These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Alternate Character Interpretation: This show is probably the poster child for this trope, and it can be applied to pretty much every character with explicit grounding in the show's subtext. Keep in mind, these are just some of the major ones:
Is the universe really such a rational place, or is Jack Shepherd just interpreting it that way because of his compulsion to fix things caused by his daddy issues?
Is the Island really guiding John Locke's destiny (or sentient at all), or is he just interpreting it that way because of his compulsion to discover his destiny caused by his daddy issues?
Are the Numbers really cursed, or is Hurley just interpreting them that way after a string of bad luck like this guy because of his compulsion to blame himself caused by his daddy issues?
Is the boar in the jungle really the spirit of Frank Duckett, or is Sawyer just interpreting it that way because of guilt over the accidental murder caused by his daddy issues?
Is the world really such a hostile place, or is Ana-Lucia just interpreting it that way because of her accident and her overprotective mommy issues?
Is Sayid really in love with Nadia, or is he just interpreting his feelings that way because of his guilt and his need to be absolved?
Is Jacob a weary God-like character full of love whose hand is forced by fate? Or a callous, sociopathic momma's boy whose manipulations have caused thousands of deaths?
Plus his getting Mode Locked as John Locke. We never learn why, or how Ilana knows this. Basically, it was just an excuse to keep Terry O'Quinn on the show in the final season.
The reveal about the Flash-Sideways universe. So, an Island where supernatural events happen all the time really does exist in the Real-World, yet the frigging Afterlife contains nothing supernatural at all.
A lot of people think it would have been much better to have it be the other way 'round.
Badass Decay: Played with in Locke's case. He goes back and forth from awesome to pathetic so many times that this duality has basically become one of his main character traits.
Even though his badassery was only memetic, Richard Alpert could be said to have suffered from this, having spent most of season 6 in a state of Heroic BSOD instead of actually doing anything badass. It's made worse because he BSOD'd after the first time he ever really ran into trouble. Before that, he got by on just standing around and looking badass without ever actually doing anything.
Bellisario's Maxim: Largely averted, due to the extreme amount of attention to detail and hidden clues. However, this often backfires, since fans attribute significance to every little detail, and minor things like getting the date of a real-world event wrong become central points of theories.
Better on DVD: For one thing, you don't have to wait an ungodly time between seasons.
The worst part is that the writers swore that they had the answers. As a Cracked.com article put it - "In a 2005 interview, co-creator Damon Lindelof said: "Every mystery that we present on the show ... all of those are questions that we know the answers to." He also said that "nothing in the show is flat-out impossible" and that everything so far could be explained by science. Sure, he was talking in the present tense — but the present tense included the Smoke Monster, who ended up being the ghost of a 2,000-year-old guy who can impersonate dead people, and Michael's 10-year-old son, Walt, displaying supernatural powers that turned out to be ... actually, we have no idea, because that was never explained."
Designated Villain: We're constantly told in the final season that the Man in Black getting off the island would cause the end of the world, but we're never told why, especially since Jacob is able to leave it without any problems. At worst, he comes off as a Well-Intentioned Extremist who's been trying to get off the island for so long, with Jacob doing everything he can to stop him for no apparent reason, that he's lost all empathy for anyone who stands in the way of that goal.
Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: The fan speculation on this started early but several characters throughout the series espouse their own theories of this variety. Hurley, when they get off the island, thinks they died on the island and are in heaven because things are going well for everybody and he's seeing dead people. Richard Alpert thinks the island is hell after being disillusioned about Jacob, and because he can't die.
Most true in The flash sideways verse which turns out to take place after the main characters die and they are all finding each other again and living/working through their unresolved issues before uniting to go to Heaven.
It's not so surprising that one nickname would refer to both the original castaways and the fans, given that for most of the first two seasons the fans also felt like they'd been wrecked on a mysterious island with absolutely no clue what was happening...
Fan-Preferred Couple: Some fans prefer Sawyer/Juliet just because they're so damn sick of the Jack/Kate/Sawyer love triangle.
Fanon Discontinuity: The only thing that isn't guaranteed to fall under here for someone somewhere is early-to-mid season 1. Beyond that, it varies massively.
Growing the Beard: A lot of fans were hooked right from the outset but the fourth episode of the series "Walkabout" where we find out Locke couldn't walk before the crash is the earliest episode to hint at deeper supernatural elements on the island and is remembered for having the series' first big plot twist.
The clicking noise of the Monster when its travelling, just hearing it leads to so many an Oh Crap moment from the Losties when they realise its near.
The ominous, rumbling whoosh sound during the transitions between flashbacks/flashforwards and present day.
Even better is the sound effect for the flash-sideways transitions: a distorted, higher-pitched, stuttering version of the normal whoosh.
Hilarious in Hindsight: Since almost the beginning of the show, viewers have theorized, over and over, that everyone died in the crash and the Island is Purgatory, even after repeated debunking. The final revelation of the series? The flash-sideways timeline is Purgatory, or the next best thing — though the Island and all the events that happened on and/or off it in normal continuity was all real.
It makes it even funnier when you realize that after being told the Island wasn't purgatory over and over again, NO ONE theorized that that's what the FS really is.
The January 4, 2011 U.S. Mega Millions lottery (worth $355 million) had a very significant amount of overlap with The Numbers, with 4, 8, 15, 25, 47 and the bonus 42. Playing The Numbers would have netted a person $150, and apparently there were 9,078 people who did just that.
Season 3's "The Man Behind the Curtain" gave us the weird scene where Ben has a conversation with a seemingly empty chair. This may have already been narmy to some, but five years later, along came Clint Eastwood...
Terry O'Quinn revealed in an interview during the first season that the direction he was given for the scene where Locke first sees the Monster was "It's the most beautiful thing you've ever seen." Then during the last season-and-a-half, the Man in Black was Mode Locked as Locke himself.
"We have to go quack, Kate. WE HAVE TO GO QUAAAAACK!"
Richard Alpert has become the show's Chuck Norris (in terms of unseen badassery) and Big Boss (in terms of being the mancrush of all male fans). Among other things, Jughead is apparently Richard's third testicle and he has had an orgy with every female on the show.
"DON'T BOTHER ME!!!"
Fans have begun rewriting Locke's suicide note to Jack to say humorous things. "Jack, I wish you had believed it was butter, because now I'm toast. JL."
Moral Event Horizon: The Man in Black tricking the main characters into activating his timebomb, resulting in the deaths of Jin, Sun and Sayid.
Martin Keamy shooting Alex dead right in front of Ben.
Anthony Cooper crossed it when he threw his own son out of a building just for trying to reason with him, even after his son gave his kidney to save his life.
Jonas (in Richard's flashback) crossed it when he murdered his prisoners after they get stranded on the island.
Ethan Rom crossed it when he hung Charlie.
Narm Charm: One would argue that, Michael's repeated shoutings of "WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALT!", given their justification, come off less narmful than anybody else in the same situation.
Granted his son has gone missing at the time, but it's the ten thousand other "WAAAAAALT!" moments throughout the first series, when Walt is only ten feet away is the reason it comes across as so narmful. There is being a Papa Wolf and there is being simply annoying.
The Producer Thinks of Everything: Despite a lot of the show's criticism claiming the contrary, anyone who actually watched the show through all 6 seasons knows that way too many things do add up for it to all be "made up as they go along". Locke's black and white stones. Adam and Eve. The DHARMA Initiative. They planned quite a bit of everything YEARS in advance.
Even in the first couple of episodes there was Foreshadowing of the events of the last couple of seasons, including the sounds of the Monster playing on the soundtrack during the final close-up of Locke at the end of "Tabula Rasa", and Locke's dialogue about backgammon in the very pilot ("a game played between two sides, one light, the other dark").
Locke mentions seeing a bright light after his encounter with the Monster in the first season, and later tells Mr. Eko that he looked into the heart of the Island and what he saw was beautiful, referring the light he mentioned, in season 3. Towards the end of the series, it's revealed that the Island DOES have a "heart" filled with a glowing bright light, and it needs to be protected from The Man in Black/The Monster.
The Mr. Eko centric episode "The Cost of Living" basically foreshadows the fact that The Smoke Monster is the true Big Bad of the series. There is the aforementioned conversation with Locke, in which Eko replies "That is not what I saw" in reference to his encounter with the Monster. And at the end of the episode, After Mr. Eko refuses to confess his sins and says he did all he could to save his brother Yemi from the same fate, "Yemi" responds "You speak to me as if I were your brother", revealing that he is not Yemi's ghost. When Mr. Eko asks who he really is and follows him, he sees the Monster and realizes it was the Monster posing as his brother all along, right before it kills him. In his dying breath, he whispers something to Locke, which Locke claims to be "We're next".. In the season 5 finale, we see that Locke is not really Locke(the real one having been killed by Ben after all), but The Man in Black who was seen earlier in the episode vowing to kill Jacob, and in the season six premiere the Man in Black is revealed to be the Smoke Monster, and the true Big Bad of the series.
Even the brief image after Eko's death of young Eko and Yemi as children walking off happily together foreshadows the fact that the afterlife, where loved ones will be reunited, will be a factor at the end of the show.
Putney Swope Panic: Will invariably occur to first time viewers and those who have missed an episode... Hell, not even those who have seen every damn one as well as the deleted scenes and web content will be safe from this.
After the pilot aired, Sawyer was said to be the characters audiences hated the most, and he spent the rest of the season as a unsympathetic, antagonistic Jerk Ass. But thanks to character development, he's become popular for reasons other than how hot he is with his shirt off.
Seasonal Rot: Some say Season 2, some say Season 6, most say the first half of Season 3 (especially the six episode "pod" at the beginning), but 2 and 3 got back on track as they approached the finale.
Shocking Swerve: "We have to move the island." Of course, that plot line was tied up quite well and it did prove to be invaluable to the Myth Arc, but at the time it was pretty weird.
Stoic Woobie: Juliet was a brilliant fertility expert with an ex-husband who controlled her every move, and had a cancerous sister who she was helping. She came to the island because she was mislead into thinking she was going to conduct experiments for a scientific company in Oregon. She found out her duty on the island was to try to prevent pregnant women and their children from dying, and she failed countless times. She then slowly became Ben's slave while her chances of leaving and seeing her sister became slimmer each year. Despite all these hardships she maintains a stoic demeanor, but when she slips you just want to give the girl a big fat hug.
Strangled by the Red String: In the series finale, it bizarrely turns out that Shannon and not Nadia is Sayid's true soul mate. Nadia doesn't even appear in the episode. The fans were not happy.
Unfortunate Implications: The fact that Walt has become a stereotypical urban black kid growing up without a dad is apparently the reason Harold Perrineau was not pleased with his character's fate.
"The Candidate" killed off three members of the cast in order to show how evil and serious the threat from MIB was. This has many people believing that the producers considered the non-white, foreign members of the cast to be "expendable". Even Jimmy Kimmel had to joke about it.
You can also take an inverse unfortunate implication of this episode in that those characters that died were the only real options for such an Anyone Can Die moment, given that there simply would have been nothing remotely sad about the main white lead characters (Jack, Kate and Sawyer) eating it.
Viewers Are Morons: The explanations of time travel in season 5, which are played with an absurd amount of awe, like the show was inventing the entire concept.
Villain Decay: As of the end of Season 5, Ben has been reduced to just another pawn in The Man in Black's extended chess match against Jacob. He knows it too, and isn't the least bit happy about it. It should be noted that only a few episodes after we learned Ben led the Others we found out Jacob gave the orders (the list for instance), so we should have seen this one coming.
Though it's implied that Ben's mere existence and free will is the "loophole" that Jacob's nemesis needed to kill Jacob, making him the most important character in the show... let's just say this: Ben in early seasons: Leader of the Others and Magnificent Bastard. Ben at the end of the series: Hurley's sidekick
Wangst: Jack, though he gets significantly better in Seasons 5 and 6.
Danielle Rousseau, arguably the most tragic character seen. She was forced to kill her friends including the love of her life, had her baby taken away, spent 16 years as The Aloner going nuts, and when she was finally reunited with her daughter she gotkilled off.