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The Smoke Monster Theory That Changes Everything On Lost

"Lost" is one of the most iconic TV shows of the last 20 years — that's not up for debate. It's central mystery regarding the island fascinated viewers, because it was an ever-growing puzzle box. Any time viewers were given answers regarding the Others, the Dharma Initiative, or the show's time-hopping nature, the writers threw in yet another mystery for fans to unravel. Did it become a little convoluted and lost in its own machinations by the time it wrapped things up? Maybe, but it was always exciting.

From the very beginning of the series, one of the most intriguing aspects of the island was the bizarre Smoke Monster which plagued the survivors from the first night Flight 815 crash landed en route to Los Angeles. This billowing cloud of black smoke was able to cause mass devastation throughout the island as well as causing severe injuries to anyone unfortunate enough to be caught by it — RIP Mr. Eko (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). By the time "Lost" finished its run, the Smoke Monster was revealed to be an alternate form for The Man in Black (Titus Welliver).

It wasn't the only form he took throughout the series, as he could also manifest himself to look like dead family members or friends of the survivors. But there's one theory about the Smoke Monster which could explain more about the time-travel aspect to the series.

It corrected timeline deviations

"Lost" dealt with a variety of themes like destiny and existentialism, as well as toying with a philosophical debate about the nature of certain metaphysical dichotomies: good vs. evil and faith vs. reason, in particular. Could someone be a good person and do good deeds even if they were destined for evil? And vice versa: Could an evil person also change their path in life? Well, yes. But one theory about the Smoke Monster (per Screen Rant) suggests that its role on the island was to correct the timeline whenever people deviated away from their predetermined destiny.

It's an interesting idea, especially when other theories at the time suggested the Smoke Monster simply suggested that the Man in Black had taken control of the being for himself for purely nefarious reasons. But this idea that the Smoke Monster is in charge of keeping the timeline intact could explain why it killed specific people. Take Mr. Eko in Season 3 for example. If he carried on with his path of redemption, he could've changed much more about the survivors' journey. But because he was always destined to die, the Smoke Monster was in charge of killing him.

It does make sense, but it would also be surprising that the Man in Black would happily preserve the timeline when his entire purpose is to cause chaos and violence as Jacob's (Mark Pellegrino) opposite on the island. Then again, keeping some semblance of order would also keep the Man in Black alive, so maybe his timeline-protector role was just out of self-preservation.