Nine Head-Scratching 'Lost' Riddles

Michael Emerson unravels the mysteries of TV's greatest puzzle
Michael Emerson as Ben Linus on Lost

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Over six seasons and 121 episodes, Lost left sci-fi fanboys wondering: Can polar bears really survive in the South Pacific? How did Desmond stay sane in the Swan station? What lies in the shadow of the statue? "[But] the real mystery about our show," producer Carleton Cuse told Rolling Stone in 2009, "is not what is the island; it's who are these people?" And no character provided more head-scratching perplexities than Benjamin Linus (Michael Emerson), the island's most abstruse inhabitant. "Ben exemplifies the course of an ambitious man who makes bad compromises and learns to regret them," Emerson says, adding that the legacy of Lost "is that it opened the door to much more playing around with time and space in narrative television." He continues: "There have been a lot of shows since then that wouldn't be the same if there hadn't been Lost before it to jump around in time, to play with the idealized or potential or alternate realities and dimensions." Among them, interestingly enough, is Person of Interest, the CBS crime drama starring Emerson and produced by Lost co-creator J. J. Abrams. "It's an easy show to pitch," says the Emmy winner, who we charged with describing the program in 50 words or less. "It's a contemporary cyber-avenger, cyber-vigilante series set in a paranoid landscape in a huge city, like New York, that deals with technological advances that at first sight seem fantastic, but current events have shown to be plausible and at work in our own environment." Nailed it with six words to spare. Here, he looks back on nine key Lost scenes, narrating their takeaways. Blaine McEvoy

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