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The Mysteries of Lost
May 15, 2007, 11:32a - TV

Yesterday's post was a bit heavier than normal, so today's post will be something a bit more light.

I'm a watcher of Lost (the TV show) ever since Aki gave me the whole first season a year or so ago. It was quite intriguing in the beginning, and reminded me a lot of my favorite TV show from high school, the X-Files. However, after watching the past 3 seasons, Lost seems unable to avoid the X-Files' most fatal flaw: it doesn't resolve the mysteries it introduces. For each mystery it does resolve, it introduces 2 more :(

So here's a list of the mysteries of Lost that have yet to be solved, and a short list of solved mysteries. If you're not caught up with the most recent episode, you may want to stop reading as the list includes spoilers. Note that these lists are probably not complete, just what I remember. If there are other mysteries/theories that aren't listed here, leave a comment!

The core unsolved mystery is, How and why does the Island have special powers? The specific mysteries are detailed below.


Unsolved Mysteries

1) How is it possible to see dead people on the Island? Jack saw his dead dad early on, and in the last episode Ben saw his dead mom. What the hell?

2) How is it possible that the crashed plane and all bodies were found dead in a trench deep in the Pacific? Penny's parachuter recently told us this. What the hell?

3) What is the black smoke? It killed the black priest (iirc) and seems to patrol and protect the Island. It also seems to live underground, as it tried to pull Locke down into one of its tunnels. You know its around because of the unique clicking sound it makes. (I realized when I was in NYC a couple weeks ago that this clicking sound is identical to the sound taxis make when they're printing a receipt)

4) Who are the Others? We found out in the last episode that the Others were the "natives" on the Island before the Dharma Initiative arrived, and that Ben and the Others were responsible for killing off the Dharma Initiative. But we still don't know where they came from, how they became the "natives".

5) What's the deal with the reactor? Desmond lived in the reactor and pushed the button every few hours to keep it from going critical. The plane crashed on the Island when the reactor went critical once before, as its magnet sucked down the plane. It appeared to be some sort of giant magnet that, if left alone, would suck all metal into it, perhaps destroying the Island and the Outside as well. But what is it really, and where did it come from?

6) How did Desmond survive the reactor explosion? After the computer breaks, he pulled the fail-safe mechanism which caused the reactor to self-destruct. It's this explosion that Penny, his girlfriend, is able to pick up from an iceburg somewhere (Antarctica?). Next thing he knows, he's woken up naked in the forest, alive and well, with the ability to see the future. What the hell?

7) How can Desmond see the future? He can see when Charlie is going to die, and prevents it several times.

8) How does the Island heal people, esp. Locke's paralysis?

9) Why do babies conceived on the Island die and kill their mothers in child birth?

10) Where did the polar bears come from? The survivors were attacked by polar bears several times, and Sawyer even shot one.

11) What is the Monster? We often see it from the first-person, but have yet to see it from the third. It's different from the black smoke, because it doesn't make the clicking sound, but really shakes up the trees in the forest as it moves around. The survivors frequently run to bamboo-like groves to protect themselves from it.

12) Who is Jacob? In the most recent episode, Locke and Ben go to meet Jacob, who seems to be invisible and asks Locke to "Help me". If you move frame-by-frame through the scene, you can catch a glimpse of Jacob's silhouette. He appears to have long hair and a large nose.

13) Where do the Others go? They seem to move effortlessly amongs several different camps, but it's unclear where they go and how they get there.

14) What's with the second island? When Sawyer, Kate, and Jack are kidnapped by the Others, they're taken to what looks like a second island. Is it likely that none of the other survivors have seen it as they've explored the island?

15) How did the Black Rock ship get stuck in the middle of the Island? It's full of dynamite and appears to be a slave ship. It could have gotten on the Island when sea levels were higher, but why would that be? Is the Island actually some sort of advanced submarine that can move around and submerge itself?

16) What's with the psychological experimentation? On the second island, Sawyer and Kate are locked in cages that resemble operant conditioning tests for animals. What's up with that? The original Dharma Initiative didn't seem to be doing any psychological experimentation.

17) Where do all of the supplies come from? In one of the episodes, mention of a periodic supply drop is made. How does that work? Who controls it? How has it gone undetected by the Outside?

18) How do the Others appear to be omniscient about the histories of the plane's survivors? Some of the info they know is public (e.g. that Kate killed her father) but other info isn't (e.g. that Sawyer killed a man in Australia). So they can't just be getting all of their info from public sources on the Outside.

19) What happened to Michael and his son, Walt, when they left the Island? They left awhile ago, and if they survived, they would have told the Outside about the Island, and the Outside wouldn't believe that the plane they found in the Pacific was the same plane. So apparently, they must not have survived?

20) How does Ethan have super-human strength? In one scene, I believe he gets shot or stabbed but keeps on running.

21) What happened to Danielle's party? They crashed on the Island, and then apparently started killing each other, but why? Danielle mentions some sort of "sickness", but that's about it. This is why she straps down Sayid when she first catches him.

Solved Mysteries

1) What is the Dharma Initiative? Revealed in the last episode, it is an organization which was initially set up to learn about the Island's mysteries. They set up several stations on the Island, to monitor the various paranormal phenomena. They also set up the sonic fence that kills anything that crosses it.

2) Who is Ben? Ben's mom died in childbirth in Portland, and Ben came to the Island when his dad took a job with the Dharma Initiative. He was responsible for gassing the Dharma Initiative and joining the natives.

3) What are the Others doing on the Island? Based on the back-story of Juliet, the Others, like the Dharma Initiative, are trying to understand the secrets of the Island, specifically regarding fertility. But somehow they seem to "take orders" from Jacob?

4) What is Danielle, the Frenchwoman, doing on the Island? Her daughter is Alex, who seems to have been kidnapped by the Others. She crashed on the Island 16 years ago with her party, and lives independent of everyone else.

That's all I can remember for now!

Read comments (6) - Comment

peter - May 15, 2007, 12:35p
well summarized. this is such a compelling show imho. however it's almost impossible to truly understand unless you start from the beginning.

neha - May 16, 2007, 11:30a
nikhil, Lost is only set to run for 3 more seasons. At that point the show will end, and presumably all mysteries will be resolved. The network and producers came to an agreement.

nikhil - May 16, 2007, 11:57a
yeah, i'm hoping they can resolve these mysteries. but a definite timeline is no guarantee of that. the X-Files ended with little satisfactory resolution on many of its core mysteries.

if i had to put money on it, i'd bet that Lost won't successfully resolve the mysteries listed here. hopefully i'll be wrong.

Steph - May 18, 2007, 2:41p
10 - I believe the polar bears are explained in the first orientation video. Dharma was doing experiments on extreme climate control / zoology. There's a quick flash of polar bears in there somewhere (if I remember correctly).

Steph - May 18, 2007, 2:44p
Oh also, 21 - I think she actually strapped down Sayid and tortured him because she thought he was one of the Others, and would know where her daughter was. She had a recording that asked "Where is Alex?" in different languages when he was strapped down (again, if I remember correctly)

Matthew - Jun 6, 2007, 12:47a
I've followed the show somewhat and I am pretty sure they will not solve the main mystery in a satisfactory way. Just a hunch though, hope I am wrong!

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