Answers.

That's what we were promised, that's what most of us want, that's what's at the crux of so many people thinking the producers haven't known what they're doing all along, or even believing, as one friend told me recently, "they just take a handfull of stuff and throw it against the wall and see what sticks."

Well, I get that. I do. I completely and totally disagree, but I get that. So for you readers who fit that category I present this special edition posting that catalogues all the questions as I've compiled them. If you have more, whether answered or unanswered or posed by Season Six, by all means, leave a comment and we'll add them to the list.  

This little exercise has showed me that we've gotten more answers through the first nine hours of Season Six programming than we might realize. And if Ab Aeterno is any indication, they're going to start compiling in spades. So this is a good time to take a look at these things.

I still believe that "the Man Behind the Curtain" is rarely as exciting as the mystery itself, and LOST has truly bore that out over its history. The idea of what could be in the Hatch was so much grander than the answer which we now accept as part of the lore of the show. And truly, let's not forget, that this show is about two very important things:

  1. Characters who are dynamic like few others on television, who change, who become redeemed, who continue to fail, who continue to grow. As they are ever-changing so is the plot, so is the story, so is the mystery, so are the answers and the questions.
  2. A bigger picture being revealed slowly but surely. My friend and boss's boss Chad Nykamp likens it to Plato's metaphor of "The Cave," in which both these characters and we the audience began life not questioning the world we were given - one where, essentially - our heads were bound to only look forward in the darkness upon shadow puppets played upon the wall. Gradually, we are allowed a bit more and a bit more vision until our reality completely changes, and the small things that once seemed so tantamount just aren't that important anymore in the light of the bigger, more colorful story going on outside.

And LOST has been that way. In 2004 I would have described it as the story of a bunch of hurting people in need of redemption marooned on an island together who had to pull together to survive a plane crash. And there were a few weird things about this place and their stories, by the way. Now, in 2010, that's been completely flipped, mirrored if you will. We might describe the show as a huge mystery about heaven/hell, good/evil, won/LOST... and the people are incidental to the larger, grander plan, which was gifted to and for them all along anyway.

Every time those characters demanded answers they were either withheld for their own good, for the timing not being right to understand, or because faith was required of them. Every time they were promised answers it was from a growing malevolence that has had us viewing - at different times - each of the following as "the bad guy" -- from Sawyer, to Tom, to Ben, to Abaddon, to Widmore, to MIB. And it's possible we still aren't done with that progression.

Do we demand, do we believe, do we take joy in the journey to trust in the truth of the great story's Big-Picture ending? Maybe your choice depends on what you find below, and whether or not the progress is satisfactory to you at this late date in the show's run. So let's check it out.

The following questions are ones that I compiled during my January marathon watch-and-blog of the first five seasons of LOST, the ones that were still left open - by my reckoning - going into the final season.

ANSWERED!

What is "the sickness"?
The sickness Danielle warned Sayid about is the same darkness that has overtaken Sayid and Claire. It probably begins with dying or almost dying, and from there being "infected" and "claimed" by Smokey. It doesn't appear related to the sickness quite possibly concocted as a hoax by the Others to keep folks from leaving the Swan hatch (as in the Quarantine warnings), or to the time-travel sickness that killed Charlotte in Season Five.

What is the statue with the 4-toed foot, and how and when did it crumble?
The statue was of Taweret, the hippo-headed goddess of childbirth for the Egyptians. Jacob lives inside a chamber below her right foot. She crumbled in 1867 when the Black Rock, riding a huge tidal wave, was forced into her. What we don't know is why she guarded the island, whether she has anything to do with the fertility issues (not like there were tons of women on that island having tons of babies pre-1867), or why the Egyptian themese are so prevalent (have also seen heiroglyphs in several places, a relief of Anubis with Smokey, etc.)

Does Smokey truly possess dead bodies? Hasn't it appeared in forms other than persons or animals who have died or been dead on the island?
It would appear he does not "possess." Just "appear as." It does appear that everyone or thing he has appeared as has been quite possibly dead, but not necessarily dead on the island. Usually, it is some one or thing from a person's memories.

How did Ben get a cancerous tumor so aggressive that it could be inoperable in one more week on an island that heals everyone else of diseases, including cancer?
This was probably a part of Ben's faith being tested. His bitterness over this led to him being succeptible to MIB's manipulations. His angry questioning of Jacob before he stabbed him was devoid of him realizing that while Jacob might have caused or failed to prevent the cancer, he also quite possibly provided the healing hands of Dr. Jack Shephard to make it better.

Why are there bodies still chained up in the Black Rock? This would assume everyone died when the ship crashed on (or was transported to) the island. Either that, or it assumes that those who survived didn't care to release their prisoners from their chains if they were alive, and didn't care to bury them if they were dead. Why not?
We now know that Richard and other slaves were prisoners held below, and Whitfield killed all of them but Richard out of fear that if they were released, they would overpower the ship's officers.

Is Claire alive, dead, or somewhere in-between?
Claire almost certainly died in the mercenary attack on her barracks house, got infected and claimed, and now is "sick." She mirrors Rousseau as the island's resident crazy outdoorsy chick.

What happened to the Black Rock after it set sail in 1845? How did it end up so far inland?
We know that Jacob called it to the island, and a huge tidal wave washed it a mile into the jungle. What we don't know is: What secrets does the ship's journal contain? Why have they never been made public? How did it fall into the hands of pirates, or get off the island in the first place? Why was Torvard Hanso selling it at auction, and why did Widmore buy it?

What is the purpose of the ring of ash surrounding the cabin?
We know that ash keeps Smokey out, as it did when Bram protected himself (momentarily) with a circle of it around himself. We don't know WHY, though. We also don't know why a cabin belonging to Jacob would need to be ashed-off from the MIB. They've visited each other plenty of times before. Did the ash perhaps keep Jacob trapped inside, such as when Locke heard someone say "Help me"?

Was Ethan involved in the Purge, too?
We never saw him, but he would have been around 15 at the time, and was born to Dharma parents with the last name Goodspeed. We know he rejected this name and chose the last name Rom and joined the Hostiles, like Ben. 

Widmore says he knows WHAT Ben is. Does this have anything to do with how Ben survived his gunshot wounds as a kid, and Richard said he would be forever changed?
Quite possibly. Mostly, though, we know more about the procedure Ben underwent in the Temple Pool that healed his wounds and saved him, but did not work with Sayid, probably because of the discoloration, probably because Jacob was dead.

Why and how did Jack get sick (appendicitis)?
This was really bugging Rose, the way it happened at a key time, and that it happened on this island where people get better instead of sick. Thing is, it had to happen. In one timeline Jack had appendicitis as an 8-year-old. And we know that certain major life events have to have occurred in any timeline a person enters.

What is 'the war,' and why does Widmore say it is coming? Has it not already been going on?
Well, we're smack in the middle of it now, with Smokey going all freight train on the Temple. We still can't be 100% certain of which side is "the wrong side," but are pretty sure that means Smokey.

Does Kate ever get to fulfill her purpose for going back to the island - to find Claire?
Yep.

What is Richard Alpert?
Richard is basically Jacob's "prophet" to the Others, the one who serves as a go-between for Jacob and the people he has recruited that fit his belief in humanity's basic goodness. He is a Spanish man from the mid-1800s who arrived as a slave on the Black Rock and was saved, oddly enough, by Smokey, who then tried to get him to kill Jacob by promising that Richard could be with his dead wife Isabella again (hey, did anyone ever stop to think that MIB was going to make good on this promise to Richard and Sayid by killing them, sending them off to the afterlife to see Isabella and Nadia?). Richard doesn't age because of Jacob's touch/gift, which was granted so that Richard could avoid paying for his sins in death.

How did Christian's body become reanimated?
Better put, this question should now read, where did Christian's body go? Because we pretty much know MIB does not "possess" bodies, he merely takes the form of them, as he has done with Locke. We're pretty certain, though, that whenever we saw an animated Christian Shephard that it was Smokey. There are problems with this, though: 1) like we said, where is his body (we know where Locke's is; where's Christian's? 2) Ghost Christian has appeared off-island, which is seemingly something Smokey can't do (go off-island, as he complains about being trapped there an unable to leave). But Christian appeared to Jack in the hospital one night after the O6 returned (and the "smoke" detector malfunctioned!), and he appeared on the freighter telling Michael his work was done. Was Jacob perhaps appearing as Christian in these scenes? Has Jacob ever appeared as Christian?

PARTIALLY ANSWERED

What is 'the Monster'?
What we know: The MIB/Smoke Monster are the same entity. He lacks a body, but can appear as those who are dead. He has described himself as a man, and talked about having had an insane mother. He seems to like killing people. He can not penetrate ash circles, or perhaps he can once there is no longer a Temple Master.
What we don't know: His name, from where he came, why he wants so badly to leave, where he hopes to go, why he requires followers, what happened to his body, what his job as a "security system for the temple" was all about (or whether that was a lie or a mistaken claim), or why Ben/The Others were able to summon it.

Who are the Adam & Eve skeletons, and what is the significance of the black and white stones lying with them?
What we know: One is male, one is female. They don't appear to have died of any trauma. We know Rose and Bernard flashed back to the 70s and intended to live our their lives there. The stones could be clues that this was our favorite interracial couple. There are anagrams that suggest this is the Nadlers (their last name). During this season's visit to the caves, Hurley postulates that these could be some of their 815 compadres.
What we don't know: Anything for sure. Could be anyone. But it sure feels like Rose and Bernard. And anything else at this point is going to seem kinda strange. Also, I don't think we'll be going back to the caves. Why else have Jack & Hurley stop there on their way to the Lighthouse if not to kinda-sorta bring this loose end to something of a conclusion.

What are The Numbers?
What we know: They still keep popping up all the time; they correspond to 6 "candidates" to replace Jacob as island protector; they are written down in the Lighthouse and in the seacliff cave;
What we don't know: How did they end up being so many things (Swan hatch serial number, winning lottery numbers, etc.)? How does the extra-canonical "Valenzetti Equation" (in which these numbers are part of an attempt by scientists to predict the end of the world) play into it?

Did the lists come down from Jacob regarding who the Others should kidnap? How is it decided who is "good"/worthy, and who is bad?
What we know: Jacob did utilize Richard and the making of lists to reveal his will to his people. We also know that not being on a list doesn't necessarily mark one as bad; you might just have been a candidate on a different, cooler list instead.
What we don't know: How the lists were acquired by Richard, what other sorts of things Jacob had his people do.

The missing section of the Swan Orientation film - who spliced it out and for what purpose? Why hide it in the Arrow rather than destroying it?
What we know: I think we learned that it was Radzinsky who made the edits. Why would he edit out the warning about not using the computer to communicate?
What we don't know: Any reason for having done this... except to hide information from the audience.

Why did Eko survive his first meeting with Smokey when others have not? Or, does that mean, for example, that it was NOT the first time the Pilot or the officers of the Black Rock had met Smokey?
What we know: Smokey smokes whom he wishes, outside of those he's been told he just can't kill. Those he lets live he seems to have manipulative purposes for. Juliet, Ben, Locke and Richard also survived staring into it, as did Montand, maybe, for just a minute. Everyone he let live is someone he went on to manipulate for his own ends (though I'm not sure how this applies to Eko. Eko seemingly went through the judgment process, and when he refused to be repentant, was summarily squished. Was this Smokey doing his actual job / function, or going rogue?)
What we don't know: Smokey's motives, or intended purpose, which both would go a long way toward answering this question.

Why is heavy turbulence involved in getting to the island?
What we know: 815 Survivors - plane broke apart. Desmond - violent storm. Danielle's crew - violent storm. Faraday's crew - extremely rough chopper ride. Ajira 316 - rough weather / crash. Black Rock - tidal wave. Can we just assume the "bumpy ride" Ethan and Richard once warned Juliet about is part-and-parcel with following the narrow bearing that can lead one to the island? If Jacob truly called all these people, it stands to reason that they might need to be wrecked with little hope of getting off the island.
What we don't know: What causes the turbulence.

What is Jacob?
We we know: He has lived a long time; he sees himself as the protector of the island; he has an enemy who he describes more as "an old friend who grew tired of my company"; he has power to summon people to the island, give them long life, give them purpose as candidates through touching, and perhaps heal mortal wounds (like with both Locke after he fell 8 stories, and Dogen's son); he believes humans are fundamentally good, and wants to prove it while also remaining separate from them, not telling them what to do. He can not forgive sins or bring the dead to life. He seems to represent Order, and inhabits man-made places (statue, lighthouse, cabin).
What we don't know: Who created or birthed him, whether he is related to MIB, how long he has been here, whether is is demi-god or human.

Who is right, and who is good in the battle for the island? Anyone?
What we know: There are either two or three (Jacob, MIB, Widmore) sides doing battle now. They have gone to such lengths to convince us that Jacob is good, and that the MIB's plot must be prevented, that to pull a switcheroo twist on us now would be as close to unfair as could be.

Why "God help us all" if the O6 plus Ben plus Locke don't all get back to the island? For that matter, why do folks like Hawking even let Benjamin Linus go along for this trip? Why is it essential that he be part of the group that returns? He wasn't on the plane the first time, and it is assumed that exiled leaders are not allowed to return.
What we know: There is indeed something major at stake about the island if the cork metaphor is true. And the candidates did indeed have to go back so one could become the new Jacob.
What we don't know: Why Ben came back, or was needed to come back, or allowed to come back. Other than that he's quite possibly the coolest character on the show of course.

Did Ben know he'd need the Hyrda Island runway one day? Was it him who had it built, or was it someone else (Jacob, Richard)? Whoever commissioned it, how did they know it would be needed?
What we know: The runway allowed Lapidus to safely land with Ben, Sun, Ilana's group, Locke's body, and himself.
What we don't know: Whether the runway will also be used for 316 to take off, or whom it most benefitted: Ben, who got to return; Jacob, who got his candidate Sun and his protectors Ilana & Co. to the island; MIB, who got Locke's body.

Did the bomb work as they hoped, or didn't it? If it did, how will the show go on? Will the characters know each other?
What we know: There is an alternate version of 2004 in which the island is underwater, and the characters don't know each other, but have vague deja-vu's of recognition and remembrance. For the most part, their lives seem to be better. Juliet told Sawyer, "It worked" as she was dying.
What we don't know: How this is all going to resolve.

UNANSWERED (But I'm Expecting an Answer)

How did Jack get into the bamboo forest so far away from the crash when nobody else did? Any parallel to him ending up there in Season Five?
Theory:
I think this may be one of the final questions answered, and perhaps one of the keys to unlocking the whole mystery.

How did Hugo get the nickname Hurley? Is it even important?
Theory:
Hurley made a big deal of this early on, about how he was "not tellin'" anyone why he has that nickname. We've never come back to it. I suspect this could end up important based on something I speculated on in my last post about how so many characters have names, nicknames, or fake names that don't divulge their true identity. And I wonder if that could come to be important.
Related Question: What of the "Hurley Bird"? The producers have been awfully secretive about the large bird that flew out of the canopy twice calling Hurley's name (this was way back during the march where Michael led his friends into the Others' trap so he could get Walt back). It's long been my speculation that perhaps 1970s Hurley taught this bird to say his name during his days there, but who knows?

What do the psychic's prophecies and warnings about Claire's baby mean? Why can't Aaron be raised by anyone but Claire? (Or is it just important he not be raised by "An Other?")
Theory:
Aaron has now had 3 mommies. And the MIB just told Kate that Aaron's mom is crazy, just like his own mother was. Could Aaron be the next MIB? Is this why there's always been this ominous feeling about that child? I think the real answer here lies in a DVD extra that I have not seen, but which a friend told me about. I never could wrap my head around how Mr. Malkin the psychic - right around the same period of time in 2004 - was so standoffish with Mr. Eko about no-such-thing-as-miracles and his own being a fraud, when he also seemed so convinced about Claire/Aaron, and tried so hard to get her on that plane. What my friend told me about is a deleted scene in which Malkin was paid a large amount of money by an unseen source to convince Claire to be on that flight. So perhaps the real question is: who most wanted Aaron to be born on the island? And was there really a concern about who raised him, or was that phrase just a way to scare Claire into not giving him up for adoption in Australia?

How did a small prop plane get from Nigeria to the South Pacific?
Theory:
It flew over the spot in Tunisia where you get dumped if you turn the donkey wheel, maybe? Needs to be explained, though.

How did backwards-talking Walt appear to Shannon, how did he know the information he provided (about the Hatch button, and people who are coming), and why does he talk backwards? Were these just visions in Shannon's head (we can assume no, since Sayid does see him, too), or was Walt somehow projecting himself to her?
Theory:
Now that we now more about the themes of mirrors/reflections in the show, does that have something to do with the backwards talk? We also saw Locke show up inexplicably wet one time (the time he blew up the sub). Another question: why did Walt (in backwards speak) warn them about pressing the button (he said it was "bad"), when we know the button was good and it was most certainly necessary to press it? Unless of course what happened (such as Desmond's new powers) was what needed to happen as a result of the Swan implosion.

Did Ben intentionally get caught in Danielle's trap?
Theory:
This one's open for interpretation. Whether Ben meant to get caught or not, he used it to his advantage toward his goal of infiltrating the 815ers.

Why did the Others want baby Aaron? Was it only to do with their conception issues, or was it something more specific about him?
Theory:
Did they perhaps receive a list from Jacob with the directive to acquire Claire's baby?

How is it that Dharma is still dropping food and supplies on the island in 2004, so many years after the Purge? How do they do it (we saw how difficult it was for Faraday & Co. to parachute in)?
Theory:
Was the food drop dropped in another time period and it landed in this one? Is it even an air drop at all, or just staged by the Others to look like one?
Related Question: Why is Ben's refrigerator full of Dharma food products? Where do they keep coming from? Why does Dharma continue to ship food if Ben & the Hostiles wiped them out? Don't they realize nobody is doing their projects?
Seriously, this has bugged me for a long time, and I'm fresh outta theories on why Dharma products continue to show up in 2004.

Libby Stuff: What was Libby doing in Santa Rosa? Will Hurley ever figure out where he knew her from? What is her last name? Did someone send her to "coincidentally" meet Desmond and offer him her boat The Elizabeth for his race?
Theory:
We'll see Libby at some point in the new-815 Side-Verse. There's always been plentiful speculation that she's a Widmore or worked for him. And if you consider her roles in the lives of the very-important Hurley and Desmond, was she perhaps an Abaddon-like personage?

Who is the "great-but-unforgiving man" Ben once told Locke was "in charge"?
Here were my musings on that back at Milepost 11 of our journey: "The man in charge, John, he's a great man, a brilliant man. But he is not a forgiving man. He'll kill me because I failed." -- Ben, to Locke. So, here's the thing: on one level Ben is talking about himself, in which case this would be filed under Characterization - Ben is unforgiving and does not tolerate failure. On another level, it sounds as if he's talking about some sort of god, but definitely not THE God that I know. Sounds more like his counterpoint Satan. On yet another level, he could be speaking of either Jacob, or even possibly the Man in Black. It's a statement I still haven't figured out."

Why does a captive Ben say the line, "God can't see this island"?
Theory:
We know the island is invisible because it has probably moved just barely ahead in time in relation to anyone looking for or observing the spot where it's supposed to be. But come on, if migratory birds can find it, so can God. Unless this is a clue to it being so far removed from God (i.e. the Hell / cork keeping Hell bottled up metaphors of our most recent episode) that it's beyond His care or observation.

Has Walt, as Miss Klugh asked Michael, "ever appeared in a place he wasn't supposed to be?"
Theory:
Well, he did show up dripping wet to Shannon. And to Locke at the edge of the skeleton pit. Until this minute, I believed it was Smokey in Walt form telling Locke to get out of the pit. But then I considered: he usually shows up as someone who has died... and Walt did not die. He was very much alive in NYC. So might this have really been Walt somehow astro-projecting or what-have-you to Locke?

When Locke, rendered mute, built his sweat lodge, he wrote to Charlie that he needed to "talk to the island." Inside, he sees a vision of Boone. Was Boone a hallucination, or was he representative of the island - either as Jacob or MIB?
Theory:
Locke was then tasked with saving Eko from the polar bear. Which seems like a such a pointless thing if you're only going to kill Eko the next episode. So I'm going with Smokey making Locke go get Eko for him so he could judge-and-squish him.

Why do pregnant women on the island die, and when did that start happening? If Juliet the world's greatest fertility researcher couldn't do anything about it, who can?
Theory:
We know Ethan was conceived and born on the island in 1977. He's the last one we know of who fits that description. Aaron was born there, but not conceived there. Ji Yeon was conceived there, but not born there (I still think this sets these two child characters up as somehow having something to do with one another somewhere in the story arc). My primary theory is that "the island" was displeased with Ben and the Others "cheating" when they moved into the Dharma barracks. Perhaps their problems with childbearing would have been solved if only they had moved back out to the wilderness.

How did Ben know the date would be about 10 months different in Tunisia than from the island after he turned the donkey wheel? Why is it so?
Theory:
Uhhhhhhhh...

Why can't Ben kill Widmore?
Theory:
We know there are rules that have to be respected, whether by agreement or design. Perhaps leaders of the Others are unable to kill each other.

If Desmond's vision - the one that convinced Charlie to sacrifice himself in the Looking Glass - involved "Claire and Aaron getting into a rescue helicopter," why didn't this happen? Theory: Was the picture changed when Desmond dives down to the station, too? Perhaps Desmond only saw a glimpse of a woman getting onto a helicopter with Aaron, and assumed this was Claire, when in actuality it was Kate? Or perhaps we just haven't seen this vision of Desmond's come to pass yet, but will at the end of this season when Claire and Aaron are reunited?

The cabin, based on the experiences of Locke and Hurley, appears to move around. How? Why?
Theory:
Ummm... anyone?

How is Miles able to commune with dead bodies? Where did this power come from? How is Hurley able to do the same but with ghosts?
Theory:
Both of these characters' abilities have been extremely important to push the plot forward, but it remains unclear where their abilities come from.

The Whispers - are they related to ghosts/spirits, Smokey, the Others, Jacob... who? Sometimes it seems like the Others are using them (like when Richard's group attacks Keamy's), other times it seems more like it has to do with the island or possibly spirits on it.
Theory:
I think they are mostly The Others communicating with each other. Ben once told Danielle that if she ever heard them, to turn around and go back.

How did the donkey wheel get there? Aliens? Is the island built on the remains of a crashed spaceship? What civilization or god might have put it there?
Theory:
They best take us back to the donkey wheel, otherwise it's just a big fat deus ex machina. I'm going with it being installed by "God" when he decided this would be the cork to keep Hell at bay. Never know when you might need to keep the location secret.

Who took the Zodiac boat from the beach? And who shoots at our time skippers from an outrigger? Why do they shoot? Did Juliet hit / kill one of them when shooting back?
Theory:
It would stand to reason this was Ilana's group (we know they were 316ers), but who knows?

Why did Sun crash with Ajira 316 in 2007, and not get flashed out into 1977 like Jack, Kate, Hurley, and Sayid?
Theory:
Uhhh, maybe because it's more rewarding in the end to keep Sun and Jin separated as long as possible? Sure hope it's not something as contrived as that, though...

UNANSWERED (And I Personally Doubt We're Gonna Get An Answer)

Why was the faked Oceanic 815 crash site in the Indian Ocean - northwest of Australia - when Sydney-to-LA flights take off from Southeast Australia and flight in a northeasterly direction?
Why did anyone back in the real world believe the crash site was on the level? There should have been no way this flight would ever have been in those coordinates.

Where does Ethan's seemingly-superhuman strength come from?
Remember the time he picked up Charlie with one arm and pinned him to a tree? And how he carried off a fighting Charlie and Claire by himself? And how easily he bested Jack in their first fight? What was that about? And how was Jack able to best him the next time they faced?

Where does Walt's luck come from? Is there truly something special about him? Can he will events to happen?
"My dad said I'm the luckiest person he ever knew." This quote from Walt is strangely echoed by the Hurley character in the Season Six premiere. Sadly, I think LOST wrapped up the Walt storyline in Season Five, when Locke and Abaddon visited Walt in NYC and Locke decided Walt "had seen enough." I love this show, and have great faith in the producers, but the apparent dead end of the once-so-promising, once-so-prevalent Walt story might just be its greatest failure. I believe they just got to a point in the storytelling where they realized they had to move on with other things, and that they just couldn't go down this road, too.

Is there more to the story and meaning of Kate's toy airplane?
Okay, I admit, this one is more of a personal bug up my rear than a mystery. I just still can't fathom the lengths Kate - already a fugitive from the law - went to assemble a team of hooligans and rob a bank, shooting people in the progress, to retrieve a TOY AIRPLANE from a safe deposit box in New Mexico. I don't care how much guilt she had over her buddy's death, these are just not the acts of a sane or smart person. So I insist there has to be more. But sadly, there isn't.

Why do some compasses work just fine on the island, and others (like the one Locke once gave Sayid) don't?
We know about the huge pockets of strange material under the island that cause a magnetic anomaly, but then why don't ALL compasses fail to work?

Was Sawyer's boar really the spirit of Frank Duckett come to let him off the hook? And how did the whispers know to say "It'll come back around" to Sawyer? Where would they have gotten such personal knowledge? Did Smokey ever memory-flash Sawyer?
The first part of this question is tricky because in one sense it doesn't matter. Sawyer probably believes as much, having been conditioned to do so by Locke's story about his foster mom, foster sister, and the dog, and because he would like to believe it. But did the island really make it happen? Was the boar Smokey? If not, how did the whispers know what they know?
Similar question to above: Did Jack really hear Christian through the "broken" Hydra intercom telling him to "let it go"? If so, how? The whispers again?

Walt asked his dad if once the raft is rescued, they will send help back for everyone else. Michael says yes... but he already has ascertained that "finding this island again... might be difficult." How does he know? Just because they haven't been rescued yet? That could be explained by how the pilot told them rescuers would be looking in the wrong place for them.
Isn't the more logical assumption at this point that the island IS able to be found, since they've encountered other people (like Ethan) on it?

Why is there no handle on the hatch? Why was it sealed?
We know about the "Quarantine" on the inside, and we know SOME stuff about the Incident in 1977 on the spot where it now sits. But we don't know enough.

Who is the "him" that Desmond was expecting?
Was it just his hoped-for replacment? Was he expecting a specific someone? Why did Dharma never send a replacment, if, as we know, they continued to send food drops?

Kate's horse that represented Wayne -- really there (Sawyer saw it), vision (perhaps granted by Jacob?), Smokey?
How'd it get there?

The old-timey radio broadcast Sayid and Hurley heard - was it local, from New Otherton? Does the "D" in the station name DXR perhaps stand for Dharma? Or have they picked up a signal from an earlier time?
Does it matter anymore? Was the suggestion of this idea just to put in our heads that there were TIME issues coming into play in the overarching story?

Is there any secret to what can be learned by the blast door map?
Or was is just something for obsessive fans to obsess over / have fun with? That's what I'm going with.

Why was Desmond physically okay (though he could glimpse the future), but not a shred of his clothes survived the hatch implosion? Conversely, why did Juliet die (though she could glimpse... what? The Side-Verse?), and all her clothes remained intact?
Mostly, this is just me calling "sexism" for making us suffer a naked Desmond but not a naked Juliet. How dare they.

At Eko's funeral, Locke says, "I'd like to think you died for a reason, Mr. Eko. Just hope it's not too long before we find out what the heck it might be."
Still waiting. Was there purpose in Eko's death? I'm drawing a blank. I mean, a second after the eulogy Locke spied the message on the Jesus Stick that said "Lift up your eyes and look north. John 3:05," but surely it didn't take Eko's death for Locke to receive this clue.

What's the meaning of "God loves you as he loved Jacob?" from the Room 23 film?
The Others don't seem particularly religious, but this sounds like religious propaganda for sure. It also indicates that Jacob and God are NOT the same entity, but that God loves Jacob... even though God can't see this island? O...k...

Dharma survived on that island from at least the early 70s until 1992. At least 20 years. Why didn't the Hostiles purge them before then?
Why wait until Ben was 28, as opposed to 18 or any other age? Why even let Dharma build there in the first place?

Why does Cabin Jacob seem to look, sound, and act so different from Season Five/Six Jacob?
Is it because he was an imprisoned spirit now set free (at some point the circle of ash gets disturbed - did this let him out? Is this the "help" he was asking Locke for?)? Or is it that a different actor was playing him? Or the show hadn't decided what kind of character he would be? Why did Jacob ever live at the cabin (if indeed he did at all) when he seemed perfectly content in his statue?

Why doesn't light "scatter right" (according to Faraday) on the island?

Who is "R.G." from the inscription in Naomi's bracelet?
A few of my favorite theories are that the complete inscription could be an anagram or - and I prefer this one - it could be the identity of another that remains hidden thus far, perhaps The Economist.
Related question: Who is The Economist? Widmore, perhaps?

If Widmore didn't leave the island until he was forced off already well into maturity, how did he amass such vast wealth and importance?
Details, details...

Why does Pierre Chang bother with candle-based aliases on the orientation videos?
It's not like he's a mysterious unknown person to the folks in the DI - he's all around the compound, living with them, overseeing things, etc. They KNOW he's Dr. Chang, man. What gives?
Oversight. They were trying to be too cool with this, I think.

The transmission of the numbers circa 1988 when the French team lands sounds a lot like Hurley's voice. Is it?
When would he have recorded them, and why?

FRESH SEASON SIX QUESTIONS YET TO BE RESOLVED

Los Angeles (September 2004)

  • As Season Six starts, are we catching up with our old friends, or meeting new (and improved?) versions of them? What IS the Side-Verse story?
  • What is the significance to the island being underwater? When did it sink, and what caused that?
  • Are Sun and Jin married in the Side-Verse? If yes, why isn't she wearing a ring, and why is customs calling her "Miss Paik"?
  • Where is Christian's missing coffin, and what is the significance to it going missing again?
  • How did Jin get from LAX customs to Keamy's pantry?
  • Where is Desmond since the premier? Why is he credited as a series regular? Was he really on 815, or just in Jack's imagination?
  • If new-2004 timeline Chang, Miles, Ethan, Ben, Roger, Charlotte, etc. were ever on the island, when how and why did they leave?
  • How did 2004 Locke end up in the wheelchair since it wasn't apparently at the hands of Cooper? Is Sawyer going to show up and kill Locke's dad at an inopportune time (like Locke & Helen's wedding?)
  • Who put the Walkabout idea in Locke's head if not Abaddon?
  • Who is David Shephard's mother?
  • Does new-2004 Sawyer have a daughter, Clementine? Does he have a relationship with her?

The Island (Early 2008)

  • Why was Montand never carried out of the tunnels? Why didn't either Danielle's team or at the very least the Others at least remove/bury him?
  • Smokey wants to "go home." Where is that?
  • Who is the "crazy mother" of the MIB?
  • Why are mirrors and reflections so important / prevalent? Can Jacob watch candidates through mirrors?
  • What was Dogen typing on that old manual typewriter?
  • Who was the boy seen by MIB and Sawyer in the jungle, the one with arms outstretched who reminded a kneeling-before-his-feet MIB of the rules ("you can't kill him")? Was it Jacob? How, if Jacob is dead and older? Time travel involved? If not Jacob, who was it?
  • Why is MIB stuck in Lockeian form?
  • Whose headquarters is the seaside cave with the scrawled names and the scales?
  • Whose headquarters is the Lighthouse?
  • Who was Jacob referring to when he told Hurley, "Someone is coming to the island. I need you to help them find it." Was it Widmore"? A red herring belying the real task of getting Jack to the Lighthouse? Someone else?
  • Why does Claire have dynamite out and exposed in her hovel? And where did she get it?
  • Why isn't Kate's name included among the candidates when we know she was touched by Jacob, just like the rest?
  • How did the presence of the Temple Master keep Smokey out, when previously, ash was shown to work fine on its own in other locations?
  • What's the story of the sacred knife? Why was Ben able to kill Jacob without it, and with Jacob having spoken before Ben struck? (Did Jacob sacrifice himself?)
  • Miles dug up the diamonds from Nikki & Paulo's graves; is this just to tie up that loose end, or will they be significant to the story's endgame?
  • How is Flocke planning to leave the island (plane? sub?)? What's he gonna do when he does? why does leaving require him to have followers?
  • How was Widmore able to return to the island? Is he on the side of Jacob, MIB, or himself?
  • What's locked up under heavy guard on the sub?
  • Are Jacob and MIB "Bad Twin"s? Do they have the same (crazy) mother? Or just the same father? Not related? Jacob describes MIB as an "old friend who grew tired of my company."
  • How and when did the population of "Others" spring up? Were they recruited from the real world (ala Dogen, Juliet) as opposed to arriving on crashed vehicles?
  • So, the island is corking Hell?
  • What's up with Ilana having pondered whether Lapidus could be a candidate? This doesn't seem to make sense knowing what we know now.

The Distant Past

  • Why is the arrival of the Black Rock on a stormy, tidal-wavey night, when we saw it arriving in the morning in calm seas?
  • What was the fate of Magnus Hanso? How did the Black Rock ledger end up in the hands of pirates in Madagascar? Why did Widmore buy it? Is Widmore descended from the Hansos?
  • How and when did MIB's "body" get stolen? Did Jacob trick him out of it?
  • Isn't it unwise of Jacob to conduct socio-theological experiments with human subjects on this very crucial, critical location?

Finally, to bring this all back around to the religious themes, I enjoyed this spread from USA Today. They interviewed Chris Seay (who I also interviewed prior to Season Six), the author of The Gospel According to LOST, about what the story could be getting at in parallels to the Biblical narrative.

I agree almost entirely, except on which verse from Luke was being showcased in Ab Aeterno. I hold to it having been Luke 4:24, about a prophet having no honor in his own country. I think that typifies Richard's history a little better, considering how he left his homeland and became, essentially, Jacob's prophet. But clearly, the stuff about being tempted in the wildnerness works just fine, too.