ABC’s Lost was a six-season hit from 2004 to 2010, that is widely remembered today as a show with a strong beginning and a contentious ending. In its time, the show stayed consistently good from week to week, with character-based plots and intriguing mysteries that kept audiences hooked and coming back for more.
Being a character-centric show, Lost focuses on the stories and journeys of the people who populate the island. The majority of the stars begin their story in the pilot, in the crashing of Oceanic Flight 815, but some fan favorites come in much later in the series and leave a lasting impact.
Desmond Hume (Henry Ian Cusick) was first introduced as the answer to the season one mystery “What’s inside the hatch?” He quickly became so much more, with his presence in the show creating not only intrigue but also serving as the catalyst for some of the wildest (and best) plot lines in the series.
With his ability to see through time and withstand massive amounts of electromagnetism, he is often used as a plot device or Deus ex machina, but never in a way that makes a contrivance of his character. He also has one of the most simple yet effective character motivations, as a man whose sole goal is to get off the island and reunite with his long-time love, Penny (Sonya Walger).
The charismatic and manipulative leader of The Others, Benjamin Linus (Michael Emerson) is one of the most intriguing and beloved characters on the whole show.
First known as ‘Henry Gale’ to infiltrate the survivor’s camps, Ben is incredibly intelligent and almost untouchable at his time of introduction and slowly begins unraveling as the seasons progress. Even when he loses his power, however, his ability to get into people’s heads never wanes, and he has a deeply emotional streak that makes his actions sometimes unpredictable and always exciting.
Fans were introduced to Juliet (played by Elizabeth Mitchell, (soon to be reprising her role as Mrs. Claus in the Disney+ The Santa Clause series) at the beginning of season 3, and followed her journey through the episodes up to the finale. Like a lot of Lost characters, Juliet’s main motivation is her wish to get off the island – and she does anything she can to work toward that goal, often pushing aside her own moral center for the mere sliver of a chance.
This fact makes her actions sometimes unpredictable, as audiences are never sure where her true loyalties lie until much further in the series. She works for Ben, then alongside the survivors, and eventually becomes a beloved hero after being trapped in 1977 with Sawyer, where the two of them made a home together before her untimely death.
The ageless man himself, Richard Alpert (Nestor Carbonell) is the seemingly all-knowing conduit that translates the island’s needs for its inhabitants. Richard is introduced in season 3 and his story is slowly trickled in through side plots and little details that leave the audience guessing how long exactly he has lived on the island.
Finally, in season 6, his origin is revealed in “Ab Aerterno” while he goes through an immortal existential crisis. Richard’s journey ends in the show with him gaining his long wanted mortality and a bittersweet willingness to finally live.
Though her time on the show is short-lived, Libby (Cynthia Watros) is a tail-section survivor who had a significant impact on the story.
Her sweet connection with Hurley (Jorge Garcia) and compassionate outlook toward the other survivors is singular in the show and provides a balancing foil to the more temperamental Ana Lucia (Michelle Rodriguez), who often expects the worst. Her sudden and unexpected death is shocking and meaningful for this reason, as she is an innocent bystander who is completely undeserving of her fate.
Another survivor from the tail section of the plane, Bernard (Sam Anderson) is the assumed dead husband of Rose Nadler, a character present from the pilot who refuses to give up on her belief that he is somewhere out there, alive and well.
Bernard is a lighthearted guy who brings a lot to the story with his connections to other characters, giving friendly advice and a helping hand whenever needed. His centric episode with Rose in season 2, titled “S.O.S”, is a standout of the series. The couple decides to stay on the island regardless of rescue or not – which they stick with through to the finale, and live happily together in their own little camp with Vincent the dog.
Daniel Faraday (Jeremy Davies) is a complex character that is introduced in season 4 and is the main source of scientific exposition as the show enters its time travel phase.
Between talking Desmond through his dissociative periods across two timelines in “The Constant”, teaching the survivors about time travel theory and how “What Happened, Happened”, and deciding to simply detonate a hydrogen bomb and destroy the island for good, Daniel is an absolute wildcard in an unassuming tie. His run on the show is somewhat short-lived, appearing mostly in seasons 4 and 5 and briefly in season 6, but he is well remembered as a convicted and chaotic member of the Lost team.
Cassidy (played by Kim Dickens, of Deadwood and Fear the Walking Dead fame) is a character that only appears in flashbacks and forwards but has a huge impact on the show with connections to both Kate (Evangeline Lilly) and Sawyer (Josh Holloway).
First appearing as a love interest (and unfortunate victim) to Sawyer in the season 2 episode “The Long Con”, Cassidy goes on to become a con artist herself and meets Kate as she’s selling some fake jewelry. After this, she has Sawyer’s baby, which prompts the two friends to reconnect once Kate returns from the island. Her role may be on the smaller side, but Cassidy is the only person off-island that Kate dares to confide in. She gives harsh but fair advice and ends up being a massive catalyst to Kate’s return to the island in season 5.
The biological daughter of Danielle Rousseau (Mira Furlan) and adopted daughter of Ben Linus, Alex (Tania Raymonde) is a morally centered character with a complex story.
After being kidnapped as a baby by Ben, Alex is raised with The Others and doesn’t know about her true parentage until the end of season 3. She is reckless and often defies her father, believing in the greater good above Ben’s need to serve the island, and utilizes her knowledge of his inner workings to manipulate his underlings for her own cause. In a shock twist, she is killed off suddenly in season 4 in an attempt by the freight crew to coax out Ben, leaving her story unfinished and unfulfilled.
Jacob and The Man In Black
The two God-like brothers who dictate and influence the island, Jacob (Mark Pellegrino) and The Man in Black (Titus Welliver, soon to be seen in Bosch: Legacy) are slowly introduced throughout the seasons, with teases and mentions here and there that eventually pans out to full-blown characters.
Jacob, in particular, is presented as the single highest power on the island, with Richard interpreting his needs to Ben as the leader of The Others. Ben and Jacob have their own dynamic, with Ben never feeling special or “chosen” by Jacob, despite doing everything he wants – which comes to a head when the two finally meet, and Ben confronts and murders him under the influence of The Man in Black who is posing as John Locke (Terry O’Quinn). The Man in Black takes many guises over the series and is eventually revealed as the literal smoke monster that torments the survivors from season 1. The metaphorical devil to Jacob’s angel, he manipulates and corrupts everyone he can, before facing his reckoning in the very final episode of the show.