For those of us who have spent five years charting the locations of every Dharma hatch and fighting bitterly amongst ourselves over Team Sawyer and Team Jack, tomorrow begins the end of a very long, very bittersweet journey. The final season of Lost needs to answer a lot of questions, yes-- I think I'll die if no one ever explains the numbers to me-- but it also needs to offer some closure to those of us who have fallen in love with these weird, flawed characters over the years. And if it manages to be good television in the process, that'd be great too.
If you watch Lost, you know how important it is-- and if you don't, you've probably been shushed by your obsessive friends enough times to get the picture. As we go into the final season, we're pretty much at the mercy of the writers and producers, who can either choose to answer our longstanding questions and send us off into the sunset, or pull the rug out from under us yet again. Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse are the executive producers of the show and the most visible creative forces, so for them I have a few requests, with no idea whether or not they'll be answered, throwing them out into the void for consideration.
If you have not seen the previous five seasons of Lost, obviously SPOILERS FOLLOW. But I know nothing about the coming season beyond basic casting announcements and guesses.
If you're restarting the clock, don't take away what came before. The most widely held assumption about the coming season is that Jack's nuclear bomb really did reset things, and Oceanic 815 will land safely in Los Angeles, bringing back to life all the dead characters and making all the events of the last five seasons nonexistent. While I can't imagine that a reset would make everything truly go away-- we've seen from Desmond's experience that time travel and parallel universes are part of the Lost reality-- I hope Damon and Carlton remember that we're invested in the previous five seasons, and making this new reality "real," making it so none of it ever happened, would be cheating. I don't expect that to happen, and I'm building all my following hopes off the idea that the previous seasons will still count. But just in case...
If you're raising everyone from the dead, don't cheat them. We know that characters like Boone and Charlie and Libby will be revisited this season, perhaps even back from the dead. But as we saw when Michael returned to fulfill a storyline that went nowhere, bringing someone back on Lost isn't always the way to find redemption. If you're resurrecting the dead, Damon and Carlton, don't cheat them-- either give them a good reason to be back, or leave them peacefully where you found them.
Make Rose and Bernard Adam and Eve, and leave it at that. The final season will be about wrapping up a lot of mysteries. and this is one of the easiest-- those skeletons found in the cave by Jack and Kate in season one, speculated to have been there for at least 50 years. Rose and Bernard time-traveled into the past and, instead of joining Dharma, chose to live their lives together peacefully in the jungle. Their love story has been beautiful to watch ever since they were reunited following the crash, and I'll be happy to see them let go early in the season, letting us move on to much bigger things.
Forget some of the little things. Remember how finding out the polar bear was just part of a Dharma zoo was kind of a letdown? And how many flashbacks filled in questions we never really had? Damon and Carlton, you've teased out so many mysteries over the years, and yet so many of the ones you bother to answer are the ones we don't care about to begin with. Forget explaining Kate's horse in the jungle, or the Hurley bird, or room 23 where Karl was tortured. We'll let it go so long as you pay it off with bigger stuff.
Trust Locke. For years we've watched Locke pound in vain on the door of the hatch, sacrifice his only friend in pursuit of a fruitless goal, get shot and murdered by people he thought were his allies, and finally taken over by a malevolent spirit trying to destroy the island he deeply loved. It is likely that, at least in the universe we know of, John Locke is dead. But he has been doubted so frequently by other characters and proven right that his redemption is due. Don't take all our trust for granted, Damon and Carlton; prove that Locke is the hero we've always known he is.
Explain Jacob early, and then use him. The mysterious figure who dominated everything starting with season two, we finally met Jacob at the end of last season-- and hey, he was kinda cute! Now instead of dragging out his backstory as you might usually do, Damon and Carlton, recognize that you're running out of time, explain Jacob's history and then throw him into action. It's impossible to predict where he fits into the new storyline, but we know he's important, so don't even try to tease us.
Give us Jacob and Widmore. We all pretty much know that they are the power players, and everyone else-- Ben, Locke, Richard Alpert-- has been a pawn in their personal game of backgammon. (The Man in Black, Jacob's brother, is still a wild card) I'm dying to see Jacob and Widmore face off in the way Ben and Jack spent an entire season yelling at each other, and Damon and Carlton, I know I'm not alone. Get this battle started!
End the love triangle. Seeing Sawyer and Juliet so happy together after years of domestic Dharma bliss proved that Sawyer doesn't have to be tortured by his love for Kate forever, while Kate and Jack's reunion when going back to the island seemed to indicate them as an ideal, hard-charging pair. Damon and Carlton, let Sawyer mourn for Juliet and let Kate and Jack stick together, the way we've known they would since season one. This is my wish that I know has the least chance of being granted, but that doesn't mean I don't hope.
Keep Desmond and Penny together. Because I just couldn't handle the heartbreak.
Leave Aaron and Ji Yeon alone. Putting kids in danger is the cheapest trick there is, and Aaron was already endangered enough on the island as an infant. Just as Kate and Sun chose to leave the kids behind when they undertook the dangerous journey back to the island, Damon and Carlton, you need to leave Aaron and Ji Yeon out of whatever you're planning, because manipulating us by putting the kids in the middle of things is not what Lost is all about. Plus, the toddler Aaron is irritating beyond belief.
But explain Aaron. We were told forever that Aaron was special, that he had a destiny, that he was not to be raised by another... and thus far he's been nothing but a pawn in a weird psychosexual relationship between Jack and Kate, and an empty threat from Claire's mom. If this kid is going to matter, it needs to start happening soon. I will not settle for a end-of-series flash forward that shows Aaron and a still-unaging Richard Alpert holding hands and walking off into the future.
Don't sell Ben out. The man who started as the wimpy Henry Gale and then graduated to evil mastermind has been kicked in the shins a lot lately, revealed as largely powerless in the face of Jacob and The Man in Black's power over the island. But Damon and Carlton, you know that Ben is a fascinating character, as unlikely a hero as there ever was, and someone who deserves some kind of redemption, or at least the right to punch Jack in the face. Don't throw him over in favor of your wickeder villains or more virtuous heroes; Ben Linus straddles that line brilliantly, and we love him for it.
Let Walt go. Sure, he has powers. Sure, he appears to Locke in dreams. But the actor who plays him has gotten older, and with every passing season we forget what that kid was all about-- Vincent the dog has been more memorable. Damon and Carlton, let Walt be one of those plot threads you need to leave dangling. We won't mind.
Give us Christian Shephard, but leave Jack out of it. The reasons for Christian's undead mobility about the island is still not all that well explained, though we can pretty much guess that he's not really operating as himself, but as someone else's puppet. Still, the guy is fascinating and clearly important to Claire's storyline, and I want to see more of him-- so long as it's not more about Jack and his daddy issues. Damon and Carlton, I think you know that storyline is played out, but that Christian Shephard's white tennis shoes never get old.
Remember the raft scene at the end of Season One, and aim for that.Lost may have never been better than at the end of its first season, as several characters headed off into a new mystery while on the island, shit got crazier and crazier. I distinctly remember the swelling Michael Giacchino score as Walt, Michael, Sawyer and Jin took off into the ocean, and the sinking dread when another boat showed up and-- gulp-- stole Walt. Damon and Carlton, I know Lost will never again be that minimal and purely hopeful, but please give us another simple moment of hope and wonder like that again-- one that doesn't involve murdering Juliet.
Don't be afraid to go a little crazy. Above all, Damon and Carlton, remember that the people who dressed up like Hurley at Comic Con last summer, the people who put Dharma labels on beer cans to celebrate the premieres, are the people who stuck with you while Kate and Sawyer had cage sex, or while Nikki and Paulo got their own episode. Lost wouldn't be Lost if it didn't go in crazy directions and leave us screaming at our televisions-- it's what we fell in love with in the first place. As you start piecing everything together and leading us to some grand conclusion, make sure to throw in plenty of curveballs. You've earned our trust, and we will stick with you through the end, even if we bitch about it online in the meantime.