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Watch Together, Judge Alone: What Everyone Else Thought of Lost's "The End"

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I’m not going to be good for much today beyond reading other critics’ and bloggers’ writeups of Lost, so I can at least be of some use to you and refer you to some of the other opinions I’ve been reading this morning:

Myles McNutt, Cultural Learnings: “Beautiful and heartwrenching, ‘The End’ captures more than any other series finale I’ve watched the sum total of the series’ experience, awakening in viewers the same power of recall which pulls together half of the series’ narrative.” [Includes some analysis of how the Sideways resolution does and doesn't put earlier season 6 episodes into context.]

Mike Hale, The New York Times: “You have to think that the gauzy, vaguely religious, more than a little mawkish ending of ‘Lost’ – “Touched by a Desmond” — will not sit well with a lot of the show’s fans.”

Mo Ryan, Chicago Tribune: “So, here’s how the finale landed for me: The emotional part of the finale worked so well that I don’t care much about the analytical/structural stuff.” [Plus, a little good analytical/structural stuff about the Glowy Golden Light.]

Alan Sepinwall, HitFix: “As two and a half hours of television – as an extra-long episode of “Lost” – I thought most of it worked like gangbusters.” But, “as someone who did spend at least part of the last six years dwelling on the questions that were unanswered… I can’t say I found “The End” wholly satisfying, either as closure for this season or the series.”

Jace Lacob, The Daily Beast: “While [the conclusion is] a feel-good ending, it’s also an easy way out. While Cuse and Lindelof denied the purgatory aspect of the island years ago, it turned out to be the ultimate solution here, presented in a context that’s meant to be universal: we all die.”

And also Jace Lacob, with extended thoughts at Televisionary: the Sideways stories were “variations on a theme rather than a full-blown narrative in their own right, offering a sucker punch of emotion that, while moving during the episode, felt entirely false after the fact.”

Noel Murray, The AV Club: “Lost brought back the thrill of big stories told in tiny pieces. Like I said, it’s too soon to say what Lost’s legacy will be, but I have a strong feeling that people will still be watching it years from now, and introducing it to newcomers, and starting arguments all over again. And I think the images of Hurley, hatches, Smoke Monsters and Sawyer will be pop-culture touchstones for a long time to come. These are the new myths. Now it’s up to us to misinterpret them.”

Todd Van Der Werff, LA Times’ Showtracker: Interesting theory–”This flash-sideways universe is one final gift from the last protector of the Island that we see — Hurley — to everyone he ever knew or loved. It is a chance for him to do what he does best, as Ben says. He is taking care of people, giving them both what they wanted and what they needed.”

Emily Nussbaum, NY Mag’s Vulture blog: “It was daring — I’ll give it that. It was actively unpredictable. There were nice performances, plus the value-added nostalgia of everyone’s breakthrough flashbacks. And after a season of corny and frustrating missteps, from Tina Fey to the entire Temple arc, punctuated by one fun Desmond episode, I didn’t expect it to make sense, I just wanted it to be interesting enough to talk about with people.”

Ken Tucker at EW: “Was this an all-time great finale? I wouldn’t say so… But it was a better finale than an awful lot of other, more contemporary Highly Esteemed Dramas and Sitcoms.” And Jeff Jensen at EW: “’The End’ was an emotionally draining epic that had me crying with almost every single “awakening” and has left me mulling the true significance of the Sideways world, which was revealed to be a Purgatory-like realm created by the souls of the dead castaways themselves. (Purgatory! The irony!)”

Update: Ryan McGee at Zap2It: “Looking at the finale from a perspective of mythology isn’t the best way to go about it. (I started to jot down “So who put the stone in the devil cave in the first place?” before slapping myself silly.) Looking at the finale from a perspective of plot probably isn’t the best way, either… But looking at it from an emotional perspective, I thought the finale was a masterpiece.”

And Charlie Jane Anders, io9: “I had cared about it, in some abstract sense, before, but this time around, I just stopped about an hour in. Maybe because it all became more and more abstract, until it just felt like I was watching people play a sport whose rules I wasn’t familiar with. Yes, Lost‘s finale was a game of Baseketball.”

Any other writeups strike you? Let us know in the comments.

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