Even 'Lost' cast members didn't see this twist coming
By BILL KEVENEY
If "Lost" fans were surprised at the ABC drama's twist this season — the flash sideways — they have company. Cast members were, too.
"I was like, 'What?' It's a lot to swallow,' " Jorge Garcia says after shooting a scene on the edge of the jungle on O'ahu.
On a show that has featured flashbacks and flash forwards, the flash sideways presents parallel scenarios for the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815: on the island where they crashed, in the present day (2007, for story purposes) and on the Mainland where their flight landed safely (2004).
"I feel at some point, it's going to come to a head," says Garcia, who plays Hurley. "I just don't know what it's going to be."
Executive producer Damon Lindelof says it's OK if viewers can't figure out the flash sideways right away.
"There's a reason," Lindelof said. "You're supposed to be asking yourself the question of, 'Why are they showing me both shows?' The fundamental mystery is, 'What is the relationship between these two things?' There are going to be a lot of good theories about it, we hope.
"That's the fun of 'Lost.' If you can make it another 16 episodes, your patience will be rewarded."
Cast members say they are on board with the newest twist on a show famous for them.
"I really love it. I love the fact that once again I get to try on a new version of Kate," Evangeline Lilly says.
As with the original, this Kate is a fugitive, although there are subtle differences, as there are for many of the characters. The flash-sideways Hurley is the luckiest man in the world, not the unluckiest; Desmond was on the plane even though he wasn't the first time.
"That was a big shock to me to read that side of the characters and how they're slightly different," says Emilie de Ravin, who plays Claire.
Matthew Fox, who plays Jack, says the flash sideways ranks with Season 3's flash forward, a shocker to viewers who initially thought they were watching another flashback.
The two outcomes create a fascinating situation for Jack, who had hoped that the detonation of a hydrogen bomb would prevent the castaways from ever having crashed, Fox says.
"The notion that Jack both succeeded and failed at the same time was really interesting. It has great potential to be very powerful, what this other reality, 815 not crashing and landing in Los Angeles, would have meant to people we have come to know in juxtaposition to who they are on the island," he says.
Terry O'Quinn, who plays Locke, acknowledges that the flash sideways is confusing, but he says it doesn't matter. He just wants a satisfying outcome to the series.
Asked whether "Lost" has jumped the shark, O'Quinn gives, fittingly, alternative answers: "No. Or else always."
O'Quinn, whose original incarnation was "Lost's" man of faith, says: "It's a bit of an act of faith that they're going to lead you to the door that opens to the answers. Anybody who's stuck with us this far is going to see us out."