Will STRANGER THINGS End The Way LOST Never Could?
Stranger Things is NOT the same show as Lost. However, there are some similarities beneath the surface in how their stories are told. So let’s find some common ground. We can compare ‘The Island’ to the small town of Hawkins. They are both remote places populated by characters we’ve grown to love. They share a sense of isolation from the outside world. These places are centers for unexplained events revolving around an equally mysterious organization. Both The Dharma Initiative and The Energy Department are focused on harnessing what lies beneath their respective ‘islands’.
The science fiction base of these shows grants the writers freedom to introduce elements like abilities, monsters, time travel (or inter dimensional travel) and more. There may not be any polar bears roaming around Hawkins but, after season 2, we can now say they both have giant smoke monsters.
Hawkins and The Island. Two places that set the stage for infinite storytelling possibilities. We know how Lost handled things. As the show developed, the mysteries grew deeper and deeper. More question arose and fans were captivated. The showrunners may not have intended to frame the show around these questions but fans all wanted answers. We just didn’t get as many we hoped.
What’s up with the Cabin? The four toed statue? Walt? Widmore? Childbirth problems? The outrigger? Christian Shepperd? Time travel limitations? Jacob? The Man In Black? The characters missing from the church?
What IS The Island?
Indeed, the show left a lot of lingering questions but instead chose to focus on wrapping up the central characters on the show. This is why so many people were torn over the finale. On one hand, the show gave us an emotional and fitting farewell to the Oceanic Six and the relationships they founded on the Island. On the other, we were left with a series of questions surrounding the Island we’ll never get answers for. It was a strangely ambiguous ending that begged the question: Did we really need those answers? Or was the show best when fans were immersed and overflowing with theories and speculation.
Lost was (and always will be) one of the last great water cooler shows before the binge streaming era began.
Much like Lost, the mystery deepens and the mythology expands with each new episode of Stranger Things. Season 2 brought the upside down into our world in incredibly unique ways. It strengthened the core cast while introducing new players who quietly carved their place in the world.
But Stranger Things has the ability to end in ways Lost never could.
Not because they can still answer every question and solve every mystery. But because they have the ability to frame the show in a way where the answers won’t matter as much. There is the possibility that every question will be answered and every mystery revealed but a satisfying yet ambiguous end can’t be ruled out either.
After two seasons, we know that an inter dimensional tear has emerged and the creatures that lie within want out. The upside down is treated as an infection both in characters like Will and the town of Hawkins itself. We now have a central ‘villain’ in the Shadow Monster who will remain to terrorize characters for seasons to come. (In theory… There may be ‘something’ worse out there.) For now, that’s more than enough.
We don’t need to know what dimension the Shadow Monster is from or why ‘He’ chose Hawkins/Our dimension. Did the scientists as Hawkins Lab invite the disaster through experimentation? What does it all have to do with the children and the experiments carried out at the facility? Is Papa truly still alive?
Some of these answers are most likely coming. The producers have already stated they have a 5 season plan with ‘worthy’ ends for all of their characters. But the show has done a brilliant job setting the stage slowly much like Lost. To me that says the people behind this show have a firm grasp of the central mysteries while still focusing on what matters most. The characters.
How will the mythology expand in season 3? Will they introduce too many new elements and lose sight of the mysteries left behind? I doubt it. The world of Stranger Things is a tightly crafted piece of storytelling (so far). I believe the show has the potential to avoid the mistakes (if you see it that way) made on Lost and give fans a less divisive end.
I suppose the appropriate questions are: Can a show like Lost or Stranger Things end with leftover mysteries? Do you NEED all the answers to consider it a satisfying end? Or can the imagination take over once the credits roll?
No matter the type of ending they choose, the Duffer Brothers will never be able to please everyone. Personally, I liked the way Lost ended. It made sense for that world. What ending will make sense for Stranger Things? We’ll find out in a few more years. After two seasons, the one thing I know for sure? Stranger Things is an amazing show worth speculating about overflowing with compelling characters that just keep getting better.