Carlton Cuse on Lost finale: 'There was no possible way to answer questions’

Contributed by
Apr 22, 2014, 5:45 PM EDT (Updated)

We’ve already seen Lost producer Damon Lindelof try to explain the controversial finale, and now his partner in crime Carlton Cuse is stepping up to bat.

As part of a recent feature on finale episodes, Entertainment Weekly talked to Cuse about the Lost ending and how they decided on the more “spiritual” take that left many major questions unanswered — and posed a few more that fans didn't really care to see asked.

Basically: Cuse admitted they raised so many questions throughout the length of the series that it’d be a disservice to the story to try and “shoehorn” all the answers into a finale, so instead they tried to focus on the big picture. We’ll leave it to you to debate if that was the right move.

Here’s a choice excerpt:

“Obviously, the main conversation that we had was, ‘How are we going to deal with this issue of unanswered questions?’ The more we understood the show, we really realized: ‘This show is about people that are lost on an island, but truly about people that are lost in their lives, so the best and most appropriate ending for the show is one that deals with: What sort of redemption do these characters get? Where do their lives lead them?’ We felt like a spiritual resolution was the thing that would ultimately be the most emotionally satisfying. We felt like there was no possible way to answer questions. We actually attempted on a number of occasions to shoehorn in things like who’s in the outrigger, and we found ourselves doing all these sorts of narrative backflips. To put something into a story that really didn’t belong in the story that we were telling. We did ‘Across The Sea’ third from the end and that was the closest thing to answers that we gave. It was the Jacob [Mark Pellegrino] and Man In Black [Titus Welliver] origin story. And that was an episode that was very polarizing and, for us, that was kind of confirmation that the answer version of a finale would never be satisfying.

It would just beget more questions and that, in a way, it wasn’t really true to the spirit of the show as we intended it — that the show was a mystery. I feel like we did wrap up a lot of the biggest mysteries on the show. There was no way to sustain a mystery show for 121 episodes of television and tie up every loose end. It was just not possible. So, we really opted to find a way to take the characters to the end of their journey, and in so doing, we felt we were being fairly bold by tackling questions that were really as large as ‘What is the nature of existence?’ and ‘What’s meaningful in life?’ and ‘By what measure do we find value at the end of our journeys?’ These are sort of large, ponderous questions that have no concrete answers but that was the territory we wanted to explore.”

You’ve got to respect the vision, sure, but we’d argue more of that final season could’ve been used to drop some answer breadcrumbs leading into the big finale. That way, people could still get their answers, and the producers still got their poignant scene in the church.

What do you think? Does Cuse’s take make sense?

(Via Entertainment Weekly)

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