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A plot twist: Ben tells Sawyer they are actually on a second Island that was previously unknown to the survivors

A plot twist is a change in the expected development of a fictional work. In television, a plot twist could be considered a twist ending if it happens at the end of a scene, episode, season, or series. Plot twists are often foreshadowed by small clues.

Anagnorisis is where the character recognizes a true identity or discovers the true nature of a plot twist.

Contents

In Lost

Fans may cite an event as a plot twist based on their personal assumptions and/or inferences of the story up to a certain point. As assumptions and inferences can be colored by an individual's culture, biases, experiences, etc., a perceived change from those assumptions might be considered a plot twist to that person. However, in the interest of clarity on this article, examples are being limited to plot twists which are—determined by the opinions of the editors—obvious to the majority of viewers. These examples will usually involve the writers deliberately establishing a particular path in the plot by careful manipulation of events, only to "twist" the plot to reveal the events in a different light and/or to go in a completely different direction than they were first leading the viewers. Therefore, each example should illustrate a "before" (where the plot was taking the viewer) and an "after" (where the plot went after the twist).

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Season 1

  • At first blush, a show about the gritty life of surviving a plane crash on a deserted island, Lost quickly shows that it will contain far stranger things: the island hosts a disembodied monster capable of pulling a grown man from an aircraft cockpit ("Pilot, Part 1") and of uprooting trees in rapid succession ("Pilot, Part 2"), as well as polar bears somehow living in a tropical climate. ("Pilot, Part 2")
  • In a flashback on the plane, Kate who has been shown up to this point as gentle spoken and helpful, is shown handcuffed and revealed as a fugitive. ("Pilot, Part 2")
  • In a flashback, Locke who has been walking, is revealed to have been in a wheelchair up to the point where he boarded Flight 815. ("Walkabout")
  • Sun does not respond to conversations in English, only to later reveal that she can speak English. ("House of the Rising Sun")
  • Boone's rescue of Shannon, and her subsequent death at the hands of the Monster, were presented as real time events, but then later revealed to have been a vision brought on by the paste Locke spread on Boone's head. ("Hearts and Minds")
  • Sawyer (and the audience) are misled into believing that Frank Duckett is "the real Sawyer", and Sawyer shoots him fatally, only to have it revealed by Duckett before he dies that he wasn't Sawyer, but rather someone indebted to the man who mislead Sawyer. ("Outlaws")
  • Locke and his father are reunited, share time together, and Locke even donates his kidney to save his father. The whole sequence of events, however, is revealed to be a con on Cooper's part. ("Deus Ex Machina")
  • Locke, after blaming Sawyer for knocking Sayid out during Sayid's attempt to triangulate the distress signal ("The Moth"), reveals he is actually the one to blame. ("The Greater Good")
  • The raft occupants, encountering another boat containing four strangers, are elated, believing rescue is finally at hand. However, the strangers kidnap Walt, shoot Sawyer, and blow up the raft, actions which affect season 2, and Michael's character from that point onward. ("Exodus, Part 2")

Season 2

Season 3

  • The Others live in ordinary houses with running water and electricity, and are not the savages they were previously portrayed as. As in the opening of Season 2, this information is presented in such a way (scenes of seemingly ordinary domesticity, with no recognizable Others present) to lead the viewers to believe it is taking place off the island, until the appearances of Ethan and Ben, followed by the sight of Oceanic 815 breaking up in the sky above, reveal that the characters are Others and that it is an on-island flashback. ("A Tale of Two Cities")
  • The three captured survivors (Jack, Kate, and Sawyer) are not imprisoned together: Jack in a holding cell of sorts, Sawyer in the animal cages, and Kate with him (but only after being given new clothes, a shower, and a decent breakfast). ("A Tale of Two Cities")
  • When Jack tries to escape through a hatch door, water pours into the room, revealing that they are underwater. Juliet reveals it as The Hydra, a DHARMA station for holding animals. ("A Tale of Two Cities")
  • We learn that Sun has indeed been unfaithful to Jin, and with Jae Lee, no less. ("The Glass Ballerina")
  • Jin is tasked by Mr. Paik to "deliver the message" to Jae Lee, but instead of killing him, he threatens his life. After leaving, Jae Lee throws himself from the window, committing suicide. ("The Glass Ballerina")
  • The Others have some communication with the outside world, as proven by Ben showing Jack a tape of the Boston Red Sox winning the World Series. ("The Glass Ballerina")
  • After entering the sweat lodge to communicate with the Island, Boone appears to Locke, and takes him through the Sydney Airport to show him his mission. ("Further Instructions")
  • Jack, Kate and Sawyer are prisoners on a second, smaller island. ("Every Man for Himself")
  • The opening scene implies that Juliet is involved in yet-to-be explained activities on the Island, including an encounter with Ethan Rom, only to be revealed at the end of the scene as taking place in Miami, several years prior to the show's main narrative. ("Not in Portland")
  • Desmond has a lucid flashback in which he is able to seemingly interact with the past. ("Flashes Before Your Eyes")
  • Naomi tells Desmond, Charlie, Hurley and Jin that Flight 815 was found four miles under water, and that cameras had confirmed that all the passengers were dead. ("D.O.C.")
  • Jacob is shown as an invisible man that can only be seen by Ben. ("The Man Behind the Curtain").
  • Unbeknownst to the Others, Ben was actually born off of the Island. ("The Man Behind the Curtain")
  • Ben kills his own father, and nearly everyone in the DHARMA Initiative is gassed to death. ("The Man Behind the Curtain")
  • Ben shoots Locke and leaves him for dead in the mass DHARMA grave. ("The Man Behind the Curtain")
  • Walt appears to Locke, telling Locke that he has unfinished business and cannot die. ("Through the Looking Glass").
  • Jack and Kate are shown off the Island in the future. ("Through the Looking Glass")

Season 4

Season 5

Season 6

  • After the detonation of the Jughead, the island is revealed to be underwater.
  • The survivors are both back in 2007, and they are experiencing an alternate timeline, where their plane never crashes, and their lives are significantly different.

Categorizing plot twists

Some plot twists can be further defined as a specific type of plot twist.

Peripeteia

Peripeteia is a sudden or unexpected reversal of the fate of a character.

Examples from Lost:

  • John Locke is embarrassed in front of the Others, who were holding him in awe because he recovered from 4 years of paralysis on the Island. By first meeting Ben's demands to bring Cooper's body, then cementing that higher level of authority within the group by beating Mikhail up when challenged, Locke seemed secure enough to demand that Ben bring him to see Jacob. Ben agreed, only to shoot Locke and leave him for dead. ("The Brig") ("The Man Behind the Curtain")
    • Locke has actually experienced several reversals and re-reversals from his miserable pre-Island life, reversed to impressing the survivors with his hunting and tracking skills, re-reversed to the survivors losing trust in him because of his actions from the end of Season 1 on, to this example. [source needed]
  • Hurley was poor, working for minimal wages at a fast-food resturant, when he won the lottery and then further increased his financial worth through investments. ("Numbers")

Mindf*ck

Some fans of Lost believe that the show falls into the "mindf*ck" genre. Mindf*ck is a controversial term, as it has no clear definition, though it is defined in the "New Partridge Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English" [1] as "anything that causes an internal paradigm shift". The word seems to have originated from the Illuminatus! trilogy of books and the beliefs of followers of the Discordian religion where it is used to highlight a campaign of social change through the disruption of paradigms.

The classification "mindf*ck genre" is often attributed to books or cinema that use altered perception to leave the viewer and/or protagonists in a sense of confusion about the world, and the characters' position within it. It is popular as a science-fiction storytelling device, in particular the works of writer Philip K. Dick (the films Total Recall, based upon his story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale and Blade Runner, based upon his work Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), and directors David Lynch (Eraserhead, Mulholland Drive, and Twin Peaks), David Cronenberg (Videodrome, eXistenZ) and David Fincher (Fight Club).

Note that moments of supreme confusion do not necessarily fit this category. Inclusion should be limited to occurrences where the writers have gone to a lot of trouble to create a certain perception in the minds of the audience, and then right when the audience is comfortable with that perception, the perception is dramatically changed in a single moment. Most moments of confusing changes are simply plot twists, whereas deceptive narrative techniques may be mindf*cks.

Examples that some fans include as mindf*cks:

  • At the end of season 3, after three seasons of Lost, the audience has come to expect a certain type of episode format: real-time sequences intermixed with flashback sequences. The same intermixing format is used for the season 3 finale, "Through the Looking Glass", insinuating that Jack's storyline at the hospital, etc. all happened in the past. This subterfuge is enhanced by Jack's references to his father, who he apparently thinks is still alive and practicing medicine. However, in the final scene, Jack meets with Kate (whom he first met on the Island) and they refer to their time there in the past tense, revealing that the "flashback" was really a "flash-forward" all along, and forces the audience to re-evaluate everything that happened in the episode.
  • Throughout the show's seasons so far, there have been instances of the dead, and/or those who aren't on the island, mysteriously appearing in front of people upon the Island, from Ben's mother, who died off the Island, to Yemi and Christian Shephard, who died off Island but whose bodies made it to the Island, and Walt who is alive and no longer physically on the island.
  • The concept of the Magic box as presented to Locke by Ben. Ben later refers to this as a "metaphor", something which Locke seems sceptical of accepting. ("The Man from Tallahassee")
  • In season 4, after the audience had come to expect flash-forwards, and was eager to identify the last two members of the Oceanic 6, a series of scenes showing Sun delivering her baby, and of Jin frantically trying to purchase a gift for a newborn, lead the viewer to believe they will both safely leave the island. But the scenes of Jin are then revealed to be flashbacks, and in the future either he is dead or he remains on the island; he is not one of the Oceanic 6. ("Ji Yeon")
  • In season 5, Sayid shoots the young Ben Linus in the past, despite Ben being alive in the future, and Daniel Faraday's insistance that "whatever happened, happened". ("He's Our You")
  • Throughout season 5 we are led to believe that John Locke has been resurrected, only to be shown in the season finale that Jacob's enemy was appearing as Locke while the actual John Locke is still dead. ("The Incident, Parts 1 & 2")

Examples in the media and fan blogs that utilize this term with respect to Lost include:

  • CHUD - May 24, 2007 - "THUD: Damon Lindelof's Message to Tim Kring?"
  • Terminally Incoherent - May 24, 2007 - Lost: Total Mindf*ck. *BLonde Heroine - May 23, 2007 - blog entry
  • DancerinDC - April 06, 2006 - The Ecstasy and the Agony - Part II - Blog on the episode Dave
  • Dharmasecrets - long forum post
  • TV Squad - April 27, 2007 - Lost: What Naomi really said
  • SkipJenkins - April 18, 2007 - "Libby".
  • Furious Nads - September 03, 2006 - Now Officially Impatient For Season Three
  • Aerial Telly - Lost Season 3: half-term report
  • Guardian Unlimited - November 12, 2006
  • E! Online - "Watch with Kristin"

This article uses material from the "Plot twist" article on the Lostpedia wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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