Note to readers: Do not read this is you haven’t caught up on “Lost” yet. There are spoilers regarding the first five seasons (and Season Six’s premiere) throughout.
That’s all I could think after finishing “LA X,” the final season premiere of “Lost.” That doesn’t mean I’m disappointed. Heavens, no! The episode (once it got going, anyway; the first part was a bit slow) was packed to the brim with tension, action and mythology, and that’s not even including the part everyone is going to be talking about.
Yes, that’s right. The unfortunately-nicknamed “flashsideways,” which portray, apparently, an altered and alternate world in which 815 never crashes, are sure to have fans in a tizzy for the remainder of the season, and they’re quite well done, providing almost as much intrigue as Season Four’s flashforwards. So, in summary, my two syllable reaction up there isn’t borne out of disappointment; rather, it’s borne out of an odd sort of delighted confusion.
The season premiere did clear up a few things, but it created even more mysteries for us to unravel. While that’s exciting, it’s also a little concerning because “Lost” has always been presented with an inherent promise: Yes, we will eventually explain all of this. However, as the show has gone on and the mysteries have piled up, fans have become more and more nervous that perhaps not everything will be solved. Even the writers have hinted that some loose ends are just going to have to remain that way.
But “Lost” fans, for now anyway, are refusing to take no for an answer, and it’s a stand that I sympathize with. Think back even to all of the Season One mysteries that haven’t been answered. What’s up with the polar bears? Who are Adam and Eve? Think about later on in the show. Why is Libby in the mental hospital? What happened to Desmond in that hatch? At least some of these (no, scratch that, most of these) and other ancillary questions will need to be answered without leaving the audience with a big letdown, and none of those things I just mentioned even made it into my top 10 list.
Speaking of which, let’s get down to business. Below are the 10 mysteries (along with their related questions) that the writers need most of all to solve. I have decided that all of these mysteries should take the form of a question—in fact, it’s the question that every “Lost” fan finds him or herself asking the most: What’s going on?
10. What’s going on with the numbers?
I used to not think this was that big of a deal, but then I rewatched all of the episodes and realized just how many things hinge on that little numerical combination. Hurley wins the lottery (and scores of bad luck) with them, Rousseau crashed because of them, they’re the numbers you had to put in to reset the button and so much more. There really are a lot of things tied into those numbers, and silence about them would be incredibly frustrating.
Granted, I’m not saying that we need to have a complex breakdown of the significance of each numeral or anything like that. I just want some semblance of an explanation for their existence.
Corollary Questions: Where did they come from? Is their imprint on the hatch intentional, or is that just a numbering system? Why do they cause bad luck? Most importantly, why were they being broadcast from the island?
What Are Our Chances? It’s not looking good. The writers have always shied away from a concrete explanation, and it seems like there might be too much going on in the final season to get these pesky guys explained.
9. What’s going on with Christian?
Christian is one of the longest running mysteries on the show, even predating classics like Adam and Eve, The Black Rock (more on that later) and the four-toed foot statue. While his fate could be tied up with unLocke/Jacob’s Nemesis, there are some inconsistencies between the two (the most glaring one: where is Christian’s body?) that makes him an enigma all his own. That he’s a fantastic flashback character only adds to my desire that his case be solved.
Corollary Questions: What is he? Did he get resurrected, or is someone or something inhabiting his body? Is he the smoke monster? How did he die? Where is his body in the alternate reality?
What Are Our Chances? His appearance at the end of Season Five (not to mention his weird semi-kidnapping of Claire) indicates that an explanation is forthcoming.
Aaron (along with another little boy further down on the list) is one of those characters who either makes “Lost” fans go “I know, right? Why haven’t they addressed that yet?” or “Oh yeah… I forgot all about that. What’s up with him?” Either way, Claire’s special little tyke hasn’t made an appearance for quite some time, but that doesn’t let him off the hook. That he has not as of yet shown any sign of being special (nor has his being “raised by another” shown any deleterious effects – toward him, anyway) just serves to heighten the questions surrounding him.
Corollary Questions: Why is he special? Why should he be only raised by Claire? What is his life like right now? Did Desmond really see Aaron and Claire get into a helicopter? Is Claire pregnant with him in the alternate timeline?
What Are Our Chances? It’s unclear. His character is still pretty young for an actor to give him much gravitas, but he was so prominent in Season Four that you’d think he’ll be back in some form this year.
7. What’s going on with Richard?
Ah, Mr. Immortal. While Richard says in late Season Five that Jacob made him the way he is, that doesn’t answer what exactly the way he is is, nor does it explain how he got to the island or what his purpose is on it. Since his introduction in Season Three, he’s always been an engrossing character. Now if they would only give us some clues….
Corollary Questions: Where did his compass come from? How does he know unLocke? He’s met Kate in the past and the present; shouldn’t he realize this? Where did he come from? How and why is he immortal? Did he know who Sawyer was when he gave Locke his file? What did unLocke mean when he told him it was good to see him “not in chains”?
What Are Our Chances? Given that Nestor Carbonell has become part of the main cast for the first time, I’d say things are looking good.
6. What’s going on with The Black Rock?
Here’s another Season One mystery that hasn’t been touched. This mysterious boat has been good for a holding cell, some dynamite and some in-poor-taste-but-still-hilarious gag humor (by the way, wasn’t it great to see Arzt in this last episode?), but the fact that it exists at all has yet to be explained. Perhaps the weirdest thing is that it’s in the middle of the island rather than wrecked up on the shore.
Corollary Questions: Is that the boat Jacob saw in “The Incident”? Why is it in the middle of the island? What was its purpose? Why does Widmore bid on the ship’s ledger? Why did Tovard Hanso (a relative of Alvar Hanso, mentioned briefly in the Dharma orientation videos and much more in non-canonical sources) own the ledger in the first place? What happened to the crew?
What Are Our Chances? I’m really hoping that this one gets solved. Many fans speculate that Richard has something to do with the boat. If so, the chances are greatly increased.
5. What’s going on with Walt?
Walt is another Season One mystery whose enigmatic attributes were showcased time and time again, and his occasional appearances since have repeatedly pushed him back into the audience’s mind. Love him or hate him, Walt was one of the first supernatural elements on the show, and perhaps the very first to be blatantly identified as such. Much has been made over a Season Six’s first promotional poster in which Walt was the only one-time main character to not be included, but the writers have said that they may need to address his powers in a different way because of Malcolm David Kelley’s age. Hmm.
Corollary Questions: What are his powers exactly? Why did the Others do experiments on him, and what were they? Why is he special? Why and how does he appear to people on the island? What do his dreams mean? Why is he wet and talking backwards when he appears to Shannon?
What Are Our Chances? The writers have said they’re going to try, but the flashsideways make things difficult. Unless executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse have something really different up their sleeves, Walt can’t be in the alternate timeline because of the age factor. However, the announcement that Michael will be returning to the show in some form gives me reason to hope.
4. What’s going on with the multiple realities?
This one bumped “What’s going on with Desmond?” off the list (Sorry, Des). A careful analysis of the season premiere’s flashsideways (like the one shown here) shows several small and big differences between the characters’ appearances, seating positions, situations, emotions, etc. This will be fodder for endless debate, including the question of whether the timeline change would have really caused all these things to happen differently (for example, would the detonation of Jughead make alternate-Charlie have a different haircut?).
However, these changes are only part of the mystery. The island is underwater, but it does not appear to be devastated by a hydrogen bomb, and, perhaps most significantly of all, Jack appears to have a weird sort of déjà vu about the whole situation. Could it be that he sort of remembers his island days?
Corollary Questions: What do all of these changes have to do with the bomb’s detonation? Was the bomb’s detonation really the impetus for the timeline break? Is the alternate timeline even real? Do the two timelines need to be reconciled? Why was Claire on the plane if it wasn’t supposed to crash? Where are the missing passengers? Does Jack partially remember his other self? Does this create a time paradox, as Jack could now never be on the island to detonate the bomb (yes, yes it does)? Did fetus Daniel die on the island? Was Penny never conceived because Widmore died there too? What happened to everyone on the island? And, most importantly (to me, anyway), why was Desmond on the plane? Was he really there? Was it part of some sort of time jumping?
What Are Our Chances? Since this has been introduced so late in the game, I have a hard time believing it won’t be solved, unless it ends up being something akin to “this is what life could have been like for them…,” which is doubtful (and also incredibly lame).
3. What’s going on with the Dharma Initiative?
Thought Season Five provided enough answers about this? Ha! Think again. In fact, think really hard and see if you can tell me what, exactly, the Dharma Initiative actually does. I’ll wait.
OK, time’s up. If you said “research time travel,” congrats! You’re as right as anyone can be at this point, but it’s painfully obvious that much more goes on with the group than the work at the Orchid. They clearly stuck around after The Incident (which I still say was the bomb’s detonation), and even before that there are questions. The Swan station doesn’t appear to be related to time travel, but Radzinsky was building it anyway. And we can’t forget the weird apparent second purpose of all of the stations, as some sort of weird psychological test (remember this thing?) (http://lostpedia.wikia.com/wiki/Capsule).
Corollary Questions: Why the polar bears? Where else does the DI operate? Why does Charlotte find the Dharma bear fossil in Tunisia? What did they do after the Incident? How did Dr. Chang lose his arm? How did Radzinsky end up in the hatch? How did Kelvin end up on the island? How did they come to exist? What goes on in Ann Arbor? Why are the food drops still coming? Most importantly (to me), what’s up with the Pearl’s dumpsite and the lie that the Swan is all a psychological experiment?
What Are Our Chances? Honestly, not good, and it will really disappoint me if some of those issues aren’t addressed. However, with all of the characters back in the present and the flashsideways taking up more screen time, all the writers have promised is that there will be more information about the Ann Arbor connection.
2. What’s going on with the Others?
This one seems self-explanatory. These odd people have been on the Island a long time (even predating the Dharma folks), but beyond their loosely defined role as guardians, no real explanation has been given as to their purposes or origins. With new revelations about their temple in “LA X,” they now seem more confusing than ever. Are those new guys at the temple Other Others? Lastly, we can’t forget the epic feud between Ben and Widmore. What’s it all about?
Corollary Questions: What is the difference between the temple Others and the regular Others? What is their actual purpose and origin? What are the “rules” so often mentioned by Ben and Widmore? What are they even fighting about, anyway? How does Eloise fit into all of this? Why can’t they have kids? Why did they kidnap Walt? Whose temple is it? Why do they have a love/hate relationship with the Smoke Monster? What does the spring do, and why is the water dirty? Why don’t they jump through time when the wheel is turned?
What Are Our Chances? Some of this stuff is sure to be addressed, but I have a feeling that other things will remain unanswered.
1. What’s going on with Jacob/The Island/the entire mythology?
Now we get to the crux of things. While the island’s surroundings have clearly been the source of many conundrums over the last five seasons, the island itself has been an oddity since the very beginning, starting with the smoke monster in the pilot and ramping up in Season Three and beyond with the introduction (as an idea, if not in the flesh) of Jacob. While the smoke monster mystery was (kind of partially) laid to rest in “LA X,” details regarding its relationship to Jacob, Jacob’s relationship to the Others and Egyptian mythology, the Egyptian mythology’s relation to the hatch timer and on and on are still unknown. Considering this actually becomes a little daunting if you do it long enough, as you realize that there really, really is still so little that we truly know.
Corollary Questions: What are Jacob and the smoke monster/Jacob’s Nemesis/unLocke? How did the U.S. Army find the island? What happens to the Others now that Jacob is dead? What does all of the Egyptian symbolism have to do with everything? Did the island really call everyone to it for a reason? Why is it displaced in time? Why does it have all of these special properties, and what do they all do? Why is Jacob able to be killed, and unLocke isn’t? Why does the ash stop the smoke monster? Why does the smoke monster judge people? What was going on with the cabin? Why was the ash broken? Why does the island give people visions? What do Jacob’s lists mean?
What Are Our Chances? Some of this is guaranteed to be answered, but so much mythology has piled up that answering every question and query seems like a truly gargantuan task. It now appears that the main question on every fan’s mind is an overarching one: How much of the fog must be cleared for the show to come to a satisfying conclusion?