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Storylines From Lost That Were Never Resolved

Lost was a monumental show that redefined how people watch and make television, but that doesn't mean it was always particularly good. While the series was, at times, expertly plotted and executed, at others, it devolved into a meandering mess, picking up and dropping storylines left and right at a breakneck pace. The problem became worse as the show went on, with early season mysteries being left in the dust in favor of newer, shinier riddles that were ultimately left without a resolution.

Of course, Lost still had a lot to offer viewers. Regardless of whether or not the twists and turns always made sense, they were always exciting, providing a show that audiences couldn't resist watching and creating a model that many shows have tried (and often failed) to imitate. However, while loyal viewers were willing to let some mysteries slide in favor of keeping the show entertaining, some were just too important to leave unresolved. And when those didn't get answered, fans began asking a whole lot of questions.

The numbers

Lost delved pretty heavily into numerology throughout its run, particularly with the island's famous "4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42" sequence. While viewers eventually discovered each number corresponded to one potential candidate to take over as protector of the island, there were still a lot of questions surrounding the fated digits that never got resolved. Where did the numbers come from? Is it possible to change them? And, seriously, why do people keep playing them in the real-life lottery when they are so obviously cursed?

These are questions that co-creator Damon Lindelof has both sort of answered and sort of avoided. According to The Los Angeles Times, Lindelof said in an E! Online Q&A that revealing the secrets behind the numbers on the show "would be the worst thing ever" because, while the show does have to cater to fans of the mystery, it also has to cater to viewers like his mom, "who just wants Sawyer to take his shirt off."

However, Lindelof did confirm one of the theories behind the numbers, an idea highlighted in the game The Lost Experience, which detailed the fictional Hanso Foundation. According to Lindelof, this mysterious organization hired a scientist named Enzo Valenzetti after the Cuban Missile Crisis and asked him to create an equation to determine the probability of the world coming to an end.

"Valenzetti basically deduced that it was 100 percent within the next 27 years," Lindelof explained, "so the Hanso Foundation started the Dharma Initiative in an effort to try to change the variables in the equation so that mankind wouldn't wipe it itself out."

That's definitely more than viewers got on the show, but it doesn't exactly provide the answers necessary to resolve one of Lost's central mysteries.


Early on in the series, viewers are told there is something a little different about Walt. And after he's kidnapped by the Others, well, that just confirmed he was somehow special. However, Lost never goes much further than that, taking Walt off the show after the second season due to Malcolm David Kelley's growth spurt. (If anyone is curious what the actor is doing now, he is part of the band MKTO, which had a huge hit in the summer of 2015 with "Classic." And no, he looks nothing like he did on the island.)

But while many viewers are upset they never got to find out what was up with Walt, Damon Lindelof doesn't seem to mind. "That's one of those things that never felt like a mystery to us," he said at the "Totally Lost: One Year Later" panel at Comic-Con in 2011. "Why is Walt special? The answer is, because he is."

Yeah, that probably didn't please any fans.

The rules

Questions about rules abound throughout the Lost universe, with both moral and physical restrictions stopping various characters at different points throughout the series. Fans always knew that order was important, but when Ben Linus actually mentioned "the rules" in season four, they started to get even more curious.

It all starts after mercenary Martin Keamy executes Ben's adopted daughter, Alex. A devastated Ben then claims that, "He changed the rules." Later in the same episode, he breaks into Charles Widmore's bedroom, threatening to kill the businessman's daughter so he'll regret changing those enigmatic rules. While maybe Ben just plans to even the score, he adds another layer to the mystery seconds later. When Widmore asks if Ben plans to murder him, the Other responds, "We both know I can't do that."

However, in the end, Ben does end up shooting Widmore in the season six episode "What They Died For," negating the idea that there might be some cosmic guidelines preventing the two from hurting each other. So was it some sort of rule system put in place by the Others, or was it something bigger, like a reflection of the relationship between Jacob and the Man in Black? Unfortunately, we'll probably never know.

The sickness

The sickness was introduced to Lost viewers in season one through Danielle Rousseau, the French castaway shipwrecked on the island long before the passengers of Flight 815 showed up. According to Danielle, she was forced to save herself by killing the rest of her crew after they got sick. The mysterious illness later infects other residents on the island, most notably Sayid, who could no longer feel emotions as a result of the infection.

While the show referenced the sickness on numerous occasions, it never fully explained what it was or how it was contracted. Does it have something to do with the Dharma Initiative? Why was Danielle spared, or did she actually have the sickness the whole time? Did the sickness even exist at all? Many fans still have a lot of questions about the mystery disease, but it seems like there's no cure for their curiosity.


Claire's pregnancy was a big plot point throughout the first season of the show, with the Others kidnapping her in an effort to keep both her and her baby safe. When Aaron was finally born, it became even more evident that he was, for some reason, incredibly important to the Others. They were so desperate to get their hands on the kid that they even sent Danielle to kidnap him in exchange for the release of her daughter, Alex.

There are also some pretty big hints about Aaron's importance courtesy of psychic Richard Malkin, who Claire visited when she found out she was pregnant in "Raised by Another." According to Malkin, it was crucial that only Claire raise Aaron. If anyone else tried to parent the boy, it would be an absolute disaster. That's a pretty heavy burden to put on a first-time mom, and all of these hints seemed to indicate something pretty bad was coming for baby Aaron. But for some reason, it looks like the show's creators forgot all about that psychic warning. In fact, Aaron spends quite a bit of time with Kate before winding up with Claire's mom, and you know, he seems to have turned out just fine.

Of course, these developments raised some pretty infuriating questions for fans. Why was Aaron so important to the Others in the first place, and why did they seem to stop caring about him in later seasons? Was Malkin just making stuff up? The show never gave any answers, and as a result, fans have spent a lot of sleepless nights wondering what was going on in the Lost writing room.


Libby Smith is an odd character. Despite being one of the few tail-section survivors who was actually fleshed out by the show's writers, Libby was surprisingly killed off in the second season. Her budding relationship with Hurley is what makes her stick in the minds of many fans, but for others, there are still a lot of lingering questions about her background.

The main questions come from her time in the Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute, the same place Hurley stayed for a bit. Thanks to her unusual backstory, fans have wondered if Libby was actually a survivor of the plane crash, or if maybe she was an Other or part of the Dharma Initiative. Unfortunately, it seems like we were never going to get answers about Libby. In an interview with Lostpedia, Carlton Cuse explained they were always intending to keep Libby a mystery. But why create a character and never dig into her history?

Well, according to Cuse, the Lost creators were trying to make a point with Libby's story. "It's impossible to tie up every loose end," he explained, "and...Libby's story is incredibly tangential to the principle action on the show." In other words, the showrunners weren't interested in providing "a list of a thousand questions that we're going to answer." Instead, they wanted to focus on the big picture stuff, like the arcs and relationships of characters like Jack, Kate, and Sawyer. They weren't really interested in spending a lot of time explaining the nitty-gritty details, but while a little mystery is a good thing, we're still left scratching our heads. Does this mean the coincidences surrounding Libby are just that—coincidences? Somehow, in the Lost universe, we find that hard to believe.

The four-toed statue

Somehow, Lost was such a weird show that when the characters ran across a huge foot statue with only four toes, it didn't even seem all that strange. Still, while there have been some vague references to how it got there (and what happened to the rest of the statue), there's still a lot of mystery surrounding that great, big, four-toed foot.

Originally introduced in the first part of the season two finale, "Live Together, Die Alone," the four-toed statue is just casually spotted on the island's coast, and it doesn't really get mentioned again until season six. That's where we learn the foot was once connected to full statue, a rather unusual sculpture that was destroyed by a wayward ship.

But what's the backstory behind this hunk of rock? Well, some fans believe the statue is Taweret, an Egyptian goddess of childbirth and fertility, and that it was built long ago by islanders predating the Dharma Initiative. Whether that's true or not, it was never made explicitly clear on the show, and something as weird as a four-toed foot statue definitely deserves a better explanation.

Jacob's cabin

Jacob's cabin in the woods is dark, weird, and completely creepy. The cabin (or whoever resides in it) has been shown at times to have a number of mystical powers, including the ability to disappear when it doesn't want to be found, something Locke found out the hard way in season four.

This power is usually attributed to its owner, Jacob, but throughout the series, the show has raised some interesting questions about the cabin's true occupant. For example, it's revealed in season five that Jacob spent some time residing in the base of the four-toed foot statue. And when Ilana Verdansky later visits the cabin, she says Jacob "hasn't been there in a long time," and that "someone else has been using it."

So who is this mysterious "someone"? Well, it's shown at various points in the series that an undead Christian Shepherd—who's really the Man in Black—lives there, and it's possible he's trapped inside. However, it's never explained how he got stuck in the shack or how he escaped at certain points. Also, it's never revealed who built the cabin or why. And while we're asking questions, when did Jacob move in? True, it's not a huge mystery, but it's another example of the many storylines that disappeared and left fans pulling out their hair in frustration.

The Smoke Monster

The Smoke Monster was a hallmark of the first season of Lost, an eerie and unidentifiable threat in the jungle that terrified the survivors. However, despite the fact that the monster is such an iconic part of the show, there were a lot of things left unexplained in its backstory.

Eventually, it was revealed that the Smoke Monster was the Man in Black, transformed by the Heart of the Island, but that doesn't explain everything we want to know. For example, how does the enigmatic Mother play into all this? Where did she come from, and was she the Smoke Monster before the Man in Black got the job? Does the creature have any sort of connection to the rules of the island? Who was working for the Smoke Monster? Why did it take that form? And most importantly, how was it making those weird noises?

Even the animators behind the monster weren't exactly sure what they were creating. In an interview with Popular Mechanics, John Teska, who made the creature for the show's first season, said he wasn't given any clues about the monster's origin. He explained how the producers "were vague about the details." Of course, that makes things difficult when you're trying to animate a CGI creature, so Teska was forced to use fan theories, speculating perhaps the monster was driven by an electromagnetic force. "We know there's magnetism on the island," he explained. "Could this be some iron filing cloud that's being driven by the magnetism? And that was something I could grab onto to kind of help activate it when even the producers were being vague about what that was."

With even the behind-the-scenes crew unsure about the Smoke Monster, it makes sense that fans were left confused at the end of season six. And while it's true that we got a few answers scattered here and there, it was hardly enough to satisfy, which is why Lost is one of the most controversial TV shows of all-time.