. So, a few semi-random thoughts…
In the end, I think that Lost was definitely great entertainment, but definitely not great storytelling. I thoroughly enjoyed last night’s Finale and am generally satisfied with how the island world and the alternate LA ended up fitting together. I loved almost all the characters on the show, and I sure had a soft spot for Jack (going all the way back, of course to Matthew Fox as Charlie Salinger on Party of Five).
That said, I think there was a certain amount of narrative incoherence and plot shortcuts that weakened the overall impact. Prime example: Widmore, despite earlier going to great efforts to protect himself from Smokey/Locke, ends up basically putting himself right in his path and hiding in a closet before being killed. Now, if that had served some greater purpose for Widmore, it’s all good. But instead, it’s obviously a “what are we going to do a bout Widmore, anyway?” shortcut. Big Steve was optimistic that the writers would give this some meaning in the final episode, but, no, just sloppy writing.
Ultimately, what this comes down to, is that the writers were clearly just making up s**t as they went along, despite their protestations they had it all planned out. Thus, we ended up with a huge amount of red herrings, plot shortcuts, and a jigsaw puzzle of a plot that never did all quite fit together. Contrast this with the Harry Potter series, where JK Rowling quite clearly did have everything figured out in advance, and it all fits together brilliantly at the end. To be fair to Lost, that’s an unfairly high standard to live up to. Yet, at points the storytelling was so well done, that i couldn’t help but have the highest expectations.
Several moments/scenes in Lost where as good as anything I’ve seen on television. Most prominently for me: the opening to the Pilot, seeing John Locke push a way from the desk and being in a wheelchair, Charlie’s poignant death, and the amazing Flash Forward twist at the end of season 3. I wanted the whole series to live up that level of storytelling.
In the end, it didn’t, but what it did was most definitely keep me entertained. I’ve watched all 120 episodes of Lost, and I can honestly say that I was pretty much always entertained. No, this was not The Wire or the Sopranos, but in the end, this was an excellent show I’m very glad to have spent the last 6 years with.
UPDATE: Just read this brief take via Big Steve’s facebook page. I agree. Puts it much better and more concisely than I did.