LOST: The Ultimate Explanation Compilation

LOST: The Ultimate Explanation Compilation

Don't feel like LOST answered all your questions??...check out my article that may answer some unresolved questions you might still have after watching the finale.

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By Starjammer - 6/10/2010
Hey everyone, I am a huge LOST fan, and after watching the finale, I spoke to plenty of people that were struggling with some of the concepts of the finale, or thought that the show failed to answer some questions they still had. LOST is obviously very complex and sometimes hard to follow, so I decided to write out many of these lingering questions and attempt to answer them from the show to the best of my knowledge. Hopefully it will clear up some things for you, or bring up some things you might have missed.

It wasn’t until a few days later that I really began to look at it within the context of the entire show, and the more I thought about it all, the more it all fell into place and I became absolutely more than satisfied with the resolution. One of the best things about the show is that it makes you think on a tremendously complex level. Rather than spoon-feed its viewers, LOST operates under the premise that its watchers will rise to the challenge and use their heads to look past the obvious!

Since the finale, I have heard all kinds of wacky negative claims about the show, how it wasn’t answering the most basic of questions, and wasn’t living up to expectations. One of the most painful things was having to listen to “fans” who struggled with some of the most basic concepts of the finale, and the scope of the show as a whole. Even reading various articles about the finale from professional writers and spokesmen, I found that many of them completely missed key elements of the show, some even chalking their own misinterpretations up to the show being flawed.

It is for this reason I have decided to compile all the most important and hard to understand questions and explanations into one easy-to-read source to both help others on their LOST journey, and as a tribute to my favorite show. Many of these explanations are based on actual specific questions I heard people asking after watching the finale, so keep in mind I didn’t go into every single unexplained mystery; having to explain some of the more obvious ones would just be insulting to the show. If your one of those people who claims they watched the show, but still doesn’t know why there are polar bears on the island, then you should probably stop reading now and just go back and rewatch.

Also, I don’t think I should have to say this, but if you haven’t watched every episode…DON’T READ THIS! Anyway, enough of this talk. Namaste!

Essential Finale Concepts:

Does the ending mean they were dead the whole time?

This is probably the most painful question to hear from people. No. When Jack enters the church, he is approached by Christian, who clearly explains to Jack that everything on the island happened. He further explains the reality as being a place they all created so that they could meet up again because their time on the island meant so much to them and made them so emotionally bonded.
What is the significance of the alternate timeline events?

The alternate timeline at first seems like it was time reset by the bomb, making Oceanic Flight 815 never have crashed (and therefore negating all the events of them on the island). We now know that it is actually more of flash-forward, where we see events that took place after all the characters of the show have died. Christian goes on to say that time has no relevance there. “Everyone dies sometime.” This is why they are all there at the same time, whether they are Jack (who died in the last scene), Kate (who was able to leave the island and most likely went on to live a long life), or Hurley (who very possibly could have lived hundreds or even thousands of years later as the immortal ruler of the island.) It is also interesting to note that this concept is also somewhat aligned with Christianity, which holds similar ideas of what happens to the soul immediately after death.

What’s interesting is that the show is a bit ambiguous as to if this place is something that happens to everyone that dies, or if it is something unique to this group of people because of their extraordinary experiences on a supernatural island. Personally, I seem to lean towards the latter since Christian tells Jack they made it because of their experiences on the island. Each character manifests themselves in this world in ways that they subconsciously see themselves. Sawyer, for example, is a cop, as he sees himself as having a good heart and standing up for justice, despite his criminal exterior. Kate, too, claims that she is innocent. Jack pictured himself as a father because of his insecurities with his own dad. Sayid’s is probably my favorite. He manifests Nadia as married to his brother, symbolic of the fact that he cannot let go of her love, even though she is unobtainable.
The focus of LOST has always been the journey of an incredible group of characters, not simply the happenings of the island. It is very fitting then, that the focus of the finale itself should be these characters reaching their epiphanies. At first glance, it may seem like just a ploy to bring everyone back and give the show a happy and cheesy ending, but when you consider the entire scope of the show, it really hits home. In order for each character to reach their epiphany and remember all the events of the island, they must come to grips with themselves and “let go”. Looking at each character individually, you can think as far back as Season 1, where these characters struggled with various issues. It is in the final reconciliation of these issues that they can finally “move on” and bring their character’s growth full circle.

For example, back when the plane first crashed, Shannon wanted more than anything to be helpful and not feel like she was useless. She reaches her epiphany when Sayid intervenes to stop a man from hurting her. This unlocks her memories because Sayid was the only one of the survivors who believed in Shannon and gave her a chance to help. In helping with this, Boone was in turn awakened, as he most of all just wanted Shannon to be happy. Unlike the others, Jack’s awakening came in bits and pieces, as Jack’s character is unwilling to let him easily accept anything he cannot explain with rationalization or facts. Kate tried to help, but his awakening ultimately came when he touched his father’s coffin.

Another cool and very appropriately ambiguous aspect of this reality is that it leaves the exact details of the afterlife a mystery, leaving out a specific religious ideology, and allowing the viewer to imagine it however they choose. The stain glass mural behind Jack shows that the “limbo” reality is free from the doctrines of any one religion.

Why didn’t Ben go into the church too?

In order to go on to the afterlife, each character must find their own peace within themselves. Ben decides not to go in with the others because he believes he still has things to atone for.

Why is the island underwater in the alternate timeline?

The characters in the “limbo” timeline manifested the island as being underwater to show that whatever events were happening during that time were of purely the characters themselves, free from the power and influence of the island or Jacob.

Why weren’t all the main characters seen in the alternate timeline?

We know that Michael is trapped as a whisper on the island because of his sins, and also that some of the characters, such as Anna Lucia and Faraday, seen in the “limbo” reality are simply “not ready yet”, but there are also a few others that we don’t hear or see from. One is Walt. I would say that his lack of appearance here can be best explained due to the fact that he left his fellow losties early on. Because of this, he did not develop the same emotional bond with the other characters in which Christian spoke of. This also explains why others like Aaron or Richard are not around.

Mr. Eko’s absence can be explained in the way he was killed by the smoke monster in Season 3. In the alternate reality, each character is struggling to find peace with themselves in some capacity or another. Eko, however, had already found this before he died. Approached by the smoke monster in the form of his brother Yemi, he was told to confess his sins. Eko, believing he had made the most of his life despite his rocky past, held strong and refused to confess. He was then tossed around (in what appears to be the motion of a four-pointed cross from the Catholic faith, I might add). Unlike the others, he had found his peace before death, and would therefore not be stuck in a “limbo” reality.

What is Christian’s significance?

We know that the Man In Black (which from now on will be referred to as MIB) was taking on the form of Christian to manipulate various characters such as Locke and Claire, but there is also evidence that the real Christian Shepherd was on the island watching over his son and his friends as a kind of guardian angel. For one thing, back in Season 1 Jack finally finds his father’s coffin, but when he opens it up, it is empty. Even if MIB took on his form, the body would still be there, as we see later in Season 5 with Locke’s coffin. The same empty coffin is also shown in the church during the finale. Jack approaches it, and the real Christian comes up behind him.

Also, one of the canonical mobisodes on the Season 4 DVD shows Christian crouching down and petting Vincent. He tells the dog to go help his son, and sends him off, where he then finds Jack in the bamboo forest in the beginning of the Pilot episode. In this way, he watches over Jack throughout his journey, and then is finally sent into the alternate reality to help usher the losties into the heavenly afterlife. Very fitting considering Jack’s hardships with his father. There is also a very cool biblical allusion here, as Christian can be seen as God the Father sending his son down to Earth but giving him the Holy Spirit to watch over him.

What was going on with Desmond?

We know that Desmond has always been “special”, and we have seen his consciousness float in and out of space and time. Now in Season 6, it is finally mentioned that Jacob gave Desmond a gift, much like he gave gifts to other characters, such as Hurley. He is to act as a human fail-safe as a measure of last resort. I take this gift to basically mean he is immune to the island’s effects. In this way, Jacob could use him as a kind of wild card, and ultimately Jack and MIB are able to send him into the heart of the island without dying. It also explains how Desmond was basically immune to even the rules of time travel.

The reason Desmond was so optimistic even in the face of the drastic events taking place was because his consciousness had shifted to the alternate timeline when Widmore blasted him with electromagnetism. In doing so, he sees that they are okay in this other reality, and comes to the conclusion that as far as the conflict on the island, “none of it matters.” However, he soon realizes he does not know quite as much as he thinks he does when he is rendered unconscious and the island is nearly destroyed.

What can we conclude about Widmore?

The Ben and Widmore power struggle has been a large part of the history of LOST. Before, we were unsure whether or not Widmore was lying about the freighter being there to kill everyone on the island, and we were also unsure if the assailants that attacked Sayid were his men. Later on, we learn that he lied about the plane wreckage, as he admits this to Faraday, his son.
We can now assume the rest of it to be true too, as he explains that recently Jacob came to him and convinced him of the error of his ways. It seems that he has turned a new leaf and is now carrying out Jacob’s work of getting rid of MIB. It is possible he is still lying, but not likely, since if what he is saying were not true, he would not have known about Desmond’s gift. This is Widmore’s redemption. I think it’s also safe to conclude that it was actually MIB that killed the leftover passengers of the Ajira Flight, and not Widmore (Remember back in Season 5, MIB emerged from the jungle and told Ben he had been “running an errand” This is most likely what he was up to).

Why is Ben murdering people again?

As premised when Ben was reminded about his daughter’s death when Miles sensed Alex’s grave, Ben is still harboring some huge resentment for Widmore for being responsible for the death of Alex. It is a huge travesty in his life, and when he hears MIB promise to keep Penny out of harm’s way, he snaps, telling Widmore he doesn’t get to keep his daughter safe. Although this was a very dark thing to do (And might be part of the reason Ben wasn’t ready to “move on”), it enables him to finally get revenge on Widmore and better cope with Alex’s death.
Why didn’t Jack ignite another smoke monster when he was exposed to the Heart of the Island like MIB did?

The essence of darkness and death was personified as the smoke monster when the Heart was exposed to a person (MIB). When Desmond turned it all off, MIB was trapped in his corporeal state and was defeated. Because of this, the essence of death was extinguished and would no longer be able to manifest.
*See ”What is the nature of the Man In Black?” for more.
What is the meaning of the wreckage shown after the credits?
There is no revolutionary hidden meaning here. Probably the main reason it was put in is for the sake nostalgia. It all began with the wreckage, and now it is ending with it. It has a big significance, since it is the place we first met our characters.

Showing it again, specifically from the wide angle that it does, also symbolizes the circle of things. Although this wreckage meant so much for the characters of LOST and for us as the audience, it is now just another remnant of a culture where man left his mark of “progress”, just like the DHARMA stations, the Black Rock, and the ancient Egyptian ruins. Perhaps any future visitors that come to the island will stumble upon the mysterious wreckage and think, “Where did this come from?” “What is the history of this?” And maybe when they realize Hurley, the great and mysterious ruler of the island, was once a real person and came from the wreckage, they can say, “Aww, lame! I thought it was going to be cooler than that!”

Island Mysteries Explained

What is the nature of the Man In Black?

The Heart of the Island is described as “life, death, and rebirth”. When Jacob threw his brother into the forbidden light, it acted like a catalyst, causing the smoke monster to be created. But is this entity the same man? If this was the case, the darkness would have to have greatly corrupted his soul and merged with him, as the man we see in the flashback was very different from this new being, acting as more of a hero and seeking knowledge and freedom. Mother describes their collision with the light “a fate worse than death” which seems to support this theory, and MIB also claims he was once a man and the act of walking reminds him of what he used to be.

Another possibility that I think makes more sense is that the smoke monster is a whole new entity altogether. MIB falling into the cave acts more like a sacrifice in this case, allowing the “death” that was trapped as part of the balance of the island to be expelled and personified as the embodiment of corruption and death. Being able to take on the form of anyone that died, it is pretty fitting that the main form it would choose to take on would be the one that gave him his freedom, MIB. It also makes sense he could claim he was the real original MIB; we’ve seen him take on the traits of others he takes the form of, like Locke, when he yelled, “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!”
I think there is another clue to this in the way the smoke monster first emerged. Rather than being timid and confused (not to mention unconscious) like the real MIB would be after being expelled out as a cloud of smoke, it instead exploded out viciously, much like a living entity would after being imprisoned within the island since the dawn of time.

The dark energy would try all he could to leave the island and bring about the apocalypse of mankind. In this way, it would act much like the angel of death. Jacob, being the ruler of the island, however, can control the island’s power and essence, and therefore chooses to not let it leave, as he said when explaining that the island acts as a cork to keep evil from spreading (We now know this statement is also literal, as the stone in the Heart of the Island acts as a literal cork to keep the light flowing). This also explains why Jack (along with anyone else) would not turn into another smoke monster. The course of events in the finale has put down this dark energy for good.

What is the history of the island?

There is plenty of mystery still surrounding the island’s previous inhabitants. We know ancient Egyptians must have been there sometime very long ago, and are most likely the first major civilization on the island, as they are the ones who built structures like the temple, the statue, and the Heart of the Island itself (judging by the hieroglyphics.)

But what time period was it when Jacob and MIB were born on the island? My guess, judging from the attire of the people there, is that it was during ancient Roman times, long about 30 B.C. The fact that they speak Latin in the beginning is also a good indicator, since it was during this time period that Latin first developed as a language. This would be far after ancient Egyptians, who first developed as a culture in 3000 B.C. and were taken over by the Romans after Rome began its conquest.

What is strange, however, is that many things seem to indicate that the essence of the smoke monster was around during this Egyptian time period on the island. In the Season 5 premiere, the ancient images around the room seem to depict people cowering in fear of a large, smoke-like cloud. Some even look like they are being corrupted. Also, when Ben goes underground to be judged, the smoke monster filters in through what looks like an altar filled with air vents. This seems like much too great of a coincidence to have just been there. All this seems to show that the smoke monster was feared and worshipped as a deity back then. This would also fit in well with Egyptian mythology.

One might attempt to explain the smoke monster’s presence there in ancient Egyptian times by saying that at some point after Jacob caused the smoke monster to be released, time could have traveled back to ancient Egyptian times. This is a valid theory, but a better explanation might be that the essence of the smoke monster has been around since the dawn of time, and was even worshipped by the Egyptians, probably as a deity of death or the underworld. This theory seems to make a lot of sense when you take the blast door map into account, which labeled the underground passageways the smoke monster used to travel through as Cerberus vents. For those who know their Greek mythology, Cerberus was a three headed dog that acted as the guardian to the entrance of Hades, the land of the dead.

To take this theory a step farther, we could speculate that this dark entity originally began on the island as the smoke monster in the first place, but after the ancient Egyptians came to the island, they eventually discovered a way to capture and confine it within the island itself. This fits in with the notion that the Egyptians were the ones that built the Heart of the Island and the stone cork within it that acted to keep it confined. The dark entity originating in smoke form would also explain the depictions of the smoke monster on the walls and the significance of the vents in the altar.

It wasn’t until the events of Jacob and MIB that caused the Heart of the Island to become tainted and the negative energy, death incarnate, to once again be expelled , free to travel, corrupt, and judge as it pleased once again. Though we will never know for sure, concepts such as these were intentionally left ambiguous so we could have fun using our imaginations and thinking of the possibilities.

What is the history of the wheel?

It is possible that this is the same wheel that we know from the Orchid station. If this was the case, MIB could have influenced other cultures that came after him to finish what he started. A more likely case, however, is that the wheel seen in the Orchid station is a different wheel that was built during the time ancient Egyptians were on the island, as they most likely would have discovered this means of utilizing the island’s energy, given the fact that they alone created all kinds of other crucial landmarks on the island, such as the temple, the statue, and, most of all, the stone cork in the Heart of the Island.

We saw that MIB was on the verge of harnessing the power of the island when he built the wheel and found a way to access the island’s power from other locations. Mother realized he was on the verge of this discovery when she recognized the wheel from the one previously built, and its significance as a sure, successful way of accessing the power. This prompted her to take drastic measures and she intervened, killing all the visitors and burying all of MIB’s progress, even though she loved him even more than Jacob. It seems unlikely that a future civilization would just dig it all up again, especially since Mother most likely also destroyed the wheel MIB had made.
What is the significance of the four-toed statue?

*See “What is the explanation of the island’s pregnancy issue?”

What were the consequences of Juliet igniting the bomb?

We know that in igniting the bomb, the characters were attempting to alter the course of time, causing the energy under the hatch to be dispelled right then, rather than when Desmond dispelled it with the fail-safe key. In doing so, the hatch would never have been built and therefore their plane would never have crashed. We also saw before that whatever the characters do in the past ALWAYS happened, and the island course corrects these events to remain always as one timeline. Faraday develops a new theory, however, that people’s free will as “variables” in the equation might allow them to cause an event so great in magnitude that an entirely new timeline will be forced to emerge.

What truly happened, however, was that the bomb created a huge flash that succeeded in resetting the timeline to the extent that it put them back in the present. At first glance, it seems the plan failed, but if you notice, the remnants of the hatch in the present after the bomb went off seem very different than the crater Desmond left when he imploded the hatch. This one has the metal remnants of the DHARMA construction work still there, with debris all around it that Juliet was trapped under. This suggests that in one way they succeeded in altering the CAUSE of the events that happened, but not the EFFECT. The hatch was never actually built and the pocket of energy was dispelled in another way, but the island still course corrected the events they tried to alter, and the plane still crashed. In this way, free will and fate both prevailed in separate ways.

What happened to the DHARMA Initiative after the explosion?

Assuming the circumstances of the answer above, the DHARMA members left on the island would have survived, as, although the bomb was ignited, it did not actually go off and explode in a literal sense. Instead, it simply released the pocket of energy and caused another flash to happen. This fits into later events, as we know that Pierre Chang survived the incident when he references it in an orientation film in Season 2, warning that there should be no contact with the outside world, lest another incident happen. In saying this, he could be referencing the losties that came from the future. It also fits in with the fact that we know the purge takes place after the events of the incident.

What are the rules governing time travel?

Although it was explained in the show, some of it is still a bit tricky. Basically, there must always be one timeline. For the characters that travel back in time, time exists in the present, but for everyone else they are around, it is those people’s past that has already happened. This is why people in the past won’t die (like little Ben), but those that did the time traveling (like Faraday) can.

The ones that time travel can exhibit their free will to do whatever they want (like Sawyer and Juliet stepping in to save Amy or Sayid shooting little Ben), but in doing so, the island course corrects the timeline so that whatever the time traveling characters do or affect, it ALWAYS happened that way. In this way, free will and determinism both simultaneously exist to a certain extent, as free will is the method for which fate is determined.

For example, Jin didn’t just change time by interacting with Rouseau and her crew; he was ALWAYS there. Although he chose to interact with them through his own initiative, in doing so he altered the entire timeline so that it was always that way. Because of this, we can conclude that Ben was always shot by Sayid, Jack and the gang were always a part of DHARMA Initiative, Faraday was always the one to show the 1950’s Others how to get rid of the bomb, and Locke always appeared to 1950’s Richard claiming he was the future leader of the Others and asking Richard to come visit him when he was born a few years later.
Crazy stuff.

When the Ajira flight landed back on the island, why did some of the survivors flash back to the 70’s while others remained in the present?

As Eloise explains, in order to pass through the open window and get back to the island again, they must recreate the same circumstances that were present when they first crashed. The thought here is that if they don’t recreate it well enough, it won’t work flawlessly. Consequently, although they did get back to the island, not all of them “made it”.

Another way of looking at it is that there were two completely different time periods going on on the island at the same time, one in 1977 and one in 2007. When a new group of people landed, the island was forced to spread them out over both these timelines. You may say, “Well one timeline was back in the 70’s, so it wouldn’t count as being in the present.” But remember (as explained above) that for the characters that are stuck in 1977, for them it is THEIR present, so it makes sense that in a way, there are two places on the same timeline in which history is simultaneously being written. Yes, time travel gets a bit sticky.

What exactly is the ‘loophole’ that Man In Black was able to find?

MIB creates a “loophole” to kill Jacob that I believe can be understood as the following three-step process:

1) Feed Locke’s curiosity about the island and his destiny on it, consequently fueling Ben’s jealousy. One way he does this is when Ben and Locke are in Jacob’s cabin. MIB appears to only Locke, which makes Ben think Locke is special and makes him feel threatened, as it means a rival for his spot as ruler of the Others.

2) Manipulate Ben into killing Locke and then getting them (most importantly Ben) to come back. He does this by telling Locke (through Richard) that the only way to help his friends is to get everyone that left to come back. In achieving this, he is able to safely and inconspicuously take the form of a resurrected, “enlightened” John Locke, gaining the losties’ trust and exploiting Locke’s newfound influence.

3) Use Locke’s form to coerce Ben into killing Jacob, something that the “rules” of the island would not allow him to do directly. To achieve this, the smoke monster appears to “judge” Ben for allowing his daughter to die. The monster appears in Alex’s form and tells him that the only way he will be allowed to live is if he follows Locke and does everything he says. He then coerces Ben into killing Jacob, which is achieved quite easily, as Ben already has a built up frustration with Jacob.
What does it mean to be ‘claimed’?

Sayid was drowned and brought back to life using the healing pool at the temple, which was most likely built utilizing the healing properties of the island. But what about the fact that Dogen told Sayid he was claimed? Although it seems that these Others are a bit unclear as to what this means exactly, they obviously take it very seriously, even going so far as to attempt to kill one of Jacob’s candidates who they believed had been tainted.
We now know this same thing happened to little Ben when Kate and Sawyer took him to Richard after he was shot by Sayid. Richard said that if he took him, Ben would lose his innocence and “never be the same”. I believe the process of resurrection comes at a price, as before coming back to life, they are technically dead for a time. This would make them more susceptible to the smoke monster’s (death’s) influence. Even after they wake, it seems darkness still has some sort of dominion over them.

Sayid was never the same after coming back, and this could be a big reason why he so easily became a servant to MIB (Besides being a last resort at getting Nadia back). Ben, it seemed, was also “never the same”. He went on to become the manipulative, jealous and power-driven man we all know and love. It seems that from then on, he was also void of the island’s healing properties, as he later develops cancer and must manipulate Jack into fixing him.

It is very possible that this eventually even contributed to MIB being able to manipulate Ben into killing Jacob. Although unaware of it, Ben in this way was playing right into MIB’s hands the whole time like a servant, just like Sayid becomes. Ben even says, “All this time I thought I was summoning him, when he was actually summoning me.” Claire, it seems, was not “claimed”, but was instead simply manipulated and eventually brainwashed by MIB in the form of Christian.

What is up with “the numbers”?

The numbers (4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42) are one of the themes of LOST that you should never have expected to be fully explained, just like a lot of the other mythology of the island. Although mankind will probably never understand why power exists in these “cursed” numbers, what matters is the fact that they do have power, and that various groups, such as DHARMA, have acknowledged it and attempted to utilize it (For example, this combination of numbers is evidently the only one that works in the hatch to push the button and gradually dispel the trapped energy underneath).

In any case, we know that they are somehow tied to the fate of humanity. The Valenzetti equation was developed, which was said to predict the exact time of mankind’s extinction. Attempting to prolong this inevitability, one of the DHARMA Initiative’s main goals was to change one or more of the six numerical equations by manipulating the environmental factors of the island. Sadly, they were never able to reach their goal, as no matter what they did, the equation always came up with the same numbers.

Why are the names of the candidates in the cave assigned to ‘the numbers’?

There isn’t really a huge significance. Like Jacob said, the names are simply chalk in a cave, and in it of themselves have no real relevance, other than a way of allowing Jacob to keep track of the candidates. The numbers assigned to them are simply a way for Jacob to find these candidates in the outside world.
What is significant is that whoever Jacob thinks still has a shot at becoming the new protector, he will most likely step in to protect. Anyone else is fair game to be picked off by the smoke monster, or die in some other insignificant way (cough…Illana…cough). This is why the dynamite didn’t go off and kill Jack and Richard when they were in the Black Rock, as they would be protected, Jack as a remaining candidate and Richard as Jacob’s immortal emissary.

Most likely, the numbers were thrown in here as a fun and interesting way of reminding us that these numbers are somehow tied in with fate, and are beyond our control or realm of understanding. And also probably as a fun reward for us true LOST fanatics that went out of our way to keep the numbers memorized for six seasons.

Is the name ‘Kwon’ on the wall Sun or Jin?

As explained above, it doesn’t truly matter. In the end, Jacob just wants someone who can run the island well after he’s gone. If I had to guess, though, I would say the name on the wall represents them both together. There is no other “Kwon” on the wall that we can see, and Jacob went out of his way to visit and touch them both together on their wedding day, of all days. Like their character-centric episodes, they come as a pair.

What is the explanation of the island’s pregnancy issue?

This is a question that isn’t laid out obviously for us, but there is enough evidence to help us come to a conclusion. The issue is evidently that if a woman conceives a child on the island, they cannot also give birth there, or else they will die during the pregnancy. Claire was immune from this issue because she was already pregnant when she crashed, and Sun conceived on the island, but ended up having her baby off the island.

The way I see it, the island has always had this problem, for whatever reason. I speculate that it has something to do with a need for a balance of the powers of life and death. If one life begins, another must end. In any case, it seems the ancient Egyptians attempted to deal with this problem by erecting the giant four-toed statue as a tribute to the Egyptian deity Taweret, the goddess of fertility and childbirth. The statue looks just like the goddess, but if this wasn’t enough evidence for you, the statue is also holding in both its hands the Egyptian hieroglyph Ankh, which symbolizes “life”.

Most likely, the statue worked and the civilization was able to freely give birth on the island without mothers dying. Then, of course, the Black Rock came along and smashed it to bits. This would make the issue prevalent once again, as Ben explains the Others must send their pregnant women off the island on a sub to give birth. Juliet struggled to solve this issue, but the only case we have that it worked is when she delivered Ethan. If you notice, the whole conflict in the episode happens when Amy finds an old necklace that belonged to Paul, her ex-husband. It just so happens to have the same Ankh symbol on it. She has this with her during the pregnancy, and it acts as basically a tribute, much in the same way the statue did.

What is the deal with Walt and his strange powers?

Multiple characters on the island have special “gifts”. Hurley can interact with dead people, Miles can tap into the last brain patterns of those who died, Desmond is immune to the island’s energy, and Walt seems to have a special psychic link to the island. We know Hurley and Desmond got their powers from Jacob, so it is very possible that he also gave Walt this special power.
In Season 2, Michael is asked if Walt is ever “somewhere he isn’t supposed to be”. Later on in Season 3, we see a manifestation of Walt appear to offer guidance to Locke. Then later in Season 4, Locke visits Walt off the island, and Walt tells Locke he has had dreams about the island. What all this seems to imply is that Walt has the ability to psychically connect to the island in an astral, spiritual essence. Word on the street is some bonus footage on the Season 6 DVD will better answer this question.

Why was Libby in the mental hospital with Hurley?

In the episode “Everybody Loves Hugo”, we learn that in the sideways timeline, Libby has checked herself in to the mental hospital after going mad due to her husband dying. This is most likely also the case in the normal timeline, as she tells Desmond in Season 3 that her husband was killed and offers him her husband’s boat.

Why are the DHARMA supply drops still coming in?

Even though DHARMA had been wiped out by the purge almost thirty years prior, the drops still seem to drop food and supplies on a regular basis. We know that DHARMA is funded by the Hanso Foundation, and it makes sense that the drops would continue to be delivering supplies to help the efforts on the island. It is possible they just assume the Initiative is still in place, but it doesn’t seem too likely that they wouldn’t check up on it after 30 years.
One possibility is that they continue to drop supplies because, in a way, the Others basically took over the reins of DHARMA to a certain degree. With research still being done and upkeep being maintained, the Hanso Foundation could simply not know that the DHARMA members were killed, or they could simply not care as long as the job is still being done. In either case, there is also someone that’s supposed to be in the hatch there to press the button at all times, so if nothing else, the supply drops are meant to support this ongoing task.

What was that legendary-looking bird thing they encountered in the Dark Territory?

If you remember back to the Season 1 finale, the group encountered what looked like a large, mythological bird while heading to the Black Rock in the dark territory. When they encounter it again in the Season 2 finale, the bird swoops down and Hurley says, “Did that bird just say my name?” Sawyer then responds with, “Yeah, right after it crapped gold.” Although this is just another cool mystery of the island that never needs any explanation, it could serve as foreshadowing for Hurley as the future ruler of the island.

What about the manifestations that appeared?

There are all kinds of mysterious wonders and powers on the island. One of the biggest reoccurring examples of this is the manifestations that appear. While we learn many are actually the smoke monster’s illusions, some cannot be explained by this, such as when Kate sees the black horse from her past. We know it is not just in Kate’s head, as Sawyer confirms that he sees it too.
This is another mystery we have to chalk up to the unexplained wonders of the island. It is possible that the island’s power is psychically linked to the people on it, and when they have their own emotional breakthroughs, the island can manifest the visions or memories in their heads into reality. Yeah? Sound okay to you?

Further Things to Ponder

One great thing about LOST is that it leaves many things ambiguous, keeping the mystery alive and allowing our own imaginations to fill in the gaps. The last few ideas aren’t crucial to the story or big unexplained mysteries, but they are definitely cool concepts to think about.

Jacob and MIB as Biblical Parallels

This idea is most explored in the Season 5 finale. MIB approaches Jacob on the beach and asks him why he insists on continuously bringing people to the island when it always ends the same, with destruction and corruption. Jacob replies that it only ends once and everything up until then is just progress.
This is a very great parallel to God’s creation of humankind. Even though God knows that his creation is sinful and will eventually turn its back on him, he creates and attempts to have a relationship with them anyway because he has faith that mankind, although flawed, is also capable of good and extraordinary things. Rather than give up on his creation, God is patient and holds an optimistic view about the nature of mankind.

Also, Jacob also believes strongly in free will, seeking to passively guide those he brings to the island into finding the truth within themselves, rather than forcing it upon them. This is very much like the nature of God in the Christian faith. Rather than force people to put their faith in him so he can help remedy their lives, he recognizes the value in free choice, and lets them make the decision to let him inside.

Conversely, the MIB acts like Lucifer in this scenario. Whereas Jacob has a very idealistic view of humanity, MIB holds a very pessimistic one, believing that humans will sin and corrupt whenever they have anything to gain for themselves. He seeks to prove Jacob wrong, deceiving and instigating greed and selfishness (like with Ben). He uses this to his own advantage as he corrupts all he can for his own gain. Similar to Lucifer’s constant need for more, the essence of the smoke monster unquenchably seeks power and freedom in getting off the island, and will not stop until he gets it.

How does Jacob leave the island?

Does he use the wheel? It seems he probably has another way of getting off the island, since when we see Ben travel down to the wheel through the Orchid station, he struggles to break the ice surrounding the entrance and to thaw out the wheel before successfully turning it. This is pretty good evidence that it hadn’t been used for a while. The last time it was turned was probably when Ben turned the wheel to move the island, hiding it from Widmore once he was banished. Plus, it would be pretty annoying if Jacob had to leave the island at least 360 times to visit each of the candidates. Maybe leaving the island has something to do with the Lighthouse? I dunno. You can’t expect me to know everything, you know!!

Did Jacob order ‘the purge’?

If you think back to these events, Richard was with Ben during the whole process, which seems to imply that Jacob ordered it, since Richard works directly with Jacob. It is hard to imagine that someone as good hearted as Jacob could order such a terrible mass killing, but remember that his primary purpose is to protect the island at all costs. This is a similar parallel to Mother, when she slaughtered all of MIB’s friends because they were about to tap into the ‘light’ of the island.

Maybe the DHARMA Initiative, too, was getting too close to succeeding in harnessing the power of the island. After all, Mother warned that man will always covet the light because there is a little bit of it within us all. This is just like ancient mythology, where the gods would smite man for his hubris (arrogance). As man gets more and more advanced in science and technology, we continually push the envelope and want more for ourselves. It is also an interesting parallel to the Old Testament, when God would bring demise to entire civilizations and even order mass genocide when he believed a people to be too sinful or too self-reliant. Jacob is no deity, but he certainly has the power and motive to do this.

The ‘Rules’ Of the Island

In the series finale, Hurley and Ben are discussing how they will get Desmond off the island. Hurley is worried people won’t be able to leave, but Ben replies, “That’s how Jacob ran things.” Apparently, the protector of the island can change the rules governing the island, as they are now connected to it. I wonder how good old Hurley will run things?
When Keamy shoots Alex, Ben says that Widmore “changed the rules”. Although Ben and Widmore apparently have “rules” on what they can and can’t do, I don’t think we are supposed to take these as literal rules. Instead, I believe they are more like merits of civility that they had mutually agreed to abide by in their dispute, kind of like unspoken “do’s” and “’don’ts”, and Widmore apparently broke these rules when he got desperate and took things too far.
Did Locke see the ‘Heart of the Island’ back in Season 1?
In one of the first episodes, the smoke monster shows itself to Locke. We see Locke gazing up, awe-struck at the smoke as it flashes with light. Later on, he claims he “saw the heart of the island…and it was beautiful.” He also describes it as a “bright light.” Later on in Season 6, the Heart is described in almost the exact same way.

Although the smoke monster does flash light as it gathers information, it very possibly could have also shown Locke an image of the Heart of the Island. We have seen that it can do this when it judged Ben. In doing so, the smoke monster could very well have been setting up the loophole by encouraging Locke’s curiosity. Or heck, he could have even been deciding right then to target Locke as the one whose body he would replicate. Hmm…
Whew…that was a lot of crap. Well, there you have it. Hopefully that cleared up a few things for you. If you enjoyed it, please pass it on to others, and if anyone out there has more questions or insight to offer, please feel free to pass it along to me. Together, we can make this compilation the best it can be! Thank you to all my good friends who watched the show with me and talked out a lot of these concepts, helping me reach these conclusions.

I want to thank everyone involved with the show for bringing such a masterpiece to the masses. LOST has definitely drastically raised the bar for what a show is capable of. There has never been a show this extraordinary, and there probably never will be again.

See you in another life, brotha!

LOST: The Ultimate Explanation Compilation
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10 Comments
Kaedus - 6/11/2010, 7:26 AM
I liked the first few series but never got into series 4. I've been planning for ages to start watching them through again.
Stumblin - 6/11/2010, 9:49 AM
Anil, I think you're the first comment in any Lost related article just to say you hate it. You're silly.

I never watched the show, I did see the finale because my lady didn't see it and so I got it off of Hulu and put it on the ol' tube box. Funny thing was I understood and called out most of everything that was going on or was going to happen. I'll probably still check out the older episodes though, seems pretty interesting.
TRIPLESIXXX - 6/11/2010, 11:02 AM
GREAT POST! REALLY! AND I PRETTY MUCH COINCIDE WITH MOST OF THE THINGS YOU WROTE SPECIALLY THE LAST PART:

"There has never been a show this extraordinary, and there probably never will be again".

IT'S FUNNY, MOST OF THESE SOCAL GEEKS AND NERDS SEEM TO KNOW THEY KNOW IT ALL AND ALWAYS CRITIZICING STUFF, BUT YOU KNOW WHAT? I ACTUALLY THINK IF THEY HATE "LOST" OR NEVER WATCHED IT, IT'S PROBABLY BECAUSE IT WAS TOO MUCH OF A CLEVER SHOW FOR THEM TO FOLLOW. TAKE EXHIBIT A, MR. ANIL RICKLY, HE HAD THIS TO SAY: "never liked LOST..found it as a fail". NOW IT SEEMS MR. ANIL HERE FOUND IT AS A FAIL BECAUSE HE COULD NOT FOLLOW IT AND GOT...WELL...LOST. LOST WAS MEANT FOR SMART PEOPLE SO OBVIOUSLY THOSE WHO FAIL TO UNDERSTAND IT CRITIZE IT.

HAPPENS ALL THE TIME.
Osiris - 6/11/2010, 9:10 PM
great article, I agree on everything you said, one thing I should add though is that I think the reason why the bomb didn't stop them from crashing isn't because the island wanted them there or to adjust the timeline, but it is because Jacob brought them there. Jacob tells MIB that he keeps bring people to the island because he is testing them and showing MIB that people are not all bad but MIB kills them all anyways and the point never gets across.... which means the magnetic pull wasn't what brought the plane down in the first place it was Jacob so he could have his candidates there and test them.
zephyr - 6/13/2010, 9:56 AM
Great work Starjammer. I agree with pretty much everything you wrote except one thing. I believe that MIB remained the same entity after becoming the smoke monster. Afterall, the only way to experience a "fate worse than death" is to not really die. The MIB was transformed into the smoke. This also explains why Jacob still could not kill the smoke monster since those were the rules that were put in place by their mother before she died. Jacob said in the 16th episode of season 6 that he needed the final candidates to do what he could not, which was to kill MIB.

I like your explanation of the smoke monster being part of history for thousands of years and being worshipped for just as long. But I'm not sure the ancient egyptians had anything to do with creating the heart of the island and stone cork. I believe this was created by the 'original' Jacob, whoever that may be, long before any smoke monster emerged. I also believe that there have been several other smoke monsters in the island's history that were created and eventually destroyed by the island's protectors or inhabitants. This would explain how the mother knew of what would happen if anyone ever entered the heart of the island and it also the convenient/smoke friendly passage ways on the island.
Starjammer - 6/13/2010, 12:54 PM
Hey, thanks for the kind words guys. I'm surprised people even read it to be honest hah. Good thoughts though. And I also truly believe that anyone who didn't like it never fully gave it a chance. Either that or they just don't want to like it because it has such a huge following.

Anyway, glad you guys enjoyed it. ;)
Starjammer - 6/13/2010, 1:02 PM
Also, I know this article seemed super long and jumbled, but that's because the text was just taken off the actual PDF article. Click the link for a version you can save to read later, and one that looks a lot more clean.
soperman - 6/13/2010, 8:30 PM
wow great article man, i loved lost. it would be funny to find out how the survivors explain everything when they get to civilization, cue richard alpert. what magnificent lie would they make up, seeing that they proberaly wouldent make another show or movie to explain this minor detail, they should make a book of it. that would be awesome.
Starjammer - 6/13/2010, 10:53 PM
Thanks man. Yeah for sure, I agree that they shouldn't do any television of movie spin0offs, but that would be pretty awesome to have novels or comics written. There could be plenty of cool sequel stuff about the survivors after they got off the island, or even better, about Hurley and Ben as rulers of the island.

Speaking of that, I heard on the season 6 DVD extras, there are some clips of Ben and Hurley later on the island together. Also, there's some stuff better explaining Walt.
Stumblin - 6/14/2010, 8:06 AM
Anil, I'll reiterate, you're silly.

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