This has been making the rounds:
So, in order, my attempt at as many plausible explanations as possible:
1.) Why did the smoke monster kill the pilot? Pick one: killing off potential authority figure to create more confusion amongst survivors/killing pilot because he was in a bad mood.
2.) What did Locke see when he saw the smoke monster? A smoke monster isn’t scary enough on its own now?
3.) What’s with the polar bear in Walt’s comic? Green Lantern and the Flash have to fight it. Coincidences happen, you know.
4.) Where’s Christian Shepherd’s body if it’s not in the casket? Smokie took human form and tossed it somewhere it wouldn’t be found so when he assumed Christian’s form Jack would question it less.
5.) Why did the psychic insist that Claire fly on Oceanic 815 and why did he insist that Claire had to raise him? Jacob told him to do it in advance, having already identified Claire as a potential candidate.
6.) Why did the Others want Walt so bad? For the same reason Widmore wanted Desmond so bad.
7.) Who sent Kate the letter about her mother being treated for cancer? Jacob.
8.) Why does Walt appear to warn Locke about the hatch and how does he know about it? Because Walt is psychic and can’t control his abilities or even know when he’s using them, causing people to “see” Walt but instead of him telling them things, he merely echoes back their own worries.
9.) Why does the smoke monster make mechanical sounds? Look, if you want to complain about how the totally imaginary smoke monster doesn’t sound like all the other smoke monsters, go right ahead.
10.) How does Walt apparate before Shannon? See question 8.
11.) How does Walt communicate with Michael using the Swan computer? That was Ben, or someone Ben told to do something.
12.) What was the deal with Kate and that horse? The Island is a weird place, and Jacob has weird powers. That should be enough.
13.) Why are supplies still being dropped on the island after the purge and by who? The whole takeaway from the Dharma Initiative plotline is that they’re a bunch of well-meaning techno-hippies who are fairly brilliant scientists and totally balls at everything else, particularly organizational logistics. I mean, these are guys who literally made some guy who just showed up one day their chief of security. Is it really too hard to imagine them setting up supply drops with third parties, the drops paid for by trust funds, and those drops continuing long after the organization went defunct?
14.) What triggered the lockdown, and who on earth would design black lights to light up showing secret thingies during the lockdown? See question 13.
15.) What happened to the original Henry Gale Who the fuck cares?
16.) What happened to Libby in between the mental hospital and getting on the tail section of flight 815? She got better, mostly.
17.) Who built the four-toed statue? Probably the ancient whoever-they-weres at a much, much earlier point in time.
18.) Why does only one specific bearing get you off the Island? See question 12.
19.) What are the heiroglyphics on the Swan countdown timer about? Paranoid Dharma scientists decided to use a non-base-10 signature for certain elements and the heiroglyphics are the non-base numbers.
20.) Why does Tom feel the need to wear a fake beard? He thinks they’re stylish. No, I’m kidding: because the Others didn’t want the survivors to know how comfortable their lives were.
21.) Who was Libby’s previous husband who gave her a boat to give to Desmond? Henry Gale. Happy now? Christ.
22.) Why were there skeletons in the polar bear cave? Bears get hungry.
23.) Where did the toy truck come from? Anybody with kids knows that their toys get absolutely everywhere.
24.) How did Locke and Eko escape the hatch implosion? They got really lucky.
25.) Why couldn’t Locke talk after the hatch implosion? But not that lucky.
26.) Why did the smoke monster kill Mr. Eko and why didn’t they just do it the first time they met? Because Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje decided he wanted to leave the show after one season and sometimes writers have to cheat.
27.) What did Mr. Eko mean when he said “you’re next” after he died? He was trying to warn Locke that Locke was a person of interest to the smoke monster and wrongly concluded that, since the monster had killed him, it would similarly wish to kill Locke.
28.) How disgusting was it when Hurley was eating from that tub of ranch dressing? Fairly.
29.) Why did Yemi’s body disappear? Because the smoke monster likes to take away corpses to freak people out. It’s been there for millennia: it has to get its kicks somehow.
30.) Why does Danny say that Jack wasn’t on the list when he was? Because sometimes people are wrong about things. This goes doubles for underlings of Ben, who probably lied to them twice a day just to stay sharp.
31.) Why can’t women on the island have babies and what does that have to do with anything? Another of Jacob’s rules. He has weird powers, you know.
32.) What was that Russian letter in Mikhail’s typewriter? “Dear Mom. How are you? I am fine. I liked the borscht you sent me last month. It was very tasty…”
33.) Why is the supply drop menu hidden behind a game of computer chess? See question 13. (Admit it: if you could get away with putting something important behind a game of computer chess, you would be tempted to do it.)
34.) Why did Ben give Juliet that weird mark as a punishment? What was that about? Ben has a lot of issues.
35.) What’s the deal with Jack’s tattoos? They say “I boned your mother” in Thai.
36.) Desmond knew a monk? How did that monk know Eloise? It’s a small world.
37.) Why did Ben see his dead mother? See question 12.
38.) Who decided it was time to kill the Dharmites in a purge? Probably Ben. See question 34.
39.) What happened to Ben’s childhood friend? She moved off the island, got married to an accountant named Henry Gale, had three children, and then got divorced when it turned out Henry was sleeping with his secretary (who was not Libby). She now works as an associate professor at the University of Chicago. She likes cats.
40.) Why did Desmond have a false vision of Claire and Aaron leaving the island on a helicopter? Desmond’s future-sight was only accurate while it was still active; once it went dormant, his loss of ability to observe the state of the future meant that the future could now be changed. Basically, think that whole thing with the cat in the box with the poison, but in reverse.
41.) How does Mikhail keep coming back to life? Smoke monster killed him a looooooong time ago and nobody knows.
42.) Why does Walt tell Locke that he still has work to do? Because Locke is hallucinating.
43.) Whose eye appeared in the cabin? Good question! Although it should be noted that we don’t know it was the smoke monster, because although that silhouette looks like Christian, it was never confirmed to be. Hey, maybe it’s Christian’s corpse and the eye is the smoke monster! That’s scary! The smoke monster is fucking with people!
44.) Where did Miles get that picture of Ben? Dharma records, which were kept in a dusty, unlocked warehouse in Iowa (see question 13).
45.) Who’s the R.G. on Naomi’s bracelet? Royce Gale, Henry’s half-brother and her secret lover. Aren’t you glad you asked?
46.) Why is there a difference between the times? See question 12.
47.) Who is “the economist” and why did Ben want him dead? Ben wants lots of people dead.
48.) Why was Ben so surprised that they could kill Alex? For god’s sake, I don’t even have to make anything up here: Ben explicitly said that he had thought he knew all the rules of the Island and that it turned out that he didn’t.
49.) If the smoke monster can’t leave the island and Christian Shepherd is the smoke monster, how did Christian appear in LA and on the freighter? See question 12.
50.) How did the monster get into Jacob’s cabin? You mean the cabin that Ben called “Jacob’s cabin” when in fact we would eventually learn that he’d never met or seen Jacob and was just bullshitting? Perhaps this question should be “how did the smoke monster get into a perfectly normal run-down cabin?”
51.) Why ask Locke not to tell anybody that he saw Claire in the cabin? Because if Locke had told, say, Kate that he’d seen Claire, then maybe more of the candidates would have stayed on the island, which just makes the smoke monster’s job of “kill or remove all the candidates” more difficult.
52.) Why did Ghost Horace direct Locke to the cabin and tell him Jacob was waiting there? Because Smoke Monster lies to get his way.
53.) Why did the Oceanic Six name Charlie, Boone and Libby as the other three survivors? What’s the logic in that? I’ll give you three guesses and the first two can’t rhyme with “those three people were definitively dead, as opposed to others who might escape the island and disprove the Six’s story.”
54.) Why does Miles decide to stay on the island? Because he gets hunches about where might be a bad place to be – and is often correct – and he tends to follow them. Amazingly, he avoided going to a ship which then blew the fuck up.
55.) What is the deal with the frozen wheel? Heat gets absorbed from the room in the energy transfer which allows teleportation.
56.) Why does Ben insist that the Oceanic Six, as well as Locke, must return to the island? Because at that point he was still taking orders from Jacob (via Richard), who had planned this thing out well in advance.
57.) Why don’t the rules of time travel apply to Desmond? Huge bursts of electromagnetic energy will do that to you.
58.) Who were the people trying to kill Sayid and Hurley? Pawns of Ben trying to frighten them into doing what Ben wanted.
59.) Ben asked his butcher friend, who was holding Locke’s body, if Gabriel and Jeffrey had checked in yet – who are any of these people? Sayid killed Gabriel and Jeffrey one question ago, and “these people” are Jacob’s network of people he’s done favors for off the Island (Ilana being the most notable).
60.) What was Ben hiding when he took something out of the vent and put it in his bag? C4 to crash the plane if necessary. Alternately, his porn stash.
61.) When the gang was unstuck in time, who was that shooting at them from the outrigger? The rest of Rousseau’s band, gone crazy via smoke monster, before she managed to kill them.
62.) Who sent Sun a gun and pictures of Jack and Ben? Widmore.
63.) Who attacked Sayid at the hospital and why did he have Kate’s address? Another one of Ben’s flunkies, and because Ben gave it to him.
64.) Why was the smoke monster at the temple? Because.
65.) When did the temple become like an anti-smoke monster fortress? When Dogen moved the remaining Others there and did the ritual thingies Jacob taught him to do.
66.) How did the producers of the hit TV show “Expose” deal with the death of their two lead actors? They killed off both characters and then elevated existing characters in importance to compensate. Ironically, when the show ended after a hit six-year run, some dork put up a video of “one hundred unanswered questions about Expose,” which included things like “why did Steven drink an entire bottle of hot sauce? What was the point of that?”
67.) How did Eloise come to run the lab? Because she’s smart and a scientist and amazingly, sometimes qualified people get jobs in their field.
68.) Who figured out that a pendulum set up that way could predict the island’s movements? Who figured that out? Daniel Faraday, back in the 1970s.
69.) Why did those returning to the island need to recreate the circumstances of their first arrival? Because it’s easier to tell people to do the same thing they did last time than it is to do it a different way, and Eloise isn’t exactly patient.
70.) Why did Jack, Kate and Hurley go from that Ajira flight to the 70s, and why didn’t Sun? See, that’s a good question.
71.) How did Richard bypass the sonic death fence? Because the Dharmites assumed Richard was like the smoke monster. Interestingly, Richard is not a smoke monster, and can do things like, say, “tinker with controls on a sonic death fence” or “put up a ladder next to the sonic death fence and then go over it.”
72.) How did Ethan go from the Dharma Initiative to a member of the Others? The Others are pretty famous for trying to spare/recruit children. Ethan was a child at the time, if you recall.
73.) What’s with all the heiroglyphics under the temple? Presumably the ancient whoevers built the temple. And they like heiroglyphics. Did you really need this explained, Questions Person?
74.) Why did Widmore tell Ben to kill Rousseau and the baby, and then let Ben keep the baby anyway? Because Widmore was and is a power junkie and likes to be considered ruthless, but is not quite so actually ruthless that he can kill a baby in cold blood on his own.
75.) Why did Daniel leave the Island in the 70s, and why does he tell Jack that he doesn’t belong there? See question 68, and also remember that Daniel died precisely because he got a specific detail very, very wrong.
76.) Why does Richard think he saw everyone in the 1977 Dharma picture die? Because he saw the blast from far off and made an assumption.
77.) Who broke the circle of ash around Jacob’s cabin? A boar did it.
78.) Why can Jacob leave the island, but the smoke monster can’t? Because they aren’t Superman Red and Superman Blue. They have different powers. Yeesh.
79.) Jacob uses his last breath to say “they’re coming,” but who are they? Pick one of: the 1977 candidates and friends, or Widmore and his flunkies.
80.) What’s the deal with the pool bringing people back to life? See question 12.
81.) Why did it bring back Sayid with an English accent? Because Naveen Andrews is English and sometimes actors slip up.
82.) What is the infection? How did Claire get infected? How did Sayid get infected? Why did Sayid need to take a poison pill when all it took to uninfect Sayid was a simple argument from Desmond? Dogen is a mysticist who has trouble realizing post-traumatic stress disorder and others forms of mental illness for what they are. (Which is not unreasonable given that crazy people tend to end up allying with the smoke monster.)
83.) Why was the smoke monster surprised that Sawyer could see young Jacob? Because most people aren’t supposed to see dead people that easily and Jacob was already manifesting himself, as he did in the penultimate episode; the younger Jacobs were the “larval stages,” if you will, of Jacob’s final manifestation.
84.) What’s the magic lighthouse about? See question 12.
85.) How does Dogen being alive keep the smoke monster out? See question 12.
86.) What happened to the flight attendant Cindy? And the kids? Either they got killed in that mortar strike or they fled into the jungle and eventually Hurley saw to it that they got home safely.
87.) Why didn’t Sun tell Jin to leave so their daughter wouldn’t be an orphan? Because sometimes people don’t think clearly when they are in the middle of a sinking submarine, oddly enough.
88.) Where did Jacob and Smokie’s mother come from? A boat! Presumably a Roman one.
89.) Where did Jacob and Smokie’s other mother come from? The West Wing.
90.) Who finished the magic wheel that combines “water and light” and when did it freeze up? Somebody who came along later. (At a certain point these “nitpicks” just become a child going “why? Why? Why?” over and over again.)
91.) What is the nature of the light? It’s the magic at the heart of the world that binds us all. If that’s not good enough, you should probably just avoid fantasy literature altogether.
92.) Magic wine? Seriously? The water/wine isn’t itself magical; it’s just a binding ritual to tie the two people together that works well on the newer party who doesn’t understand the nature of the magic yet and needs a bit of sideshow.
93.) Why did Zoe want an electromagnetic map of the island? Because they needed to set up the electromagnetic fence without it exploding.
94.) Why did electromagnetism send Desmond into the afterlife? Because it nearly killed him.
95.) Wasn’t Sayid’s solemate Nadia? I did that one already.
96.) Why weren’t Michael, Walt, Lapidus, Eko, or any of the other characters at the church? Because they, like Ana Lucia, weren’t ready to leave yet.
Seriously: beyond the problems of Walt and Eko, and the time-travel split of question 70 which smacks of writer fiat? Most of these aren’t really huge, important questions, or even really minor questions; they can be answered by a little bit of handwaving and a few basic assumptions, and then they’re just fine. A couple (like Mikhail) probably could have been stood to be answered during the series proper with one or two sentences and it would have been similarly just fine, but as it is aren’t crippling. Most of the rest are just “why does this show like to create an atmosphere of mysterious weirdness” and if you keep asking that maybe you should have been watching, I dunno, Desperate Housewives.
The big problems with the show’s enduring mysteries mostly stem from casting issues. The show’s creators admitted long ago that Walt was a mistake, made mostly because they initially assumed and pitched the show as happening over a number of years on the island, but hey whoops over the first thirteen episodes they realized that, no, this couldn’t be a “over the course of years” show when their narrative demanded one-right-after-the-next episodic continuity pretty much all the time. So they wrote Walt out. Better shows have done worse. The other casting fubars – Eko, Ana Lucia, Libby, Shannon, et cetera – stem from things the writers couldn’t have foreseen (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje suffering from depression/homesickness and being genuinely unhappy in his job, Maggie Grace being unreasonable about her salary demands and the network insisting on her being fired, Maggie Rodriguez and Cynthia Watros getting caught in a DUI incident and ABC getting puritanical) and they dealt with them as best they could.
This happens with serial television. it’s not all planned from the beginning. The writers left Sam Seaborn’s status open on The West Wing after his departure because they wanted to keep his slot open if his new show tanked and he wanted to come back (it did; he didn’t) and then just had to kind of shove it off to one side because it didn’t make sense to address the fate of a character half a season later when they had so many storylines that needed the time. Willow was never originally intended to be a lesbian on Buffy, and indeed they only decided to go that route halfway through season four practically as it was happening. Generally, the writers of Lost did a bang-up job mostly keeping a lot of disparate plot threads more or less in check, and most of the complaints come down to, as said, fans complaining that the writers weren’t explaining the creepy mysterious atmosphere enough.