My Lost Theory

Not that anyone should necessarily care what I think or what I speculate, but I have a theory as to how Lost will end. And since I have the Internet at my disposal, I figured I’d go ahead and blab it to the world.

There are no spoilers below…as long as you watched the Season 6 premiere. If you didn’t, then avert your eyes and click away now, lest you learn something ahead of time!

But as long as you’ve seen the first episode of the season, there’s nothing below that will spoil you.

So.

Right now, the season is proceeding on a dual-track, following Our Heroes as they live one timeline on the island (the timeline we’ve been following since September 2004) and another, alternate timeline in which Jughead sank the island and, consequently, Oceanic 815 landed safely in LA. We get to see the same characters live dramatically different lives and explore different sides of their personalities, as well as different outcomes for their actions.

It’s a great way to move the story forward, but obviously the show can’t end with two realities. It’s just not satisfying from a storytelling point of view to say, “And at the end, Jack lived happily ever after…except for this reality over here, where he didn’t.” An audience craves closure, not quantum uncertainty.

How, then, can this bifurcation be resolved by season’s end? Which reality is the “real” reality, the audience may be wondering.

Well, here’s my theory: Lost has always been — at least in part — a show about the tension between the doctrines of free will and predestination. I happen to believe that the show is coming down on the side of free will (blather about “course correction” to the contrary). What could be a more powerful invocation and endorsement of free will than to end the season with the characters themselves, in effect, in control of the story?

Let me clarify. At the end of the show, the characters in each reality will have an opportunity to see the OTHER reality…and decide for themselves which reality they prefer to live in. They will have an opportunity we’ve all wished to have — “If only I’d known the consequences of this decision or that decision” — and will get to choose their path. Charlie, for example, would look into the island reality and see that he’s dead there…but might decide that his heroic death is a finer fate than the drug-addled one rolling out before him in the safe-landing reality.

For a show that has prided itself on its philosophical underpinnings, this could — if done properly — be a mind-blowing way to wrap things up.

What’s YOUR theory for the end of Lost?

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