“It’s very stressful being an Other, Jack.” — Juliet Burke, “The Other Woman”
Oh, Juliet. If you think being an Other is stressful, try being a member of the viewing audience. For six long seasons, we’ve laughed, cried, scratched our heads and been utterly, well, lost with “Lost.” But the long journey both the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 and we as an audience have endured will finally be over this Sunday, when the two and a half hour finale airs on ABC.
When “Lost” premiered in 2004, it earned a ratings record with 18.6 million viewers. It was also the most expensive television pilot ever made, which probably helped draw in many of those viewers. I was not one of them. I don’t remember the reason why I did not watch the pilot episode, but I heard so much about it the day after it aired and of the next two episodes, I decided to give it a go when ABC aired a mini-marathon a couple of weeks later.
I was hooked. Plane crashes, polar bears, underground hatches, a monster in the jungle, and a ragtag band of survivors who were all mysteriously connected lured me in and caught me hook, line and sinker. I had absolutely no idea what was going on. And I loved every minute of it. For the first season at least.
But serial programs take commitment. And with a plot with more twists and turns than a back mountain road, trying to keep up with “Lost” became something of a chore by the time season four rolled around. The writers’ strike didn’t help either and I think “Lost” lost a little bit of its magic after having such a long hiatus between seasons three and four. There came a point where there were just too many characters and two many subplots to keep up with. Thank goodness for the Internet and for fans more dedicated than I. Without them, I don’t know if I could have kept watching.
By season five, the show was really starting to drag. I almost gave up on it, but knowing that the show only had one season left made me keep watching. I had invested way too much time and brain power to give up so close to the end. And I’m glad I didn’t. Because the final season has been spectacular. It may be because we know it’s ending that we tune in eagerly every week now and secretly wish it wouldn’t end, despite the disappointment of earlier seasons.
And now, after six long years, “Lost” fans the world over will tune in this Sunday to see how it all ends — and hopefully get some answers in the process. The mysteries of the island were what kept many of us tuning in year after year, and many of those mysteries have been explained, or half-explained, this season. Of course, in those explanations, more questions are raised, but it wouldn’t be “Lost” otherwise.
There have been many, many blog posts this season listing all the unanswered questions that have yet to be answered, and while I have a few myself, I’ve resolved myself to not be disappointed in the ending. Not every question needs an answer. I don’t need to know what, exactly, the golden light at the heart of the island is. I can live without knowing why women can’t give birth on the island. I even don’t really know why the numbers are so important. I accept the fact that the island is a place where mysterious things happen. I accept the allegorical good vs. evil plot. I accept that many things won’t be explained.
I know that the final episode won’t please many of the hardcore fans because of all the questions it won’t answer. But personally, I’m not worried about that. The most I’m hoping for is a satisfying ending to a show that has left me lost and confused and loving almost every minute of it. I will be unplugging the telephone Sunday night so I can sit back and enjoy the final episode without interruption, hoping the creators of “Lost” end this phenomenon in a satisfying manner that doesn’t involve one of the characters waking up in bed at the end with Suzanne Pleshette.