'Lost' 10s: The 10 mysteries we most want solved
"Lost" has always been best known for its sense of mystery. But as the series finale approaches rapidly, we fans are beginning to realize that there's no way the show can tie up all of its loose ends. Some of these loose ends won't necessarily disappoint us if they're not tied up -- say what you will, but I'm not quavering in my boots to know exactly what happened to Sawyer's daughter -- but there are some we'd like to see tied up, nonetheless.
And so, here is the first of our five top 10 lists for the end of "Lost."
"The Top 10 Mysteries We'd Like to See Solved":
10) Just who was shooting at the time travelers last season? You may remember this scene from Season 5's "The Little Prince." The people left behind on the Island are taking an outrigger around the Island when they travel through time and suddenly pop up in front of ... another outrigger, whose passengers commence to open fire on the outrigger the show is following at the time. Who is on the other outrigger? We still don't know.
Likelihood this question will be answered: 85%. This came up in Season 5, not Seasons 1 or 2. It seems likely the producers planted it as a fun Easter egg for the diehard fans to see pay off.
How angry will we be if it's not answered (scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being angriest)? 2. It would be cool to see this end tied up, but it's not necessary to the enjoyment of the show.
Why do we want to see it answered? It'd be cool.
Worst possible answer: The other outrigger had an all-polar-bear crew.
9) What was up with the Others? This is less an ongoing mystery and more of a question of the show's consistency. In the first season, the Others seemed to be super-powered mystery men. In Season 2, they started out as silent jungle zombies, turned into hillbillies, then became crazy scientists. And in Season 3, they became suburbanites with a healthy mystical streak. Also, a whole bunch of them lived in a temple, apparently. The show has never really explained these inconsistencies in a satisfying way.
Likelihood this question will be answered: 10%. The show might address the connection between Jacob and the Temple Others, but it's unlikely it will try to explain why the Others played this elaborate masquerade on the castaways.
How angry will we be if it's not answered (scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being angriest)? 1. We'd like to see it answered, but we've resolved ourselves to it never being explained. More likely than not is that the show did this just because the writers wanted to keep the fans guessing, rather than any organic character reasons.
Why do we want to see it answered? Because it's one of the show's biggest inconsistencies, and it would be interesting to see what all involved would come up with.
Worst possible answer: The Others are a roving band of community-theater geeks.
8) How did Jacob choose the people who were going to come to the Island? Or was the Man in Black in on it too? It's possible the answer to this is really simple -- Jacob is psychic! -- but it seems more likely that there was some sort of criteria for who was going to be named a candidate. It'd be nice to know what those criteria were.
Likelihood this question will be answered: 60%. Tuesday night's episode seems likely to answer this question. If it's not answered then, the odds of it being answered drop dramatically.
How angry will we be if it's not answered (scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being angriest)? 4. It'd be nice to know how these people were chosen but that they were chosen at all is interesting in and of itself.
Why do we want to see it answered? We've gotten a lot of "what" and "who" answers this season but very few "how" and "why" answers. This is one of the biggest ones left.
Worst possible answer: Jacob and the Man in Black have an NBA draft-style Ping Pong-ball lottery.
7) What are the rules? We've heard the rules brought up a number of times -- most notably when Ben tells Widmore that Widmore has broken the rules when he kills Ben's daughter and when the Man in Black is told he has been breaking the rules this season -- but we have no idea what they are. We don't need a scene where Jack breaks out the "Lost" Island game box and puzzles out the complicated instructions on the inside cover of the box ("If you roll doubles, you get to move again and kill Shannon accidentally"), but it'd be nice to get some idea of the rubric.
Likelihood this question will be answered: 90%. We probably won't get to hear all of the rules, but it seems likely we'll hear at least one or two.
How angry will we be if it's not answered (scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being angriest)? 8. It may seem minor, but if we don't have any idea what's keeping Jacob and the Man in Black from doing whatever they want, then their actions seem even more inscrutable.
Why do we want to see it answered? It's needed to give two very important characters better motivations.
Worst possible answer: The rules for the Island are identical to the rules for Fireball Island.
6) How does the "sickness" work? So ... people die. And then they come back. And then the Man in Black can claim them? Until Desmond gives them a few well-placed words and they become free again? We think the show is trying to dramatize how the infected operate with Sayid this season, but here's one case where a little infodump couldn't hurt.
Likelihood this question will be answered: 50%. It could go either way, honestly. The show may think that having Sayid go through the "change" is enough for us to see what it's like. Or it may be keeping a bigger explanation up its sleeve.
How angry will we be if it's not answered (scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being angriest)? 5. If we learned this, it would better explain Sayid's actions this season, but it's probably not necessary for a great finale.
Why do we want to see it answered? Sayid's actions this season have seemed pretty random. Plus, the "infection" is one of the show's oldest mysteries.
Worst possible answer: The infected are mere puppets, dancing on the strings of Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse.
5) So ... what's up with the flash-sideways storyline? It's the only question here that came up this season, but it's a big one. The answer to this one is going to redeem or condemn the whole concept of having flash-sideways stories for a lot of people.
Likelihood this question will be answered: 100%. The producers have promised this will be answered. Whether you like the answer is a different matter altogether.
How angry will we be if it's not answered (scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being angriest)? 10. I mean ... they said.
Why do we want to see it answered? The flash-sideways stories have had some pretty cool moments, but without a good explanation, they could just seem like character vignettes designed to draw out a relatively slim story to 18 episodes.
Worst possible answer: Desmond is dreaming all of this while hanging out in the well.
4) Why can't women on the Island deliver babies conceived there? It seems likely the answer to this one will have something to do with the Island's time-traveling properties, but we still don't have a concrete answer to something that figures heavily in the series' middle seasons.
Likelihood this question will be answered: 75%. Call us optimists, but the show made such a big deal of this so long that it might seem negligent not to answer it now.
How angry will we be if it's not answered (scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being angriest)? 6. It's probably not necessary to the endgame, but it was a pretty big deal there for a while.
Why do we want to see it answered? For a long time, it seemed like it might be central to the series' bigger mysteries. If it's just dodged with a "the Island travels through time!" answer, that would be unsatisfying.
Worst possible answer: The Island saw that movie "Babies" and just didn't want to bother with any more tots.
3) Who are Adam and Eve? The producers said the identity of the Adam and Eve skeletons, a storyline first introduced way back in Season 1, was a way for them to show off that they knew the ending of the show from the beginning. Whether this is the case (since it's pretty easy to explain away two ancient skeletons in a narrative with TIME TRAVEL), the show has long teased some sort of answer.
Likelihood this question will be answered: 100%. Again, the producers have promised we'll get an answer to this one.
How angry will we be if it's not answered (scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being angriest)? 10. We don't like it when TV producers don't keep their promises. Politicians? Another matter.
Why do we want to see it answered? At this point, everyone's theorized so many possible answers to this question that we're hoping against hope the show comes up with something completely off-the-wall, like the skeletons belonging to Mr. Eko and Eloise Hawking.
Worst possible answer: Jack and Kate. But you know it's going to be this. You don't want it to be, but you know it will be.
2.) What was up with Walt? In the early days of "Lost," a big, big deal was made out of the special powers of the seemingly psychic, seemingly telekinetic little boy named Walt, brought to the Island by a deadbeat dad and the forces of fate. The first season built these powers up more and more, until the Others kidnapped the boy to perform experiments on him. In practical terms, actor Malcolm David Kelley was growing too old for the role, and he was written out at the end of Season 2. But we've never gotten a good explanation of just what was up with Walt.
Likelihood this question will be answered: 25%. Though it seems safe to imagine the producers will provide an answer to this question in one form or another somewhere down the line.
How angry will we be if it's not answered (scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being angriest)? 1. We'd love an answer, but we've resigned ourselves to the fact that the plan for Walt had to be changed and eventually fell by the wayside.
Why do we want to see it answered? Because it's one of the single biggest mysteries from Season 1, and the series seems to have tried to shove it to the side since then. Plus, how could the producers not have known Kelley was going to get too old to play the part?
Worst possible answer: Walt was the kid from that "Twilight Zone" episode about wishing people out into the cornfield.
1) Who are Jacob and the Man in Black? Considering we don't even know the name of one of these characters, and considering that one of the final three episodes is turned over entirely to a flashback into their backstory, it seems likely that the producers want us to know more about these two and to be asking questions. Well, consider our interest piqued. We know a little about both -- Jacob is benevolent except when he's causing shipwrecks, while the Man in Black is the Smoke Monster -- but we know too little, ultimately, something that may have made this season's heavy focus on the two less satisfying for long-term fans than it might have been had we had the answers right up front.
Likelihood this question will be answered: 100%. Though, again, it's debatable just how much we're going to learn about the two.
How angry will we be if it's not answered (scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being angriest)? 9. It's enormously important to the show that the explanation for these two goes just right. At the same time, the series can't give so much information that they lose all mystery. It's a careful balancing act.
Why do we want to see it answered? Again with the "It makes or breaks the whole final season" thing. No pressure, producers!
Worst possible answer: Jacob and the Man in Black are Lindelof and Cuse.
Overrated mystery: What is the Island? Yeah, we should get more explanation of the how and why of the Island, but, honestly, if the only answer we get is the answer we got in "Ab Aeterno" -- the Island is a way to keep the Man in Black from devouring the world -- that would suffice. This is one of those things where too much explanation could be worse than too little.
Underrated mystery: Who is the mother of Jack's flash-sideways son? Now, admittedly, this is just being purposely set up as a mystery, the better to irritate us, but we just can't help but speculate. Who is it? Penny? Juliet? Sarah? Time traveling alt-future Shannon? The possibilities are endless!
--Todd VanDerWerff (follow me on Twitter at @tvoti)
Photos: Who's the Man in Black (Titus Welliver)? We'd like to know too. Below: Charles Widmore (Alan Dale) knows the rules. Do you? Credit: ABC