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Summary by Will Milton
Lost is the chronicle of the experiences of a group of survivors from Oceanic Flight 815 which inexplicably crash lands on a mysterious island a thousand miles off its intended flight path. These survivors quickly find themselves faced with more trials than merely waiting for rescue – a monstrous presence lurks in the jungle, as well as the increasingly menacing ‘natives’ of the island and an undeniable yet inconceivable supernatural force which both haunts and helps the displaced passengers of that doomed flight.
The show focuses on a particular set of characters within the large group of survivors. Most prominent are Jack, Locke, Kate, Sawyer, Hugo, Sayid, Sun & Jin, Claire, Charlie and Desmond. These people are all strangers, yet as their stories unfold a series of flashbacks and ‘flash-forwards’ reveal intricate links between their lives and the paths that led them all to this place. Characters demonstrate strength and fallibility, leadership and courage, fear and pain; these people are all special, people whose place in society caused them to suffer so greatly that the island reached out to them. Romances blossom then whither, beliefs and loyalties fluctuate, the intentions of the increasingly diverse inhabitants of the island become more and more ambiguous, and the overwhelming themes of fate and of faith versus science become most prominent.
Like the island, the show is rich in mystery and intrigue. The island appears to have an ancient history containing signs of primitive tribal inhabitants, extensive yet outdated scientific research facilities, suburban-style residences, World War II remnants and an overwhelming sense that all these varied elements are inextricably linked in their pre-occupation with some magical, powerful property the island possesses. Every episode divulges tiny pieces of information while deepening the mystery, introducing characters with secret agendas that often appear to know more than they let on. The extent of the island’s significance has caused countless people to kill and die to protect it, and its influence reaches out across the world as it summons lost souls, traverses space and time, houses the spirits of the dead, heals incurable sickness and injury and becomes the object of many a malicious conqueror who would seek to wield its power for their own ends. It becomes clear that the multiplicity of mysterious artefacts on the island is testament to countless historical attempts at investigating, harnessing and defending the power at the ‘heart of the island’. Physicists have marvelled at the island’s defiance of scientific laws, men of faith have watched in wonder endless miracles the island has performed. Chaos becomes logic as the islands time-travelling properties explain the sequences of events that have written the destinies of the island’s visitors. All underscored by a series of six numbers that have plagued the series’ central characters throughout their lives, and the rising prominence of one name: Jacob.
After copious attempts by numerous parties to protect, escape or even destroy the island, all paths lead to this elusive man. The 815 survivors, the island’s natives and its mysterious monster, the outsiders who invade and the individuals whose dedication to the island has long gone unanswered are inexorably united by the eventual appearance of Jacob. He is a man made immortal by the apparently sentient island, and it is he who has summoned people to its shores for centuries in a ceaseless attempt to demonstrate the inherent good in mankind. His counterpart on the island is known only as the man in black, but it is revealed that this man was in fact Jacob’s brother, corrupted by an unspeakable evil that the island exists to hold at bay. This malevolent force is bound to the island, and must seek loopholes in some unspoken, unbreakable ‘rules’ in his attempts to prove the corruptibility of all humanity. Jacob’s own anger and weakness caused his brother’s corruption when their fundamental beliefs about mankind began to separate, and as penance it became Jacob’s task to protect the island from the man in black’s attempts to destroy it and unleash unstoppable evil into the world.
The mysterious series of numbers is finally explained as coming from a list of potential candidates to become Jacob’s successor. Hundreds of these candidates had been brought to the island only to be destroyed by the man in black, and the remaining six were all manipulated by Jacob to be on the doomed Oceanic Flight 815. It is revealed that the entire series of Lost has been the story of Jacob summoning his candidates to play out an endgame with the manipulative man in black that would result in the deaths of Jacob and his wayward brother, heralding a new era for the island. Of the candidates that survive until this finale, the heroic Jack volunteers to take on the enormous responsibility and thwarts the man in black’s attempt to leave the island a crumbled ruin at the bottom of the ocean. Jack sacrifices himself to kill the man in black and save the island, leaving it in the care of the infinitely kind-hearted Hugo.
The show ends with the revelation of a realm in which all the participants in the finale of Jacob’s era can be reunited after death. Their reunion glows with warmth and love as they all become implicitly aware that the experiences they shared were the most important of their lives. They forged this realm of the afterlife through their connection in life, so that they could move on as fate intended them to; together.
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