How you choose to watch a show can partially impact your enjoyment of it—whether it’s live or binge-watching sessions—but watching the Lost series finale on Netflix can give you an entirely different experience, particularly when the version on the site isn’t the same one that aired on TV.
Lost fans on Reddit have noticed as early as last May that “The End,” the super-sized Lost finale that divides fans to this day, is missing more than 18 minutes of footage. The version that aired on ABC May 23, 2010 has a runtime of 104 minutes, while the version on Netflix comes in at 86 minutes on the U.S. site—two parts that are 43 minutes apiece.
For instance, a copy of the script and the episode’s transcript list the first scene in the finale as a flash sideways of Christian Shephard’s coffin being unloaded off Oceanic Flight 815. The scene doesn’t feature any of the big players or any dialogue, but it’s a small piece in the larger picture—and Christian’s coffin plays a role in the finale’s big emotional reveal.
However, the Netflix episode starts on a different scene: Kate Austen is staking out the church where Christian’s coffin is being delivered.
The worry over whether Netflix’s version of “The End” was missing footage came up again in r/lost around three months ago, where redditor JustDandy07 listed at least three other scenes throughout the finale that were missing.
1) Interaction between Jack and “Locke” when they’re lowering Desmond into the cave. Locke said something about how it reminded him of the hatch. Jack says something about how he’s not Locke and he is dishonoring the memory of the real Locke by wearing his face.
2) Someone makes a small comment to Richard on the plane about how he’s got some gray hair.
3) Hurley and Ben interacting outside the church. Hurley telling Ben he was a good Number 2 and Ben telling Hurley he was a good Number 1.
Fans were divided on whether the footage was missing from Netflix, but some had managed to find even more instances of scenes that didn’t appear on Netflix.
While some of them already reached out to Netflix about the concern, Lost fans now have showrunner Damon Lindelof advocating for Netflix to bring the version of the finale that he helped to make. In a statement to Entertainment Weekly, Lindelof believes an edited version (one made for international markets or later airings) made its way to Netflix by mistake.
“I am totally befuddled by all this. Love it or hate it, the finale that aired is the definitive finale and to alter it in any way defies explanation. Something tells me that this isn’t Netflix’s fault … that it’s an honest mistake and something got miscommunicated — I seem to remember ABC had to make an edit for rerun airings that tightened the show into ‘format’ (42 minutes to accommodate commercials), and somehow that [version] mistakenly got sent to Netflix. This sometimes happened with our finales — we’d ask for extra time and ABC would agree to air, but then we had to do another tighter version for subsequent airings and/or international [markets]. We usually left these (painful) cuts to the discretion of our editors… but as the show lives on in DVD form and on Netflix, there is ZERO reason to have the shorter version out there.”
Update 4:40pm CT, Jan. 7: Netflix says it will restore the original version of the episode, and admits it hosted the wrong one.
@EW We aren't either! We are in the middle of correcting now, and will have the uncut version back streaming as soon as possible.— Netflix US (@netflix) January 7, 2016
H/T Entertainment Weekly | Screengrab via Netflix