So, after spending some eight months chewing over the Big Questions left by the LOST finale last May — Did Juliet really detonate the nuclear device? Will the white flash reset the clock? Will Oceanic Flight 815 avoid crashing on the island? Will our friends end up forgetting each other and never meeting? Will absolutely nothing happen? — it turns out the answer is, Z: All of the Above and More.
Jack and Faraday’s plan was to detonate the nuke within the confines of the electromagnetic pocket and “reset” the island’s timeline. And it worked. Only it didn’t.
Juliet (Elizabeth Mitchell) insisted she set off the bomb (and “It worked”), but the Swan site remained intact. At least, in one version of the story. It would appear that instead of resetting time, the blast splintered reality. I think the show began by showing us Jack (Matthew Fox) on the plane in another universe, one in which Flight 815 avoids the original White Event and lands safely in Los Angeles. Perhaps the close encounter with the island left Jack 2.0 with some kind of vague imprint that made him notice the people he otherwise would have been trapped alongside — Desmond, Rose, Bernard, Sayid, etc. It was great fun to once again see such dearly departed characters as Boone (Ian Somerhalder, now Damon on THE VAMPIRE DIARIES) and Charlie (Dominic Monaghan, now Simon on FLASHFORWARD). Mitchell will be seen again as Erica when V returns. Heck, even goofy science teacher Arzt was worth a laugh. Oh, and the island itself is now underwater.
Or is it? Back on the island, in “our” reality (at least, the one we have been observing since the series began) the effects of the blast were shunted off into the other universe or absorbed by the fracturing of dimensions, leaving our friends alive. Or, at least, as alive as they could be. Juliet died in Sawyer’s (Josh Holloway) arms. Kate (Evangeline Lilly) woke up in a tree!
Perhaps this sixth and final season of LOST will consist of adventures across the multiverse, just a season 5 took viewers on a journey through time. And there are still plenty of adventures to be had — along with some “answers” that did not really solve anything. We need context to understand the answers. Yes, Jacob (Mark Pellegrino, who also plays Lucifer on SUPERNATURAL) is dead, but what does “dead” mean on the island? Jacob’s Adversary is using John’s (Terry O’Quinn) body. The Adversary is another aspect of the Smoke Monster. “Let’s not resort to name-calling,” John scolded the confused Ben (Michael Emerson). But what does that mean? We visited the Temple, but who are all those people? Were they hidden there all this time? (And that answers the question of where Cindy the stewardess disappeared to when the Tailies lost her.) Is Sayid (Naveen Andrews) really back from the dead?
My interpretation of this alternate reality is that it is a flash-forward — this time, the sixth-season finale, in which the Losties will actually succeed in truly resetting the clock (and Jack will sustain a neck injury). Thus, we have now already seen how the series ends! Neat trick, eh? Perhaps the glum faces of our friends as they deplane in L.A. — Charlie under arrest; Jack anguishing over his father’s missing coffin; John resigned to living the rest of his life in a wheelchair — is meant as a kind of “be careful what you wish for” cautionary tale. It could even be a (spiteful?) wink at vocal fans who demand “answers” to the series’ mysteries and/or endlessly complain. In other words, characters and fans: You may only think you want to get away from the island.
Then again, as Jack notes with much portent: “Nothing is irreversible.”