A while back someone posted a pretty cool article called "The Top 20 Mysteries of the Last 20 Episodes," or something like that. I liked this idea and have actually compiled a list of the top 34 mysteries of the last 17 episodes... that's two answers per episode, if we're going to get them all (which we're not).
I'm interested in your thoughts, your theories, which ones you really want to know, which ones you don't care at all about, and even what you think the likelihood is that each one will be answered. Also, what did I miss?
The questions are listed roughly in order of significance to the whole show, at least as far as I can guess. Smaller, overly-specific tagalong questions that tie to a larger question are listed with the larger question. (You'll see what I mean.)
Enjoy! Here's hoping we get our answers to most of these by next May.
1. What is the Island? What is its purpose? What is the nature of its powers, and where did they come from? How is this related to space and time travel? How does it have the ability to heal some people, and how does it choose who is healed? In what ways does the rest of the world experience what happens on the Island?
2. What is Jacob’s story? What is the source of his powers and his connection to the Island? Why does he appear not to age? What is his mission? Can he predict the future, and to that end, did he have the runway built specifically for Flight 316?
3. What is the true purpose/mission of the Others? How did they come to be indoctrinated in this mission? Why are they willing to die for it? How do they choose the people on their list? On what basis do they decide who is “good,” when they themselves have committed such horrific acts?
4. Who is Jacob’s nemesis? Why did he kill Jacob? What was the loophole, and accordingly, what was the loop? What did he mean when he said that it always ends the same when “they” come (with corruption and destruction), and what does did Jacob’s response mean when he said that it only ends once, and that everything else is just progress? Why did he need Locke's body to execute his mission?
5. What is the real significance of the numbers? Why do they need to be entered into the computer as a result of the incident? Why were they being broadcast over the radio tower, and why did the two men who picked up this broadcast end up with such horrible lives? Did the numbers really bring Hurley bad luck?
6. What is the smoke monster? How does it decide what forms it can take? If it really is tied only to dead bodies on the Island, then why did Darlton confirm that Shannon’s visions of Walt were a manifestation of the smoke monster? Were Hurley’s visions of his friend from the hospital also manifestations of the monster?
7. Who are the Adam and Eve skeletons? How long have they been there? Why were they each holding a black or white rock?
8. What really would have happened when the numbers ran down if Desmond had not turned the fail-safe key? Would the result have been felt on the outside world? What was the result of him turning that key? Why did he not just turn it a long time ago? The Others said that the result of the “sky turning purple” was that they could leave the Island but never come back; is this still true?
9. Where did the Black Rock come from? How did it end up in the middle of the Island? Who was on it when it arrived, and what happened to them since? Is this the same ship that Jacob watched nearing the Island as he spoke with his nemesis?
10. What is the Temple? What happened to Rousseau’s team after they were dragged under it?
11. Why is there a very large Tawaret statue on the Island, and what happened to the rest of it? Why has Jacob chosen to live under it?
12. What is the mission of Ilana’s group, and how did they come to have this mission? What does it mean to be a “candidate?” What does knowing the answer to the question “what lies in the shadow of the statue” prove? Why were they so concerned with the broken ash around Jacob’s cabin, and why did they burn the cabin? When Ilana said that Jacob had not been there for quite some time, does that mean that he was not in the cabin when Ben and Locke went to see him?
13. Was the true purpose of the Dharma Initiative fully elaborated upon, or is there more to it? What happened to make them “abandon” their purpose in the 1980’s? Why did they continue to stay until the purge of the 1990’s?
14. Why is Aaron so special? Why did the Others place such a high premium on delivering him and keeping him? Why did Malkin tell Claire that she must be the one to raise him? What did he see? What has been the “unseen” result of Kate (and Claire’s mother) raising him instead? Why did Charlie have such vivid dreams of Aaron needing to be baptized? Is there a significance to how randomly Claire came up with his name? Why did Charlie posthumously communicate to Hurley that Jack is not supposed to be raising Aaron?
15. What is Richard’s story? How long has he been on the Island? Why and how did Jacob make him not capable of aging? How did he obtain his role, and how does he choose the group’s leaders? Why did he groom Ben to be the leader when Ben was obviously not the one they wanted?
16. What happened to Claire? Is she still alive, and if so, how did she survive a house falling on her? Why did she abandon her baby? What was she doing with Christian inside Jacob’s cabin? Why did she appear in a dream telling Kate not to bring Aaron back?
17. Why were some Flight 316 survivors moved to 1977, while the rest ended up in 2007? What circumstances would have made all of them end up in the same place? On what date did Flight 316 actually depart, and what date is it in 2007?
18. Why is Widmore so intent on finding the Island again? Why was he helping Locke to get there? What war was he referring to, and how would the wrong side win if Locke were not there?
19. What is the source and the result of Walt’s powers? Was he abducted by the Others for the same reasons as the other children? Why did Ben say that they got more than they bargained for with him? What kinds of tests was he being forced to take? Was he really the one communicating with Michael on the computer? Was there a correlation between his powers, the magazine he was reading, and the polar bear who attacked him? How did he appear to Shannon, Sayid, and Locke? Was his being “taller” when he appeared to Locke significant? Why did Walt have dreams of Locke in a suit, surrounded by people who were trying to hurt him?
20. What was Ethan really doing with Claire? How much of Juliet’s description of his motivations was a lie? Why did Ethan kill Scott, hang Charlie, and attack several other survivors to support his mission? If he was really trying to help, why did he not just tell that to Claire and the other survivors?
21. What is the sickness? Does it even really exist? What was the purpose of the shot? Why did Rousseau equate her team’s behavior with a sickness? Is this the same sickness that Kelvin and the Dharma Initiative purported to believe in?
22. If the Swan station’s sole purpose became protecting the Island from a dangerous electromagnetic buildup after the incident, then what was its original purpose? Why was the computer only to be used for enter the numbers, and how would violating this rule potentially cause another incident? Was there any unseen result of Michael using the computer to talk to the person claiming to be Walt?
23. When Miss Klugh was being held at gunpoint and told Mikhail to shoot her, he responded that “there is another way.” What is the other way?
24. What was the purpose of the Pearl station? Why were the Dharma members made to believe they were documenting a useless activity in the Swan? Why were they made to write specific notes in journals, only to have the journals dumped in the middle of a field?
25. What are the ruins? Where did they come from? Are they related to the Tawaret statue, or something else?
26. What did Locke mean when he said he “looked into the eye of the Island” in season one?
27. Why were Sawyer and Kate the only survivors taken and forced to work on the runway? Were they intended to play a larger role in the Others once this was done? Why did Ben preface the experience to Kate as two very unpleasant weeks? What was to happen after the two weeks?
28. How did Rousseau live on the Island at the same time as the Dharma Initiative for several years, but never come in contact with them? Were the Dharma people hiding in similar fashion to the Others, or is this simply a continuity issue?
29. What is in Hurley’s guitar case? Why did Jacob give it to him?
30. Why did a bird screech Hurley’s name at the end of seasons one and two?
31. Why did the Dharma Initiative keep polar bears? What were the circumstances that led to the bears attacking the survivors? Is there more to know about them?
32. Where did the food-pallet drop come from? How did the plane that dropped the food find and leave the Island so easily? Why did that plane make no attempt to rescue the survivors?
33. What is Libby’s back story? How did she end up in the mental institution?
34. Why can no one on this show seem to effectively communicate? If all the people who claimed to be allies just sat down and compared notes… especially Desmond and Juliet… couldn’t they pretty much figure out all the mysteries on this list in about twenty minutes? Why didn't Jack ever ask the Others a straight-forward question? Can anyone finish a newly-introduced thought without being interrupted by something going on somewhere else? Is this all going to end up being some really lame, "Heroes"-esque conclusion that should have been wrapped up in a season and a half?