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Difficult as it may be to believe, I was less enthusiastic about last night's Lost finale than JPod. (Spoilers below the jump.)


The flashforward at the end was a neat trick - particularly since it redeemed what was doubtless constructed to seem like just another awful Jack flashback - but I'm very doubtful that flashforwards will work well as a persistent narrative device going forward, and I hope they don't go in that direction; moreover, the possibility that a large chunk of the action in the final three seasons is going to take place off the island seems to me to raise real shark-jumping possibilities. Maybe they can pull it off, but I'm definitely not sold on the idea of spending multiple episodes watching the show's most annoying characters run around the world trying to get back to the island. The island is the show, and the show is the island, and the more they depart from that dynamic, I suspect, the worse things will get.

(Also, I wanted Locke to shoot Jack so much ...)

That said, I think Lost is increasingly fascinating on a meta-level: Whatever comes of it in the end, it should be required viewing in screenwriting classes (or even creative writing classes in general) for years to come, just as a chance to watch a group of extremely talented writers wrestle with how to tell a complicated story to a demanding audience under enormous, real-time, "millions of dollars at stake" network TV pressure. As a story, it may ultimately be a failure, but it's extremely interesting as an exercise in storytelling no matter what.

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Ross Douthat is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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