Questions From Lost That We Still Don’t Know The Answers To

When Lost exploded onto our screens in a plane crash thanks to HBO and Bad Robot back in 2004, its many mysteries, twists and turns had us all hooked. The show that made household names out of stars such as Josh Holloway and Matthew Fox posed a new question in every episode. HBO viewing figures might have declined in later seasons, but many loyal fans kept watching avidly in the faith that all would be revealed. JJ Abrams’ closing episode was a disappointing anti-climax for some, but what is harder to digest is the plethora of questions unanswered and loose ends that were never tied up.

Are the answers in there somewhere, waiting for more powerful brains to figure them out? Or are these questions that writers Lieber, Abram and Lindeloff simply forgot or ran out of space to include in their series arcs? If their goal was to keep the Lost legacy alive as long as some mysteries remained then they certainly succeeded: here we are, a decade later, still trying to figure it all out.

Here are 9 questions that remain unanswered!

1. Who Was Mother?

Family and parenthood was a central theme throughout the series, with the focus mainly on dysfunctional families and selfish parents. The first question originates in chronological time rather than the order of episodes: who was the mysterious woman who killed Jacob’s biological mother and stole him along with his twin brother? We never find out how she made it to the island, except that she told the twins’ mother it was “by accident”. She seems to have been one of the first nominated protectors of the island, but we never learn how this came to be. We are also left wondering whether she had superhuman powers as she was able to destroy the well and kill The Man In Black’s people all on her own. Could she have been created by the island itself? When Jacob lays her corpse alongside his evil brother’s in the cave, he places the black and white pieces from his game next to them, symbolizing good and evil. If Jacob’s brother is evil, does that mean Mother was good? Or do her murders and violence suggest she is also part monster? Perhaps the Smoke Monster that we attribute to Jacob’s brother?

2. Why Are the Dads So Terrible?

The show focuses heavily on poor relationships between fathers and their children: Ben’s father perpetually ignored him and even missed his birthday; Locke’s father stole his kidney and pushed him out of a window; Ben allowed Alex to be killed by Widmore’s men. Fathers fail repeatedly on and off the island. Jack’s brutal relationship with his father left him disconnected and battered his confidence while Kate was forced to kill her own abusive dad. Even Boone, who saw a pseudo-father figure in John Locke, was let down by the older man when his unwavering trust led to his untimely death. Good fathers on Lost are either absent or tainted. The only dad worth his salt was Michael, whose unwillingness to give up on Walt finally led to him being allowed to leave the island. Even so, Michael’s happy ending was short lived as his devotion to his son forced him to commit the murders that eventually led to his suicide and left him trapped on the island as a whisper. Which brings us neatly on to our next question:

3. What Happened To Walt?

Hailed as the “special” child with amazing gifts including the first to time travel, Walt seemed central to the meaning behind the island. But, once Michael rescued his son, he left the island and was barely heard of again. Even when Michael returned, all we understand is that his relationship with Walt broke down. To be fair, the actor was growing up quickly and it makes sense that the character had to be written out before he grew too old to look the part. But some kind of answer about how his gifts worked and why he seemed the “chosen one” would surely not have gone amiss. Ending his days in a mental institution seems no way to treat a character with such promise. We would also have loved to see him reunited with his beloved dog.

4. What Was With The Animals?

From Kate and Sawyer petting a strangely calm black horse to the polar bear that appeared and disappeared with no explanation, we never found out where these animals came from or why they appeared so infrequently on the island. Could it have been that some kind of weird wormhole allowed them to travel fleetingly from their home environment and then back again without so much as a time hop or even the appearance of the Smoke Monster? And what did that polar bear find to eat? If these animals could survive on the island, how come we never seemed to come across any more of them or found where they lived?

5. What Is The Light?

The heart of the island centres around a magic circle of water emitting a bright, illuminous light. Mother alludes to this light as life itself when she says it is the same light that is in every living thing. If that is true, why did being thrown into the light turn the Man In Black into the Smoke Monster? It clearly didn’t kill him, rather it made him immortal, but why does he seem unable to assume his original human form anymore? Does living as a pillar of black smoke give him more powers than a mortal body? Although he might have been made of “the light”, we are left wondering why he so often assumes the opposite colour: black. From his black clothing in one shape to his black plumes in another, unless he is adopting the form of one of the dead characters, there is rarely anything “light” about the Man In Black. Most critics believe this is because he is evil incarnate, but if this is true then how could he have been “made” from the light that is meant to be pure and good?

6. Why Didn’t The Man In Black Kill Locke?

John Locke encountered The Man In Black in the first season but wasn’t afraid or hurt by him: if anything, he was fascinated. He said he had “looked into the eye of the island” and that it was “beautiful”. It could be that The Man In Black saw a similarity between himself and Locke, or believed that Locke could be instrumental in helping him to get off the island. Locke was inherently good for most of the time he was alive on the island, just like he had been in his life before boarding flight Oceanic 816. We know that Jacob visited Locke several times from when he was a child, suggesting he had been chosen as a potential protector of the island. If Jacob had selected Locke as a protector, this would make him The Man In Black’s nemesis which begs the question why the black smoke didn’t kill Locke when he had the chance. Was Locke himself already protected by the same force that prevented The Man In Black from killing Jacob? It is possible that all of the candidates were protected by the same power but, if that is the case, why did Locke say he saw a bright light emit from the Smoke Monster? Was the light a different force, originating from the heart of the island rather than from the monster itself?

7. What Were The Numbers?

Hurley’s magic lottery numbers that brought him nothing but bad luck, Rousseau’s map, the serial number of the hatch, the numbers made such an impact on Lost they were almost a character in their own right. Towards the end of the season, a deeper meaning was attributed to the numbers. Each of the island’s potential protectors was given a number and the final six candidates were, obviously, given one of the season’s magic numbers. This still doesn’t explain why the numbers seemed to haunt Hurley, even appearing on the speedometer of his newly fixed Camaro. It also doesn’t explain why Leonard from Hurley’s mental institute was so obsessed by them. Leonard’s connection with the island and its numbers was never explored so it is safe to assume Leonard’s role is only to assist in the plot development of Hurley’s character. It would have been pretty cool, though, if Leonard turned out to be a former inhabitant of the island, or even Jacob in disguise.

8. Why Was Childbirth Such An Issue?

The earliest history we are given of the island seemed to begin with the birth of the twins, Jacob and The Man In Black. Other characters also successfully gave birth on the island including Claire and Rousseau yet, for most of the inhabitants, childbirth seems impossible. Most pregnancies on the island failed to make it past 100 days for reasons that baffled the show’s scientists and philosophers alike. Juliet was brought to the island to try to solve the issue and The Others became obsessed with the pregnant Claire in the hope she might offer a potential cure to their curse. We never find an answer to why island inhabitants are unable to procreate. Another question that remains is what was symbolic about day 100? With the show’s preoccupation with numbers, it would have made more sense if Hurley’s magic numbers had been involved in some way.

9. Why Didn’t Michael Make It To The Church?

The final episode of Lost seemed to answer a raft of questions as almost all of our favourite characters made it to the church where they reunited briefly before stepping together into a dreamy afterlife. While this left many of the shows fans divided, at least most of the show’s much loved heroes were rewarded with a happy ending. Apart from poor old Michael, who is destined to spend eternity trapped on the island as a disembodied whisper. While it makes sense in some way that the whispers are the disconnected voices of those who have died on the island, it begs the question why so many other characters who also died on the island made it to the Church for their happy ending. Michael was a murderer, so it could be that becoming a whisper is his punishment. Yet so many of the other characters killed people, both on and off the island, and they didn’t suffer the same fate. Alternatively, becoming a whisper might have been Michael’s fate as a result of committing suicide. Is this an echo of the Christian church’s view that suicides couldn’t make it to heaven, the reason why they were buried outside of churchyards on unhallowed ground? Could this religious link be why Jack’s father, also called Christian, is given the task of leading the flock from the church into heaven?

A decade later and Lost is still discussed almost as vividly as when the show was on air. Mini series such as The Missing Pieces haven’t answered any questions so it might be time for Abrams and his friends to take us back to the island. Failing that, we all need to keep going back to season one to look for more clues and mysteries.

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