Toward a somewhat unified theory of "Lost," by Dan Milczarski, guest blogger.
Okay, so "Lost" is over. Some people loved the ending. Some people hated it. I, for one, loved it.
There has been a ton of debate over what exactly happened. I think that everything that happened on the island, happened. And the flash sideways world was a sort of purgatory, a bus stop of sorts for the Losties to get together one last time before moving on to whatever their religious belief is, whether it's reincarnation, heaven, etc. (By the way, this article pretty much sums it up way better than I can: http://www.tvsquad.com/2010/05/24/lost-finale-theories-explanations/?ncid=webmaildl2 But don't read that just now. Read my take first!)
For those who interpreted the plane wreckage during the credits as meaning the island stuff never happened and the crash of Flight 815 killed everyone, just know that ABC has pretty much debunked that and said Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse, the masterminds behind "Lost," did not have that footage as part of the story line. The story ended when the "Lost" logo flashed on the screen. The wreckage footage, with its calm ocean sounds in the background, was ABC's attempt to allow people decompress before the late local news.
So now that we’re on the same page about how I think the series ended, I wanted to do some interpretation of the finale. As I re-watch the finale and other episodes again, or hear/read good feedback from other "Lost" fans, my interpretation may change. For example, I have some thoughts on Eloise Hawking that will only be clarified when I watch all episodes that feature the character. Fun times!
Okay, let’s begin.
If you don't agree that the island stuff was real, I implore you to listen to Christian. It was Damon and Carlton speaking through him, saying: “No, we didn’t waste six years of your life here people. This island saga was true. These characters were real. This was no figment of Hurley’s imagination or a dream of Vincent’s."
The island was not purgatory. It was an island. A very special one. "We don’t need to say why," Damon and Carlton seem to be saying. "just trust us." Because if you keep asking why it all ends with the same answers:
1. God did it.
2. The Big Bang did it.
3. Because I say so.
So what was the deal with the island?
Argh, I just told you not to ask. But okay, just know that this is a crazy "Lost" theory from, well, someone who has been coming up with crazy "Lost" theories for years. At the core of the island is some seriously advanced technology. I’m saying SERIOUSLY ADVANCED stuff. The kind of stuff that the U.S. government locks away in wooden crates along with the Ark of the Covenant.
This advanced technology was created by an advanced species (go ahead, call me out on it, I’m saying aliens and you know it) during Ancient Egyptian times. That’s why so much stuff is Egyptian on the island, such as the hieroglyphs in the Temple and elsewhere, the statue of the Egyptian god Taweret (or Sobet or Anubis or any god it was supposed to be), and the cork thing in the bottom of the light well.
These higher beings (and if you look at Egyptian gods, they all look like they could be some sort of alien species) saw that the world was heading for dark times. So they harnessed as much of the evil in the world as they could (sort of like the Ghostbusters trap device.) and trapped it under this island. They used their advanced technology to keep the evil underground, but doing so required more than a stone cork. They also need a good portion of the Earth’s goodness -- the light everyone has in them and which everyone keeps trying to get more of.
Really? Have you watched "Lost"? If this sounds absurd and a giant smoke monster doesn’t, you have issues. Just kidding, it is pretty wacky. But look at the finale again. There's plenty of faith, but no explicit mention of science. The show has always addressed the conflict between faith and science. The finale, though, was a lot more specifically about faith and belief, something many "Lost" fans disliked. (I didn’t mind it, and coming from me, who has serious issues with religion, I think that’s a win for Darlton).
So wouldn’t it be cool that even if they didn’t explain it that science played a bigger role in the finale than we all thought? Try to think of the island as (1) created by aliens to stare most of the world's evil, using (2) advanced technology with great electromagnetic power that (3) gives the island the ability to shift through time and space as (4) a defense mechanism (5) against those who would try to steal more of the goodness for themselves and inadvertently release countless amounts of evil into the world.
Despite the island’s ability to move through space and time, it would still need a protector. Jacob’s mother was not the first and Hurley won’t be the last. But Mother was one of earlier ones.
How does that explain the smoke monster?
Tough one. Since the well of light had some other skeletons down there it’s hard to believe that the Man in Black would be the only Smokey. But it could be that when Jacob threw MIB into the falls, he landed in the light pool, whereas the people who belong to the skeletons were killed before even getting close to it. The light pool separated soul from body because the alien technology is unstable. Body gets shot out across the jungle where Jacob can place it with Mother's in the caves and soul gets intertwined with a ton of electromagnetic energy (that’s why those Dharma fences worked so well to keep Smokey out), goodness, and evil.
How could Smokey take the bodies of dead people?
Here is where the faith portion comes into play. Since a little piece of the island’s goodness is in everyone, when you die, it goes back to the well of light. And since Smokey was created with the light in the well he has the ability to tap into it. So he taps into it when someone dies, letting him take the image of the dead person as well as knowledge of their thoughts and memories.
Okay, the island wasn't purgatory, then. But there was a purgatory in the show, right?
Yep. Sort of. I like the term “bus stop” better. The flash sideways world was a placewhere the Losties were able to create as a last meeting place to see each other, say goodbye on their own terms, and have some boat drinks.
In this flash sideways world, people had to become aware on their own terms that they were dead. That’s why Desmond could manipulate people into connecting with an important person from their island life so they could become aware, but he, nor anyone else, could come out and say it. Besides, if you tell someone they’re dead, it comes off as a threat.
The purgatory world also had some obstacles in place so people could learn to let go. I could list them all, but some key ones are:
1. Ben reconciling with Alex, since his actions caused her death.
2. Sayid coming to grips with the fact that he’s not a horrible person and that he deserves to be loved.
3. Jack reconciling with his father by being challenged to be a good father himself.
Purgatory world also serves as a way to let the Losties punish those who were truly bad. Keamy gets killed by Sayid; Mikhail gets killed (and loses his eye again, HA!) by Jin; Anthony Cooper is in a vegetative state and put there by Locke.
Christian sums this up by answering Jack’s question about him and others being dead: “Everyone dies some time. Some died before you. Some after.”
The " some after" include Sawyer, Kate, Miles, Lapidus, Claire, Ben and Hurley. I’ll get to that a little later.
Getting now, but how could they all be in purgatory at the same time?
I urge you to read "Slaughterhouse-Five" and "The Sirens of Titan" by Kurt Vonnegut, as they will explain this idea better than I can. But I’ll give it a shot.
The Losties all arrived at purgatory at the exact same time. Even though Boone died in 2004, Jack in 2007, and Hurley in lord knows when, their souls reached this bus stop at the same time.
Christian says to Jack, “There is no now here.” That’s right, when you die, time stops existing or your soul or whatever just doesn’t abide by or understand the rules of time anymore. Maybe when you die and promise to meet people at one of these bus stops, you take your last breath, close your eyes and wake up at the bus stop immediately. You’ve been dead for 100 years, but your soul can’t grasp that. It’s like they all needed to meet in New York at Friday at 7 PM. Boone was coming in from Hong Kong, Jack from California, and Hurley from Hoboken. It took longer for some of them to get there as they needed to wait for the last of them to die (presumably Hurley, hundreds of years later, but again, I’ll get to that). Only their souls were not conscious of how long it actually took them to get to the bus stop. To them it was death, then the bus stop. (If only commuting were that easy! --editor)
So Jack died on the island. What happened to everyone else?
Glad you asked!
Well, Jack was happy to see, just before he died, the Ajira plane flying overhead. The plane had Lapidus, Miles, Richard, Kate, Sawyer and Claire on it. So they got off the island!
Still on the island are Ben, Hurley and Desmond.
Here is what I think happened to each of them. It’s pure speculation, really, but most of it is based off of motifs or clues that Darlton gave us.
So Lapidus is flying the Ajira plane and at some point he goes, “Ah hell, how are we going to explain this to people? I mean, I have to land this bird somewhere.”
It’s true. Ajira left Los Angeles on it’s way to Guam about a week or so ago. Yeah, pretty much all of the post-Ajira crash, Lockeness monster, island destroyo, Jack sacrifice madness stuff happened in a week or so.
Anyway, so Lapidus hatches this crazy plan. Let’s crash the plane into the ocean and convince people we are the only survivors. Here’s how it will go down.
Lapidus lands the plane in the water. They grab a couple of lifeboats and the plane’s manifest and blackbox (need to destroy that badboy). The plane sinks to the bottom of the ocean.
Sawyer, Claire and Miles go in one boat. Lapidus, Richard and Kate go in another boat.
Sawyer, Claire and Miles can just go back to their previous lives. No one really knew Miles was missing or what he was doing. As for Sawyer and Claire, they lie and say they were never on Oceanic 815. They actually were lovers who ran off together in the outback of Australia. They had no idea that 815 crashed! Claire’s mom will need to give back the money from Oceanic, but who cares, she got her daughter back!
Lapidus explains that the plane crashed. Everyone died on impact except Kate (Who has now survived two plane crashes! She’s a lucky charm!), Lapidus, whom Kate saved from the wreckage, and "Bram." (This is actually Richard who will take over as Bram, the mysterious Jacob helper who teamed up with Ilana and died in the foot of the statue at Smokey’s hands, er, smoke tentacles.) It makes sense for him to be Bram. He was a Jacobite, meaning he was more than likely a loner with no family and medical records, etc.
After some crazy story telling, they convince the world they don’t know where the plane crashed but there was a mechanical failure due to lightning striking the plane. They all get these huge settlements. Frank retires, lives a very happy and relaxing life and never visits any sort of island again.
He dies of a heart attack at the age of 72.
Richard (a.k.a. "Bram")
"Bram" takes his money and invests in a majority share of Mittelos Bioscience. His company makes breakthroughs in fertility and anti-aging medicines. He passes away peacefully in his sleep at the age 97. Of course, Richard is actually about 235 years old for real when he passes away.
Kate gives the Ajira money to Sawyer and Miles since she has a ton of money left from the Oceanic settlement. Sawyer and Miles open up a security company together. Though Sawyer still loves the dearly departed Juliet, he moves on, finds his former flame, Cassidy, marries her, and helps to raise their daughter, Clementine. He creates a “My Name is Earl”-type list of people he wronged and finds a way to repay them. He passes away of liver failure at the age of 74. Too much Dharma Beer, I guess.
Miles meets this slightly older woman named Annie. She explains how he looked familiar. She then realizes that growing up, she lived on an island with her parents who were part of an organization called Dharma and that Miles looked like Dr. Edgar Halliwax, a nutty professor who frantically stormed around the island doing experiments. Miles, realizing she’s talking about his dad (Pierre Chang, a.k.a. Halliwax) falls for this woman and they get married. They have a son and name him Ben, after Annie’s childhood friend. Miles never lets her know about his true past. He dies in a boating accident when he’s 66.
Kate and Claire
Well, they raise Aaron together! They still date and go out with guys, but they find the unconventional family of two moms and a kid to work quite well. They get a surprise one day when Duncan Forrester (Kate’s trusted lawyer) says that Sun-Hwa Kwon left custody of her daughter Ji Yeon to Kate. Sun’s mother and father try to fight it, but Duncan shows in court that Mr. Paik is a ruthless crime boss and shouldn’t be allowed to raise Ji Yeon, so Kate and Claire win custody and raise Aaron and Ji Yeon together.
Kate dies at the age of 80 of natural causes. She never remarried and when she sees Jack in the purgatory bus stop and says, “I’ve missed you,” she really meant it as Jack was her one and only true love.
Claire passes away from pneumonia a few years after Kate dies. Before she passes away, she tells Ji Yeon and Aaron the truth about the island.
Hurley, now in charge of the rules of the island, allows Desmond to leave the island. He takes the boat that MIB was planning to use to the leave (The Elizabeth) and sails it back to England. He’s very familiar with that boat, you know. He gets back to Penny and Charlie. They happily live their lives together for 40-plus years until Desmond and Penny are both killed when a building collapses on them. (Desmond was wearing red shoes at the time. He should have known better.) Penny had told Charlie about the island years prior but told him to keep it a secret. He does until his friends, Ji Yeon and Aaron, tell him about what Claire said before she passed. Convinced the island is real, Charlie, Ji Yeon, Aaron and his wife, Clementine, set out to find it.
They live on the island until they both peacefully pass away in their sleep at the same time, some time in their early hundreds.
Hurley and Ben are a great team. When the families of the crashed Ajira flight set out for closure, they land on the island. Ben and Hurley act fast to see who would be candidates and who may try to destroy the island.
Ben and Hurley protect the island successfully for many years. However, military forces discover the island and, while trying to protect Hurley, Ben takes a gunshot wound to the stomach. Hurley is able to get the military off the island and tries to heal Ben using the water from the temple. But it doesn’t work because the temple water has already saved Ben once before. Realizing this, Ben offers to turn the donkey wheel again to move the island so the soldiers can’t return. Ben does this and gets teleported to the Sahara, where he dies shortly after.
Shortly after Ben’s death, Hurley becomes very depressed and is convinced he will never have a successor. But one day while crossing out names in the lighthouse, he sees a boat in the distance. He looks at the lighthouse circumference and smiles. There are four numbers not crossed off.
15 – Phillips
23 – Littleton
42 – Kwon
108 – Hume
After choosing a replacement (actually, after a replacement chooses to do it), Hurley opts to become mortal again and leave the island, sure it will be safe in the new protector’s hands. He visits the graves of all his friends who have passed away and once at peace with himself and the world, he closes his eyes for the last time.