By DON KAPLAN
The ABC drama was derided all season long as losing its way with its increasingly confusing plot and long mid-season hiatus. It turned a corner during its season finale Wednesday, fans say.
"I saw the finale as a turning point away from the past," says Nikki Stafford, the author of "Finding 'Lost': The Unofficial Guide."
"Of course it didn't really give us a lot answers," she says. "But what it did, at least for me, was provide pure entertainment. By the end of it, I wasn't feeling gypped that I didn't get the answers. I was feeling 'Wow, that was such a great two hours that I forgot that there were even questions. I just enjoyed it for what it was."
Stafford believes that between good word-of-mouth from the finale, DVDs and ABC scheduling, an uninterrupted run next season should be enough to bring viewers back to "Lost."
"I think more people are going to jump on board," she says.
Since its debut in 2005, "Lost" has lost about half of its audience. Many viewers have complained that the show provides no resolutions to its increasingly complicated plot. Others have been turned off by its repeats and twomonth hiatus from ABC this season.
On the finale, producers appeared to have traded in their usual practice of using flashbacks to tell the back-stories of how various characters arrived on the mysterious island for a flash forward. The final moments of the episode revealed that Jack (Matthew Fox) appeared to be on the verge of a mental breakdown after being rescued.
"The back-stories have been told," Stafford says. "We get it and [producers] know that we get it so now it looks like they're going to start looking at the future: 'This is what could happen, let's lead them in that direction.' "
Also during the finale, yet another favorite character was killed off. This time it was Charlie (Dominic Monaghan), who gave his life to prevent a disaster. Charlie, aware of his impending death, as foretold by another character, was able to pick his moment and take fate into his hands.
"Charlie's always just wanted to have a purpose, and do something," Monaghan told E! Online. "To have achieved that is an amazing thing. . . to have sacrificed himself for the rest of the people on the island is a great way to go out."
It's a theme that Stafford believes will be prevalent for the final three seasons of the show.
"The cohesiveness of all three seasons is the idea of fate versus the notion that our decisions can alter things," she says. "I'm still not convinced that future flash-forward that we saw is something that's written in stone."