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Lost

Doc Jensen

Flash-Forward Thinking

Lingering questions from the season finale of ''Lost'': Is Jack's dad alive? Who was in the casket? The Doc shares thoughts on those questions. Plus: a theory from another ''Planet''!

DEATH NOTICED Eagle-eyed ''Lost'' fans caught something very interesting about the obit Jack was reading on the plane, which enlivens one of the Doc's top…
DEATH NOTICED Eagle-eyed ''Lost'' fans caught something very interesting about the obit Jack was reading on the plane, which enlivens one of the Doc's top three finale mysteries

'Lost' (S3): Lingering questions from the finale

THE LAST DOC JENSEN COLUMN OF THE SEASON (PART TWO)
In which the finale is analyzed anew, mysteries are flagged and discussed, and a goodbye tear is shed. PLUS! Doc Jensen goes bananas with a new theory that's pure monkey business.

ONE WEEK LATER...
It sits well. Very well. The season finale of Lost's turbulent and ultimately triumphant third season did more than re-energize the series with new possibilities, grander ambitions, and, yes, more mysteries. In bringing together the lingering bits and dangling strands of the year — everything from Hurley's Dharma bus to the Room 23 film, Desmond's flashes to Sawyer's backslide into damnation — the producers of Lost proved themselves worthy of the trust they asked for earlier in the year when they insisted that season 3 needed to be assessed as a whole. Of course, that doesn't mean the artfulness of their execution isn't immune from criticism; even I have to agree with the chorus that the fall ''mini-season'' fell short. But in retrospect, can there be any doubt that season 3 did indeed have a grand design to it? By its climactic episode, the show earned the grace that faithful fans extended to its most patience-taxing installments. If there was ever a show whose seasons are greater than the sum of its parts, Lost is it.

But the finale accomplished something else, something pretty seismic, at least in my book: It liberated Lost from its mythology — at least for the moment. With some magical sleight of hand, the producers lured our geeky eyes away from the show's impersonal mysteries and captivated us anew with its people. What happened to Jack? Who is Kate's mystery man? Who was in the casket? Now don't get me wrong: We all still want answers about the Island, the Monster, the Dharma Initiative, etc., and the show BETTER give them to us! At the same time, to have the dramatic stakes of the ultimate endgame rooted in relationships and redemption gives Lost a better shot at an emotionally satisfying conclusion. Even a geek like me can see how that would be preferable to having Dr. Marvin Candle show up with a PowerPoint presentation revealing that, yes, the Island really does exist in Lynne McTaggart's conception of a ''zero point field.''

Bottom line, the finale affected me the same way it affected reader Jilianna Rice of Indiana, who writes: ''I have done the research, played 'The Lost Experience,' followed up on [the] Easter eggs, and read so many theories that I feel I could teach a class! But this finale did something to me. It feels like it has released some tension in a way. I have so many ideas of where this can go, [but] I feel like I would rather stop guessing and wait to be hit with it!''

Of course, you needn't worry: I'll keep thinking about Lost until brain transmutes into liquid and pours out of my nose. After all, that's my job! But what do you think? Send me your thoughts in the e-mail window below. And don't worry: You won't have to wait seven months for a response. (More on that later.)

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DOC JENSEN'S TOP THREE FINALE MYSTERIES

What I'll be puzzling over the most during the looooooong hiatus:

1. IN THE FUTURE, WILL JACK'S DAD BE ALIVE?

Why I'm intrigued: Because Jack's Dad should be dead! But in the flash forward, Jack referred to the unseen Christian Shepherd in the present tense.

What you guys are saying: Most of you are intrigued by the possibility that Daddy McDrinksalot has pulled a Lazarus. How can this be? The theories are flying. As all of us have seen, the Island does have unique healing powers. But can it bring the dead back to life? The example of Mikhail Bakunin would suggest yes. (Though you'd think the Island could do something about Patchy's fused-shut eye.) The Dharma mass grave would seem to suggest no. My hunch is that regeneration on the Island is a function of mind over matter. And since Christian came to the Island dead, I doubt he had the mind to accomplish the task. (Unless you subscribe to the Theosophical notion that it takes decades for consciousness to leak out of a corpse.) Perhaps powells.com Lost blogger J Wood is correct with his theory that the drama on the Island is rewriting history. Or perhaps the plethora of alternate-reality theories can explain Christian's resurrection, not to mention the other inconsistency in the finale spotted by Richard from Alabama and others: ''Why [was] Kate not in jail? I don't think surviving a plane crash would warrant a pardon for murder. Kate should be behind bars — but she is not.''

Regardless, reader Angela Peach took exception with my TV Watch suggestion that the (alleged) time-warp clues of season 3 were actually pointing us toward the flash-forward twist, not a literal warping of time: ''Isn't it possible that one of the things driving Jack to his drug addiction and despair IS the frustration of having to repeat the same activities over and over again?'' Adds Droobieboy: ''We still don't have any convincing explanation for why Naomi and Locke's [father] believe the crash left no survivors. As a result, I'm thinking we could still be dealing with all that parallel universe stuff that makes me wish I studied harder in physics class.''

Doc Jensen says: You've won me over! While I'm still not convinced that madcap quantum mechanics explains the mysteries of the Island, I have to admit the possibility is still in play. So here's my far-out theory: Jack's ''Dad'' is ''alive'' in the off-Island future, but he's not really Jack's Dad — he's an Island manifestation of Jack's Dad, conjured by Jack's subconscious. What if at some point prior to leaving the Island, Jack finds his father on the Island, brings him home with the castaways, and lives to regret it in a scary Pet Sematary kinda way?

NEXT PAGE: Mystery No. 2 — who was Jack mourning?

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