‘Lost’ in Thought: The New Man in Charge

The final season of ‘Lost’ was released on Blu-ray yesterday, thus ending our six-year journey with the show. As most fans are no doubt aware, the box set not only contains all of the broadcast episodes, but also a new 12-minute epilogue scene called ‘The New Man in Charge’. Naturally, the first thing I did after getting home yesterday was to fire up that scene. As promised, it does indeed contain answers to some of the loose ends that the series left dangling. How many answers, and are they worthwhile? Follow after the break for a recap and analysis.

The epilogue can be found on the last disc of the ‘Lost: The Complete Sixth Season‘ box set. It runs only 12 minutes long, so don’t go in expecting an entire episode’s worth of story. A 1-minute clip from this scene was previously released by the studio to promote the video release. That clip, in which Ben Linus visits a DHARMA Logistics Warehouse in Guam, is where the epilogue starts.

“I’m from the home office,” Ben announces, and states that he’s there to shut down the operation. As we’ve already seen, this explains the mystery of the DHARMA food drops. As he’s packing up to leave, one of the employees exclaims, “We deserve answers!” He speaks for the audience too, no doubt. In response, Ben agrees to let them watch a DHARMA orientation video for the Hydra Station, which he conveniently has on DVD in his briefcase.

The following five minutes are that video, hosted by Pierre Chang. An earlier review by TV Overmind describes this portion of the epilogue as an “answer-fest.” I think that’s exaggerating a bit. However, Chang does rattle off explanations for several things, as if checking them off from a list of questions that fans demanded be answered.

Among the points addressed here are:

  1. Why there are polar bears on the island – For animal research and experimentation, of course. I feel like this was already sufficiently explained in the show and didn’t need to be covered again. The reference to fish biscuits is funny, though. Chang has the best line of the epilogue when he sternly advises, “The bears are not your friends” immediately after we see a one-armed employee walking away from the animal cages.
  2. The Hurley Bird – We don’t see it, but we can hear it in a covered cage in the background behind Chang. He mentions something about experiments with genetic alteration.
  3. Why he has so many names – Chang instructs the viewers not to release his real name to outsiders, or he’ll have to use aliases. He practically winks at the camera when saying this. It’s a bit much.
  4. Why no babies can be born on the island – Apparently, the high electromagnetic levels on the island are harmful to the early gestation period of a woman’s pregnancy. Unfortunately, this doesn’t really make sense, or else Sun would have had problems with her pregnancy.
  5. Room 23 – Used by DHARMA for the interrogation and brainwashing of “Hostiles” (i.e. the Others). A combination of drugs (cooked up by Dr. Oldham, no doubt) and the ‘Clockwork Orange’-like film strip puts subjects into a trance and effectively prevents them from remembering what had happened to them after they’re released. This is another topic that I felt was clear enough in the show. It certainly wasn’t one of my most burning questions.

At the conclusion of the video, Ben goes on his way. This all takes up approximately 8 minutes of the epilogue. The last 4 minutes are devoted to one additional scene where Ben visits the Santa Rosa Mental Health Facility (the loony bin where Hurley spent a lot of time). There he finds… Walt! Geez, he looks old now. He’s playing ‘Connect Four’, just like Hurley used to do.

Ben tells Walt that he’s special, but doesn’t elaborate. “We need you. You have work to do.” He asks Walt to come back to the Island to help his father. When Walt protests that his father is dead, Ben tells him, “Doesn’t mean you can’t help him.” He busts Walt out of the joint and brings him to a DHARMA van with Hurley waiting in the back seat. Hurley also entreats Walt to come back to the Island with them. “It’s where you belong. It’s where you’ve always belonged.”

And that’s pretty much it.

I don’t know. I can’t say that I honestly expected any more closure from ‘The New Man in Charge’ than the series finale already provided. Yet this scene still feels pretty frivolous. I’m glad that the DHARMA air drop was eventually addressed (my personal bugaboo), but most of the mysteries tied up in the epilogue seem very inconsequential. Then again, perhaps that just goes to prove how inconsequential most of the fanboy whining and moaning about the finale episode has been.

I’m glad to have gotten this little extra grace note, but personally could have lived without watching this scene and still been satisfied with the series run.


  1. Drew

    It was cute. Nothing more. And it doesn’t make up for the myriad storytelling blunders Lindelof and Cuse made in the final season (and final episode in particular – they really needed TWO places for all of our favorite characters to gather? SLOPPY!)

    I’m in the process of re-watching season six and I often, in light of the finale, say to myself “Well, that doesn’t really matter/make sense/warrant any investigation whatsoever.” Two words: The Temple.

  2. Lahrs

    What I took away from the Walt scene was that Walt was the one intended to take over the island, which would explain why Ben and Hurley were available to move on, and why Walt was not in the church at the end of Season 6.

    According to Hurley, Walt was always supposed to be on the island and now Hurley wants to discuss a job… only one job I can think of, especially with the look Hurley and Ben share.

    @Drew, I am one of the people who enjoyed the finale and felt it brought the closure I wanted from the show, but I can’t deny most of season 6 seemed pointless, and the Temple, Dogan, and the rest sit at the top of the completely irrelevant list.

    I get the feeling that season 3, when everything was a mess before they were able to secure an end date, truly messed up more than just some lame season 3 episodes. When season 4 was back on track and everyone was patting themselves on the back with a set end date, I too was excited, but maybe having an official end date was just as bad as not having one. For better or worse, they had to make the story fit exactly X amount of episodes.

    Looking over the six seasons, I think they could easily condense it down to a much more solid and concise 5 seasons. Unfortunately for us and for the writers, this is all hindsight.

    Maybe the medium of TV was both the best and worst aspect of the show. A movie would be way too short, while a TV show, such as we have, was too unpredictable in length, considering it was to have a definite beginning, middle and end. This leaves a book, which would have allowed a very tight story, but I couldn’t imagine Lost without the stable of actors who brought to life some truly excellent characters.

    In the end, the most telling sign of how great the show was to me, is even though there are many mysteries still unsolved, glaring problems and plenty of WTF moments (Sayid and Shannon in the church?), the show remains powerful in my mind and I thoroughly enjoyed and am pleased I devoted six years to watching Lost.

    • Josh Zyber

      I can buy that Walt is meant to be the island’s new protector. However, on the point of Ben and Hurley being “available to move on,” we have no idea how long they’d been on the island before arriving at that church.

      Time is meaningless in the flash-sideways limbo. People who died in the past, in the present, and in the future all met together at that church. For all we know, Hurley and Ben could have been working on the island for thousands of years, as Jacob had before them.

      And there would be nothing to prevent Walt from showing up at the church too, even if he took over from them and stayed on the island for thousands more years.

      Also, you guys’ definition of “pointless” is not one I share. But that’s a discussion for another time.

  3. Lahrs

    You are right in saying time did not limit when Ben and Hurley would be at the church, or why Walt was not, all I am saying is my original comment, or what I took away from the scene, is what I believe the writers intent was when they gave us those four minutes. Remember, some of the biggest fanboy complaints was what happened to Walt, why was he so special, and why wasn’t he in the church? Although there are loopholes, such as the limbo state having no time, I believe my theory answered all of the questions. Who knows what the real answer is, but that is Lost for you.

    To be honest, the whole Walt issue was never really a concern for me as far as a need for explanation, so seeing Walt take up 1/3 of an answer fest was disappointing. Like you mentioned in your initial writing, a few of the answers, polar bears, and room 23, were I thought sufficiently answered. The lack of birthrate was for the most part answered, Ethan was the last born on the island before Jughead went off, which I took as the large electo-magnetic properties of the island were released and no longer contained underground, such as Faraday feared by digging through the wall.

    To be honest, I do not remember the Hurley Bird, so I will need to keep an eye out for it during a complete rewatch.

    I would love to hear why you think the Temple or Dogan wasn’t pointless, not as a challenge to your views or as an argument point, but I would love to find meaning in it, and I learned a lot about the show by listening to other peoples ideas.

    • Josh Zyber

      The Hurley Bird appeared in either Season 1 or 2 (I forget, probably S1). I don’t think we ever actually saw it, just heard it. Hurley was trudging through the jungle with some other characters when a giant bird swooped overhead and seemed to call out his name. He was naturally a little freaked out by that and asked if anyone else heard it. That was it, just a quick gag.

      The Temple is like most anything else on the show. It’s a stopping point on the characters’ journey, but not necessarily a destination. The Temple was a sanctuary from the Man in Black. It allowed the characters to learn more about the MiB (like that he can’t cross the line of ash) and to learn more about the Others’ worship of Jacob, and how they managed to survive on the Island for so long without being wiped out by the MiB.

      If we’re going to argue that the Temple subplot was pointless because it didn’t directly figure into the finale, then the same could be said about almost any- and everything else on the show. Like, for example, DHARMA. What role does DHARMA play in the finale? None. Does that make everything to do with DHARMA pointless? If so, that would mean that pretty much the entirety of Season 5 served no purpose at all.

      How about the Others? Ultimately, the story wasn’t about them either. Are they pointless too?

      Some of the “You wasted 6 years of my life!!!” whiners will complain that all of this was completely pointless. I just don’t understand that mindset at all.

      • Lahrs

        Thanks for the Hurley Bird tip, I will keep an eye out for it.

        I am not sure why I thought the Temple was pointless, and maybe pointless is too strong a word. The way I saw it, the Temple was a new idea introduced at the end of the series, without a proper explanation. Of course, that can be described of a lot of what happened in Lost, but such a set piece to me, should have had more of an explanation. I do see your point though, and that is why I ask, I am still trying to decipher the show and need some guidance and differences of opinion from time to time.

        As far as Dharma and the Others, despite them not having closure in the finale, I never considered them pointless. I felt Dharma and the Others gained significant importance, and a greater understanding of who they are and why they existed after ‘Across the Sea’. After that episode, I was content with everything about Dharma and the Others.

        I think you see me as someone who thinks they wasted six years or who is upset by the finale, but that is not true. I hold Lost in high esteem, including the ending, but like I said, I am still deciphering and still seeing how it all fits together. Unfortunately, a lot of the fan community who posted on forums every week while trying to figure out the show and anticipate what was going to happen next, have disappeared, and we are left with people arguing over the finale, which I gain nothing from. I miss the discussions.

  4. besch64

    The New Man in Charge was lame. I already detailed my thoughts in the comments section in a related post here a couple weeks back, so I’m not going to go through it again.

    But this Lost fan was not satisfied, and it has nothing to do with answers. It was just forced and stupid.

  5. Hey, great write-up. I’m looking forward to picking up this box-set on blu-ray pretty soon.

    The food drops and a lot of the other small loose ends were questions that NEVER bugged me as a fan of the show. For a show that was never meant to spell everything out for the viewer, why did everyone expect them to by the last episode? I feel they did a sufficient job answering the bigger questions and leaving debate open for the other ancillary ones.

    Some of the plot holes of the series upset me more than the “unanswered questions” but are almost unavoidable in any long-running broadcast television series. Great piece tough!

  6. Rex

    OK, I realize this is an ancient thread, post. However, I have just watched “New Man in Charge” and there is an obvious question that has not made its way around the internet for some reason. Perhaps it is just a dumb or overly-obvious question.

    However, did the epilogue “New Man in Charge” take place in “Limbo” or in the real world? If it took place in the real world, how did Ben and Hurley escape from Limbo? Limbo is not exactly a literal place, it is a “here” with no “now.” In “The End,” Ben declines to go into the church to wait for the light because he has to take care of some “lose ends.” The epilogue strongly implies that closing the Dharma outpost and recruiting Walt are the loose ends Ben was referring to.

    So, are the epilogue timeline and the “End” timeline simply two separate and unrelated series of events which I am only connecting together because it is tempting to do so? Or did Ben and Hurley manage pull of some kind of quantum trick and get out of Limbo?

    • Josh Zyber

      I have an answer for that! The flash-forward “Limbo” takes place outside the normal course of time. It is neither past nor present nor future. The characters who converge there may have entered at many different points on our normal timeline. So, after the final scenes we see that take place on the island, Ben and Hurley went on to lead full and complete lives. Hurley stayed on the island as its protector. Ben left to clean up loose ends. They may have lived decades (possibly centuries for Hurley on the island) before dying and entering Limbo. Upon doing so, all their friends are also there as if they all entered together, when in fact they may have gone in many years apart. All of our traditional notions of time are irrelevant there.

      I bet you didn’t expect a response to this comment on a 9-year-old post, much less one so quickly. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *