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JONESGH's avatar

[SPOILERS] Can someone explain Lost to me?

Asked by JONESGH (3554points) May 23rd, 2010

The show. Just saw the finale and I haven’t a clue.

So were they all dead the whole time? Or did they die on the island?


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33 Answers

Seek's avatar

Someone is going to hate you for this.

JONESGH's avatar

Why! If you don’t want to see spoilers leave the thread!!

Seaofclouds's avatar

You should have put “spoilers” in your actual question (instead of the details) as a warning to others.

Disc2021's avatar

That’s my question – if they died on the crash, how do they all know each other? Does that just make the island all a bogus reality? How did they die throughout the show if they were already dead? HUH!?!?!?

This theory was put out sometime after the third season but I didn’t want to believe it as it isn’t a very satisfying ending. The only thing that makes sense to me is that they must have died after they blew up the bomb at the end of the 5th season.

JONESGH's avatar

@Disc2021 did they die on the crash? or did they die when they actually died at the end. like jack was stabbed etc?

Aethelwine's avatar

They saved the light at the end of the tunnel.

Disc2021's avatar

@JONESGH If they did, how did Hurley, Desmond and Ben die? How did Lapetis(sp?) and the others die when they were escaping the island? HOW?

@jonsblond Right. So that means…

JONESGH's avatar

@Disc2021 not a clue. in the credits someone just should have typed out a paragraph explaining everything. I think many people would be grateful.

Someone please help us!

Disc2021's avatar

OKAY, I think this makes sense… They died after Juliette detonated the bomb after the 5th season. The island disappeared and the plane crashed – but there was no island for them to crash onto, so they died and their ghosts were left traveling through time to figure it out.

Aethelwine's avatar


Disc2021's avatar

@jonsblond What do you got for us?

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I can’t explain anything because I stopped watching after the first season. That said, this is all I have to say:

After today, I feel that there is an imbalance in the world. I must now walk around chanting “found, found, found” to restore order.

casheroo's avatar

@DrasticDreamer ditto. btw, lurve your avatar!!

erichw1504's avatar

The Flashsideways were more of purgatory like some people have said. They died at different points outside the island or on the island like charlie drowning or stuff like that. The reason why only certain people where there is that the people in the church in the end were the most significant people to each other. It was exactly what Christian said, there is no sense of time, it doesn’t matter where they are or when they are they were all there eventually at the same point, even if it took years. And the people who weren’t there had other things more significant in their lives. Aaron was probably there as a baby because his mother, “father” (charlie) and Kate where all there and they were probably most influential when he was a child, just as he was most influential to that WHOLE group when he was a child.

Read more: LOST Series Finale – What Did You Think? | /Film

Buttonstc's avatar

Well Jack’s father says to him, “there is no now here” or something like that.

So is this the whole parralel reality/alternate reality set up in which pretty much anything goes and nothing has to make any sense?

That’s already been done in other iterations but done much better IMHO.

And that’s what Fringe is going for except that there are consequences for violations of principles of time and physics which at least makes a little more sense in terms of balance and internal consistency.

I really dislike it when things like this are not consistent within themselves. It just strikes me as an easy cop-out.

rangerr's avatar

Not reading the above answers, so if I repeat, sorry.

The island = real. Everything happened.

The flash-sideways were the alternate universe that got created so everyone could find everyone after they died. Which that universe was a result of The Incident. But the island it’s self? That’s still a mystery. But there’s no use in theories. It is what it is.

They didn’t all die after the Ajira plane took off. They all continued to live their lives. Sawyer, Kate, Richard, Miles, etc. all went home and lived their lives until they died. Hurley, Ben, Desmond, Rose, etc. continued to live their lives until they died. Many perhaps from old age.

There’s no special twist to that. There’s tons of stuff that happened between them getting off the island (or staying on it) and them dying. Desmond most likely got off and was reunited with Penny again, for example.

Buttonstc's avatar

Is anyone watching the Kimmel special focusing on alternate endings?

It is hilarious. Everything from Survivor style to Sopranos style and they even got Bob Newhart in on the fun. This is the main reason I chose to watch the recap in the beginning plus the whole crazy ending.

This Kimmel special is SO worth it. If you aren’t watching it, do so. I’m watching and DVRing it.

andrew's avatar

I have to say, I’m disappointed, since I was so invested in the sideways reality—every damn time it’d cut to saturated memories I’d fucking bawl.

squidcake's avatar

Damnit, I wanna know what happened to my homeboy Richard.

rangerr's avatar

@squidcake He got an endorsement deal with an eyeliner company on the island.

squidcake's avatar

But his career ended soon because they saw that he was getting grey hairs and decided it was time to let him go.

rangerr's avatar

@squidcake That’s what happens when you get your immortality taken away.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Fact from fiction, truth from diction. I was waiting for everything to get tied off and there were a lot of loose ends. Such as:
• The stewardess and the 2 youngsters, what happened to them?
• What happened to the rest of the people who left the Temple?
• If the church was for those deserving to be there why wasn’t Neal there?
• If they were all dead did that happen when Juliet set off Jughead’s detonator?
• If there was an air field on Hydra island where was the aircraft (since it was said the only way on or off the island was by sub)?
• The Dharma Initiative food drops were made from aircraft from the landing strip on Hydra Island?
• Who was making the food drops since Linus killed them all off?
• If the island would have sank into the sea what would have happened to Barnard and Rose?
• Why was Penny at the church when she didn’t die on the island and neither did Aaron or Lepidus
• Why wasn’t Danielle at the church? She did die on the island.

Did you have holes or loose ends you didn’t see filled?

jfos's avatar

@Hypocrisy_Central In my opinion…

If the church was for those deserving to be there why wasn’t Neal there?” It wasn’t for those deserving to be there, it was the people who were necessary in helping the others “remember” how they had died.

If they were all dead did that happen when Juliet set off Jughead’s detonator?” I don’t think that’s when they died. I think that is what caused Juliet’s death, but not the rest of them. They all died at different times, some on the island and some off the island.

If the island would have sank into the sea what would have happened to Barnard and Rose?” They would have most likely drowned. Unless they had something to float on.

Why was Penny at the church when she didn’t die on the island and neither did Aaron or Lepidus?” The “church” wasn’t for people who died on the island. It was for people that could help the others remember. The afterlife flash-sideways parts were very Jack-specific. Yes, it showed the other characters “remembering,” but mostly Jack’s afterlife was shown.

Why wasn’t Danielle at the church? She did die on the island.” Read the previous answer.

Disc2021's avatar

@rangerr That’s what theory I seem to like best and I’m supposing Jack dies shortly after restoring the island and in perspective it’s when the actual “flash sideways” starts.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@jfos I don’t think that’s when they died. I think that is what caused Juliet’s death, but not the rest of them. They all died at different times, some on the island and some off the island. I will take this one 1st. Juliet would have never died that way had those on flight 815 died on impact. And if that is the train of thought (hence the empty beach with just wreckage at the end) they could not help each other “remember” anything because they were all strangers when the jet went down. The only way they could remember or have any history with each other is if all that stuff after happened; the Smoke Monster, the hatch, Desmond, The Others, Jacob, etc. The only ones who would have had any history of each other would have been Juliet, Ben, Desmond (if somehow Ben knew he was in that hatch all along), Daniel, Richard, and Danielle. Their lives and what have you would have went along the way it would have with out the jet crashing. Jack, Kate, and the rest only crossed paths with them when they crashed.

I am thinking the island had to exist but it is latent like blood without Luminol on it, it is there but you just can’t see it. The Others were there and Faraday were already in play before the jet even crashed. He would have failed to push that button quick enough just as it all happened but if they all died upon impact the hatch being blown, Rousseau would have killed Ben after she trapped him in the net. The only place where they all could have met their fate after they crashed and got to know each other was when Desmond blew the hatch, but then Charlotte. Miles, Lepidus, etc would have never been at the island and if they did they would have came to a barren island where everyone was wiped out by the blown hatch.

_ They would have most likely drowned. Unless they had something to float on._ That would have been rendered mute, there would have been any Locke for the Smoke Monster to imitate convincing Ben to kill Jacob so the island would not have been in danger.

bigal78's avatar

Good stuff on here! I can finally throw in my two cents! I’ve had to bite my tongue for far too long. Also, hopefully I can answer some of John’s questions about Dharma and the “pointless breadcrumbs” that really, weren’t so pointless…

The Island:

It was real. Everything that happened on the island that we saw throughout the 6 seasons was real. Forget the final image of the plane crash, it was put in purposely to f*&k with people’s heads and show how far the show had come. They really crashed. They really survived. They really discovered Dharma and the Others. The Island keeps the balance of good and evil in the world. It always has and always will perform that role. And the Island will always need a “Protector”. Jacob wasn’t the first, Hurley won’t be the last. However, Jacob had to deal with a malevolent force (MIB) that his mother, nor Hurley had to deal with. He created the devil and had to find a way to kill him—even though the rules prevented him from actually doing so.

Thus began Jacob’s plan to bring candidates to the Island to do the one thing he couldn’t do. Kill the MIB. He had a huge list of candidates that spanned generations. Yet everytime he brought people there, the MIB corrupted them and caused them to kill one another. That was until Richard came along and helped Jacob understand that if he didn’t take a more active role, then his plan would never work.

Enter Dharma—which I’m not sure why John is having such a hard time grasping. Dharma, like the countless scores of people that were brought to the island before, were brought there by Jacob as part of his plan to kill the MIB. However, the MIB was aware of this plan and interferred by “corrupting” Ben. Making Ben believe he was doing the work of Jacob when in reality he was doing the work of the MIB. This carried over into all of Ben’s “off-island” activities. He was the leader. He spoke for Jacob as far as they were concerned. So the “Others” killed Dharma and later were actively trying to kill Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Hurley and all the candidates because that’s what the MIB wanted. And what he couldn’t do for himself.

Dharma was originally brought in to be good. But was turned bad by MIB’s corruption and eventually destroyed by his pawn Ben. Now, was Dharma only brought there to help Jack and the other Canditates on their overall quest to kill Smokey? Or did Jacob have another list of Canidates from the Dharma group that we were never aware of? That’s a question that is purposley not answered because whatever answer the writers came up with would be worse than the one you come up with for yourself. Still… Dharma’s purpose is not “pointless” or even vague. Hell, it’s pretty blantent.

Still, despite his grand plan, Jacob wanted to give his “candidates” (our Lostaways) the one thing he, nor his brother, were ever afforded: free will. Hence him bringing a host of “candidates” through the decades and letting them “choose” which one would actually do the job in the end. Maybe he knew Jack would be the one to kill Flocke and that Hurley would be the protector in the end. Maybe he didn’t. But that was always the key question of the show: Fate vs Free-will. Science vs Faith. Personally I think Jacob knew from the beginning what was going to happen and that everyone played a part over 6 seasons in helping Jack get to the point where he needed to be to kill Smokey and make Hurley the protector—I know that’s how a lot of the writers viewed it. But again, they won’t answer that (nor should they) because that ruins the fun.

In the end, Jack got to do what he always wanted to do from the very first episode of the show: Save his fellow Lostaways. He got Kate and Sawyer off the island and he gave Hurley the purpose in life he’d always been missing. And, in Sideways world (which we’ll get to next) he in fact saved everyone by helping them all move on…


Sideways World:

Sideways world is where it gets really cool in terms of theology and metaphysical discussion (for me at least—because I love history/religion theories and loved all the talks in the writer’s room about it). Basically what the show is proposing is that we’re all linked to certain people during our lives. Call them soulmates (though it’s not exactly the best word). But these people we’re linked to are with us duing “the most important moments of our lives” as Christian said. These are the people we move through the universe with from lifetime to lifetime. It’s loosely based in Hinduisim with large doses of western religion thrown into the mix.

The conceit that the writers created, basing it off these religious philosophies, was that as a group, the Lostaways subconsciously created this “sideways” world where they exist in purgatory until they are “awakened” and find one another. Once they all find one another, they can then move on and move forward. In essence, this is the show’s concept of the afterlife. According to the show, everyone creates their own “Sideways” purgatory with their “soulmates” throughout their lives and exist there until they all move on together. That’s a beautiful notion. Even if you aren’t religious or even spirtual, the idea that we live AND die together is deeply profound and moving.

It’s a really cool and spirtual concept that fits the whole tone and subtext the show has had from the beginning. These people were SUPPOSED to be together on that plane. They were supposed to live through these events—not JUST because of Jacob. But because that’s what the universe or God (depending on how religious you wish to get) wanted to happen. The show was always about science vs faith—and it ultimately came down on the side of faith. It answered THE core question of the series. The one question that has been at the root of every island mystery, every character backstory, every plot twist. That, by itself, is quite an accomplishment.

How much you want to extrapolate from that is up to you as the viewer. Think about season 1 when we first found the Hatch. Everyone thought that’s THE answer! Whatever is down there is the answer! Then, as we discovered it was just one station of many. One link in a very long chain that kept revealing more, and more of a larger mosiac.

But the writer’s took it even further this season by contrasting this Sideways “purgatory” with the Island itself. Remember when Michael appeared to Hurley, he said he was not allowed to leave the Island. Just like the MIB. He wasn’t allowed into this sideways world and thus, was not afforded the opportunity to move on. Why? Because he had proven himself to be unworthy with his actions on the Island. He failed the test. The others, passed. They made it into Sideways world when they died—some before Jack, some years later. In Hurley’s case, maybe centuries later. They exist in this sideways world until they are “awakened” and they can only move on TOGETHER because they are linked. They are destined to be together for eternity. That was their destiny.

They were NOT linked to Anna Lucia, Daniel, Roussou, Alex, Miles, Lupidis, (and all the rest who weren’t in the chuch—basically everyone who wasn’t in season 1). Yet those people exist in Sideways world. Why? Well again, here’s where they leave it up to you to decide. The way I like to think about it, is that those people who were left behind in Sideways world have to find their own soulmates before they can wake up. It’s possible that those links aren’t people from the island but from their other life (Anna’s parnter, the guy she shot—- Roussou’s husband, etc etc).

A lot of people have been talking about Ben and why he didn’t go into the Church. And if you think of Sideways world in this way, then it gives you the answer to that very question. Ben can’t move on yet because he hasn’t connected with the people he needs to. It’s going to be his job to awaken Roussou, Alex, Anna Lucia (maybe), Ethan, Goodspeed, his father and the rest. He has to attone for his sins more than he did by being Hurley’s number two. He has to do what Hurley and Desmond did for our Lostaways with his own people. He has to help them connect. And he can only move on when all the links in his chain are ready to. Same can be said for Faraday, Charlotte, Whidmore, Hawkins etc. It’s really a neat, and cool concept. At least to me.

But, from a more “behind the scenes” note: the reason Ben’s not in the church, and the reason no one is in the church but for Season 1 people is because they wrote the ending to the show after writing the pilot. And never changed it. The writers always said (and many didn’t believe them) that they knew their ending from the very first episode. I applaud them for that. It’s pretty fantastic. Originally Ben was supposed to have a 3 episode arc and be done. But he became a big part of the show. They could have easily changed their ending and put him in the church—but instead they problem solved it. Gave him a BRILLIANT moment with Locke outside the church… and then that was it. I loved that. For those that wonder—the original ending started the moment Jack walked into the church and touches the casket to Jack closing his eyes as the other plane flies away. That was always JJ’s ending. And they kept it.

For me the ending of this show means a lot. Not only because I worked on it, but because as a writer it inspired me in a way the medium had never done before. I’ve been inspired to write by great films. Maybe too many to count. And there have been amazing TV shows that I’ve loved (X-Files, 24, Sopranos, countless ½ hour shows). But none did what LOST did for me. None showed me that you could take huge risks (writing a show about faith for network TV) and stick to your creative guns and STILL please the audience. I learned a lot from the show as a writer. I learned even more from being around the incredible writers, producers, PAs, interns and everyone else who slaved on the show for 6 years.

In the end, for me, LOST was a touchstone show that dealt with faith, the afterlife, and all these big, spirtual questions that most shows don’t touch. And to me, they never once waivered from their core story—even with all the sci-fi elements they mixed in. To walk that long and daunting of a creative tightrope and survive is simply astounding.

Read more:

JONESGH's avatar

@bigal78 If I could give you 1000000 GAs I would.

Buttonstc's avatar

You said this was to answer “John’s questions”

Who is the “John” to whom you’re referring ?

DominicX's avatar

So if they had the “purgatory” ending planned from the beginning, does that mean that they originally were going to make it so they died in the crash and the island was purgatory? Surely they didn’t plan to have the alternative timeline in the 6th season from the very beginning?

jfos's avatar

@bigal78 Good answer.

@Hypocrisy_Central I think you misunderstood what I was saying… What you are putting forth does not contest what I said

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

@bigal78 Having worked on it maybe you can tie off some loose ends for me.

” It was real. Everything that happened on the island that we saw throughout the 6 seasons was real.” How did the flashing back and forth trough time work and was that after Jack was dead already? Does that island have the power of the universe in it? Of one goes on the theory and I tried to trace myself back to the sources I read for the source Nazis, but as of yet could not find my way back to them that everything in the universe is connected no matter how far the distance or that all matter even those you can’t see is fixed and just transform composition for the island to go back in time it would have had to take the whole universe with it; that is a lot, a lot, and a lot of power. Other wise it would be unbalances as if you could use a micro time machine on yourself and send your brain back to the Battle of Gettysburg, you lungs back to the days of Pharaoh, and your heart back to the Dark Ages, no part of you would survive because they all need to be connected to function. Another loose end on the time travel part if everything on the island was real when Juliette triggered the detonator why did it not kill them? Why did they just end up at the hatch that Desmond blew, and why was Juliette in it when she was not originally?

” Jacob wasn’t the first, Hurley won’t be the last.” That means Hurley developed the ability to speak any language and to direct people’s destinies? And with no more “others” there what was there for him to do? Would he still “cause” people to end up there for whatever reason?

” Thus began Jacob’s plan to bring candidates to the Island to do the one thing he couldn’t do. Kill the MIB.” If Jacob and (EMIB) Evil Man in Black tried but could not kill each other why was the EMIB able to like Jack if jack was then like Jacob?

” Still… Dharma’s purpose is not “pointless” or even vague. Hell, it’s pretty blantent. [sic]” O guess to those on the inside. The Dharma group appears to have found the island because Faraday’s mother’s involvement in “The Looking Glass” as it, made tracking the movement of the island or its appearance possible. So how did she, Richard and the others who were the “Others” back from WWII and later etc. no know the EMIB hijacked the purpose they were there? And the station where the two people who ended up buried where at that seem to just monitor the activities of the other stations and wrote reports, what was that about? And the participants did not seem to know the nature of the Swan but surely Ben should have known, so he must have known Desmond was down there someone had to push the button-.

” These people were SUPPOSED to be together on that plane.” Juliet, Desmond and Penny was not on the plane so why were they at the church and not others who had nearly as prominent role like Miles, Lepidus, Faraday, etc.

”Because he had proven himself to be unworthy with his actions on the Island. He failed the test.” So Michael had no chance of moving on because he was stuck on the island because of his actions there? Or his actions overall? Because Sayid, Kate, Sawyer, Keemey, Jin, Ana Lucia, and of course Ben though Jin didn’t really kill anyone I seen just caused him to throw himself out the window. have taken life and Ben has done the worse next to Keemey and Ben, Keemey, and Ana Lucia were I the sideways.

” the reason Ben’s not in the church, and the reason no one is in the church but for Season 1 people is because they wrote the ending to the show after writing the pilot. And never changed it.” Where was Juliet, Desmond, and Penny in season one? Maybe Desmond was in it in some small way bit I can’t remember Juliet or Penny being there in any great way at all. What episodes where they in?

And still there are lose ends on the airfield on Hydra Island, I remember Ben saying that the sub was the only way on or off the island was by the sub, but that mist not have been the only way or it was left over from WWII but then you’d expect it to be so overgrown the Algeria flight could never have used it. And the food drop by parachute? Who did that? If the Dharma people were wiped out by then why would they still be dropping food? Where did the plane come from that dropped it? They did not have factories on the islands and that sub didn’t have that much room so where did all the food come from?

Did the false Christian (EMIB) break the time travel wheel and trick Locke into using it to zeterpolt him from the island?

The stewardess and the 2 kids she was looking after were they killed off by Whitmore or did they live out their lives on the island with Hurley as the new Jacob?

Sooooooo many other loose, loose ends……..

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