What makes Lost appointment television?
It's the twists. There are plenty of other reasons why Lost is a great show — the character development has always been exceptional; the dialogue, editing, and direction is among the best on the tube; and the actors are towering giants of pretending to live on a deserted island for 100+ days.
But the twists... man, the twists are what grabs ya. They clutch your throat, throw you down on the couch, and force you to spend your Thursday nights at home watching ABC.
The flip side of the twists, of course, is the answers... and that's where Lost has, in the past, failed to deliver. This season, we have finally started to see some notable blanks filled in, and we've gotten some sense of the scope and dimensions of the fictional world we're watching unfold.
Maybe that's why the two-hour season four finale, "There's No Place Like Home," felt like the least electrifying installment of the series to date — if ya get too many answers, ya start to miss the twists.
It's a tricky balance, walking the fine line between showing too much and not showing enough. There have been moments as a Lost fan where I was ready to throw my shoe at the TV I was so frustrated with the paltry question-to-answer ratio. Every mystery seemed to beget twelve other mysteries; nothing was ever explained.
Finally, around the end of season three, the writers seemed to get the picture, and appeared ready to start telling us what was actually going on. That season three finale was a minor masterpiece of television; it wrapped up so many plots, tied off a number of loose ends, and still left us with some massive questions. Some of these included the fate of the Losties after the island and the story of the Man in the Coffin. The total package had mad momentum and kept me glued to the very edge of my seat.
The season four finale also answers a number of questions, ties up loose ends, and brings to a close a number of the season-long (and in some cases, series-long) plots we've been following. The freighter goes kaboom, and we see how Jin meets his untimely demise. The whole time-travel issue is no longer a theory; it's a fact. Desmond is reunited once and for all with his beloved Penelope. The Oceanic Six get home. We know why they're lying. Locke is the Man in the Coffin.