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What Was Lost About...really?

Updated on July 14, 2022


Lost was a television drama that aired between 2004 and 2010.

It was the story of survivors of a plane crash on a strange island in the South Pacific.

It had a large ensemble of characters and told each story in flashbacks.

It had very high ratings and won many awards.

I Know

This was a very controversial topic. Hopefully, the passage of time, and reflections will dissipate some of the attitudes imbued by the creators of the show that it was not about purgatory.


If you had never seen LOST and someone gave you the first few seasons, what would you think it was about?

Coming In Cold

As in my 'if' above, I came in 'cold'.

By the time I saw the first episodes the last season was already in production.

I did not belong to any Lost site, had never discussed it outside of my narrow bands. I was certain it was a story of purgatory.

The reason I felt this was based on the survivors.

It seemed to me, those who had died in the crash went where they were going. Those who survived had issues to be resolved. Hence, here they were, on this weird island where 'normal' no longer existed.

Each Character seemed to act out their 'real' selves or the selves they wished to have been.

In Sarte's "No Exit" , a very famous literary work, three people find themselves locked in a hotel room they can't leave. It is not until the end we find out they were in purgatory, each living the aspects of their lives and unable to leave because of something they had done that had not been resolved.

I viewed "Lost" in that light.

The Characters

John Locke was a nobody. An unwanted nobody. Tricked, he had given his kidney to his suddenly appearing father, thinking he was on the way to reconciliation. His father later threw him from a window.

In his mind, in Cyberspace, he could be a great military hero, in real life he was no body. He had no body. He was a cripple who said; "Don't tell me what I can or can't do!" which of course doesn't go over big when one is in a wheelchair and others can walk away.

On the island he is not simply able to walk, he is a powerful man. A power leader, a man who can hunt, who can live off the land, who can survive better than anyone.

Where this 'takes' him is where he would have gone if he weren't a cripple. This man, on this island is his essence.

Boone + Eko+Shannon


He was so in love with his sister that his life was completely sewn into her pattern.

As he breaks free, as he becomes himself, he dies.

To me, this was the actual proof that each of these characters would survive long enough to complete their 'cycle'. Solve their problems.


Eko was a Nigerian mercenary. He had wanted to be a priest, instead was a child soldier who grew into a blood thirsty murderer.

He could play the Priest on the island or the murderer. And when he could be the Priest, he let go of life, and became who he had wanted to be.


She was always without purpose, she lived her life off her money, off her appearance, off men. On the island she was no body. Asked to help decipher some maps, she began with the typical disclaimers, then, she realized that she had a purpose. And this changed her. There was nothing more for her to accomplish. Hence, she died.

A Lot of Issues

Those survivors who had complex issues, such as Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Sayid, could not solve them with one incident, or complete their existence without having to work through a number of these issues.

Through their flashbacks one saw how complex their lives had been how many wrong turns they had made, how difficult it would be to repair when they did not appreciate what was broken.

Yes, I Know

I know that the creators of the series have frequently denied that the island was purgatory, yet, the movement in time, the strange occurrences, the physical changes in Jin and Locke can not be easily explained, nor can the last episodes be understood without some reference to something like purgatory.

The Creator can deny and deflect, but there is no way to reconcile the plots unless it is purgatory.


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