"Welcome to the wonderful world of not knowing what the hell's going on."
—Kate, but almost any other character could've said the same.
An action/adventure/all types of speculative fiction/mystery/dramedy/crazy show created by J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof.
On September 22, 2004, Oceanic Flight 815 breaks up in midair and crashes on a tropical island. Only forty-eight passengers somehow survive. Unfortunately, this is no ordinary island they've crashed on. To start with, there's a polar bear roaming about somehow as well as something in the jungle which is capable of uprooting trees. This monster mutilates the pilot, but not before the pilot reveals that the plane was already a thousand miles off course when it crashed, which means the odds of rescue are pretty much nil.
The survivors must learn to work together if they want to survive in this strange and hostile environment. This isn't easy, mainly because the most prominent characters are so utterly screwed up. All of them have something they're hiding in their pasts. There's the seemingly nice woman who's actually a fugitive who was being brought to trial. There's the One-Hit Wonder ex-rockstar junkie. There's the former Iraqi government torturer who's searching for the woman he loves. And so on.
Their backstories are revealed in flashbacks, with each episode tending to focus on a specific character. In general Anachronic Order is also expected, both with the story of the island and anything before and after the island. If there is a method of skewing the audiences perception of events of rearranging the order of the scenes, Lost has used it.
As the show goes on, more and more questions arise as the secrets of the island are slowly uncovered. The island seems to have magical properties as well as a unique abundance of super-powerful electromagnetism. Furthermore, flashbacks reveal more and more connections between the characters' pasts as if to suggest that it may have been more than coincidence that this specific group of people was all on Flight 815 together with each other. This led to the show acquiring a widespread public opinion that it had become a victim of The Chris Carter Effect with this being the dominant image in the mainstream media in the show's later years. Many fans felt it wrapped it all up with a Gainax Ending to boot.
Lostpedia (which the producers themselves occasionally name-check in DVD commentaries for its expanse of knowledge) has exhaustively catalogued (almost) every aspect of Lost. If you want insight into the show or just want to learn some random statistics, it's definitely worth checking out.
Recaps and summation of the show here.
Warning: We try our best to avoid spoilers, but due to the sheer volume of plot twists, it's very difficult. Beware.
- AB Negative: Jack struggles to find a donor for Boone and, failing to find a match among the other survivors, reveals himself to be O- and performs the transfusion using his own blood.
- Kate is later revealed to be a Universal Donor in Season 5.
- Aborted Arc:
- Anything and everything to do with Walt. Word of God has stated that he has Psychic Powers, but the full extent and how it related to the series has never been revealed. The only resolution that his plot gets is the epilogue "The New Man in Charge": the poor kid goes nuts for a while, but it turns out he really is special and is implied to be Hurley's eventual successor. Alternatively, the Hurley's wording (offering Walt a "position") mirrors Jacob's proposition to Richard Alpert, suggesting Walt is intended to be the new intermediary for a new iteration of Others.
- According to an interview with the actress portraying Zoe, this is the case with her too.
- Word of God stated that Ilana was originally supposed to be Jacob's child, but they realized they didn't have enough time for this so they dropped a bridge on her.
- Mr. Eko, who was supposed to run until Season 5, but was cut in early Season 3 due to the fact that the actor hated living in Hawaii, which is on the far side of the world from his family.
- Nikki and Paulo were supposed to be on for a little longer as well, but because of the negative fan response they were written out of the show after they got their Day in The Limelight.
- In Seasons 3 and 4 (and part of 5), Charles Widmore was being established as the Big Bad (which was confirmed by Word of God) and Ben's nemesis for the control of the Island. Their conflict was put aside and pretty much replaced by Jacob vs the Man in Black.
- The Abridged Series: Lost Untangled. The kicker is that it's not just endorsed, but was made by the airing channel.
- The extremely funny Fine Bros Lost parody.
- And then there's "The Final Season of Lost as Seen by Someone who has Never Seen Lost", which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, and is a thing of beauty.
- Absentee Actor: Happens quite a lot over the series, especially in later seasons. "Dead Is Dead", for instance, only features seven of the main cast: Ben, Locke, Sun, Desmond, Richard, Ilana and Frank (although the last three weren't series regulars at the time).
- "Across the Sea" takes this trope and runs away with it; the only main cast members who appear do so in archive footage.
- Abusive Parents: In spades.
- Accidental Murder: Poor Shannon and Libby.
- Action Girl: Juliet, Kate, Ana Lucia, Rousseau, Charlotte, and Ilana. Sun moved in this direction in Season 5.
- Dark Action Girl: As of Season 6, Claire, apparently. We don't see too much onscreen.
- Adrenaline Makeover: Compare Juliet from before she came to the island: meek, submissive, and wore her heart on her sleeve; to after she joined the Others.
- Advertised Extra: A lot, depending on the season
- Aerosol Flamethrower: Used by Locke, prompting a This Is No Time for Knitting comment from Charlie.
- Affably Evil:
- Ben, especially at the beginning of the third season. As the story progresses, he has to deal quickly with an increasingly dangerous situation (and he loses Alex), so he becomes more frantic and less affable.
- Un-Locke is disturbingly charming for a creature that spent the first five seasons killing people seemingly at random.
- Also, Flash-sideways Keamy makes good eggs.
- After-Action Patchup: Jack and Kate's first interaction.
- The Ageless: Richard Alpert.
- Air Vent Passageway: Used by Kate at the beginning of the second season, as well as Ben (as "Henry") consensually later on.
- The Alcoholic: Christian, and later Jack.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Sawyer has the fangirls to prove it.
- Almost-Dead Guy: Subverted with Nikki's "Paulo lies!", or rather: paralyzed.
- Not Penny's Boat in the Season 3 finale.
- Alternate Reality Game: The Lost Experience, played during the break between Seasons Two and Three, Find 815, between Seasons Three and Four, and the Dharma Initiative Recruiting Project, between Seasons Four and Five. It's fairly safe to assume there will be another ARG between Seasons Five and Six.
- Turns out a few ARG-ish things happened, most prominently the "Damon, Carlton, and a Polar Bear" website which resulted in a clue hunt for Lost posters.
- Alternate Self: In Season Six's flash-sideways.
- Anachronic Order: It happened twice: in the Season One episodes "Solitary" and "Raised by Another" and the Season Five episodes "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham" and "316". Apparently, there are more than enough storylines to change around the order of episodes without affecting anything.
- Also happened with two early Season 3 episodes "The Glass Ballerina" and "Further Instructions". However, this apparent change in order was denied by the executive producers so it may have simply been a mistake in scheduling that was later corrected.
- An Axe to Grind: That's how Claire deals with Justin.
- Animal Motifs:
- In an early episode, Locke tries to help Charlie kick his heroin habit by confiscating his drugs. However, he tells Charlie that if he asks for them back, he'll return them. Charlie wonders why Locke doesn't just get rid of them and remove all temptation, so Locke tells him that there has to be some personal choice in the matter, or it ultimately isn't worth anything. To illustrate his point, Locke shows Charlie a moth cocoon, with a moth inside struggling to get out. Locke says that he could easily help the moth by cutting open the cocoon, but if he did that, the moth would be too weak to survive; the struggle makes the moth stronger. In the end of the episode, Charlie throws his heroin into the fire, and at that moment the moth breaks out and flies away.
- Later, a disqualified job counselor in the flash-sideways tries to place John in a job by asking him "what kind of animal are you?" He is understandably nonplussed, and asks for someone else to help him. He gets Rose!
- Antagonist in Mourning: Ben's eulogy for Locke.
Ben: John Locke was a... a believer. He was a man of faith. He was a much better man than I will ever be... and I'm very sorry I murdered him.
- Anti-Hero/Anti-Villain: Every character on the show—there are no straight-up heroes and villains on Lost. Our "good guys" are incredibly flawed and rarely stick to the scruples of heroism, while the "bad guys" often have a very good Freudian Excuse or else genuinely believe they are the good guys.
- Anyone Can Die: Once Boone died near the end of Season One, it was established that nobody was safe.
- Damon and Carlton said that the deaths of Jin, Sun and Sayid in Season 6 were to firmly establish that all bets were off from there on out and absolutely nobody was safe in the final episodes.
- ABC liked to use this a lot in advertising, but they would normally end up being one of the non-lead supporting characters.
- Of the original 14 regular on-island characters, only Kate, Sawyer, Hurley, Claire and Walt... oh, and Vincent survived, and one of them had been written out ages ago. From Season 2, Ben, Bernard and Desmond. From Season 3, only Richard. From Season 4, Miles and Lapidus. From the last two seasons, nobody of note whatsoever.
- Archnemesis Dad: Locke's father abandoned him until well into his adult life, at which point he stole his kidney, re-abandoned him, used him as a courier, abandoned him again, and pushed him out of an 8-story window.
- Arc Numbers: Also Numerological Motif. 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42
- When originally chosen by the writers, the numbers were meaningless. The writers of the first season episode "Numbers" went back through previous episodes and picked out the five most commonly recurring numbers in the series so far, they being the first five in the sequence. The sixth... well, Darlton are fans. The show's final season revealed the numbers as degrees on a dial representing candidates to care for the Island (and, by extension, all of existence).
- These numbers come to the sum 108, which ties into the Buddhist themes of the Dharma Initiative. It's also the number of days the Oceanic 6 spent on the island before their rescue, and the number of minutes the clock in The Swan station counts down from (all of these facts, considered together (especially the Buddhist connection), make it incredibly unlikely that the numbers were merely selected at random, as does the numerological popularity of 23).
- The flight's name was Oceanic Flight 815.
- The product of the numbers, 7418880, appears as part of an alert for the "Electromagnetic Anomaly". This product is supposed to represent the latitudinal-longitudinal location of the Island at the time Desmond activated the fail-safe.
- The Lost Experience ARG revealed that the numbers are the core products in the Valenzetti Equation, which "predicts the exact number of years and months until humanity extinguishes itself."
- Arc Welding: Very often two or more plotlines are tied into one. A good example would be Locke and Sawyer's backstories, when it's revealed that Anthony Cooper was the con man who killed Sawyer's parents.
- Arc Words: There's dozens of phrases repeated throughout the show in addition to the Arc Numbers.
- "Live together; die alone" is another very common one, appearing in episodes ranging from episode 5 to the Season 5 finale.
- "What lies in the shadow of the statue?" seems to be the straightest use of this trope.
- "I'll see you in another life."
- "I hope you find what you're looking for", especially after Afterlife Bernard has said it to Afterlife Jack.
- Also becoming a recognizable arc phrase as of "The Candidate" is "I wish you had believed me", which first showed up in episode "316".
- "You can let go now", or some variant on that phrase.
- "Whatever happened, happened."
- "Now you're like me", is whipped out a few times in the last few episodes whenever someone becomes the new protector of the island.
- "Don't tell me what I can't do" is frequently said by Locke, Jack, and others.
- "You don't write, you don't call" said to many characters when they return after disappearing for several days without notice.
- Ascended Extra: There's a few of these, but the best example would have to be either Ben or Richard: Ben was going to die after three episodes but instead became one of the primary villains of the series, while Richard was originally just another of Ben's higher-ranking people, and went from that to a recurring guest star starting at the end of Season 4, to main cast starting in Season 6.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: One way to interpret the final outcome of the series's characters.
- The Atoner: Several characters. Notably subverted with Mr. Eko, who appears to be the most clear-cut example in the series but finally reveals himself to be utterly unrepentant of his amoral past, which he willingly took upon himself to save his brother.
- Richard Alpert started as this and is his reason for gaining immortality from Jacob. When he accidentally killed a doctor for not giving medicine for his dying wife, a priest told him during confession that he will never gain redemption for his sin. When meeting Jacob he was offered a job and a gift. When Jacob couldn't revive his wife or absolve him from all his sins, he chose immortality to attempt the latter.
- Ben finally becomes this at the end of the series, helping Hugo to watch over the island in life, and staying behind in the flash sideways as he feels he is not yet ready.
- As far as those atoning for others, we can consider Jack and Locke, who both, willingly or unwillingly, sacrifice their lives to save the world, and Daniel Faraday, who is knowingly sacrificed by his parents, perhaps to maintain temporal continuity, perhaps to give Jack the hydrogen bomb idea that will ultimately bring the Candidates back to 2007 to stop the Monster.
- Audience Surrogate: Anyone who says they want answers. Hurley almost always, and the guys at the DHARMA packing plant in "The New Man in Charge".
- Great example of this in "Whatever Happened, Happened", when Hurley presses Miles on the time travel rules in the Lost universe, to the point of making MILES wonder how they work.
- Locke often filled this role in the early seasons. For example, after Jack's speech at the hatch in the first episode of Season 2, he immediately let everyone know that no matter what they were going to do, he was going down into the hatch.
- Aw, Look -- They Really Do Love Each Other: There's practically an Aw, Look -- They Really Do Love Each Other Montage at the end of "Tabula Rasa" - Jin checking on Sun, Boone giving Shannon sunglasses and arguably Jack telling Kate he doesn't care what she did and Sayid giving Sawyer an apple.
- Ax Crazy: Claire in Season 6. Literally.
- Back for the Dead: Enforced by the island for Michael. When he's asked what he's doing back:
- Played straight with Daniel Faraday, who returns after being absent for several episodes only to be killed off.
- Badass: Everyone has their moments.
- Jack: cuts Ben's dural sac on purpose to help Kate and Sawyer escape; fights Flocke in the rain
- Locke: Knife-throwing makes you a badass by default.
- Eko: Killed three gun-wielding drug lords with a machete without flinching.
- Sayid: Killed someone by stabbing them. With a dishwasher.
- After being shot with a tranquilizer.
- Also: Snaps someone's neck with his ankles while his hands are tied behind his back.
- Also again: Chokes a man to death (nearly?) with an IV.
- Desmond: Beats Ben to a bloody pulp and tosses him into the ocean. After Ben shoots him.
- Ben Linus: took out two gun-wielding horseback Bedouins with nothing but a telescoping baton and the element of surprise.
- Kate: saved one bullet for the Man in Black.
- Sun: Calling the Old Man Out when she reveals that she's bought a controlling interest in his highly corrupt company using her settlement from Oceanic, she knows exactly what sort of operation he's running and there will be changes made. Unfortunately this is just before she goes back to L.A. and ends up back on the island never to return.
- Lapidus: Took a 3-inch thick steel door to the face and survived, then pulled off a short take-off with a 737 as the island fell out from underneath it 2012-style. "Amen, Frank" indeed.
- Badass Israeli: The traits most associated with this trope go, ironically, to a Badass Iraqi in Sayid. Possibly also Ilana Verdansky and Naomi Dorrit (see Monochrome Casting below).
- Batman Gambit: Jacob does this through Hurley to get Jack to see the lighthouse mirrors in "The Lighthouse".
- The Man in Black pulls one in "The Candidate". End result is that the Losties all cram into a tiny space and then activate a bomb that otherwise wouldn't have gone off.
- And the first quarter of Season Three (the fallout of the previous finale's epic kidnapping) is Ben's valiant attempt to convince Jack to operate on his ailing spine.
- At a certain point in Season 3, it becomes apparent to Ben that it doesn't matter whether or not the 815 passengers believe him, just so long as he's in control.
Ben: Your heart's not going to blow up, James. The only thing we put inside you was doubt. Oh, the watch is a heart rate monitor, but nothing more. [He pulls a rabbit out of a satchel with a number 8 on its back] Look. We gave him a sedative, not a pacemaker.
- Battle in the Rain: Jack's final battle with Flocke. Complete with cliff-side setting.
- Jack's fight with Ethan in the first series.
- In the third season, Pickett and Sawyer.
- Beard of Sorrow: Jack at the end of the third season. The beard was massive, probably because it stood for alcohol and pills. It's shaved off in time for Ajira Flight 316, however.
- Because Destiny Says So: In this case, Destiny goes by the name of "Desmond".
- Practically all of Ms. Hawking's appearances too.
- Locke in first two seasons, with claims such as "Boone was a sacrifice that the Island demanded."
- Becoming the Mask: Juliet.
- It appears that The Lockeness Monster was also Becoming the Mask after spending so much time in Locke form (which just goes to show how special Locke really was, since the Monster doubtless has spent at least as much time in Christian form and others, and never became the mask when imitating personalities like theirs). This was foreshadowed more than once, perhaps for the first time when The Lockeness Monster shouts, "Don't tell me what I can't do! DON'T TELL ME WHAT I CAN'T DO!!" And it culminates, perhaps, during the final fight with Jack, in which he hesitates for a long moment with the knife to his throat--which would make this an extremely rare case of a Killed Off for Real character who is not returning in any literal fashion whatsoever still pulling off a sort of Deus Ex Machina from beyond the grave.
- Beleaguered Childhood Friend: Things didn't end so well for Kate's childhood sweetheart.
- Best Served Cold: Sawyer is constantly searching for the man he wants to serve revenge to. Coldly.
- And then in Season Three he finally gets his chance.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Claire in Season Six.
- Big Bad: The Man in Black.
- Big Damn Heroes: Jack in every Finale. Hurley in the third season finale; the Others in the fourth season finale, Kate in the series finale.
- Big Fun: Hurley.
- Big Good: Jacob, later Jack, then finally Hurley, and during the epilogue it's hinted that even Walt might become this eventually.
- Bilingual Bonus: Dr. Arzt translates as "Dr. Doctor" in German.
- The literal translation is "Dr. Physician".
- Sun and Jin's Korean isn't always subtitled, and some of Dogen's dialogue can't be understood unless he has that hippie-looking guy around to translate for him... or unless you're fluent in Japanese.
- Binocular Shot: Happens in "There's No Place Like Home (Part 1)", when Ben communicates via mirror flashes with the other Others. We see the reply as Locke looks through binoculars.
- An earlier episode "Live Together, Die Alone", has two. The first is Kate looking through binoculars at an incoming sailboat, and the second is Sayid looking at the now far-less-mysterious Four-Toed statue, both represented by a double-circular black frame.
- Birth-Death Juxtaposition: In "Do No Harm", Boone dies and Aaron is born.
- Bittersweet Ending: It may also be looked at as a Earn Your Happy Ending. Lord knows they went through a lot to earn it. The ending is them, in the ultimate sense of being True Companions, together again in death and moving on together. It's sad that they're all dead, but it's happy that they're together.
- Blatant Lies: Ben. Always.
- Blipvert: Karl is strapped into a chair and forced to watch one of these when Kate, Sawyer and Alex rescue him.
- Bloodstained-Glass Windows: Eko kills a bunch of gangsters in a church. This actually causes the parishioners to shut it down.
- Blown Across the Room: Caesar.
- Bolivian Army Cliffhanger: Season 5 ended with a hydrogen bomb detonating in proximity to at least eight of the main characters. That said, there was only one "kill": Juliet. And even then it wasn't the explosion that killed her, it was falling down a several-hundred foot deep shaft and being crushed by several tons of steel.
- Bolivian Army Ending: Technically, no one "survived" the finale, but in the actual continuity, out of the main characters only Kate, Sawyer, Claire, Hurley, Ben, Miles, Desmond, Richard and Frank made it out alive, with Ben and Hurley staying behind on the island for good and Rose, Bernard and Vincent remaining "in retirement" on the island. Desmond was also left behind on the island, but it's inferred that Hurley allowed him to go home eventually.
- Book Ends: First scene of the series: Jack opens his eyes in a bamboo thicket and stands up. Final scene of the series: Jack lays down in the same bamboo thicket and closes his eyes.
- Borrowed Catchphrase: When Lapidus asks Sun why she knocked out Ben if she said she trusted him, her response is "I Lied".
- Bounty Hunter: Ilana.
- Brains and Bondage: Straightforward in season six with Dr. Charlotte Lewis and Sawyer. Also in the previous season, as a subtle hint about Dr. Juliet Burke.
- Brand X: Would you like some Dharma Initiative cereal?
- Want something sweet? Try Apollo Candy Bar.
- Or perhaps you'd like to a glass of MacCutcheon whisky?
- Brats with Slingshots: Alex.
- Break His Heart to Save Him: Pierre Chang does this to his wife, because pretending to turn into a total asshole to drive her away from the island is the only way to persuade her to leave in time before everyone's lives become endangered by The Incident.
- Break the Cutie: The majority of the main cast arrive pre-broken. It Gets Worse.
- Sayid does this to young Ben purely out of spite, and isn't the least bit concerned that that's what turns him into the villain he is to begin with.
- Richard's been slowly breaking down for two hundred years.
- Sun after she saw Jin "die."
- Rousseau, 16 years before [dead link] any of the main cast arrived [dead link]. Her friends, including her boyfriend/father of her baby, were trying to kill her so she had to kill them first. Then Ben took her baby. Cue being alone on the island for 16 years that turned her into the crazy mess we all know and love. Which brings us to
- Claire as of Season 6. Just like Rousseau she was alone (albeit just for 3 years) and had to fend off the Others all the while looking for her baby. When she found out Kate was the one raising her baby, her reaction wasn't pretty.
- Bribe Backfire: A particularly amusing instance. When Ilana is forcing Ben to dig his own grave because she intends to kill him herself, he tries to weasel his way out of it by buying off Miles's help. Miles asks him why on earth he would need three million dollars from him when there are "a couple of jabronis named Nikki and Paulo (whom Miles knows about because of his ability to "talk to the dead") buried alive right over there with eight million dollars worth of diamonds sitting right on top of them." Sure enough, by the end of the episode, he has the diamonds in hand.
- Brick Joke: Given the show's crazy attention to detail, a lot of seemingly one-off remarks and incidents tend to recur later on. Case in point: "Across the Sea", the third-to-last episode, picks up a thread that had been dangling from the first season, namely the skeletons in the cave.
- Similarly, the first scene of the pilot had a white tennis shoe dangling from one of the trees in the bamboo thicket Jack woke up. Given "Christian" was seen wearing the same shoes in the island, some fans were sure those shoes meant something. They're later mentioned in the Season 5 episode "316" when Jack says that he put the white tennis shoes on his father's corpse because he didn't consider the old man to be worth a nicer pair of shoes. Then in the Grand Finale, they show up again on the island, still dangling from the tree after three years.
- Also, we first encounter the Black Rock in the Season One finale and the broken statue in the season two finale and generally see them as completely separate mysteries. Then in season six we discover the Black Rock toppled the statue when a huge wave washed it ashore.
- In the first season, Shannon experiences a problem breathing as she had lost her inhaler in the crash. In Season Six, Jack and Hurley find it discarded in the jungle on their way to the lighthouse.
- Buffy-Speak: Hurley, frequently.
Sawyer: What's your problem, Jumbotron?
- Buried Alive: Nikki and Paulo.
- Butt Monkey: Everyone's put through hell on this show but Jack, Locke, and Ben seem to get the worst of it. Every major decision Jack has made has turned out to be the wrong one. Locke's pre-Island and post-Island lives were utterly miserable. And Ben has lost just about everything (power, status, friends, family, etc) since his debut and gets beaten senseless at least twice a season. He's still one of the most dangerous characters on the show, though.
- Michael Emerson himself helped put Ben's Butt Monkey status into perspective during his appearance on the special episode of Jimmy Kimmel that came on right after the finale. When Kimmel actually asked Emerson how often his character got beat up, Emerson responded, "How many episodes was I in?"
- Among the secondary characters, of particular note is Mikhail who gets his ass kicked in every episode he appears in which includes three onscreen deaths, not including one in the afterlife.
- Cain and Abel: As of "Across the Sea", the rivalry between Jacob and the Man in Black is this, but with the condition that neither of them is capable of killing the other himself. So Jacob just threw the Man in Black down a glowing hole instead and let the island kill him. Way to create the smoke monster, dude.
- Call Back: The final season was rife with them. One example is the pan from the Season 1 finale of Jack and Locke peering into the hatch being used again in the Series Finale when Jack and the Man in Black as Locke looked into the Heart of the Island.
- Came Back Wrong: Sayid in Season 6.
- Anybody who The Man in Black impersonates has to be dead. Including the Man in Black himself, according to "Across the Sea".
- Cannot Spit It Out: The only time Sawyer verbally admits his feelings for Kate is when he's deliriously sick. The only time Kate verbally admits her feelings for Sawyer is when he's being beaten to a bloody pulp. Even then, it takes her a while.
- Actually, Sawyer does fully admit his feelings for Kate multiple times, most notably in I Do when he asks her if she just said she loved him in order to stop Pickett from beating Sawyer into a bloody pulp. When Kate responds with a non-answer in the shape of a kiss Sawyer responds "I love you, too."
- Libby's last words claiming Michael betrayed the group. Reason being is that she's been shot in the stomach and pumped full of heroin.
- Car Fu: Hurley's ride to the rescue in a DHARMA minibus.
- Cast Herd: Largely lampshaded by the phrase(s) "my/your/their people". Certain characters have switched allegiances through the course of the series. There's the 815 fuselage survivors, the tail survivors, the Others, the people from the freighter; then when everyone is in the 70's, there's the Dharma Initiative and the Hostiles (the name Dharma had for the Others).
- Cataclysm Climax: played with. It appeared that Lost would end like that for some time: starting with a mention of a volcano being present on the Island, then the Island being shown submerged underwater in the Flash Sideways and finally the Man In Black intending to destroy the Island near the end. The Finale appears to play this straight: after the Island's Heart is disturbed, it is shaken by massive earthquakes and several cliffs collapse into the Ocean before the majority of the heroes make their escape. The Trope is then subverted, however, when the Island's Cork is put back in place and the cataclysm is stopped.
- Catch Phrase:
- Hurley: "Dude..."
- "I'm not crazy."
- Desmond: "See you in another life, brother."
- Sawyer's "Son of a bitch!" and many nicknames for people, particularly Freckles (Kate).
- Locke: "Don't tell me what I can't do."
- Ben: "I Lied."
- Kate: "I'm coming with you!"
- Sayid: "My name is Sayid Jarrah, and I am a torturer."
- Basically every faction in the series: "We're the good guys." (which gets lampshaded in the Season 6 premiere).
- Hurley: "Dude..."
- Caught in a Snare: A frequent occurrence, as Rousseau has set these kinds of traps all over the island in the hopes of catching the Others.
- Celebrity Resemblance: Perhaps intentionally invoked with the Season 6 Others foot-soldier Lennon. He wears granny glasses like his namesake and translates for a Japanese character...
- Censorship by Spelling: It doesn't work so well.
Hurley: [Glances at Walt] But what about the B-O-D-Y-S?
- Chained Heat: Brilliantly subverted in "Left Behind".
- The Chains of Commanding: Jack doesn't enjoy it.
- A proud/envious/betrayed-feeling Locke has even a bigger negative reaction to it at times.
- Changeling Fantasy: Alex discovering that she's Rousseau's daughter.
- Jacob and his brother, who learn that the woman who they believed to be their mother isn't, and they actually come from a group of people who came to the island shortly before they were born.
- Character Development: Everyone.
- Character Focus: The show's bread and butter.
- Characteristic Trope: Revolutionized the use of the Flash Back (and conversely, the Flash Forward), which is now prevalent in all of J.J. Abrams' Speculative Fiction works.
- And in Season 6, the flash-sideways which, semantic "out" though it tried to pull on us about the purely Informed (or that is to say, ostensible) trait of its "timelessness" aside, turned out to be just more flash-forwards.
- Chekhov's Armoury: Chekhov's got more guns than a crazy paranoid conspiracy theorist preparing for the zombie apocalypse.
- Chekhov's Boomerang: Multiple.
- Chekhov's Gun: Multiple times. The first ones being the white and black stones and the infamous numbers.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Many.
- The Chessmaster: Ben and also the Man in Black and Jacob.
- The Man in Black can lay strong claim to being the show's ultimate Grand Master of Xanatos Speed Chess, both in terms of effectiveness and speed, after the events of "The Candidate" in which on extremely short notice he creates a situation that causes six main characters to unknowingly place themselves in a death trap, and also keeps himself clear of his own trap and makes the six think they were double-crossing him when they locked him out. The end result: three main characters dead. Not bad work, considering he only had minutes to plan this all out and build the bomb his trap relied on.
- In "The End", Jack makes a daring Batman Gambit by which to kill the Man in Black, helping the Man in Black carry out his own plan the destroy the island, all on the assumption that this plan will backfire on the Man in Black. What makes it even ballsier is that Jack flat out tells the Man in Black that he's running this gambit.
- The Chew Toy: Bad things keep happening to Locke's right leg.
- Child Marriage Veto: In the flashbacks, Sun is very reluctant when her father forces her into an arranged marriage with the son of one of the father's business partners. After a little while she opens up and falls in love in with the guy... but then HE vetoes the whole thing. It turns out that he already has a girlfriend, it's just that he hadn't dared to tell his family about it.
- Children Forced to Kill: One character got his start in murder by covering for his brother when forced to kill a chicken. Another did the same thing, but with a person.
- Christianity Is Catholic: Except for the token Muslim, every character whose religion we know is Catholic: Charley, Desmond, Eko (of course), the Reyes family (by ethnic implication), Claire and Aaron (by baptism)... and the Christian Shepherd memorial is in a church with Catholic-looking statuary. There is not a single explicit Protestant (or Jew, or Buddhist).
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: There are at least two rules on this show. The first rule is that until his complete Heel Face Turn in Season 6, nobody should trust Ben. The second rule is that everybody will disregard the first rule.
- Locke has a similar relationship with his father.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: In large part due to his unresolved daddy issues, Jack has an obsessive need to save all of his fellow 815ers. And whenever he's unable to do so, he tends to freak out.
- Cliff Hanger: Pretty much every episode. One week never felt so long.
- Colonel Bogey March: Desmond, Jin, Charlie, and Hurley whistle this in the episode "Catch-22".
- Color Coded for Your Convenience: Jacob wears white (more like beige, since they don't have bleach). His nemesis wears black (more like grayish black, but that's not the point). When he converts someone, he gives a white stone. His nemesis uses a black stone. Okay, we get it already, they're yin and yang.
- Completely Missing the Point: Hurley's parents decide to celebrate his return home from 100 grueling days on island by throwing him... an island theme surprise party.
Sayid: Interesting choice of theme
- Completely Unnecessary Translator: The leader of the people at the temple speaks English, he just doesn't like doing it, necessitating a translator.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Mikhail states that this is why he's never beaten his computer at chess. But he's lying.
- Con Man: James "Sawyer" Ford and also the "Original Recipe" Sawyer a.k.a. Anthony Cooper do this for a living. Also the much hated Nikki and Paulo
- Conspicuous CG: The infamous "submarine" from "Follow the Leader" in Season 5.
- Conspiracy Theorist: Frank Lapidus, the pilot who was supposed to be flying Flight 815, after seeing footage of the recovered aircraft and noticing that the body in the cockpit didn't match the man who was supposed to be flying it.
- Also, "The Lost Conspiracy" feature in the DVD set, a parody of "truthers" everywhere which starts with true premises (Kate did not "look" four months pregnant at the airport; no way did they stay in shape on a diet of fish and cocoanuts) to draw thoroughly far-out conclusions.
- The Constant: The Trope Namer. Desmond had to find Penelope in his past and present to stop the side-effects caused by him leaving the island.
- Desmond is also Faraday's Constant
- Consummate Liar: Ben's Catch Phrase is "I Lied".
- It proves to be a bit of a stumbling block after his Heel Face Turn.
Ben: What? Oh, for the fourth time, I was gathering mangoes and she was already unconscious when I found her. Why won't you believe me?
- Hilariously, Ben seems unable to be sincere even in little throwaway moments when nothing is at stake - he even lies about his zodiacal sign!
- Continuity Lock Out: Don't even think about trying to jump into the middle of this show (although, most fans believe the plot is better off for it).
- Pity the people who watched only the last episode out of curiosity...
- Contrived Coincidence: One of the shows themes is the concept of coincidence versus fate. Flashbacks with Jacob in the last episode of Season 5 have kind of ruined most of the debate.
- Conversational Troping: Locke and Boone's Red Shirt discussion.
- The Con Within The Con: Done by Sawyer (naturally) in "The Long Con". In this case, Sawyer was himself a tool of revenge because someone else gave him the potential target and information he would need.
- Cool Car: The Hurleymobile.
- Cool Old Guy: Locke, in spades. Even if he was just another pawn the whole time, he still saved several lives and helped countless others.
- Bernard and Rose become this as well.
- Cosmic Deadline: Begins with the flaming arrow on the crash survivor's camp in Season 5. From there on through the end of Season 6, almost every single every newly -introduced character will snuff it before the final episode.
- Cosmic Keystone: The true nature of the Island. It also has its own Cosmic Keystone.
- Cozy Catastrophe: There's the odd soldier or convict (okay, maybe about a third of the passengers), but most of the other castaways are normal, middle class people, albeit with an awful lot of trauma in their pasts.
- CPR: Clean, Pretty, Reliable: Either after 10 seconds they cough up a mouthful of salt water and spring to life or "there's nothing else I can do." There exist a couple of aversions, though, such as Jack to Sayid in the first episode of Season 6.
- Crazy Prepared: Ben could make Batman green with envy.
- Keamy's elaborate Dead-Man Switch at the end of Season 4 should qualify him.
- Crazy Survivalist: Rousseau in the first season.
- Cross Referenced Titles: "One of Them" and "One of Us"; "The Constant", "The Variable" and "The Substitute"; "What Kate Did" and "What Kate Does"; "Everybody Hates Hugo" and "Everybody Loves Hugo".
- The episodes "...And Found" and "...In Translation" could be seen as a version of this are both are part of phrases that begin with the word "Lost".
- "The Beginning of the End" and "The End".
- Crucified Hero Shot: Sayid in Season 6. The one Muslim character in a show with mostly Jewish writers. Go figure.
- Cryptic Conversation: "Are you him? What did one snowman say to the other snowman?"
- "What lies in the shadow of the statue?"
- Whenever Christian appears in a non-flashback. Except in the finale, where he explains the truth of the "Alternate Universe".
- Cuckoo Nest: It's practically poor Hurley's second home.
- Cuffs Off, Rub Wrists: People get handcuffed or tied up a lot. Of special note is Jin, who went for over a season wearing one shackle of a pair of broken handcuffs.
- Cut Apart: Season 4 spends a whole episode's flash-forward with Sun preparing to have a baby, and Jin buying a stuffed panda for a new baby. It isn't revealed until the final flash-forward that the scenes with Jin were flashbacks, with the panda being for the newborn child of the Chinese ambassador and Sun left to have the baby alone in the future.
- A Day in the Limelight: Everyone gets their day. Except Libby, Charlotte, Ilana, and Frank Lapidus, all of whom had at least one flashback (and a flash-sideways for all of the above except Frank), but not their own episode.
- Dead-Man Switch: Keamy sets up one of these before leaving to capture Ben Linus.
- Dead All Along: Everyone in the flash-sideways world -- though it's clear that they didn't all die at once.
- Deader Than Dead: Jacob was stabbed by Ben and cremated by Man in Black. However, it doesn't stop him from returning as a ghost.
- And the Man in Black himself was first shot by Kate and then kicked off the edge of the cliff by Jack.
- Dead Guy, Junior: Desmond and Penny's son is named Charlie.
- Deadly Nosebleed:
- A symptom of time travel indicating that cumulative damage is being done.
- Along with bleeding ears, this is the visible effect of the sonic fence on its victims.
- Deadpan Snarker: Miles.
Miles: What happened to him?
- In commenting on Miles' use of this trope, Hurley reveals his own qualifications for the position:
Miles: Where the hell did they go, Tubby?
- Ben Linus also gets his fair share.
"No, John, we don't have a code for 'there's a man in my closet with a gun to my daughter's head. Although obviously we should..."
- Edward Mars, the US Marshall who chases Kate, has gotten his fair share in in the few times his been onscreen.
Kate: I have to go.
- And Richard can be too.
Locke: [After handing Locke a compass] What does it do?
- Lapidus, after seeing Locke alive again.
"As long as the dead guy says there's reason, then I guess everything's gonna be just peachy. And forget about the fact that the rest of your people are supposedly 30 years ago. Now the only ones that are here to help us are a murderer and a guy who can't seem to remember how the hell he got out of a coffin."
- Don't forget about Sawyer himself.
Libby: How did you get shot?
- Deal with the Devil: Sayid makes one with the Man in Black.
- Death by Cameo: Zoe Bell.
- Death by Materialism: Nikki and Paulo.
- Death by Sex: Shannon after sleeping with Sayid, and Ana Lucia after sleeping with Sawyer.
- More like death by Romance: Charlie, Libby, Charlotte died when their relationships were finally starting to work out.
- Death Is Not Permanent: At least not with Sayid.
- Death Seeker: Many account for this, but especially Sawyer comes to mind.
Michael: Since the day you told me you wanted on this raft, I couldn't figure it out. Why does a guy who only cares about himself want to risk his life to save everyone else? Yeah... way I see it, there's only two choices. You're either a hero, or you want to die.
- Deserted Island: The entire show is the subversion.
- Despair Event Horizon: Richard Alpert skirts damn close to this in Season 6, but is eventually pulled back from the edge by Hurley.
- Heck, the entire latter half of Season 6, especially from the sub explosion to the last episode would probably count as this. It comes to a head when Desmond puts out the light at the heart of the Island. Fortunately, it quickly turns around after that when Jack discovers that without the light, he and the Man in Black are mortal again.
- Destination Defenestration: This is how Locke became paralyzed.
- Determinator: Sun and Jin. Try and separate them. I dare you.
- Also Jack since the beginning. Season 1 examples: Edward Mars, Boone, and "Come on, Charlie. Come on. Come on, Charlie! Come on! Come on!! Come on!!!! COME ON, CHARLIE!!!" He just can't let stuff go.
- Did I Mention It's Christmas?: During Season 4 episode "The Constant", Sayid and Desmond only find out it's Christmas Eve when they spot the date on a calendar, while being far too busy with much more important things.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Ben to Jacob in the Season 5 finale.
- Ironically, Richard tried this earlier and got an ass-kicking for his trouble.
- Died Happily Ever After: Technically...
- Dies Wide Open: Numerous times. One minor motif is someone closing a dead person's eyes out of respect, as Ben did to Horace Goodspeed.
- Also consider the final image in the series finale - one could say the show, or perhaps the island, does this to Jack.
- Different As Night and Day: Jacob and the Smoke Monster.
- Disappeared Dad: Hurley, Claire (which plays a role in the plot), Miles in Season 5. And Locke's entire storyline and character development was based on how his father abandoned him over and over again.
- Disney Death: Charlie pulls one in the middle of Season One.
- Disney Villain Death: Man in Black, who was pushed off a cliff by Jack, though he was already mortally wounded after being shot by Kate.
- Disposable Pilot: In the pilot episode, the co-pilot dies on impact and the pilot is killed off soon after being found.
- Distant Finale: Technically, the series finale. "There is no 'now'" in the sideways-verse, but Hurley and Ben especially may have taken a particularly long time to get there.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Jacob, who believes that Rousseau Was Right, doesn't interfere with the decisions of the people of the island and enables free will. While the Man in Black, who believes that Humans Are the Real Monsters, tries to tempt the same people with visions, apparitions of the dead, and impossible promises that appeal to their deepest desires.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Charlie to Claire.
- Doing In the Wizard: Many mystical elements gained scientific explanations after the first season, only for the show to return to mysticism in the final seasons. The the entry for details.
- Door to Before: After previously thinking that the only way into the hatch is through the door that the characters have to use dynamite on in order to open, it's revealed once they're inside that there's a back door.
- Double Aesop: "The best way to find something is to stop looking."
- Dramatic Dislocation: Happens at least three times: Charlie reluctantly helps Jack, Kate reluctantly helps Juliet, and Libby goes for the surprise version in "The Other 48 Days" while telling the injured Red Shirt a story about skiing.
- The Driver: Abaddon eventually turns into this.
- Driving Question: Being specific would require a page of its own (and in fact this page can probably be found on Lostpedia), so a good summary is "What the hell is going on?!"
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Several examples, most notably Ilana.
- Dr. Jerk: Jack (sometimes) has a terrible bed-side manner and often brutally honest with his patients about their chances, but otherwise is a miracle-worker. His father Christian, on the other hand, was a snarky, condescending drunk who got a patient killed.
- Duct Tape for Everything:
Miles: I don't believe in a lot of things -- but I believe in duct tape!
- Dynamic Entry: The Black Rock was catapulted onto the island by a colossal tidal wave, knocking over the giant Taweret statue as it makes landfall.
- Dying Alone: "If we don't learn to live together, we're gonna die alone."
- Eventually Inverted in the best way -- though they might die alone, they move on together.
- Dying Like Animals
- Dysfunction Junction: More like Dysfunction Scramble Crossing.
- And, as of Season 6 Episode 16 ("What They Died For"), this was justified- turns out Jacob purposely picked screwed up people to bring to the island so that they'd have a reason to want to replace him, as opposed to someone who was torn from a happy life.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Oh yeah. On, like, a Don Bluth character level.
- Easter Egg: On the 6th DVD of Season One, if left too long on the first screen, the plane lodged in the cliff falls.
- Easy Amnesia: Claire and Ben.
- Also the main character of the video game, though he got his in the plane crash.
- Eat the Dog: Locke serves Ben one of the cute fluffy bunnies left over from the DHARMA Initiative upon running out of chickens.
Ben: ...This didn't have a number on it?
- Education Mama: Eloise Hawking.
- Establishing Series Moment: The appearance of the polar bear and the smoke monster, our first indications that this is not an ordinary island.
- The series's many upcoming Mind Screw's are best summed by Charlie's quote:
"Guys... where are we?
- Estrogen Brigade Bait: Sawyer, Jack, Sayid, Desmond, Jin, Locke for the older set. Ben, if only for his voice.
- Eternal Recurrance: People coming to the island, as one can guess by what Jacob and the Man in Black's mother stated. People always seem to arrive by "accident". It's never by accident; it's because the island and/or Jacob want them to be there.
- Everyone Is Related: Although you may not know it for a few seasons.
- Evil Brit: Charles Widmore.
- Evil Matriarch: Jacob and the Man in Black's "Mother," played by Allison Janney, who killed their real mother just after she gave birth to them.
- Evil Versus Evil: Ben versus Charles Widmore in Season Three and Four. Then in Season Five, it was revealed that it has been Jacob versus his enemy all along, and now it is Jacob's enemy versus Charles Widmore and his men who arrived to island on a submarine.
- Depending on character interpretation, particularly after seeing the events in "Across the Sea", Jacob versus his nemesis still qualifies.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Dharma Initiative generic food products.
- Exact Time to Failure: The countdown clock in The Hatch.
- Expanded Universe: Consisting of a few books, two online games, and a computer/video game. The canonicity of all of them is questionable, however.
- Word from The Powers That Be is that the only true canon is the show itself. The mobisodes are kinda canon, same goes for the Orchid video from Comic Con 2007, but not for the Pierre Chang Video from Comic Con 2008. So yeah.
- Expansion Pack Past: Everyone.
- Not all characters employ this trope to its full definition, though. For instance, most of Hurley's flashbacks, rather than adding a new period to his otherwise-undefined past, flesh out a period in his life that was alluded to over a season prior.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: AKA Flashback Wig.
- Eyepatch of Power: Mikhail.
- Eye Scream: In "The Package", Jin shoots alternate universe Mikhail in the eye. For bonus irony points, it's the one he's missing in the main timeline.
- Exposition of Immortality: The character Richard never ages, which we first see in a flashback when Ben meets him as a child and Richard looks exactly the same. Through time travel and more flashbacks, we see Richard in various eras, still looking exactly the same as he does in the present.
- Face Heel Turn: Michael, although he eventually redeems himself (to the island. Claire does one offscreen sometime after the Season 4 finale and Sayid is wooed to the dark side by the Man in Black in "Sundown" (Season 6 Episode 6).
- It's been strongly hinted that Claire and Sayid's turns are the result of being infected by the Sickness.
- Facing the Bullets One-Liner:
The Man in Black: You are too late He is wrong.
- Failure Is the Only Option: With the premise of "people stranded on a deserted Island", it was pretty obvious to Genre Savvy viewers that any attempts to get off said Island were doomed to fail. It was the famously subverted when some characters left the Island and their goal became to get back there. And then totally inverted in the final season: the goal of the main characters becomes to stop the Big Bad from leaving the Island - something they have attempted themselves for so long early in the series.
- The other goal for Lost is to figure out what the hell is going on. Characters and the viewers alike were fated to fail here.
- Fake Defector: Hurley pretends to get kicked out of Locke's group and join Jack's as part of Locke's ruse.
- Fake Kill Scare: Sayid, Jin, and Bernard have been captured by the Others, and Ben tells them over the phone to shoot all three of them while Jack listens. It turns out that they merely fired shots into the sand to scare Jack, but this causes Jack to deliver a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on Ben later.
- Interestingly enough, these three characters are assumed dead at least on one other occasion. Sayid dies but then comes back to life in Season 6, Bernard is presumed dead in Season 1 while the freighter explosion is assumed to kill Jin but doesn't.
- Fake-Out Opening: Every Season Premiere (except for the first, naturally).
- Fan Service: Nikki does a strip-tease and pole dance in Season 3. Partly a parody - it turns out to be in a show-in-show featuring a whole troupe of bikini-clad crime-fighters.
- Fatal Family Photo: Early in "The Candidate", Jin is talking to Sun about having finally seen their daughter in a photo. Cue the sinking of the sub.
- A Fate Worse Than Death: Anthony Cooper in the afterlife, whom we discover is in a permanent vegetative state due to a plane crash he suffered when trying to teach Locke how to fly. One can't help feeling sorry for him, even though he was a heartless monster in both life and death. It's more gruesome when we realize that due to this, he can never move on.
- Explicitly said to apply to Jacob's brother too.
- Michael, particularly since the events of "The End" so far as we can tell, did nothing to free his soul, which was trapped on the island, unable to "move on". The epilogue, however, suggests that by going back to the island Walt might be able to help him move on.
- Faux Death: Nikki and Paulo appear to be dead in "Exposé", but end up being buried alive because they have actually been bitten by spiders that put them in a death-like state.
- Faux Fluency: Naveen Andrews is actually British, and doesn't speak Arabic (which is why all of his scenes with people who should be speaking Arabic switch to English after one or two sentences).
- At Jin and Sun's wedding, Jacob tells them their love is special. After he leaves, they comment that his Korean is excellent. It doesn't take a knowledge of Korean to notice that this is an Informed Ability.
- Inverted with Jin: Daniel Dae Kim is a Korean-American and, in a dream sequence of the Season 2 episode "Everybody Hates Hugo", demonstrates he actually speaks native English. In the show, however, he plays a Korean national who doesn't learn English for at least 2 seasons, and still speaks it with a moderate accent after having 3 years of experience (although the accent does slip on occasion).
- Fingertip Drug Analysis: As a drug lord, Eko knows how to do this, of course. Sayid in one episode too.
- First Gray Hair: In the last episode, Richard finds one. Though rather than being a source of angst, he considers this a very good thing since it means he's no longer immortal.
- Five-Bad Band: The Others in Season 3.
- Five-Man Band: The "A-Team".
- The Hero: Jack Shephard.
- The Lancer: John Locke.
- The Big Guy: James "Sawyer" Ford.
- The Smart Guy: Sayid Jarrah.
- The Chick: Kate Austen.
- The Sixth Ranger: Ana Lucia, later Juliet.
- The Freighter Folk had one going--Frank, Miles, Daniel and Charlotte—but there's a lack of an obvious hero-leader-guy, as Naomi was killed off before the Freighter Four even landed on the Island, and Keamy was only out to brutalize as many people as he could get away with. No surprise they didn't last too long.
- For the Losties who spent time with Dharma, there's Sawyer, Miles, Jin, Daniel, and Juliet.
- In the final two episodes, it becomes Jack, Kate, Sawyer, Ben, and Hurley. And then immediately played havoc with, as Hurley's the one that eventually lands Jacob's job, with Ben becoming his Lancer.
- Flash Back: It is practically the Characteristic Trope, after all.
- Flashback Echo: Once an Episode or so.
- Flashback Effects: A distinctive sound effect notes the beginning and end of each flashback. This is almost reversed for the 'jumps'.
- Flashback Twist: Possibly the Trope Codifier. Special mention goes to the third season finale.
- Flash Forward: As of the end of the third season, we get these too.
- Flash Sideways: Trope Namer and Trope Codifier (together with the movie Sliding Doors). Many of the characters do this a lot in Season Six.
- Flirty Stepsiblings: Shannon and Boone.
- Florence Nightingale Effect: How Jack and Sarah fell in love.
- Foe Yay: Ben and Locke. Lampshaded by Ben in the Season 5 finale.
- The amount of Foe Yayishness between the two is actually rather amusing.
Ben: And then you came striding out of the jungle, John, to make my dream come true.
- So much, in fact, that the Season 5 finale with Ben and Un-Locke confronting Jacob almost feels like a love triangle, with Ben's angry reaction at being treated like the third wheel.
- Foiler Footage: They shot multiple reveals of who was in the coffin at the end of the final episode. Sawyer and Desmond were the other two filmed to be in the coffin, but obviously weren't in it when the episode aired. In the DVD bonus material for that season, the writers said that they sweated a bit when that episode aired for fear the editor had spliced the wrong bit of footage onto the end of the episode because it would have been a bear to write their way out of.
- Foreshadowing: Locke mentioning the battle between light and dark in the very first episode. However, it isn't until the season five finale we clearly know what the sides are.
- This conversation is rife with foreshadowing, especially to some of the reveals in Season 6.
- At the end of "Tabula Rasa", which was about the second episode of the series, the sounds of The Monster are subtly played as the camera pans over to and zooms in on the face of John Locke.
- The final battle is foreshadowed in the Season 1 finale.
- "See you in another life, brotha", is repeated several times, and then there are other things of the same sort like Nadia's assurance that she will see Sayid again in another life, if not this one—all of these things foreshadowing the flash-sideways.
- Locke being tricked and manipulated in a lot of his flashbacks, and his psychological profile claiming he is "amenable for coercion". The poor guy turns out to be a pivotal Unwitting Pawn in the scheme of the Man in Black.
- For Science!: Stuart Radzinsky has been planning this station for six years, and he doesn't care if you've come from the future to warn him he's about to unleash catastrophe, he's not stopping the damn drill now! To be fair, now that we know what the sideways timeline really is, it's not clear that Radzinsky actually caused the entire Incident - the atomic bomb dropped down the well probably helped.
- For Want of a Nail: The flash-sideways timeline is initially presented as this; the characters' lives had there been no plane crash, no Island, and no interference from Jacob. The series finale, however, shows that it's actually the afterlife.
- Four Is Death: Four is one of the numbers.
- Boone wears multiple t-shirts in the first season containing fours or sets of four, and is the first regular character to die.
- In a Season 5 flashback, Miles discovers his ability to speak to the dead by finding a dead man in Apt. #4.
- In Jacob's cave, Locke is indicated by the number 4, and is the first of the six uncrossed names to be crossed out (as he is dead).
- Freudian Excuse: Ben and the Man in Black.
- From a Certain Point of View: "The box was a metaphor."
- Word of God reportedly has it that by "magic box" Ben meant the island itself (or the island's power, you could say, if that helps clear things up).
- Un-Locke is fond of using this tactic. When he tells Ben that he can have the island all to himself if he helps him in his cause, he "leaves out the part about it being at the bottom of the ocean." He tells the candidates that he needs them to escape the island: and he does need them... to die.
- Christian's medical report on the patient he ended up killing in his drunkenness told "the truth": that two doctors tried to save her and failed. It seems to be carefully worded to avoid the issue of the cause of failure being that he ended up fatally lacerating her because his hands were shaking too badly from all the booze.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: Ben Linus.
- Funny Aneurysm Moment: With a storyline this convoluted that stretches over such a long time period, there are naturally a few in-universe examples. By far, the most horrifying was when we learned exactly how that Dharma van Hurley found in the forest in a beloved Breather Episode got stranded out there...
- One out-universe example is in "Confidence Man" where Sawyer is describing the "Oil rigging off the Gulf."
- Fun with Foreign Languages: Frequently occurs in earlier seasons when Jin's knowledge of English is very limited and none of the other survivors except for Sun speak Korean.
- Gambit Pileup: Rose, Bernard, and Frank are about the only characters without some kind of ulterior motive.
- Gambit Roulette: Sometimes you wonder just how Ben could have planned for some things. He could be good at improvising and adapting his plans or claiming he is.
- Ben seems like a rookie compared to Jacob's enemy, whose Plan included everything in Ben's plans, plus a couple of twists which ultimately gave him the upper hand and led to un-Locke manipulating Ben into killing Jacob.
- Geodesic Cast: Out of sheer necessity because of the show's Loads and Loads of Characters.
- Geographic Flexibility: The Island.
- Get It Over With: Subverted. Keamy threatens to kill Alex if Ben wouldn't surrender. Ben answers that he doesn't care about her (that's a lie) and almost demands to kill Alex. Keamy shoots her immediately, even before Ben finishes his phrase.
- Go Mad From the Isolation: Rousseau and (as of Season 6) Claire.
- A promo implies that the Man in Black turned from a misled young man just trying to get home into The Monster because he went insane after spending 2,000 years trapped on the island.
- Grand Finale: "The End". See the page for details.
- Grand Theft Me: While he's not exactly stealing other peoples' bodies, the Man in Black/Smoke Monster is able to assume the form of anyone who has previously died whose body is on the Island such as Alex, Yemi, Christian, and Locke. Also, Emily, Ben's mother, died off-island but Young Ben saw her "ghost" in the season three episode The Man Behind the Curtain.
- Graying Morality
- The Great Repair: In the final episode.
- Grey and Gray Morality: Played with in the repetition from all different sources about who is a "good person" (or people) or a "bad person" (or people). Naturally, there are contradicting opinions about and from just about everyone.
- Even the Big Bad is given a Freudian Excuse and is a very sympathetic character in his Day in the Limelight.
- And the Big Good messed around with peoples' lives, which got many people killed. However, The end of the show seems to vindicate these actions explicitly, by saying that even though many died, their time on the Island was the most important part of their life, and they felt it was worth it in the end. The things his followers do in his name range from morally questionable to evil. Widmore, undoubtedly the man behind the "purge" of the Dharma Initiative, is unapologetically evil, and was the leader of the Island for many years before Ben staged a coup. It does remain unclear how many of these acts Jacob approved of, and which were the result of people being tempted by selfishness and their baser nature (or possibly under the influence of the Man in Black).
- Jacob called Widmore a bad man. If he ever approved of his actions, it was before he was the monster he is now. But the entire idea behind The Others was for Jacob to be able to interfere without interfering, by having a group of people working to his end who (for the most part) were self-governing and self-sufficient. That way he can sort of influence things but without infringing on people's ability to choose for themselves. Nevertheless, Jacob admitted to being flawed. Knowingly tossing your own brother into a fate worse than death tends to qualify one for that label.
- The show started off as this, but leaned more towards Black and White Morality towards the end of the series. Most of the main characters recognized their flaws and how their past actions had negative effects on them and wound up redeeming themselves, due to the Rousseau Was Right theme, which is why they were ultimately rewarded in the afterlife by reuniting and moving on. The irredeemable villains such as the Man in Black and Martin Keamy, who never wished to redeem themselves and just kept getting worse, simply got their brutal comeuppances, even in the afterlife, as seen with the deaths of Keamy and his henchmen and Anthony Cooper being in a vegetative state and unable to move on.
- Guile Hero: Desmond in the flash-sideways universe.
- Guilt Complex: Hurley in seems to think that because he keeps finding his winning lottery numbers everywhere as the plot moves along, it means that the numbers are cursed, and somehow that means every other bad thing that happens on the island is his fault.
- Before coming to the island, he blamed himself for an accidental deck collapse that killed two people.
- Guinea Pig Family: Juliet practiced her fertility therapy on her sister.
- Gut Feeling: Bernard was in the tail section of the plane which separated from the section the main characters were in before the crash. In spite of this, his wife Rose spends the entire first season calmly correcting anyone who refers to him as being deceased or past tense. She says she just knows he's alive. Early in Season Two, she is proven correct and reunited with him.
- Hand Wave: When Abaddon asks if Walt has to come back to the island too, Locke replies that "he's been through enough".
- Happily Married: Rose and Bernard. Jin and Sun as well, although Sun was just about to leave Jin before the plane crashed. Desmond and Penny are definitely this too, once they FINALLY get back to each other.
- Have You Told Anyone Else?: Inverted. When Mother asks the Man in Black if he has revealed the Light beneath the island to the villagers. He says yes, and you can almost see the gears turning as she calculates how many people she must now kill then she kills everyone in the village except the Man in Black.
- Hearing Voices: The whispers in the jungle, revealed in Season Six to be the dead people on the island who haven't "moved on".
- Heel Face Revolving Door: Sayid and Benjamin Linus.
- Heel Face Turn: Juliet and Ben.
- Sayid in his final act of heroism.
- Helping Would Be Killstealing: Jacob. Played straight on the island: He doesn't interfere, because he want everyone to figure out the right thing to do on their own. Subverted in the outside world, as Jacob seek out Kate in her childhood and save her from a problem that would likely have been a important life lesson.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Desmond at the end of Season Two (although he survives), Charlie at the end of Season Three, Sayid and Jin in "The Candidate", and Jack in "The End".
- He Who Fights Monsters: With the events of Season 6, this can be inferred as the reason for much of the Others' villainous behavior.
- He Who Must Not Be Seen: The Monster and the Others during season one. And Jacob, until "The Incident".
- As regards the Monster, the show certainly did play with the trope in a nifty way: we saw it as far back as the first episode or two but didn't know it because we didn't yet know that it was the same thing taking those other forms like Christian Shephard's. Although it wasn't until the season one finale that we even got a glimpse of its default, wispy form.
- Hidden Villain: The revelation of the Big Bad and all Disc One Final Bosses previous are pretty big twists.
- Hijacked by Ganon: The first antagonist introduced in the series is the Smoke Monster, making its presence known in the first episode. After several seasons of making us guess who the true Big Bad was, we are introduced to an unnamed character referred to as "the Man in Black", who was the enemy of Jacob and was manipulating everyone (even Ben) the whole time. At the very start of the final season, he reveals himself to be the Smoke Monster, thus it was the Big Bad the whole time.
- His Name Is--: Pretty much every character with valuable information to impart on the main characters seems to suffer from this trope. Every time someone has a chance to really expose an important plot point or enigmatic mystery, they dance around the issue with vague words and nonsense until they are forced away/leave/die.
- Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: In play in some way. What with Sayid shooting, and trying to kill Ben Linus back in 1977.
- Lampshaded in the following episode by Hurley and Miles - and even better, it's implied that Jack's refusal to save Ben's life as a child - and Sawyer and Juliet's subsequent plea to Richard Alpert - turned him into the Magnificent Bastard he would become in the future.
- It's even more or less referred to by name in dialogue from the first episode of Season 5:
Dr. Chang: It will allow us to manipulate time.
- The Homeward Journey: The focus of the first half of the series. Once some of the characters return home, however, they realize that they have reasons for returning to the island.
- Hookers and Blow
- Hope Spot: Locke banging on the Hatch door at his weakest moment only for it to miraculously turn on. Which is actually a double-whammy as it turns out that by doing so, he saved Desmond from a suicide attempt.
- How We Got Here: Season 4 and the first half of Season 5. On a smaller scale, the episode "316", which starts with a brief Flash Forward and then spends the rest of the episode explaining how the characters ended up there.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters/Rousseau Was Right: As it turns out, this is the nature of the conflict between the Man in Black and Jacob. The Man in Black believes the former, while Jacob believes the latter.
- Hurricane of Puns: The names of the tracks on the OSTs are almost all puns on the characters' names.
- Hyperventilation Bag: Hurley is seen doing this in a parking lot during one of the flashbacks.
- I Cannot Self-Terminate: Richard due to Jacob's touch. He (Richard, not Jacob) even asks Jack to kill him. Guess what? Jack has something else in mind.
- Candidates are incapable of committing suicide. In fact, if Tom is to be believed, no one who has been to the island can do it, at least until the island is "finished with" them.
- I Choose to Stay: Quite a few of them, some of which span universes. Rose and Bernard choose to make a life on the island because it cured Rose's cancer. This is the whole point to Locke's arc, Jack's too in a sense. In the finale alone there's three of them: Hurley and Ben choose to stay on the island to help Jack. After he dies, Hurley and Ben choose to stay behind to be the new Jacob and Richard. Ben also chooses to stay behind in the "in between" Flash-sideways universe rather than move on with everyone else.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Such episode titles as "...In Translation" and "...And Found".
- Idiot Ball: A massive handling by the remaining A-Team and Boaties, who spent the last few episodes of Season 5 formulating and executing a plan that hinged on the small probability that setting off a nuke would prevent the mysterious "Incident" that happened to the Swan station. It wasn't until five minutes before they were to do it that Miles asked "what if it didn't prevent it; what if it caused it?" The silent response warranted an exasperated "I'm glad you all thought this through".
- Ignored Confession: When the Dharma Initiative is interrogating Sayid, he confesses that he is from the future. They don't believe him, however, and only think that they gave him too high a dosage of LSD.
- I Just Want to Be Special: Locke's backstory. Ben has a little of this as well.
- I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Libby in Season Two, and Charlotte in Season Five.
- I Lied: Ben Linus's Catch Phrase.
- Ill Girl: Shannon is asthmatic, which leads to Sawyer stealing her inhalator or at least letting everyone think he did.
- Imaginary Friend: Hurley's hallucinatory friend from the mental institute, "Dave", shows up on the Island in one episode. He tries to convince Hurley that the island, not him, is the hallucination, and tries to prove it by pointing out all the unlikely things that have happened to Hurley since he left the institution. He says that if Hurley makes a literal leap of faith by jumping of a cliff, he'll have let go and will be back in reality, the island having disappeared. He is eerily persuasive. However, it gets more complicated when it turns out that Hurley can see and interact with the spirits of the dead, meaning that Institution Dave could very well have been real. Also, the Big Bad of the series turned out to be capable of taking on the form of those who had died and trying to lure them to their deaths or otherwise indirectly cause them to die (since he cannot kill candidates himself), thus creating another possibility for the identity of Island Dave.
- Although since candidates cannot kill themselves, one must wonder what would have happened if Hurley had jumped. probably would have washed up on shore barely alive or something...
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Played straight and subverted at different times. The only time someone from the DHARMA initiative actually managed to shoot someone was when Roger Linus caught Jack and Sayid by surprise. Widmore's team in Season 6 doesn't get a chance to shoot at much that isn't the Man in Black, but they prove themselves to be decent shots in "The Package". In "The Candidate", they even manage to shoot Kate in the shoulder.
- Improbable Age: Daniel Faraday may be a super-genius, but it's a bit extreme for him to be teaching at Oxford at nineteen years old.
- It's hinted that this is due to extreme meddling from his mother to the point he's pretty much only done physics in his life...
- While still incredibly improbable, this is not completely impossible. Erik Demaine, for example, got his PhD in mathematics and joined the MIT faculty at 20 as its youngest member ever.
- Inconvenient Hippocratic Oath: Jack has to save Ben. When pressed for a reason, however, he neglects to mention the oath.
- I Never Got Any Letters: Walt's anger at Michael is mitigated when he realizes that Michael had, in fact, tried to contact him during his childhood; Walt's mother had hidden Michael's letters.
- In "Live Together, Die Alone", Penny is upset that Desmond never wrote to her when he was in prison, when in reality he did; Charles Widmore had been intercepting all of his letters to make Penny think that Desmond had given up on her.
- Infant Immortality: Damon Lindelof stated that by the end of the series, Vincent the dog will still be alive. Chances are Aaron, Ji Yeon, and little Charlie will live to the end as well.
- Kate seemed to enforce this before heading back to the island. She told Claire's mother the truth about Aaron and left him with her to keep him safe.
- Inferred Survival: As of Season 3, this is the game people play with the characters left on the island.
- Informed Ability: Sayid, the torturer. The only time we are even *informed* that he successfully tortured someone is in a flashback, and it is almost all offscreen. This among numerous failed attempts.
- Informed Islam: Sayid is obviously meant to be a Muslim—he is once shown praying and recites the shahada at one point when he's been caught in Rousseau's trap—but he also gets liquored up and fornicates with non-believers.
- Instant Birth, Just Add Water: Claire on both the island and in sideways. The latter is particularly egregious since Claire goes from contractions to birth within the space of time it takes Charlie to get a towel. Partially justified in that sideways is actually purgatory, so it doesn't need to follow the rules of reality.
- Not totally impossible. We don't really know how long it took Charlie to get a towel, and it could have been rather hard to locate one. Even if it only took half an hour or so, this troper's birth took just twenty minutes.
- Instant Death Bullet: Sawyer tries to apply this trope in the first season to put a dying man out of his misery. At first it looks like he succeeded but rasping coming from the tent minutes later confirms that Sawyer has sentenced him to hours of an even more painful death.
- Later subverted in a similar fashion with Libby who lives just long enough to be assured that her killer is going to be just fine (and she dies unable to warn Jack).
- Later it becomes clear that this subversion happens because of the healing properties of the island.
- Inter Class Romance: Desmond and Penny, and also Jin and Sun.
- Involuntary Group Split: Happens when they discover the cave.
- It Will Never Catch On: Even the show-runners thought this. When Damon Lindelof was pitching the show to ABC in 2004, he was asked where the show would go in the long run. His reply?
Lindelof: We're probably not going to get past episode thirteen. Let's all be honest about that up front.
- Ironic Echo:
- In "Dr. Linus"(Season 6 Episode 7), after Ben reveals that Sayid killed Dogen and his interpreter:
Ilana: Are you sure?
- then a few minutes later after Miles reveals that Ben killed Jacob:
Ilana: Are you sure?
- I See Dead People: Miles (who can only communicate with them) and Hugo.
- I See Them, Too: Kate and Sawyer go through this in "What Kate Did".
- Also Jack and friends during Jacob's final talk with them. Until then, only Hurley could see him.
- A particularly brutal example, given what immediately follows, is Sayid finally seeing for himself the apparition Shannon had seen.
- Island Help Message: Bernard begins to build one in the episode "S.O.S.", as the title would seem to indicate. He gives up, because nobody really wants to leave.
- Is That What They're Calling It Now?: Sawyer's reaction to Jack telling him that he and Kate got caught in a net.
Sawyer: I screwed her.
- It Can Think: The Smoke Monster turns out to be one pretty intelligent entity.
- It's All My Fault: Exactly what Locke says after Boone dies. Although he is at least partially right, and no one rebuts him save the "Boone" he sees in the sweat lodge vision.
- It's Been Done: Ashes to Ashes beat Lost to an eerily similar ending by just two days.
- Also arguably Neon Genesis Evangelion, which has a much bigger head start. Both shows end with most major mysteries being disregarded in favor of character analysis in purgatory.
- Ivy League for Everyone: Jack attended Columbia University.
- Jerkass: Sawyer in Season One. Justified a few episodes in, where we learn that he is intentionally playing the part of a Jerkass so people can hate him as part of a deep self-hatred impersonation complex.
- Radzinsky and Phil of the Dharma Initiative.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sawyer after Season 1. Thank you Character Development! By Season 4, the Jerk may as well be completely removed.
- Though he's still a grand Deadpan Snarker.
- Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: We still haven't been given half the pieces.
- There's a literal jigsaw puzzle you can buy that assists in revealing the plot.
- Just Eat Gilligan: Averted when it comes to the main plot. Things really are a little more complicated than they seem.
- However, there would probably be some merit to actually killing Ben in expediting the process a little.
- Keep Reading: When Sawyer shows Kate the letter "a little boy" wrote to "Sawyer", prodding her to read the whole thing out loud.
- Kick the Dog: In one interview, Damon and Carlton said killing Sayid, Jin and Sun was meant to make fans angry at the Man in Black and remove all suspicions of him not being evil.
- Keamy killing Alex in Season 4 also counts.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: Boone, Arzt, Nathan, Frogurt and Ilana.
- Killed Off for Real: Many, many people.
- Kill'Em All: The beginning of Season 5 saw to it that any survivor of Oceanic 815 who wasn't in the least bit important was killed by fiery arrows. Anyone Can Die indeed.
- Also happened to the Dharma Initiative in "The Man Behind the Curtain".
- And to The Others in "Sundown".
- "The Candidate" includes the deaths of Sayid, Sun, Jin, and a large number of Widmore's employees.
- The series ends with most major characters united in the afterlife.
- Kill Him Already: In early Season Four, when Locke's group has Ben captive, Sawyer thinks they should do this to him.
- Kill It with Fire: Kate did it to her own father.
- The Man in Black dealt a finishing blow to Jacob by kicking him into a fire pit.
- Knife Nut: Locke
- Knight Templar Parent: Parodied with Ben in "Through the Looking Glass", when Alex refers to Ben locking up Karl and trying to brainwash him:
"I didn't want him to get you pregnant. I guess I overreacted."
- Keep in mind that women who get pregnant on the island and don't get off after a few months die.
- Kudzu Plot: The whole show, inside and out. There may be no better example.
- Lampshaded by Mother with the most infuriating line in the whole show: "Every question I answer will simply lead to another question. You should rest. Just be grateful you're alive."
- Lampshade Hanging: In "The New Man in Charge", Ben tells the guys at the DHARMA packing plant that he's there "to tie up a few loose ends", which is exactly what the epilogue did.
- In "Exodus (Part 2)", Artz says: "You know, you people think you're the only ones on this island doing anything of value. I got news for you -- there are 40 other survivors of this planecrash" seems to lampshade the fact despite the large number of survivors in the first season, only about a quarter are given any development.
- Land Down Under: The show's portrayal of Australia is laughably inaccurate, mainly appealing to stereotypes.
- Claire's mum. You'd swear she's on the verge of saying "Dingoes stole moi baybee" every other word.
- Land Mine Goes Click: Happens every time someone activates one of Rousseau's traps.
- Last-Minute Baby-Naming: Clare doesn't name her baby "Aaron" until after he's born, resulting in a "whodat" reaction from Charlie after she uses the name for the first time.
- Last Kiss/Now or Never Kiss: Jack and Kate have this in "The End".
- Let's You and Him Fight: One of the big reveals near the end of the series was that the Smoke Monster, being prevented from killing Jacob's candidates himself, was manipulating them into killing each other all along: Survivors, the Others, DHARMA folk and everyone else - and while many attempts failed, enough have succeeded.
- Letting Her Hair Down: Ana-Lucia goes back and forth in the second season.
- Ley Line: The island moves along ley lines. Interestingly, there is in fact a ley node in Tunisia. Ley node number 4 actually corresponds with one of the possible locations of the Island.
- Living Prop: Show made a great effort of keeping the background cast consistent throughout the years. While some faces inevitably came and went, many people kept appearing among the crash survivors for 5 or 6 seasons without any impact on the plot whatsoever. In addition, background cast of more seldom appearing groups (The Others, The Tailies, The Ajira folk) remained consistent as well, people were called over season-long gaps to reprise their brief non-speaking roles.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: It helps fuel Anyone Can Die.
- Loan Shark: Flash-sideways Keamy.
- Love Makes You Dumb: Ofter occurs in the Jack/Kate/Sawyer Love Triangle.
- Love Makes You Evil: Sayid in "Sundown".
- Love Transcends Spacetime: Trope Codifier (together with the movie Sliding Doors). Several of the characters do this a lot in Season Six.
- Love Triangle: The one involving Jack, Kate and Sawyer has been played throughout all seasons with an insufferable, obnoxious insistence.
- The addition of Juliet to the mix makes things slightly more interesting.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: We eventually learn that Claire is Jack's half-sister.
- In Season Five, Faraday's parents are revealed to be Eloise Hawking and Charles Widmore.
- Pierre Chang (the orientation video guy) is Miles's father.
- Made of Evil: The Man In Black.
- Mafia Princess: Sun, though she does not really approve of it.
- Mama Bear: Claire, Kate, Rousseau, Sun, and Eloise. Eloise Hawking was so gung-ho into this trope that she shot and killed her own son, while she was pregnant with him, and yes it makes perfect sense in context.
- Actually quite subverted in the case of Eloise Hawking. While she did love her son she remained distant from him for his whole life since she knew his destiny was to be killed by her.
- The Man Behind the Man: Jacob to the Others and Charles Widmore to the people on the freighter.
- Matryoshka Object: Howard L. Zukerman keeps diamonds a nested doll in the episode "Exposé".
- Mauve Shirt: Rose and Bernard. They actually make it through the whole series.
- Similarly, flight attendant Cindy Chandler whose fate is unknown after the mortar attack on the Others following the Man in Black. It is implied she and other Others survived and scattered into the jungle.
- Meaningful Name: Apart from those characters named after historical figures and philosophers, we have Ethan Rom, which is an anagram for "Other man".
- Applied strangely in the case of the spiritual, faith-obsessed John Locke, who seems like the polar opposite of his empiricist namesake.
- A boon is a blessing, a favor or a gift. Locke tells Jack that Boon(e) was a sacrifice that the Island demanded.
- Sawyer is a con-man, not unlike a certain lovable scamp. Lampshaded in that Sawyer took that name from Anthony Cooper, who himself took it from the fictional Tom Sawyer.
- Religious: Also Jack Shephard and his father Christian. Benjamin was the youngest son of Jacob. Aaron's name means "light bringer". Christian's name was lampshaded in "The End".
Kate: Who died?
- Another religious reference: the biblical Jacob had long-lasting rivalry with his twin brother, Esau - who he screwed out of basically everything...
- More on Jacob and Esau: Esau was born first, and Jacob was born holding Esau's ankle. Where does Jacob reside? In the (literal) foot of the statue... Also, Jacob and Esau's mother was told that her children would "fight all their lives".
- Not to mention when Locke's mother goes into labor while shouting "His name is John!" (Luke 1:59-63)
- Another religious reference: the biblical Jacob had long-lasting rivalry with his twin brother, Esau - who he screwed out of basically everything...
- Penelope is the faithful wife of Odysseus. Also the proverb: A (bad) penny is sure to return (with "bad" not really being applicable).
- Meanwhile in the Future: Done when Desmond (and, by Season 5, the whole island) gets unstuck in time. Averted in name with title cards stating "Thirty years later" (and earlier).
- Mental Time Travel: Happens if you encounter a large blast of radiation or electromagnetism on or near the island.
- Message in a Bottle: Attempted and failed... or was it?
- Messianic Archetype: Locke seems to definitely fit this role. A whole race of people awaiting his arrival? Suffering a lot and eventually dying to save everyone? Having a resurrection?
- Very obvious in the apartment scene in "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham", when Locke has his right hand extended in a Christlike gesture of benediction, and Ben kneels down before him.
- Cruelly subverted in Season Five when it is revealed Locke was never brought back to life at all.
- Meta Twist: The Season 3 final episode.
- Mind Screw: Lots of it.
- And personified by Eloise Hawking. She's like The Architect. If that woman shows up on screen, go for the Panadol, 'cause you're gonna need it.
- Misplaced Wildlife/Noisy Nature: Season 3 reveals that most of these are escaped DHARMA experiments from 12 years before the crash.
- Monochrome Casting: Notably averted; characters are of various continents and various races. There, is however, a noticeable lack of Jews throughout the series, which is especially Egregious considering that most of the Island's mythology seems to be based on stories from the Old Testament.
- Ilana Verdansky's name strongly suggests that she's an Ashkenazi Jew or Israeli (possibly Russian-Israeli), also displaying some Badass Israeli characteristics.
- Frank Lapidus has a Hebrew last name, and Naomi Dorrit's name is made of two Hebrew first names.
- Monumental View: Boone had a hotel room impressively built in the middle of Sydney Harbor, judging from his view.
- Moral Dissonance: Kate (a fugitive murderer, she had a good reason) lecturing Locke about love, while at the same time refusing to go and help one guy who does love her (Sawyer) and the real mother of her adoptive son (Claire) - plus all the other survivors, of course.
- Morning Routine: The first episode of the second season starts with one.
- Mortality Ensues: The final episode implies that Richard Alpert has lost his immortality, which he considers a very good thing.
- Ms. Fanservice: Bikini-clad Shannon in Season 1. Kate was often in her underwear and averaged one bathing scene a season.
- Multilayer Facade: Ben pretends to be the victim of a group of savages. He's actually the leader of this group of savages, which doesn't exist except as a front for an Ancient Conspiracy. However, Ben is not in control: Indeed he is the leader of this Ancient Conspiracy, but the conspiracy itself is also a front for something else, something which Ben cannot even reach, much less control.
- Murder by Cremation: Burn, Jacob, burn.
- My Eyes Are Up Here: Kate in "Catch-22" when Sawyer walks in on her getting dressed in her tent.
- My Greatest Failure: Jacob admits that his biggest mistake was turning the Man in Black into a great honkin' smoke monster. He's literally spent hundreds (possibly thousands) of years trying to fix this mistake.
- My Life Flashed Before My Eyes: Interesting variation - not only do the flashes triggered by a near-death experience continue after the event is over, they actually are a combination of premonitions and Mental Time Travel. This trope is used by Desmond to describe the weird things happening to him.
Desmond: "When I turned that key my life flashed before my eyes. And then I was back in the jungle and still on this bloody island. But those flashes, Charlie - those flashes - they didn't stop."
- Mysterious Past: All the characters, at first. Some of them still have unanswered questions.
- Never Found the Body: The justification for the return of Jin after the boat explodes is that he was thrown clear of the blast.
- The fate of Frank Lapidus, who was presumed dead after "The Candidate" although his body wasn't shown, and Richard Alpert, who is thrown into the jungle by the Man in Black and not seen again for the rest of the episode. They later turn up in the finale.
- Never Was This Universe: The Flash Sideways to the show's main timeline. It was first shown to the viewers following The Incident in 1977 which was implied to be the reason for timeline divergence. Later episodes however revealed that small differences between two timelines existed even before that date. In the end, the mainstream world was revealed to be a Stable Time Loop and the Flash Sideways was in fact the Afterlife all along.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Turns out Jacob turned his brother into the invincible killing machine that is the Smoke Monster. Sure would have been easier to keep him on the island as a human.
- The Nicknamer: Sawyer, of course.
- Nitro Express: The protagonists find dynamite in the wreck of an old ship and need to transport it through the jungle to blast their way through an obstacle. It is very old and sweating nitroglycerin. They use it on multiple occasions throughout the series and two times one them is accidentally killed when it blows up.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Ben's brutal savaging of Keamy, not to mention his unbridled rage at the man for killing his daughter, and also being one of the few times where Ben shows genuine emotion, possibly from watching Jack in season 3's finale. And after Shannon's death, the scene where an enraged Sayid shows off that Republican Guard hand-to-hand training and just mows through several Tailies trying to get to (and from the look on his face, kill) Ana-Lucia. Then there was Locke beating the snot out of Butt Monkey Mikhail. And Jack and Sawyer in the Season 5 finale. It was pretty even until the Groin Attack.
- No one delivers beatdowns harsher than ol' Smokey himself. Specific example is Mr. Eko's death via tree-smashing, or when he responds to Richard attempting to talk to him by flinging him into the jungle so hard that if he wasn't immortal at the time, he'd probably be dead.
- Ben gets beat up so often and so savagely and by such a varied group of people that they hang lampshades on it. In "What They Died For", it's even what's used to trigger his memories of the real world.
- No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine: Ben treats Kate to a pleasant breakfast on the beach, explaining that he wanted to give her something nice to remember, as "the next few weeks are going to be very unpleasant."
- No Name Given: Jacob's nemesis. He may in fact be literally nameless -- his birth mother died before she was able to name him.
- Noodle Incident: The "Incident" at the Swan. Until the end of Season 5.
- Others include Sayid's "Basra Incident" and Sawyer's "Tampa Job".
- And the story, which Hurley is so very reluctant to tell, of how he acquired his nickname. One can guess as to what it obviously might have involved, but not at the unglimpsed hilarious particulars.
- No Periods, Period: For the most part, Lost adheres to this trope, rather than even attempt to deal with the inconvenience of twenty or so women of childbearing age trapped on a desert island with no feminine supplies. However in Season 4's "Eggtown", Kate, who's been worried that she might be pregnant is suddenly certain she isn't, and it's mentioned that she and Sawyer abstained the night before.
- When Claire finds out she is pregnant, she mentions that she is "late".
- Nostalgia Heaven: When Eko dies; also the end of the entire series.
- The Notable Numeral: The Oceanic Six.
- Not Blood Siblings: Boone and Shannon.
- Not Himself: Every single "dead person" who's been seen on the island, including Locke has actually been The Monster/the Man in Black assuming their form, with the exception of the ghosts that only Hurley can see.
- Finally subverted near the end of the series when the remaining candidates see Jacob's ghost.
- No Time to Explain: Multiple key players who may or may not know some or all of the answers to the mysteries (Rousseau, Ben, Eloise Hawking, Dogen, Jacob, the Man in Black).
- Not Quite Dead: Charlie's Disney Death in Season One, Locke in season three. Both stretched credibility, Charlie more so. Jin's probably now out done both. However, as far as credibility goes, it's most likely the Island's healing properties.
- Not So Harmless: Being exiled, emasculated, dispossessed, and beaten to a bloody pulp whenever he opens his mouth hasn't served to lessen Ben's dangerousness as much as you'd think it would.
- Not So Omniscient After All: Ben, in later seasons.
- Not So Stoic: Juliet multiple times, but particularly in the webisode "The Envelope" after finding out Ben has cancer and that her sister may still be dying; as in if Jacob can't sure Ben's cancer, then he can't cure her sister's.
Juliet: It's just... complicated.
- Oedipus Complex: Every. Single. Friggin'. One of 'em! Lampshaded with the Season One episode title "All the Best Cowboys Have Daddy Issues".
- Mother issues also begin to emerge in Season Five. In the Season 6 episode "Recon", even the smoke monster admits that he got some mommy issues on his own because she was crazy. Later in the season, we learn that problems with his adoptive mother ultimately led to him and his twin brother Jacob drifting apart, and the latter throwing him into the Island's heart, transforming him into the Smoke Monster.
- Oh Crap: Kate's face after seeing the Resurrected "Locke" for the first time, after seeing the Temple massacre
- Jack's face when Ben shows him that the Red Sox did indeed win the World Series.
- Older Than They Look: Richard Alpert. Part of why he's so damn creepy. Likewise with Jacob and his rival.
- As of the Series Finale "The End", he has his first gray hair. Guess now that Jacob's dead, he's aging again.
- The Omniscient: Jacob and his rival. In earlier seasons, Ben seems to be this.
- Once a Season: Every season finale features Stuff Blowing Up and/or a Heroic Sacrifice.
- In the first season, poor Doc Arzt blows himself up while "heroically" lecturing the A-Team on dynamite safety. Later in the episode, Jack, Locke, Kate, and Hurley use the dynamite to blow open the hatch door.
- In Season 2, Desmond turns the fail-safe key, releasing a large amount of electromagnetic energy and causing the Swan station to implode. He believed that he was making a Heroic Sacrifice but survived.
- In Season 3, Charlie almost manages to subvert his prophesied heroic sacrifice in the Looking Glass, only for Mikhail to show up and grenade his ass. But not before he gets to reveal to Desmond that it's NOT PENNY'S BOAT.
- In Season 4, we have the long-suicidal Michael stay behind on the freighter to delay Keamy's Dead Man Trigger. When Michael runs out of liquid nitrogen, Christian Shephard appears and says "You can go now, Michael." KABOOM. Jin was okay though. Earlier in the episode, there's another non-explosive Heroic Sacrifice when Sawyer jumps out of the helicopter, giving up a chance to get off the island in order to ensure that everyone else on the helicopter can.
- In Season 5, the very last shot we see is of Juliet repeatedly BANGING A HYDROGEN BOMB WITH A ROCK in order to prevent "The Incident", and by extension, the plane crash that kicked the whole series off. She appears to successfully detonate it, and the screen goes bright white, only for her to be alive and in the present in the Season 6 premiere and then die later that same episode from injuries unrelated to hydrogen bombs.
- Season 6's seems to come early when Sayid pulls a Heroic Sacrifice and takes the bomb that Fake!Locke put in Jack's bag away from the others before it explodes, saving everyone in the submarine... for the moment.
- Not to be outdone, the Series Finale "The End" ends with an Heroic Sacrifice of epic proportions, which manages to Book End the entire series. After Desmond pulls out the island's Cosmic Keystone (and yes, the island's a Cosmic Keystone with its own Cosmic Keystone), the island begins to sink. Jack, after preventing un-Locke from getting on his boat, goes to put it back in. Down in the heart of the island, Desmond tells him that he (Jack) should let him (Desmond) put the keystone back in, since he's the only one that can survive the EM radiation. Jack tells Desmond to go home, to his wife and son, and then carries him to the mouth of the cave. Jack puts the keystone back in, saving the island, but taking a fatal dose of radiation in the process. The series ends with Jack walking through the jungle, until he finally collapses in the bamboo forest, with the final shot being a close-up of his eye closing.
- One Degree of Separation: Pretty much everyone has encountered everyone else in some way before the crash.
- Practically invoked in Season 6's flash-sideways universe given that it was the afterlife.
- One Steve Limit: There will always be only one Jack, one John, and one Kate.
- There are some technical exceptions, such as Charlie Pace and Charles Widmore, but when Charles Widmore is not on a Full-Name Basis he is on a Last-Name Basis, and he wasn't a player on the island until right after Charlie's death. As for Charlie Hume, Desmond and Penny's son, he wasn't born until after Charlie Pace died.
- And some other exceptions, but of the same sort. For instance, there are two seemingly unrelated characters named Lennon but one of them appears in one scene in an earlier season and the other is a much more major character from Season Six.
- Probably the biggest one in the series is the two Charlottes: Charlotte Malkin (a one-episode character from the flashbacks) and Charlotte Lewis (a series regular from Season 4-early Season 5).
- Emily Locke and Emily Linus, too.
- There are two background characters named Steve - Steve Jenkins (of "Scott and Steve") and an engaged man who died with his fiancee in the crash.
- There are several Davids or Daves. Hurley friend from the asylum, Hurley's father, Jack's 'son', Sawyer's con target and Libby's husband.
- Ontological Mystery
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Sawyer and Hurley for a while.
Sawyer: Who the hell is Hugo Reyes and why has he got 160 million dollars?
- It took a while for people to stop calling Ben "Henry", as well.
- Only One Name: Eko and Yemi.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Evangeline Lily betrays her Canadian upbringing whenever she says something that rhymes with "out". And every time she says "sorey". Naveen Andrews occasionally slips into his native British accent as well, particularly during more emotional scenes.
- Open-Heart Dentistry: Averted, for the most part. Juliet's a doctor, but she's a fertility doctor; she can't perform Ben's spinal surgery, and she can't save Colleen from a gunshot wound. She does manage to take out Jack's appendix though, with Bernard (an actual dentist) assisting.
- Operation Game of Doom: The Black Rock dynamite qualifies. And a guy gets blown up to show it's really serious. Not that that stops Locke fooling about and lampshading the trope.
- Oracular Urchin: Walt, maybe.
- Our Time Machine Is Different: The whole freaking island...
- Out-of-Genre Experience: Very prominent. The show's use of flashbacks, flash-forwards and Flash Sideways allowed the writers to dabble in other genres regularly:
- Jack's flashbacks are full-blown medical drama.
- Ana Lucia's flashbacks become a cop/crime drama.
- Kate's flashbacks feature a fugitive drama.
- Nikki and Paulo became a one-time relationship comedy. Or rather, tragicomedy.
- Ben and Sayid had a James Bond/Die Hard episode.
- Desmond's episodes had him involved in a Mental Time Travel back when other characters would dismiss the thought of that nonsense outright.
- And some consider the Sun/Jin flashbacks to be a full-fledged Soap Opera.
- The Flash Sideways frequently switch genre. Flash-sideways Locke appears to be in some sort of dramedy about coping with his disability, Ben's are a drama set in a high school (yes, a canon High School AU), Sawyer and Miles are in a buddy cop movie...
- Out of Focus: So, so much.
- Henry Ian Cusick is listed as a main cast member for Season 6. At the ten-episode mark, how much screen time did he have, collectively? Approximately one minute. It was apparently done to make his return an actual surprise by making viewers wonder when Desmond would finally return.
- This is probably because in Season Four, the first eight episodes (the only ones completed before the Writer's Strike caused hiatus) credited Harold Perrineau Jr.. So when "Meet Kevin Johnson", the last episode before the hiatus aired, no one was the least bit surprised that Michael was Kevin Johnson.
- Did you know that Jeff Fahey (Frank Lapidus) is a main cast member in Season 6? Neither did the writers, apparently.
- Henry Ian Cusick is listed as a main cast member for Season 6. At the ten-episode mark, how much screen time did he have, collectively? Approximately one minute. It was apparently done to make his return an actual surprise by making viewers wonder when Desmond would finally return.
- Oxbridge: Oxford University is where Daniel does his research whilst a professor of Queens College ("The Constant").
- Charlotte also received her doctorate there ("Confirmed Dead").
- Pac-Man Fever: Literal example. In one episode, Walt is playing a modern overhead shooter on a modern handheld system like a DS or PSP and you hear the sounds of the original Pac-Man on it.
- It's a Game Boy Advance SP.
- Which the writers clearly knew nothing about because Walt mentions needing new batteries when the SP is, in fact, a chargeable device, not one where you replace the batteries.
- It's a Game Boy Advance SP.
- Pair the Spares: Sawyer and Juliet in Season 5, after Jack and Kate leave the Island. It's a testament to Josh Holloway and Elizabeth Mitchell's acting ability that they're able to make their ship rather more appealing than the Official Couple's.
- Their relationship also had much more depth, and from their POV, much longer to develop. We might have seen Sawyer and Kate off and on together for 3 years, but that was only a few months to them. With Juliet he had over 3 years. Also, the finale gives them OTP status by showing them together in the afterlife, and Kate with Jack.
- Papa Wolf: Given the ubiquity of "daddy issues" on this show, very few fathers on Lost would go out of their way to protect their children. That said, Ben Linus would like to have a few words with you on the matter. Michael also goes all-out for the sake of WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALT! Speaking of Ben, why don't you ask him how Desmond reacts when his wife and child are threatened?
- Percussive Prevention: Charlie prevents Desmond from taking his place drowning at The Looking Glass by smashing him in the face with an oar.
- In Season 5, Richard Alpert does this to Eloise Hawking when she tries to follow Jack and Sayid on their way to nuke The Swan.
- Locke to Boone in Season One to help him get over Shannon.
- Sun to Ben (with an oar) in Season Five.
- Locke to Sayid while he was trying to triangulate the distress signal in Season 1.
- Perma-Shave: Locke's baldness.
- Perma-Stubble: Almost all the guys. They used salvaged razors to keep from growing full beards.
- Person as Verb:
Hurley: ...You just totally Scooby Doo-ed me, didn't you?
- Phrase Catcher: Tons of phrases repeated by various characters. Each phrase is a motif all its own.
- Physics Goof: The completely impossible behavior of the water in the Season Three finale.
- Also, the completely impossible idea that when an entire island is removed from water (as in the Season Four finale), it would leave a few small ripples instead of a giant void, most likely resulting in huge numbers of tidal waves, etc.
- How did a wooden ship crash into a massive stone statue, causing the statue to break almost entirely apart but the boat to suffer only minimal damage?
- Place Beyond Time: The Flash Sideways.
- Plot Armor: Actually exists in-universe: anyone chosen/touched by Jacob seems to be unable to die until Jacob gives the OK. This applies to a number of the main characters.
- Plot-Sensitive Latch:
- Sawyer uses one repeatedly and deliberately, to the point of lampshading when we encounter an alternate universe where he's a cop.
- Hurley's suitcase bursts open as he runs to his flight along with many other mishaps, only to miss it and be forced to rebook... on flight 815.
- Poor Communication Kills: Oh, if only people learned to mention some of those regularly-occurring BLAMs...
- Posthumous Character: A lot of people show up after death, whether by flashback, some Mind Screwy vision or time travel. Special mention of course goes to Jack's dad who was already dead before the show started, and to the whole Dharma crew, who were almost ALL dead twelve years before the beginning.
- The most straightforward type are those characters who were dead before the series even began but have since turned up in Flash Backs. Then there's Jack's and Claire's dad, Christian, whose dead body Jack was bringing home on Flight 815, but who turned up in numerous episodes throughout all six seasons, whether in flashbacks, in dreams, as a ghost, or a Dead Person Impersonation.
- Other such characters would include: Susan Lloyd, Frank Duckett, Essam Tasir, Tom Brennan, Jae Lee, Yemi, Angelo Busoni, Kelvin, Emeka, Edward Burke, Tricia Tanaka, Howard L. Zuckerman, Roger Linus, Horace Goodspeed, Emily Linus, Jonas Whitfield, Isabella, "Mother", and Claudia.
- Subverted in the case of Kate's mom, Diane. In her first flashback, she already has a terminal disease. She then appears in several other flashbacks that all clearly take place sometime before the first one. But in a Flash Forward, we discover she's still alive. "The doctors have given me a year to live for the past 4 years."
- Another unique type are among the Tailies. They would've been alive at the start of the series, but are dead by the time any Main Character meets the Tailies, such as Goodwin, who debuted as a corpse, then went on to guest star in 4 episodes after that, each one in a flashback taking place earlier than the one before it. The only other dead Tailies named are Donald and Nathan.
- Then there are those characters who died soon after their debuts only to appear in more episodes after they died than they ever did while they were alive. The most famous example is Ethan Rom, killed in his fourth episode, then appeared in eight more episodes after that. Other examples include:
- U.S. marshall Edward Mars (killed in his third episode, appeared in six more after that).
- Leslie Arzt (killed in his third episode, appeared in four more later).
- Jacob killed in the very first episode he was played by a professional actor. The actor went on to play Jacob in five more episodes.
- Beginning with the first Flash Forward in the third Season Finale, we had plenty of characters who were still alive in the main timeline, but were dead by the time of the flashforwards. And since the first flashforward shown is actually one of the last in chronology, this would also include people who were killed in the flashforwardss. The first is John Locke, whose body is in a closed coffin in that third season finale. It's not till the fourth season finale that the coffin is opened, revealing it's Locke, and not till midway through the fifth season are we shown how he ended up there.
- Other characters who died during this period include: Diane of the Others, Greta, Bonnie, Ryan Price, Tom Friendly, Mikhail, Charlie, Naomi, George Minktowski, Regina, Karl, Rousseau, Alex, Ray, Captain Gault, Omar, Keamy, Michael, Neil, apparently every single remaining survivor of Flight 815 who was neither a Main Character nor an abducted Tailie, Charlotte, Nadia, Ishmail Bakir, Mr. Avellino, Elsa, and Abaddon. So yeah, a few people died during this period.]] Just a few.
- During the fifth season, the Losties traveled back in time, meeting characters we already knew were dead by the present. Examples include Stuart Radzinsky, a character we had heard about as having committed sucide but whom we'd never seen till now, Rousseau and her entire expedition, and members of the Dharma Initiative, many of whom will be killed in the Purge, and Phil, a DI member who ends up dying long before the Purge, as a direct result of the Losties' actions.
- And finally, there's the flash-sideways where is everyone. The flash-sideways is the afterlife and "takes place" after everyone shown in it has died.
- The most straightforward type are those characters who were dead before the series even began but have since turned up in Flash Backs. Then there's Jack's and Claire's dad, Christian, whose dead body Jack was bringing home on Flight 815, but who turned up in numerous episodes throughout all six seasons, whether in flashbacks, in dreams, as a ghost, or a Dead Person Impersonation.
- Powder Trail: Used to open the hatch.
- Pre-Mortem One-Liner: "I saved you a bullet!"
- Averted with the Man in Black himself: "I want you to know, Jack...You died for nothing." (he actually died but much later and with purpose).
- Preemptive Apology:
Michael: I'm sorry.
- Prisoner Exchange: This is Jack's plan for getting Walt back after he is kidnapped by the Others, lampshaded by Sawyer as "the old Prisoner Exchange". Unfortunately, it doesn't go according to plan.
- The Producers Think of Everything: Locke's black and white stones. Adam and Eve. The DHARMA Initiative. They planned quite a bit of everything YEARS in advance.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: The show's cup runneth over with Ben Linus, Desmond Hume, Richard Alpert, and Frank Lapidus.
- The opening credits coming back from the first commercial break usually don't end until 10 minutes past the hour thanks to the cast of relevant thousands.
- Played to infinity in the series finale, as every returning cast member and nearly every guest star who ever mattered got bumped to starring status.
- Proscenium Reveal: Nikki's first flashback features a proscenium reveal. Nikki is shown pole dancing in a club, then having a confrontation with her boss. The boss shoots her, and the director yells, "Cut!", revealing that Nikki an actress working on a show about strippers who fight crime. The original plan was to have the entire episode revolve around this Show Within a Show, with the proscenium reveal coming at the end. This plan was scrapped when Nikki and Paulo proved wildly unpopular.
- Psychic Nosebleed: Appears in one episode of Season Four, and repeatedly during the first half of Season Five, all related to the effects of time travel.
- Psycho for Hire: The mercenaries in Season Four, especially their leader, Keamy.
- Psychosomatic Superpower Outage: Locke loses his Island-restored ability to walk after an incident of self-doubt.
- Psychotic Smirk: Keamy's creepy grin/mouth twitch. For a good guy, John Locke does flash a lot of those. Even more so once he's replaced by the Man in Black.
- The Public Domain Channel: While a prisoner of the Others, Jack watches Heckle and Jeckle cartoons on a TV set they provide.
- The Purge: The name given to the toxic gas attack that effectively wiped out the DHARMA Initiative's presence on the Island. Certain members, such as Ben, were allowed to join the Others and survive the attack.
- Put on a Bus: Walt, the one kid on the show, had to be written out to hide his clear progression through puberty, while only months pass in-show.
- The Quiet One: Eko, during his introduction. They do eventually tie up his storyline in the epilogue.
- Rage Against the Reflection: Sawyer shattered a mirror in frustration in his flashsideways in "Recon".
- Also in "Lighthouse": Upon seeing that Jacob has been watching the Losties for quite a long time, Jack goes batshit and smashes every mirror in the place.
- Rasputinian Death: Mikhail.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: At the start of the show, some viewers complained that Claire's accent was too over the top. The actress is a real Australian. Similar complaints have been made with Sawyer's southern accent (it's Josh Holloway's own accent).
- Following "Maternity Leave", there were also complaints about the actress playing Alex looking "as old as the actress playing her mother." The actress and the character were the same age at the time.
- The amount of prop-C4 on the Kahana was thought to appear to be too little and was doubled. The original amount still would have been able to blow up the freighter, though.
- An in-universe example is when Jack refuses to believe Ben that the Red Sox could have won the World Series.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: A fun example: the show premiered in September 2004, and the next few seasons took place over the 108 days after that. Jack is a big Red Sox fan, and there was a recurring line about the famous Curse. So naturally, when Ben wanted to prove that he had a way of getting off the island, he showed Jack the Sox winning the 2004 World Series (which in reality had been the year before, but in-show only a couple of weeks). Jack's response? "If you wanted me to believe you, you should have picked a different team."
- Really Seven Hundred Years Old: Richard Alpert. And, of course, Jacob and his enemy.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Locke gets an alarming number of these, mostly by Ben, Jack, and even posthumous ones by the Man in Black, while he's wearing Locke's skin like a suit.
- Of course, the part about Locke in that speech by the Man in Black is just a tangent in him delivering a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Ben. The Man in Black concedes that even though Locke was pathetic, there was something inherently decent about him, unlike Ben.
- Recap Episode: ABC, Sky1 and RTE 2 like to throw together recap specials to air before premieres, finales, or after a hiatus.
- Recurring Extra: The show went to a great deal of trouble to keep its extra pool consistent over years: Main Camp, Tailies Camp, Ajira Survivors, The Others (both modern and during the 70-s), Kahana crew etc. all spotted mostly the same share of background faces who contributed absolutely nothing to the plot except when being suddenly killed as a Red Shirt deserves. In some cases, extras were even asked to reprise their roles years after their original appearance, simply because events of a scene would happen at the same time and place.
- Redemption Equals Death: Sayid.
- Cause-Effect flipped with Michael, who is unable to die until he redeems himself.
- Averted with Benjamin Linus, who is redeemed and survives to the end of the series.
- Heck, pretty much EVERY SINGLE DEATH of a main character was this. Once they fulfilled their purpose for the Island, or came to terms with a deep problem in their life, BAM!
- Redemption in the Rain: Played with in Locke's case. We see him in the rain, but we don't see how he was redeemed until later.
- Red Herring: Neil "Frogurt" a character often mentioned by the producers as far back as Season Two who was said to play an important role in the plot. His debut kept being "postponed" until he shows up in Season Five... and is riddled with flaming arrows for being such a whiny little bastard.
- A not-so-straight version, but the main rumour during the airing of the later part of Season 5 said that either Sawyer, Daniel, or Ben would die. A lot people thought it would be Sawyer, due to his Character Development, finally making something of his life, and of course, having fallen in love with Juliet. In the end, it was Daniel who died, but almost nobody guessed that Juliet would kick the bucket too, thus in a sense killing off the happy version of Sawyer.
- Red Shirt: Done with an appreciable amount of Lampshade Hanging. The show has actually shown a lot of restraint in killing off unnamed/minor survivors. At least until Season Four, and then the Red Shirts start dropping like flies over the rest of the series.
- Remember the New Guy?: Subverted.
Hurley: Dude... Nikki's dead.
- Replacement Goldfish: Ben tries to make this out of Juliet twice, once for Sarah Shephard and again for Annie, and both times it fails.
- Reset Button: Played with. At first, the plot of Season 6 seems to take place in two separate timelines: one where the detonation of the hydrogen bomb did this and sent everyone back to a somewhat altered version of the Oceanic flight, and another timeline where everyone is still stuck on the Island. The series finale, however, reveals that what was believed to be the alternate timeline was actually the afterlife.
- Retcon: Oh, boy.
- What do you mean, Paulo and Nikki weren't there all along?
- In the pilot, Shannon is quite clearly just screaming nonsense syllables after the crash - in subsequent flashblacks, she is just as clearly saying "Boone".
- Claire talks with both Thomas and her friend about her mother in "Raised By Another" in ways that would be extremely odd if her mother were in a coma.
- Retroactive Precognition: Season 5 did this a lot once the Time-Travel started.
- The Reveal: Plenty, which are usually reserved for season finales.
- The general rule for Lost is that no matter how huge the Reveal (contrary to popular belief, the show has answered a lot of long-standing questions), it will mostly just raise new questions. The other general rule is that the audience is expected to solve many of the mysteries themselves. For every big reveal, there were a dozen or more clues and many fans who'd already figured things out themselves. This is why so many casual fans and detractors say the show "doesn't answer all the questions": a lot of the answers are inferred and not given to you at face value.
- Rhetorical Request Blunder: Juliet is being recruited by "Mittelos Laboratories", but says she couldn't possibly join unless her ex-husband "gets hit by a bus." She meant it rhetorically. They, on the other hand, hit him with a bus.
- Riddle for the Ages: Some would argue that this is part of the show's overall point. Others... disagree.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Sayid, under Ben's instruction, upon Nadia's death.
- Saharan Shipwreck: The Black Rock. It was foisted onto the island by a massive tidal wave.
- Sassy Black Woman: Rose is an example.
"If you say "Live together, die alone" to me, Jack, I'm gonna punch you in your face."
- Say My Name: "WAAAAAALLLLLLLLTTTTTT!!!"
- Scary Black Man: Mr. Eko, at first; also Abaddon.
- Screaming Birth: Aaron's birth (in both universes), as well as Ben's.
- Screaming Woman:
- One iconic image of the show is Shannon doing this in the pilot.
- Claire's got quite a set of lungs in her as well.
- But none can dream of competing with Sun's spine-chilling scream in the Season 4 finale.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: Almost literally. According to Jacob, the Man in Black is evil itself, with the Island as the cork of the bottle containing the Man in Black.
- Secret Test of Character: Implied to be the point of the entire show in the Season 5 finale. Jacob expected Ben to fail, and sure enough...
- Miles thinks that he failed.
- Seinfeldian Conversation: Charlie and Hurley debate the old "Who would win in a race between The Flash and Superman" question in the beginning of the episode "Catch-22".
- For the record: It's The Flash.
- Senseless Sacrifice: Most of the death scenes in the show tend to be rather bleak and nihilistic more than heroic (Shannon, Ana Lucia, Libby, debatably Charlie, Daniel, Alex, Rousseau) - even fan favourites like Locke and Eko have died in a rather miserable way.
- Sex for Solace: After seeing Jack flirting with Juliet, Kate goes straight to Sawyer and jumps him at his tent. He sees her subtly crying and puts two and two together, but goes with it anyway.
- Shaky POV Cam:
- Used occasionally with the Monster.
- And at least once with a boar.
- Shapeshifter Guilt Trip: The Smoke Monster aka the Man in Black used this a lot on the main characters: he appears to Jack as his late father, to Eko as his late brother, to Ben as his late daughter, to Richard as his late wife... you get the idea.
- Shapeshifter Mode Lock: The Man in Black, after killing Jacob, can only change into John Locke when not in smoke form.
- Shapeshifting: This was the Man in Black's MO until killing Jacob locked him as Locke.
- Ship Sinking: Sawyer and Kate and Nadia and Sayid in the finale.
- Shoo Out the New Guy: Ana Lucia was introduced and shortly after being incorporated to the main cast started showing up very prominently and was getting more screen time than established characters. The fanbase generally hated her and saw her as intrusive and an unlikeable bully. She didn't last out the season. Word of God, however, is that her death was written in from the beginning as Michelle Rodriguez only agreed to appear in a single season.
- Nikki and Paulo were introduced in Season Three. Everyone hated them. The only episode they ever got ended with them being unceremoniously buried alive.
- Shout-Out: In Season 5, Hurley is seen in the airport reading a trade paperback of Y: The Last Man, written by current Lost producer, co-writer, and story editor Brian K. Vaughan.
- The numerous books that Sawyer and others read, which often are the inspiration for the current plotlines.
- Juliet's flashback shows her ex-husband being abruptly run over by a bus. Final Destination much?
- The Man in Black is very similar to Stephen King's world-hopping villian Randall Flagg, especially his incarnation from The Stand. In Ab Aeterno, the scene where he makes a deal with a chained and starved Richard (who at this point has been chained in the ship for several days) parallels the one between Flagg and a starved and imprisoned Lloyd very closely. Then again, Lost seems to have quite a few similarities with The Stand, which makes sense considering Team Darlton says the book was influential on the creation of Lost.
- Incidentally, Randall Flagg is mainly known, among a few other names, as the Man in Black throughout The Dark Tower series. This makes sense, seeing as at one point Team Darlton were gearing up to adapt the books into a movie series before giving it a pass.
- A preview for one of the later episodes of Season Six has the nightmare-inducing Gene Wilder song playing.
- The last scene of the finale is a Shout-Out to the ending of the Chronicles of Narnia with everyone actually being dead, but happily reunited and ready to move on together.
- A few shots, namely the first appearances of Christian Shephard, seem to reference Half Life, and the game itself appears in "The Greater Good". The game developers returned the favor in Half-Life 2: Episode 2 with a couple of Easter Eggs referencing the Dharma Initiative.
- Season 1 has Charlie's date mention a paper company up in Slough.
- A number of episodes are directly named after works of classic literature - The Shape of Things to Come, Of Mice and Men, Through the Looking Glass, The Little Prince, A Tale of Two Cities, Stranger in A Strange Land, Catch-22, etc. Some of these books are directly referenced in the episodes as well. Other episode titles are less direct - for instance, "The Man Behind the Curtain" and "There's No Place Like Home" are both references to The Wizard of Oz. The episodes "White Rabbit", "Born to Run", and "House of the Rising Sun" are named after popular songs.
- The blast door map shows "possible location of Number Six."
- Shout-Out/To Shakespeare: Juliet is named after the titular character in Romeo and Juliet.
- Show Within a Show: Exposé, starring Billy Dee Williams. It's pretty cheesy. Locke is shown watching it in the episode before it is featured.
- Sigil Spam: Dharma Initiative logos are found everywhere on the Island. Playing cards, ping-pong balls, chocolate cookies - everything inside their stations has a Dharma logo. It is even stamped on the fin of a live shark for crying out loud! And on random doors embedded in rocks that don't lead anywhere. And on all of the supplies.
- In another variation of this trope, they also had multiple variations of their logo for everything one could possibly think of.
- Slasher Smile: This is the only type of smile Ben is capable of making.
- Sliding Scale of Anti-Heroes: Some characters like Jack and Locke started out as Type III while the rest of the cast were mainly Type IV. Thanks to Character Development pretty much most of the reamaining cast are here.
- Small Secluded World: The Island.
- Something Only They Would Say: Jack realizes he's met Desmond before from Desmond's calling him "brother". Then Desmond recognizes him when he asks "what he's running from".
- The Man in Black to Richard: "Good to see you out of those chains." An unusual example in that we the viewers don't know its been said before when we first hear it.
- Songs in the Key of Lock: Yes, that's a Beach Boys tune that Charlie is entering on the keypad in the Looking Glass.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: "Make Your Own Kind Of Music" is played by Desmond in the first scene of Season 2 from inside a hatch built to contain a cold, frightening secret.
- "Downtown" playing during Juliet's near-breakdown and as Flight 815 crashes in "One Of Us".
- "Better Every Day" playing as Michael revs his car into a wall.
- "Catch A Falling Star" plays while Claire, Sayid, and Kate walk through the destroyed temple at the end of "Sundown".
- Southern-Fried Genius: Sawyer
- So Was X:
Hurley: Do not open that! There's dynamite and it's mega-unstable.
- Spanner in the Works: Juliet in Season 3, Hurley, early Season 5. Purposefully, just to piss Ben off.
- Spoiler Opening: All the time, but the series finale in particular, where the starring credits went on for about five minutes and spoiled the return of Christian, among others.
- Well, the return of Christian's coffin in the sideways universe was shown very early on, so, if you were watching the episode without knowing the ending, you could have assumed that John Terry would appear only as a corpse.
- Stable Time Loop: Sayid attempts to kill Ben as a child, forcing Kate and Sawyer to turn over the mortally wounded child to the Others, with the implication that these events will unalterably set the kid on the path to being the cold hard bastard he is in the present.
- Star Trek Shake: The crash of Flight 815 and the earthquakes in the finale.
- Sterility Plague: Women who conceive on the island cannot give birth there. Those who try all die. It turns out that the island's electromagnetism sets off an immune response that attacks the fetus, killing both mother and child.
- The Stoic: Dr. Juliet Burke.
- Suddenly Always Knew That: Kate suddenly has tracking skills; they weren't revealed before because You Didn't Ask.
- Super Weight:
- Type 0: The people at the Temple.
- Type 1: Most main characters, the freighter commandos, elite others, Charles Widmore, Anthony Cooper.
- Type 2: Richard, Desmond, Hurley, Miles, Walt, Mikhail, Ben, after the finale.
- Type 4: The Man in Black, Jacob, Jack during and Hurley after the finale.
- Type 5: The Rules, the Island itself.
- Survivalist Stash: The Dharma bases.
- Survival Mantra: "1... 2... 3... 4... 5..."
- "Live together, die alone" also qualifies.
- Time Travel Survival Mantra: "Whatever happened, happened."
- An unspoken mantra seems to be "Don't trust Ben."
- Tactful Translation: Sayid pulls this one while interrogating one of his countrymen in "One of Them".
- Take a Number: In "The Lie", Ben arrives at an empty butcher shop, not intending to buy anything, and takes a number. This number (342) has thus been heavily scrutinized by fans.
- Take My Hand: Sawyer to Juliet in the Season 5 finale.
- Take Up My Sword: Jack replaced Jacob as the guardian of the island, and then Hugo replaces Jack.
- Tap on the Head: So many times, without anyone ever developing any noticeable longterm effects.
- At last subverted in Season Six, when Sun suddenly gets neurological side effects from bumping into a tree.
- Temporal Paradox: The magical compass bouncing between the time-travelling Locke and Richard seems to exist in a loop: Present-Locke gives it to Past-Richard in 1954, then Present-Richard gives it to Locke in 2008 before Locke leaps into the past to give it to Richard.
- Also, Jack's theory was that detonating an H-bomb on the Island would stop the plane from crashing in 2004, thereby somehow magically whisking all the main characters to their pre-crash lives once again. But how would the bomb have been detonated if they never crashed on the Island in the first place, since the crash survivors are the ones who go back in time to do it?
- Thanatos Gambit: Locke's death is the key to convincing Jack that everybody has to go back.
- Also, Jacob did this, as he brought most of the characters to the island so he could find his replacement when the Man in Black found the loophole he needed to kill him.
- That's What I Would Do: Sawyer, after being stabbed by Sayid, tells Jack that he should just let him die, saying that he knows it's what Jack wants to do and that he would do the same to Jack if he were in his shoes. Of course, Jack saves him anyway.
- Theme Naming: Many characters are named after philosophers, scientists, or literary figures. Most of the names can grant insight into their characters.
- Lampshaded in Season 5 Episode 7, by Charles Widmore when he gives Locke a fake ID with the name "Jeremy Bentham", comparing his sense of naming humor to Locke's parents.
- The pseudonyms Dr. Pierre Chang uses in the orientation films all have last names related to candlemaking. It's worth noting that Chang's actual name seems to be based upon the name of his actor, Francois Chau: French first name, Chinese last name.
- Most of the DHARMA Stations (The Swan, The Flame, The Arrow, The Staff, The Hydra, and The Pearl) are related to the mythology of the Greek god Apollo.
- Ben has a The Wizard of Oz theme front and back. When he was first introduced he gave the fake name of "Henry Gale," (same name as Dorothy's uncle) someone who actually died on the island after arriving by hot air balloon (like how the Wizard arrived in Oz). Also the first Ben-centric episode was called "The Man Behind the Curtain".
- There Can Be Only One: With the revelation of Jacob's "candidates", the fact that almost every character's name is written on the cave roof and all but six having being crossed out. In the finale, the ultimate successor to Jacob was Hurley.
- They Fight Crime: Sawyer (or "Jim") and Miles in "Recon". He's a snarky conman in an alternate universe! He's... also a snarky conman in an alternate universe! They fight crime!
- More like a snarky conman and a snarky conman who is also a Ghostbuster.
- This Is No Time for Knitting: Charlie's reaction to Locke pulling out the equipment for an Aerosol Flamethrower:
Charlie: Hairspray? Uh, I hate to be the one to break this to you...
- Time Travel Romance: Desmond and Penny. Also Sun and Jin throughout Season Five and most of Season Six.
- Together in Death:Rest in peace, Sun and Jin Kwon.
- Completly averted with the bones in the cave because they belong to Jacob's brother and a woman he killed, who pretended to be their mother.
- Ultimately, everyone at the very end, when they all meet up at the church.
- Token Evil Teammate: Ben, starting around Season 4.
- Made hilariously obvious when he's part of Ilana's Group.
- Tonight Someone Dies: Done gratingly with Shannon, Eko and Charlotte. Fortunately, not since.
- They also made mention that by the end of Season 5, they were going to kill off someone important. By the end of the last episode, Faraday had been killed by his own mother, Sayid was shot by Roger Linus; though he got better, sort of, Jacob had been knifed to death by Ben, Juliet fell down a pit on the island with everybody else and repeatedly hit an armed H-bomb with a rock, and Locke was revealed to have been dead the whole time.
- Averted in Dr. Linus, where the previews stated that Ben would "face his demise". He does wind up starring down the barrel of a gun but is instead spared by Ilana after he tearfully confesses his reason for why he killed Jacob.
- Completely averted with Ilana.
- Took a Level in Badass: After getting back from the Island, Sun uses her Oceanic settlement money to buy a controlling share in her Corrupt Corporate Executive father's company, effectively making her in charge. And then she knocks out Ben with an oar.
- While Sawyer was always a badass, something has to be said for the fact that during the time-skip, he turned into a truly capable leader as well, and actually managed to do so without becoming boring, not to mention finally getting over Kate. Former leader Jack, on the other hand...
- Hurley behind the wheel of a DHARMA bus in the Season 3 finale. Season 6 then has him level up in terms of leadership.
- It seems like making people badass is one of the island's powers. Locke certainly kicked more ass after the crash than before. And the cute blonde pregnant girl Claire? Yeah, well, the final season seems to show that she followed Rousseau's steps.
- Toplessness From the Back: Kate in "Every Man for Himself" and Juliet in "One of Us" and "The Other Woman".
- Tranquillizer Dart: Subverted in an episode where Sayid is shot twice with tranquilizing darts. He pulls one dart out and we're led to believe that the trope is playing straight until he surprises the shooter, who approached him to confirm unconsciousness. Pretty much played straight in a lot of other episodes, featuring darts, gas and chloroform. Namely, some episodes in this respective order are: "Live Together, Die Alone", "Left Behind", and "Something Nice Back Home".
- Translation Convention: Scenes in Korea are subtitled, but Sayid's flashbacks to Iraq are generally not (apart from in "One of Them", whose flashbacks had English and Arabic speakers) -- since Naveen Andrews doesn't speak Arabic.
- Similarly, Allison Janney's character and Claudia exchange a few words in Latin, then switch to English, seeming to confuse some viewers who thought (or at least pretended to think) they were actually speaking English.
- Treacherous Spirit Chase: The show is replete with examples, starting in the pilot with visions of Jack's father. While the apparitions always require the character to do incredibly ill-considered and dangerous things (such as climbing treacherous rock faces, stealing babies or attacking each other), doing what the spirit says is often beneficial in the long run.
- Trojan Prisoner: "Don't get mad at me just because you were dumb enough to fall for the old Wookiee prisoner gag."
- Also, this is how Ana Lucia determines that the raft passengers are telling the truth.
- Troubled Backstory Flashback: Once an episode at least.
- True Companions: The castaways. Ultimately, "The most important time of your life was the time you spent with them", to paraphrase Christian Shephard.
- Trust Password: When Desmond starts flashing between the past and present, Daniel actually invokes this trope telling Desmond what to say to the past version of Daniel in order to get Past-Daniel to help him.
- Later on, the same characters reverse it.
- The Un-Reveal: For every major reveal of the series, there's one of these as well.
- Underwater Base: The Looking Glass and part of The Hydra.
- Unfazed Everyman: Most of the characters with no history in the Myth Arc, but it's most noticeable with Frank Lapidus, especially in Season Five. Yet he's also the one who gets everyone off the island; both times.
- Unreliable Expositor: Anytime we get any exposition, it comes with a side order of this.
- Unreliable Narrator: It turns out that Jack omitted something fairly important from his surgery story in the pilot. It says in the enhanced version of the episode on abc.go.com as the reason for the unreliable narrating: "but Jack was angry with his father and had a complicated relationship with him."
- The Unsolved Mystery: Several.
- Unstoppable Rage: Hurley after Sawyer jokes about being able to see Hurley's imaginary friend, giving him hope about not being crazy for half a second and then taking it away.
- Also Jacob after his brother killed the Mother. That's how we got our Monster.
- Unstuck in Time: Several characters, and throughout the first half of Season 5 the entire Island.
- Unwitting Pawn: After the Season 5 finale, the (apparently) deceased John Locke probably qualifies as the poster boy of this trope, having been manipulated his whole life, first by his father, then by Ben and finally by the entity who has now taken his place. Unless Jacob's enemy will turn out to be the good guy, after all. Note also that Ben becomes one of those Manipulative Bastards who at at the same time being an Unwitting Pawn himself. He's a pawn in the greater plan concocted by Jacob's enemy.
- Viewers Are Geniuses: Some viewers read too far into lingering shots of the plane fuselage appearing over the end credits of the finale, believing that everyone died in the original plane crash despite (a) the fuselage area containing various signs that unseen survivors around it have established a beach camp, (b) Christian explicitly stating in a long monologue that everything really happened and some of the people in the church died before Jack while others died long after, and (c) characters like Juliet, Desmond, Penny and Ben, who were not on the plane, appearing in and being recognized by the other people in the church. ABC actually had to come out and say this was not the case and that the the images were included as simply something to show during longer than usual credits and to allow the viewers to collect themselves before the local news immediately proceeding the episode.
- Villainous BSOD: Ben gets one of these for about ten seconds after Keamy kills Alex
- The Virus: The Sickness, as revealed in Season 6.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Used at least a couple of times. Sawyer, after he kills Anthony Cooper and Locke, when he teleports to Africa and breaks that poor, poor leg.
- Wasteland Elder: Jack.
- Webisode: 13 "Missing Pieces", which were released for mobile phones and later online between Seasons 3 and 4. Also available on Season 4 Bonus DVD.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Others believe that they are the good guys. Just what good they're working towards is unknown, but most of their actions point to quite the contrary. Locke and Jack have gone down this road at times as well.
- It now seems that the good the Others were working towards was keeping the smoke monster/Man in Black in check and working on the lists of candidates for Jacob's replacement.
- Season 6 implies that Charles Widmore may be this.
- Wham! Episode: The Season Finales, with several in between.
- "The Candidate" is probably the biggest non-finale wham episode of the series.
- Wham! Line: In the Season Six premiere: Sorry you had to see me like that.
- The following exchange from the Series Finale:
Jack: But... you're dead. How are you here?
- "My name is Sayid Jarrah, and I am a torturer."
- "...got any milk?"
- "This time... you have to die."
- "They're coming tonight... they're coming RIGHT NOW!"
- What Happened to the Mouse?:
- Cindy Chandler and the kids she was kidnapped by the Others to protect, disappeared after the mortar attack on the Others by Charles Widmore. Apparently, they "scattered into the jungle" along with the surviving Others.
- What happened to Annie, Ben's only childhood friend? We were told in Season 3 and 4, she'd be very important to the finale, and Ben's fascination with Juliet was hinted at because she "looks just like her". But she was never mentioned again after Season 4. Did she survive the Purge? Was she merely just his girlfriend, who'd gotten pregnant and died, explaining his over the top reaction to Alex and Carl? She seemed to have been "Eaten by the Cat" to coin a phrase.
- Whole-Episode Flashback: "The Other 48 Days", telling season one from The Tailies' perspective.
- "Ab Aeterno", almost—it took six extra minutes to fit in the present-day part of the plot.
- "Across the Sea", the Jacob/the Man in Black origin story, which has one minute of non-flashback material-- which is also a flashback to a scene from Season One.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Richard. After Jacob's death, he desperately wants to die himself because he thinks his work for Jacob was all for nothing, but he can't.
- But subverted in the very last episode. When Richard learns that he finally ages, he tells Miles that he now realizes he wants to live after all.
- Window Love: Kate and Jack through a glass barrier, in Season 3.
- Wistful Amnesia: The flash sideways.
- With My Hands Tied: Sayid once killed an armed man with his ankles.
- A Wizard Did It: Kind of ends up being the explanation for the entire show.
- Woman Scorned: Kate goes through this Jack after he gets addicted to pills and abandons her and Aaron. She eventually forgives him, though.
- Sawyer's old girlfriend Cassidy after he runs a long con on her and dumps her.
- World of Badass: The Island, and flash-sideways LA.
- Xanatos Speed Chess: Michael Emerson pretty much said himself (in layman's terms) that Ben is doing this throughout Season Five:
"I think Ben has a lot of layers of plans, but I think we're way off the main stem of anything that works for him. I mean, Ben's doing like moment-to-moment scrambling now."
- The Man in Black can now lay a good claim to being the master of Xanatos Speed Chess after the events of "The Candidate"; see The Chessmaster above.
- Year Zero: Season 2 Finale established that Oceanic 815 crashed and started the whole thing on September 22, 2004, the same day that the episode "Pilot (Part 1)" was first aired and, you know, started the whole thing. Since then, fans were able to give all events of Seasons 1-4 an exact date based on the clues within the series. However, a Time Skip followed and events on Seasons 5-6 can only be put down to the year they happen it, with no precise dating except in relation to each other.
- You ALL Share My Story: Many of the characters have knowingly or unknowingly encountered each other before coming to the island.
- You Already Changed the Past: Whatever happened, happened. Maybe.
- In a sense, this is double subverted. It appears to be the rule until the finale of Season 5, when the bomb creates an alternate reality. However, in the series finale, it is revealed that the "alternate reality" is really the afterlife and it wasn't actually caused by the bomb. So in the end, the trope is used consistently.
- You Can't Fight Fate: The debate of free will vs. fate is a recurring theme in the series, with Eloise explicitly telling Desmond that one's destiny cannot be avoided.
- You Can't Go Home Again: Once some of the survivors make it off the island, at least Jack and Hurley end up convinced they shouldn't have left in the first place.
- Also happens, from the other side, to Ben at the end of season four after he moves the island, meaning he can never return to it.
- Until he does. He admits that he broke the rules by doing so, and that there would be consequences (which he was ultimately spared from).
- You Fail Logic Forever: Miles' in-universe response to Hurley's attempts to understand time travel paradoxes. Nevertheless, they talk about it long enough that Hurley brings up what Miles concedes is a valid point: why didn't Ben remember Sayid as the guy who shot him when he was a kid when they 'met' for the first time in Season 2?
- Which is explained later that episode when Richard tells Kate and Sawyer that Ben will have no memory of what happened.
- You Killed My Father: Averted. Jacob isn't Ilana's biological father, but "the closest thing (she had) to a father." Nevertheless she didn't kill Ben.
- You're Not My Father: Claire's response to her father.
- Also Walt's exact words to Michael when they're in the hotel.
- You Wouldn't Shoot Me: Subverted when Sawyer has Tom at his mercy. After he surrenders, Sawyer (remembering his capture and threatening of Kate, as well as his involvement in kidnapping Walt, shooting Sawyer, and attempted murder of everybody on the raft) takes deliberate aim and kills him.
Hurley: Dude... he'd surrendered.
- Also, Colleen and Sun in "The Glass Ballerina".
- And Locke pulls an interesting subversion or twist on Sawyer: "If there were any bullets in that gun, why would you have held a knife to my throat?"
- Also subverted by Jack in the Season 4 premiere.
Locke: You're not gonna shoot me, Jack, any more than I was gonna shoot...
- However, it works for the undercover cop when he tries it on Locke.
God loves you as He loved Jacob.