Thursday, May 14, 2009

Lost: Unanswered questions, what we STILL don't know

As a guy going into the finale filled with dread, I admit I was often moved and greatly entertained by the last episode of "Lost" last night.

But, as self-predicted, I also was disappointed.

Jack's sacrifice, the showdown with Smokey, the thrilling escape from Hydra Island, the touching reunions (particularly the one between Sawyer and Juliet) and the open-to-multiple-interpretations ending: I was good with all of it.

But I still feel cheated. Not because the producers failed to answer every tiny question I had about the show's myriad tiny mysteries. But because they failed to even touch on the big ones. To end this series without even an attempt to explain:

The mysterious numbers. What do they mean? Where do they come from?
The significance of the island? Why is it's survival so crucial to humanity? After all, it seems most of what it did was bring people misery?

Is a cheat and give the impression that the writers just couldn't come up with good answers for these, or the many other lingering questions from the series.

So, while greatly entertaining over the years, I have to say I find "Lost" ultimately a let down.

A year or two back, I imagined I'd want to re-watch the entire series once it ended, so I could see how -- "The Usual Suspects"-style -- the puzzle all fits together. But I now realize that wouldn't work. There are still too many missing pieces.

Fun characters aside, these unique mysteries are what made "Lost" truly special. But, in the last season, the producers dropped any intention of addressing them in a satisfying way. In other words, they failed the story.

So, that's that. I doubt I'll re-watch any of it. But, just out of curiosity, I'll likely rent the final season bonus disk that promised to address unanswered questions. Not holding up too many hopes that will be satisfying either.

Here's my list of STILL unanswered questions -- big and small:

*  What is the history  of the Others? Where did they come from?  Why did they kill off the  Dharma Initiative?

* What's  up with Walt's powers? How did  the Others know  about them?

* How did Cindy  the stewardess and the two  children from the Oceanic flight come  to be among the Others?

* Why exactly did Jacob pick these particular folks as his candidates? He tells them because they are "flawed." Seriously, this is the best the show's producers can do? By that standard, any random human fits the bill! Six years and all we get is, "they're flawed." Criminy.

* Jack is now Jacob's successor and it's his job to protect the magic golden light at the center of the island. But why? What has this light ever done for anyone apart from turn them into smoke monsters. What's so danged good about the island. Everyone on the danged thing has been threatened, beat up and killed, it seems like. Sure, it has healing properties. But, to what purpose? Locke was made able to walk again so he could get killed by an evil entity that wants to destroy the self-same healing island. This makes NO SENSE people. And if the point is that it's not supposed to make sense, that's not coming through clear either. It's all random and tossed together.

* Why was Ben selected the leader of the Others? And why, ostensibly in the name of Jacob, do such horrible things to people? Did Jacob intend this? Why did the Others go along with it? Why did Richard go along with it?

* Why did Jacob exclude Kate from being a candidate because she's a mother? Wasn't Sun a mother also? Wasn't Jin a dad? Aren't Jack and Sawyer also dads? Is Jacob a sexist pig?

*  What was Ben's breakfast on the beach with  Kate in season 3 all  about? We didn't see any of their discussion. [I'm still a bit  baffled by this scene. We've not been given any insight into what was  discussed. Was Ben merely trying to persuade Jack to operate on Ben's  spine? Or was there something more going on.]

*  Why does the smoke monster kill some people and not others?

* Why did the smoke  monster kill Eko, in particular? What did the monster see/sense  in him?

* Why did the magic light turn the man in black into a smoke monster? If the light is such a good thing, why did it create an entity that goes around killing essentially innocent people?

* Why did the Others initially disguise  themselves as shipwrecked  pirate types complete with fake beards? [What  was the point? To make the crash survivors think that the Others were  merely fellow castaways, not an organized faction on the island with a  secret history? What?]

* What's up  with the sickness  that killed off Danielle's team? [Were they killed by Smokey or  turned evil by him? Or both?]

* Is  the Dharma  Initiative still active at all?

* Who  was behind  the air drop of Dharma  supplies  that has benefited the Oceanic survivors? [There was  a drop after the Oceanic survivors arrived, wasn't there? Or was this  an old drop that Hurley discovered? I may be misremembering.]

*  Why do  women on the island die instead of giving birth?

*  Why did the Others steal children?

*  What's behind the apparent healing properties of the island?

* What's responsible for the visions   of animals and dead people the crash surivors sometimes see on the   island?

* What's the deal with Libby, killed in   season 2, who evidently gave Desmond the sailboat that landed him on  the  island and who once was in a mental ward with Hurley? [Despite  Libby's recent appearance this season, these questions were not  answered.]

*  What's up with the giant statue?  Who built it? What is its significance?

* Is there   any explanation for why the man in the Dharma Initiative videos is at   different times identified as Dr. Marvin Candle, Dr. Mark Wickmund,  Dr. Pierre Change and   other names and why the CIA agent who identifies himself as Joe Inman   to Sayid tells Desmond that his name is Kelvin Inman?

*   Why did the psychic in Australia encourage Claire to take the  doomed  flight?

* Who is the man Sarah left Jack for? Why is she so   reluctant to reveal his identity? Is he somehow associated with the   Dharma Initiative and/or the Others?

* What's up with that polar bear in Tunisia? Was Charlotte   part of Dharma when she found it, or was she snooping into what Dharma   is all about? [Pretty much answered, I guess. We know Charlotte was  investigating her Dharma past? The polar bear likely transported from  the island ala Ben and Locke.]

* Who is Penelope's  mother?

*  Why did Alpert want the body of Amy's  husband? [Was it merely as proof of retribution to the Others?  Or did they do something creepy with it?]

*  Who  created the ancient temple  on  the island?

* How did the Others save young Ben after he was shot? [They put him  in the dark pool, most likely. But we weren't shown that this is the  case.]

*  What is Ilana's history with  Jacob? Why was  her face bandaged?

* Is Locke really dead? Will he return?

Additional  unanswered questions from Lostpedia:

  • Why did  Desmond tell Charlie he saw a vision of Claire and Aaron getting  on a  helicopter that could only come true if he died?
  • Why did Claire abandon Aaron?
  • What caused the bad luck surrounding Hurley?
  • What does Juliet's mark mean?

Questions from last week's episode

These aren't so much questions as writing that is bad and just doesn't make any sense:
  • Smokey gets Ben to do his bidding by promising Ben that, once everybody is dead and gone, Ben will have control of the island. But at episode's end, Smokey tell Ben that he's going to destroy the island. And Ben seems ok with that. WTH?!!!
  • In a previous episode, Ben confronts Charles Widmore. Widmore asks "Have you come to kill me" and Ben says "You know I can't do that." Yet, in the penultimate episode, Ben kills Widmore. So, it's suddenly ok now?
  • Likewise, Smokey and Jacob's crazy mother says that neither can harm one another. Yet Jacob beats the snot out of Smokey and throws him into the magic light. I'm unclear on the definition of not hurting here.


  1. What's the story with the Patient at the Mental Hospital that Hurley visited who was ranting off the "Cursed numbers" over and over again. Was he part of the Dharma Initiative? Will they ever reveal why the numbers are Those numbers?

  2. I don't believe there is a remote chance they can answer even half of these very good questions.

  3. I thought they clarified the smoke monster was a Dharma initiative security device, and that its healing properties were related to the magneti core of the island (no magic healing since the hatch blew)

  4. Where is Vincent????...if you said with Rose and Bernard...then why didnt they time-jump???

  5. How was Jacob getting off of the island without his brother noticing and following?

  6. If what was suggested, that the Island was "hell" or something like that, were they always dead? Was any of it life? If so, when did Ben die? He was there before the plane crash, and "why" was he able to leave the island, same with Lock?? I just want to know, "were they ALWAYS dead?" and one more thing, who was the protector before jacob's sudo mother, why did she kill his real mother, or if they were in hell why kill someone who is already dead????

  7. Another question I was hoping they would answer is "Who was the real Henry Gale? Was he on Jacobs list and got crossed out when he died? Also, how did he die? Did Ben and/or the others kill him?"

  8. Man, you must have not payed very close attention to the series....most of those questions are answered.

  9. why did richard alpert get a gray hair before desmond unplugged that stupid cork? at one point ben was left under a tree trunk. the next scene he's helping hurley lower jack into the cave? when jack and lock are fighting on the cliff in the storm of the century why, in the very next scene after kate shoots locke, are they all dry and it's sunny out? why? why? why? because jack bender and those knucklehead producers are laughing all the way to the bank. no go to target and do what the smoke monster tells you to.

  10. Why did Juilet tell Swayer "it worked" right before she died(refering to the bomb, i guess) what worked? They were still on the island

  11. why was Penelope in the church at the end as she was never on the flight, Denis for that matter was alredy on the island pushing the button, but towards the end of season 6 claimed to be on the plane and why not the people from the tail section not in church?

  12. "Anonymous said...
    Why did Juilet tell Swayer "it worked" right before she died(refering to the bomb, i guess) what worked? They were still on the island
    MAY 24, 2010 7:50 PM"

    That's another failure to pay attention... Juilet was not reffering to the bomb, she was referring to the candybar dropping out of the machine. she was halfway between death and life...

  13. "Man, you must have not payed very close attention to the series....most of those questions are answered."

    Man.. you must have done alot of drugs during this series and imagined a bunch of stuff because most of the questions remain unanswered.

    Is it me, or is the whole "You must not be paying attention" argument from the apologists getting pretty lame? All in less than 48 hours after they came up with it.

  14. Why did the statue have just 4 toes?

    How can an old wooden ship almost destroy a giant stone statue?

    What about the small house in the jungle, about which Ben said that Jacub is there? And why was the black guy there?

    Why did they have to hide the island?

    Why was it Darma's duty?

    What was their purpose at all and why did they fave so many different stations. There is a whole lot to explain about the different stations!!!

    What about the room in which Lockes father appeared after Ben told him that this room can bring him anything he wants?

    In what way did Darma stop the Smoke monster[I know that they used their tecnology but why did this stop the monster]?

    How did Ben summon the monster?

    How did the island move? Was this "the black man's construction"? If yes how did he come out with it? If no who built it?

    How did the black man want to use the light?

    How do they fint out the location of the island?

    What about the song that appeares during season one and two in different places[example is: While Desmond makes his exercises or when Charlie was in a bar]?

    What about the horse that Kate sees?

    Why is Clare special and is able to give birtg?

    I have many many other questions but there are my most important ones.


  16. WTFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF they fucked the show, my question is HOW DOES THE ISLAND MOVE AND WHY?

  17. It seems to me that they rushed the finale, not all our questions were answered, and the further we look back we just get more unanswered questions. Its like the just wrote up a draft and said "yep, that'll have to do".

  18. why did the Dharma Initiative not automate that process of pushing the numbers
    who built the Lamp Post Station and why do they have to recreate the crash
    What was that giant bird and where did it come from, did it really say, Hurley
    Why does the monster look like smoke to everyone but to Locke its a white light
    How does it manifest itself into dead people and project video of people's past
    And why were they experimenting on Polar Bears in the first place
    And who built the giant wheel that controls time and space
    If so many met the castaways in the past why don't they remember them, later
    When Jin survived how could he time travel when he was so far away from the island
    Why do people get healed
    While others are allowed to die
    Why did Jack, Kate, Hurley and Sayid crash in 1977
    While Ben, Sun and the rest ended up in the present
    What is the Others origin
    Why can Miles speak to the dead
    How'd Jack get Locke's letter back
    What was that giant bird and where did it come from, did it really say, Hurley

  19. I have the answer to everything:

    The writers and producers made cool things up as they went along without actually knowing their meaning or back-stories ahead of time. In the end they slapped something together that covered the major questions. Viewers are left frustrated by the pointlessness of much of story's most curious plot points, and the producers are left rich from all of it. I watched all 6 seasons over 6 years and the whole time I kept saying "they better not just be adding stuff for the sake of adding stuff". Turns out they were doing just that. It's too bad, because they were a little foresight away from a masterpiece.