During an appearance at Dragon Con this past weekend, Ant Man And The Wasp star Evangeline Lilly completed her personal version of jury duty—answering questions about the Lost finale. But rather than hem and haw about the objective quality of the hit series’ conclusion, Lilly instead forced fans to confront their own issues with the finale and delivered an eloquent speech about the the nature of art in general. Eight years after the initial “Lost botched the ending” think pieces were written, this may be the best take on the finale we’ve seen.
After taking a quick poll of the audience and finding that about half of them were dissatisfied with the way the show wrapped up, Lilly had this to say:
For those of who you didn’t like [the finale]; you loved our show, because at the end of every week, we would leave you with an impossible and pressing mystery. It would force you to the water cooler, or the dinner table, asking each other the most difficult questions. Usually philosophical questions. Sometimes questions that touched on God or religion and reality, and what it means to be human.
And then, on the finale, you sat waiting with baited breath, thinking ‘they’re gonna give us the answer.’ Well, that’s what religions do. So if you want the answer to the great big question of life, go to church, go to God, find the answer, but art…art is supposed to, every time without fail, turn the question back on you, and asks you to look at what you’re seeing, listen to what you’re hearing, experience it, and then look at it in the mirror of your soul, and figure out what it means to you.
Ultimately, what Lilly is dancing around is the essence of producer J.J. Abrams’ “Mystery Box” theory. Lost was never designed to provide people with answers and if audiences went into the finale expecting answers, well, then that’s their own fault. The point of mystery box storytelling is intrigue, and the point of a show like Lost was to make people think—about morality, faith, humanity, and community. Of course, we all wanted to know the “truth” about the island and Jacob and those stupid polar bears, but whatever that truth is only exists between us and the show.
“There is no one interpretation of the finale of Lost,” Lilly continues. “For as many people that are in this room, there are many true, real endings…Because it’s just a reflection of who you are, and it’s the ultimate question being posed to you, not the ultimate answer being handed to you.”
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