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May 25, 2010

Geek Out!: Five unanswered 'Lost' finale questions

Posted: 01:28 PM ET

Editor's note: Geek Out! posts feature the latest and most interesting in nerd-culture news. From sci-fi and fantasy to gadgets and science, if you can geek out over it, you can find it on Geek Out! Look for Geek Out! posts on CNN's SciTech blog.

There are many, many questions still out there about "Lost," some which were answered vaguely, many that are "up for interpretation," shall we say... and the series finale itself raised some questions as well.

Here are just five of the frequently asked questions about the way the show ended, and my best educated guesses on the answers:

Q: Did all the characters die in the original plane crash?
A: No. Going by what Christian Shepard told Jack (and the fact that the final scene showed Jack's death), everyone died at different times, some on the island, others many years later. In the case of Hurley and Ben, it would appear that they died after perhaps thousands of years protecting the island, like Jacob, based on their exchange about being a great number one and number two.

Q: Why didn't Ben go into the church? Why was Penny there? Where were Michael and Walt?
A: It would seem that Ben, despite knowing the truth about purgatory (that's what we'll call it here, anyway), chose to stay there a little longer as a father figure to Alex. Desmond and Penny weren't on the plane, but Desmond brought all these people together, and Penny was the reason he "let go" and had a connection to everyone else there.

Michael's ghost is presumably still on the island, whispering. Walt either wasn't ready to "let go," or already has, which brings us to the next question...

Q: Why were people the age/state they were in purgatory? Why did Aaron have to be born again, for example?
A: One presumes that Aaron lived a long full life, but he had to be born in purgatory for Claire to "let go." Everything that people needed to "let go" was there for them if they were willing to accept what had happened to them.

The sixth season premiere actually implied that Rose might have been trying to help Jack "let go" while on the plane, and she said those words to him herself (this scene was replayed on the "Jimmy Kimmel Live" special after the finale). This might also partially explain why Walt wasn't in the finale, as most people in purgatory would remember him as a kid, not the teenager that the actor (and character, when Locke last saw him) is today.

Q: What was that light/"source" on the island after all? How did that cork get there? What were those skeletons below the waterfall?
A: For those looking for concrete answers, this could be the most frustrating question of all. Last year, executive producer Damon Lindelof told E! Online, "I feel like you have to be very careful about entering into Midi-Chlorian territory (referring to the oft-maligned Star Wars Episode I)... But 'What is the Island?' That starts to get into 'What is the Force?' It is a place. I can't explain to you why it moves through space-time—it just does. You have to accept the fact that it does."

The "source" is whatever you interpret it to be. In "Across the Sea," it was implied that Jacob and the Man in Black's Mother was not the first protector of the island, and that many people have been there and have dealt with the light or "source" while they were there. The Dharma Initiative is just one example of that.

The skeletons and the cork are likely representations of people who were there before the Mother even got there.

Q: Did Ajira Flight 316 return to the mainland safely? We saw the wreckage of a plane during the end credits.
That was the wreckage of Oceanic 815, which I would interpret as further confirmation of Jack saying, "There are no shortcuts, no do-overs – what happened, happened. All of this matters."

The plane did crash, they did land on that island, and the "flash-sideways" was only a "do-over" in the heads of the crash survivors and others. One can assume that Kate, Sawyer, Claire, Richard, Miles and Lapidus all landed safely and went on with their lives.

And speaking of moving on with our lives, here was Lindelof's final "Lost"-related tweet before going to an "undisclosed location:" "Remember. Let go. Move on. I will miss it more than I can ever say."

There is no doubt in my mind that this series and this finale will continue to resonate and be debated for years to come. And that's exactly the way the makers of "Lost" wanted it.

Share your final thoughts on "Lost," not to mention my interpretation of the finale's big questions, in the comments below.

Filed under: Geek Out! • television

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Rob   February 1st, 2011 9:01 pm ET

Some of you people crack me up with hating this show. This was a great show, and had a creat ending. Either you read too much into the show or not enough.

Everyone was dead: That is FALSE and they explained it to you in the end. The island was real, and as all scifi things go, you cant explain everything that goes on in a special place like the island. the island had electomagnetic properties that for people who hadnt been on the island, would cure them, but for people who were all ready on the island, and use to the elctros, were immune to the healing properties, thats why Rose and Locke were cured and not Ben or the pregnant women.

Dharma innitive: it was a real group, who had found the island, just like others who had crashed there before. They were trying to harvest the energies of the island, just like the people that were with the MIB trying to do. The Dharma people brought the polar bears and other things for experiments, that is why they were there, when Ben had them all killed, thats how they were freed and on the island.

Jacob: He was the protector of the island, and being the protector of the island, he created the rules to govern the island, thats why people were not allowed to leave the island, thats why MIB wasnt allowed to leave the island.

Pergatory: The island wasnt pergatory. They were alive on the island and Jacob brought them there to find one out of them to become the new protector. Alll the characters died at different times in life, the flash sideways wasnt if the plane never crashed, but what the characters crwated for themselves until all of them were ready to come to turns with their deaths and move on to the next life. Christian Shepard told us that in the finale. They all needed each other in order to accept what had happen to them, and some died before Jack and some long after he did.

Well im done ranting but I LOVED this show and couldnt ask for a better ending, but atlas its just a show so why get upset over a show just because it didnt turn out like YOU wanted it to

Xaviers   August 10th, 2011 7:07 pm ET

As I've said it before, when we write our own shows, they'll end the way we want them to. And no show, no thing is the same to all people. For those who did or didn't enjoy the show and/or it's ending, you don't have to get over it, that's your right to that opinion of yours. Nobody should have their opinion stripped from them, no matter what the others think.

That said, I 1. feel the show did pepper a lot of answers along the way, but 2. presented an answer that fell into the man of faith category where I was intrigued by the mysteries of the man of science side, and 3 presented a weak confrontation between the protagonist and the antagonist. I wanted a Flocke transformation into smokey and Jack becoming whatever pitted against, not middle age man vs senior citizen and a backshot from love lorne Calamity Jane. I did enjoy the emotional impact of what was revealed to be the reunion awakenings to their true outcomes.

For me, this makes the series one that I do not have to rewatch, because of its longform story, the answer to the puzzle, and the mixed feelings with a leaning towards disappointment. More so than Battlestar Galactica, I can not see myself watching this show again the way it ended, but I'm glad so many did enjoy it. It's our right to feel these ways. Right?

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3dgquaffle   February 1st, 2012 8:16 am ET

I personally loved the way the show ended and i do not believe that they all died in flight 815. I read a comment saying that the flash sideways were what would have been if the plane wouldnt have crashed but i dont think they were. I think they were flash forwards of what was going to be. Obvioulsy the ending makes that clear, because they all end up coming together and leaving purgatory together. They all lived on the island, went through everything together, left, then came back three years later to 1975, the hydrogen bomb blew them back to the present, then they began to discover everything about jacob and their true purpose on the island as candidates. I know people have wondered what about jacks son and every one else in purgatory (aka the flash sideways) but they never really existed. Yes, everyone in the show dies at different times but they all end up in purgatory together and they start out with very vague memorys but then began to create their own lives. Jacks son never existed anywhere else but in purgatory. all in all i thought it was really cool how the show began with jack opening his eye and then ended with jack closing his eye.

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Greg   July 16th, 2012 12:49 pm ET

Jacob, I agree with you completely. This show was about the characters. To me, this is one of the greatest written shows ever in the history of television. The ending made complete sense to me on many levels, including the way the writers intended us to keep talking about the show after it ended. I am not sure I even like the additional 12 minutes on the Blue Ray that shows Hurly and Ben getting Walt.

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Solomon Martinez   June 13th, 2013 11:22 pm ET

I believe that Jack didn't die in the finale episode. He probably just passed out from the loss of blood. Then most likely Rose and Bernard find him becuase they were probably looking for Vincent and nurse him back to health. Then Jack and Desmond leave the island for good on Desmonds boat. The whole purgatory thing in the finale could of been just a dream or another story...

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Logan   April 22nd, 2014 10:42 pm ET

The reason Jacob made up the rules that he did is because of the rules that the "monster" made as a kid for the game he found on the beach. When him and Jacob were playing the game Jacob said that the "monster" made up the rules, so the "monster" said that one day Jacob would be able to make up his own rules.

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Sam   December 26th, 2014 12:50 am ET

I just don't get how Kate was in the afterlife before Jack even though Jack died first.

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kat   July 13th, 2015 3:45 pm ET

this is exactly what i was looking for to explain my last unanswered questions, i loved the show and it was a great ending which leaves the viewer to their own interpretation.

Dave   October 9th, 2015 12:05 am ET

I haven't found any references to addition after all jack's drinking and prescription drug problem, hurly's eating addition and the rock star's herion addition. Perhaps letting go meant letting go of their security blanket/ addiction.

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