Episode Review: "Lost" Series Finale

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't yet seen this episode of Lost, you should avoid reading this article and the user comments, as they will discuss events that happened during the episode.

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Episode 17/18 Metascore
74
Average User Score*: 7.4

* through June 4

Season 6, Episode 17/18: "The End"

"Lost" may be over, but discussions about the finale are only beginning. As we typically do with any episode of "Lost," we have collected a handful of reviews of the episode from critics and recappers, assigned scores to each review, and averaged them together to get an overall Metascore for the episode.

In this case, however, two things should be noted: First, due to the overwhelming interest in this particular episode, we have quite a few more reviews than we normally do, since many critics who don't weigh in on a weekly basis opted to offer their opinions of the finale. Secondly, in many cases, the reviews quoted below are only preliminary observations of the episode. Due to the finale's length and thought-provoking ending, many critics will be further developing their opinions after (deservedly) giving the episode more thought, and thus their instant reactions that we include there may ultimately differ from their final assessments. Think of the Metascore, then, as a rough guide to viewers' first reactions to what they just saw.

Our collection of individual critic reviews is below. First, we want to know your initial reaction: On a scale of 10 (fantastic) to 0 (terrible), enter your grade for the "Lost" finale below:

Preliminary Reviews for This Week's Episode
Score Publication Reviewer
100 IGN Chris Carabott
The Lost series finale was one of the most enthralling, entertaining and satisfying conclusions I could have hoped for.
100 Orlando Sentinel Hal Boedeker
I can think of several [series] that were more influential:”The Sopranos,” “ER,” “CSI,” “NYPD Blue,” “Hill Street Blues.” But there’s no denying “Lost” was unique, and the series finale was a stunner.
100 St. Petersburg Times Eric Deggans
Sunday’s show was an emotional, funny, expertly measured reminder of what Lost has really centered on since its first moments on the prime time TV landscape: faith, hope, romance and the power of redemption through belief in the best of what moves mankind.
100 Television Without Pity Cindy McLennan
[Grade: A; full recap forthcoming]
100 TV Overmind Sam McPherson
“The End” is the best episode of television I believe I’ve ever seen. Best series finale? Most definitely.
100 USA Today Robert Bianco
Sunday's emotional feast of a finale ... can stand with the best any series has produced. ... Thrillingly, cleverly, and in a manner that tapped into the simple, profound truths of great American works like Our Town, the show spelled out for viewers what it has been saying all along. Lost is about life and death, faith and science, spirit and flesh, and has always stressed that the title refers to the characters' souls, not their location.
91 The Onion A.V. Club Noel Murray
As far as delivering action, emotion, wit and “whoa, what the hell?” I’d say “The End” was enormously entertaining. ... Does making “The End” about the characters “finding each other” rather than about them accomplishing some specific goal or learning some applicable lesson negate the previous 100-odd hours of adventuring? I don’t think so ... but it did make the closing moments in the church ring a little hollow for me. [Grade: A-]
90 Chicago Tribune Maureen Ryan
The first two hours were exciting and emotionally engaging, especially when the island castaways in the Sideways world began remembering their "real" lives. ... But the last half hour or so took the finale to another level. ... The emotional part of the finale worked so well that I don't care much about the analytical/structural stuff.
90 Cultural Learnings Myles McNutt
Lost doesn’t try to end in a way which closes off its plot holes or pieces together its own meandering qualities, but rather creates an episode that says the journey was worthwhile, that the time these characters spent with each other and the time we spent with these characters was all worth it. ... Beautiful and heartwrenching, “The End” captures more than any other series finale I’ve watched the sum total of the series’ experience, awakening in viewers the same power of recall which pulls together half of the series’ narrative.
90 Entertainment Weekly Jeff Jensen
“The End” was an emotionally draining epic that had me crying with almost every single “awakening." ... I was satisfied. More than satisfied. [Jensen's full recap will eventually appear on this page.]
90 Telegraph Michael Deacon
So there we are, then. It wasn’t completely clear. It wasn’t completely logical. But it was completely thrilling. [Deacon has further thoughts here.]
90 Time James Poniewozik
"The End" was an epic, stirring two and a half hours of television, full of heart and commitment, that was true to Lost's characters as we knew them from season one.
90 TV Squad Jason Hughes
As finales go, 'The End' will definitely go down as one of the more satisfying ones; even though it didn't come close to answering all of our questions about the Island and its special properties.
90 Zap2It Ryan McGee
Looking at it from an emotional perspective, I thought the finale was a masterpiece.
80 Entertainment Weekly Ken Tucker
For most of its long but rarely boring length, the final Lost did not huff and puff and labor toward a heavy metaphorical conclusion. Instead, it was, well, pretty delightful, full of reunions that were both emotional and funny. ... Was this an all-time great finale? I wouldn’t say so.
80 HitFix Drew McWeeny
The finale is about 80% "Wow, they're doing it! They're doing it!" and about 20% "Oh, crap, they're doing that!".  And that's a ratio that I can absolutely live with. ... The way the show paid off the various emotional arcs that it's been building for six years was impressive, and there was a series of major moments that are some of the most memorable I've ever seen in a finale.
80 Los Angeles Times Todd VanDerWerff
Very little of the actual plot is, really, all that thrilling. But it works and it becomes thrilling because it provides character payoffs we've been waiting for. ... The important thing ... is not answers. It's resolution. And "Lost" provided that in spades. ... [But] I don't know where I'd rank "The End" against all other "Lost" episodes. There were some jokes that fell flat, and an overreliance on sentimentality that could be a little grating at times.
80 TV Fanatic M.L. House
I found myself almost bored, anxious to get everyone enlightened so we could get to the show's overarching resolution.
80 TV Worth Watching David Bianculli
The general tendency, after a show this complicated says goodbye, is to pick it apart and complain about every untied plot thread, every final inconsistency, every forgotten character. But I'd rather just thank Lost for the ride, and for providing such unforgettable characters and performances, and presenting a series of such originality.
70 Los Angeles Times Mary McNamara
No matter how you felt about the resolution of the finale, the 144 or so minutes that preceded it were pretty compelling television.
70 San Francisco Chronicle Tim Goodman
As a series finale it overjoyed the heart and annoyed the brain. But if I had to do it all over again, knowing how it all plays out, I'd still watch.
70 The Star-Ledger [Newark] Vicki Hyman
A conclusion that delivered gratifying codas for beloved characters, though it maddeningly side-stepped the show’s legion of unresolved enigmas.
70 What's Alan Watching Alan Sepinwall
I'm still wrestling with my feelings about "The End"... As two and a half hours of television - as an extra-long episode of "Lost" - I thought most of it worked like gangbusters. ... But as someone who did spend at least part of the last six years dwelling on the questions that were unanswered - be they little things like the outrigger shootout or why The Others left Dharma in charge of the Swan station after the purge, or bigger ones like Walt - I can't say I found "The End" wholly satisfying, either as closure for this season or the series. ... There are narrative dead ends in every season of "Lost," but it felt like season six had more than usual.
60 People Tom Gliatto
The very long finale to ABC’s Lost was deeply touching, quite ridiculous and, in its very last seconds, so infuriating I erupted like the Smoke Beast and did a few cloudy charges around the perimeter of my apartment on the island of Manhattan.
50 The New York Times Mike Hale
When the entire island story line we had been following for six seasons turned out not to matter very much within the internal organization of the show’s narrative — to be largely disconnected from that final quasi-religious resolution of the plot — it was deflating, despite the warm feelings the finale otherwise inspired. ... As it so often had been, “Lost” was shaky on the big picture — on organizing the welter of mythic-religious-philosophical material it insisted on incorporating into its plot — but highly skilled at the small one, the moment to moment business of telling an exciting story. [Hale's initial comments are available here.]
50 Televisionary Jace Lacob
I found it to be sentimental and cliched, as Lindelof and Cuse offered up the very plot contrivance that they fought so hard not to fall into in the island-set storyline. ... I found the ending to be so heavy-handed, clunky and maudlin at the same time, that I couldn't give in to the post-life love fest going on in those final scenes. [Lacob has even more comments at The Daily Beast.]
40 Boston Globe Matthew Gilbert
The mixed episode offered an abundance of emotional resolution and vague metaphor, some of which was compelling (Sawyer and Juliet’s reunion, Jack and Desmond's farewell) and some of which was quite hokey (the cork?! the light? Locke becoming human again?).
40 Variety Brian Lowry
Despite the emotional wallop of the finale -- there were just too many unanswered questions for that to be wholly satisfying. ... I can't escape the feeling the flash-sideways arc was a waste of time.
40 The New York Times Ross Douthat
I was by turns moved, engrossed, and deeply irritated. But mainly I was irritated, because in the end I’m a plot-centric person, and “Lost” was a densely plotted show, and the macro-plot turned out to be … well, a big nothing seems like an awfully strong way of putting it, but it was certainly close to that.
10 Baltimore Sun David Zurawik
If this is supposed to be such a smart and wise show, unlike anything else on network TV (blah, blah, blah), why such a wimpy, phony, quasi-religious, white-light, huggy-bear ending. ... Once Jack stepped into the church it looked like he was walking into a Hollywood wrap party without food or music -- just a bunch of actors grinning idiotically for 10 minutes and hugging one another.
10 Gawker Max Read
We learned nothing from two-and-a-half hours of slow-motion bullshittery backed with a syrupy soundtrack. ... How great is it to get all these characters back? Not very great at all, as it turns out.
All "Lost" Episodes This Season
Episode Score   Episode Score
Episode 1/2: LA X 89   Episode 10: The Package 72
Episode 3: What Kate Does 64   Episode 11: Happily Ever After 93
Episode 4: The Substitute 88   Episode 12: Everybody Loves Hugo 83
Episode 5: Lighthouse 71   Episode 13: The Last Recruit 73
Episode 6: Sundown 82   Episode 14: The Candidate 92
Episode 7: Dr. Linus 92   Episode 15: Across the Sea 58
Episode 8: Recon 76   Episode 16: What They Died For 89
Episode 9: Ab Aeterno 93   Episode 17/18: The End 74

Individual critic scores are assigned by Metacritic (on a scale of 0-bad to 100-great) based on the overall impression given by a review. The overall Metascore listed at the top of this page is a simple average of the individual scores.

One more thing

If you happened to miss the past six seasons, here's a handy recap:

What did you think?

What did you think of the finale? Was it a fitting end to the series, or were you hoping for something different? Join the conversation below.

We're sorry, but comments are closed for this article.

Comments (132)

  • heartkidnapper  

    great finale , there are alot of reviews that must not consider here because they are wrong!-->alot of them thought "reviewers" that the survivors of the crash are dead from the beggining ,no! they were alive and they lived in the island but they are all dead in the alt-univ so they give it a bad review so i guess they must delete these scores and just let the reviewers who got the message right!

  • adams  

    I feel that it deserved a higher metascore(maybe 85-90), it was more than satisfying. Really beautiful ending.

  • Jeff  

    I feel this rating is undeserved as it includes a wide gamut of new reviewers that vary differently from the reviewers and critics whose scores are normally assessed into the metascore... for example Ross Douthat of the NY Times is not even a tv critic and has never commented on the show prior to this episode. In effort to maintain continuity with all the other aggregate scores, it would be more apt to maintain the same critics who normally score/review the show (Sepinwall, Mo Ryan, James Poniewozik, et al) Otherwise you are simply distilling the show among many who can simply be considered fair weather or even first time viewers... Why not post my review then?

  • Mattie  

    Great great episode, it was as lost as lost has ever been. People expect too much and the main fun of Lost was the mysteries and questions, not the answers.

  • Matt  

    Why put up the new reviewers? There is no way you could jump into the final episode and know what was going on or the stakes of everything going on. Seriousl, David Zurawik writes as if they haven't watched the show. Max Read's column is far from professional.

  • heartkidnapper  

    ya , like i said they must delete alot of reviews for these new reviewers who did not understand the masterpiece to give the lost finale the right score , if we delete those it easly got a 85-95 points and that what it deserves!

  • Don A  

    I agree, this was a bad ending. I rated it a 6. They just completely dismissed some of the point that were made just last week and two weeks ago. And for people saying "oh they didn't understand", stop it. It's not very hard to understand that they didn't all die at the same time, they all died at their own pace, which is a complete screw up in itself. It was just a bad episode, and it's too bad that it's the last one. And thus, this episode is how I remember LOST, it had potential and a great plot, but failed in the end.

  • Jalex  

    The score is actually higher than I expected (though much lower than deserved, in my opinion), since almost everyone seemed to have an expectation of how the finale would play out, but I doubt anybody predicted what did actually take place.
    And while I did have some hopes for several things that never ended up taking place in the series, I can't honestly deny that the finale was both excellent and beautiful in every scene from beginning to end.

  • Daniel  

    If you only count the usual reviewers the average is 88!

  • Jordan Rath  

    This was not the finale everyone was expecting, but it was the finale that everyone needed. It resolved the most important aspect of the show; the characters. I think too many people were looking for straight forward answers about the island, or time travel, or the mythology, but ultimately the producers wanted LOST to live on forever in debate and guessing and I love them for it. Last night LOST transcended the walls of TV and I will forever wonder exactly where they were or what they were. But at least after the finale I will know that all of the characters that I have come to love after 6 seasons are safe and sound and in a better place, no matter when or where they ended up. This episode deserves a 10 more than any TV episode in history, it was genius on all accounts. Its sad that some people cant see the beauty in what happened last night on TV.

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