Whether you watched it or not, Lost was an important television show for much of the George W. Bush administration and the early years of former President Obama's first term. From 2004-2010, the J. J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof, and Jeffery Lieber created series about castaways on a mysterious uncharted island captivated devoted fans, frustrated countless critics with its lack of answers to the questions it raised, and also saved Disney’s ABC television network from ceasing operations.
Although revelations about various mysteries would be peppered in throughout the shows run, there were a lot of plot points that were later abandoned after the show had its end date set in 2007 and began operating on borrowed time from that point on.
With that, here are our picks for 15 unresolved story elements from the show. We're not counting anything revealed elsewhere as an official answer, but we might mention such things if they exist. This is not meant to bash, just to point out that, at times, the show was insanely confusing!
-- WARNING: If you haven’t seen the show, SPOILERS ahead! --
15 The Rules
In “The Shape of Things to Come”, mercenaries arrive on the island to capture Benjamin Linus and extract him to a freighter anchored off shore. When Ben and some of our favorite survivors of Oceanic 815 barricade themselves in his home, a standoff ensues and the soldiers threaten his daughter's life to get him out. Ben refuses to emerge, she dies, and in response, he retreats to another part of his home before telling those present that someone “changed the rules”.
Later, we find out that this rule changer is none other than Charles, the father of Desmond Hume’s lover, Penny Widmore. At one point, Widmore was the leader of the Others before being banished from the island by Ben. Since then, the two seem to be engaged in some kind of feud that has a series of rules that they must abide by.
Did we ever find out what exactly these were? Nope! But apparently, killing kids was off limits. Shame on Mr. Widmore for breaking that.
14 What Happened To Christian’s Body?
Like a lot of characters on the show, Matthew Fox’s Jack Shephard didn’t have the best relationship with his father, Christian.
In early years, his dad told him he didn’t have what it took to be a hero, and ultimately, their relationship soured when Jack testified to a medical board that his father caused the death of a woman and unborn child during a surgery he performed while drunk. This caused the two to become estranged, until Jack flew to Australia to pick up his dead father's remains.
On the island in its early seasons, Christian appears to his son at times and seems to have been resurrected. Later, it's revealed that this was nothing more than the Smoke Monster/Man in Black shape shifting in order to not reveal his true form. This is a fine twist and all, but it raises an interesting question: what happened to Christian’s body?
Seriously, did the Smoke Monster just hide it? Did he throw it in a cave somewhere? The explanation wasn’t thought out here.
13 The Cork In The Heart
Making its appearance in the final season of the show, the Heart of the Island and its accompanying cork is in a mysterious cave located in a spot that can only be found by a current island protector. It appears as a river leading into a pool bathed in a warm light and has several bits of cuneiform carved on the nearby stonework around it.
To be blunt, this is just plain insane and utterly absurd.
They never answered why some sort of magic stopper in the middle of a stone area seems to be the only thing keeping the island from crumbling apart, and we still don't get it all these years later. Lost had some great moments, but the cork and the Heart are not among them. Instead, this is a white hot spurt of nonsense in the eyes of passionate and loyal fans.
12 Who Is Mother?
Another befuddling character introduced in the later bits of the show, Mother is apparently a female who has resided on the island for a long time and raised Jacob and the Man in Black since they were children.
When we first see her, she rescues their actual mother Claudia from the beach, and when asked by the pregnant shipwreck survivor how long she had been there, she rudely states that…
Every question you ask will only lead to more questions.
Um. This is something that viewers should’ve learned at some point on the show. Being pressed for time is one thing, but to introduce a character with no explanation of where she came from and then to later have her kill a woman and raise her children by herself in ancient times with little reasoning given as to why is kind of insulting. This certainly isn’t the good kind of mystery, like Gus Fring's background in Breaking Bad.
11 About The Pregnant Women
Repeatedly on the island, it has been shown that for women who are pregnant, their time in this world is limited. In early seasons, Claire was kidnapped for study before she gave birth to Aaron, and Juliet Burke was originally brought to the island to uncover just why women were passing around the 100th day of their pregnancies.
From what we can gather, she never found an answer.
Though it was shown that women on the island could safely conceive and deliver before the discharge of electromagnetic energy in The Incident of 1977, this was just a subtlety and not a direct confirmation of where the health issue came from. And let’s be real, in a show that could be described as accurately called “What?” in an Honest Trailer, sometimes sly writing isn’t good enough. Sometimes, you need to be a bit more direct with the audience.
10 The Others And Their Money
Riddle us this: how is it that a group of people living on an island in the middle of nowhere in structures built in the 1970s seems to have unlimited funds and the resources to travel the globe?
Honestly, this was one element of the show that drives us crazy. To be fair, passionate fans could probably point to the front research company seen in “Not in Portland” as a source of income, and the presence of Widmore among the group is proof that they recruit people of means, but at this point in the show, Widmore wasn’t among the bunch anymore!
Did they take some of his money and stash it in a cave somewhere? Or perhaps they use Ben’s so-called magic box in order to conjure their wealth. Either way, this is something we want gotten to the bottom of! Answers please, Mr. Lindelof.
9 Christian Off The Island
Towards the end of the show, it is established that the Man in Black/Smoke Monster was impersonating Jack’s father at times in order to not reveal his true form to other survivors and to mess with the good doctor. But later, when Jack has left the island and returned to his life in Los Angeles, he’s confronted with a vision of his dad in the hospital, and the Christian/M.I.B persona also appeared on the freighter before it exploded!
The writers never confirmed whether these visions of people previously only seen on the island were hallucinations, real ghosts, or the Man In Black. On one of the countless fan wikis for the show, writers are just as divided. Some think the M.I.B could leave the island physically, and that in the view of the character, leaving the island actually meant passing on into the afterlife.
We wish we knew the truth.
8 Special Walt
Although the time his father Michael shouted his name went on to become a meme with more staying power than his character on the show, Malcolm David Kelley’s Walt is remembered by Lost fans and detractors alike for one element of his character that was never explained.
His psychic powers.
In the episode titled “Special”, he seems to make a bird crash into a window with his mind. On the island, he menacingly tells Locke not to open the hatch, even though, up to this point in the show, he had no knowledge of the curious structure buried in the ground. What exactly was going on here? Could he see things he wasn’t present for too?
When asked about this during a panel at Comic-Con in 2011, Lindelof claimed that Walt was special “because he is” and provided no further information. Ah, vague answers are always nice.
7 The Outrigger Chase
This one has an unseen answer.
During the episode called "The Little Prince", Sawyer and various other survivors who didn’t get off the island and on to the freighter anchored off shore are stuck in a period of various shifts through time (long story). At one point, our heroes find themselves in a boat on the water and subsequently get into a shootout with a crew in a boat a little bit behind them. Bullets fly, and briefly, it seems like someone is about to die, but then the time shifts again and each group goes their separate ways.
While the creative team behind the show originally intended to give an answer to fans on the air, they later decided it would be cooler to leave it unexplained, even though the identities are revealed in the script.
6 The Cabin In The Jungle
Built by Doug Hutchinson's hyper-creepy Horace Goodspeed, Ben Linus first brings Locke to the cabin under the pretext of meeting Jacob. While in the cabin, the two are initially confronted with an empty room before objects begin flying about frighteningly, and an unknown man who looks nothing like Mark Pellegrino makes an appearance.
Later in the show, the building seems to move around the island at will for no particular reason. Why is this the case? Was this story element added in by a 14-year-old visiting the set? There’s nothing wrong with unique and mysterious locations, but having it shift around just because is utterly perplexing, and it only adds to the nonsensical purpose of the building in the show's story.
5 The Numbers
Say them with us now, because, let’s be real, we all know the chain.
The famous numerical sequence would pop up countless times throughout Lost, and in random moments, various combinations of the numbers or several of them added up would appear in various places as Easter eggs for eagle eyed viewers.
In the show, Hurley first hears them from a fellow patient at the mental institution he checks himself into. Later on, he plays the chain in the lottery, wins, and endures a string of bad luck afterwards that culminates with his flight out of Australia crashing on the island.
A few years in, writers revealed to the audience that the numbers in question represented those who were candidates to replace Jacob, but that still doesn’t explain why they were cursed for Hurley. Maybe Jacob is secretly evil? Who the hell knows.
4 Rousseau Forgets
One of the earliest foreign presences to the survivors of the plane crash, Danielle Rousseau was part of a French crewed vessel that wound up on the island long before Jack, Sawyer, Kate, Et Al. Initially, viewers were made to root against her after she captured Sayid and tried to steal Claire’s baby, but as time went by, things changed. We find out she had a daughter, but the child was stolen by the Others - Ben Linus to be specific.
This begs the question of why, when she saw Ben directly on the night he stole her child, did she forget him years later when he was caught in her net and pretending to be Henry Gale?
You can blame a lot of things here. Craziness, that it was particularly dark on the night Alex was snatched, or even the indisputable fact that Michael Emerson was so good in what was intended to be a limited run that the writers expanded his role dramatically. But any way you slice it, it's a plot hole, and a big one.
3 Ben's Friend Annie
First introduced in "The Man Behind the Curtain", Annie is Ben's only friend during his childhood years with the Dharma Initiative on the island. She actually remembers Ben's birthday, unlike his father Roger, and goes so far as to present him with a carved doll as a gift so that he will always be reminded of her.
In the DVD commentary track for the episode, Lindelof and Carlton Cuse said that the character was going to play a "huge part in upcoming story lines" and that, like Alex, she was a significant part of Ben's life. Clearly, she was if he kept her carved doll into adulthood.
And in spite of all that, nothing happened! She was in and out of the story in just one episode. To tease something like serious character development and then not follow through is something out of the Michael Bay school of screenwriting. Shame!
2 Kate's Horse
First encountered when Ms. Austen was arrested and being transported into custody by the federal marshal in Florida, the black horse was standing in the road, caused the lawman to swerve and crash, and enabled Kate to escape from his clutches yet again.
Later in the show, she sees the same horse in the middle of the jungle. She assumes it is a hallucination of some sort, but later on, we see her and Sawyer both petting the creature.
Though it was confirmed that the Man in Black can take the form of animals (and he did transform into a spider in order to incapacitate the much-loathed Nikki and Paulo), in scenes with the horse, we can’t hear the signature clicking that accompanies his smoke form. The horse didn’t show any animosity towards Sawyer and Kate, either.
So either this is a narrative cock-up by the writers or, in a show that contains some of the most amazing coincidences in the universe, it’s the same horse from Florida. Either way, we wish we had a definitive answer.
1 About Libby
Introduced as a love interest for Hurley and a member of the tail section group of survivors, the psychologist's time on the island was short lived. She was picked on by Sawyer and derisively called Moonbeam, she got shot by Michael due to a deal he made to get his son back, and we never even got to know her last name.
In addition, Hurley swore throughout their time together that he knew her from somewhere. Ah, how right he was. At one point, as a dramatic conclusion to an episode, the creative team revealed that Libby was in the same institution as Hurley at the same time. Oh my, what possible earth-shattering reason could there be for the two of them to be in the same place?
We never found out.
Like a lovely steak with a turd in the middle, Libby and the other major tail section survivors were haphazardly introduced and phased out just as quickly over the course of the second season of the show. We never find out why she was in Australia, either. Whoops?
Are there any other unresolved or confusing moments from Lost that stand out to you? Let us know in the comments.