From what we can tell, the criticisms on Lost run in three themes:
- Plot mysteries weren’t explained.
- Lost collapsed into a religious afterlife scenario.
- The Lost storyline was contradictory.
We are huge Lost fans. As such, we have no problem with mysteries not being explained. The point of the series was to deal with unknowns as they happened – and we loved it. Polar bears on tropical islands? Why not. So, we expected not to receive answers to some pressing mysteries including:
an explanation of Widmore and Eloise’s roles in the island and time travel narrative, what Jacob and (Man in Black) MiB were doing with their duel lists of candidates on the cave and lighthouse, what really happened in the incident, and what Desmond is up to. If these aren’t explained, I’ll be pissed, because the narrative has framed them as key enigmas that need answering to piece together the action. Jason Mittell – Antenna
Laying blame on the writers for the other two criticisms is more appropriate, in my view. George, being George, disagrees with me.
On Lost collapsing into a religious afterlife meme: Really? We can’t escape the religious afterlife scenario? Honestly. In the last ten minutes, Lost went from a refreshing storyline that looked positioned to avoid the parable of the Western afterlife to a lazy embrace of it. With the plot mechanisms focused around electromagnetism, time travel, and a multi-verse, we wouldn’t have thought it all turned out to be a Red Herring for a lazy, humanist all-religions-are-represented afterlife. For six years we appreciated the detail and rigor that went into the character development, and when it was all said and done, wanted a bit more from the writers on the storyline. Lost collapses into the standard Hollywood movie: Life may not make sense and it seems hectic and cruel, but don’t worry, the soothing afterlife of white light awaits just BEYOND. So we assume Aaron lived a full life and wanted to come back as a baby. We expected Lost to have a more sophisticated view on the human conscious.
On the Lost storyline possibly being contradictory: Two major problems that the last episode unraveled. 1) If no one besides Desmond could go into the cave without coming to harm, how did Jack survive and not become like the Man in Black? Jacob and Man in Black’s surrogate mother warned Jacob not to go into the well and that anyone who did would come to harm. The Man in Black was thrown in and became the Smoke Monster. If Desmond is immune, but Jack is not, how did Jack escape a fate similar to the Smoke Monster? 2) Why did Juliet say that the hydrogen bomb worked? It didn’t. Unless it set off purgatory, but Boon and Shannon were already dead when the bomb went off, so it seems more likely that they just found each other in purgatory. They could have avoided this by omitting the afterlife nonsense and just went with Juliet’s original statement.
***Thought I came up with after posting: Juliet could not have known the atom bomb started purgatory because she only became aware of purgatory after touching Sawyer and the Apollo bar. I really think the afterlife was a lazy cop out decided during writing Season 6.
George’s disagreements on the contradiction criticism: If you look back at Lost, the series itself is a contradictory, and that is why I love it. It frequently makes you believe one thing is true, then presents you with another explanation. We never really know more than the main cast of survivors, and we follow them on their voyage of discovery. They never said “If you go into the light you become the smoke monster.” They might have hinted at it, be we didn’t see the transformation process. Lost forces you to think, and make your own conclusions. It is different for everyone, and like the process of science, you have to examine the evidence before you to come to your conclusion. As for Juliet saying the bomb worked…is it not a possibility that she was referring to the happy afterlife thing? As far as I’m concerned, it was an ending, and a happy ending, which made me happy. So why not have the afterlife thing in a fantasy story like Lost? That being said, the afterlife? WTF, I want my money back.)