ABC’s “Lost” was one of the best TV shows ever. I never missed an episode. Like so many fans of the show I sat at the edge of my seat every week for the past six seasons watching as the writers continued to surprise us with unexpected plot twists and random character deaths. The summers were the worse; I waited patiently until a new episode graced my screen to only be rewarded with yet another mystery. Damn you “Lost!” It was truly a love hate relationship from the beginning but I continued to watch because it was the best show on television. With that said, I had absolutely no plans to write anything about the series or the finale. Then I began reading those nasty fan reaction comments online. As it turns out, many fans of the show misunderstand the ending and feel that the writers left too many questions unanswered. The writers did leave some things to our imagination. Would you expect anything else from “Lost?” I’ll try my best to clear things up.
Lets start with the big one.
Q. Were the characters in purgatory the entire series?
A. No. The “flash sideways” scenes showed their individual afterlife existence. The Oceanic Flight 815 survivors did live on the Island. Some characters died on the Island, others died off the Island.
Q. What is a “Flash Sideways”?
A. In “Lost,” every real-time Island event is paired with a “flash.” Seasons 1 & 2 had “flashbacks,” Seasons 3 & 4 “flash forwards” to the future, Season 5 had a “flash loop” and Season 6 “flashed sideways,” an alternative-reality that occupied the same space and time as the previous “flashbacks” and “flash forwards.”
Q. What’s up with that light at the center of the Island?
A. The light is a powerful electromagnetic source that can affect the Island and its inhabitants. It’s also a MacGuffin. A ambiguous plot element that major players in the story are willing to sacrifice almost anything to obtain.
Q. What is the Island?
A. The Island is a mystical, moving, ancient land mass that prevents evil from escaping into the rest of the world. It also gave certain characters abilities (healed John Locke’s paralyzed legs) and made others crazy (Claire and Rousseau).
Q. Why did the numbers 4 8 15 16 23 42 appear in several episodes?
A. The numbers symbolize the final six “candidates” to become the Island’s new protector. John Locke is 4, Hurley is 8, Sawyer is 15, Sayid is 16, Jack is 23 and Sun Kwon is 42. Jacob wrote the names and numbers in an ancient cave.
Q. Who created the Egyptian statue of Taweret and markings all over the Island?
A. The Island natives, long before the Oceanic Flight 815 plane crash and the DHARMA (Department of Heuristics And Research on Material Applications) Initiative.
Q. Where did Jacob and The Man in Black’s biological mother come from?
A. Claudia spoke Spanish and stated she came from “Across the sea.” She shipwrecked on the Island.
Q. Why wasn’t Michael in the church in the finale?
A. In the episode “Everybody Loves Hugo,” Michael tells Hurley he’s not allowed to move on because of the things he did while he was alive.
Q. Why can’t babies be born on the Island?
A. They can. Jacob and The Man in Black were born on the Island, so was Claire’s child. They have trouble being conceived because of the electromagnetism. Sun did conceive Jin’s baby on the Island.
Q. Where did the light at the center of the Island come from?
A. It’s not man made. It’s the heart of the Island.
Q. Why did the light have to be protected?
A. It had to be protected from the Smoke Monster aka The Man in Black who wanted to leave the Island. He could only leave the Island if all the “candidates” were dead. Destroying the Island was his kill two birds with one stone back-up plan.
Q. What was the “Loophole?”
A. This refers to the time-loop theory. The Man in Black used the time-loop to trick Richard and Ben into thinking John Locke had to die. Therefore, The Man in Black caused the death of John Locke and Jacob without actually doing the killing.
Q. If they survived Oceanic Flight 815, how come they didn’t show any people with the plane wreckage during the closing credits?
A. It’s symbolic. Many final episodes show an empty space to symbolize the end. If you look close, you can see footsteps and clothing in the sand. ABC issued a statement clarifying that the images over the closing credits were not part of the narrative of the final episode.
Q. Why did the finale end with a religious theme?
A. Many faiths, traditions and customs were represented during the six-year run. Ultimately the show was about redemption: to change for the better and to make amends. If you don’t understand this, well you don’t understand “Lost.”