[WARNING: 'Breaking Bad' Finale Spoilers Below!]
The series finale of AMC’s hit show Breaking Bad drew near-universal praise last week and with good reason. In the face of impossibly high expectations, Vince Gilligan delivered a definitive and satisfying conclusion to a show that many are hailing as the best in the history of television.
Breaking Bad didn’t just win rave reviews from fans and TV critics, but also from other writers, producers, and directors. One notable Hollywood heavyweight that has been a vocal advocate of the show is Damon Lindelof.
Lindelof is no stranger to high expectations. As the co-creator of Lost, he was responsible for one of the most popular TV shows in recent history. Unlike Breaking Bad, however, the finale of Lindelof’s show was much more divisive. (You can check back to our Lost finale review to see some of the reactions at the time.)
In a recent guest column for THR, Lindelof used Breaking Bad as a jumping off point for a long, humorous, and emotional reflection on Lost and why he’s ready to put the show’s controversial ending behind him.
Early in his column, Lindelof writes that he “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 shit that has followed it.” He then went on to explain his obsession and how he’s let it impact his life.
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.’
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 shitting all over me.
But, inspired by Walter White, Lindelof has now decided that he’s done apologizing and he just wants to be free, so he offered unhappy Lost fans a deal. If they stop talking about their disappointment with the ending, he’ll stop talking about it, too.
“I’m sick of myself for continuing to beat this particular drum, so I can’t imagine how sick of it you are. If it’s unpleasant and exhausting for me to keep defending the Lost finale, aren’t you getting tired of hating it? And so … I, like Walter White, want out. To be free. And to grant you the same.
“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.”
It’s admirable that Lindelof was willing to engage with his detractors and acknowledge the shortcomings of his show for so many years, but it’s refreshing to see that he’s finally moving on. After all, art is subjective. You can’t please everybody. If Lindelof was satisfied with the ending, and many fans of the show enjoyed it, too, he shouldn’t feel obligated to continually apologize for it.
Borrowing a line from Walter White, Lindelof made sure that his final words on the finale of Lost would last:
“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.”
What do you think of Damon Lindelof’s comments on Lost? Is it finally time to stop arguing over the ending and recognize the series for what it was: fantastic, sometimes flawed, and, ultimately, one of the most memorable shows in TV history?
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore