The ending of Lost is still an incredibly divisive topic. Lost was probably lucky it finished in 2010 because social media hadn’t scaled the heights it is currently, otherwise the producers might have suffered a similar fate to BioWare who were hounded into changing Mass Effect’s ending. Yet, it’s still been eighty-four ye- sorry. It’s been just over eight years and still it’s something fans just can’t let go of.
Lost’s ending was so infuriating for many because it didn’t answer all of the questions that had arisen from the very beginning of the show. Lost was founded upon its love of mystery. Whether that was leaving certain elements ambiguous, or throwing utter smoke monsters of confusion at the audience, Lost just loved to keep people guessing. When the iconic show came to a close, everyone expected to get the answers but the show chose to keep fans wondering. It was a surprise. It was also the best decision.
The show had always wanted to cause debate more than it ever wanted to give insight. It wasn’t leading us to conclusions, but trying to get us to ask the right questions and allow us to draw the conclusions for ourselves. This is why there was such a running theme of the man of science (Jack) versus the man of faith (Locke). Desmond became a beautiful mix of both ideas as he experienced utterly fantastical events, which were all carefully determined by science (even if it was completely outrageous). The audience was asked to believe, but also to question. It openly encouraged us to ask how about everything we were shown, which is unusual when storytellers often to seek to make people believe wholeheartedly in the world they are given. Lost was confident enough to do that, because it had a different purpose than to solely tell a story.
The backlash though was swift and still continues to this day with fans now still complaining that it ended on such a note. They wanted answers – but more than that, they believed they deserved them for sticking with the show for six seasons. Was this the start of the culture of entitlement in fandom? Certainly, it was one of the most obvious cases in an era when fans were starting to become more and more connected with each other – and producers had few places to hide.
If shows go down a toxic route, then absolutely fans should call it out but when it’s something we simply don’t like in terms of content, then we don’t have any right to demand anything other than what we get. This is their creation, and not ours. We’re guests invited to enjoy the story and take from it what we will. The creators stayed true to what they had always done; led us to question. It was a beautiful ending, filled with love and unity and ultimately, peace for characters who had such a traumatic time. There was acceptance for them in not knowing, in not understanding even though all these absurd things had happened. They did this because they knew that their connection was more important than how they came to be connected. Christian Shepard said it best, that he brought Jack and his friends to that church for them all to let go. If only the fans had listened.