Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Top 10 Unanswered Questions on Lost That Need To Be Answered

Over the course of the past five seasons, it seems like Lost has raised hundreds, if not thousands of questions that need answering. However, as I sit down to think about what questions truly NEED to be answered in its final season, I am somewhat shocked to find it seemingly boils down to ten questions - some simple, some complex. Hey, I'm a realist. In looking at the "Unanswered Questions" page on Lostpedia, I laugh out loud at some of the questions people have put up there. Will my enjoyment of Lost be increased if we find out why Desmond was dishonorably discharged from the military? Heck no. If anything, I would be upset if the writers wasted time in going back and answering such trivial matters. Every minute is precious in the final season.


This isn’t a post about predicting what’s going to happen – it’s a post about identifying the big questions for the season. We’ll worry about addressing them each as they come up over the course of the season through the traditional episode previews and analyses. But these are the things that should be in the back of your head as you watch Lost’s final season. So without further ado, I give you my "Top 10 Unanswered Questions on Lost That Need To Be Answered", along with the likelihood of each happening:


10. Juliet and the Jughead (100% Chance of Being Answered). The final moment of Season Five sneaks onto the list at the last moment, narrowly bumping off “What happened to Kate’s black horse" as the tenth biggest question we need answered this season. Exactly what happened when Juliet detonated the Jughead will be one of main driving forces of the Season Six storyline. Will our Survivors suddenly find themselves back on Oceanic 815, landing safely in Los Angeles in a new reality? If so, will they have memories of their time on the Island, or will they all be strangers? Or did the Jughead just magically blast our Time Traveling Survivors back to the “present” in the current timeline, neatly tying up all the time traveling antics from last season? The answer to this question will have a huge effect on what the overall "point" of Lost really ends up being... is it fundamentally a show about traveling through time and changing the past, or a show that proves that’s impossible even with all the Island’s magical “unique properties”? Is it a show about accepting fate or changing it to save the world? They’re really big questions that we might not understand fully until Lost is over.

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As for Juliet and the Jughead, it’s an answer we should receive fairly early on in Season Six (after the writers probably totally confuse and mess with us for the first episode or two). Jerks.



9. Adam and Eve (100% Chance of Being Answered). The identity of Adam and Eve seem like a fairly minor outstanding question on Lost. In fact, I’d be willing to wager that 50% of people who watch Lost have totally forgotten about the brief scene in Season One where Jack comes upon two skeletons with white and black stones laid to rest in the caves. However, early on, Damon and Carlton pointed to this scene as “proof” that they’ve known what they were doing all along, and had a master plan – as opposed to me, who makes stuff up as I go along… like this post – who knows if I’ll be able to come up with 10 Unanswered Questions or not? Stay tuned! This makes Adam and Eve extremely important characters to the obsessive fans of Lost. It also makes you wonder how important these characters will be to the storyline of Lost itself.

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I have a hard time believing the writers (in 2003) sat down and said “Hey, we need to include a scene where Jack comes across two skeletons because in Season Six we’re going to reveal that they are two non-important background characters. The audience is going to go crazy when they find out we knew this all along!” No – something tells me that these characters are going to be fairly major – like, Jack and Kate, Desmond and Penny, Jacob and Anti-Jacob, etc… and I do think we’re going to go crazy when we find out.



8. The Island History (75% Chance of Being Answered). There’s a lot you could group into this category – everything from the creation of the Island, to who installed the Frozen Donkey Wheel, to who built the Four Toed Statue, to the fate of the crew of the Black Rock. The Lost creators have always said that the Island is a character on the show, yet it’s the character that we know the least about (save for a few newer characters). A true “Island flashback” could quickly and effectively answer a lot of these questions about the history of the Island, yet I almost feel like the opportunity to tell that story was during last year’s time-traveling shenanigans. Or maybe we’ll find out all these answers through flashbacks of the life of the eternal Richard Alpert? I know some fans are going to want all the nitty-gritty details about every era of life on the Island. I don’t need that, but it would be nice to get some explanation for some of the more major events in the history of the Island.


Getting this information isn’t a given, and I can appreciate leaving some of the “mystery” of the Island left unexplained to allow the Island to be different things to different people – but I think we’re due for at least a healthy chunk of information about Island History this season.



7. Good and Evil (10% Chance of Being Answered). From the start, Lost has always been pretty ambiguous about who is “good” and who is “evil”, preferring to color most characters a nice shade of grey. It’s a realistic way to approach things, and allows the audience to draw their own conclusions about the moral justifications of each characters’ actions. I like it. But in the end, don’t we need some answers about the true motivations of characters like Ben? Has he really been doing semi-evil deeds all for the benefit of the Island? Or is he just a pawn in a bigger game between Jacob and Anti-Jacob? And with the introduction of Jacob and Anti-Jacob, don’t we need to know which one to be rooting for in the final season? Or is the whole point that both make good arguments, and it’s up to the viewer to decide whose side they agree with more?


Long-time readers of the Blog will remember that my original “series ending” for the show involved our Survivors triumphing over the Others in some fashion, only to discover that by doing so they accidentally ruined any chance for saving the world / world peace / etc. It would have been the ultimate “twist” at the end which would make you go back and re-watch the series from a totally different perspective. Over the years, I’ve realized this probably isn’t going to happen – but fundamentally, I think the audience still deserves to know if the actions of our Survivors on (and off) the Island made the world a better / worse / the same place.



6. Jacob and Anti-Jacob (85% Chance of Being Answered). As referenced under “Good and Evil”, one of the biggest questions to come out of Season Five is “who – or what – are Jacob and Anti-Jacob?” Are they gods? Non-aging folks like Alpert? Time traveling buddies like Bill and Ted? People from an alternate reality trapped in ours? You can come up with countless semi-plausible explanation, and the answer has huge ramifications to the entire series. Are Jacob and Anti-Jacob two more intriguing side characters in the Lost universe, or are they the two most important characters in the Lost universe that we were only introduced to during hour 103/121? (Note: if this is true, man, no wonder they weren’t worried about fans “figuring out” the show way back in Season One!)

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Much like finding out what happened when Juliet detonated the Jughead, the answer to this question has the power to fundamentally shift what Lost is actually about, and what the point of the show ends up being. Are our characters merely puppets in the game of two eternal entities, or are they critical players in a scheme to save / destroy the world? I think it’s less likely that we get an explanation of precisely WHAT Jacob and Anti-Jacob are, but I expect we’ll find out their intentions and how are Survivors come into play early on in the season – and it’ll be a driving force for the remainder of the series.



5. The Others (50% Chance of Being Answered). Every year since Season One, I’ve posed the same question. Every year since Season One, I’ve been super confident that we’re FINALLY going to get the answers in the upcoming season. Well, I’m 0 for 4 so far. Will this year be any different? Will Season Six be the year we FINALLY learn who the Others are, where they came from, what their purpose is, and what their “rules” and “laws” are? Or will we once again be teased with fleeting glances of their society and lives while being kept at a distance to never fully understand these mysterious Islanders? In a perfect world, we would FINALLY get to see some of the events from the first five seasons from their perspective, or at least learn what their intentions were for all the stuff they did for the first five seasons of Lost (I’m looking at you, kidnapping Claire, injecting our Survivors, stealing people based on Jacob’s list, sending Ben to the Swan Hatch, etc.)


Maybe Season Six will start with Alpert (and Ilana) explaining the culture of the Others, who Jacob and Anti-Jacob are, and what they all need to do to (which will drive the action for Season Six). Or maybe they’ll be all mysterious and only give partial answers, like they have for the past five seasons. It seems like the writers have had ample opportunities to explain The Others during the first five seasons and passed them up, which means either the answers are so revealing they had to be held back for the final season – or they have no intention of ever giving us this much detail. Here’s hoping for the former, but I put this one at a 50/50 chance.



4. Fate vs. Destiny (50% Chance of Being Answered). This is one of the “headier” outstanding questions on Lost, and probably not the first one that people think of in the grand scheme of things – but I think it’s extremely important to the audience understanding the fundamental question of “What is Lost about?” Was it dumb luck that brought all our Survivors to the Island in the first place, or was it a greater power (Jacob / God / Vincent) acting upon them to ensure they ended up there? Are they all part of a massive plan, or was it all luck and coincidence that brought them all together? Is there some unifying trait that ties all the Survivors of Oceanic 815 together and makes them “special”, or are they just a group of strangers who survived a plane crash in the middle of the ocean on a funky island? Is the story of Lost about how those strangers dealt with an extraordinary experience, or the story of some very specific people being called to the Island for a very specific purpose?


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Then there is the big outstanding destiny question from last season, whose outcome is still unknown. Is it possible to change the river of the future if you throw a big enough rock? Or are we predestined to travel down that path no matter what we do? Did “whatever happened, happened”, or “whatever happened, happened unless you’ve got a Jughead”? I could very easily see the writers leaving this one up to the more philosophical viewers in the audience, but personally would like some hints at the answer.


Which leaves us with “The Big Three”...


3. Smokey (95% Chance of Being Answered). The first WTF moment of Lost is probably the longest running mystery on the show. Smokey’s presence was felt in the pilot episode, and over the past six years we’ve gotten better views of him… and even some hints at his motivation and purpose – yet we still have no idea what he is and what drives him. Is he Nanobots? Is he the physical manifestation of the Island Spirit? Is he an extension of Jacob or Anti-Jacob? Does he simply act as the judge, jury, and executioner for the Island? Has he always been there? Was he created or born? Why does he sometimes attack people vs. scanning them vs. morphing into people to talk to them (or so it seems)? And why do the pylons deflect him?


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So many questions.


I’m confident we’re going to find out some answers about Smokey. We may not get the “nuts and bolts” explanation of how he works (since the Lost writers are on record as saying they wouldn’t go into as much detail as explaining what “The Force” is, since that ruined Star Wars – or so I’ve heard), or what he is made of (probably because there is no good “scientific” explanation since the writers ruled out Nanobots years ago), but I think we’ll get a solid explanation of his purpose. The fact that the writers have waited so long to give us that answer means one of two things – either he is directly related to Jacob / Anti-Jacob, characters that we didn’t meet until the fifth season finale (thus, they couldn’t explain Smokey before then), or, it’s something so big and critically tied to the mythology of the show as a whole that when it’s revealed, the show will lose all mystery and we’ll grow bored with it. If it’s the former, expect answers early on in Season Six. If it’s the latter, probably not until the Series Finale.



2. The Funky Island Stuff (50% Chance of Being Answered). This is a general “catch-all” for all the other funky stuff that has happened on Lost Island over the years: The whispers. Characters seemingly disappearing and reappearing. The Others being freakishly strong. The "unique magnetic properties" of the Island. The Frozen Donkey Wheel. Time Travel. Richard Alpert never aging. Walt being special. Aaron being so important the first season, then forgotten about for the next four. The Sickness. The Numbers.


I could go on.


The point is, there’s a lot of really weird stuff that has happened on the Island over the years, and we haven’t gotten a good answer for 95% of it. The odds are that these strange occurrences are not all connected – and there’s just as likely a chance that the writers play the same “We Don’t Want to Ruin the Force” card with explaining some of the more esoteric items on the list (like time travel). But I think we’re owed a decent explanation about all the funky Island stuff that touched on our characters – like the Walt and Aaron questions, along with the things that we’ve seen numerous times over the course of the series (like the whispers and the Numbers).


I put it at 50/50, but really think that sidestepping the major funky Island stuff is a major cop-out that would mean these things were used for convenient plot points but without having any real explanation – knowing full well the audience would spend hours upon hours trying to come up with one. Don’t disappoint me, Lost writers.



1. The Fate of the Survivors of Oceanic 815 (100% Chance of Being Answered). Finally, we get down to the whole point of Lost in the first place. Lucky for us, it sounds like the writers are 100% committed to answering this outstanding question – “What happens to our Survivors after the crash of Oceanic 815”? From the start, this series has been about the characters. While we’ve been tempted by all the Hanso and Dharma Mythology and Funky Island Powers, in the end, it’s really the characters that matter – and that’s why they’ve been the focus from the start. There are a lot of big questions to be answered in the last season. Who will live? Who will die? Which characters will reunite? How will the various “love rhombi” shake down? How has the experience with the Island changed each character? Is it for the better, or for the worse?


These are the big questions.


In addition, there are definitely some much more minor character questions that would be nice to see answered. But if we get the big answers, then these are just the cherry on top. As I mentioned earlier, there are a lot of unimportant “Unanswered Questions” on Lostpedia. But I’ve gone through and whittled their list down to the “more important” unanswered questions for each character, to keep in mind as the final season progresses:


Charlie

  • No unanswered questions.

Cindy

  • Why was Cindy taken by the Others so much later than the other Tailies? Was Cindy on the list? If so, why wasn't she taken sooner? If not, what changed?
  • How and why has Cindy been "converted" by the Others ?


Claire

  • What was the original purpose of the implant?
  • Why did she abandon Aaron?
  • Why did Christian bring Claire to Jacob's cabin?
  • Where is Claire now?

Hurley

  • What caused the bad luck surrounding Hurley and Sam Toomey? Is there really a curse with the Numbers?

Jack

  • Why was Jack so far from the crash site when he woke up, in a bamboo forest which is impossible to just fall through in?

Jin

  • Will he ever reunite with Sun?

Kate

  • No unanswered questions.

Libby

  • Why was Libby in the Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute?
  • Did Libby remember Hurley from the hospital? If so, why did she pretend not to know him?

Locke

  • How did Locke acquire his knife throwing and tracking skills?
  • How and why was Locke cured of his paralysis?
  • Why did the Monster not attack Locke at first, then later drag him into a hole?
  • Why do Locke's legs sometimes fail him, such as when he and Boone were on their way to find the Beechcraft?
  • Why does Locke have a special connection to the Island?
  • What is the connection between Locke and Anti-Jacob?

Mr. Eko

  • Why did Smokey kill Eko?

Rose

  • Why did Rose seem to know that Bernard was alive? Was she in denial, or did she somehow know?
  • Is Rose's (presumed) cancer in remission? If so, why?

Sawyer

  • No unanswered questions.

Sayid

  • If the government officials told Sayid that Nadia was alive before he boarded Flight 815, why did he then tell Danielle Rousseau that Nadia was dead?

Walt

  • Does Walt have "special powers"? If so, how and why?
  • What did Walt see that frightened him enough to want to leave the Island?
  • Why did the Others want Walt?
  • Why do Shannon, Sayid, and Locke see Walt in places he shouldn't be?
  • Why did the Others make Walt take "tests"? What were the tests for?

Charlotte

  • Why did Matthew Abaddon send a cultural anthropologist on the mission to find the Island?

Daniel

  • Why was he crying about Flight 815?
  • What was the purpose of his experiment on the Island?

Miles

  • Where did he get the photo of Ben that he showed to Jack and Juliet?
  • Why did he choose to stay on the Island?

The Others

  • How many Others are there?
  • Why were the Others at war with the DHARMA Initiative?
  • Why do the Others want the survivors to stay away from parts of the Island?
  • Why did the Others kidnap members of the Tailies and various children?
  • Why do they believe they are "the good guys"?
  • Why do the Others take blood samples from the people in their custody?

Alex

  • Why did Alex disagree with what the Others are doing? Why was she different from the Others if she'd been raised by them her entire life?
  • How did Alex's relationship with Karl form? Who are Karl's parents?
  • How was Alex aware that Ben might not be her father?

Ben

  • Why did Ben see his dead mother twice?
  • How did Ben become the leader of the Others?
  • If Ben wanted to capture Jack, Kate, and Sawyer, why did Tom not do so during their first encounter?
  • How did Ben get caught in one of Danielle's traps? What was he doing alone in the jungle? If he wanted to infiltrate the Losties' camp, why didn't he send someone else?
  • Why did Ben tell Locke that nothing would happen if he did not push the button?
  • Why did Ben order Richard Alpert to take all the remaining Others to the Temple?

Jacob

  • What is the ash-like substance around Jacob's cabin?
  • Why did Jacob make a list?
  • Why do the Others have such faith in him as their leader when they have not even seen him? How do they know that he is a "great man" or a "magnificent man", just from Ben's reports?
  • Was it Jacob who said "Help me" to Locke, and why did he say it? Why didn't Ben hear it?
  • Why does Jacob's cabin appear to Hurley, and seem to shift around?

Richard Alpert

  • Why does Richard appear not to be aging? Is Jacob really the cause of this?
  • How and when did Richard arrive on the Island?

Juliet

  • What does Juliet's mark mean?
  • Does Juliet know more about Smokey than she says?
  • Did Jacob really cure Rachel's cancer?
  • Is Juliet dead or alive?

Patchy

  • Does the glass eye found at the Arrow belong to Patchy?

Tom

  • How was Tom able to both leave and return to the island?

Aaron

  • Why did the Others want Aaron?
  • Why have the Others seemingly stopped trying to get Aaron since his birth?

Christian Shephard

  • Why did Christian want a bodyguard while in Australia?
  • Why did Jack see Christian in the jungle?
  • Since Christian's coffin is empty, where is his body?
  • Will Claire learn that she and Jack have the same father? Does anyone know?
  • Why did Hurley see him in Jacob's cabin?

Desmond

  • What happened to Desmond during the discharge? Why was he naked but uninjured?
  • What is the nature of Desmond's flashes?

Radzinsky

  • How did Radzinsky come to the Island?
  • When and how was Kelvin Joe Inman recruited to assist Radzinsky?
  • How and why did Radzinsky have the map of the Island memorized?
  • Why did Radzinsky go to such great pains to conceal the map on the blast door?
  • Why did Radzinsky edit the orientation film?
  • Why did Radzinsky shoot himself?


Phew. Like I said, most of these are pretty “minor” questions in my book (except the ones that cross-over with the Top 10 List I posted above) – so as long as we get the big answers, I’m okay with some of these smaller answers being left to our imagination / lame fan fiction that will surely follow Lost’s conclusion this spring.


So there you have it – then ten things I’ll be looking (and hoping) for during Lost’s final 18 hours. Most TV shows live and die on a season-to-season basis. They have their good seasons and their bad seasons. Even if there are some underlying storylines, they’re still judged on an individual per season basis. But with Lost, it’s all come down to this. It’s kinda crazy to think about, but most of us have invested an insane amount of time getting to this point with the assumption that it’s all going to be worth it. Don’t worry, I give us a 90% Chance of Being Correct.


Less than 3 weeks from the Season Premiere!

http://facethewoods.com/lost/index.php?topic=472.0


21 comments:

jack said...

Really exceptional job Brian. An issue now, for most of us fans, is to get our heads back into this show after the long hiatus. Your blog is very helpful in achieving that goal. Presumably, ABC will air a dedicated episode to bring us all up to speed.

FOKOF said...

I know u dont read spoiler but.. i can tell u that ull be happy ;)

FOKOF said...

I hope they will do something this summer to answers the 'minor questions'

FOKOF said...

cant wait season 6 !!!!!!!!!

D-Bone said...

Agree with Jack, well done Brian. Getting very excited now. I am really looking forward to your post recapping where things are at since you do it better than anyone else.

A thought I had while reading the character questions about Locke... Is it possible that anti-jacob somehow had influenced/possessed his body when they first crashed which granted him the healing and the amazing survival skills? Since our current Locke is fully anti-jacob, maybe this was a plan he hatched when they first crashed...

Could be way off base, just a thought I had.

Christina said...

FWIW, Adam and Eve aren't likely to be Jacob and AJ, since Jack specifically mentions that one of them is female. Hence the "Adam and Eve" moniker.

Hobbes said...

Great start to the season Brian.

No matter how this “Lost” year goes . I really want to thank you for being as dedicated to this blog as you have. Your commitment parallels that of any of the Lost Cast, Crew and Production crews. Your unique writing style and analysis has inspired many fans to feel welcome to participate and many more fans to even just unplug from the TV and read. Trust me many teachers would love to know your secret.

Lost...and Gone Forever! A glass to thee is raised.
For the five years (or so) and going on six. Each episode usually had me picking up my jaw off the floor in one way or another. And it was right after that (picking up my jaw) I would immediately find myself asking "ok now what the hell does Brian have to say about that episode!!!" And off I'd go to the computer room to check it out.
“The Lost Experience” simply would not have been Lost, without this blog.

Thanks again eh!

Rob Rose said...

So APPARENTLY The Season Premiere's episode is titled:

"LA X"

Which is SUCH a Milk Bone being waved over our heads, as to the fate of the survivors

Rob Rose said...

I'm calling it right now.

The Volcano on the island will play a role this year

jon. said...

I think we'll get at least one anti-jacob flashback. Some of the weird stuff we've seen (ghosts, whispers and so on) could have been anti-jacob slowly, patiently manouvering people to fit into his planned great causal chain to kill jacob. That would be a nice way to revisit some of the past seasons too.

jon. said...

And great to see you ramping up the Lost blogging again Brian. Three weeks is nothing!

jack said...

what does "LA X" mean anyway? that is not the moniker for the airport in Los Angeles as you all probably r aware.

Brian said...

jack - don't worry buddy - we'll get to the episode title with my "LA X" preview post... or at least I'll give it the ol' college try!

compassionate service said...

Adam and Eve are Rose and Bernard. Season 2 we find out that Rose was healed on the island and they decide to never leave.

Rocket Science Mom said...

I would like to echo everything that Hobbes said. I love coming here, Brian, to read your thoughts and analysis.

And I was even brought over to read about your impending engagement and wedding. :)

This site has been one of the best in the Lost community, and although you haven't actually seen the original Star Wars trilogy, I wouldn't have enjoyed Lost half as much without your commentary. :)

Looking forward to finishing off the last year with you and the rest of your readers here.

jack said...

can't wait to hear your thoughts Brian on what title "LA X" might mean. i think a Latin radio station exists called LA X but who knows what C&L had in mind, other than to mess with our heads with a red-herring, with this title.

DeuceGort said...

Ouch, a typo on the first letter of the column....never seen that before! Just kidding Brian, your writing's always well done.

DeuceGort said...

Which are you referring to as "dumb luck", destiny or fate?

jejic said...

I agree I think Rose and Bernard are Adam and Eve. Doesn't the time frame kind of work out with them being there in the 70's and the hydrogen bomb, etc.

Andrea Koehnke said...

I just discovered your blog after the crazy season six opener and want to say I love it. :)

Also, the Aaron question was answered when we found out why Juliet was brought to the island- they wanted him because they could not produce any babies of their own because they kept dying (and killing their mothers).

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