We have asked from the beginning whether Lost creators J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof ever had a master plan for the show’s tangled web of mysteries. Committing to a show that would take (and has taken) years to reveal its secrets hinged on whether or not the initial mysteries really pointed to something bigger. After all, we’ve had our hearts broken before. Twin Peaks collapsed after wrapping up the mystery of Laura Palmer’s demise. The X-Files limped on into mediocrity. Many expected Lost to simply implode on itself, another casualty of creative minds spinning an intricate tale without a clue as to where it was all headed.
For many, Lost assumed the mantle of cult phenomenon as early as its fourth episode, “Walkabout.” As the mysteries unfolded into the third season, cracks started to show. Once audiences followed Jack to Thailand to get his tattoos, we began asking the question in earnest: Is any of this actually going somewhere?
David Fury, who wrote the famous Locke-centric “Walkabout,” dashed any such hope back in 2005, telling Rolling Stone that most of the show’s early plot developments were created on the fly. Ain’t it Cool News recently asked first season co-producer Jesse Alexander if the notion of time hopping the castaways to 1977 (a major story arc last season) was ever discussed during his tenure in the writer’s room. His answer? An emphatic "no."
Meanwhile, various comments throughout each season’s DVD commentaries or special features hint that the series writers have spent significant time mapping the show’s trajectory. Lindelof and co-show runner Carlton Cuse have insisted in interviews, most recently this past Monday for TVGuide.com, that they developed a mythology with a specific story conclusion in mind. That conclusion, they maintain, has never wavered, only shifted to accommodate characters and events as they developed.
So the question is: how much of Lost’s enigmas and unanswered mysteries find their answers in this developed mythology? Will we learn what makes Walt so special? Had the writers always determined to “move” the island? What’s the real significance of Jack’s cryptic tattoos?