Grab your pet polar bear and chart a course for LA, because it is time to take off once more with ABC’s Lost. As one of the most divisive shows to air in the 21st century, the world’s most mysterious island reached icon status over six seasons and 121 episodes.
Centering on the lives of a diverse cast, each week honed in on a different survivor of a tragic plane crash in the Pacific Ocean. As we delved deeper into what made the passengers of Oceanic 815 tick, we were also rewarded/vexed with more turns than a Stephen King hedge maze and a script where literally no one was safe from the chopping block.
From the brilliant minds of Jeffrey Lieber, J. J. Abrams, and Damon Lindelof, the trio of talent was also joined by Carlton Cuse who helped Lindelof as the showrunner. Starting with a bang, Lost never gave up on its end goal. While some felt like the story deviated from the paths of logical television at times, it is still lauded as one of the best sci-fi shows of all time.
From shocking twists to big deaths, puzzling question marks to characters you couldn’t wait to see the back of, here are 15 Times Lost Ruined Your Life.
15 Eko Meets Smokey
One of the biggest mysteries to grace the weird world of Lost was the Island’s smoke monster. Was it a robot, some evil entity, or just a mythological security system? While the payoff that Smokey's identity is the Man in Black was a little lackluster, that didn’t stop the black mist claiming a fair few lives on its rampage.
Introduced in season 2, the tail section of the plane gave a bunch of new faces who settled among the existing cast with mixed results. However, one of the most intriguing newcomers was Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Mr. Eko - the phony priest who butted heads with John Locke. Akinnuoye-Agbaje was only hired for a brief stint, and Eko bowed out just five episodes in to season 3.
While Eko had the potential to become one of the greatest Lost characters, Lindelof and Cuse settled on a shock death, meaning that no one expected Eko to meet his makes quite so early on. Unfortunately, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje reportedly wanted too much money to return for season 6 and therefore didn’t appear. This means that Eko is one of the few characters who didn’t get that emotional swansong for the finale.
14 Desmond and Penny's Call
One of Lost fans' favorite on-screen couple was Penny and Desmond. But all it took was one festive phone call and the masses were sobbing into their hankies.
Bringing a serious case of the feels, season 4’s “The Constant” is heralded as probably the greatest hour of Lost ever. Giving sci-fi, suspense, and sensitivity, “The Constant” honed in on the relationship between Penny and Desmond.
It solidified that Penny and Desmond are meant to be with each other, no matter what the location, or even the time. With Desmond altering the past, he made good on his promise that he would phone his one true love on Christmas Eve 2004. While the likes of Minkowski and Charlotte may not have been as lucky, the star-crossed lovers became an anchor for each other and sent the plot flying forward about the dangers of time travel.
It is easy to forget that “The Constant” is technically a Christmas episode, but it is all anyone needs to get themselves in the Christmas spirit. Anyone who can hold back the tears during this one must be made of stone.
13 Eloise Kills Daniel
The dynamic between parents and their children was a major part of Lost, and while Michael and Walt/Penny and Widmore/Claire and Aaron all had their problems, was anyone as tragic as Eloise and Daniel?
The bearded physicist became another victim of that 1977 time jump. Daniel was never going to be a leading man, but Jeremy Davies’ genius seemed crucial to the plot given his knowledge of what was going on. Fionnula Flanagan was equally important as Eloise Hawking, while her younger self (played by Alice Evans) accidentally shot her future son when Richard Alpert seemed in trouble.
What you have to bear in mind is that the aged Eloise made the tragic decision to send her own son back to the island knowing he would die. Why she did it is anyone’s guess, but it is presumed that Daniel was a minor fatality to prevent the grand schemes of MIB.
Daniel became a casualty of his own “whatever happened happened” philosophy, and viewers were stunned to learn that the Losties really couldn’t change the future.
12 Ben Isn't Henry Gale
Away from Fox’s 24, Lost is probably the show best known for its abundance of moles. The show saw the nefarious Ethan exposed as an “Other,” but how long did it take us to figure out that Henry Gale wasn’t quite who he said he was?
Michael Emerson gave one of the best villain performances ever as Benjamin Linus, and the weedy schemer became the de facto big bad of Lost. A calm and collected conniver, Linus arrived on the show in the guise of hot air balloon enthusiast Henry Gale. Sayid was rightly cautious about Gale’s tale of being a wealthy miner from Minnesota, then decided to dig up Henry's“wife” who was buried by the balloon crash.
Finding the driving license of the “real” Henry Gale - who happened to be a well-built African American - it didn’t take Sayid long to expose the truth about Benjamin Linus. It is unknown how Gale broke his neck or who buried him, but don’t put it past Ben being responsible for both. Given Sayid’s torturous past, an uncovered Ben became the series punching bag, which was a theme that would continue for the rest of the show.
11 The Island Moves
Just when you thought Lost couldn’t get any weirder than polar bears and smoke monsters, the show jumped the shark - and through time!
Prior to the Season 4 finale, the showrunners had already given the clue “frozen donkey wheel,” which may have sounded ridiculous, but makes a lot of sense in hindsight. As various outside forces threatened the life of the island, Keamy put his scheme into action, Jack and co. were on the cusp of escape, and the freighter went boo to put everyone in danger.
In a rare moment of seeming selflessness, Benjamin Linus stuck on a Dharma parka and headed underneath the Orchid Station. Using the island’s unique properties, Linus turned the giant “donkey wheel” and shifted the sanctum and those still on it for a warped journey through time.
Moving across the ocean might have been enough to dodge the watchful eye of Charles Widmore, but the tropical rock was sent hurtling into the past. With a flash of light, the Oceanic 6 were left alone in the ocean, while those still on the island headed to an uncertain fate.
10 Walt Gets Kidnapped
Michael and Walt were the dysfunctional father-son relationship brought closer by their family dog - oh, and that plane crash in the Pacific Ocean.
Danielle Rousseau had warned Walt that “they” were coming, but as the first season wound to a close, an intrepid raft of survivors set out into uncharted waters.
Michael, Walt, Jin, and Sawyer set out to look for help. When hope seemed lost, the raft came across another ship and a chance of rescue. However, it was actually piloted by the island’s natives and led by “Mr. Friendly.” With a gruff “hand over the boy” Walt was spectacularly snatched from his father and the raft was blown up.
With his premonitions about not opening the hatch, there was something special about Walt Lloyd. Whether the Others knew that or not, they were determined to kidnap him for their side. What followed was a whole season of bargaining and shady dealings by Michael, but Walt being kidnapped left season 1 on one hell of a downer.
9 Ana Lucia Shoots Shannon
Some people are handy in a survival situation and other would rather sunbathe on the beach. Maggie Grace’s Shannon Rutherford started off as the latter, but by the time the show reached season 2, Shannon had slowly grown on us and became a potential love interest for Sayid.
After losing Shannon’s stepbrother Boone, no one really expected that the blonde bombshell would bow out so early in season 2’s “Abandoned.” Just when things were looking up for Shannon, she took a magazine of bullets to the gut when being mistaken for one of the Others.
Haunted by the dripping visage of a MIA Walt, Shannon went running through the jungle and spooked a trigger-happy Ana Lucia. With Michelle Rodriguez’s fiery policewoman unloading her gun straight into Shannon, there was no way Grace was surviving that one.
Let’s just say that Ana Lucia’s accident didn’t put the “Tailies” on great terms with the regulars, but to be honest, the blame should probably fall on Sayid. The show made that fatal move of Sayid declaring his love for Shannon and the clock started ticking.
8 Claire Goes Feral
Emilie de Ravin played the sweeter-than-pie Claire Littleton, but by the time she bowed out in the show’s finale was a hardened survivor of the island.
Everything changed for Claire when the mercenaries attacked the barracks and blew up her happy homestead. Saved by Sawyer, Claire journeyed into the jungle and discovered Christian Shephard holding her baby. Although it was eventually revealed as MIB, it was too late for Claire.
She underwent a bit of a Rousseau and was found wandering the jungle still under the influence of MIB some three years later. A maddened torturer, Claire was a bedraggled form of when viewers last saw her and even tried to kill Kate, A trip to The Temple confirmed that Claire was classed as “infected," meaning that she was changed beyond help.
Sadly, the Claire that everyone had come to know never fully returned. Although Claire made it off the island at the end of season 6, she was a million miles away from the naive Aussie who landed there in. Thankfully, after joining the Ajira Six, it is presumed that the loving mother finally got her happy ending.
7 The Man In The Hatch
Lost's third season may have started with the super-effective introduction of Juliet’s book club and the Others living their own suburban happiness, but let’s not forget the amazing way in which season 2 kicked off. Set to Mama Cass’ “Make Your Own Kind of Music”, the weird and wonderful mystery of the year was the first time Lost met Desmond Hume.
Over the rest of the series, fans would that Desmond’s had gone a little stir crazy down in the hatch and that he was the one responsible for Oceanic 815's crash. Henry Ian Cusick’s character eventually became one of the most important parts of Lost, all thanks to a well-planted acorn and his season 2 arrival.
The show was masterful at pulling the wool over the eyes of its audience, but never quite like “Man of Science, Man of Faith”. After jumping from a long-haired Desmond’s musical number, there was the best fanservice ever with the realization that Lost was picking up exactly where it had left off in season 1. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better start to a season than Desmond in the hatch.
6 Michael Shoots Libby And Ana Lucia
Going back to the earlier Walt debacle, season 2 of Lost saw Harold Perrineau’s Michael become increasingly desperate to get his son back. Henry Gale/Benjamin Linus’ situation was getting worse, and Ana Lucia once again decided to put her pistol skills into action with a bold plan to kill Ben before he could escape. However, this being Lost, it was never going to be that easy, was it?
Ana Lucia and Libby actually got two of the most shocking deaths ever on the series. Ana Lucia may have been one of the most hated characters on Lost, but her death still came out of nowhere. Elsewhere, not a single person in Hollywood expected Libby to stumble across Michael’s deed and get the same fate as Ana Lucia just seconds later. Hurley lost his true love, the power shifted over to a kidnapped Ben, and Michael went from deadbeat dead to one of the most misunderstood/loving fathers on television.
5 Michael's Sacrifice
Rounding off the Michael saga, Lost gifted loyal fans with a redemptive story arc for the ages. While Malcolm David Kelley only returned sporadically, everyone was shocked to learn that Harold Perrineau would be back as a series regular for season 4.
It would’ve been easy to leave the Dawson boys with their happy ending, but with the arrival of the freighter and Widmore’s men, Lindelof and Cuse couldn’t help but ruin Michael’s new life off-island. After a bout of unsuccessful suicide attempts, Michael was recruited by Mr. Friendly and instructed to return to the island.
Still working for Benjamin Linus, Michael posed as deckhand Kevin Johnson on the Kahana. He was still unable to die, as the island wasn’t “done” with Michael until he could save those he had wronged.
To make up for his crimes, Michael managed to freeze Keamy’s C-4 bomb long enough for the Oceanic Six to escape. Kevin Johnson went down with the freighter in that explosive season 4 finale. Christian appeared to Michael and said his time had come, but unable to move on, Michael became one those trapped whispers who would forever haunt the island.
4 Locke Is MIB
Did any character on Lost have a life as tragic as John Locke's? With a con man father, a failed love life, and wasting away in a wheelchair, things should've been better when John stepped out of his chair and to a new life on the island.
After teleporting during the “frozen donkey wheel” saga, John longed for the sweet embrace of death when he tried to return to "normality" off-island - a wish that was inadvertently granted by a baffling Benjamin Linus.
While the reveal that Locke was Jeremy Bentham in the coffin was enough to ruin anyone’s life, the biggest twist came in season 6. With a dead Locke seemingly resurrected by the island’s magical properties, jaws hit the floor when it was made clear that the big bad MIB was using Locke’s appearance to puppeteer Ben into his scheme and kill Jacob.
As Ilana rolled the (still) deceased John Locke out onto the sand, hearts across the world dropped at the realization that he really was never coming back.
3 The Flashforwards
“We have to go back, Kate. We have to go back!” Was there ever a more Lost moment than the bombshell that season 3’s flashbacks had actually been flashforwards? Rarely had a show made people so invested in its characters, but after three years of trudging through the largely excessive survivor backstories, the flashback formula had grown a little stale. No one expected that they were glimpsing into the future.
With a bearded Jack falling off the wagon, who wouldn’t assume that it was just a look at the damaged doctor’s pre-island days? There was even a funeral parlor to hint at Christian’s death, but alas, Dr. Shephard was not the one in the casket.
After meeting Kate in an airport car park, all bets were off as Jack continued his tireless efforts to take the Oceanic Six back. Some argue that this was the “jump the shark” moment for Lost and things were never quite the same, and it also meant that fans roughly knew how season 4 was going to end. That being said, it was still one hell of a ride!
2 Charlie's Death
Reach for the tissues and grab a biro, because it is time to scrawl “Not Penny’s Boat” and relive Lost’s most heartbreaking death. It seemed like destiny that the drug-addicted rocker was going to die young, but some always held out hope that Charlie Pace would make it off that island alive.
After bonding with John Locke as his de facto father figure, Charlie had seemingly kicked his demons (again), had his family unit with Claire and Aaron, and a rescue boat was just moments away. However, an eye-patched Soviet with a grenade had to go and blow all that to Kingdom Come. Charlie sealed the door to save Desmond and scrawled one last message that the incoming rescue may not be who the survivors expected.
The two-part “Through the Looking Glass” is easily the best hours that Lost ever produced, and that is thanks in no small part to the “we have to go back” twist alongside the perilous plight of Charlie Pace.
1 Nikki And Paolo
When Lost got it right, boy did it get it right, but when it wrong, ABC’s sci-fi mystery got it wrong big time. No single blunder in the show’s history will be as venomously remembered as the invention of Nikki and Paolo. Where some elements of Lost ruined your life because you were left a blubbering mess or questioning what the hell was going on, Nikki and Paolo just burned everything they touched.
Due to frequent trips to the bathroom, Paolo was dubbed “Paolo Poops-a-lot,” while Nikki somehow came across as an even more shallow version of Shannon. Worryingly, even Damon Lindelof recognized that the pair were universally despised, and perhaps their only redeeming feature was that they took some of the hatred away from Ana Lucia.
Suddenly arriving at the start of season 3, fans were supposed to just "accept" that these two new series regulars had been there the whole time. A jarring mess of unlikable character development thankfully marked the hateful lovers for an early grave. That being said, their demise episode in Season 3’s "Exposé" was actually pretty damn good, but maybe it was just because Lost finally saw the back of them?
How did Lost ruin your life? Sound off in the comments below!