One of the most agonizing questions writers get asked is “Where do you get your ideas from?” It’s frustrating because most of the time we don’t know… or we probably stole it from somewhere and we don’t want to be identified as plagiarist hacks. But I know exactly where this idea came from…
The final scene of “Through the Looking Glass” — the third season finale of Lost — was stolen from the movie Saw 2.
If you have not seen Saw 2, all you need to know is that Donnie Wahlberg is in it and that the twist at the end involves tricking the audience into thinking they’re watching something unfold in present time, when in fact, it is unfolding in the PAST. Also, Donnie Wahlberg is in it. Did I say that already?
Carlton (my co-writer) and I had just finally won the battle to have ABC announce an end date to the show (albeit three years out), which finally allowed us to break from the monotony of character flashbacks (we had one that explained where Sayid had his hair styled all lined up) and launch into flash-FORWARDS. But the divine inspiration of Saw 2 led us to the inevitable conclusion that the best way to do this would be to make our first flash-forward LOOK like yet another flashback. And then, in the final scene, we drop the hammer. Boom. You’re in the FUTURE, BITCHES!!! TAKE THAT, DONNIE WAHLBERG!
Writing that scene — the one where Jack waits on the outskirts of LAX as a car pulls up… the door opens… and out steps KATE — was awesome. My process is riddled with doubt and self-loathing, but this was one of the rare instances where I felt like I was doing something undeniably great. I felt like I had been crouched down in the darkness of someone’s apartment with all my best friends (the writers) waiting to shout out SURPRISE to our unexpected birthday boy/girl (the audience) — and I KNEW they’d be thrilled when we did.
And by time Jack was shouting, “WE HAVE TO GO BAAAAAAAACK!” (yes, I added all those extra A’s in the script) and I typed SMASH TO BLACK, my eyes were wet. I was inside the thing… feeling what these characters were feeling… knowing we were, at long last, working toward an actual ENDING now. And finally…for one fleeting moment…
I felt peace.