- This article is about the episode. For the magazine issue, see The Beginning of the End (magazine). For the clip show, see Lost: The Final Season - Beginning of the End.
"The Beginning of the End" is the premiere episode of Season 4 of Lost, and the seventy-third produced hour of the series as a whole. It was broadcast on January 31, 2008. Feeling that their rescue is close at hand, the survivors don't know whether to believe Charlie's final message that the people on the boat are not who they claim to be.
On the Island
Hurley jumps for joy.
Hurley stands beside the DHARMA van, radioing Jack for an update on the call to the freighter. Jack confirms that he has spoken to the people on the boat and that Naomi's people are on their way to pick them up. Jack winks at Ben after informing an ecstatic Hurley that they're going to meet them by the beach so Hurley should pack his bags. Hurley runs to the others at the beach to tell them the good news. Jin and Sayid finish collecting guns from the dead Others who attacked them, whilst Juliet digs graves.
On the shore, Hurley tells Bernard that he won the lottery but that it was a curse, much to Bernard's disbelief. However, Hurley figures that since he's been presumed dead in the crash, his money will be all gone and that he will be "free." He decides he wants to do a cannonball dive into the ocean, reveling in his sense of freedom. ♪. When Hurley surfaces from his jump into the ocean, he sees Desmond returning to the beach in the outrigger. He notices that Charlie is not with him and heads over to investigate.
Desmond tells the people on the beach of Charlie's death.
Desmond informs everyone that the ship is not what it claims to be. They begin arguing over what to do. Sawyer wants to use the Walkie-talkie to warn Jack, but Sayid cautions against it, warning that the freighter people will be monitoring communications. Hurley interrupts when Sawyer starts to argue, grabbing the walkie-talkie out of his hand and throwing it into the ocean, saying they had better get going. Sawyer is amazed but now has to join the others who grab guns and head off to rendezvous with Jack and the rest of the survivors. ♪
Rose tells Claire that everyone thinks Charlie is a real hero.
At the radio tower, Jack and the rest of the survivors are preparing to be rescued. ♪ Sun expresses her relief at being able to deliver her baby in a hospital, Claire jokes about Sun rubbing it in. Rose joins them. Claire tells Rose that her husband was "quite the hero." Rose tells her that everyone knows Charlie is the real hero and tells Claire to treat him "real good" when he gets back. ♪
Still tied to the tree, Ben sees Alex and Karl happily talking and asks Rousseau to take Alex and flee, because he believes that everyone will die. ♪ When Ben calls Alex as his daughter, Rousseau strikes him viciously, saying "She's not your daughter."
Jack and Kate discuss their imminent rescue. Jack says that if he sees Locke he will kill him. They receive an incoming call on the sat phone from Minkowski, who says they are having trouble getting a fix on their location and they need to change some settings on the phone, and asks for Naomi. Not wanting to reveal Naomi is dead, Jack tells Minkowski that she is gathering wood, but Kate points out that her body is gone. ♪ Rousseau finds a trail of blood which she and Jack prepare to follow. Before they go, Kate tells Jack that she has found a separate trail and that she thinks Naomi may be trying to trick them. Jack says that Naomi is injured and isn't thinking about creating dummy trails. He drags Ben along because he doesn't trust him with anyone else. The rest of the survivors leave for the beach.
Kate, as Naomi drops onto her.
Jack, Rousseau, and Ben reach the end of what they realize is a dummy trail after all, and Jack realizes the phone is missing. Ben admits he saw Kate take the phone while hugging him, but decided not to say anything because he "owed Jack one." Meanwhile, Kate heads into the jungle to find Naomi on her own. She receives a call on the satellite phone and the caller asks to speak to Naomi, so Kate abruptly hangs up. She notices blood dripping from above and Naomi jumps onto her from an overhanging tree limb. Naomi holds a knife to Kate's throat and demands the phone. Kate tries to convince her the attack was Locke's doing alone. The phone rings and Naomi speaks to George, telling him she has been injured, but says she sustained her injuries when she parachuted onto the Island. She changes the tracking frequency of the phone, apologizes to George, and ends with "tell my sister I love her." Naomi dies watched by a shocked Kate.
Hurley peeking inside the cabin.
As the group from the beach trek through the jungle, Hurley falls behind and Sawyer drops back to offer his help. He offers to talk about the loss of Charlie but Hurley is unwilling. ♪ Hurley loses sight of the other survivors and as he gets lost chasing after them. He comes across a run down cabin in a clearing. Hurley hears whispers, and a light appears in the cabin's window. Approaching warily, Hurley looks through a broken window and sees a man in a rocking chair. A figure suddenly moves in front of the window and an eye appears. Spooked, Hurley trips over himself and runs away from the cabin. A moment later the cabin is somehow in front of him again but in a different location. He closes his eyes and tries to convince himself that the cabin is just an hallucination. When he opens his eyes, the cabin is gone. He falls on his back into a pit and Locke appears and greets him. Later they talk and agree that Jack should not have called the ship. He says it will be hard to tell everyone that there is no rescue. Locke says they will just have to otherwise Charlie will have died for nothing. ♪ They head off into the jungle to meet with the group at the beach.
The survivors choose sides.
Hurley and Locke reach Sayid and the others from the beach group, who have arrived at the cockpit. Sayid begins to argue with Locke, especially about why he blew up the submarine. Just as Locke is about to respond, they hear noises. The group from the radio tower has arrived. ♪ People hug and the reunion is excited and warm. Claire stands alone with Aaron looking for Charlie. Hurley approaches her with a miserable look on his face and breaks down as he tells her that Charlie is dead. They try to console each other. ♪ Jack goes up to Locke, knocks him to the ground, accuses him of destroying their one hope of rescue. He grabs Locke's pistol. Locke says Jack won't shoot but Jack pulls the trigger. It has no bullets. Jack begins to beat Locke and has to be stopped by the other survivors.
Jack and Kate look at the front section of the plane.
Locke tells everyone that they need to trust him, that the freighter people are dangerous, and that he intends to go back to the Others' barracks since it's the most defensible place on the Island. He asks them to join him, saying, "If you want to live, you need to come with me." Jack counters that Locke is insane, that only crazy people would follow him and that Locke always attempted to prevent their rescue. Kate arrives and announces that Naomi is dead, and that "they're on their way." Hurley makes an impassioned plea and says he is "listening to Charlie" -- he says that he trusts Charlie's message and joins Locke, followed by Claire, Rousseau, Ben (after sarcastically asking Jack's permission), Karl, Alex and (to Kate's surprise) Sawyer. Kate asks Sawyer what he is doing. He says he's doing the same thing he's always done - "surviving." ♪♪ Rose and Bernard still wish to stay on the island but don't trust Locke enough to join his group. Locke and his group leave in a tropical downpour. ♪
"Are you Jack?"
Later, Jack and Kate are looking into the nose of the plane. Jack says it feels like a hundred years ago that they came out to the cockpit. They reminisce about Charlie and their first trek together, while Jack wonders "how did this happen?" They hear a noise, which Kate initially mistakes for thunder, but which becomes clearer as the sound of a helicopter. They move into a clearing as a spotlight shines down at them. They see a helicopter above, flying somewhat erratically. Something drops from the helicopter. They run towards it and see a parachutist. The parachutist removes his helmet and asks, "Are you Jack?" ♪
Hurley's car chase as Jack sees it on television.
Jack is mixing a morning cocktail when his eye falls on TV coverage of police in hot pursuit of a speeding motorist in a Camaro, which Jack recognizes. The Camaro is cornered and crashes. The police draw their guns and order the driver out of the car. It's Hurley. He makes a run for it, and when caught, he yells, "Don't you know who I am? I'm one of the Oceanic 6!"
Hurley's vision: "THEY NEED YOU"
Hurley is in a police interrogation room where he is shown a video of himself in a convenience store paying at the cash register, then noticing something, "freaking out," and running out of the store. As he races out of the store, Hurley ends up in the police chase in which he crashed his Camaro. The cop interrogating him reveals that he knew Ana Lucia Cortez, but Hurley denies knowing her. ♪ While Mike is out getting a donut, Hurley sees a vision of Charlie in his hoodie swimming up to a window in the interrogation room, which is underwater, and opening his palm towards the window which breaks and the water gushes in. On Charlie's hand is written, "THEY NEED YOU." The cop enters the room when Hurley begins screaming and asks if he is trying to get tossed in the nut house because he can arrange it "right now." Hurley says, "You can?" and hugs the cop.
Matthew Abaddon at the mental institute.
Hurley is in the Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute and apparently happy. He is playing Connect Four when the orderly tells him he has a visitor. The man introduces himself as Matthew Abaddon and claims that he is an attorney for Oceanic Airlines. He tells Hurley that he/Oceanic wants to upgrade him to a nicer institute. Hurley says he's fine but Abbadon says: "Are you fine Mr. Reyes? You are in a mental institution." Hurley asks for a business card and when Abaddon can't produce one, Hurley declines the offer. ♪ Abaddon turns much more serious and asks, "are they still alive?" Hurley is startled and makes a scene claiming the man is after him. Abaddon quietly leaves.
Hurley and Charlie at the Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute.
Hurley sits in the grounds of the Hospital when Lewis comes over and says that a man is staring at him; he looks over to see Charlie. Hurley is shocked and refuses to have an imaginary conversation with a dead man. Charlie slaps him, telling him that he really is there, but that he is indeed dead. Hurley asks whether Charlie knew he was going to die out there. Charlie says because he would have tried to stop him. He says Hurley has to do something that he has been hiding from, the same reason that he ran out of the convenience store. Hurley says that he doesn't want to hear any more and closes his eyes and counts to five; Charlie tells him, "Don't do this," and then "they need you. They need you Hugo." When Hurley opens his eyes, Charlie is gone. ♪
Hurley and Jack playing HORSE.
Jack visits Hurley in the asylum and plays a game of horse (basketball) with him. The two discuss their current-day fame and Jack mentions he's thinking of growing a beard. Hurley is glad to see him but wonders why he came. Jack, after losing a few shots to Hurley, asks if he is "going to tell." Hurley doesn't respond. Jack decides to leave and grabs his coat. Hurley says he's sorry he went with Locke, and that he should have gone with Jack instead, which Jack waves away. Hurley wonders if they should go back to the Island and says "it" will do whatever it takes to bring them back. Jack says he will never go back to the Island, to which Hurley replies, "Never say never, dude," as Jack uneasily leaves.
- The previous two season premieres began in an unfamiliar location, and were meant to mislead the viewer into thinking that the scene did not take place on the Island. This episode's cold open has the same twist, but in reverse: The first shot appears to be of the Island, and the scene is then revealed to take place off-Island.
- A commercial for the movie Jumper aired during the Australian broadcast of the episode in which a logo from "Aero Grande Airways" appeared with the slogan "Get Lost With Us."
- The letters H and O show up several times in this episode. "H" is the 8th letter of the alphabet and "O" is the 15th, together this makes 815.
- While playing horse with Hurley, Jack gets the letters "H" and "O."
- Behind Hurley as he's freaking out over Abaddon, there’s a small sculpture of the letters 'HO' on a shelf.
- Hurley mentions Charlie’s ghost showing up in the convenience store right next to the "Ho Ho's."
- Randy Nations is seen filming the end of the car chase with a camera.
- Kate joining up with the rest of the group at the cockpit marks the first time that all of the living, free survivors of Flight 815 have been in the same location at the same time since "Live Together, Die Alone, Part 1".
- When Hurley is talking to Abaddon, the chalkboard behind them shows a drawing of a freighter, an island, and a shark. Another finger painting has the word "victory" painted in red.
Randy filming the end of the chase
- Hurley's cannonball is reminiscent of a real jump into the ocean taken by Jorge Garcia. According to the Season 1 DVD bonus feature "Welcome to Oahu", Garcia dived into the water as soon as filming was complete on "Pilot, Part 1", calling it "a little symbolic moment of triumph."
- When the camp splits, this is the last time Desmond, Rose, Bernard, and many other 815 survivors ever see Locke again.
- "The Beginning of the End" is the default title on Hulu for sneak peeks of future episodes of LOST.
- The eye Hurley saw is the same eye shown in "The Man Behind the Curtain".
- The existence of the Oceanic Six is confirmed in this episode. Hurley and Jack are confirmed to be members, and, although it was not stated explicitly, many viewers concluded that Kate was as well.
- This episode is rated TV-14-V.
Christian Shephard in Jacob's cabin.
- Originally, Hurley was going to come across himself in Jacob’s cabin, but the network urged the writers to change the scene to Christian Shephard, afraid it would set a precedent of weirdness.
- This episode has 17 credited main cast members, the most of any episode until the series finale which has 28 credited main cast members.
- Ken Leung (Miles), Rebecca Mader (Charlotte) and Harold Perrineau (Michael) do not appear in this episode.
- Daniel Dae Kim (Jin) appears without speaking lines.
- Jeremy Davies joins the cast as a regular in this episode as Daniel.
- Harold Perrineau rejoins the cast as a regular as Michael. The yet-to-be-introduced Rebecca Mader and Ken Leung also join the cast as regulars in this episode as Charlotte and Miles, though none appear in this episode.
- This is the first season premiere not to be Jack-centric.
- Even though the first flash-forward starts from Hurley's point of view, it cuts to Jacks perspective for a moment and then returns to Hurley's.
- This is the first season premiere not to begin with a close up shot of someone's eye.
- Hurley's underwater vision was filmed in an aquarium - the same set used for the Looking Glass's moon pool. Charlie was later added in.
Hurley painting and drawing.
- The painting that Hurley made of an Eskimo and igloo while outside on the hospital grounds was actually painted by Jorge Garcia during the scene. 
- This is the highest rated episode of Lost's season 4 on ABC with a total of 16.14 million viewers. No episode has rated higher than this since.
- An audio commentary by Evangeline Lilly and Jorge Garcia for this episode is available on the Season 4 DVD.
- A Lost: On Location for this episode is available on the Season 4 DVD.
- According to Jorge Garcia on his Geronimo Jack's Beard podcast, Simon Elbling was the actor whose eye was seen in Jacob's cabin. 
Bloopers and continuity errors
- Jack has lost a lot of weight between "Through the Looking Glass, Part 2" and this episode, despite their only taking place minutes apart. This was because actor Matthew Fox was filming "Speed Racer" during the summer hiatus.
- Minkowski's voice is different from the one heard in "Through the Looking Glass, Part 2".
- Blood covers Bernard's right cheek just before he hugs Rose, but when Rose looks at his face after the hug, the blood disappears. Furthermore, earlier on in the episode there was no blood on his right cheek while he was talking with Hurley about the cannonball.
- Hurley is soaked after emerging from his cannonball dive, but suddenly dry a moment later when talking to Desmond.
- When Hurley, Sawyer, Sayid, Desmond, and Juliet are walking through the jungle at night, you can clearly see sunlit trees in the distance behind them — the edge of the set.
The episode introduces a new theme for Hurley's mediumship, which appears on the Season 4 soundtrack as "Giving Up the Ghost". It also introduces a minor arms motif. A cue towards the end of the episode appears on the soundtrack as "Locke'ing Horns" and blends the themes earlier heard in "Looking Glass Half Full".
|Animals • Black and white • Character connections • Children • Coincidence • Death • Deceptions and cons • Dreams • Economics • Electromagnetism • Eyes • Fate versus free will • Games • Good and bad people • Imprisonment • Isolation • Leadership • Life and death • Literary works • Mirrors • Missing body parts • Nicknames • The Numbers • Pairings • Parapsychology • Parent issues • Pregnancies • Psychology • Rain • Redemption • Relationships • Religion • Revenge • Salvation • Secrets|
- Hurley's car chase was aired on Channel 8. (The Numbers) (Car accidents)
- Hurley crashes his Camaro into a parking lot full of mirrors. Breaking mirrors is often associated with seven years of bad luck. (Fate versus free will)
- Hurley plays Connect Four in the mental institution. (Games) (The Numbers)
- Charlie says "I am dead... but I'm also here." (Life and death)
- Jack and Hurley have their conversation while playing a basketball game called H-O-R-S-E. (Games)
- Also regarding H-O-R-S-E, H is the 8th letter of the alphabet, and O is the 15th. (The Numbers)
- Hurley sees someone's (possibly the Man in Black's) eye through the window of the cabin. (Eyes)
- Hurley is back at the Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute. (Isolation)
- Hurley lies about knowing Ana Lucia. (Deceptions and cons)
- Naomi seems to cover for the survivors, meanwhile using a code to warn her team. (Deceptions and cons)
- Jack asks if Hurley is "going to tell." (Secrets)
- Hurley has visions of Charlie. (Dreams and visions)
- When the survivor factions split, it starts raining. (Rain)
- Hurley gets connected accidentally to Ana Lucia through her former partner. (Character connections)
- Matthew Abaddon sits at a chessboard, on the light side. Hurley sits away from either side of the board, between dark and light. (Games) (Black and white)
- In the opening flash-forward, the design on Hurley's t-shirt features the phrase "Bad Luck." (Fate versus free will)
- Naomi is thought to be dead after Locke threw a knife into her back, but she is still alive for a little longer. (Life and death)
- Naomi leaves a trail of blood in the jungle then doubles back over it. (Deceptions and cons)
- Kate takes the phone from Jack's pocket while she hugs him. (Deceptions and cons)
- Sawyer refers to Hurley as "Ése," a term used to refer to a fellow person of Hispanic descent, most generally Mexicans. (Nicknames)
- Earlier he did the same in "Tricia Tanaka Is Dead".
- Sawyer also calls Desmond "Scotty." (Nicknames)
| Cultural references|
(direct references only)
|Art • Automobiles • Games • History • Literary works • Movies and TV • Music • Philosophy • Religion and ideologies • Science|
- Star Trek: Sawyer humorously calls Desmond Scotty when he first returns to the beach in a distressed state. This is a reference to the Scottish engineer on Star Trek. (Movies and TV)
- The Bible: Abaddon is the name for the "Angel of the Abyss" in Revelation. This angel does the work of God in binding Satan and hurling him into the Abyss. "Abaddon" means "destroyer," or "destruction" in Hebrew. More precisely, this name comes from the Hebrew root word aleph-bet-daled, which means "lost." (Religion and ideologies)
- H-O-R-S-E: Jack and Hurley play this basketball variation (pronounced as "horse"). With 2 players competing, player #1 is allowed to shoot from anywhere on the court and, if he makes the shot, then player #2 must duplicate the same shot from the same position. If player #2 misses, he receives the first "letter" from the word "horse." However, if player #1 misses his original shot; then player #2 is now free to shoot from anywhere on the court and, hopefully, force player #1 to try and duplicate his made shots. A player is knocked out of the game once he has enough letters to spell out the word "horse." (Games)
- Ladybug: As Abaddon sits at the chessboard when visiting Hurley at the institution, a picture of a ladybug is visible on the wall behind him. In ancient times, the ladybug was symbolic of the Virgin Mary (the red color symbolic of Mary's robes and the ladybug's spots signify the seven sorrows Mary experienced). The ladybug on the wall in the mental institution makes a reappearance on the refrigerator in Jack and Kate's apartment in "Something Nice Back Home". (Religion and ideologies)
|Comparative: Irony • Juxtaposition • Foreshadowing Plotting: Cliffhanger • Plot twist Stock characters: Archetype • Redshirt • Unseen character|
Story: Flashbacks • Flash-forwards • Flash sideways • Framing device • Regularly spoken phrases • Symbolism • Unreliable narrator
- Events are seen that occur after Hurley and Jack get off the Island. (Flash-forwards)
- Jack is considering growing a beard and isn't yet convinced that they should return to the Island. (Foreshadowing)
- Hurley counts to five to make Charlie disappear. (Regularly spoken phrases)
- Hurley tells Jack "never say never" regarding the prospect of returning to the Island. (Regularly spoken phrases)
- Hurley cannonballs into the water and comes out of the water to see that everything has changed. (symbolizes baptism; going down his old self "dies" and he rises out of the water being changed or "reborn" and he is completely different) (Symbolism)
- When confronted with Jacob's cabin, Hurley closes his eyes and ears to "make it go away" (and it does). Later, when confronted with Charlie, he does the same to the same results. (Foreshadowing) (Juxtaposition)
- Jack tells Hurley "we're never going back." Eventually, they do go back to the Island. (Irony)
- In "Through the Looking Glass", Jack tells Kate he thinks they should return to the Island. In this episode, it is Hurley telling Jack they have to return. (Juxtaposition)
|A-Missions • Crimes • Economics • Leadership • O-Missions • Relationships • F-Missions • Rivalries • S-Missions|
- By the end of the hour, the castaways are split into two factions: Locke's group, who believe the freighter people represent a mortal threat, and Jack's group, who don't. (Leadership) (Rivalries)
- Ben asks for Jack's permission when joining Locke's team. (Leadership)
- Kate takes off on her own to track down Naomi. (A-Missions)
- Jack and Kate reminisce about the time they came out together with Charlie at the front-section plane wreckage. ("Pilot, Part 1")
- Hurley tells Bernard he won the lottery. ("Numbers") ("Everybody Hates Hugo")
- Sayid asks Locke why he destroyed the submarine. ("The Man from Tallahassee")
- Locke explains he risked his life to expose Juliet as a spy. ("The Brig")
- Naomi tells Minkowski that she was injured when she parachuted onto the Island and was stabbed by a branch. Though this is not the injury that she is actually suffering from now, the incident did happen. ("Catch-22") ("D.O.C.")
- Several of the survivors reference Charlie's last message. ("Through the Looking Glass, Part 2")
- Jack tells Hurley that he's thinking about growing a beard. ("Through the Looking Glass")
- Christian Shephard is wearing a single white tennis shoe; the other shoe was hanging from a branch close to where Jack woke up after the crash. ("Pilot, Part 1") It is known that Christian was in the area at the time. ("So It Begins")
- Hurley is playing Connect Four at the Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute. ("Numbers") ("Dave")
- The season premiere follows a character's morning routine. ("Man of Science, Man of Faith") ("A Tale of Two Cities") ("Because You Left")
- The cop who questions Hurley is Ana Lucia's former partner, Mike Walton. ("Collision")
- Charlie slaps Hurley to prove he's real in the same manner as Dave did. ("Dave")
- The Camaro is the car which Hurley began to help his father fix as a young boy. ("Tricia Tanaka Is Dead")
- Rose tells Bernard, "I'm not going anywhere with that man," speaking of Locke. This is reminiscent of the last Hurley-centric episode, in which he told his father, "I'm not going anywhere with you," ("Tricia Tanaka Is Dead") as well as Walt's previously saying the same words to Michael. ("Special")
- Hurley crashes his Camaro into a parking-lot full of mirrors. ("Through the Looking Glass")
- The title of the episode refers to Ben's remark to Jack, "This'll be your last chance, Jack. I'm telling you, making that call is the beginning of the end." ("Through the Looking Glass, Part 2") Also this episode marks the first of the last half of the show, thus the beginning of the end of Lost.
- Jack yells to Hurley, "We're never going back!" - the opposite of what he later said to Kate, "We have to go back!" ("Through the Looking Glass, Part 2")
- Ben once told Jack never to say never at the prospect of wanting to return to the Island. ("King of the Castle")
- For fan theories about these unanswered questions, see: The Beginning of the End/Theories
- Whose eye appeared in the cabin’s window?
- How is the cabin able to move?
- Why does the cabin door open when Hurley sees it?