I am not sure who to blame. Is it the writers or ABC? I am sure that I carry some of the blame as well since I was a participant. Either way, that was six years of my life that is gone into the abyss of purgatory. I am trying to keep an open mind here, but I have to say that I feel not unlike I did at the end of the Matrix.

I was duped. If you are honest with yourself, you will admit that you were too. Duped in what way? Duped into believing that the writers knew what they were doing. Duped into thinking that they were less confused than we were. I said at one time to my sister, “This is either going to be the greatest series ever created, or the absolute worst.”

No, its not about whether or not LOST had anti-Christian themes. Don’t go there with your conspiracy theories. I don’t care if it had symbols of New Age, Universalism, Hinduism, Catholicism, or even Evangelical Christianity. To be truthful, I don’t really any longer think that the writers were that smart. No, the truth is far more sinister.

You see, lost was built upon an arc. An arc is a thematic venture which leads to a certain conclusion and climax. It’s an “arc” that ties everything together. Some TV shows play it safe and have arcs built into each episode and conclude the episode with a resolution. That way the episode stands alone and you can judge the success of the show on a one by one basis. Others take risks and have the entire season as the arc. This is more risky since viewers cannot pick up in the middle of the show and know what is going on. The entire season is dependent on the individual episodes. The success of this type of show hinges on how the arc resolves itself in the season finale. Could be good. Could be bad. The series 24 is a good example here. LOST however was different. They attempted to do what very few shows have ever done. They made the arc run the entire six seasons. Not only would you be lost if you watched only one episode, you would be lost if you watched only one season out of order!

This is what made LOST special. Not only did it have some of the greatest character development of all-time, but it was built on one of the most intriguing arcs ever conceived. Creative, out-of-the-box, imaginative, addictive, and out of this world captivation are all good ways to describe my thoughts about the show until last night’s series finale. Although every viewer was completely confused for six years, this did not matter. The confusion only added to the intrigue. We all trusted that the series finale would give us all the answers. We trusted that they knew what they were doing.

I was not sure what to expect, but the last few episodes made everything look promising. Good, evil. Light, darkness. Heaven, hell. Theism, pantheism. Love, hate, relationships. Present, past, future. Time warps. Dimensional breaches. Fall, redemption. Up to this point, LOST had it all.

Escalation after escalation only handed us more hope. Confusion became our friend as we would discuss so many questions: why does Hurley see dead people? Why did Locke feel connected to the island? What was the Dharma Initiative? Why did Juliet say “It worked”? Who were the “others” and how did they get there? Why couldn’t they have babies on the Island? Why did the “wheel” send the people back in time and change the location of the island? Why was “Eyeliner” given eternal life? How did Whitmore always find the Island? Why was Michael’s spirit stuck on the Island? How was Christian Shepherd back alive? Why was the smoke monster a smoke monster? And a thousand other questions. But most importantly, what was the island? We were all lost and we loved it.

We worked under the valid assumption that all of these questions had answers. Of course, this does not mean that we will like the answers, but it was the risk we were willing to take. Whether it be aliens, God, the lost city of Atlantis, heaven, purgatory, hell, or even all a dream, we did not care. We just wanted answers. That is why we watched the show. And we were trusting enough to wait six years to be satisfied.

But such was not the case. At the conclusion of last night’s episode the horrible reality surfaced. That which we all fear in places we don’t like to go became a reality: The writers did not know the answers either.

Oh, and don’t you try to spin this. Don’t you dare. I have already heard it from dozens of well-meaning naive people. I have already seen people try to redeem the finale and make it out to be some sort of martyr. I know your time is precious to you and I know your hopes for something better will drive your conclusion. But I will not allow you to go there. For your own sake, don’t go there. Don’t say that it was a brilliant “open ended” finale. Don’t say, “Well, they are just allowing us to fill in the blanks” as if that is something that satisfies. My questions are not quenched with my own imagination. If they were, I would have stopped watching in season 1 and filled in the blanks. Oh no. We are not letting ABC and the writers of LOST off the hook for the greatest entertainment swindle since The Matrix. The “brilliant-fill-in-the-blank card” is a terrible way to cope. The first step to recovery is to admit the problem. The second step is to file a class action law suit against the writers (for incompetence), then ABC (for not properly interrogating the writers end game).

The arc we thought was there was an illusion. This series took a risk. It was only as good as the resolution and there was none. The writers did not know what they were doing. Hence concluded the greatest hoax in American television history. Hence the realization that the writers of LOST were just as lost as all of us.

I don’t think that there is any better conclusion than that of the person who played Charles Whitmore on Jimmy Kimmel last night when asked about the disposition of his character. Kimmel asked, “Were you good or evil.” Whitmore responded, “I don’t know. I never figured that out myself.” We are with you Whitmore. But at least you got paid.

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Find him everywhere: Find him everywhere

    77 replies to "LOST: The Greatest Hoax in American Television History"

    • Timothy Dalrymple

      Wow. A pretty hard-hitting assessment. But I can’t help thinking you’re right. If the writers could have, they would have wrapped it up in a way that makes sense.

      Speaking as a writer (of fiction), I can say that sometimes you set off on an adventure with just a hunch of how things will work out. Sometimes they do work out, and something there really is no sensible way of tying the various strands together. My suspicion is that the writers set off with grand ambitions and a vague sense of how it would work out, but it simply did not work out. When you’re writing a story you have not yet sold, that’s forgivable. But when you’re talking about a story you’ve already sold for many millions of dollars, and you’ve put millions of viewers on the hook with you, it is really not right.

      I will always appreciate LOST for the artistry of the early episodes, with the flashbacks and how well their pasts tied together with their presents. And there were certain stories-within-the-story that found some resolution. But yes, the “metanarrative” had no real resolution. It would be possible, as you say, to “spin” this as a typically postmodern suspicion of metanarratives. But if the writers could have produced a truly satisfying end, they would have. You can bet on it.

    • Casey

      I disagree… It did make sense of the show and complete the arc, finishing off the purgatory-like main storyline of the characters being stuck in a sort of limbo. Remember season one:

      Christian Shepard: “You know why they call Australia down under, don’t you? Because it’s as close as you can get to hell without being burned.”

      The whole cork in the bottle top of hell, saving earth, was a great resolution to the story I thought. Might have been better if they just ended it there.

    • Vance

      Agreed in almost every respect. But I figured out they were flying by the seat of their pants before this last season even started, then had it confirmed with all of the interviews and podcasts they did.

      It is not that I need meticulous answers to all the questions, but they left too many of the BASIC concepts of the who, what, when, where and why still unanswered. Even more egregious, they told the entire story in a disjointed and scatterbrained manner that left plotlines dangling all over the place.

      And I agree, the whole “viewers will interpret it as they will” is a HUGE cop-out for simply not having a solid answer.

      I am still trying to decide whether it was better or worse than the BSG finale in that regard.

    • Josh H.

      Correction: It’s Charlies WIDmore.

      Talk about conspiracy theories! I don’t think the writers were trying to dupe us. Nor do I feel duped. The finale has left me pondering if I’m making a difference in light of the finality of death. Am I, as a Christian, making every moment or count or am I simply surviving? I’d say it had a positive impact on me.

      Complaints like yours come from a misunderstanding of what the show was trying to say. And I admit, I didn’t know until this season that the message of this show was “bigger” than the Dharma Initiative or how Widmore finds the island. I mean, no one ever watches Star Wars and at the end exclaims “So what is the FORCE? And I can’t believe they didn’t tell us Yoda’s back story!” The point of Star Wars is the rise, fall, and redemption of Anakin Skywalker. By the same token LOST is about the rise, fall, and redemption of Jack Shepherd (and the other survivors, but Jack most specifically). It’s about having a life of purpose. It’s about…well, it’s about human relationships being forged and enduring ridiculously bad circumstances. It’s not about the Dharma Initiative, it’s not about the four-toed statue…it’s not even about Jacob!

      By the time the Across the Sea episode had aired I had only a handful of questions left. I felt they had at least given an answer to everything even if the answer to some of the questions was “that’s just the way it is.”

      You can say you liked it or that you hated it. But don’t fell duped. I believe the creators did know the end from the beginning and that they told the story they set out to tell.

    • […] Michael Patton, “Lost: The Greatest Hoax in American Television History” (Parchment and … […]

    • Ty

      The only question they answered last night was “what are the flash-sideways?” None of the other questions were answered. You still don’t know what the island is, why their lives are all interconnected (remember that Locke had worked at a box company that Hurley had purchased with his lottery winnings, this came out in season 1), etc.

      I am choosing to believe that when Desmond pulled the plug, that made the “real” universe fade away and the side universe became reality.

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      “At the conclusion of last night’s episode the horrible reality surfaced. That which we all fear in places we don’t like to go became a reality: The writers did not know the answers either.

      I don’t know if you were trying to be funny when you wrote that, but I had to laugh.

      It reminded me of one logical conclusion/implication of Arminian Libertarian Free Will: Open Theism.

      P.S. Never watched one episode of Lost. Would’ve watched it; didn’t make the time.

      Have watched all seasons of “24”. The last season is really, really bad. The new liberal writers of “24” have just totally mangled and mucked everything up. Kiefer Sutherland should be disgusted.

    • GoldCityDance

      Why does Hurley see dead people?
      Because that’s the gift he was born with, but people thought he was mentally crazy. Similarly, Miles’ gift is the ability to listen to dead people and Desmond’s gift is the power to withstand extreme electromagnetism.

      Why did Locke feel connected to the island?
      Faith (the blind kind, sort of), caused by his spiritual experience on the Island, e.g. he was healed the moment he crashed on the Island! Locke told Jack in Season 2 that believing “was never easy”.

      What was the Dharma Initiative?

      Why did Juliet say “It worked”?
      It worked because the nuclear bomb detonation brought everyone back to the present and stopped the crazy time travelling.

      Who were the “others” and how did they get there?
      The “Others” are Jacob’s people to help protect the Island. Their immediate supervisors were Richard and Ben. Jacob told Richard that he brought many people to the Island. It was quite clear Jacob kept bringing people to the Island to prove the MIB wrong about that man cannot be redeemed.

      Why couldn’t they have babies on the Island?
      This one wasn’t answered. It may have something to do with Jacob’s “rules”.

      Why did the “wheel” send the people back in time and change the location of the island?
      In episode 15, MIB told his mum that he and some “smart men” figured out a way to leave the Island using the “light” of the Island. It seemed like they were planning to construct the “wheel” but was killed by MIB’s mum before they could build it.

      Why was ”Eyeliner” given eternal life?
      Because he asked Jacob for it! (Watch episode 9) The protector of the Island can impart immortality to people.

      How did Whitmore always find the Island?
      Same way Jack, Kate, Sun and others found the Island. Eloise. It’s most likely she used the Dharma facility under the church (Lamppost Station) to…

    • GoldCityDance

      Why was Michael’s spirit stuck on the Island?
      Michael’s spirit told Hugo that he and other spirits “can’t move on” because of what they did (Watch episode 12).

      How was Christian Shepherd back alive?
      In the church scene, Christian said he died. He died in Australia and never ever came back to life. The MIB admitted to Jack he showed up as Christian Shepherd. In other instances (e.g. when Jack saw Christian in L.A.), it was the spirit of Christian Shepherd.

      Why was the smoke monster a smoke monster?
      I think the answer has something to do with why Jack never became the Smoke Monster even though he went into the hole in the cave. Jack was released from the cave like MIB, but Jack did not turn into the Smoke Monster and no Smoke Monster came out of the cave. What is the fundamental difference between Jack and the MIB?

      But most importantly, what was the island?
      No complete answer for this one, but we do know the Island has a cork in its heart that is protecting the evil/malevolence from coming out.

    • Derek

      C Michael Patton

      The show’s writers would definitely say that you don’t get it.


      Jack Shepherd always wanted the answers too. Only at the end did he really get it – it’s not about getting the answers to all the questions. You find meaning and salvation in a progressive manner (truth is not some finite, concrete thing) and never from a centralized person or location. You learn truth from the aggregated parts of the community. You learn it by being part of the community. He learned to embrace mystery and the little “t” truths instead of seeking a capital “T” truth. Only when he understood this was he able to evolve from a frustrated truth seeker to a peaceful man who discovered the Christ within.

      When you see the arc from this perspective, you can see that the various symbols shown in the church at the end were not a goofy add-on – they were an important key to the larger puzzle. So stop trying to look for the Truth. Start seeing the truth within you. The meaning and purpose you seek can be found from the community around you, whatever community that happens to be.

    • Rey Reynoso

      Bah, it was a great ending and there was a resolution to the main point of the Island and even answers to the questions. People who wanted an explanation of how the man in black is a smoke monster or if Romus and Remulus’ mother was a wolf or a smoke monster herself are missing the point of watching a story unfold. And Jacob’s explanation of what the Island was couldn’t be clearer: it was the stopper that kept the bad stuff from spewing out.

      I put a review up on my personal site.

      I loved it.


    • GoldCityDance

      How did Whitmore always find the Island?
      Same way Jack, Kate, Sun and others found the Island when they wanted to go back: Eloise Hawking. It’s most likely she used the Dharma facility under the church (Lamppost Station) to help Widmore find the Island. She IS Widmore’s wife, you know!

    • Rey Reynoso

      Whenever I post on Reclaiming the Mind, my posts disappear.

    • […] here’s Michael Patton thinking he didn’t get any answers. People, why do you need a better explanation than Jacob’s when finding out what the Island […]

    • Casey

      “Why was the smoke monster a smoke monster?”

      If the Island really is like a cork, or like a gate of hell, it makes sense that the creature that comes out of the flames would be in the form of smoke. Some devil-like creature was chained in the pit of evil and the Island/gate/cork sealed it. Within the cave there was water representative of the ocean with a cork in it… pulling the cork in the cave out is representative of destroying the Island. Opening the gate of hell. When the man in black went down there he must have opened it just a crack so that while the flames of evil couldnt’ fully escape, some of its smoke did. The smoke monster needs the cork/island fully destroyed so that he/evil can fully escape. It seems that might make sense of why it is smoke.

    • Jeremy

      Sorry Michael, but I LOVED this ending and think the entire show is brilliant! Who cares if they answered everything, it was emotional and great story telling.

    • Casey

      Whoops, I said, “When the man in black went down there he must have opened it just a crack” but I forgot he was thrown in, apparently dead.

    • EricW

      I have never watched an episode of Lost. (Nor of American Idol or Dancing With the Stars or 24 or a whole host of shows that are apparently on TV.) I don’t even know what those shows are about.

      But from what you write, it sounds like they did to the viewers of Lost what David Lynch did to the viewers with his final episode of Twin Peaks. Only Lynch intentionally did it in a fit of pique, whereas it sounds like the Lost producers/writers were apparently in so far over their heads (i.e., “lost”) that they couldn’t wrap it all up nicely.

      What Lynch did was evil, though. 😀

    • Nathan J. Norman

      I stopped watching LOST after season 1. I told my friends it was because the writers had no clue where they were going. Of course I got abused for my thoughts, but as a writer here’s what was wrong with the arc:

      1. You have to reward your audience – that means that good writers will answer the audience’s questions while simultaneously drawing out new ones.
      2. You have to make your story accessible – that means that every episode of LOST should have had an ‘A’ story that was concluded by the end of the episode, and a ‘B’ story that served to further the massive story-arc along.

      A great example of this was the sci-fi show BABYLON 5 which concluded its five year story arcs with very satisfying results.

    • Truth Unites... and Divides

      LOST: The Greatest Hoax in American Television History

      Thank God, Christianity is not a hoax, despite the persistent attempts by Ken Pulliam, Edward T. Babinski, and other “new” atheists to proclaim it so.

      But in a very real sense, I do appreciate this aspect of it: Either genuine Christians are deluded OR the non-Christians are deluded. The point is… one group or the other is deluded, laboring under delusions, and seeking to delude others through evangelism.

      Christians are saying that non-Christians are being deluded by Satan. Non-Christians are saying that Christians are deluded for believing in God, or for believing in the Christian God.

      Me? I’m a Christian. I think Satan is foisting a terrible hoax on folks and they will, sadly and unfortunately, reap the eternal consequences of such a hoax.

      “Don’t say that it was a brilliant “open ended” finale.”

      “Open-ended”. Much like the “Open-Ended” LFW God of Open Theism.

    • ScottL

      Here is a good article about LOST.

    • Deacon Godsey

      Okay…I realize I’m definitely in the minority here, but I actually liked the final season & the finale itself. (My wife, on the other hand, falls in the “I just wasted the last six years of my life!” camp.)

      I was fully satisfied with the Sixth-Sense-like ending, realizing that everything that happened in Seasons 1-5 and on the island itself was real (i.e. actually happened), and that Season 6 seemed like it could be going in one direction (i.e. the sideways reality that could have happened if they’d never gone to the island in the first place) but ended in another (they were all dead and somehow working their way back to each other – the most meaningful, valuable relationships of their broken “lost” lives.)

      Yes, there were questions I would liked to have been answered, but that’s the way LIFE is. Not everything is tied up in a nice, neat, fully-explained package. Not every question gets answered. Not every mystery gets solved. If that’s the case in life, why not in a fictional story ABOUT life?

      I thought a lot of answers were given, just not some of the ones people wanted, which is fine with me. Another reality of life is that we don’t get to decide which questions will be answered to our satisfaction, or which mysteries will be fully revealed and put our minds at ease. Some things just don’t get “resolved.” Like this parag…


      I thought the poetic/visual symbolism involved in the final episode – with all the connections to the original and other past episodes – were great (but, to be honest, I thought all the foreshadowing in the Star Wars prequels were incredibly cool too. I just dig that kind of stuff, so…there you have it.)

      I think it’s possible that many people had unrealistic expectations for the ending, thus dooming them to be dissatisfied with it. Nothing puts a downer on things like tightly-held expectations that go unrealized or unmet.

      In the end, it’s a TV show, so I’m good.

      Now to see how 24 goes…

    • Scott F

      I haven’t watched LOST either but could tell from the discussions on the Blogosphere that the series was building to a point where its producers would never be able to deliver. I have read too many books and seen too many movies that dabbled in alt-reality and time-travel but could not pull it together. Harry Potter? The Golden Compass? Lots of promise and a splat at the end.

      Michael, I am glad you pulled the Matrix into the discussion. I haven’t seen that one either but it struck me that all the sophomoric sprinkling of philosophy and dorm-room posturing provided a thin veneer over what was ultimately a big-budget action movie. The same applies to LOST. Just because you use biblical names and throw in some religious symbols does not make you a theologian. From the internet chatter you would think this was Pilgrim’s Progress and The Foundation rolled into one. In reality it was a soap opera that allowed it’s audience to believe that they were indulging in an intellectual exercise. All these people can go on about a deeply spiritual message at the end but they will have to admit eventually that they watched because they were titillated by the Dharma Institite, the MiB, etc.

    • Geoff

      Mr Patton.

      Recently the Writers (affectionately known as “darlton”) talked about “mystery”. They suggested the best mystery NEVER gives all the answers. They also said in their podcasts of the last few episodes that they had NO INTENTION of answering all the questions.

      All they intended to do is answer a few things, and resolve the character arcs as best they can, and finish the series to their OWN satisfaction. I suspect you may have been deluded into thinking they were writing it for you.

      To the guy above me.. it must be wonderful to have the devil to blame for everything.. I think you are what I call “a deluded christian” – one who thinks that the devil causes all the evil in the world, and forgets that human beings are responsible for their own “delusion”. We dont deserve death because of anything Satan did.. we deserve it because WE.. US.. are perverse, and foist terrible hoaxes upon ourselves, in an attempt to avoid reality.
      Stop blaming satan and put the blame where God does, on humanity.

    • Eric S. Mueller

      I never watched LOST. Judging by the reactions I’ve seen on blogs, FaceBook, and Twitter, I can’t tell if that’s good or not.

      That type of storytelling seems to be the standard now. I’m enjoying Flash Forward. I watched the first couple of episodes to make my wife happy, but I got sucked in. And of course, the entire season is based on an arc leading to a conclusion. I’m sure we’ll see more shows of that type to come.

    • Scott F

      “I know your time is precious to you and I know your hopes for something better will drive your conclusion.”

      We atheists are not going to stand still while to mock our arguments this way! Expect a call from our lawyer!!


    • teleologist

      Thank you Michael for this post, you’ve saved me the effort of venting. You’ve expressed my sentiment about the series exactly. I was so disappointed with Denny Burk’s review of the show I wouldn’t even waste my time with a response. But then again I dropped out after the 2nd season, I thought it was being nonsensically mysterious. I got back to the show after learning this would be the final season and hope to get some answers. I think the writers dug themselves into holes that they can’t get out of because they were dragging the show on needlessly.

      One point I would add to your list is that the light/island created that smoke thing, why? Why didn’t it also turn others into a smoke thing, maybe a white smoke to duel the black smoke? This is one of the worst series I’ve ever seen right up there with Battlestar Galactica.

      Now is there anyone as engross as I am with Flashforward (the secular version of prophetic visions) and Fringe?

    • Leslie

      It is reassuring to hear someone else voice the same frustrations that I had with the finale, especially since the circle of friends with whom I usually discuss LOST thought it was a great (or at least good) ending. I find it reassuring that not only do many people on this blog share my general opinion that the writers had an artistic responsibility to bring about some closure, but that someone else even compared the LOST finale to what David Lynch did on Twin Peaks. I made this very same comparison just a few hours ago on my blog. (I’m not sure I’m allowed to link to my blog, so I’ll refrain for now).

    • teleologist

      Why did Juliet say “It worked”?
      It worked because the nuclear bomb detonation brought everyone back to the present and stopped the crazy time travelling.

      I don’t think so. Faraday and Desmond were the only one’s that were shifting through time, but Faraday was dead already. Beside the purpose of the bomb was suppose to prevent the plane from crashing and the survivors would never have been on the island. It worked because that is exactly what happened but instead they created this parallel existence that was never explained.

      Who were the “others” and how did they get there?
      The “Others” are Jacob’s people to help protect the Island.

      How did Jacob get off the island? When Jacob is off the island does the smoke know and could he destroy the island? If the smoke can’t destroy the island when Jacob is not there to protect it why does anyone need to be on the island? The story is so twisted it makes no sense.

    • Cadis

      I passed on Lost. I watched one of the first few episodes and just never got into it.

      Even still Michael, maybe you just need to learn to hold these things in tension, learn to deal with your unanswered questions and doubts . :P.

    • Cadis

      You could write a five part series (or a six year series) on dealing with doubt and unanswered Lost questions!

    • David

      OK, so…LOST was way over CMP’s head…good to know. I’ll keep that in mind while reading future postings.

    • Ed Kratz

      Hey Michael, you might want to create a ‘Deception’ category for this one 😉

    • GoldCityDance


      As for Smokey destroying the Island, I don’t think he knew how to destroy the Island. His goal all along was just to leave the Island and for that to happen, he knew he has to kill the protector (Jacob) and all potential candidates (according to rules set by Jacob it seems). The idea for destroying the Island only came up when his plan for killing all the candidates at once was foiled and when he realized what Desmond can potentially do (approach the source of the Island). Even sending Desmond down was a bet for Smokey as he admitted so to Jack. Neither of them did. It was speculative. Smokey figured if he can destroy the Island, he doesn’t need to worry about killing the new protector (Jack) and all of his candidates. The rules are “suspended” when the Island “dies”, and he can just leave the Island.

      Yes, Jacob left the Island for brief periods of time, probably primarily because he figured that: (i) Smokey had no clue how to destroy the Island and (ii) Smokey was too obsessed with finding THE loophole to kill Jacob to realize that destroying the Island is another shortcut. Jacob can’t leave the Island permanently because there is always a risk that: (i) Smokey will figure out the shortcut and find a way to destroy the Island, and (ii) other evil guys like Widmore will show up and harness the power of the Island for nefarious purposes.

    • Mystery Pie

      I have to agree with Michael. All of season 6 we heard how we were going to have all of our questions answered with the finale, which I seriously doubted, but was cool with. I didn’t need to have every single thing answered. But I feel too many loose ends were left dangling and questions unanswered or unresolved. I get that the main theme of LOST was the characters, their lives, interactions, relationships, tests, redemptions, etc. And surely that should have been the what the meat of the finale was about. But this show was also a sci-fi show, a fantasy drama. And this is where I feel that the writers/ABC dropped the ball. They pretty much ignored the whole mythology and mystery part of it. As I said, I didn’t expect to have every question answered, nor did I want them all answered, if I’m honest. But neither did I want to leave ALL of it up to my own imagination. I followed the show down its varied paths over 6 years and then it left me hanging and feeling unsatisfied. Bravo to you folks who are OK with that. I wanted more. I expected more.

      I don’t get what is with all the people commenting who never watched the show or stopped after season 1 or 2. You’re opinions are baseless and you are making judgments and comments without all the information and the benefit of watching the entire series. I don’t feel you are really qualified to offer up an opinion. Why are you? I’ve never watched 24 but can’t say I would ever go on a 24 board or blog and start throwing out opinions on the show. Makes no sense to me to do that when I wouldn’t have a clue what I was talking about. Sorry, I just find that annoying.

    • GoldCityDance


      Faraday and Desmond were NOT the only ones shifting through time. Remember the nuclear bomb detonation scene in the season 5 finale? Half of the gang (Miles, Sawyer, Juliet, Jin) had been stuck in the 1970s. The other half of the gang (Jack, Kate, Hurley) were transported to the 1970s when they came back to the Island. None of them belonged in the 1970s.

      You’re right, Jack’s original plan was for the bomb to reset everything so that the plane didn’t crash, but apparently Juliet’s intention was different. She wanted to be brought back to the present time and to…
      …save everyone’s lives. Remember the catastrophic electromagnetic energy being released by the drilling? Had they not detonate the nuclear bomb to neutralize the energy, there was a very real chance many of the castaways would have died.

      The bomb detonation did NOT create a parallel universe. For this entire season, most fans thought that’s what it did, but the error in this thinking was revealed as a big shocker in the last 10 minutes of the series finale last night. The detonation only brought the castaways back to present time. The “parallel universe” is actually purgatory or some spiritual plane of existence between this life and the afterlife.

    • Ian

      I don’t mind that all of the weirdness and mysteries were not solved. I can live with that. But Lost’s mythology was all based around one important question, the question that Charlie asked in the first episode: “Guys, where ARE we?” That was the important mystery for me and it was left unanswered. We still do not really know what the island is or what the source is or why they were worth protecting. I understand that not everything needs to be explained, but that really did in my opinion. I really should have seen this coming, though, with all of the dropped subplots (Walt anyone?) and contradictions. In the end, I was disappointed, but I’m realizing that something as convoluted as Lost could never have been wrapped up well.

    • John Bailey

      Excellent Review – the best I have read so far. I hope Entertainment Weekly prints it. And I agree with you; we were duped.

      What level of hell do you think ABC will land on for this deception?

    • Faris

      I think the season finale makes a good Epilogue but it doesn’t make a good final chapter.

    • […] one view.  Parchment and Pen offers another view.  An excerpt: We worked under the valid assumption that all of these questions had answers. Of […]

    • Michael T.

      At least the series finale of 24 was satisfying. It was a fitting send off.

    • aaron

      Michael T.

      Agreed. The 24 finale left me with a much more satisfied feeling. With LOST, I had that slight sense that the last 6 seasons were a waste. With the 24 finale, I remembered how much I loved and appreciated the earlier seasons (not so much 5 or 6, but you win some you lose some…)

    • teleologist

      I agree, the 24 finale is much better. I hate to see the series finally come to an end. Although the storyline is starting to become repetitive.

      However, I would like to see Suvarov dead and it would be nice to know for sure Kim and her family would be safe.

    • Rick

      “24” delivered.

    • ScottL

      CMP –

      I feel that you jumped the gun a little too soon with your review. I know in your comment #1 you say you were having some fun with the post. But I struggle with how critical you have been, as if you were trying to get your thoughts out as quickly as possible without fully thinking through all the implications of the series and the ending. Maybe I am wrong.

      Of course not all the questions were answered, not all the gaps were filled, not all loose ends were tied up, though there are enough LOST ‘junkies’ out there to give ten different plausible answers to the unanswered questions. But isn’t that how life is? Not every question being answered. There was this guy named Job that could help remind us of that. (And every other biblical character and individual throughout church history.)

      This is why I think the character of Jack Shepherd could teach us a lot. In the end he didn’t have all the answers to the questions, which would have eaten away at him in the first few seasons. But in the end he matured greatly and found resolve by ‘letting go’, as that was a major point. Therefore, viewing it through the lens of Jack, I can find satisfaction with the ending. It wasn’t perfect, but nonetheless it was good and brought resolve. I share more at my blog.

    • Joe Branca

      Ironically, I think one of the takeaway points of the finale was in reference to the audience: “It’s just a TV show. Remember the ups and downs. Then let go. Move on.”

      But really, here’s a take from an insider at Bad Robot, the show’s production company, which seems to pull all the strands together pretty well for me, and see how the ending had to be what it was. (Of course I appreciate it as a work of fiction, false gospel notions notwithstanding).


    • […] theology blogger C. Michael Patton, upon watching the grand finale to the Lost show: I was duped. If you are honest with yourself, you […]

    • J.R.

      Michael, if you understand the name of the show……..that should tell you everything.

    • Chris S

      Michael, I couldn’t agree more! Very little was answered by the finale. But was it a waste of my time? I don’t think so. It was entertaining and for that I’ll give the writers credit.

      I kept wondering how in the heck they were going to answer all the mysery in a final 2 1/2 hr episode. Now I know. They didn’t!

      Maybe the next time someone has the bright idea of this kind of series they will understand that the viewers want answers and give us what we want.

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