1. The BIG secret (i.e., what is the island?)
• An existential construct—collective delusion, kind of like the Matrix, but there’s no external force controlling it, and you don’t join it unwittingly. You “go to the island” when you feel your life lacks meaning.
• An elaborate practical joke being played on Jack, and filmed for television.
• A staging area for a contest between higher beings, who lure people there to serve as human guinea pigs.
• The nexus of all realities, here appearing to be a tropical island with polar bears and a smoke monster and hostile natives, at other times appearing as a swamp in the Florida Everglades inhabited by the Man-Thing.
• A glitch in the Matrix.
• What’s going on in some random guy’s head.
• A mental institution; the inhabitants are part of a mass drug trial. Some experience delusions of grandeur (Locke), while others suffer massive persecution complexes (Jack). The lever that “moves the island” is actually just the valve on the hospital’s basement boiler.
2. The final scene
• Oceanic 815 landing safely in LA.
• A mirror of the very first scene—a close-up on an eye opening to new, unknown possibilities.
• Hurley shoots Locke and Ben.
• Arm in arm, the Smoke Monster and polar bear wave goodbye to the survivors.
• The hospital patients escape by punching a code into a security door. Hurley, however, noticing that the security-door code is 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42, stays behind.
• They’re found.
• Hurley wakes up in bed with Bob Newhart.
3. The Last line
• Sawyer: “Son of a bitch.”
• Hurley (murmuring): “Islands suck, dude.”
• “Wait, what?”
• Charlie: “Where are we?”
• Kate (looking at Jack and Sawyer): “Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.”
• Michael: “Waaaaaaaaaaaaalt!”
• The island: “Don’t tell me what I can’t do!”
• Smoke Monster to the polar bear: “Did those assholes leave us any Dharma crisps?”