Ok, so a number of people have asked my opinion as to what the heck was going on in the SHOW finale of LOST. First, let me start with the easy part: the “flash sideways” that have been going on this season.
Flash Sideways: First, it is helpful to recognize that these flash sideways had NO connection to any of the other events of the LOST series. They are a stand-alone plot of these key people at some point in the future. How far in the future? Unknown – it could conceivably be hundreds of years in the future, since Hurley (the new Jacob after Jack died) and Ben (apparently Richard’s replacement) are dead too. Everyone in the flash sideways are dead, and in some form of afterlife. Apparently, based on the multi-faith temple, they are existing in some kind of universal afterlife. There are almost no hints of the conditions of the afterlife that I caught with the tiny exceptions of a small purgatory-ish reference by Ben (“I still have some things to work out”… maybe even his decision to sacrifice for his student was). Christian Shepherd refers to this after-life plot line as something they “created so they could find each other.” Apparently, in this afterlife (which is a little reminiscent of The Great Divorce by CS Lewis) people are unaware of their own condition or their own past unless they make an opportunity to trigger themselves. All of the “flash sideways” were them re-discovering the truth that they had known each other in life and wanted to be together in the afterlife. Again, these are disconnected from the events of these people’s lives on earth, including all of the former 5.5 seasons of life mostly on the island. Apparently, the details were meant to be pleasant in the meantime, but not so that the person would not feel a sense of something being “off”. Maybe asking for help, or making a certain decision was the trigger that allowed them to begin to see it – but clearly making contact with the right person in the right way was the “let go” mechanism. Incidentally, apparently the island is only sunken in this afterlife realm – just like Jack’s son only exists there.
Aside from that, I think I now understand the timeline of the show pretty well.
There are people on the island (forefathers of the others?)
Jacob and Brother are born and live…
The wheel is connected to the electromagnetic source, but the center somehow stays hidden…
The Black Rock crashes on the island
Dharma is founded and run… they find other places where the wall around the electromagnetic source is thin… they run all kinds of studies on its effects on animals and people… and other trendy 70’s studies (sensory deprivation, subliminal effects, etc). Some of the Losties work for Dharma during this time – more on that later.
They accidentally break through to the Source and have to set up a release system every 108 minutes. Someone has to type in the code to keep the system from overloading. If the system overloads, there is still a failsafe key that can be turned to release massive amounts of the power. At some point, someone starts pushing the button instead of playing with rabbits.
Dharma and Others are able to move to and from the island with submarines, and even boats, since they knew the coordinates. There may have been other ways that we are unaware of. Since there was a polar bear in Tunisia, apparently there may have been a way to transport with the wheel without sending the island into time hops – maybe the direction it was turned? Maybe Ben didn’t just turn it, but intentionally left it out of sync. Maybe using the wheel properly was common and not a problem.
Ben and the Others kill the people who are at the Dharma Initiative…
But there are still Dharma people that avoid the cleanse – like in the button-pushing station.
Rousseau is marooned, and at some point, Ben takes her daughter.
Whitmore is exiled
Juliette is Shanghaied
Desmond comes to the island and runs into one of the last Dharma people and takes over pushing the button. Once he fails to do it exactly on time.
Apparently due to
1. The electromagnetic burst caused by the late button push and
2. Jacob’s power to choose and bring people to the island…
The Losties crash in aprox ’04 (I think we know the actual date, but I have forgotten)
They live on the island for some time, with efforts to escape, interaction with the Others, discovering old Dharma stuff, finding “Tailies”, etc. Many log-carrying people tragically die. The only child-actor on the island grows too fast to be used further and his story-line is forgotten.
In interactions with the Others, people die.
Whitmore sends out a new boat to get Ben.
The 6 head out for the boat… most of the remaining log carrying people, Jin and a few others are already there. The boat blows up…
Ben turns the wheel, sending the people still on the island of ’04 (Sawyer, Hurley, Jin, Juliette, Miles, Charlotte, Locke, Claire, Daniel etc.) bouncing through time… apparently one of the possible effects of extreme amounts of electro-magnetic materials, if uncontrolled, is to cause this.
Another effect is that Ben is transported to Tunisia (where Charlotte had found the Polar bear skeleton with Dharma markings)… he also seems to also be transported about 3 years into the future, to about 2008.
Locke turns the wheel and stops the bouncing in the 1970’s. He appears in Tunisia in about 2008, I guess, after the Losties have been back for about 3 years. Ben finds him before he can commit suicide and murders him.
I guess around 2005 (again, I think we have the date), the 6 (Jack, Kate, Sun, Aaron, arrive back in the US as the Oceanic 6. They live there until about 2008 (until Ben and Locke join them) before a series of events causes them to get on another flight carefully recreating the conditions necessary to have (I guess) Jacob snag them out of the air again, but without Aaron. When this happens, most of them arrive at the island in the 1970’s and meet the others who are already there mostly working with Dharma. Sun, Ben, and the pilot (I don’t know how to spell Weipitus) stay in 2008 (ish)… and some version of Locke shows up, but we find out soon that it isn’t Locke, but the entity we now know as “Smokey/Brother”.
The ones back in the 1970’s craft a plan to blow up a bomb at the site of the electromagnetic “event” in order to re-set everything. Juliette dies in the attempt, though Miles claims that her ghost claims that “it worked” (but remember that she is dead, so maybe she is already at the happy meeting place, who knows?). What is does seem to accomplish is to thrust all of them back to 2008, and still on the Island.
In 2008, Jacob is killed by Ben.
Candidates are killed indirectly by Smokey’s clever machinations…
Jack volunteers to be the new protector (at least 3rd in the line). He keeps the job for about a day.
Before he goes and dies, he names Hurley the new protector, who names Ben his advisor. They rule the island as Father and Son.
Rose and Moses, I mean, Bernard, live out their days on the island ruled by Hurley, with their dog, except for the short time that he goes to hang out with Jack while he dies.
Jack dies on the island in the grove with the dog by his side.
Kate, Sawyer, Miles, Desmond, Claire, Richard, and Wipeedus escape the island and live out their lives somewhere back in civilization, traumatized beyond belief and (at least Kate) receiving a second settlement from a second airline, lives comfortably now raising Sun and Jin’s daughter who grows up to marry Aaron, who Claire raises with the help of her mom. Desmond, the only person with any chance to live out his life with the person he really wants to be with, is questioned endlessly about Charles Whitmore’s whereabouts… but we can hope he ends up with Penney somehow. Ok, I am teasing – we just don’t know what happens in their lives after flying off of the island… but we do know that they all die (granted: we never saw Richard in the afterlife place (did we?), but gray hair usually indicates aging towards death, so I suppose he died eventually). After they die, they gather in the afterlife, as mentioned at the top of this page.
What did I miss?
And… what questions didn’t get answered?