As you all doubtless know by now, about six weeks ago I decided to run a marathon of Lost. If for some reason you don’t know then I recommend reading Intro to a Lostathon.
Sunday night was – as pretty much everyone also knows regardless of their personal interest – the finale. I already posted my notes for that episode, but those were episode specific. With this post I’ll be going back to look at my previous season Big Lists, working in Season 6, reorganizing the questions, noting ones that got answered and probably bitching about the ones that didn’t.
Please note: A few people have pointed out to me that there’s more information out there, released via podcasts and DVD bonuses and web episodes and games and gods know what else that I’ve never looked for. And hey, that’s great for those who like to do extra homework. From my perspective however, anything important about a show should be in that show. I think providing additional context and flavour outside of a program is totally legit and a great way to flesh out your world. But as storytellers you can’t rely on your audience seeing anything but what you directly deliver. I am basing my questions and subsequent answers (or lack thereof) on the six seasons, the 121 episodes, the 5082 minutes broadcast on TV. If out of all that we still had to go listen to podcasts to get major answers, I don’t think the audience is the problem.
I do however invite all discussion, including and especially if I missed something that was shown in the aired episodes. Aside from Season One, all episodes were watched exactly one time, and often in a bit of a hurry. It’s entirely possible that I missed a detail, and it could be that one detail that turns a disgruntled unanswered question into something fully formed and satisfying.
But enough of that. There is nitpicking to be done!
The Big List
These questions come from the list I’ve been keeping, adjusting and adding to progressively over the course of all six seasons. For the sake of completion I tried not to leave anything out (which is why “easy” questions are included). I’ve split all questions into three main categories:
Answered is pretty straight forward. Things that I questioned enough to note down, and to which I feel I got or can cobble together a fairly definitive answer. I may not necessary agree with said answer or like it very much, but I feel it was addressed or its lack of being addressed is excusable.
Fleshed Out But Not Answered are the questions that we probably came back to time and again throughout the life of the series, providing more information but without ever actually answering anything.
Finally there’s WTF. These are mysteries that were dangled in front of our face, taunting us, and then left hanging, never to see anything close to a satisfying resolution.
Sub- or related questions will be marked with Also:
And finally if I have anything extra to say on any of these, I’ll add the Comments: tag before going off on it.
- Q: How did the plane crash?
A: Desmond failed to push the button in the Swan station and the buildup of electromagnetic energy pulled the plane apart and out of the sky.
Comments: I accept the answer, but it makes little sense to me that a magnetic power strong enough to yank a trans-Pacific airliner out of the air didn’t cause massive damage to the hatch in the process.
- Q: Who were the two bodies laid out in the caves?
A: The Man in Black and his mother, placed there by Jacob.
- Q: Is there any significance to the books and other literature seen throughout the series?
A: Overall, no. Although each specific book in that specific episode may have had an internal relevance to theme or character, when taken as a whole they do not provide any particular meaning or insight, save that Sawyer really likes to read.
Comments: I was particularly disappointed that the “Bad Twin” screenplay – one of the few reoccurring stories and the only one that doesn’t exist in “our” world – never came to anything.
- Q: What’s the whispering in the jungle?
A: Per Michael, the whispers are those who have died and are stuck on the island. “We’re the ones that can’t move on.”
- Q: How did the Black Rock ship get so far inland?
A: It crashed into the Taweret statue in a particularly violent storm and was thrown inland.
Comments: Though this in and of itself makes no sense to me – how could a wooden ship shatter a solid stone statue down to its base and survive a fall miles inland and still remain intact, especially when that ship is loaded with dynamite. But I believe the show addressed the question adequately enough within its own framework and my lingering problems are with suspension of disbelief.
- Q: What is up with the Dharma-branded shark?
A: Dharma had an aquarium on Hydra Island. It’s most likely that the shark escaped from there.
Comments: I can’t recall the breed of shark but it’s possible it was still the original shark from the aquarium, which would justify why it was branded. Making less sense to me is why it would still be patrolling those waters a decade or more later, but okay.
- Q: How was Locke paralyzed?
A: His father pushed him out of an 8th story window.
- Q: What happened to Cindy, the stewardess from the tail section?
A: She was captured by The Others and became part of their group. She was last seen having joined Camp Dark!Locke. It’s unknown whether she was killed when Whidmore mortared that group on the beach or if she escaped and remains on the island.
- Q: Who are The Others, really?
A: It’s never 100% clear, but likely the best explanation is that The Others are people who, throughout the years, have been brought to the island by Jacob as he searched for his “candidates”. Probably most were little more than collateral to get to those special few, which really makes Jacob a dick doesn’t it. It’s not the strongest of explanations for who they are, especially given the huge buildup and almost supernatural powers they were shown to have in the beginning of the series, but we have to stick to what limited information we can trust: through all the jumps we saw Richard at the heart of The Others and we know Richard was “employed” by Jacob.
- Q: What’s the deal with that black horse Kate saw?
A: Short version: Nothing. Long version: Noooooothing. It was symbolic and shit. It was important for a second then ran off and was never seen or heard from again. Unlike, sadly, Kate herself.
- Q: Who was Michael talking to on the computer?
A: They never say, but almost certainly one of The Others.
Comments: If I had to make a guess I would say that it was someone in The Pearl station. The button press logs let us know that The Pearl was connected to the computer in The Swan. Since they also had the ability to monitor The Swan via camera in The Pearl they could make sure Michael was the person they were communicating with (and that he was alone).
- Q: Is Sun’s baby Jin’s or someone else’s? If it’s Jin’s, how?
A: The conception date tells us that it’s Jin’s. As to how, we’ll have to go with “island magic” and leave it at that.
- Q: Who was the real Henry Gale? Was his crash on the island an accident? Did The Others kill him? Did they bury him?
A: It doesn’t matter.
Comments: I’m sort of loathe to file this under “Answered” when it was so clearly not, but I also can’t justify putting this in with the WTF? section when it’s not WTF-worthy. It’s not a Big Mystery, it’s an unanswered question which, had the show been able to actually wrap things up concisely, would’ve just been a dangling thread we could go back to at our leisure and create our own scenario for. I’ve seen plenty of fanfiction develop from a whole lot less. So here he rests, not answered but also not important.
- Q: Did Ben intentionally manipulate Locke into not pushing the button?
Comments: [This is referring to the incidents in “Lockdown”.] Another that I’m filing here since it really doesn’t matter too much. Ben’s actions can be difficult enough to fathom at times, but protecting the island seems to be one of the very few things he’s pretty consistent about, so I doubt very much he wanted it destroyed. It’s obvious that he did in fact push the button else the hatch would’ve imploded as we saw later, but he chose to lie about it to Locke. Best guess is that he didn’t know what would happen if the button wasn’t pressed, and was far more interested in sowing dissension in the Lostaways and messing with Locke’s head.
- Q: Who is Jack’s dad’s daughter/Jack’s half-sister?
- Q: Eko has extremely accurate dreams and visions (knowing Ana-Lucia’s dead, being led to important places on the island, etc.). Why are his dreams and visions so accurate?
A: Probably latent psychic abilities enhanced by the island.
Comments: Let’s face it, it’s the least of the “magic” stuff we’ve seen in this place.
- Q: If Alex was raised by The Others from a baby, why is she so different from them?
A: Because she’s a teenager and the writers needed her to stand out in some way. I really don’t think there was ever anything much more in it than that.
- Q: Why couldn’t Desmond sail away from the island?
A: Because a very specific heading needs to be followed to find the island and leave it again. Desmond clearly didn’t know what that heading was.
- Q: Why was Desmond dishonourably discharged from the Scots Guards?
A: It doesn’t matter.
Comments: A detail fairly well in keeping with Desmond at that time, the specifics of which are never revealed and are ultimately unimportant to the story as a whole. In the same vein, the woman he was engaged to before he joined the monastery is also unimportant; they’re just a examples of the man Desmond used to be.
- Q: What did Ben mean when he said “the next two weeks are going to be very unpleasant”? What were his plans for Kate?
A: Probably nothing. You can likely chalk it up to “Ben being Ben” and manipulating the situation to scare her. Perhaps to make her seem more desperate and to speed Jack along in agreeing to what Ben wanted from him. Or maybe just because Ben thought it was funny.
- Q: What are the origins of the toy dumpster truck and the Dharma-clothed skeletal bodies in the polar bear cave?
A: Doesn’t really matter, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t sort of bitter that the dumpster truck didn’t turn out to mean anything, because that shit was creepy.
- Q: Why did Ben adopt Alex, especially when Whidmore directly ordered him to kill her?
A: It could have been a power play against Whidmore, a way to make him look weak in front of the other Others and then Ben found himself loving the little girl despite himself. It may have been that having a child was a status symbol, depending on when the reproduction problems came into play. It may have been the fact that he was on Daddy Issues Island. It’s never said of course but any or all of these work well enough for me.
- Q: Why was Juliet “marked” by The Others?
A: So that she could be more relatable to Jack.
Comments: Oh, you mean an in-story reason? For turning on Ben presumably, but that didn’t really matter. What the symbol meant, its purpose, what effect it had on her standing within the group..? They didn’t matter either. Her being “marked” never came up again in any context. It was just so the writers could tell us all about Jack’s tattoos and give him a connection to Juliet. nothing more.
- Q: What was Mikhail’s story?
A: We’ll never know.
Comments: He was a cool character no doubt, but all that stuff (his specialty, why he was so devoted and loyal to the island, what happened to his eye, etc.) just weren’t meant to be answered.
- Q: Will anything come of the note Claire put on the bird?
A: No. Which is a pity, as I quite liked the idea of them calling back to that at some point. Maybe even showing that some conspiracy theorist found it. A Snopes page on Oceanic 815 in the outside world? That would’ve been awesome.
- Q: Who is the blonde woman on the painting hanging on Ben’s wall in his house in South Otherington?
A: No one important enough to mention.
- Q: Was there a purpose to seeing Nikki and Paolo buried alive? Will the Lostaways ever learn they did that?
A: No particular purpose beyond what we saw in that episode. As for it being discovered, Miles mentions it but there’s no reaction from anybody when he does.
- Q: Why are The Others so fixated on Locke?
A: They never say for sure, but I think it boils down to “because Locke told them to be”.
Comments: Part of the great tragedy of Locke is that he never actually got that destiny he wanted so badly. All the bad things in his life weren’t for some greater purpose, they weren’t to challenge him and make him a special person, they were because life just really likes to crap all over some people. As a character that’s very interesting, but when you consider how The Others reacted to him it seems contradictory. Once we hit a certain point in the story it becomes clear that Ben is trying to manipulate the situation to discredit Locke, but why would he even need to go to such lengths to do so? The best I can think is that, via the time skips, Locke winds up creating his own prophecy. When he first meets up with Richard – in Richard’s chronology that is – he’s much more confident and sure of himself. I am your leader from the future, heed me. He even directs Richard of exactly where to go in Locke’s past/Richard’s future to verify that he’s telling the truth. That’s pretty compelling evidence, and probably enough to make Richard run with it. Each subsequent meeting with Future!Leader!Locke throughout Richard’s life would just heighten the sense of awe, even as Richard finds disappointment in each interaction with Locke as he grows up.
- Q: What purpose will the implant The Others put into Claire serve?
A: Exactly what we saw: A means to make Juliet seem trustworthy as she infiltrated the Lostaways. No more than that.
Comments: That was just weak and contrived all around, period.
- Q: Was there a reason they prominently focused on the picture on the monk’s desk in Desmond’s flashback?
A: None whatsoever.
[Correction! It’s been pointed out to me that the women in the picture with the monk was Eloise, which takes this from “Answered” pretty much straight into WTFery I think.]
- Q: Who set up the fake crash of Oceanic 815?
A: Charles Whidmore.
Comments: Of course everyone lies so much that it’s hard to trust that this is 100% the correct answer, but it seems likely if for no other reason than Whidmore himself confessed it to Faraday and said his reason for doing so was that Faraday wouldn’t remember it anyway.
- Q: What happened to Ben’s childhood friend?
A: They never say.
Comments: It’s a pity we never found out about her. 30-something years later and Ben still had the dolls she made him. Ben was obviously a very lonely guy who wanted to belong somewhere so it makes sense that he would keep them, but since she was someone clearly so special to him it doesn’t seem right that we never learn what happened to her (if for no other reason than I spent two seasons expecting her to show up).
- Q: Why doesn’t Richard seem to age?
A: Because he really doesn’t. Richard was on the Black Rock slave ship bound for the New World when his ship crashed on the island. He was the only survivor. Both Jacob and The Man in Black vied for his allegiance; Richard finally sided with Jacob, agreeing to be Jacob’s liaison (presumably between Jacob and the people Jacob brought to the island). In return, Jacob granted Richard eternal life. Now that Jacob is dead, it seems that Richard is beginning to age, though whether that will be at a normal rate or accelerated was not shown.
- Q: What was in the newspaper that Future!Jack got so upset about?
A: The obituary for “Jeremy Bentham”/John Locke.
- Q: Who was in the coffin that Future!Jack visits?
A: “Jeremy Bentham”/John Locke.
- Q: What’s on all those other tapes in the radio tower?
A: Interesting, but sadly not addressed and ultimately unimportant.
- Q: What’s up with the “flashback” with bearded I-want-to-crash-again Jack and Kate?
A: Show format change from flashback to flashforward.
- Q: How is it that Hurley can also see Jacob’s shack (and Jacob/Jack’s dad)? Is he also connected with the island?
A: Given that Jacob talks to Hurley almost exclusively toward the end and that Hurley eventually becomes its protector, it’s safe to say “yes”.
- Q: Why was Faraday so upset at seeing the wreckage of Oceanic 815 on television?
A: They never say specifically, but it probably had to do with Faraday’s rapidly deteriorating mental condition making him overly emotional rather than something specific to the crash itself. It could’ve been a commercial for Mighty Dog and he probably would’ve been just as broken up.
- Q: Does Miles really have psychic powers/the ability to communicate with the dead?
A: Yes, Miles’ powers seem to be quite genuine.
- Q: Why were these four specifically selected by Whidmore to go to the island?
A: Faraday: To find the island and find a way off it again. Also to help understand the weird time stuff on the island. And, on a more personal note, quite possibly because Whidmore knew the island would heal Faraday’s damaged mind.
Miles: To communicate with the people that Ben had killed on the island. Why specifically isn’t said, but perhaps Whidmore felt they would be useful in helping to track Ben down.
Frank: To fly the team to the island and back. He’s obviously a good pilot and crazy enough to do it.
Charlotte: …uhhh. She seems pretty devoid of purpose. Perhaps she was to be part of some larger plan revolving around the hieroglyphs or the statue or the temple or something, but that’s just a best guess.
- Q: What is the apparent time discrepancy between the island and the outside world?
A: The island contains an energy source that affects time and space.
Comments: “How” or “why” are other matters entirely.
- Q: Does Faraday have a memory problem?
A: Yes, although when we see him testing it with the cards he’s getting better, not worse. His mind appears to have been going bad since his time at Oxford, seemingly caused by his experiments with time and exacerbated by his repeated exposure to radiation.
- Q: How is Jack’s dad on the island?
A: It’s the Man in Black taking on the form of Jack’s father. If we trust what MiB said, all island and near-island appearances of Jack’s dad have been MiB, including those at the beginning of the first season.
- Q: Charlotte has come “back” to the island? Was she born there?
A: Born or brought, but yes. Her parents worked for Dharma. She left with her mother when the island was evacuated just before “the incident”.
- Q: What did Sawyer ask Kate to do just before he jumped out of the helicopter?
A: Take care of his daughter.
- Q: Why is Future!Hurley being visited by the ghosts of Losties past?
A: He seems to have developed or acquired the ability to communicate with the dead. Unlike Miles, he can have full conversations with them. Jacob made it clear that Hurley was “definitely not crazy” and there is every indication that these conversations are really happening.
- Q: How was Jin off the island while Sun was giving birth, but not actually with Sun at all?
A: Because that was a flashBACK for Jin, but a flashFORWARD for Sun.
Comments: Someone had to spell this one out for me, as I never would’ve gotten it from the lame ass clue (the fact that Jin was told it was the year of the dragon). Frankly this feels like more blatant manipulation by the writers, particularly when you realize that there was zero reason for Jin’s flashback outside of misdirection – it didn’t impart information about Jin that we didn’t already have and contributed nothing to the theme or tone of the episode.
- Q: How did Ben get off the island?
A: He turned the wheel to move the island and appeared at the “exit” in Tunisia several months later.
- Q: Who is the guy talking to Jacob on the beach?
A: His brother/The Man in Black/the smoke monster.
- Q: Is there any significance behind the reoccurring brand of scotch?
A: Nope, just coincidence. And apparently very good scotch.
- Q: What’s going on with the timeline/reality where Oceanic 815 never crashed?
A: This isn’t an actual timeline, alternate reality or parallel universe – it’s a group limbo of sorts that all the Lostaways created together (presumably subconsciously) so that they could all reunite after death.
Comments: Yeah. Anyway. Any questions I had regarding the NoCrash!Timeline I’m throwing out since they very literally do not matter in any way, shape or form.
Questions Fleshed Out But Not Really Answered
- Q: What is the monster in the jungle?
A: The smoke monster – Jacob’s brother, aka “The Man in Black”. Described as “evil incarnate” by the guardian of the temple.
Also: But what IS it?
Also: Why did Smokey become Smokey? Would anybody have become a smoke monster or was that something specific to The Man in Black?
Also: Why can’t it cross a circle of ash?
Also: Is the smoke monster the first and only one of its kind? Was someone else the smoke monster before him? (The vision of his real mother perhaps, or maybe even his fake CJ mom?)
Also: How was the ten-foot high pylon fence able to keep him out when he could clearly float so much higher than that?
Also: Why did The MiB let Eko live at first then kill him later? What was the point of all the apologize/redemption stuff when MiB clearly couldn’t give a crap about any of that?
Also: What was the connection between the smoke monster and the Egyptians? It is depicted communing with Egyptian gods in cave paintings.
Also: Smokey only wants to leave the island – what would happen if he did?
Also: What are the limitations of the people Smokey can appear as? Seemingly only the dead, but do their bodies need to be on the island?
Also: Why is the Man in Black stuck looking like Locke?
- Q: What is the island?
Comments: Possibly the most important question in the whole show.
Sometimes it seems like just an island. Other times it’s a place containing unique time and space powers. It can disappear and travel through time. Jacob describes it as a cork in a bottle, the only thing keeping the darkness where it belongs.It contains “the source” which seems to be both very pretty and very important. It needs a protector, though we don’t know if this is a relatively new development or if the island always had (or needed) a protector. It seems to have a sentience of it’s own: “It wants us to go back. It’ll do everything it can,” Future!Jack says. It can heal, but seemingly choose who to heal and when.
All of these statements are true and not a one of them answers the question.
- Q: How are there polar bears on the island?
A: Dharma built a zoo on Hydra Island. Polar bears were kept there.
Also: How did the bears get loose? The cages didn’t look to be damaged, so were they freed? If so, by who and why?
Also: Were there any other animals in Dharma’s zoo? We never saw evidence of any other strange animals on the island – or any other wild animals at all save for birds, boar and one frog. If the zoo contained only polar bears, why? And if it didn’t, what happened to all the other animals?
Also: How did a Dharma-collared polar bear wind up as a million year old skeleton in an archeological dig in Tunisia? Presumably it was sent from the island to “the exit” but why and how?
- Q: Who is the Dharma Initiative?
A: An organization that, as far as the island is concerned, conducted scientific research and experiments on the unique properties of the island, including time, space and magnetism.
Also: How did Dharma find out about the island in the first place?
Also: What did Dharma do in “the outside world” while the island research was going on? What do they do now?
Also: If it’s so hard to find the island, so hard to leave it, and so hard to come back, how were they able to do all these things pretty much whenever they wanted?
Also: Why did Dr. Chang give himself pseudonyms for the orientation films?
Also: Why did Jacob allow them to conduct such dangerous and potentially island-threatening experiments?
- Q: What are the Dharma stations?
A: It is highly doubtful that we were shown all the stations, and certainly we never learned all we could about those we did see (for example, there are still two orientation films unaccounted for, which could just as easily be for stations we never saw as those we did). However here is what we did learn about:
- The Caduceus: The medical center where Claire was taken.
- The Flame: Used for outside communication. Locke blew it up in S3.
- The Looking Glass: The underwater station that was used to jam signals and keep the satellite phones from working. Charlie turned off the jamming signal in S3. That room flooded but the status of the rest of the station remains unknown.
- The Tempest: The electrical station that powers the island, but also seems to have been where Ben rigged up gas that would kill everyone. The gas was neutralized by Charlotte and Faraday.
- The Arrow: 2 of 6 in the orientation films. The station the Tailies found. Per the orientation film, its primary purpose was “to develop defensive strategies and gather intelligence on the island’s hostile, indigenous population”.
- The Swan: 3 of 6 per the films. Its original intent was for experiments to study and manipulate the electromagnetic properties on that spot. However the building of this station caused the massive “incident” and it then became the location of the button that must be pressed every 108 minutes to dissipate the energy build-up. It was imploded by Desmond turning the failsafe key at the end of S2.
- The Pearl: 5 of 6 per the films. For observation. Monitors set up to observe and record every action, no matter how seemingly insignificant, occurring in the other stations. Those notebooks, once filled, were whisked away – but the transport tube went to another location on the island where literally hundreds of notebooks lay out in the jungle, presumably having never been read.
- The Orchid: 6 of 6 per the films. Created to conduct unique experiments in time and space. Contained “the vault”, which was adjacent to a pocket of “negatively charged exotic matter”. Inorganic material, particularly metallic items, should never be left in the vault. Ben blew up the vault in S4 to reveal the room with the wheel that moved the island.
Also: Why did Ben lie to The Others and tell them that The Looking Glass was flooded and the people monitoring it were off doing another mission?
Also: Why was the part of the orientation film removed from The Swan hidden in a bible in The Arrow? Why in fact was that part of the orientation film removed at all?
Also: Who owned the glass eye that was found in The Arrow? Why was it left there?
Also: What was the purpose of The Pearl? All that time recording every activity by those in the other stations, but nobody ever bothered to actually read the meticulous reports? Why the elaborate illusion? Why create a functional pneumatic tube to whisk those reports away to literally nowhere? If the workers in The Pearl had eight hour shifts, why not have them simply turn their reports in at the end of the day, why take the time and expense of the tube that goes nowhere? Also, did The Pearl only monitor The Swan? Most of the other monitors didn’t work, but we also saw The Flame before Mikhail disabled it. Why the extended deception? Why were the people in The Pearl, per the orientation video, led to believe that The Swan button was itself a psychological experiment, when surely anyone who was part of Dharma would know about “the incident” and, if they didn’t for some reason, would’ve at least heard about it from the hundred or so other Dharma employees on the island. And if The Pearl was the true psychological experiment – why? Nothing about The Pearl is ever explained to any real satisfaction. It was likely setup for a plotline that was later abandoned, and ultimately became just a device to give Locke his crisis of faith that led to The Swan implosion, allowing the writers to move beyond the tether of the hatch and the button.
- Q: How does the island heal?
A: It’s magic.
Comments: Interestingly enough, I never really cared too much about “how” the island healed, perhaps because I assumed the answer would come when we were told what the island was. Of course we never got that either, but I still don’t care too much about the hows of the healing. I think I’d be perfectly willing to accept “it just does” or come up with my own answer if I had explanations for these questions:
Also: Is the Island choosing to heal some people but not others? If so, why did it choose, say, Locke’s paralysis and Rose’s cancer but not Ben’s cancer or Jack’s appendix?
Also: Is the healing temporary? If Rose were to ever leave the island, would her cancer come back as she feared?
Also: Why did Locke temporarily lose the ability to walk? Was he out of favour with The Island? If so, what did he do to anger it? What did he do to get back in favour? And if not, then what happened to him? Was it all in his mind?
- Q: Why did The Others specifically want Michael to bring Jack, Kate, Sawyer and Hurley?
A: Jack, to operate on Ben. The rest..?
Comments: Weak writing, once again. Hurley was needed to deliver a message back to the others? Literally anybody could’ve been used to delivery the message, including Kate and Sawyer. I guess it could be argued that Kate and Sawyer were there specifically so they’d hook up, specifically to break Jack and make him help Ben, but really we’re stretching so hard for rationale when it’s the writers’ responsibility to at least provide the framework. I had some pretty good theories when the show had the whole reproduction thing going, but dropped them when it was obvious the writers had no plans to actually resolve that plotline either. So there it dangles in the wind.
- Q: What is the four-toed giant foot statue?
A: It’s the only remaining part of a statue of the Egyptian deity Taweret, the goddess of birth and rebirth. Jacob lives in a room (or rooms) in the base of the statue. The statue was all but destroyed when the Black Rock slave ship crashed into it.
Comments: I thought it was Anubis myself, but I’m assured it’s Taweret.
Also: Who build the statue?
Also: Why did they build the statue and when?
Also: Why did Jacob live in the statue?
- Q: What happened to the original hatch-partner of Desmond’s hatch-partner?
A: He committed suicide.
Also: How did he learn about the other stations?
Also: Why was he drawing a crude map to those stations on the blast doors? (in bleach, no less – why the need for such secrecy?)
Also: Why did he edit The Swan orientation film and then hide the part he removed in a bible in The Arrow?
Also: Why did he commit suicide?
- Q: What was the purpose of the fence around the Dharma compound?
A: To keep out the smoke monster.
Comments: I’m putting this question here because to me it only barely serves as an answer at all. I have just so many problems with this fence. I’m just going to link to my episode notes for 6×08: “Recon” so you can read of my rage there. And that’s without going into:
Also: Who did enough research on Smokey to know that the fence would keep him out? How was that research done?
Also: Why did Richard need Little Ben to steal the fence code when he later said that the fence couldn’t keep them out anyway?
- Q: Who is Jacob?
A: The protector of the island. Killed when The Man in Black (Jacob’s brother) tricked Ben into stabbing him. By appearances he may have been an embodiment of good but mostly seemed ambivalent. It seems he spent most of his time searching for someone to replace him as the island’s protector.
Also: When Locke visited the shack, why did stuff begin to fly around? Neither Jacob nor Smokey are shown to have telekinetic powers.
Also: Who said “Help me” when Locke was in the shack, and why? Jacob has has no problem appearing to people directly, nor does Smokey. Why the theatrics?
Also: How did Jacob leave the island to visit some of the Lostaways and touch them?
Also: Why does Jacob have such disdain/apathy toward Ben, particularly when Ben has spent so many years trying to do his best for the island, all seemingly without any contact, support or direction from Jacob.
Also: How does Jacob choose his candidates?
Also: Why couldn’t Jacob see his real mother?
- Q: Who is the girl from the parachute?
A: Naomi. She was hired by Charles Widmore to protect the freighter research team.
Also: How did she get Desmond and Penny’s picture? Why was she carrying it?
Comments: Theoretically it could have been from Whidmore and maybe so they could infiltrate the Lostaways, but that presupposes Whidmore knew that Desmond was on the island, had gotten out of the hatch, and was in good enough with the Lostaways to be a gateway to infiltration. Not to mention that their only mission was to find Ben and that the group showed no interest in Desmond over anyone else. Perhaps Naomi had a side assignment by Whidmore to kill Desmond, but that’s pure supposition and again assumes that Whidmore knew Desmond was there at all. Was she maybe working for Penny then? Which again brings us back to Penny knowing what her father was looking for and reasoning that there was a good chance he’d find Desmond, which means that Penny’s a liar. There’s simply no way that Naomi having Desmond’s picture works into the narrative as it stands, leading me once more down the path of writer manipulation, making us trust Naomi (and the entire team by extension) until the “big reveal” that they actually work for someone else.
- Q: What happened to Claire at the end of Season 4?
A: She was led away by the Man in Black appearing as her (and Jack’s) father. She remained in the jungle, picking off Others and demanding they return her baby, for three years until the other Lostaways returned.
Also: Why did the Man in Black lure her away in the first place?
Also: Why did Claire abandon Aaron?
- Q: Why did Sun team up with Whidmore?
A: She said that their common interest was to kill Ben. However she changed her mind when Ben told her that Jin was still alive.
Also: What did Sun get out of a partnership with Whidmore? She was wealthy enough to buy controlling interest in her father’s company so funding makes no sense. Resources in tracking him down? Unnecessary – Ben wasn’t exactly hiding.
Also: What did Whidmore get out of a partnership with Sun? Not only could he easily outmatch her in every way from funds to information, killing Ben is in complete contradiction to his declared goal in Season 4. Now he may have changed his mind on that when Ben threatened Penny or when Sayid started killing of Whidmore’s guys, but again, it’s not like we saw Ben taking too much effort to hide. Plus, could a man like Charlies Whidmore not hire a crack team of professional assassins to off Ben if that’s what he wanted? Why turn to a ticked off Korean widow?
- Q: Who is Jeremy Bentham?
A: The pseudonym Locke chose when he left the island to go in search of the Oceanic Six and bring them back to the island. He fails and plans to commit suicide but is saved by Ben – only to answer a few of Ben’s questions and then be murdered by him.
Also: Why couldn’t Future!Hurley say Locke’s name? Future!Walt seemed to agree that it was taboo but neither say why.
Also: If the island could prevent Michael from dying, why didn’t it prevent Locke from dying?
- Q: Who is the third group of people that arrived on the island, the ones from the Ajira flight?
A: They are, for lack of a better word, disciples of Jacob. They seem wholly devoted to him and his mission, delivered by Ilana, to protect the candidates. They are largely ineffective, most being quickly being defeated by the smoke monster, despite seeming to know what it is and how to defend against it. Their leader Ilana serves a little better but not long after goes the way of Arzt by mishandling the dynamite.
Also: What was the point of this group at all, either from a story standpoint or a writing standpoint? Aside from showing us Locke’s body – something anybody could have theoretically done – the only thing they did of value was show us that ash circles could keep out the smoke monster. And even that failed miserably and seemed to be common knowledge so one of The Others could’ve easily passed that info along. Mostly it seems their purpose was just to die real fast so we got definitive proof that Dark!Locke was a bad guy.
Also: How did this group, Ilana specifically, come to know about Jacob? Why were they so devoted to him?
Also: What happened to Ilana to put her in the hospital?
Questions Still Made Of WTF
- Q: Rousseau said that “they” control the radio tower. Who is “they” and why did they allow Rousseau’s distress call to be broadcast for sixteen years?
Comments: A cryptic line meant to heighten the sense of danger that wound up being utterly ignored. When the Lostaways go to the radio tower they make it with no opposition whatsoever.
You could dismiss Rousseau’s statement as her simply being crazy, but Rousseau is repeatedly used as a source of reliable information about the island and for all her eccentricities is never shown to actually be incapable of rational thought (I think you could make a strong case that she’s one of the most sensible characters on the whole island, but anyway.) So it’s safe to conclude that she must’ve been right at some point and was driven away from the tower – so then why did whoever drove her off continue to allow her signal to be broadcast for sixteen years?
For a secret deserted island a hell of a lot of people have been through there over the years and nobody wants anyone else to come. So then why didn’t Dharma or The Others, at the very least, stop the broadcast? If they weren’t concerned about someone using it to find the island (a hard enough pill to swallow) they could’ve at least used the frequency for their own communications.
The fact that it was left alone, unused, for nearly 20 years makes no sense.
- Q: What is “the sickness”?
Comments: Rousseau said that it infected her shipmates, and we do see that come up again while Jin is flashing through time. There does indeed seem to be something wrong with her husband, but given that by the time we got there she had already killed two people and was just about to kill him, we can’t reasonably say which of the two of them was “right”. But here’s what we do know:
- Desmond continued to vaccinate himself regularly. He was so concerned about this that he took the time to grab more vaccine while fleeing from the hatch. Conveniently any concern he had about this appears to have been dropped once he returned to the group.
- Ethan wanted to make sure that Claire’s baby received regular injections. Surely if there was a sickness of some kind on the island, The Others would be the ones to know about it – and yet we never saw any of The Others care about any sickness of any kind outside of these scenes.
- Vaccine is part of the Dharma care package drop, which means that Dharma are well aware of it – making sense, as they also inoculate all newcomers to the island – so presumably this sickness is something they observed, studied and then created a vaccine against.
- The head of the temple says in S6 that Sayid is “sick”, that it will change him, and that the only solution is to kill him. This harkens back to Rousseau’s description the “sickness”.
What we seem to have then are two different brands of “sickness”, one mental and one physical. The first actually makes more sense, given the metaphysical turns the show likes to take. But it completely falls apart when you try to work in the physical. Why the inoculations? Why the hazmat suits and “Quarantine” on the hatch? Either these are two separate “sicknesses” at work here (one of which was another red herring) or it’s all meant to be the same “sickness” which is yet again in violation of the show’s own internal logic.
- Q: What about Claire’s psychic?
Comments: This is a huge problem, not the least of which because it looks like the writers tried to backpedal later but did so in a way that only strengthened the very thing they were trying to discredit. This is, I think, the root of the inconsistency:
If the psychic was a fraud why did he not just take Claire’s money and leave her alone?
If the psychic defrauds people every day, for a living, then he should’ve had no problem in doing so to Claire too. But let’s say that maybe he had a twinge of guilt in stealing money from a young single mother-to-be. Why then why continually harass her to come back and listen to him? Why put up his own money – we’re talking upwards of a thousand dollars for the plane ticket alone, not counting the cash – to get her on Oceanic 815?
The only explanation that makes any sense whatsoever is that there was another force at work here, be it Jacob or The Island or the psychic’s own powers, something was going on. The psychic appearing again seasons later and saying “Oh, I’m a fraud” doesn’t change what we were shown, and the fact that he has a daughter who we’re then shown in all seriousness does have “the gift” only serves to strengthen the idea that the psychic was lying to make Eko to go away; if the purpose of “I’m a fraud” was to discount what we saw happen with him and Claire in the first season then it could not have failed more miserably.
And if the psychic was right – however he got his information – then he should also have been right about Aaron. Which brings us to …
- Q: What was so important about Aaron?
Comments: Claire’s psychic said that it was of utmost importance that Claire raise Aaron, that he was important and her goodness must be an influence on him. (See the above question as to why we can’t dismiss what the psychic said.) This was so vitally important that Claire was straight up manipulated into being on Oceanic 815 with full knowledge of where she would end up and, presumably, at least some idea of what would happen there.
But soon after, all this was dropped. The Others had tremendous interest in Aaron for a little while, then seemed to not care about him at all. Claire in the end did not raise Aaron (Kate did), but nothing seemed to go wrong with that. Finally Aaron was so unimportant at the end that when “the island” demanded that everyone come back (even a dead guy) Aaron didn’t count at all.
You can try to explain away The Others’ interest in Aaron as being research for their reproductive problems, but then that whole thing was a vitally important plot line quickly dropped after one season and never mentioned again. Still, if research was their goal then surely Aaron would’ve been even more valuable after his successful birth.
And none of this explains the psychic’s insistence that Claire raise and protect the baby when literally none of that wound up mattering even a tiny bit. Just another tantalizing carrot to keep us interested then dropped without explanation.
- Q: What are the numbers?
Besides “quite possibly the single most interesting thing on and entire show filled with interesting things” that is.
Also: Why were the numbers broadcast off the island? Who recorded them and set them to loop? Why were they allowed to be broadcast for so long?
Also: How could there have been so many “coincidences” with the numbers, particularly (although not limited to) Hurley’s rush to get on Oceanic 815?
Also: Why were the numbers the code that was needed to be entered into the Swan station computer? If the button pressing served a legitimate and world-saving function (and the evidence we are given seems to support that claim) then why would Dharma create such an overly lengthy and needlessly complex sequence that could easily be mistyped, particularly under the stress of alarms and sirens and warnings, and lead to critical failure?
Also: Why did each of the numbers correspond to one of the Lostaways in Jacob’s candidate list? (I cannot more strongly state that this is not an answer it is another layer to the question.)
- Q: What about Walt?
Comments: Throughout the first season Walt was shown as being “special”. He was specifically taken by The Others and just as mysteriously handed back. Time and again weird things happened with, to and around him, and the show repeatedly dropped hints and insinuated that he was very important. Then he wasn’t and nobody spoke of him again. Of a show full of elephants, Walt is the jumbo of them all.
Also: How could Walt cause the bird to crash into the window when his parents were ignoring him? This was very intentionally shown as proof of his weirdness, not as a coincidence.
Also: Why was his stepfather so freaked out by Walt? What other “strange things” happened when he was around to make him so afraid?
Also: Why did The Others go out of their way to capture Walt? What were they hoping to get from him?
Also: Why did The Others release him so easily? What “tests” were they giving him? What was meant by the question “Did Walt ever appear in a place he wasn’t supposed to be?” Why did they need a blood sample from Michael?
Also: How did Walt appear in visions to others on The Island? All other people who appeared in visions were dead – and, it’s intimated, were all The Man in Black- but Walt was alive and well (and thus couldn’t have been the MiB). How did he continue to appear long after he’d left the island?
- Q: What caused the hatch to freak out with the countdown and the blast doors coming down?
Comments: They never say and no one ever asks. Was it a mechanism by Dharma to let the inhabitants of the hatch know that a supply drop is coming while keeping them inside so they couldn’t see it happening? Though when you consider that the people in the hatch could come and go whenever they felt like it and might very well have been outside when the doors came down, it’s a pretty crappy system. And that’s without considering the fact that the blast doors might’ve shut them out and prevented the button from being pressed in time, which is exactly what almost happened. The whole event was nothing more than blatant manipulation of the audiences’ emotions and a cheap way to further instill doubt in Locke and introduce the idea of more Dharma stations.
- Q: Who is making the Dharma supply drop and why?
Comments: The supply drop makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Dharma was wiped out en masse by Ben and The Others some ten years ago. So who’s out there still producing Dharma-branded potato chips and Dharma-branded spaghetti sauce, packaging it up and sending it across the ocean to be dropped down once every 90 days or whatever it is? This was possibly the most ambitions and expensive operation the world has ever seen, and yet whatever is left of the Dharma Initiative is going to keep making supply drops for ten years without getting reports and results from all these experiments? But maybe Mikhail is doing that in The Flame, running interference for Dharma. Still, wouldn’t they maybe wonder why nobody is ever leaving the island? Why they don’t need more scientists or more workmen or more VW vans? Wouldn’t they notice that nobody from Dharma has cashed a paycheck in ten years? But again, maybe Ben took care of all that too, creating fake accounts and cashing checks. Maybe it’s an elaborate sham and they’re taking all the money to power their submarines and get Stephen King books and orchestrate death-by-buses to bring in reproductive specialists. Sure, why not.
But then why doesn’t Whidmore follow the plane? He’s been trying to find the island again since he was forced to leave it, right? A man of infinite resources and infinite patience and he never thinks to track down the enemy that he helped to dispatch and just follow where their little supply plane goes every three months? Even if he didn’t know about the supply plane at first I find it impossible to believe that he didn’t make his way through each and every record Dharma has and that he doesn’t continue to monitor them constantly for any new clue about the island.
That is, assuming Dharma are still around in the “outside world”. Which they must be, right? Because this Dharma-branded mac and cheese sure didn’t get here all by itself.
- Q: Why was Libby in the mental hospital?
Comments: I feel particularly cheated for Libby. She was the only one of the semi-major minor characters to never get a flashback of her very own. What’s more, I felt manipulated once again by the writers by her very lack of backstory. If I remember right, we saw Libby was in the mental hospital just an episode or two before she was shot and died. But seeing her there, making it clear she had more story to tell, made me expect to see it. Keen to see it, even, as I liked Libby. Then she died and I realized that it was all an elaborate ruse on the part of the writers to make her death a surprise. Yet more manipulation of the audience emotion to create a situation that was “shocking” – not because it was clever or well-orchestrated, but because they relied on our trust in them as storytellers and the established format of the show. For all intents and purposes they lied to our faces. Libby deserved better and so did we.
- Q: How did Penny know to be looking for electromagnetic disturbances to find Desmond?
Comments: There’s nothing presented in the show that gives Penny any reason to be looking for electromagnetics. When Desmond was jumping through time I felt sure that would finally bring about the moment, but he never mentions magnetism, not even in passing (which is really pretty stupid when you consider that with the tiniest of comments the writers could’ve closed this gaping plot hole). With this goes the only real explanation for this scene. So taking that, the scene turns out to be one of three things: 1) Penny is a liar. 2) The writers changed their mind on yet another plotline without explanation. 3) The writers are once again unfairly manipulating our emotions to heighten tension.
Point one is pretty cut and dried. Penny claims that she isn’t working with her father, that she hasn’t talked to him in years, and that she has no idea what he’s doing these days. If she’s lying then everything can make sense well enough, although it irreparably damages Penny’s character in our eyes. Given everything else we see of her over the course of the show, I’m inclined to believe her. I don’t think she was working with her father at all or knew anything about his relentless quest for the island.
Point two is just your same old, same old. The writers were going to do one thing, changed their mind about it and just dropped questions rather than explain them.
Which only leaves point three, which basically boils down to: it’s irrelevant to the progression of the story that those Russian scientists (I think they were Russian) called Penny specifically to tell her about the disturbance.
Oh it’s important to us, the audience. Very important. Because with someone on the outside looking for Desmond and now with a very good idea where he is, that person is sure to come. And when that person comes, they will find our Lostaways too. What’s more, this removes (or at least staves off) the mistrust and suspicion we have toward the freighter and the “rescue” team, making the sucker punch of finding out they’re actually the bad guys just so much more shocking.
So, poor characterization, incompetence or manipulation, take your pick.
- Q: What about the reproduction problems The Others were having?
Comments: I’m not going to dwell on this too much since the writers certainly didn’t feel the need to pursue it. Anyway it all becomes irrelevant once the island starts jumping around and we spend three years in the 70s (where, you can’t help but think Juliet might want to maybe be doing some research on the women and their successful births so she can find out what started to go wrong, but no, she’s got a van to fix and a Sawyer to boink). But basically everything related to this central storyline of reproduction was irrelevant and a waste of everyone’s time. I suppose a possible answer could be that it was “the incident”, but then why was it only affecting humans and not the animals on the island like the boar? And if that’s all it was, surely someone could’ve taken ten seconds to explain on-screen rather than just leave it dangling out there for the next three seasons.
Like the above, either sloppy or incompetent, take your pick.
- Q: How did Locke, Eko and Desmond survive the hatch implosion?
Comments: I guess you could just go with “island magic” again but that feels hollow. It can’t have been what the failsafe was designed to do, else why wouldn’t Dharma have just blown it up ages ago and avoided all this button business? Their survival just doesn’t make any sense, and what’s more, nobody ever questions it. (And yes, I get that Eko ultimately died, but was that more from the hatch or becoming a polar bear’s chew toy? It’s crazy to say that the show never actually made that very clear.)
Also: And Desmond lost all of his clothes how exactly? I get that it was probably supposed to be a symbolic rebirth thing but that would only work for me the difference between Desmond and the others was that he survived while Locke and Eko didn’t, not that Locke had pants and Desmond was free and breezy.
- Q: Why is Desmond so special?
Comments: I debated putting this one with the answered questions for a while, mostly because I’m not really too bothered with “he just is” as an answer. But I think that may be me setting my expectations ridiculously low by this point. Desmond’s “specialness” is a cornerstone of this show, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask for a little more explanation beyond “he just is”. As in, any explanation at all; I can’t even put this into “Fleshed Out” because it completely isn’t. And what we do know (or guess) is a study in circular logic.
Desmond being special enabled him to survive the hatch.
Surviving the hatch gave him the ability to see the future.
Seeing the future made him able to move his consciousness through time.
Moving through time made him able to survive the energies of the island.
Surviving the energies of the island made him special.
Being special made him able to survive the hatch …
Perhaps an argument could be made that Desmond himself is a study in circular logic and I might be on-board. Again note that I was on the fence about accepting “he just is”. But really the show delivered so poorly on every significant plot point that it never earned the right to the benefit of the doubt.
Also: Desmond was spot on with every vision he had – except the one that got Charlie killed. Why was he wrong about seeing Claire on the helicopter?
- Q: What are “The Rules”?
Comments: I find it sort of hilarious (in a way that makes me want to cry) that there’s all this attention paid to “rules” and such outrage when they are broken, and yet we never find out what a single one is. Not one.
I can see reactions to that. Stuff like about it being all smart and and true to life and us not knowing what the rules really are as we go through society and blah blah. But again we come against the line between “clever” and “lazy”, and as far as I’m concerned the writers for Lost were far too much of one to be even a little of the other.
Maybe “the rules” are indeed meant to be analogous to life, but that all falls apart when you realize that some of these characters have a very clear and concise idea of what constitutes “the rules”. Even if he may be wrong in what “the rules” are, Ben has a very clear idea of his understanding of them. Whidmore as well, and it is obvious that whatever these “rules” are, he and Ben are looking at the same list. Ben says straight up that he can’t kill Whidmore, and theoretically Whidmore is bound by the same “rule”. (But are either of them really if Whidmore can break them by having his commandos kill Alex?)
Then there are Jacob’s “rules”, which include not leaving the island apparently (except when you can) and no one ever returning again once they’ve left (except when they do).
And Desmond himself, who apparently breaks all of these rules simply by being Desmond.
Ambiguous rules only work when nobody knows them. When someone does know them – like, say, the writers of Lost – and want you to play along – like, say, the audience – but won’t tell you what the rule are, that’s called cheating.
- Q: What is the temple?
Comments: Nothing about the temple is ever explained. It’s a huge Indiana Jones thing in the jungle that no one can get to, and then everyone’s coming and going whenever they feel like it. It’s protected from Smokey, but only until the Japanese guy is killed, then it’s a free for all. For being so important and seemingly venerated it turned out to just be a huge pit of question and deus ex machina.
Also: Who built the temple?
Also: What was worshipped there?
Also: Why can’t the smoke monster get in?
Also: How did the Japanese guy keep the smoke monster out?
Also: If the Japanese guy was all that was needed to keep the smoke monster out, why did everyone start pouring ash circles all over the place? Why did those ash circles fail?
Also: What was the Lazarus pit/pool of water thing? It was clearly expected to heal Sayid (and was possibly used to heal Little Ben?) but how?
- Q: What is the Egyptian connection?
Comments: One of the least explained things on the whole show, but always popping up to remind you that it’s there, even if you don’t know why. Some of it might be easy to, if not overlook then to roll with, if only the writers didn’t make it clear in a a few notable places that they were trying for so much more before they simply gave up.
Also: Were there in fact Egyptians on the island? If so who? When? Why? And if there weren’t then why all the Egyptian influences? (The countless hieroglyphics, Taweret, etc.)
Also: How are the Egyptians connected to the smoke monster? And is it the Man in Black smoke monster that they painted or have their been others before him?
Also: What do all the hieroglyphics scattered throughout the island mean?
Also: Why did the countdown clock in the Swan station turn into hieroglyphics when it ran out? This is a vital question when you consider that the clock wasn’t for show or for a psych experiment but served a very serious and critical function necessary to the survival of not only everyone on the island but potentially the entire world. What’s more, Dharma built that clock for that very specific purpose, which means that they intentionally built in the hieroglyphs too. But there’s no logical or rational reason why. The only reasons that make any sense are that the writers either originally intended for there to be an important link between Dharma and the Egyptian culture on the island or to once again toy with the audience’s interest in the ongoing mysteries. Nothing else provided in the context of the show makes any sense.
- Q: What does Whidmore want with Ben?
Comments: The entire purpose for the freighter’s expedition to the island seems to be to capture Ben. What Whidmore wants more than anything is to return to the island – so why bother with capturing Ben? Best guess is so that Whidmore can reclaim leadership once again, but wouldn’t killing Ben serve the same purpose? In a similar line of questioning, why did Whidmore order that everyone on the island be killed? Who would be left to lead? And why would Whidmore spare Ben this death by ensuring his capture? Since the freighter’s arrival was a huge part of Season 4, it’s particularly unfortunate that we never fully understand why it was there at all.
- Q: What’s with the weird looping vision of Horace?
Comments: This is the one where Locke is looking for Jacob’s shack and he has a dream where Horace is talking to him and cutting down a tree. He would repeat certain parts of the vision, such as his greeting and introduction, and once he had cut down the tree it would reset. The vision was correct in part – it led Locke to the mass grave and the map to the shack in the jungle (although it was empty). But where did the dream vision come from? Why was it looping in places like a VCR flicker? It was a pretty specific, memorable and creepy vision to have just come out of nowhere.
- Q: Why did The Island want the Oceanic Six to return?
Comments: It’s possible that “the island” could be interchanged with “Jacob” here, but it immediately makes you wonder why, if Jacob wanted them back so badly, he couldn’t have come himself and helped nudge them; he certainly did before. However it doesn’t seem as though the Oceanic Six returning really did much of anything good for the island and its situation. If they had stayed away, it seems likely that Smokey couldn’t have even tried to escape. Ben perhaps was manipulating them all, getting them to recreate the conditions so he could piggyback with them, but that doesn’t explain why Jack was so “It didn’t want us to leave” (a statement he made before being visited by Ben, so this was a feeling he had completely on his own without interference).
Also: Why didn’t Aaron count as someone the island needed or wanted back?
Also: Why, when they did return, did Sun, Frank and Ben remain in the “now” when Jack, Kate, Hurley and Sayid went back in time thirty years? It can’t have been because they were candidates since (per Jacob) Kate becoming a mother removed her from the list and that happened well before the flight.
- Q: Who were the two people that the Oceanic Six claim as having survived the crash but who died before rescue?
Comments: This has really bothered me since I first heard them make the claim. It’s an unnecessary detail that could only cause to complicate an already complicated lie being told to the entire world. It seems a pointless embellishment in the story, and it seems ridiculous that the audience never gets to find out who the Lostaways were claiming as those two other survivors, feeling like little more than a little mystery dangled in our faces to obsess about but which means nothing and goes nowhere.
- Q: Why did the island save Michael?
Comments: This question presupposes, of course, that it’s “the island” doing the protecting, but certainly it seems to be someone. Tom tells Michael point blank that he can’t kill himself though doesn’t explain why that is. More than that, Michael is saved from being shot by the commandos, again seemingly by “magic” intervention.
What’s weird about all the stuff with Michael is that he seems to be under the influence of three different forces. One is Ben, who is doing the outward direction – putting Michael on Whidmore’s boat as a spy, giving him orders, etc. Then there’s The Island, which repeatedly saves Michael from death in both suicide and murder forms. And then there’s the Man in Black, who appears to Michael as Jack’s dad just before the freighter explodes and kills him.
Ben is a much easier force to understand here – he wants to know what Whidmore’s up to and stop him from reaching the island. The Island itself however is difficult to fathom. It saves Michael, but not Locke, for example. What’s more, it seems to keep Michael alive for the expressed purpose of sabotaging the freighter, but then punishes him by trapping his spirit on the island for all eternity. All that is, of course, assuming it’s “the island” at work.
But Smokey is much harder to understand, probably more because of how he appears than anything else. When Jack’s dad appears to Michael, the freighter is some distance away at sea. But as we later learn, the Man in Black can’t just smoke himself across water, so how did he get there? Was he in the guise of someone else and stole a ride on the raft? But it’s not like the Lostaways had a whole hell of a lot of people left by that point so wouldn’t someone have noticed if one of their old dead companions was sitting next to them?
Everything about Michael’s being driven back to the island was interesting, but as with so many things it fails to stand up under much scrutiny.
- Q: What is the island-moving chamber?
Comments: We know that it’s an alternate way to “the source”/”the heart of the island”. We also know that when the wheel is turned, the island moves through time and, seemingly, space (since the Oceanic Six saw it disappear). That is about all we know.
Comments: Why did turning the wheel cause the island to shift?
Comments: Why do the wheel-turners come out again at the same place but not the same time?
Comments: Why was the room as tropical as the rest of the island when The Man in Black was standing before it, but so cold that Ben needed a heavy parka when he went down there?
Comments: How did the ancient village MiB joined come up with the theories about what the light was and what it could do, let alone draft seemingly accurate plans for how to harness the energy and use it at will?
Comments: If the island is “always moving”, per Eloise, then why did Ben need to turn the wheel to make the island move?
- Q: What is the cave of light?
Comments: Life? All the goodness in the world? Souls? It’s described as “The warmest light you’ve ever seen or felt. A little bit of this light is inside of every man, but they always want more.” If the light goes out in the cave then it goes out everywhere. It is “the source” and “the heart of the island”, and when the Man in Black taps into it from another location we know that it can move the island.
But … but WHY? All of this is new information provided right at the end of the entire series and is given to us as though it’s answering questions, not creating a slew of new ones. Really all we get here is a vague sense of there being a thing that is world-saving important so that our guys have something directly to fight about and protect in the final episode. And that’s about it, that’s apparently all we needed to know about the entire motivation behind absolutely everything that’s happened in this entire series.
- Q: Why was that group in the limbo church, why not so many of the others that should’ve been there?
Comments: I said more than my piece on that in my notes for 6×17: “The End”. I recommend reading them if you haven’t yet.
Though I suppose it could be summed up by “the writers didn’t think it through” and “it’s all about Jack”. Which you know, I think you could apply those to each and every question I have in this gargantuan list and it would suck, but it would fit.
God dammit, Lost.