Understanding LOST: A Fan Guide

Have you been watching ABC's hit show LOST for years now and are still, well, as LOST as the shows captivating characters? Are you wondering if this will all come together in the end and actually make sense, or will we be left at the very end of the series, with nothing more than confusion over what happened on that island, why it happened and wondering if it is still happening?

If you are pondering all of this, you are far from alone. Here you will find videos and links to shed a little light on the mysteries of LOST, as developed by the internet's top LOST philosophers. Sure, they obviously had a bit of time on their hands, but many of these theories required intense research and are far beyond what you would ever imagine.

Actress Evangeline Lilly
Actress Evangeline Lilly

Particle Man - You'll Understand

LOST: Jacob

What makes this show so addictive?

It seems that within the show, there is a character that everyone can relate to, understand or be sympathize with. They're all struggling with questions that most every human asks at some point in their life:

  • Why am I here?
  • What are we supposed to be doing? What is the purpose of it all? Is the goal mere survival, or is there something more?
  • Who, exactly is in charge of all this? It appears that something is directing the events that are taking place -who is it?
  • Are all events simply a matter of destiny? Or the result of free will?
  • Why me (or us) ? Were the crash survivors brought there for a reason?
  • What are the rules? It seems that they are trying to function in a place where the normal, acceptable rules simply don't apply anymore. The dead are walking around talking, people are seeing visions, things from their past, and there are countless connections between the survivors from times previous to their stay on the island.
  • More recently, what happens when they leave the island? Hurley suggests that they are really dead. Is he losing his mind?

Obviously, there are more questions than answers, although you will find countless theories have been proposed on various forums across the internet. This struggle to understand, that the viewer shares with the characters, is what makes the show so interesting. Rarely do you know much more than the characters. You, as a viewer are as deeply lost as the survivors. Okay, so maybe you are not being chased by a polar bear or having your appendix removed in a tent on the beach, but you get what I mean!

The Vortex Theory:

One of the latest Lost theories was developed after the episode that covered the history of Charlotte and her ship mates. We follow Charlotte to an archaeological dig in the desert, where she sees the remains of a polar bear, with a collar from the Dharma Initiative. How did the polar bear get there?

This theory suggests that there are spots all over the globe (like the Bermuda triangle) that are vortexes of energy, creating portals. There is, of course one on the island that perhaps Ben knows how to use, since he just turned up randomly in the desert last week, not quite aware of the year, but certainly familiar with the experience. There is a clip circulating (that I don't think has been aired yet), of Jack "waking up" in the jungle in a suit and tie.

There is far more to this theory than I can cover here, as the person who developed it went to great lengths to prove how and why it is true. To find out more about this and a library of other Lost theories, go to Lost Theories.

Another subject of interest has been those pesky numbers that keep turning up everywhere. What are they all about? There are some incredible theories, that clearly took hours upon hours of research, but are basically impossible to prove. For a complete history of the LOST numbers and references, check out 4 8 15 16 23 42

For all thing related to LOST, including spoilers, rumors, explanations, themes and discussion forums, see DarkUFO

Want a closer look at Rousseau's map of the island? Check out a replica at

The Lost Map

Here is a blog where you will find recaps and discussions about the lastest episode: http://jopinionated.blogspot.com/

If you just don't have time to read up on all of the latest LOST talk, you can catch up with a podcast at LOSTCasts. Join Matt and John for detailed discussion on the newest revelations and speculation.

If this isn't enough to keep you busy, check out LOSTpedia which covers absolutely everything you could possibly want to know, from what book Sawyer was reading in season one to ongoing themes. if you are putting together a theory of your own, this is the place to go.


Desmond Finally Speaks to Penny

Desmond and Penny

I know, I know, everyone is all caught up in the Jack-Kate-Sawyer storyline. Poor Kate, how could she choose, seriously? I find Desmond the most interesting and his time bouncing story line is always a little different from the rest. He struggles with seeing possible futures, and wants to prevent the coming tragedies. He simply must contend with the fact that he is not in control, he cannot effect long term the destiny of others. He can't even get his own situation straightened out.

He is initially presented as a coward, but redeems himself again and again on the island, by consistently putting himself in harms way in a futile attempt to save Charlie's life. Most recently, when leaving the island, he has a Slaughterhouse 5 style time travel experience that almost kills him. This is an obvious reference to the book, as one of Desmond's military buddies has the same name as the main character in Vonnegut's classic.

As is typical of this show, we are left wondering, yet again.

What was that all about?

LOST Documentary

More by this Author


Comments 71 comments

Hope Wilbanks profile image

Hope Wilbanks 8 years ago from Louisiana

I'm addicted to LOST. I started watching it from the beginning. I saw the first 2 or 3 seasons, then we moved and I missed quite a bit. It's very addicting!


Sakari profile image

Sakari 8 years ago from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

I love Desmond and his sexy Scottish accent. Oh wait was it Irish? Who cares! :D Thanks for this great hub!


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

Hi Hope, I often fell behind too, especially when it aired at 8 pm (my kids were rarely in bed on time)! I always catch up the next day by watching it online. :)

Thanks Sakari! I think it's a Scottish accent, but I am not entirely sure. :)


Kat07 profile image

Kat07 8 years ago from Tampa

I needed this guide years ago when the show first aired - I found the editing so confusing that I couldn't sit through an entire episode!


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

I know! And it has become even more confusing this last season with flash forwards and flashbacks, you never know where you are in "time." Thanks for reading, Kat!


Sally's Trove profile image

Sally's Trove 8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

Amy, you bring back such wonderful memories.

At the start of LOST, I was working away from home. My daughter and I would get on the phone during the episodes and "watch" together. Always speculating about what was happening. It was a time that tied me to home. (Can't imagine what our cell phone bills were!)

My daughter's still an addict. I lost patience, maybe for the reason that Kat07 expressed. It's interesting that a series with no resolution, either episode by episode, or overall, is making it year after year.


Rob Jundt profile image

Rob Jundt 8 years ago from Midwest USA

My brother in law religiously watches LOST and can't believe I've never seen one episode. It is one of those series I'd consider viewing. It's just a time thing right now. I've always threatened to buy a season on DVD and watch it straight through. I did that with a few seasons of 24. Now that's a show. -- Anyway, I hope to see the show one day. Your informative hub should give many people like me a head start.


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

Hi Sally, glad I could remind you of something so sweet! I think if you ever want to catch up on LOST, just rent the season where you left off, invite your daughter over, and have a LOST marathon! :) It is much easier to get what is going on when you see all of the episodes together like that. The themes are really clear. Okay, maybe not really clear, but they are a little easier to recognize! There are some resolutions, but when ever one question is answered, they throw out a few more to keep the viewer guessing! The creators of the show have promised that it will all make some sort of sense in the end (2010) and there will be an explantion for everything.

Thanks for reading and commenting! :)


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

Hi Rob, maybe you should just start with season 1 - I am sure you will be addicted before you know it. We recently did that with House (I had somehow missed the first 2 seasons entirely). My husband loves 24 - I agree, it's a great show, but I have had to stop watching it! It makes me a little anxious! LOL :)


WeddingConsultant profile image

WeddingConsultant 8 years ago from DC Metro Area

Amy, my wife and I have been watching since the beginning. Great show, even though they could have done with more answers to questions this past season. The current season is helping that as they've decided on an end date for the series, finally! So yeah, we're huge fans and thanks for the hub. I've been waiting for a hub on LOST.


WeddingConsultant profile image

WeddingConsultant 8 years ago from DC Metro Area

One request- can you point to where those videos are found on youtube and/or make the video boxes bigger? It's really hard to read the writing when the video boxes are so small.


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thanks Pete, for mentioning that. I think I will make those videos full size (give me a few minutes to rearrange them)! I think I searched for Lost Theory on Youtube, and found a ton of videos. There are a lot that are just "tribute to my favorite character" though, so you would have to weed through a lot!

How's baby Zoe?


exinco profile image

exinco 8 years ago from Malaysia

i love to watch lost, but not easy to understand the story. i'm blank


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thanks for reading, exinco. Take a look at a few of the sites I mentioned! They clear up a lot of the mysteries.


DonnaCSmith profile image

DonnaCSmith 8 years ago from Central North Carolina

I am always reading or hearing about parts I've missed. That is because it comes on a 10 PM and I doze off. I have to get my grand daughter to fill me in sometimes. Love the show. I think it is the most creative writing on TV, just wish it came on earier.


nashomega profile image

nashomega 8 years ago

I have watched the starting it was GOOD but then i missed some episodes and when i tried to watch again... I was completely LOST!


Dr. LG profile image

Dr. LG 8 years ago from San Francisco

i recently started watching LOST when abc.com posted all of the seasons. i was captivated from the first minute and pretty much went through the first three seasons in one week. i LOVE it. this hub helps explain a lot of things i was still working through. thanks!!


Karen Ellis profile image

Karen Ellis 8 years ago from Central Oregon

Hi Amy,

I started watching Lost when it first came on, but I was soon lost, lost, lost.


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

Donna, I agree! It is such a creative show and so unpredictable. Evenmy husband, who figures out every plot twist of everything else we watch, can't fugire this one out!

Nahomega, you have to catch up! You really can't aford to miss a single episode :)

Dr. LG, thanks, and I am glad you found some explanations for your new obsession!

I know, Karen, I know! I think it gets clear every now and then, and then really foggy again. Stick with it if you can take it!

Thanks everyone for reading and commenting!


R. Martin Basso profile image

R. Martin Basso 8 years ago from California

Hi Amy;

I am a HUGE fan of LOST. This was a great article, that really pulls a lot of resourceful information together on this great TV show. I look forward to reading more of your stuff and hope you enjoy my writings.

R. Martin Basso


WeddingConsultant profile image

WeddingConsultant 8 years ago from DC Metro Area

Thanks for asking Amy...Zoe is doing great. I'm working on a hub for her now, but it's slow coming.Thanks for making those videos bigger! It helps tremendously to be able to see it.


roseflr profile image

roseflr 8 years ago from PITTSBURGH

Great Hub! This must be the most original and creatively written show ever on TV. Totally addicting. It really restores my faith to know that TV can be used for something entertaining and imaginative. Lost manages to be fun and adventurous, yet stimulates the mind to consider deeper mysteries.


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thanks, R.Martin Basso. I am glad you enjoyed it! And I will check out your hubs too. :) Thanks for reading!

Glad to hear little Zoe is doing well! She looks so peaceful snuggled up to her daddy. :) I appreciate you telling me about the videos - now everyone can see them!


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

rosefir, I agree completely! It is extremely entertaining, but explores the deepest questions and most complex relationships. The father / son relationship is a theme we see constantly, as well as faith or destiny versus science. Thanks for reading and commenting!


loldog4 profile image

loldog4 8 years ago

nice effort! this is a herculean task..


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thanks, loldog4! A bit of a lost cause? Thanks for reading:)


inkcarts profile image

inkcarts 8 years ago from Louisiana

Lost is such a great show! It's gettin good! Can't wait till next week. Thanks for the hub


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

You're welcome, inkcarts. Thanks for reading and commenting! :)


neil Taft 8 years ago

I am sorry to say that I am lost about Lost. I relized reading and watching these videos that I haven't seen many episodes at all. This old man is going to have to shape up.

I am also behind on my hubs. (-:

NEIL


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

Hi Neil,

You are not lost alone! There is plenty of time to catch up. Thanks for reading! :)


momma's write profile image

momma's write 8 years ago from NC

I love Lost! Your hub is very thorough, but it's great.


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thanks Momma's write!


dindin profile image

dindin 8 years ago from Texas

My wife and I love lost, but we always miss all the little clues. We love the characters.

Every week I say I need a flow chart to follow this :)


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

Hi Dindin, I agree, a chart would be helpful sometimes! I could have used one last night, trying to keep track of where the "6" were and how they were going to get back together to get off the island. I am also a little paranoid that Desmond is going to die, because he is last seen with Jin, and we already know Jin dies. :( Thanks for reading and commenting!


Craig Dewe profile image

Craig Dewe 8 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

Nice Hub amy jane.

I'm just glad the show is not going to suddenly end with this season. Lost is too good for it to end. With millions more shows, it's surprisingly harder to find quality. The irony of it all.


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

Hi Craig, I know, there is really not a lot on TV that really captures my attention like this either (although I am a loyal Grey's Anatomy fan). The producers have promised that Lost will stay through 2010, when it will come to a conclusion. They have also assured fans that the biggest questions will be answered, and that we won't be left wondering!

Thanks for reading and commenting. :)


Junkster profile image

Junkster 8 years ago from Liverpool, UK

Great Hub! I have to admit I did start to lose interest during last year's season but am so glad I stuck with it! This year's series is so much better and seems to be tieing up a number of loose ends...could this signal the end soon? Hope not!


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

Hi Junkster, thanks! I am glad you enjoyed this - don't worry, they will certainly give us new mysteries to ponder before the end! I agree, this season is better than last. :) Thanks for reading and commenting!


prasadjain profile image

prasadjain 8 years ago from Tumkur

Is it so worthy? How fool I am ,ididn't see even a single episode. Perhaps it is 4 a.m. in India and we are sleepy.How much pain you have taken to compose this hub. thanks for your labou. The responses indicate that your labour has satisfied many fans of LOST


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thanks Prasadjain! It is a really popular show here in the US. I don't watch a lot of TV (because most of it bores me really) but Lost has held my interest for years now. It is a puzzling show that tempts the viewer to try to figure it all out. Check it out if you get a chance! Thanks for reading. :)


xtnshun profile image

xtnshun 8 years ago from Reston, VA

Actually I've stopped watching lost - I just got the feeling they were making stuff up to hit there target end date. Great hub though!


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thanks xtnahun. Perhaps they are, but I tend to think that they had a good bit of it planned out in the beginning, or at least part of the way through the first couple of seasons. I like the wy they seem to tie everything together, although I will admit that some questions never got answered, and appear to have been forgotten. Thanks for reading and commenting!


Isolde profile image

Isolde 8 years ago from Boston, MA

I have tried to start watching the show so many times but get daunted by the complicated plot and frustrating clues! Thank you for this very very informative hub - maybe i'll just have to give the show another shot!


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

Hi Isolde, I know it is hard to follow! I have had to catch up by watching online several times. Missing even one episode will sometimes leave you in the dark about something! Thanks for reading, I hope you give it another shot! :)


Sophie Esperana profile image

Sophie Esperana 8 years ago from Los Angeles

this is a very informative hub. your explanation is waaaayy better than my boyfriend's (he's the one who made me watch the show, and got me addicted). will you write about the finale later on? i'll be back for sure! :D


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thanks Sophie! I may write about the finale later this week. I have to watch it again because I missed a few scenes. I also have to look around at the new emerging theories. :) Thanks for reading and commenting!


moonbun profile image

moonbun 8 years ago from London

What a brilliantly comprehensive hub!


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thanks momnbun! Now I just have to catch up with the latest from the season finale! :)


hopefully profile image

hopefully 8 years ago

Amy. what an inspired topic! I thought it was just me who was lost in Lost! Oh, yes the season finale! Need to catch up on that one too! Thanks for the info, look forward to any updates!


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

Hi Hopefully! Thanks for reading and commenting. You are not alone in your "lostness!" I am glad you enjoyed this. I will get around to updating it soon... :)


DJ Funktual profile image

DJ Funktual 8 years ago from One Nation Under a Groove

Great HUB Amy Jane! I'm such a Fan of They Might be Giants and so you can imagine my delight seeing one of their classics turned into a Lost commentary!

The QUESTION WE CONSTANTLY ASK IN MY HOUSE IS THIS:

Why Oh why would they give Mr. Ecko such a rich and detailed backstory with so many possibilities and then kill him off so abruptly and then have no one ever mention him again?

My guess is the actor and producers had a tiff. No other way to explain it. I mean they fired Libby and Anna Lucia for the crap they got into in Hawaii but...

NOT MR. ECKO! Besides Ben and Desmond, Mr. Ecko is My Favorite!!!


amy jane profile image

amy jane 8 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thanks Jamie! I love the way that song fits with the story line. I was so excited when I found it! They highlight such great moments too.

I will look into the Ecko thing - if there was a problem between the actor and producers it has to have been reported somewhere. I still haven't had a chance to update after the finale, so I will try to do both.

Ecko really was a fascinating character. I loved watching his transformation after the death of his brother.


daveearley profile image

daveearley 7 years ago from Chicago, IL

Great idea for a hub!  This show is confusing.  I remember some time ago, a black fog was threatening the island, and it(the whole story) was all inside Hurley's head.  Don't know what ever happened with that? 


amy jane profile image

amy jane 7 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thanks Dave! The black fog has dissappeared from the island - for now! I guess they'll bring it back at some point to confuse us some more. That seems to be common on LOST. :)


orionsky60403 7 years ago

This is like... seriously one awesome series. I'm on season 5 right now. I still need to catch up. =[

No time to watch yet.


amy jane profile image

amy jane 7 years ago from Connecticut Author

I have to catch up too! I'm hoping to find time to watch a few episodes in a row. It makes the story line a little easier to follow that way. Thanks for reading!


amy jane profile image

amy jane 7 years ago from Connecticut Author

Hi SJ - thanks! I will check out your weekly review. I need it! I can't seem to keep up with Lost due to my current schedule. Thanks for reading!


teenmusicscene profile image

teenmusicscene 6 years ago from Texas

Good hub, I just got into Lost last year but I love it.


amy jane profile image

amy jane 6 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thanks! It is a great show - and it's fun to go back and watch the seasons marathon style to catch up!


harrykelly profile image

harrykelly 6 years ago

good hub! im a LOST fanatic, and frankly i give you top marks brotha! since its season 6 now im assuming lots more mysterys will be uncovered, like smokie!


myawn profile image

myawn 6 years ago from Florida

I love the show. I think it is awesome they way the travel in time.But confusing also. I saw the new episode.Good hub!


amy jane profile image

amy jane 6 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thanks Harry and myawn! I'm a Lost addict, obviously. They have promised to answer all the main questions this season and not end the series with huge open questions.


StanBlack profile image

StanBlack 6 years ago from London

Things look promising for all the mysteries of the island actually getting answered this season. Though I have to say I'm not liking this alternate reality sideways time flashes. Its almost like JJ was like ooo swerve swerve even though its just a bit of a lame duck. I'm sure they will be interesting to watch but are they necessary for the story development ? I guess only time will tell.


jrcemail profile image

jrcemail 6 years ago

Yes, there were a bunch of questions answered so far this season. But there are still so many more questions!


amy jane profile image

amy jane 6 years ago from Connecticut Author

Yes, it has always been that way with lost! They answer a question you have been wondering about for ages, yet it leaves yet another - new question - unanswered.I think that is what keeps us hooked on the show. It is constantly leaving you questioning everything!


myawn profile image

myawn 6 years ago from Florida

Yeah I love LOST but I'm sometimes lost too. I have looked at the websites they help Nice Hub!


amy jane profile image

amy jane 6 years ago from Connecticut Author

Thanks myawn! Maybe someday I'll write a complete guide to understanding lost. This was really just a little glimpse into one season.


bruzzbuzz profile image

bruzzbuzz 6 years ago from Texas , USA

Damn, I really miss Lost. I don't know if there will ever be a TV show as good as Lost was. I am Lost without it. I am hopeful that they will make a movie. Good hub. Thanks.


amy jane profile image

amy jane 5 years ago from Connecticut Author

I really miss it too. I wish there was at least a show that could come close to entertaining me as well!


Twiddle101 profile image

Twiddle101 5 years ago from Unknown

I LOVE LOST!!! I LOVE SAWYER AND CHARLIE AND SAYID BUT I HATE JACK! BUT THE REST OF THEM ARE HOT!!!!


Nickalooch profile image

Nickalooch 4 years ago from Columbia, MD

Very well done. I just went and bought some of the blurays just because I miss the show. One of my top five favorite shows of all time and I really feel like its one of those shows that I could talk about at any moment. Great hub though.

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