A lot of people invested a lot of time and energy in following Lost over the years. I was one of those people. A lot of people were satisfied with the way the series ended. I was not one of those people.
At first, the introduction of the “sideways” world in Season 6 was extremely intriguing. It presented an alternate reality, presumably the result of the atomic-bomb blast at the end of Season 5, in which the characters had seemingly never crashed on the island.
It opened up a lot of possibilities as to where the show was going and where it would end up, and given the history of Lost, we were led to expect that the ultimate connection and reveal would be as original, creative, and satisfying as the rest of the series.
As it turned out, it was none of those things. The entire conceit of the sideways world was to bring all of our heroes together again in the afterlife - one of the most cliched storytelling devices there is. Sure, there was a spin on it, but the whole idea that “there is no now” in the afterlife came across more as a cheat than a genuinely interesting twist.
For one thing, it enabled the creators to conveniently bring all the characters together again at the end of the show, even though not all of them had died by the end of the series. Of course, if they had only featured the already-dead castaways in the sideways world, people would have figured out what it was straight off the bat.
The ultimate reveal bothered me for a lot of reasons, the previously noted “there is no now” concept and general cliche of it among them. But more than that, I felt like the whole creation of the sideways reality cheapened the weight of the characters’ actual deaths (after all, it’s not so bad if they get to reunite happily in the afterlife, right?). More than that, it also cheapened the remainder of the survivors’ lives.
Claire, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley, Desmond, Ben, and others survived the final result of the battle for the island, and all had a good part of their lives left to live. Really, we should have been left wondering what would happen to them next. Instead, we skip ahead to the afterlife, where they’re all already dead. That jump, to me at least, took away from any real anticipation about where these characters are going next.
Ultimately, the sideways world was a gimmick. It was a way to give a happy ending to characters who didn’t actually get a happy ending. It was a way to give an emotional sendoff to the series by tugging at our heartstrings, rather than addressing the numerous hanging threads left over by the plot.
At this point, I’m content to let those threads hang. However, I sincerely believe the show would have been better off without ever introducing the sideways world/afterlife in the first place, and the point of this experiment is to prove that. Or at least try to.
What I’m doing here is simple. I’m re-editing Season 6 of Lost to remove the existence of the sideways world.
If you were a fan of the ultimate resolution of the show, then this experiment isn’t for you. If however, like me, you felt betrayed by the schmaltzy wrap-up and reveal, perhaps this will provide the resolution you need.
I firmly believe this edit will be an improvement over the original, and will be much more satisfying to fans who stuck with the core mythology of the show. Maybe I’m right, maybe I’m wrong. Chances are people will say both.
For me, this is just what I need to do to finally lay the series to rest. Kind of like that guy who re-edited Phantom Menace to get rid of Jar Jar. Sometimes we just feel morally compelled to do these things.
I’m looking forward to hearing what you all think. Keep an eye out for a new episode every week (just like in real life), and let’s cross our fingers and hope the folks at ABC are kind enough to let this run its course. Because that’s what the fans really deserve.