"Lost" Series Finale Theories: What Happened On and Off the Island During the Final Episode

Matthew Fox, Jorge Garcia and Evangeline Lilly on the series finale of
ABC/Mario Perez

Matthew Fox in a scene from Lost. (AP Photo/ABC, Mario Perez)
NEW YORK (CBS) "Lost" ended its six-season run on Sunday night, and in true form, many were left scratching their heads after the credits began to roll.

Here are some thoughts and theories on what went on last night:

(Warning: spoilers lurk below)

The Sideways Timeline

We first realized there was a "sideways" timeline at the beginning of the sixth season - not the flashbacks we'd gotten used to, or the flash-forwards that showed life off after the island, but a completely different timeline entirely, where Oceanic Airlines Flight 815 landed in Los Angeles instead of crashing on the island.

The finale revealed that the sideways world was a place the characters created to be together after they died, as they needed one another to "let go" of their respective demons.

Everything the characters needed in order to reunite and let go of these issues was in the sideways, even those things didn't exist in the "real" timeline. For example, Jack had a son in the sideways, even though he was childless during his life. In the sideways, he needed David (the son) to be able to reconcile his issues with his own father, which was the one thing keeping him from moving on to where ever people go when they die.

Furthermore, the characters can only move on from their sideways purgatory once they let go of their issues. Benjamin Linus, for example, still felt guilt over the deaths of Danielle Rousseau and Alex. In the sideways, he was Alex's history teacher and joins his student and her mother for dinner, becoming for a moment part of their family. I think he needs a bit more of this experience (even if it is, really, a fantasy) before he can forgive himself and join the rest of the group.

Characters Reuniting

Even though everyone was in the sideways world together, they didn't bring memories from their previous lives with them. When the characters began to cross paths with one another, some began to recognize each other, but weren't sure from where. But the memories came back when the characters got what they needed in order to let go of their past issues. For most, that thing was love - Hurley began to remember when he met Libby, and Desmond did the same when he found Penny. Similarly, Sawyer found Juliet, Kate found Aaron (who she raised as her own son in Claire's absence), Charlie found Claire and Jin and Sun saw Ji-Yeon, their unborn daughter, via ultrasound.

For others, it was a bit more complicated. John's biggest desire was to be able to walk again, and Jack's was to reconcile with his father.

So, Did Everyone Die When the Bomb Went Off?

Another important thing to note: everyone didn't die at the same time. This sideways wasn't the result of the Oceanic plane crash, or the "incident" (Season 5's nuclear bomb detonation). The bomb served a useful purpose, but it wasn't killing everyone - it propelled the necessary characters from 1977 to 2007 to defeat the Man in Black and protect the island.

Christian told Jack that everyone in the sideways died at different times and places. So Locke died at Ben's hands and Shannon was shot by Ana Lucia, as we saw during the show, but the other deaths may have happened years later (or centuries, in Ben and Hurley's case, as they were the new immortal island protectors - their exchange outside the church, in which Hurley told Ben "You're a good No. 2" implied that they had been working together for a while before they ended up here).

The Light

I think the light at the center of the island controlled its supernatural properties, from the electromagnetic energy to Jacob's ability to stay alive for thousands of years. Shutting off the light blocked these properties, which made Richard sprout a gray hair (implying he was no longer immortal) and made the Man in Black (disguised as John Locke) able to be killed.

Desmond was able to turn off the light because of his special relationship with time and electromagnetism. But just like Jacob before him, Jack wasn't impervious to death. He knew that turning the light back on after Locke/MIB's death was necessary to protecting the island, but that he'd die doing it. Jack was special, but not that special.

"Lost" Series Finale Recap

  • Jessica Derschowitz

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