Damon Lindelof Uses ‘Breaking Bad’ Finale to Reflect on ‘Lost’

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Damon Lindelof Talks Lost Ending Damon Lindelof Uses Breaking Bad Finale to Reflect on Lost


[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.

breaking bad finale Damon Lindelof Uses Breaking Bad Finale to Reflect on Lost

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.

lost logo shadow Damon Lindelof Uses Breaking Bad Finale to Reflect on Lost

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?


Source: THR

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

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  1. LOST was awesome. All except for the Flash Sideways. The pay-off for that was a huge let-down. But I also turn off Scarface before Tony dies so I am satisfied with it. They weren’t dead the whole time and that is all that matters. We found out what the island was and many other questions were answered along the way. If they had ended with say, “Across the Sea,” I think fans would have been happier. It was just that last sequence that left a bad taste in our mouths. The final shot WAS poetic though.

    • You actually felt sympathetic toward Tony Montana? I’m one of the few people I know that despises that movie and every character in it. Next time they want to portray a Cuban-American they should actually cast a Cuban-American. Don’t worry, Tony died and went to his own personal heaven where he finally got to f**k his SISTER.

      • I think that’s the thing though, I think Tony Montana is a great character and shown as someone who wants to take care of his family and get ahead in the world but went down the wrong path early on and also happens to be totally violent but with some redeeming qualities (like when he refused to bomb the car because there was a woman and children inside it too).

        Can’t speak much about Lost though because I gave up after a handful of episodes, it just wasn’t doing it for me.

    • With Lost, any alleged questions answered only led to more questions, and all the advertised promises to answer everything were never fulfilled.

      It turned out to be one of the biggest shams in television history…a marketing ploy to keep people watching.

      It’s a near crime for Lindelof to mention Lost with Breaking Bad.

      • I still don’t understand why people keep saying that Lost didn’t aswered its questions. I wacthed the show two years ago and it has aswered almost all of its mysteries. But most of the answers were not really worked out through the show, what have let some vague (many of the series mythology aspects, and some plot holes, but nothing that disappointing me (just the Flash-Sideways/alternate reality explanation)

  2. I really liked the finale, personally.

    • Me too! I loved the ending of Lost. And I think a point of the show was questions/mystery. We always have questions and sometimes we don’t have or need answers to them.

      And they weren’t all dead on the island…I feel bad for Lindelof for even needing to clarifying that at this point.

  3. It is it just me, or is Lindelof looking more and more like a one trick pony of disappointment. He’s okay, but he’s hardly this great writer that he was once hailed as. Kinda like when M. Night was called the next Spielberg by some magazine. I hate to compare the two, but Prometheus and Lost along with Into Darkness (which lest not forget he compared to Dark Knight. Let’s all reflect on that one for a moment.) all had good moments surrounded by large logic-less holes. He’s not horrible and I enjoy his work, but it’s hard to argue that the bar for his level of quality has dipped finally to it’s realistic level from it’s once lofty tower.

    • He’s a No Trick Pony. He had a good start of a series…and that’s undeniable. Then he spent season after season stocking his show with empty mysteries and melodrama to keep anyone from realizing that he didn’t have any idea what he was doing. Four and a half seasons of GREAT!….proven, by a season and a half, to be GARBAGE. Everything since, that he’s touched, has the same stink on it. Exactly the issues you detail.

      • Agree with you both. Although Lost began great, it ended terribly and proved itself to be a sham. Afterwards, I swore never to become so invested in a show again…

        until Breaking Bad.

        • Virtually my same journey….The thing is, Breaking Bad never gave signs it was selling itself out, which LOST seemed determined to do as it marched towards it’s crap, “it’s all about the characters. REALLY!” end.

      • I think Lindelof is a guy that starts out strong with that “idea” but then fades when he tries to keep the plot moving. That is his biggest issue. Yes, Lost was good when it first started but as the seasons moved forward the quality dropped. It’s kind of like Dexter. The “idea” of Dexter was awesome when it first started but after a couple of seasons the quality of the idea of “Dexter” has dropped as well. I think Lindelof should compare Lost to Dexter because in reality that’s the best comparison as sooo many people with both series are split in which they either thought the end justified the ending for the series or they thought the end of the series was just the biggest waste of time. To compare Breaking Bad to Lost is just hilarious as I would say the majority(90%) of the people were satisfied with the ending of BB.

    • He is not very good at writing a story….he is is good at helping build a world and/or characters…..just doesn’t seem to know what to do with them…that’s why most of his stories fall apart by the third act.

    • No it’s not just you, I couldn’t agree more with your comment

  4. I wish I could tell Damon how much I loved his finale and screw the haters.

  5. I don’t think about the show at all anymore. The show was great…up until we find out that none of the stuff the exciting mysteries put forward were ever meant to be anything but meaningless. The final season was crap and made it so that there’s absolutely no rewatch value for me. The finale (other than Slo Mo Flying Punch and Dying with Vincent) was a piece of fecal matter. ….But listening to Lindelof continue to stand by the shi… sorry….crappy story, is irritating.

  6. Although the first few seasons of Lost were great, the last few seasons, and specifically the finale, were TERRIBLE! It became quite obvious that the show was not going in any intended direction, nor did the writers ever have the intent, despite all the promises, to answer all of the questions that were raised throughout the show. In the last year, my friends, coworkers, and I would roll our eyes at each other after every episode and question why we were still watching the show. Clearly, many others felt the same way, as the ratings dropped and dropped.

    As someone else said here…I don’t think about the show at all anymore. That is perhaps the most damning statement about it.

    And by the way, it is a near crime to even mention it in the same article as Breaking Bad, a great show from beginning to end.

  7. Was on board with Lindelof’s “apology” until his preachy remark about “people thinking they were dead all along” – at this moment i realized that Lindelof still thinks that the hate he is getting is because people didn’t get the ending.

    We got it.
    We hated it.
    No misunderstanding.

    • Concur wholeheartedly…

      We got it.
      We hated it.
      No misunderstanding.

      Very well said!

  8. I love Lost and everything about it. I will never love a show as much as Lost.

  9. If one judges the quality of screenplay by the number of plot-holes, incomplete or under-developed character arcs, frequency of non-sequitur character and story developments, and general laziness of approach, then Damon Lindelof is a fantastic writer.

  10. The first 120 episodes of Lost were some of the best television ever created – the final episode was pretty much a two-hour slap in the face.

  11. here’s the deal guys.: 1. Marketing people for TV can say whatever they want totally independent of the show’s writers. 2.The show was always ambiguous, you just rolled with it because there were further seasons, but once it ended you realized you aren’t the kind of people who like ambiguity.

    When you compare the amount of mysteries elaborated on with the amount of mysteries introduced, a lot was revealed. A LOT.
    It wasn’t a sham, it was an experiment. Deal with it.

    Breaking Bad is just as good objectively, but everyone’s got their baby blue. Just because it was a particularly closed ending, it doesn’t mean it’s better, it means it was a closed ending.

    And who says it even was closed? Where did Jesse go? What’s gonna happen to Skyler? What will Heisenberg’s real legacy be? What about the guy at the safe house? How did Walt get ricin into the packet and reseal it?

    Food for thought- oh wait, this is the internet.

    • The same Apologist drivel as back then. It wasn’t an experiment. It was a fake out. A cynical exercise in Three Card Monty. The ending of the show is literally a Deus Ex Machina, which is pretty much universally considered a cheat.
      So, No. What you said isn’t right.

  12. While it’s hard to say which show I liked better, I felt they were both amazing for completely different ways, however I think as a finale, I liked Lost’s better. The BB finale was a perfect exclamation point at the end of a really amazing sentence. But the ep itself was predictable. The Lost finale was incredibly emotional and gave more of a sense of closure to the characters. Also, Lost had WAAAAAY more like able characters. That final scene with Locke, Jack and Desmond was one of the best of the series. And I strongly disagree that Lost started strong and fizzled out. Seasons 5 of both series I feel was the best television in history. And Damon will always get a pass in my book simply for writing episodes like The Constant. One of the greatest televised hours of sci-fi ever created.

    • Really? Season 5 of Lost made me give up and stop watching!

      • I wish I would have stopped watching as well, but I was duped into believing that they were actually going to answer all of the questions that they raised. About half way through the finale, I realized that was not going to happen. I felt like a victim of a snake-oil salesman.

  13. Didn’t like the lost finale, but I don’t blame the writers. I’m sure they had a nice story planned, with a decent ending before it blew up and the studios decided to milk the cow dry.

    • According to the creator and writers of Lost, the ending scene was always in place. This had nothing to do with the studios but with the writers(Lindelof and Cuse). Now I think there was a difference in the way it was suppose to end with Lindelof, Cuse, Abrams, and Lieber with eventually going with Lendelof’s version.

  14. I might go back and watch the finale again…
    I thought the finale was fine and watching it again won’t change my opinion but I am amazed by how many people absolutely hated it and maybe a 2nd viewing will give me a better understanding of why.

    • It was not just the finale, but the last couple years in general. Promises were made, repeatedly, to answer all the questions and explain all the mysteries. In the end, that never happened. Any alleged answers only created more questions.

      The whole thing was a gimick, plain and simple, to keep people watching.

  15. Lost was the best show in TV history. And the finale was incredible. It’s a thinking mans show. I didn’t want all the answers cuz the fun is in the hints it the show gave and allowed the imagination to run wild. Many people were dissapointed because there was no definitve answers but if you watched and thought about things, the answers are there. Damien, stop apologizing for making an incredible show, can’t please the world, and no ending would of satisfied everyone. Lost and Breaking Bad are two different shows. BB is great in its own right but Lost is something special. At least to me.

  16. The issue I have with you Mr. Lindel is because of the success of LOST you are considered a decent story teller.

    You are not. You can not end a story to save your life. You have proven it time and time again yet people still regard you as decent.

    Again you are not. So I would look forward to an elephant taking a s*** on you maybe then people would realize how odorific you and your work really are and would stop hiring you so we could stop hearing from you and stopping calling you and your crap work out.

    To all you people that got the show and saw all the answers… just stop. I can ask you questions related to the show and your answer would be…. uh… well thats what it was…. or you just dont get it… Im not talking simple answers like the Polar Bear (that was handled nicely by the way) Im referring to questions like the Horse, the bomb that went off (yeah no one detected that?), Why some traveled through time and some didnt, Walt, etc.

    Not what was the overall story about but what was all the little kicks of curiosity that was never explained that made (at least me) people come back to get explanations.

    A story weaves all parts. This was a rug that had a lot of holes in it.

  17. LOST finale was amazing. I feel sorry for Damon having to put up with all the retards hating him and thinking they were dead they whole time.

    So now because of these retards, Damon won’t be able to talk to the real fans? :(

    • You mean the retards who stupidly prefer an actual cohesive plot and throughline without padded nonsense? The ones who stupidly notice that all the unexplained events are only there to fool the punters who don’t put much stock in, like, decent storytelling and real characters and the like? Yes, I agree. Good eye.

  18. It’s just a show, enjoy it and move on. these people wrote, it produced it, and played it just to make money, thats all, for heavens sake get a grip

    • I remember being angry and feeling duped at the end. I knew before the finale stared that it would not be able to tie everything together. Lindelof is the Bernie Madoff of television. He promised a big payoff based on lies. In the end all of his investors had their hours and hours of time– stolen.

  19. Stolen hours of time? That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Honestly, I agree with Bob Smith. It was a show. The ending was fine. If your questions weren’t answered, maybe you didn’t understand the questions or the answers. Or, perhaps the writers didn’t want to answer your questions. They answered the majority of them. I’m an English teacher, and most stories require a little forgiveness on the part of the audience. That’s because there is no perfect ending…it’s someone else’s story, not yours or mine. He chose to end it the way he wanted to end it. Some of you act like you were forced to spend hours watching a television show you didn’t want to watch. Good God, get a life. It was a science fiction television series that aired ten years ago. It’s always the same people who complain no matter what. There were times that the show took turns that seemed a little ridiculous. Actually, for me that happened when Ben forced Kate to eat breakfast with him on the beach. It went from this desolate, undeveloped island to something else entirely. And, it became increasingly strange after that. But, it’s not my story. It’s science fiction. It’s supposed to be strange; it requires viewers to overlook the inconsistencies and disproportionate laws, which govern the show, to actually enjoy it. If you want to watch something believable, turn on the discovery channel. Or, perhaps you would have a better appreciation for what it takes to be a writer if you actually tried to write something. If that fails and you still don’t get it, try reading “A Mid Summer Night’s Dream”. Shakespeare is still hailed as one of the best writers in the history of the world, and there’s nothing logical or believable about most of his work. The biggest mistake those writers made was actually caring about their viewer’s opinions after the show ended. If you were engaged enough to watch six seasons of the show, I’d say they were successful.

  20. By your logic, if I buy a new car and have issues with how it handles, I should first learn how to build a car and then attempt to build one. If I buy a steak and it’s too tough, I should just choke it down because someone else cooked the steak and maybe they like it that way.
    That argument is tired and not valid. You can offer your dissenting opinion…”The story was wonderful and the outcome delightful” but you can’t b**** about someone disliking it.
    The story gained it’s following and life by offering mysteries, challenging people to guess the answer to these mysteries and indicating it would follow through on the answers. It shoveled the mysteries and clues on for much of it’s run. Then it pulled a literal Deus Ex Machina to explain everything away. That’s crap. I don’t know what percentage of viewers actually tuned into to see whether Kate would go with Jack or Sawyer, but those people are tools. The show promised something and failed to deliver. It retroactively sucks.

  21. The LOST finale was THE MOST wonderful, beautiful, downright amazing finale in television history and I don’t care what anybody says about it!!!!! Breaking Bad finale was ok but it wasn’t great, it wasn’t monumentally fantastic like LOST was! And I understood the finale just fine, I thought Jack’s dad explained it perfectly.

    • why are you comparing a crime drama to a fantasy show?

  22. Lost was THE MOST wonderful, beautiful, epic, downright amazing finale in television history!

  23. I recently watched season one of Lost Chrono (someone recut the whole show in chronological order) and I have a greater appreciation for the show now. Now I just need to find seasons 2-8. Argh! Anyone out there have a copy?

    • And for the person that asked about seasons 2-8, I watched the whole thing on Netflix.

  24. Lost taught us something very important about TV shows. Back then, we weren’t plagued with as many serialized shows as we are now. We watch serialized shows because we want to know what happens next. Lost took that to an extreme and made the show about mysteries, at least that what we took from it. They should have kept it simple, episode to episode build up, not “let’s give the payoff 4 seasons down the line”. Breaking Bad was great because it was solid all the way through, the finale didn’t really matter, because every episode leading up to it was fun to watch. Lost was more a “I hope this pays off at some point.” Maybe we shouldn’t take shows too seriously.
    Anyways, I think Damon Lindelof is talented as the writing in Lost was amazing at times. He shouldn’t lose his mind over social media.

  25. I don’t know.. the ending was fine to me. It brought the whole thing full circle and brought the viewer a sense of peace and finality.

  26. Lost was one of the greatest shows in TV History. The writing was incredible and each episode was light years above the procedural crappp that dominates TV.
    Sorry that nerds freezed framed lamp designs and used CIA software to decipher Whispers but the coolness of the show caused hysteria and fanboys need to take responsibility for their own dweebiness and realize THEY imprinted something on the show that was not there to the extent they believed.