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Published on Oct 6, 2019
From its very first episode, Lost made no attempt to hide its fondness for perplexing mysteries. True to form, the series finale left audiences absolutely baffled. So if you want to know what really happened on that island, get ready for a deep dive into the ending of Lost.
For much of Lost's run, fans worried that the show would end with a "they were dead the whole time" twist. Creator J.J. Abrams and showrunners Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse repeatedly denied speculation that the characters died in the crash and that the island was a form of purgatory. Nevertheless, some viewers thought the finale's church-set ending confirmed that they had been lying the whole time, and that the entire show had taken place in the afterlife. This interpretation was also supported by the footage of the original plane crash and empty beaches that aired over the closing credits, which some fans thought meant there had been no survivors.
But it turns out that the crash footage at the end was never meant to be considered part of the finale proper. Instead, as an ABC spokesperson later explained, it was included so that fans could, quote, "decompress before heading into the news." The network never imagined that viewers would consider this part of the show's narrative. Furthermore, "The End" takes pains to explicitly clarify that all the events that took place on the island were, in fact, real.
After five seasons filled with flashbacks and then flash-forwards, the first episode of season six included something Lost fans were totally unprepared for: a flash-sideways, exploring an alternate reality in which Oceanic Flight 815 doesn't crash, instead landing safely at LAX. And that's not the only thing different about the two realities. Instead of being a con man, Sawyer is a cop. Instead of the strained marriage they had in the pilot, Jin and Sun are secret lovers. And the childless Jack suddenly has a teenage son whose mother is none other than Juliet, a woman he met on the island. Keep watching the video to see the ending of Lost finally explained!
Was the island purgatory? | 0:18 The flash-sideways | 1:31 Did they die in the crash or not? | 2:37 When did everyone die? | 3:40 The Heart of the Island | 4:54 The survivors' connections | 6:16 The smoke monster | 7:17 The DHARMA Initiative | 8:25 The deal with the church | 9:23 Ben doesn't go in | 10:22