The Instigator
bluesteel
Pro (for)
Losing
18 Points
The Contender
Maikuru
Con (against)
Winning
32 Points

The ending to Lost was lame

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/15/2010 Category: Entertainment
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 5,099 times Debate No: 13386
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (26)
Votes (13)

 

bluesteel

Pro

Definitions:

The American Heritage Dictionary (2009) defines "lame" as "unsatisfactory." [1]

I will show why the ending was unsatisfactory to fans of the series.

I'll begin my argumentation in the second round. My opponent should reserve his or her arguments for round 2 as well.

I look forward to a fun debate.

[1] http://www.thefreedictionary.com...
Maikuru

Con

I thank my opponent for presenting this topic for discussion and am eager to engage in an entertaining and cordial debate. I am an ardent Lost fan and will do my best to defend its honor.

I trust both bluesteel and I have nothing but the best intentions in this debate, but some ground work is always prudent. The Lost in question clearly refers to the television series [1] and, as Pro's definition points out, we are using the slang meaning of the word "lame" in this discussion. Though not specified, Pro's reference to the show's "ending" likely refers to the series finale [2] and the conceptual conclusion of the show in general. I assume the canonical epilogue – New Man In Charge [3] – is naturally included as well.

With that, our goals seem clear and I will pass the reins over to my opponent. Enjoy!

1. http://lostpedia.wikia.com...
2. http://lostpedia.wikia.com...
3. http://lostpedia.wikia.com...
Debate Round No. 1
bluesteel

Pro

I thank my opponent for accepting – this looks to be a very interesting debate.

I'll assume my readers have seen the ending already.

1. Dead the whole time

Many fans speculated that the flash-sideways were an alternate universe created by the Man in Black, after he had escaped the island, in order to keep his promises to people like Sayid (bring Nadia back to life) or in order to keep the Oceanic survivors from attempting to return the Man in Black to the island. Both theories seemed to be bolstered when characters proved able to regain their memories from the island.

However, it turns out that the flash-sideways were actually purgatory. All the characters pictured were dead the whole time! This is the lamest plot twist ever, and it's lazy writing. The writers promised the fans back in season 2 that they would not use this plot twist. They argue they didn't because the island was real, just not the flash sideways. But they wasted half of the last season on scenes that were not actually real.

So it turns out the flash-sideways were just an annoying break from the main action and a waste of fan's time.

The ending also doesn't make logical sense – why wouldn't people like Desmond, who escaped the island to live out his life with Penny, need to go to purgatory? Why wouldn't he have already "moved on" by the time Hurley dies?

Why would Hurley even die if he's immortal and there's no Man in Black to kill him?

2. Major unresolved issues

Many fans of Lost watched the show until the end to find out answers to the major burning questions the show provoked. Many questions remain unanswered:

What was the important task Desmond was supposed to perform?
It clearly wasn't liberating people from the flash-sideways, as we were originally led to believe.

Why did the smoke monster kill Mr. Eko?
Mr. Eko was personally my favorite character and his death remains inexplicable. IGN lists his death as the #1 Lost death and Kristin Dos Santos of E! called him "the best character on the show." [1] The writer's owe us an answer.

What were the "mysterious powers" that Walt displayed during flashbacks and during his capture by The Others?
The epilogue doesn't adequately answer this question.

Why did Jacob hide himself from Ben?

What was up with the life giving water at the Temple?

In addition, we have stupid answers to important questions:

Why couldn't women get pregnant on the island?
A fertility statue broke.

What did the premonition Claire received about Aaron mean (that something bad would happen if he were raised apart from her)?
The premonition turns out to be a fake.

What did Hurley's numbers mean?
Nothing, but they correspond to certain "candidates."
[2]

3. "Kate and Sawyer" or "Kate and Jack"

This was a major source of speculation. Ultimately the writers choose: neither.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...
[2] http://geekscape.net...
Maikuru

Con

Thanks, bluesteel.

1. The finale's central plot documented the destiny of the island, but offered few answers to the emotional struggles of each castaway. It was only during the flash-sideways that we witnessed the conclusion to important character relationships, some of which could not be accomplished outside of that realm. To remove this element and ignore these essential connections would have been a huge disservice to the fans.

The introduction of the sideways realm was also a natural extension of the narrative. Spirituality and death were consistent themes throughout the series, with many individuals sharing interactions with the deceased. The prevalence of these concepts made its exploration necessary for a satisfying finale.

As for the logic of the finale, Jack's father stated that the survivors gathered after death because of the importance of the island in their lives [1]. Given the length of his stay on the island, it is no wonder that Desmond made an appearance. The sideways realm was also timeless, giving Hurley an eternity to give up his title of island protector and regain mortality.

2. While I will address Pro's questions, he gives no explanation as to why these particular issues degraded the show's ending. A series need only provide answers that, given the context of the plot, would naturally reveal themselves. Lost did so, and to disclose mysteries that would logically remain unknown would be senseless.

- Desmond's task was to kill the smoke monster by destroying the island.
- Mr. Eko found emotional closure moments before his death, thus losing Jacob's protection. The fact that he was popular is of no consequence.
- Walt shared a connection with the island. Considering no character on the show understood the nature of the island's power, this question could not be elaborated on without jeopardizing authenticity.
- Jacob practiced minimum interference to better witness the essence of humanity [2].
- Healing effects is a side-effect of the island's electromagnetism [3], as is interfering with childbirth.
- This premonition came true. Following Claire and Aaron's separation, she went mad, fell under the employ of the Man in Black, and very nearly caused his escape.
- My opponent answered his own question concerning the numbers.
- The resolution to the Kate-Jack-Juliet-Sawyer love quadrangle occurred in the finale, with each finding their soul mate in the afterlife.

While I have shown the finale's components to be necessary for a satisfying resolution to the series, Pro offered only grievances that may or may not influence the show's overall appeal. I await his reasons for why these objections, each of which I have shown to be either unfounded or trivial, outweigh the vast network of stories, mysteries, and relationships resolved in the show's final moments.

1. http://lostpedia.wikia.com...
2. http://lostpedia.wikia.com...
3. http://lostpedia.wikia.com...
Debate Round No. 2
bluesteel

Pro

The problem with Lost is that the entire show was one long bait and switch and what we're left with is far inferior to what we were promised.

My opponent begins by pointing out that purgatory (flash-sideways world) is the only way to resolve all the character issues (like Jack and Kate not getting to be together). But:

1) The writers chose a religious concept, purgatory, that is rather exclusive to Christian doctrine; it's too specific to be considered generally "spiritual" and "satisfying" to many fans. Lost was supposed to have universal appeal and its spirituality from seasons past was of a more general nature.

2) It doesn't make you feel better because you think that the flash-sideways world is real, only to have the rug yanked out from under you. Watching Jack die and then being "reassured" by him reuniting with Kate in an alternate universe, only to learn that it was "not real" is like having your dog die when you're 3 and your mom says, "it's okay, we can bring him back to life." "Really???" "Haha, NO, just kidding! But you'll die soon too, so don't worry, you'll see him before too long."

3) Ben's character issues are unresolved. He is still an outcast because of his actions and must wait outside the church at the end. He does not achieve redemption.

"Jack's father stated that the survivors gathered after death because of the importance of the island in their lives [1]"

First, note that Lostpedia is not a legitimate source; I could right now edit out all these theories I don't agree with and replace them with my own. Second, just because there is an explanation doesn't make it a good one.

My opponent still doesn't answer why Desmond had to re-unite with Penny in purgatory; he would have already done so in real life. There's also no reason that Jin and Sun needed to re-unite.

I accept that purgatory is timeless under Christian doctrine.

The writers for the show Friends wanted all fans to feel like the characters would be okay after the finale. The writers of Lost obviously didn't care about having the same universal appeal.

Unresolved Questions

Desmond - he didn't kill the Locke-monster; all he did was pull a giant stopper out of the Island – lame.

Mr. Eko – Jacob protected all candidates; no one ever said anything about finding emotional closure. The writers owe us an answer because the smoke-monster supposedly had a plan the entire time and didn't kill at random.

Healing: only Jacob had the power to bring someone back to life. What was up with the water at The Temple?

Pregnancy: the Epilogue shows that polar bears could get pregnant on the Island before the statue broke. A fertility statue breaking is a pretty lame explanation for why women couldn't get pregnant on the Island.

Lost was only intriguing because it promised answers – this was the cornerstone of the show. If the answers are lame or non-existent, the cornerstone of the show was based on a shaky foundation of false promises.
Maikuru

Con

A note on references. Each of my Round 2 sources referred to direct character quotes, not vague theories. Pro's attack on their credibility is baseless. Still, I've provided additional references to support those my opponent questioned previously.

1. Pro argues that "purgatory" speaks to a narrow viewing population. However, the themes of the sideways realm – reflection, reconciliation, and acceptance – are universal spiritual concepts. Lost did nothing to ostracize other religions and did much to distance itself from traditional Christian purgatory [1]. Also, each character struggled with these ideals throughout their journey, making the sideways realm a feasible storytelling mechanism for the writers and a logical source of closure for the fans.

2. Pro dismisses the emotional significance of the sideways world because it was "not real." However, as each character eventually developed the same memories, traits, and relationships in the sideways world as they held on the island, this storyline was a genuine extension of their journey. The realizations and decisions the castaways made there are as real as any they made previously.

3. Pro seems displeased that not all the characters had a happy ending. Fortunately, the show's writers did not pander to its fans in such a clich�d fashion. Instead, castaways received character-appropriate ends in both realities. True, not all fates were glorious or fair, but such is life. To tell the tale otherwise would be the epitome of lazy writing.

As for the unresolved questions, it seems Pro did not review my sources. Castaways arrived in the afterlife because of their connection to not only each other, but also the island [2]. Jacob explained that his candidates (i.e. those he protected) were emotionally broken [3]. Eko found peace moments before his death (and resisted the monster's coercion), exposing himself to danger. The island's electromagnetism healed miraculously throughout the show. As the Temple's water stemmed from the heart of the island, where electromagnetism is at its strongest [4], it naturally exhibited extreme healing properties. Lastly, the epilogue clearly states that electromagnetism impacts pregnancy [5]. Pro's "fertility statue" references miss the mark.

::Closing::

Lost is as much a character study as a mystery. By show's end, we know who the survivors were, why they arrived, how they were connected, and most importantly, what becomes of each. Lost provided these and countless other answers in an entertaining and enthralling fashion while still exploring the island's mystery and mythology. Pro's nitpicking does nothing to diminish the quality of this achievement.

1. http://www.newadvent.org...
2. Video 1
3. Video 2
4. http://lostpedia.wikia.com...
5. http://lost.about.com...
Debate Round No. 3
bluesteel

Pro

Purgatory

My opponent links me to a Christian site about purgatory, without explaining how Lost's purgatory is different. It's too late for him to do so in the last speech.

I don't think that he has an answer to the fact that using purgatory as an ending is just blatant discrimination against people who are spiritual but don't believe in a corporeal and literal afterlife (atheists, agnostics, Jews, Daoists, Hindus).

My opponent says: "As each character eventually developed the same memories, traits, and relationships in the sideways world as they held on the island, this storyline was a genuine extension of their journey."

What he just described sounds like a re-run.

I refer you back to my dead puppy analogy. Even if you believe in an afterlife, thinking the characters lived and then telling us they died in horrible ways is just a cruel joke. And this is even worse if you believe that purgatory is "not real." For non-purgatory believers, watching Kate and Jack re-unite in purgatory is as comforting as watching them re-unite at Mount Olympus and have their marriage presided over by the god Zeus.

Lost's fundamental tension was originally whether there was a scientific explanation for everything or a spiritual explanation for everything. The last season jettisoned the science in favor of the spiritual and eventually jettisoned the spiritual in favor of specific religious doctrines.

My opponent claims I'm nitpicking with my unanswered questions. However, the three examples I chose to extend were all MAJOR plot elements that needed to be tied off.

1) My opponent concedes (by not answering this argument) that Desmond's "special task" of pulling a giant stopper out of the Island is pretty lame. This is the ultimate task for a guy who could see the future.

2) My opponent says in his closing: "Lost is as much a character study as a mystery. By show's end, we know who the survivors were, why they arrived, how they were connected, and most importantly, what becomes of each." No we don't. What happened to Mr. Eko?!

He cites a video of Jacob saying that all the candidates were "broken." This may be true but doesn't prove that emotional closure removes his protection. Many characters achieve closure on the Island but still can't die. In the final season, Jack achieves closure when he decides to take over from Jacob, yet the dynamite Richard lights won't go off in Jack's hand. My opponent's explanation is extreme extrapolation and utter nonsense.

3) During the episodes with Juliet's flashbacks, the Others say that women could once give birth on the Island but something changed. The only thing that changed was the breaking of the fertility statue, not the electromagnetism. This explanation is LAME. My opponent admits as much by arguing so vehemently against this explanation.

The epilogue says polar bears can get pregnant, they just can't be brought to one particular Dharma station where electromagnetic levels are high.
Maikuru

Con

1. The Afterlife

Pro claims the sideways storyline was discriminatory. As an agnostic who loved the finale, I find this opinion meritless. You needn't prescribe to the beliefs displayed in a series to find it enjoyable, especially when they are approached with such respect and universality. Fans of the series have witnessed its numerous spiritual references, naturally understanding their relevance to the storyline. To suggest that these same individuals suddenly disregarded all this for personal pride is an affront to viewers' intelligence.

Though my opponent may also consider the afterlife scenes uncomforting, they provided answers that no other feasible alternative could offer. Having seen so many beloved characters fight and die for one another, it would have felt hollow to never see them achieve peace. Even worse would be to have their efforts washed away with some unauthentic quick-fix explanation. Instead, the writers kept the characters' decisions intact, addressed the essential question of science vs. faith, and still gave each castaway the fate they deserved.

2. Answered Questions

I did not reference Desmond's task because Pro presented no coherent argument. He simply stated that he was displeased with this outcome. It is Pro's burden to prove the finale was lame, not simply point to various plot-lines he didn't like. Such is an example of a critical weakness in Pro's position. He may believe his criticisms are deal breakers, but he provides no sources for these claims or indicates how his complaints hold more weight than the numerous answers and completed storylines provided by the finale. As such, even if he succeed in proving each of his contentions, he would still fail to affirm the resolution.

Pro does not believe Eko's emotional closure would remove Jacob's protection, but Jacob himself said otherwise:

Jacob: I chose you because you were like me. You were all alone. You were all looking for something that you couldn't find out there...
Kate: Why did you cross my name off of your wall?
Jacob: Because you became a mother [see: Video 2, Round 3].

Thus, Jacob used this rubric when choosing and removing candidates. My opponent's counter-example is flawed, as Jack's exposure to dynamite [1] occurred prior to his takeover for Jacob [2].

When it comes to pregnancy on the island, the thing that "changed" was the electromagnetic explosion at that "one particular Dharma station." This fact is reinforced by my earlier source on this point [3], while Pro's case to the contrary is made with zero supporting evidence and thus easily dismissed.

::Conclusion::

With each of my opponent's remaining contentions shown to be either factually incorrect or based on unsupported opinions, the resolution has been negated.

Thanks to bluesteel and all the readers!

1. http://www.avclub.com...
2. http://lostpedia.wikia.com...
3. http://lostpedia.wikia.com...
Debate Round No. 4
26 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by tejretics 1 year ago
tejretics
RFD:

Bluesteel's BOP was to prove that the ending to Lost was, on balance, "lame," based on certain criteria for "lameness." Maikuru's BOP was to refute bluesteel's arguments. Maikuru succeeded in doing that with a few key responses. At the end of the debate, bluesteel has three pieces of offense: (1) the ending to Lost is discriminatory towards non-Christians due to references to "purgatory," a Christian concept, (2) the sideways world was an irrelevant and unnecessary distraction from the main plot and (3) there were major unresolved issues. Maikuru's first compelling response is that mere themes of spirituality, even if Christian spirituality, aren't necessarily "discriminatory," and bluesteel fails to explain that. Next, Maikuru responds to the distraction point by clearly explaining how the purgatory-world allowed further exploration of the emotions of characters. Finally, Maikuru explains resolutions to all unresolved issues, and bluesteel's only remaining offense in that is subjective dislike for Desmond's objectives and the issue with the breaking of the fertility statue -- why they are "lame" isn't explained. Maikuru wins.
Posted by tejretics 1 year ago
tejretics
========================================
famousdebater. 5 points to Maikuru. Removed because: while the debate doesn't require RFDs, it is a very old debate that was potentially instigated before mandatory RFDs became an option. The vote is recent and so must confirm to current voting standards. This is an exceptional situation and the voter is free to revote but please do so with an actual RFD.

Reasons for voting decision: (blank)
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Posted by bluesteel 2 years ago
bluesteel
========================================
2001bhu. 7 points to Maikuru. Removed because: this user retaliated against the mod for removing some of his other votes by vote bombing 6 of the mods debates in quick succession. This debate was one of those.

Reasons for voting decision: Con did better in my opinion
=======================================
Posted by BillBonJovi 6 years ago
BillBonJovi
TBH I think it's good that Lost has so many unanswered questions and ended in a lame way, because the lost universe can now be expanded with novels, graphic novels, comic books, fan fiction ect. This will make the fans still interested in the franchise.
If the makers made it so all the unanswered questions were answers in the end then the fans would lose interest and forget the series eventually. Well that's my opinion anyway
Posted by Marauder 6 years ago
Marauder
conduct was really close, and overall they both did equally good, but there was a slight deviation on Pro's part with the dog dieing analogy. it not the analogy itself that a considered a minor deviation but rather the emotional attitude it was presented with.
Posted by Marauder 6 years ago
Marauder
I'm christian, don't particularity believe in purgatory, and liked the purgatory ending on the show.
Posted by xxdarkxx 6 years ago
xxdarkxx
Same here, most Christians I know, hated it because they don't actually believe in purgatory.
Posted by Koopin 6 years ago
Koopin
If you look on the window panes of the church everyone goes in (on lost) you can see all these religious symbols. I believe Hinduism is on there.
Posted by Koopin 6 years ago
Koopin
No official source that I could provide. It is just everyone at my church watches lost. So I got feedback from them.
Posted by xxdarkxx 6 years ago
xxdarkxx
@Bluesteel you obviously have not looked as deep into the show as many people have. Every question you asked HAS an answer and d@mn good one at that. The writers of the show did a wonderful job and you simply think that the show is "bad" because your intellectual prowess is unable to grasp the show. On another note you failed to even allude to how the show ended in a technical aspect, the writers, directors, and producers looked to bring the show to a "full circle" (which was what LOST was originally going to be called).
13 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by fire_wings 11 months ago
fire_wings
bluesteelMaikuruTied
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Reasons for voting decision: More sources
Vote Placed by tejretics 1 year ago
tejretics
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments
Vote Placed by Balacafa 1 year ago
Balacafa
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Reasons for voting decision: In the end the debate went off topic and went on about discrimination in the storyline which didn't really contribute to the overall outcome of the debate. After Pro explained the significance of unresolved issues Con couldn't bounce back. If unresolved issues are lame and Con can only question why they make it lame then I buy Pro over con since Pro gives me specific elements of Lost whilst Con only criticizes its credibility as an argument.
Vote Placed by famousdebater 1 year ago
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Vote Placed by 9spaceking 2 years ago
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Vote Placed by tulle 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I think Con was correct in saying that many of Pro's arguments were not really arguments that supported his resolution. The only real one was that the audience would feel cheated at the "they were dead all along" ending, and that the questions left unanswered were "lazy writing." Con sufficiently addresses the latter point, as wrapping things up as Friends did would be incredibly cliched, and there were answers we weren't supposed to have. Con also addresses the flash sideways as being a necessary component of each character's story arc.
Vote Placed by RyuuKyuzo 4 years ago
RyuuKyuzo
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Reasons for voting decision: countering unjustified points.
Vote Placed by Daktoria 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro hits the nail on the head of bad writing. The "flash-sideways" and "move on" devices are basically excuses for nothingness that leave the plot up to imagination in the audience's mind. Ultimately, the show's success seemed to be a self-fulfilling prophecy from its popularity. Con tries to prove resolution, but basically concedes to this point, suggesting that bad writing is good writing. Totally dumb.
Vote Placed by emospongebob527 4 years ago
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Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 6 years ago
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