'Lost' In The Afterlife: Big Questions Answered In Series Finale

In typical 'Lost' fashion, some show mysteries remain open for debate.

After six seasons, one writers strike and countless unanswered questions, television sensation "Lost" has finally reached its conclusion. The story that began in 2004 with a plane crash and a tropical island received a fitting send-off from show-runners Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof in a two-and-a-half-hour series finale. Mysteries remain, but major plot revelations in Sunday night's episode offer a satisfying explanation as to exactly what happened to the passengers aboard Oceanic flight 815. Needless to say, spoilers ahead.

Let's get it out of the way right up front: The big twist is that everybody was dead. "Everybody" meaning the key players. Exactly who those players are remains open for debate, and will likely continue to be one of the show's most enduring mysteries.

An exchange between Jack and his father in the closing minutes of the finale reveals that a gathering of memory-restored Oceanic "survivors" have in fact been running through an elaborate fantasy, one designed to bring their group together before they step over to the afterlife. The major question that remains is when during the run of the show that break between life and death occurred.

Life could have ended for the Oceanic passengers as far back as the pilot episode. The plane crashes, everybody dies, but this group is left behind because of unresolved issues within their individual lives. The trials they go through surviving on the island serve as a sort of purgatory. This would render certain key figures — Jacob, the Man in Black, Richard Alpert — as utter fabrications.

That's just one theory. Another read could put the time of death for Oceanic 815's survivors as the hydrogen bomb blast at the end of the show's fifth season, which raises a whole new set of questions as to the nature of certain supporting characters. The beauty of "Lost," a trait that holds true even as it eases into its afterlife, is that the story demands discussion while remaining open to interpretation.

Congratulations from MTV News to Carlton Cuse, Damon Lindelof, J.J. Abrams, and the talented cast and crew responsible for delivering six years of some of the most thought-provoking television on offer. "Lost" will be missed.

What did you think of the "Lost" finale? Sound off in the comments!