Why I actually liked the Lost finale

There are lots of ways to feel about a finale: pleased, peeved, betrayed, bemused. Charlie Jane Anders already gave us her perfectly valid, less-than-happy take on the Lost finale — but I kinda swung with it.

It's easy to ask a lot of a finale to a series you've stuck with for years. You want that time to have meant something, you want those endless hours of watching and debating and theorizing and cringing to pay off — to amount to something more than simply that time spent. Especially with a show like Lost, which had so much ephemera to collate, so many plots to follow, so many characters to attend to. You want it all to mean something.

Why I actually liked the Lost finale

The heresy, I suppose, of "The End" was that what it meant had little to do with that ephemera. Lost bait-and-switched us around a bit, imparting such a stentorian importance to the little things and then telling us that they didn't matter. I can see how that might inflame the carefully modulated entitlement node that modern genre audiences have. We didn't get what we wanted — or, closer to the point, what we've been told we should want. Which is a completely fair way to feel. "The End" resolved little, and what it did resolve, it did so in a kind of slapdash fashion (So, Jacob said that if Smokey left the Island, it'd be like a cork popping off all the evil and letting it slip into the world — but instead, there's an actual cork in the island. Um, okay.).

Why I actually liked the Lost finale

But where "The End" didn't provide the long-sought narrative resolution, it came through with an emotional resolution that, in the end, proved satisfying. To me, anyway. As with any narrative enterprise, what pulls you through are not the plot machinations or the devilishness of the twists: it's the characters. Long-form storytelling relies on the audience forming a bond with the people on the screen — the people we invite into our homes. And what you want out of an ending to that narrative enterprise is a resolution for those characters that makes you feel as if their journey has been worth following.

Do I have issues with some of the detours we've taken over the past six seasons, and the fact that so many nuggets of arcana that held such weight now feel like so much morning mist? Sure. Did I hope for more than a "Jack is the shephard gathering his flock on the Everlasting Ark" last stretch? Yeah. But I feel a sense of closure — and, at the end of the day, that's what I didn't know I wanted.

Plus, that last shot was rad.