Hey Losties, if you’re still confused about this whole “Sideways world” after the first three episodes of the final season, don’t despair – turns out the cast initially had trouble understanding the time-tripping idea, too. When EW’s Totally Lost duo Jeff Jensen and Dan Snierson visited the set in Hawaii last October, Matthew Fox and company were still trying to wrap their brains around the implications of the flash-sideways device. “It completely shatters your concept of time and reality,” says Fox. “[Jack] doesn’t have any recollection of any other version of reality. And yet there’s something inside of him that feels slightly off balance and confused by the whole thing.” Evangeline Lilly, meanwhile, suggests that the Sideways conceit hinges on reincarnation mysticism, and believes that off-Island Kate “has those [castaway] years under her belt somewhere deep within her soul memory. She just doesn’t consciously remember them.”
As the series heads towards its May 23 finale, some of the cast members are taking a more “ignorance is bliss” approach, preferring to let the story unfold rather than guessing what will become of their character in the final episodes. Emilie de Ravin – whose Claire is back with a vengeance (and a wild-woman-of-the-jungle makeover) after being absent since season 4 – spent her time away from Lost shooting movies (including Public Enemies) and, well, not watching Lost. But with good reason: “Claire is so clueless about so much of the happenings on the Island that I feel like if I did really know everything,” explains the actress, “it would probably play a little differently.” And while Terry O’Quinn is now playing Locke as the physical embodiment of the Smoke Monster, he’s choosing not to engage in the debate about whether Smokey (a.k.a. The Man in Black, a.k.a. Un-Locke) is good or evil. “It’s a guess I don’t want to make,” says O’Quinn. “I consciously don’t flip that coin, because then I start leaning in a direction that I don’t necessarily want to lean.”
For more from Team Lost – including what lingering Lost questions exec producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse plan to answer in the show’s final seasons—pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands February 19.