The Lost flash-sideways remain the most controversial part of Season Six. Even as the sideways world and island worlds collide, Lost fans are still skeptical on whether the sideways universe was necessary. The finale needs to prove that it was, and if it doesn’t, it will be regarded as the twist that wrecked Lost. But even if it works, the sideways world still took away quite a few things – like flashbacks for mysterious characters, and even one last look into the regular survivor’s pasts.
How would Lost Season Six look without the sideways world? We will never know, and depending on one’s viewpoint, perhaps we shouldn’t. But without the sideways world, even the regular island action would be altered somehow, and some may think that’d be for the better too. But one can dream about who could get much needed flashbacks without the sideways interference.
Yet if figures like Widmore, Jacob, the Man in Black, Eloise, Ilana and others got centric-episodes, it would leave less room for the regulars, and it wouldn’t give the dead a final sendoff. However, it might do more to shed some light on the Lost puzzle, and have better room for other regulars to shine. Here is a sample list of who could have gotten each Lost episode in an alternate time line, without the alternate time line around.
Episode 6:01/6:02: multi-centric
The season premiere can stay multi-centric, although it would have to change around a few things without the sideways world. It can keep the Man in Black/smoke monster revelations, and even have Juliet die again, though Lost fans would probably write the Temple out. It could illuminate how Jacob’s touch sent the 1977 survivors back and spared them from death, and the aftermath in DHARMAville.
Unlike the real Lost Season Six, Claire could come back and explain herself right away. This would allow a first-hand look at what Christian/the Man in Black did to her, how she went mad, and what ‘the sickness’ really is. It would certainly be received better than her starring role in the real episode 6:03 with Kate.
The real Lost episode 6:04 starred Sawyer, but without the real Locke to star in sideways time, “The Substitute” could come from a Sawyer perspective. Since he would still be grieving over Juliet, perhaps the flashback material would focus on how they got together in DHARMAville, and give Juliet a less bloody goodbye.
Sayid would get the focus at around the same time he did in the real Season Six. However, what happens to him may need to change, considering how he became a zombie, and then got overshadowed even in death. Maybe this would be a better time for him to die and sacrifice himself, and be the first example of how no one is safe – or how no one is above redemption. As such, then his marriage with Nadia could get a final sendoff.
When Ilana comically blew up, it eliminated our chance to shed light on her true purpose, and on her connection to Jacob. Getting a centric-episode here would fix that, and they could even keep alive the plotline of her trying to kill Ben. That way, when Ben breaks down, Ilana’s decision to have him would be even more powerful from her perspective.
There has to be a Kate episode somewhere, so it’s best to get it over with here – although it would come later than in the real Season Six. By this point, Claire’s insanity would really make Kate think about her plans to give up Aaron, and about her past with him.
Most agreed Jin and Sun’s reunion was delayed too long, even if their deaths redeemed it. They could reunite here, or they could reunite in 6.07 to set this episode up. Flashbacks could show Jin’s time in DHARMA waiting for Sun, and Sun adjusting to life without Jin after giving birth. They might even explain how Sun figured out Ben caused Jin’s ‘death’ while they’re at it. If they still want to kill Jin and Sun so soon after their reunion, they can do it here, or still save it for later.
In this case, Lost can stick to the original plan and have “Ab Aeterno” air as is. If they choose to kill Sayid, Sun and Jin by then, it would be even more imperative for Richard to explain himself, the island, Jacob and the Man in Black. Plus, the Richard/Isabella love story would mean even more right after the Sun/Jin drama.
This is where Hurley’s abilities to see the dead, and Jacob, could come through in greater detail. Maybe if Hurley found out that Jacob is the source of the cursed numbers, it may cause some important drama as well.
Desmond can return as scheduled, as part of Widmore’s return to the island. It would likely go different without him having to go to sideways time – which would be the one big downside of eliminating that time line thus far.
With Desmond coming back, it would be the best time for Widmore to then get a flashback. Maybe then there would finally be some answers on his rivalry with Ben, what he really wants, and why he’s really going up against the monster – if indeed he is.
Likewise, it would be the perfect time for Ben to get a flashback after Widmore returned. In this scenario, the two would actually meet on the island by now, and whatever is revealed from Widmore’s flashback would then be seen from Ben’s perspective. In addition, the final mysteries of Ben’s past – like Annie, and how Ben overthrew Widmore – would be revealed.
6:14: Eloise Hawking-centric
Since Eloise Hawking may be the key to sideways time, and to a lot that’s happened in the last 30 years, she really should have more screen time. Therefore, she would be back on the island here, and show why she ultimately let herself kill Daniel, and for what purpose. Given her impact throughout time, whatever she does would likely provide a big start to the final episodes. Whether it would be as moving as “The Candidate” is debatable, but they could still have the Sun/Jin deaths, or any replacement deaths, take place here thanks to Ellie.
6:15: Man in Black-centric
The long awaited Jacob/MIB-centric show is coming this week, so for now, they can keep it as is here. That could change depending on how it turns out, of course.
The Lost writers may not like waiting until now to focus on Jack. However, since Jack will likely be the candidate that replaces Jacob, this would be a prime time for him to find out, come to terms with it, and prepare to lead the final battle.
The finale would focus on everyone left, as most finales do. By then, things may be quite different without the sideways world, and with the new order of episodes and events. But without the sideways world, and with everyone else getting one more flashback, it is hard to see what ‘flashes’ could fill up this 2 ½ hour long ending. Maybe they could have the real John Locke come back from the dead to fill some of it.
Perhaps getting rid of sideways time would be harder, and less necessary, than some Lost fans expect. Yet even sideways supporters must admit that some juicy potential flashbacks have been lost from this new format. Still, giving half the final season to characters that weren’t around in Season 1 – many of which are still guest stars – may not be the big final tribute Damon and Carlton wanted. Then again, they did turn the whole show into a battle between characters we first met in the flesh last May.
The final Lost season, sideways and all, is one we have to live with no matter what. Yet if the sideways world brings the finale down, then devotees will wish that alternatives to the alternate were made instead, The show couldn’t have gotten started without big flashbacks, so one must wonder if that’s the way it should have ended as well. But hopefully we won’t be asking that anymore after May 23.