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A cliffhanger ending is a plot device in which a movie, novel, or other work of fiction contains an abrupt ending, often leaving the main characters in a precarious or difficult situation. This type of ending is used to ensure that, if a next installment is made, audiences will return to find out how the cliffhanger is resolved. Many Lost episodes cut to commercial breaks or end on a cliffhanger, and since the middle of season 3 almost every episode has ended on a cliffhanger.
The end title card used at the end of every episode
Episodes that end on a cliffhanger
Note: Whether an ending is a cliffhanger is largely a subjective determination. Therefore, this list should not be considered definitive.
"Pilot, Part 1"
- "Pilot, Part 1" - The death of the Pilot.
- "Pilot, Part 2" - The discovery of the transmission.
- "Solitary" - The first whispers are heard.
- "Raised by Another" - Claire and Charlie's kidnapping by Ethan.
- "All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues" - The discovery of the hatch.
- "Special" - Claire's return.
- "Numbers" - The numbers are seen engraved on the hatch.
"Deus Ex Machina"
- "Deus Ex Machina" - The light in the hatch.
- "Do No Harm" - Jack goes to find Locke.
- "The Greater Good" - Sayid forces Locke to take him to the hatch.
- "Exodus, Part 1" - The discovery of the Black Rock.
- "Exodus, Part 3" - The opening of the hatch and the attack on the raft and kidnapping of Walt.
"Man of Science, Man of Faith"
- "Man of Science, Man of Faith" - Desmond is revealed as the man in the Hatch.
- "Adrift" - Sawyer, Jin, and Michael meeting the Tailies rather than the Others.
- "Abandoned" - Shannon is shot and killed by Ana Lucia.
- "What Kate Did" - Michael makes contact with someone who appears to be Walt on the computer.
- "The Whole Truth" - Gale's "got any milk?" speech about the Others.
- "Lockdown" - Sayid reveals that the body he found was the real Henry Gale, thus making the prisoner a liar.
- "Dave" - Libby is shown in the same mental hospital as Hurley.
- "S.O.S." - The return of Michael.
- "Two for the Road" - Michael shoots Ana Lucia, Libby, and then himself in the arm.
- "Three Minutes" - A boat appears at the end of Ana Lucia and Libby's funeral.
- "Live Together, Die Alone" - Jack, Kate, and Sawyer are taken by The Others and Locke lets the timer reach zero, the aftermath of the system failure is not revealed, and Penny is revealed to have discovered the Island.
- "Every Man for Himself" - Ben reveals to Sawyer that they are on a seperate Island.
- "I Do" - Jack initiates his plan to allow Sawyer and Kate to escape Hydra Island.
- "Flashes Before Your Eyes" - Desmond reveals that his flashes are of Charlie's imminent death.
- "Par Avion" - Kate, Sayid, Locke, and Rousseau discover Jack seemingly happy playing football in captivity of the Others.
- "The Man from Tallahassee" - Locke discovers his father is on the Island and being held by the Others.
- "One of Us" - It is revealed that Juliet planned to infiltrate the survivors camp.
- "Catch-22" - The parachutist is revealed to be Naomi and not Penelope.
- "D.O.C." - Naomi claims that the remains of Oceanic 815 have been found with no survivors.
- "The Man Behind the Curtain" - Ben shoots Locke and leaves him for dead in the mass grave.
- "Greatest Hits" - Charlie discovers that the Looking Glass isn't flooded and finds two women living down there.
- "Through the Looking Glass" - Jack's flashbacks are revealed to be flash-forwards, and in the flash-forwards he and Kate have escaped the island.
"The Beginning of the End"
- "The Beginning of the End" - A man from the rescue freighter lands on the Island after parachuting from a Helicopter, and asks "Are you Jack?"
- "Confirmed Dead" - Ben reveals he has a spy on the freighter.
- "The Economist" - Sayid is revealed to be working as an asassin for Ben in the future.
- "Eggtown" - Kate's "son" is revealed to be Aaron.
- "The Constant" - "If anything goes wrong, Desmond Hume will be my constant" is revealed to be written in Faraday's journal.
- "Meet Kevin Johnson" - Karl and Rousseau are shot by an unseen sniper, and Alex is left pleading for mercy, saying she is Ben's daughter.
- "The Shape of Things to Come" - In the future, Ben reveals his intent to Widmore to kill his daughter Penny.
"Meet Kevin Johnson"
- "Something Nice Back Home" - Sawyer finds Aaron alone in the jungle but Claire is nowhere to be seen.
- "Cabin Fever" - Locke tells Hurley and Ben that in order to save the Island, they must move it.
- "There's No Place Like Home, Part 1" - Keamy knocks Ben unconscious with his gun.
- "There's No Place Like Home, Parts 2 & 3" - The Island moves. In the future, the person in the coffin is revealed to be Locke.
- "The Lie" - Ms. Hawking tells Ben that he only has 70 hours to reunite the Oceanic Six.
- "Jughead" - Charlotte Lewis begins bleeding profusely from her nose and collapses.
- "The Little Prince" - Jin is alive on the Island and meets a young Danielle Rousseau.
- "This Place Is Death" - Ben, Sun, Jack, and Desmond meet Eloise Hawking, who prepares to start their journey back to the Island.
- "316" - Jack, Kate, and Hurley are held at gunpoint by Jin, who is wearing a DHARMA jumpsuit.
- "He's Our You" - Sayid shoots young Ben and runs away into the jungle.
- "Some Like It Hoth" - Daniel unexpectedly steps out of the Galaga.
"The Incident, Parts 1 & 2"
- "Follow the Leader" - "Locke" informs Ben that he plans to kill Jacob.
- "The Incident, Parts 1 & 2" - Juliet detonates the hydrogen bomb.
"LA X, Part 2"
- "LA X, Part 2" - Sayid comes back to life.
- "What Kate Does" - Claire is seen on the Island again after 3 years.
- "Lighthouse" - The Man in Black, using the appearance of John Locke, enters Claire's hut. Claire tells Jin it is not John, it is her "friend."
- "Dr. Linus" - Charles Widmore is coming to the Island in a submarine.
- "The Package" - Sayid sees Desmond is "the package".
- "Everybody Loves Hugo" - In the flash-sideways timeline, Desmond intentionally runs down John Locke with his car, leaving him badly injured.
"Everybody Loves Hugo"
- "The Last Recruit" - Widmore starts bombing the Man in Black's group. The Man in Black carries a stunned Jack to safety, telling him he is "with him" now.
- "The Candidate" - The Man in Black swears to finish what he started, and kill the remaining candidates.
- "What They Died For" - The Man in Black tells of his plan to destroy the Island.
Lost: Via Domus
- "Force Majeure" - Beady Eyes attacks Elliott.
- "A New Day" - Ben, Tom, and Juliet encounter Elliott in the jungle.
- "Via Domus" - The hatch explodes.
"Worth A Thousand Words"
- "Forty-Two" - Sayid and Jack throw Elliott into the armory as a prisoner.
- "Hotel Persephone" - "We know what you did Elliott Maslow. And we will find you."
- "Whatever It Takes" - The Others capture Elliott.
- "Worth A Thousand Words" - Elliott awakes at the beach camp for the second time, and sees Lisa Gellhorn, alive and well.