Lost: Why I'm Okay With Not Having All The Answers

[Lost spoilers, obviously]

For many years, I was one of those types of Lost fans. You know, the ones who read Lost forums for hours and talked incessantly about it around the proverbial and literal water coolers. I scoured those fake Dharma websites for clues and played the fake Dharma commercials in slow motion to catch every detail. Why did that statue have four toes? What made Walt special? Who were those two dashing Lost-ies in the background—the blonde and that guy with the silent "a" in his name? I wanted to see more of them. (Not really.) I wanted more mystery, but mostly I wanted answers, dammit. This all happened right around the time of Seasons 2 and 3. So fast-forward to this past Sunday: I'd just finished watching a Lost finale that was universally regarded as answer-free; as a friend of mine put it, the episode was deeply emotionally satisfying, not intellectually satisfying. But a funny thing happened after years of Lost answer fervor: I was alright with it. Nay, I enjoyed it.

I know what you're thinking, but the next sentence is not going to be, "Lost is about the characters, and seeing their stories resolve was enough." It wasn't. Certainly, characters are central to Lost—and every TV show, for that matter—but the show's intriguing world has always been a constant (hey-o!) in my enjoyment of this rich show. No, I still wanted answers. But in a weird roundabout (walkabout?) way, I got them.

So there's this glowing light in the middle of the island that has magical properties. No one knows where it came from, and no one knows what it's capable of. All they know—or at least, all they've been told—is that if it ever goes out, something truly bad will happen in the world. So they have to protect it at all costs. It's always been that way, and for generations, people like Jacob and CJ Cregg have blindly guarded the light without question, witnessing its mysterious power first-hand. People have been miraculously healed. Some live forever. Others have been hurt by its power, wandering aimlessly for eternity as a lost soul, or tormenting island-dwellers as a billowing smoke monster that sounds like, as comedian Nick Vatterott once put it, a taxi cab receipt printer. People don't understand the light, but have found ways to worship it nonetheless. In ancient times, some disciples built Egyptian-like temples and statutes. More recent explorers, called the Dharma Initiative, attempted to scientifically explain this mystical phenomenon, and failed.

Religion, much?

I should point out, without getting too into it, that I'm one of the least religious/spiritual people out there. But I realize now that Jack's journey from a man of science and logic to a man of faith is one I went on as well—at least when it comes to Lost. I still don't understand how the castaways created their version of purgatory or how it's actually set up. I still don't understand the intricacies of the light and Jacob's search for "candidates." And I certainly still don't understand what made Walt so special. But neither do any of the characters on the show. The island has come to represent faith, and because Jack found answers through faith, so too did I. In the world of Lost, I'm at spiritual peace in TV land.

I do have one question, though: In episode 03.05, "The Cost Of Living"…

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I was actually also strangly okay with the conclusion. But when ABC promoted the 6. season, we constantly heard the frase: THE ANSWERS ARE COMING. and that was simply not true. Typical ABC.
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First of all I really hate that in the end we didnt see Walt and his fother it was really dissapointing ... I think that this light which they showed us in the end of the last season wasnt really thought true ... it was some kind of bone for us ...maybe they just didnt know what to show to us or if they do it was a bit to late for this light ... I think they should make a move or final episode like Prison Break or something to put all the things together becouse I really want more CLEAR anwsers for myself. It isnt cool to have a billion questions in the end of the show
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With regards to Eko, I read that Eko was supposed to be in the finaly but when Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje was invited he was making huge salary demands. Therefore he was dropped from the finale. I also remember an interview by Terry O Quinn years ago, inferring that Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje and the rest of the cast and crew didn't really get along well - so that was one reason Eko was killed off earlier than planned. Its a shame if that's true... I thought the character was interesting and would have like to see more of a resolution to his situation beyond what was on-screen.
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I loved the finale of Lost. I think Christian Shepherd explained it beautifully to Jack, when he said that all the people in that church, built this place together. Who knows what brings us together. Why is the repore we have with some individuals so overwhelming while with others, next to nil. In retrospect in remembering those individuals who did not make it to the end, I believe there is a reason. Echo, Ana Lucia, Michael, to name a few were all responsible for ending the lives of others. They did not earn a place for themselves in the afterlives of our oceanic heroes. Ben although providing a large amount of evil, redeemed himself by becomine Hurley's 2nd. In his redemption, he became a welcomed member. Although forgiven , he could not forgive himself which is why he chose not to enter the church. Jacob and the Man in Black are representations of the almighty and the devil. Richard is the right hand of the almighty. He will go on forever helping others build the place they will go to when they die. Those individuals such as Boone, Shannon, Charlie, Libby, etc, who died earlier in the show and appeared as part of the end, were simply part of the order of things. Their demise brought them to where they had to be, because their contribution to the afterlife was completed. In the end they were reunited with the people with whom they built this afterlife. When Juliette blew up the island a purgatory was formed. Our heroes became part of a world which was not real. The passengers on board the airplane arrived at their destination, They interacted with friends, partners, and family members. These people were people they knew and loved when alive, and only part of this world which was a dimension separate from real life. They were important in the crossing over from life to death. Walt, can be explained by believing that he was returned to life because it was not his time to die. His contribution to the oceanic passengers journey into the afterlife was brief and no longer needed. He had to return to life. Walt is and was the only person to survive the crash. This is my take on lost
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If you refer to "Lostpedia" and its list of unanswered questions there really aren't that many that haven't been answered at least with inference or other results. Who was Jacob/MiB's "Mom" how'd she get there? Well if they went into that we'd ask who was the person(s) bestowing that power on her. The Island can be explained probably about as well as everyone of us being here? How'd we get here as Human beings? Depends on what you believe. A lot of answers can be derived in manner such as that. Why infertility? Something in the soil? I don't know but remember back when LOST was fixated on answering small nagging questions such as what happened to Montauge's arm? Did seeing Smokey rip it off satisfy you? At the time I thought it was all a bit unneccessary. At the end of the day no doubt C&L fumbled the ball, they were lazy about a lot of this kind of writing and follow up. At the end of the day, as much as some of that annoys me, the no answer or pretty weak just because answer, shouldn't detract from the fact this was a great show. I'm still miffed about S5 and the irreconciable time traveling, but hey it wasn't perfect. Very good show, flawed for sure but who isn't.
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check this post here:

http://www.spoilertv.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=19342&start=0
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Remember that in WHAT THEY DIED FOR,DESMOND said ANA-LUCIA wasn't ready?A lot of characters we didn't see in the Flash-Sideways were there,but weren't ready to move on...or "let go."
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I agree almost entirely with those who take the show on faith. I have just one problem:

If they weren't going to explain "what the island is" then why did they have richard say that jacob told him what it was? I'm cool with not having all the answers, but I feel like they were just playing with us there.
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I think the prime reason why Eco did not appear, or even mentioned, was that there was some problem with getting him at the show, so he was omitted from the script, which wasn't so difficult, since he wasn't all that important.
I don't know why he was killed be smokie, but I think that because of the flashbacks, a test of the island, in which he succeeded (of what I remember) to reconcile with himself for what he had done, he was omitted from the list of candidates, he was suddenly "killable" and smokie isn't known for his being oh-so-compassionate :)

As for Walt, I think that maybe he had a strange relationship with the light "commanding" or somehow arousing it to action island-like stuff and such.
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I loved the finale too
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was the article suppose to end with "I do have one question, though: In episode 03.05, "The Cost Of Living"…" because I don't see a next page option...

Totally agree with your article though, LOVED the finale!
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The ending was great, I don't understand why people can't just let go and realize how amazing the finale was.
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I don't really care what happened after the show ended. Don't care what happened to the island after Jack put the cork back in or the survivors left the island. Don't care how Richard went about living his life a hundred years after being shipwrecked. A time travelling island, a wheel that made Benjamin disappear off the island and in the middle of the desert, a disappearing reappearing cabin surrounded by the salt with an invisible person in a rocking chair, a temple. I mean, honestly, is anyone satisfied with how Locke and Eko were written off the show? Or that Walt was made to look so important only to have him seemingly mean nothing? Or how eerie they made Vincent seem, only to have him disappear for 3 seasons. I mean, the writers admitted they didn't know which way to take the show to the end until mid Season 3. Then they basically just threw the first two seasons out and said, "Let's start from here". I mean, honestly, they answered the most mundane questions like the two dead bodies in the caves, questions nobody cared about, and completely ignored some of the biggest questions that they asked. The final season was chock full of action, but the "flash forwards to deaths" were completely useless. I watched the series finale, not expecting answers to all the questions, just expecting an answer to this current season and I was sorely disappointed. Just a stupid, sappy way to end the series. "Maybe if we make everyone cry, they'll forget about all the time they invested into the show." That's one of the reasons the show became so successful.
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I liked the finale but I also agree that a bit more info on the misteries woulda been nice. Specially since they used em to lure fans in with all the mythology and wierd sci-fi stuff. We can guess or theorize about the island to death but in the end who knows what the truth was. In that aspect I didnt get closure. Not sure if they are gonna include some answers in the dvd set but sure would prove an amazing marketing strategy so we all go buy it once it comes out.
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Personally I don't feel the need to watch a show like this with a "checklist of mysteries" that I can tick off as they are answered. I'd much rather have resolution regarding the characters that I've come to know over the past six seasons.



At the end of the day, who cares what the light was exactly - to me it's fairly obvious what it was and I can make my own meaning out of that without being spoon fed. It's kind of like watching the Star Wars movies and feeling dissapointed because you really didn't find out exactly what the Force was.
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This is a great article... and before whilst reading all the other articles/opinions about Lost ending and couldn't understand why people can't let go of the unanswered questions and just enjoy the finale. You put my thoughts of the finale just right. and i enjoyed your article.
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I think all the haters are missing the bigger picture here. I took the finale to mean that we're all broken/lost and looking for answers. But if we focus only on finding out what it all means, we'll miss the important connections to the people that shape our lives. And no, I'm not some sappy, religious nut! I'm actually quite cynical and pessimistic. So when the finale ended, I was shocked that I was so moved emotionally by an episode that gave me no answers, while answering all of them at the same time. We can't get answers to questions that the Losties never got answers to either. NO ONE really knew what the island was...that was never the point. The point was learning to accept, let go and enjoy the adventure of life, wherever it decides to take you. Best show ever in my opinion!
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I felt cheat. Not by the finale of Lost itself..that was fine, but with the fact that Ashes to Ashes - another great UK series - had a similar end and concluded just threee days before Lost. So there were two great series with a similar ending. Tomorrow I will watch the last episode of the Sopranos. I hope that ending is not like: they're all dead and meet in the world between.
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My opinion?

The lost producers insulted viewers right up to the last minute of the last episode.

They dragged it out for six years and never really answered anything, and in the end, making everyone dead was a joke.

It was six years of unanswered and unnecessary misery, yes misery and violence for the sake of violence.

If you think it was a happily ever after you're wrong, why did everyone have to die? why couldn't time just reverse itself or do a big reset, and why couldn't Jacob's "powers" have been used for good?

What stupid insulting dumb one dimensional story telling, as usual they just played with everyone's emotions with the "remembering" and the reunions.

Don't fall for it folks! they had a chance to do something good with the story and they wasted it.

They never answered the question that they pitched, "why are we here" and "what is the island" The series was too vague and so badly written. An intelegent and properlyt written Jack and Kate and Sawyer and Locke and Hurley would have asked so many proper questions like "Hey Jacob, what do you believe? what is the island?, tell me about the temple? how did you make Richard Alpert never age?

The writers put so much violence and suffering into the show to make the viewers sad and angry but there was never any happiness or peace, in fact it promoted revenge, hate, being cynical, and the message that it's ok to get even or lie under desperate circumstances or commit murder.

The show also insults God, because God would never treat people like that or rip them away to some ridiculous bright light or condone murder.

What a pity, some wonderful moments, yes moments, but ultimately it was empty, unfulfilling and miserable, you used us and sucked us dry!
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Well, for one, in an interview the producers said Widmore was lying about Jacob visiting him since Widmore isn't a very reliable guy. That and the show implied this anyways. The season 4 scene with Ben and him, Widmore said "That island's mine, Benjamin. It always was. It will be again" certainly gives that idea that he has a strange sense of entitlement over it. Widmore likely knew about the cave and the light already from his time on the island, which is safe to assume, because otherwise why would he have tested that device on Desmond? It's not as difficult to figure out as you're making it seem. I don't need the answers spoonfed to me, they're right there to deduce from the info they've presented. And did you ever think that maybe Jacob was saving Sayid from getting hit by that car too? It's not for certain but it's just as much a possibility as the idea that he allowed Nadia to die. And really now, it was obvious that by the end of season 5 they knew what purpose Jacob was going to serve to the overall story. That whole conversation on the beach with MIB did happen before Nadia's death, you know, the scene where he was basically saying humanity was capable of good and making progress. There's a lot more evidence to back that up than your baseless assumption that they had no idea if he was good.
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Like I've said in all the other articles *oops* is that the mysteries, for me, were just a HUGE twist in the plot...I don't think they could have answered all the questions and even then I'm pretty sure most of you would have been even more upset by the answers, at least this way you can make up your own. Being on the side of "team-characters" I found the final hugely emotional and actually thank the writers for choosing to focus on the characters - of whom we can relate to, ie if they focused completely on myths, we would all be asking "what happened to so-and-so?!" Hehe, I guess, whatever way they chose to finish it: we'd all still be ranting about one thing or another. But whichever way you look at LOST - you can't deny the fact that it was a truly brilliant show!
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Yeah, vsthe revolution, and you know all this how? And Widmore knew about the cork, and what it would do, how? That's quite a little leap you're taking. Can you explain the other thousand things that don't make sense as well? How 'bout just one more, then. Why did Jacob kill Sayid's sweetie? Oh, wait, I know, the writers didn't know Jacob was the good guy when they wrote that scene, and they just love senseless killing whenever possible, oops...
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I can answer a few questions for you. I'm sorry you're pissed and hate it, but you're entitled to your opinion and I'm gonna respect that. Charles Widmore wanted the power, just like Ben originally did. He lied about Jacob coming to visit him. He wanted Desmond to remove the cork because that would make MIB mortal, he could kill him, and he could use force to become the next Jacob. He'd have more power over the island than his first reign as leader of the others and an extended lifespan which I'm sure sounded great to him at his age. Jack was injured by Locke the same way Locke was able to be injured. When Desmond removed the cork, the rules Jacob and his mother had chosen no longer applied. This was the window of opportunity for Jack to kill Locke.
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"THE LOVELY BONES" anyone??? (movie i HATED btw)

I mean come on, that's all the writers could come up with. An alternate world where dead people on their way to heaven are kinda waiting to get together on a journey through light to meet God???

ridiculous.

truth is, if you didn't get any answer, it's simply because the writers didn't have them. they kept raising questions for the sake of it, without even thinking about if answering would be useful or if these questions had plausible answers in the first place. Bad, bad, very BAD story telling.

Sorry, but i'm pissed. As a screenwriter, I would've done so much better with such a rich idea to start with. They ruined my hopes.

Some basic questions such as: what the fvck was Charles Widmore's story all about??? How come Jack, who drank the magic potion from the stream and therefore became invincible, still managed to get injured by Locke with a knife? Really, from A to Z, i get you may be in denial, you at one point you have to admit this show didn't make any sense from season 4 and on.

I would've preferred an island-focused explanation and not character-focused by far. I don't know, but even a bermuda triangle explanation i would've preferred than this stupid melodramatic explanation of death.

If you wanna watch a true season finale, try a show like "6 feet under".
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I never expected the island to be explained. I didn't care about the mythology at all (my least favorite aspect of LOST) but I do understand it was a huge part of many people's enjoyment, and I am sad for them that they didn't get their answers. I want ALL fans to be satisfied. The last thing I want to hear are people,,fans saying LOST (the greatest show ever) sucks
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I dont agree . The writers should had respected us with given answers not all the years watching Lost finishes a totally disaster. And i would have accepted few unanswered questions but not this
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Ya know, ever since the finale, I've read as many viewer comments as I could knowing there were other people that thought this finale was the biggest rip-off in TV history, and I've found many. But mostly, I've found massive cases of complete denial, like this very article and many of its comments. C'mon, people, screw the numbers, they had this guy turn a wheel beneath the island, and it disappeared - poof. And then they had people bouncing around in time, only to find themselves 30 years in the past, for no rhyme or reason. They had this 2000 year old guy who could transport himself to any time or place he wanted and could do pretty much anything, like kill Sayid's own true love on a whim for no apparent reason. Then... a bunch of them survived a nuclear blast at ground zero, and continue to live on an island that had sunk to the bottom of the sea - and all this without getting wet. And finally, they got this guy pinned down by a giant tree, and then magically we see him running around like it never happened. And this same guy killed several people in cold blood, again, for no apparent reason. And you don't want to know why any of this stuff happened!?! And there's more, much more, so much it would be futile to mention even a small portion of them. And it all happend because of a light in the ground, sorta blocked by a large stone cork!?! And was the reason they all ended up there - and they were all wrong about it???!!!!! Man, I gotta tell ya, now that's storytelling! And none of it meant anything?!?!? It's denial, pure and simple, denial, denial, denial...
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I am satisfied but like most still have this deep void b/c there's some things i wish were answered at the end of the day. If all the numbers were't important much like everything else the show was essentially a mind blowing imaginary stimulation at the end of the day for me. Still Love Lost
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The show wasn't that complicated. It was just a bunch of overpaid writers making things up as they went along. Every season they would just add more mystery. Sometimes the espisodes were great but think about it did they answer any of the mysteries? The only thing it answered was the smoke monster. Face it people we were had! Shame on the writers for starting something they didn't finish. As the saying goes; "Fool me once...."
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I think what the finale taught us as viewers is that many of the mysteries raised on the show were best taken at face value. Hardcore fans complicated the show for themselves by assuming every revelation had further meaning, while in hindsight mysteries such as the button or the time-traveling were a lot more self-contained than they believed. I guess the lesson I took away from the Lost experience and that I will carry along on other serialized shows is that while it's part of the fun to anticipate the twists and turns, it's even better to let yourself be taken along for the ride.
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To the writer of the article... You sound just like me and everyone else who is just trying to kid themselves into thinking it's okay cos if you gave into ur true feelings you'd probably smash your tv to pieces. This article is true denial on your behalf.. But it's not ur fault, it's the only way people like us can accept that we wasted too much energy on this great show that fell flat on it's ass in the end.
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100%, absolutely agree with this article.
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At the same time, though, you have to acknowledge that there have been shows out there that HAVE done what Lost didn't do--provide satisfying answers to questions and take there characters through a really incredible journey. Look at Buffy the Vampire Slayer: that show ended with a whole new potential story, but it brought its main characters full circle. Willow worked through her magic addiction issues, Buffy got to become a normal girl without giving up her slayerness, which made her unique, Xander came to terms with his commitment issues and Anya, and Dawn accepted her normalcy after being the Key. All while wrapping up the season- and series-long arc. So while I agree that there's a spiritual and emotional satisfaction to Lost, I still think there's plenty of ways it could have been better.
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This is how I feel about it. I went into it wanting answers, expecting to be frustrated if I didn't get any of them. And yet when it was over, I was totally satisfied, and there were barely any answers to be found, at least pertaining to the sci-fi elements. But that's fine by me. A lot of them can be deduced from both how they were presented and all the scattered clues in the series. The big questions, like science vs faith, and what happens to all the characters in the end, those were answered. Some people want concrete answers based on science but honestly if they claim they're smart enough to understand the finale and still not like it, why aren't they smart enough to deduce the sci-fi answers for themselves? It's not that difficult to put the pieces together. I love how they only gave you answers to what the characters cared about and left the rest up for interpretation. And I also love how it stayed true to human nature in that some answers in life just aren't attainable. Some will call it a cop out but I disagree. All I know is during the finale I realized I prefer a great and moving story over a bunch of answers to questions that really aren't that important. So glad it wasn't just like BSG where characters like Anders become mouthpieces for rushed explanations. What's important is this show made me feel something. That might not be what's important to those who are unsatisfied, but it is to me. I don't imagine finding another group of characters as unique and likable as the ones on Lost ever again in a TV show. That was what made it special. And they held true to that to the last frame.
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Love it or hate it, the fact is that the finale is just that: final. It was a fitting end to a series that brought amazing characters to your living room and made you think about life, death, science, faith, and so much more for 6 years. What will you do now? You can't get that from The Jersey Shore or The Hills. http://www.thesmogger.com/2010/05/24/and-in-the-end/
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Completely disagree, you can't just ignore a significant part of your story as it leaves holes in the plot.
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THe producers did say they weren't particularily happy with how they killed Eko, so I wouldn't worry too much about The Cost of the Living
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I totally agree, the finale inspired me to watch it one more time from the beginning I think more answers will come out on repeated viewing. Anything that wasn't explained can remain for ever a talking point where you can put your own interpretation in place. Lost was always mysterious and confusing and will remain that way forever, that's the perfect ending.
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I was fine with it. If they had tried to explain it, it would probably end up worse. One of the stories here would be titled "You Call That An Explanation?"
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Fans are either "men of faith" or "men of science" (ladies too). So if you were the old Jack, you want answers to every mystery. If you are like the real Locke or later Jack, you had faith in the show & were OK with this finale. A fully explained show would be dull, the journey is better than the destination.
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