How Breaking Bad convinced Damon Lindelof to give up defending Lost

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Oct 2, 2013, 4:30 PM EDT

Did you hate the series finale of Lost? Well, Damon Lindelof's got a deal to make with you, thanks to Breaking Bad.

Lindelof's spent the last three years getting a constant earful from fans who loathed the much-anticipated ending of the show he co-created, and devoting a fair amount of time to both trying to have a sense of humor about it and offering his own take on the finale in the show's defense. Just a few days ago, after another much-anticipated series finale of a show Lindelof had nothing to do with -- AMC's Breaking Bad -- many fans took to Twitter to once again slam the ending of Lost, and let Lindelof know that Breaking Bad's finale was the way he should have ended his show. 

Like all those angry Lost fans, Lindelof too loved the Breaking Bad finale, along with the rest of Vince Gilligan's critically acclaimed drama. He loved it so much that he agreed to write a reaction piece about the finale for The Hollywood Reporter, but between watching the Breaking Bad finale, hearing from angry Lost fans, and writing his piece, he came to face a hard truth.

"All story is reflective, designed to illuminate its own characters and the themes surrounding them. When a show is as brilliant as Breaking Bad, it's not just about the people we're watching, it's about those watching them. About us. In other words, the better the show, the deeper it forces you to look at yourself," Lindelof wrote. "On Sunday night, I took a good long look at myself, and this is what I found staring back …

"I agreed to write this piece because I am deeply and unhealthily obsessed with finding ways to revisit the Lost finale and the maddening hurricane of s**t that has followed it."

In the years since Lost ended, Lindelof has been busy. He's been called in to work on major genre films like World War Z and Prometheus. He co-wrote Star Trek Into Darkness. He wrote a Batman comic. He's developing a new series at HBO and a film, Tomorrowland, with director Brad Bird at Disney. He's successful and sought-after, but he spent six seasons working on Lost, and wrote 45 of the show's 121 episodes (more than any other writer). It was a huge part of his professional life for a very long time, and today he admits he's still obsessed with looking back on that finale and finding ways to speak up about it.

"Alcoholics are smart enough to not walk into a bar. My bar is Twitter. It's Comic-Con. It's anytime someone asks me to write an article even casually relating to Lost," Lindelof wrote.

"And what do I do? I jump at the opportunity to acknowledge how many people were dissatisfied with how it ended. I try to be self-deprecating and witty when I do this, but that's an elaborate (or obvious?) defense mechanism to let people know I'm fully aware of the elephant in the room and I'm perfectly fine with it sitting down on my face and s******g all over me."

Lindelof's point about being unable to get away from talking about his show is fair, and he's spoken openly about the complex feelings surrounding the Lost finale before, so why bring it up now, when he was asked to talk about Breaking Bad? Why use the ending of another show to talk about the ending of your own, three years on? Well, there's that obsession thing Lindelof just admitted, but there's also the point that, if he didn't bring it up, other people would.

"And this is how pathetic I've become -- I'm using an opportunity to put Breaking Bad into the pantheon of best shows ever (where it undeniably belongs) to narcissistically whine about the perceived shortcomings of my own work," he wrote."

"God, I hate myself. But isn't that what's expected of me? Don't I have to do that? Is it possible for me to ever comment on anything I love without cheekily winking at the audience and saying, 'But what do I know -- after all, I ruined Lost?'"

Lindelof's made plenty of self-deprecating remarks about Lost in the past, but he didn't have to say anything for plenty of Twitter users to lay into him about the Breaking Bad finale Sunday night. All that fan rage came without a word about Lost from Lindelof, so why wouldn't it come again when he launched into in-depth, printed praise of another show's ending? Whether it's the right time to bring it up or not, Lindelof is still tethered to the Lost finale and all the fan anger he's taken because of it, so much so that he can't ever talk about pop culture without being reminded of his own most infamous contribution to it. So what's he going to do about it? Apparently he's going to make a deal with all the Lost haters out there, and the deal goes like this:

"I'd like to make a pact, you and me. And here's your part: You acknowledge that I know how you feel about the ending of Lost. I got it. I heard you. I will think about your dissatisfaction always and forever. It will stay with me until I lie there on my back dying, camera pulling slowly upward whether it be a solitary dog or an entire SWAT team that comes to my side as I breathe my last breath.

"And here's my part: I will finally stop talking about it. I'm not doing this because I feel entitled or above it -- I'm doing it because I accept that I will not change hearts nor minds. I will not convince you they weren't dead the whole time, nor resent you for believing they were despite my infinite declarations otherwise."

Sounds like a fair deal, right? We can all step away a little and get on with loving or hating other series finales yet to come. Of course, there are plenty of Lost fans who simply won't be able to help themselves, or won't care how Lindelof feels, but for the more reasonable among us, this could work. Maybe it will work, but not before Lindelof gets in one last bit of defense for the story he spent so long telling, with a little Breaking Bad reference thrown in for good measure.

"I'm done. I'm out. Just one last thing before I go …

"I stand by the Lost finale. It's the story that we wanted to tell, and we told it. No excuses. No apologies. I look back on it as fondly as I look back on the process of writing the whole show. And while I'll always care what you think, I can't be a slave to it anymore. Here's why:

"I did it for me. I liked it. I was good at it. And I was really … I was alive."

For those who spent so much time being invested in Lost, be they viewers or people who helped create the show, that finale will never really go away. Whether you loved it or hated it, that episode will stick in your brain, but even if it's still there, can you just let it go and move on to something else? What do you think? Is Lindelof's "pact" realistic, or harder than it sounds?

(Via THR)