Lost ending explained: No, they weren't all dead from the beginning

If you think the Lost ending meant that everyone had died when the plane originally crashed, that is not the case. The ending meant much more, and here it is explained.
45th Monte Carlo Television Festival - "Lost" Photocall
45th Monte Carlo Television Festival - "Lost" Photocall / Toni Anne Barson Archive/GettyImages

The final season of Lost is a little chaotic and confusing. But then, wasn’t the entire series like that? We had questions from the beginning, and we hoped for answers in the final episodes. One of the answers was definitely not that they were all dead.

Throughout the first three seasons, we got flashbacks to allow us to meet the characters from Oceanic Flight 815. Then we started getting flashforwards to see where those who got off the island went, and there were some flashbacks to understand the DHARMA Initiative.

Everything built up to Lost season 6, which brought us side-flashes. Yes, side-flashes. They took us to an alternate world where the plane didn’t crash. We saw what their lives could have been like. Some of this was a mess, until you understood that they all had to wake up.

The flash sideways as purgatory in Lost

While a lot of people believed that the ending meant that everyone had died when the plane originally crashed, the flashes sideways were actually purgatory. Everyone was in a state where they didn’t know each other, until memories started to come back.

They died at different points in their lives. Some died in the show, as we saw, while others died afterward and hopefully at an older age. You see, the world after death doesn’t have a sense of time. The majority of literature takes this route, although it can get confusing. Each of the characters died in their own timelines whether on the island or off it. They just ended up in the same purgatory, and then they needed to find each other so that they could cross over together.

The Man in Black and his brother explained

There was a mystery throughout the fifth and sixth seasons about The Man in Black, played by Titus Welliver. We also got to meet his brother Jacob, played by Mark Pellegrino. It seemed for a long time that The Man in Black was purely evil, while Jacob was purely good. It turned out that wasn’t the case.

In the end, we found out that the two were twins, raised and confined to the island by Mother. The Man in Black kills Mother, and then Jacob kills The Man in Black. Jacob was the reason The Man in Black became a monster. He threw him into the tunnel of light he was supposed to guard. With that, Jacob had to prevent The Man in Black from escaping to the outside world.

The tunnel of light needed a guardian, and that guardian couldn’t leave the island. Jack had to make a sacrifice to be that guardian, which is why the flashes sideways are so important for him. We get to see what could have been had he not made that sacrifice. He didn’t want to give up that life, because it was everything he never got to have due to the transformation on the island.

Desmond almost ruined everything in Lost

Had Jack not made the sacrifice, there could have been a lot more bad that happened. Desmond had found the pool of light, and he swam down to the bottom to take out the plug. He thought it would save the world and stop anyone else from getting trapped on this island, but that wasn’t the case. The island started to self-destruct and The Man in Black was able to take a mortal form.

Jack and Kate need to stop Desmond, and a fight breaks out. Jack is stabbed in the fight, but he needs to put the plug back in. This is still an electromagnetic field. It’s still going to kill him, and he needs someone to take over him as the guardian after this. Hurley is the one to take on that sacrifice, and Ben wants to make up for everything that he did by becoming Hurley’s second-in-command.

What was the island?

Not all of our questions were answered by the end of Lost. That was intentional. You see, it turned out that the island was a place of supernatural energy. All sorts of weird things were attracted to it, and it was a place of good and bad. It’s one of those things that can’t be explained in the end.

Did that make it a messy ending? For sure. Was it a little anticlimactic and confusing? Definitely. I can understand on a first watch why people would think they were all dead from the beginning, but that wasn’t the case. They all went through everything we watched, and all of that connected them on a spiritual level. When it came to their real afterlives, they ended up finding each other and they had to wait until everyone joined before they were able to move on from the purgatory that they were in eventually.

Oh, and by the way, yes the polar bears were real. The DHARMA Initiative did experiments on animals. We saw the zoo they were kept in, and some of the animals were polar bears. The polar bears managed to escape, and they ended up living in the jungle on the island. This was actually one of the more normal parts of Lost.

All six seasons of Lost begin streaming on Netflix on July 1.