Are the Lost Haters Getting to Carlton and Damon?

Vulture’s Emily Nussbaum may have liked it, but the prevailing consensus among Internet-capable Lost viewers seems to be that Tuesday night’s Jacob and Man in Black–centric show “Across the Sea” was not one of the series’ best. So after 118 episodes, and six mostly backlash-free years, how are show-runners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse dealing with their first serious taste of fan disappointment?

Yesterday, Hitfix’s Alan Sepinwall spoke with the pair about Tuesday’s show. Because Cuse says they only “get a little bit of general feedback” because they “try not to obsess about the [message] boards and all that stuff,” Sepinwall helpfully explains to them all the ways in which everybody is upset about it.

Things begin polite enough. Here’s Lindelof on whether Lost’s ending will reveal enough to meet our expectations:

“[Fans] say, ‘I wanted to see the statue built,’ or ‘I wanted the Man in Black’s first name,’ or ‘I want to know about the guy Sayid shot on the golf course.’ Okay, that’s cool, you wanted those answers and we decided not to provide them to you. It’s not because we’re being cutesie, it’s because that that didn’t fit with our vision of the show. Right or wrong, we’re going to have to deal the rest of our lives with questions about how Lost ended. We’re comfortable with that, and at the end of the day, we have to remind people that we chose to end the show. We did not go on for a couple of more seasons and sort of pad it off to oblivion. And we knew when we chose to end the show, that we were going to have to take our lumps.

But is he really ready to take his lumps? The interview takes a turn for the uncomfortable when, after voicing a bunch of other viewer concerns, Sepinwall mentions that some of his readers think it’s unfair that the show is still introducing new characters and mysteries this late in its final season. Responds Lindelof:

Are there any readers who actually like the show?

Also, yesterday, he tweeted this:

Wait. "Polarizing" is a BAD thing?less than a minute ago via web

For all the years Lost has been on the air, Lindelof and Cuse have been hailed as TV gods — even during season three! — but by fans who expected them to eventually tie up lots of loose ends, provide plausible explanations for all of the island’s magic, and satisfyingly conclude every character’s story. Is it possible to do these things in Lost’s three and a half remaining hours? What happens to the show’s makers if they can’t? And are they prepared for it?

Obviously no beloved series has ever depended so much on its ending — Seinfeld and The Sopranos weren’t shows that held back crucial information from viewers for six years, so when their final episodes left some disappointed, nobody could reasonably claim they’d wasted hundreds of hours. But maybe not so with Lost! And maybe more important, neither David Chase nor Jerry Seinfeld were on Twitter when their shows ended, so they never had to sift through disappointed @ replies in real time. If May 23’s Lost finale is as hated as Tuesday’s episode, it might be totally excruciating to watch these perfectly nice guys — who did give us six (mostly) great seasons — have to live it down. We hope it’s a good one, for everybody’s sake.

Are the Lost Haters Getting to Carlton and Damon?