It wasn't until two minutes into episode 14 of Lost’s sixth season that Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse indirectly addressed the fans’ pleas for answers.
It was a response that many expected and feared: “Every question I answer will simply lead to another question.” The character delivering the line was irrelevant, but the message it conveyed was crucial: Lost has always been more about the tease.
You can’t handle the truth. This foggy approach to storytelling has been both Lost’s strongest selling point and the arrow in its side.
Fans have been clamouring for explanations ever since that damn plane crashed on that damn island, so the show’s final season has the unpleasant job of tying up all the loose ends.
Picking up straight after season five’s atomic blast, season six flashes neither backwards or forwards but sideways, to a universe in which Oceanic Flight 815 touches down in Sydney.
Simultaneously, the lostaways are given an ultimatum by the Man In Black (Titus Welliver): side with him against Jacob, or sink to the bottom of the ocean with him. The ‘sideways universe’ represents the show’s most dangerous gambit: a self-contained puzzle that invites even more questions.
A lack of urgency in the parallel narrative does tend to underwhelm, but after a false start at the island’s temple, the cogs slowly turn and Lost lumbers towards a fitting conclusion;
not an especially enlightening one (the mythology uncovered leaves you wanting more), but an emotionally gratifying ending that doesn’t short-change a single character.
Series highlights include ‘Ab Aeterno’ (a Richard episode!) and the highly polarising ‘Across The Sea’; a smoke monster flashwayback.
If you really demand closure, epilogue ‘New Man In Charge’ has Ben Linus (Michael Emerson) explain some of Lost’s more mundane posers, but by now you should know there’s nothing inside the magic box except another box. (Not literally, of course – the complete season box set has over 30 hours of extras.)
Ultimately, Lost proved itself to be a thrilling, brain-training series that occasionally held its cards too close to its chest. But hell, a little mystery never killed anyone – and when the questions are this much fun to ponder, who needs answers, anyway?