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Lost: Answers to the final season
From left to right: Faraday, Boone, Miles, Michael, Ana Lucia, Charlotte, Ilana, Frank, Shannon, Desmond, Eko, Ben, Locke, Kate, Jack, Sawyer, Sayid, Libby, Sun, Jin, Claire, Hurley, Juliet, Charlie, Nikki, Paulo, Richard, Rousseau, Bernard, Rose and Vincent [ABC promotional photo]
If you've found this page, you must be a Lostie, one of those obsessed souls who craves information and answers about the mysteries that Lost has created over the past five seasons. As the sixth season of Lost unspools on Tuesday nights, we'll be watching for clues and resolutions to those questions that we REALLY want answered. Check here on Wednesdays after the show airs; TV critic Eric Deggans will make his rulings around mid-morning after a consult with the island geeks that populate the fourth floor.

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Burning 'Lost' questions

1.

Why have these castaways landed on this island? Were they chosen or connected in some way? And if so, how?

Mystery solved. The Man In Black, a.k.a. the Smoke Monster, told Sawyer what we've always suspected; that our castaways were chosen by the island's caretaker/protector Jacob. In the form of dead Lostie John Locke, MIB says each castaway was "pushed" toward the island, after being visited by Jacob at vulnerable points in their lives (now that scene where Jacob was building a tapestry with a loom makes so much more sense!). MIB says our castaways choices were not really choices after they were touched by Jacob. And he says at least some of them -- Locke, Hurley, Sayid, Sawyer, Jack Shephard and Sun or Jin -- are candidates to replace Jacob. But can we really trust a guy in black who can turn into a murderous smoke monster? Season 6, Episode 3: "The Substitute."

Mystery solved

2.

What is the smoke monster and what is its connection to the island?

Half answered. The season six opener, "LA X" showed that the entity mimicking John Locke -- I love calling him Not-Locke -- is the smoke monster, as he morphed into the creature to put down a cadre of armed men. The money line comes when Not-Locke turns to a shocked Ben Linus after the carnage is done and quips "I'm sorry you had to see me like that." What we don't know: What is Smokey/Not-Locke's connection to the island, and is it safe to assume he's also Jacob's nemesis, the Man in Black? Season 6, episode 1: "LA X Parts 1 and 2."

Still half answered. Ironically, the biggest reveal embedded in immortal consigliere Richard Alpert's backstory centered on another character. We now know for sure that the sinisterly sympathetic Man in Black we met at the end of last season is the Smoke Monster Known as John Locke. What we still don't know; exactly what kind of being is Smokey and why is he stuck in John Locke's form now? Season 6, Episode 9: "Ab Aeterno."

Mystery solved. We always knew the mysterious, villainous Man in Black had to have some serious angst in his past to be so charmingly maladjusted. But who could have guessed that he was the disembodied spirit of the guy originally picked to be the island's caretaker, Jacob's blood brother. Knocked out by Jacob and tossed into the mysterious light which the two brothers' adopted mom called "the heart of the island," MIB came roaring forth as the Smoke Monster we love and fear. My only question -- and with Lost, there's always at least one left -- is why the poor guy has never gotten a name. Season 6, Episode 15 "Across the Sea."

Mystery solved

3.

What is the island? Is it alive, somehow? What is the source of its apparent power?

Half answered. According to the island's mysterious caretaker Jacob, this land is the world's biggest cork in the globe's scariest bottle -- locking in some sort of massive evil which will turn the world into hell if it ever escapes. Somehow, Jacob and Smokey are key elements in keeping everything in check -- how and why remains a mystery. And what kind of island heals paralysis, cures cancer and lets dead people hang around for 150 years for touching emotional conversations? Season 6, Episode 9: "Ab Aeterno."

Half solved

4.

Who is Jacob and his rival, the mysterious Man in Black, and what is the source of their powers?

Mystery solved. Jacob and the Man In Black are the twin sons of a woman shipwrecked on the island long ago -- likely drawn there by the island's previous caretaker, who then promptly killed the biological mom, took the babies for her own and ensured they could never leave the island. The MIB known as the Smoke Monster seems to get his power from being tossed into the island's mysterious light by Jacob after killing the previous caretaker -- his soul seemed to be freed from his body and turned into Smokey. Jacob was given a mysterious potion by the previous caretaker, played by West Wing alum Alison Janney like a scruffy ancestor to classic island crackpots Claire Littleton and Rousseau. What we don't know: Who made C.J. Cregg the caretaker in the first place? Season 6, Episode 15 "Across the Sea."

Mystery solved

5.

Who are the Others and what is their connection to the island?

Still a mystery. The mysterious island Others' origins were never fully or directly explained during the show. We're left to assume they are the descendants of all the people island caretaker Jacob brought to the island (considering he was supposed to be a force for good, seeing all the people who die whenever Jacob brings people to the island through ship or plane wrecks, you wonder how he lived so long with himself). What we still don't know after the series finale -- why was Jacob bringing people to the island long before he needed candidates for his own replacement? Season 6, Episode 17 "The End"

Still a mystery

6.

Why are the numbers - 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42 - so significant throughout the story? Do they connect somehow to the island or its powers?

Mystery solved. Our Smoke Monster has proven a font of useful information, showing Sawyer a rock wall where Jacob wrote the names of select castaways next to our ubiquitous numbers. Locke is 4, Hurley is 8, Sawyer is 15, Sayid is 16, Jack is 23 and either Sun or Jin is 42. These castaways, Smokey tells Sawyer, are candidates to succeed Jacob as the island's protector/caretaker -- "pushed" toward coming there after a visit from Jacob at key moments in their lives. And, as usual, what we don't know outstrips what we do; namely, why these numbers for these people? Why didn't every castaway visited by Jacob get a number (Juliet and Kate, for example)? And why are these numbers so powerful they keep popping up in the castaways' world, from appearing on the hatch to a door on the island to being the digits Hurley plays to win the lottery? Even when Lost answers questions, it gives back a few more. Season 6, Episode 3: "The Substitute."

Mystery solved

7.

Who is Richard Alpert and why doesn't he seem to age? Is he immortal or bound to the island in some timeless way?

Half answered. Lost producers are at their most cunning when they let big answers drop in small ways; as when Nestor Carbonell's Richard Alpert finally explains why he doesn't age -- a touch from island caretaker Jacob. We still don't know who Alpert was before the touch, how long he's been on the island or why he's not a candidate to replace Jacob, like all the other Losties tagged by the big guy elsewhere in the series. It's a gift which has become a curse for Alpert, who now despairs that he's wasted a very long life following around somebody who never really told him what the heck was going on. We geekified fan of Lost, can, unfortunately, understand that pain all too well. Season 6, episode 5: "Dr. Linus."

Mystery solved. Again, one of the series' richest episodes comes from concentrating on a supporting character. In one breathtaking show, we learn that Richard is actually a 150-year-old Spaniard named Ricardo, sold into slavery from jail and the last survivor of the Black Rock boat which crashed on the island in 1867. He was the first human Smokey tried to fool into killing Jacob, instead becoming an immortal aide, serving as an ageless, clueless liaison for Jacob to the humans on the island. He's also a poignant example of man’s fallibility; a man who killed by accident and spends an eternity paying for it by mediating the endless chess game between Smokey and Jacob. But how does a guy stuck on an island for a century and a half wind up looking well groomed as a Details model? Season 6, Episode 9: "Ab Aeterno."

Mystery solved

8.

Is John Locke really dead, and if so, what is animating his body?

Mystery solved. We suspected it at the end of last season, when Not-Locke was shown confronting island caretaker Jacob while an armed party was carting around John Locke's body. But the answer was confirmed in "LA X" when Not-Locke strutted out of Jacob's home base, walking right by the corpse of the man whose shape he'd taken. Terry O'Quinn is killing this role, playing Not-Locke as a ruthless, confident manipulator who somehow knew Locke's last thoughts before his death, "I don't understand." Sad, poignant and chilling all at once. Season 6, episode 1: "LA X Parts 1 and 2."

Mystery solved

9.

Why and how do dead people keep showing up on the island, from Jack's father to Mr. Eko's brother?

Maybe. It's hard to know how seriously you should take a woman who looks like an extra from a Mad Max movie. But Claire Littleton does tell long-suffering castaway Jin that she has survived three years in the jungle with help from her father and another friend -- who we later learn is our Man in Black/Smoke Monster in John Locke's form. Since we have known for a while that Claire's father is also Jack Shepard's dad, and is therefore dead, we can assume ol' Smokey took his form, too. But since Not-Locke also saw someone else, seemingly in the form of his nemesis Jacob as boy, we also know Smokey's not the only entity on the island who can take the form of a dead person when it suits him. Brain hurting yet? Season 6, Episode 4: "Lighthouse."

Mystery solved. After a long answer drought, the MIB dropped this gem in the first 10 minutes of episode 13, "The Last Recruit." As longtime fans already guessed, our shape-shifting Smoke Monster, first seen as the enigmatic Man in Black, acknowledged he has been taking the form of dead people on the island, from Jack Shephard's hard-drinking jerk of a father to the misguided man of island faith, John Locke. He also let a few other details slip, including the fact that he can only take the form of dead people (which explains why he never masqueraded as an active Lostie) and the notion that the dead people's bodies must be on the island. Which explains why he never pretended to be, say, Ronald Reagan or Mel Gibson's movie career. Season 6, Episode 13: "The Last Recruit."

Mystery solved

10.

Where did the ancient stuff on the island, including the statue and the temple, come from?

Still a mystery. Once again, we're left to assume this stuff was built by those drawn to the island by Jacob in the past. How they managed such feats, assuming they got there by shipwreck like Richard Alpert and his crew, is also a mystery. Season 6, Episode 17 "The End"

Still a mystery

11.

Why is Charles Widmore so focused on getting back to the island?

Half answered. Ruthless businessman Widmore admitted to the Smoke monster Known as John Locke that he returned to the island with Desmond Hume, knowing he was a "failsafe" to keep Smokey from destroying it. One theory: That Widmore was a bad guy serving a good purpose, bringing Desmond to the island so he could initiate a series of events which would make Smokey mortal again. If that's true, would make Jacob the best chess player in history. Season 6, Episode 17 "The End"

Half solved

12.

What built the "frozen donkey wheel" that sends people off the island through time and moved the island? How does it work?

Mystery solved. Our villain in the making, the Man in Black, revealed that he built the "donkey wheel" eons ago in an attempt to leave the island that the previous caretaker foiled by knocking him out and killing all his followers. Somehow, the wheel taps into the light at the heart of the island, which leads this scribe to predict that the MIB will try using it again to leave after he's killed all the candidates to replace Jacob. Which proves one important rule: Never step in the middle of a blood feud between two demigods if you can help it. Season 6, Episode 15 "Across the Sea."

Mystery solved

13.

How does the island heal people, curing Locke's paralysis and Rose's cancer?

Still a mystery. We are left to assume that Jacob healed Rose and Locke, to serve notice to our castaways that the island was more than it seemed and stoke Locke's belief that the losties needed to be there. As a friend and fellow Lost fan groused about last week, it's another Lost mystery answered only by a simple phrase: "It's magic!" Season 6, Episode 17 "The End"

Still a mystery

14.

Did the hydrogen bomb reset time? Can you escape or change destiny?

Half answered. "LA X" shows us the hydrogen bomb may have created TWO timelines; one in which our castaways never crash on the island and another where the folks stranded in 1977 have been blown forward to 2007. Just before she heads off to fight aliens in ABC's V remake, Elizabeth Mitchell delivers one emotional scene as the mortally-wounded woman who set off the bomb last season, Juliet -- telling love Sawyer from beyond the grave "It worked." The biggest question left, is how? Season 6, Episode 1: "LA X Parts 1 and 2."

Mystery solved. We now know the hydrogen bomb blew our castaways in the past back into their present. But the "sideways" universe was a world created and populated when our losties died; a space where they could all reunited before moving on. My bet, is that it doesn't matter when each castaway passed away -- connected to each other by a force more powerful than death, they came back together in the afterlife, even though Hugo and Ben, as the new Jacob and Richard, likely died many, many years after the folks who got off the island and even longer after Jack, who died in the finale. Rather than changing destiny, Lost's story is about finding redemption and resting easy with friends and family for eternity once that task is done. Season 6, Episode 17 "The End"

Half solved

15.

What happened to Claire Littleton inside Jacob's cabin? Is she alive or dead?

Half answered. As the final "kicker" image in the finale season's second episode, we see that mousy Claire is alive, possessed of Clint Eastwood-level shootin' skills and a fashion sense stuck somewhere between Lord of the Flies and the show's other killer hermit babe, Rousseau. what we don't know is where she's been for all this time (months for the castaways, years for us fans) and how she somehow stayed off everybody's radar on an island the size of Seista Key. Season 6, episode 2: "What Kate Does."

Still half answered. Shown totin' a gun like Annie Oakley at the end of "What Kate Does," Claire emerges as a ruthless killer two episodes later, offing one of our Temple-based Others because she thinks he knows where her son Aaron is. During the season's fourth episode, "Lighthouse," Claire reveals that she has been on the island three years since walking off into the jungle with a figure she thought was her father in season four -- somebody we now assume is our trusty, shape shifting villain the Man in Black. The only piece of this puzzle still missing is why MIB spirited her away from the other Losties in the first place. Season 6, Episode 4, "Lighthouse."

Mystery solved. Smokey admitted to Jack that he takes the form of dead people on the island, so he walked Claire away from her friends, keeping our tousle-haired eccentric as his nutty ace in the hole. Season 6, Episode 13: "The Last Recruit."

Mystery solved
KEY TO GRAPHICS
Mystery solved Half solved Maybe Still a mystery

[Graphics DESIREE PERRY | Times]

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