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The Most Unexpected Moments In Lost

It's been more than a decade since ABC's Emmy Award-winning drama, "Lost," was on the air, yet the show still resonates with viewers after all this time. Composed of compelling characters who went through constantly twisting plotlines, fans wouldn't dare skip an episode of the series' six-season run, lest they miss the newest crucial detail or shocking revelation. With each new season, creators J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof, and Jeffrey Lieber would give fans enigmatic clues meant to slowly bring together the pieces of a very complicated puzzle.

"Lost" begins when the survivors of a plane crash find themselves on a strange and seemingly deserted island. As they struggle to survive and wait to be rescued, the passengers come to realize that this island is full of dangers, including elements of the supernatural. As the group attempts to uncover the mysteries of the island, they discover that their arrival may not have been accidental at all.

There's no doubt that the series as a whole left an impact –- both on audiences, and on how television dramas are made today. Of course, the show is most remembered for its wide array of shocking plot twists, many of which still have fans awestruck. Here are just some of the "Lost" moments we feel were the biggest surprises during the show's six-year run.

Locke's backstory revealed

As played by Terry O'Quinn, John Locke was one of the most provocative characters on "Lost." He's intelligent, determined, and a natural leader, but his obsessive nature would ultimately drive him to destruction. While Locke's intentions at the outset may appear on the side of good, he is constantly at war with himself and his pride. This conflict would oftentimes steer him into dark places.

In Episode 3 of Season 1, 10-year-old Walt (Malcolm David Kelley) befriends the mysterious Locke, much to the consternation of Walt's father, Michael (Harold Perrineau). While playing a game of backgammon, Locke asks Walt if he wants to know a secret. Walt later tells his father that Locke claims a miracle happened to him. In the following episode, "Walkabout," we learn about Locke's past and a key factor about the character — before the plane crash, Locke used a wheelchair, but after, he miraculously regains the use of his legs.

The episode does a fantastic job of keeping Locke's condition a secret until the last possible moment, and it is definitely not what audiences were expecting. This moment sets the stage for future surprises yet to come and makes fans curious about what other mysteries the island holds.

What's inside the hatch

One of the biggest questions in Season 1 of "Lost" comes when Locke and Boone (Ian Somerhalder) discover a strange door in the jungle in Episode 11. While excited by their find, Locke insists that they keep the hatch a secret from the rest of the group until they find a way to open it.

When the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 came under threat from the Others, it became imperative that the hatch be opened to give the group sanctuary. With the help of Jack (Matthew Fox), Kate (Evangeline Lilly), and Hurley (Jorge Garcia), Locke finally blasts open the door using dynamite. What they found there was nothing anyone could have predicted.

Within the hatch, our heroes found one of DHARMA Initiative's main facilities -– the Swan Station. There, the group meets Desmond Hume (Henry Ian Cusick), a man who has nearly gone insane pushing the same button for three years. Believing in the importance of Desmond's work, though not fully understanding it, Locke himself pledges to take on the task.

The reveal of Swan Station in Season 2 was the start of a deeper mystery of the island, and one that viewers were eager to dive into. Who or what was DHARMA? Where did they come from? What was their goal? Many of these questions are not answered until much later in the series, but the hatch gives viewers a reason to keep watching.

The other survivors from Oceanic Flight 815

It is established in Season 1 of "Lost" that the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 are not alone on the island. However, the question of who the Others are and what they want from the castaways remains. In the suspenseful conclusion of the Season 2 episode, "Adrift," Michael, Jin (Daniel Dae Kim), and Sawyer (Josh Holloway) manage to make it to shore after their raft is destroyed, only to be captured by a group of unknown assailants.

The trio is kept in a makeshift pit that serves as a prison cell, although their attackers refuse to provide any answers to their questions. It is assumed at first that these were the dreaded Others – however, much to everyone's surprise, this group was actually made up of even more survivors of the plane crash. As it turns out, the passengers in the tail section of the plane ended up on a completely different area of the island. 

Led by Ana Lucia (Michelle Rodriguez), the group has been through their own harrowing experience, including several of their people being abducted by the Others. This gives the show the opportunity to introduce new characters, such as Eko (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), Libby (Cynthia Watros), and Bernard (Sam Anderson), in another unexpected moment.

Michael's betrayal

Michael Dawson and his choices have been a matter of debate amongst fans of "Lost" for ages. First and foremost, he is a father who will do whatever it takes to keep his son, Walt, safe. However, his desperation to find Walt after the boy is kidnapped by the Others leads to Michael making some questionable decisions.

In Season 2, Michael –- after incapacitating Locke and Jack –- leaves to search for Walt alone. He disappears for a time before reappearing several episodes later. Michael then reports to Jack that he has found the Others' camp. He claims that they are small in number, live under rough conditions and that they can be easily overpowered. Michael offers to lead Jack and the others to the camp just as soon as he has recovered from his injuries.

When Jack, Kate, and Locke leave the hatch to prepare, Michael is left alone with Ana Lucia and the captive Other, Benjamin Linus (Michael Emerson), who is calling himself Henry Gale. After a candid conversation with Ana Lucia, Michael offers to shoot the prisoner, since Ana Lucia cannot seem to do it herself. What Michael does next is something that no one could have seen coming. 

After telling Ana Lucia, "I'm sorry," he shoots and kills her. Libby suddenly enters the room, and Michael shoots her out of panic. While the motivation for his actions are later revealed in the episode "Three Minutes," it does little to soften the blow of Michael's shocking betrayal.

DHARMA revealed

One of the biggest threats to the marooned passengers on "Lost" is the presence of the ominous Others, a group that works in the shadows and places the lives of our heroes in constant peril. For a long time, the series leads audiences to believe that the so-called "Others" live under similarly harsh conditions due to their haggard appearance. However, it is eventually shown that the members of the DHARMA Initiative are actually very good actors, with a very good costume department.

For much of the series, all viewers know about the DHARMA Initiative is that they are not who they seem. In the Season 3 premiere, fans are finally given a peek behind the curtain. The episode "A Tale of Two Cities" opens in a seemingly peaceful suburban setting, one that can easily be mistaken for yet another flashback. Viewers are introduced to the character of Juliet (Elizabeth Mitchell), a seemingly average woman just about to start her day. The illusion is broken when the neighborhood's residents witness the destruction of Oceanic Flight 815 in the sky above, and Ben Linus quickly begins issuing instructions to the Others to gather information about possible survivors.

The discovery that the island holds evidence of modern civilization is totally unexpected, given what fans had been shown up to that point. This revelation was a game-changer for sure and would completely steer the series into a new direction.

The Season 3 flashforward

Perhaps the biggest twist of the entire "Lost" series was one that fans definitely did not expect. In Season 3, Jack, Kate, and Sawyer are taken captive by the members of the DHARMA Initiative. In exchange for his services as a surgeon, Jack is promised a ticket home by the DHARMA leader, Ben Linus.

However, John Locke complicates things. Believing that the island has a plan, Locke makes it his mission to keep anyone from leaving. He blows up the submarine meant to take Jack home and does everything in his power to stop a radio signal from reaching the outside world. However, Locke's plans are thwarted when Charlie Pace (Dominic Monaghan) sacrifices himself to turn off the signal jammer, allowing Jack to radio for help.

In the Season 3 finale, "Through the Looking Glass," fans are given a glimpse of what they assume is a flashback of Jack before the crash. He is clearly in rough shape, drinking heavily and seemingly in a very dark place. It isn't until the very last scene of the episode that the truth is revealed — this was not a flashback, but a flashforward. Somehow, Jack has made it off the island, along with Kate, to whom he desperately tries to convince that they should never have left and have to find a way back. This shocking cliffhanger ending not only keeps "Lost" fans in suspense but changes the rules for the series moving forward once again.

Not Penny's boat

In Season 3, Desmond has gained the ability to see the future following an explosion that destroys Swan Station. One of his visions involves Charlie and his inevitable demise. This leads to the two men forming an unusual friendship, with Desmond trying his best to keep Charlie alive.

The promise of rescue comes with the appearance of a new visitor to the island in "Catch-22." Charlie and Desmond find the wounded Naomi (Marsha Thomason), a woman who has parachuted onto the island. She claims she was sent by Desmond's old flame, Penny, and that a rescue ship is searching for Desmond. Unfortunately, her radio won't work due to a jamming signal on the island. The only way to turn off the signal is to make it to the Looking Glass station, which is underwater.

Charlie bravely volunteers for the job. After making it to the Looking Glass, Charlie finds the controls to the jamming signal and successfully turns it off. However, he receives a shocking revelation when Penny (Sonya Walger) appears on a communication monitor. Much to his shock, she tells him that she knows nothing about any boat. As the Looking Glass begins to flood, Charlie uses his final moments to relay the news to Desmond by writing a message on his hand in black marker: "Not Penny's boat."

Of course, this raised a whole new set of questions. If not Penny's, then whose boat was it? Would this be the long-sought rescue the survivors had longed for, or would it only bring more danger?

The island's disappearing act

There is a lot to unpack in Season 4 of "Lost." Alliances and rivalries are made, as dangerous visitors to the island threaten its inhabitants. As it turned out, the ship heading for the island isn't there to rescue anyone. It has been sent by Charles Widmore (Alan Dale), Penny's billionaire father, who also once lived on the island as an Other. He and Benjamin Linus have a long-standing rivalry over who should be in control of the island -– one that Widmore is determined to win once and for all.

The majority of Season 4 has Jack, Locke, and Ben fighting back against Widmore's hirelings. Forming an alliance, Ben and Locke make it to Jacob's Cabin, where the ghostly figure of Christian Shephard (John Terry) tells Locke that in order to save the island, it has to be moved. While this feat sounds impossible, Ben knows exactly what to do.

Ben leads the group to a secret well beneath Orchid Station, where they find a giant wheel frozen over in snow and ice. Now all they have to do is get somebody to push the wheel –- but then what? How exactly is this going to "move" the island? And how the heck does an island move? Sure enough, the Season 4 finale pulls off yet another shocking twist when Ben pushes the wheel and the island vanishes from sight.

Locke is the Man in Black

Season 5 of "Lost" has Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sayid, and Ben return to the island on yet another doomed flight. The episodes are split between 1977 and the present, and the stakes become higher than ever. The show reveals even more about the island's history, including DHARMA and the Others, as well as the greatest mystery of all –- the Man in Black.

After struggling to convince the Oceanic Six to return to the island, John Locke meets his end at the hands of Benjamin Linus, who murders Locke and makes his death look like a suicide. Miraculously, when the group returns to the island, Locke appears to come back to life before their very eyes. However, this time he does not intend to find Jacob to fulfill his destiny. Instead, he plans to kill Jacob once and for all.

Why Locke has a sudden change of heart isn't apparent until the very last episode of the season, "The Incident." In this episode, we finally see Jacob (Mark Pellegrino) for the first time, and we meet the infamous Man in Black (Titus Welliver). The show reveals that these two have been rivals for a while, with the Man in Black searching for a way to kill Jacob. As it turns out, the Man in Black has been impersonating Locke in the present day. He manipulates Ben into doing his dirty work when Ben kills Jacob in a rage. This surprising twist concludes the fifth season and gives fans some much-needed answers.  

This is the end, beautiful friend

The final season of "Lost" wraps up the series in a way that has many of its loyal fans divided, even today. Season 6 introduces the never-before-used concept of a "flash sideways," in which they explored the lives of the Oceanic Flight 815 passengers as if the plane had never crashed. There are several other differences as well. For instance, Jin and Sun are not married, Desmond is a successful businessman, while Ben is a college professor. However, as the season goes on, the show reveals that these scenes are not what audiences were expecting.

Throughout the season, we visit the various members of the cast as they begin to see flashes of their lives on the island. It isn't until the series' finale — aptly titled "The End" — that the show reveals what is really going on. These sequences are not happening in some other dimension, nor are they a sliding doors scenario. It turns out that these scenes show a sort of gateway to the afterlife, as the characters have been given a chance to be reunited and reflect on the most important time of their lives.

This ending is one that no one expected and is still the subject of debate today. However, one thing that nearly all fans can agree on is that "Lost" was one of the most compelling shows in recent TV history, and its always unexpected twists and turns continue to influence television today.