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  • Face–Heel Turn:
    • Michael, although he eventually redeems himself (to the island). Claire does one offscreen sometime after the season 4 finale and Sayid is wooed to the dark side by the Man in Black in "Sundown" (6x06).
    • It's been strongly hinted that Claire and Sayid's turns are the result of being infected by the Sickness.
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner:
    Man in Black: You are too late. He is wrong.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: With the premise of "people stranded on a deserted island", it was pretty obvious that any attempts to get off said island were doomed to fail. It was then famously subverted when some characters left the island and their goal became to get back there. And then totally inverted in the final season: the goal of the main characters becomes to stop the Big Bad from leaving the island - something they have attempted themselves for so long early in the series.
    • The other goal for Lost is to figure out what the hell is going on. Characters and the viewers alike were fated to fail here.
    • Even the writers dropped it early. About almost everything and every character.
  • Fake Defector: Hurley pretends to get kicked out of Locke's group and join Jack's as part of Locke's ruse.
  • Fake Kill Scare: Sayid, Jin, and Bernard have been captured by the Others, and Ben tells them over the phone to shoot all three of them while Jack listens. It turns out that they merely fired shots into the sand to scare Jack, but this causes Jack to deliver a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on Ben later.
    • Interestingly enough, these three characters are assumed dead at least on one other occasion. Sayid dies but then comes back to life in season 6, Bernard is presumed dead in season 1 while the freighter explosion is assumed to kill Jin but doesn't.
  • Fake-Out Opening: Every Season Premiere (except for the first, naturally).
  • Fanservice: Nikki does a strip-tease and pole dance in season 3. Partly a parody - it turns out to be in a show-in-show featuring a whole troupe of bikini-clad crime-fighters.
  • Fatal Family Photo: Early in "The Candidate," Jin is talking to Sun about having finally seen their daughter in a photo. Cue the sinking of the sub.
  • A Fate Worse Than Death Anthony Cooper in the afterlife, whom we discover is in a permanent vegetative state due to a plane crash he suffered when trying to teach Locke how to fly. One can't help feeling sorry for him, even though he was a heartless monster in both life and death. It's more gruesome when we realise that due to this, he can never move on.
    • Explicitly said to apply to Jacob's brother too.
    • Michael, particularly since the events of "The End" so far as we can tell, did nothing to free his soul, which was trapped on the island, unable to "move on." The epilogue, however, suggests that by going back to the island Walt might be able to help him move on.
  • Faux Death: Nikki and Paulo appear to be dead in "Exposé," but end up being buried alive because they have actually been bitten by spiders that put them in a death-like state.
  • Faux Fluency: Naveen Andrews is actually British, and doesn't speak Arabic (which is why all of his scenes with people who should be speaking Arabic switch to English after one or two sentences).
    • At Jin and Sun's wedding, Jacob tells them their love is special. After he leaves, they comment that his Korean is excellent. It doesn't take a knowledge of Korean to notice that this is an Informed Ability.
    • Inverted with Jin: * Daniel Dae Kim is a Korean-American and, in a dream sequence of the season 2 episode "Everybody Hates Hugo", demonstrates he actually speaks native English. In the show, however, he plays a Korean national who doesn't learn English for at least 2 seasons, and still speaks it with a moderate accent after having 3 years of experience (although the accent does slip on occasion).
  • Fingertip Drug Analysis: As a drug lord, Eko knows how to do this, of course. Sayid in one episode too.
  • First Gray Hair: In the last episode, Richard finds one. Though rather than being a source of angst, he considers this a very good thing since it means he's no longer immortal.
  • Flashback: It is practically the Characteristic Trope, after all.
  • Flashback B-Plot: Most episodes have flashbacks as the B-story, focusing on a single character's life before they ended up on the island, usually thematically connected to the A-story. In later seasons, the flashbacks are sometimes replaced with flashforwards and flash-sideways..
  • Flashback Echo: Once an Episode or so.
  • Flashback Effects: A distinctive sound effect notes the beginning and end of each flashback. This is almost reversed for the 'jumps'.
  • Flashback Twist: Possibly the Trope Codifier. Special mention goes to the third season finale.
  • Flash Forward: As of the end of the third season, we get these too.
  • Flash Sideways: Trope Namer and Trope Codifier (together with the movie Sliding Doors). Many of the characters do this a lot in season six.
  • Flirty Stepsiblings: Shannon and Boone.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: How Jack and Sarah fell in love.
  • Foe Yay:invoked Ben and Locke. Lampshaded by Ben in the season 5 finale.
    • The amount of invokedFoe Yayishness between the two is actually rather amusing.
      Ben: And then you came striding out of the jungle, John, to make my dream come true.
      • So much, in fact, that the Season 5 finale with Ben and Un-Locke confronting Jacob almost feels like a love triangle, with Ben's angry reaction at being treated like the third wheel.
  • Foiler Footage: They shot multiple reveals of who was in the coffin at the end of the final episode. Sawyer and Desmond were the other two filmed to be in the coffin, but obviously weren't in it when the episode aired. In the DVD bonus material for that season the writers said that they sweated a bit when that episode aired for fear the editor had spliced the wrong bit of footage onto the end of the episode because it would have been a bear to write their way out of.
  • Foreshadowing: Locke mentioning the battle between light and dark in the very first episode. However, it isn't until the season five finale we clearly know what the sides are.
    • Boone, when tracking the footprints of Claire and Charlie in season 1, explains to Locke what a Red Shirt is, with a full Star Trek reference. Boone is the one carrying the red shirt (which they strip pieces of for making a visible path through the forest). Of course, Boone is the first to die a few episodes later.
    • This conversation is rife with foreshadowing, especially to some of the reveals in Season 6.
    • At the end of "Tabula Rasa", which was about the second episode of the series, the sounds of The Monster are subtly played as the camera pans over to and zooms in on the face of John Locke.
    • The final battle is foreshadowed in the Season 1 finale.
    Jack: There's something that you need to know...if we survive this, if we survive tonight...we're going to have a Locke problem. And I have to know that you've got my back.
    Kate: I've got your back.
    • "See you in another life, brotha," is repeated several times, and then there are other things of the same sort like Nadia's assurance that she will see Sayid again in another life, if not this one—all of these things foreshadowing the flash-sideways.
    • Locke being tricked and manipulated in a lot of his flashbacks, and his psychological profile claiming he is "amenable for coercion". The poor guy turns out to be a pivotal Unwitting Pawn in the scheme of the Man in Black.
    • There are some moments that qualify as foreshadowing but are extremely small details. Pay close attention to Kate the first time she's on-screen. She's rubbing her wrists, from the handcuffs she had on her.
  • For Science!: Stuart Radzinsky has been planning this station for six years, and he doesn't care if you've come from the future to warn him he's about to unleash catastrophe, he's not stopping the damn drill now! To be fair, now that we know what the sideways timeline really is, it's not clear that Radzinsky actually caused the entire Incident - the atomic bomb dropped down the well probably helped.
  • For Want of a Nail: The flash-sideways timeline is initially presented as this; the characters' lives had there been no plane crash, no Island, and no interference from Jacob. The series finale, however, shows that it's actually the afterlife.
  • Four Is Death: Four is one of the arc numbers
    • Boone wears multiple t-shirts in the first season containing fours or sets of four, and is the first regular character to die.
    • In a season 5 flashback, Miles discovers his ability to speak to the dead by finding a dead man in Apt. #4.
    • In Jacob's cave, Locke is indicated by the number 4, and is the first of the six uncrossed names to be crossed out (as he is dead).
  • Freudian Excuse: Ben and The Man in Black.
  • From a Certain Point of View:
  • Un-Locke is fond of using this tactic. When he tells Ben that he can have the island all to himself if he helps him in his cause, he "leaves out the part about it being at the bottom of the ocean". He tells the candidates that he needs them to escape the island: and he does need die.
  • Christian's medical report on the patient he ended up killing in his drunkenness told "the truth": that two doctors tried to save her and failed. It seems to be carefully worded to avoid the issue of the cause of failure being that he ended up fatally lacerating her because his hands were shaking too badly from all the booze.
  • Fun with Foreign Languages: Frequently occurs in earlier seasons when Jin's knowledge of English is very limited and none of the other survivors except for Sun speak Korean.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: With a storyline this convoluted that stretches over such a long time period, there are naturally a few in-universe examples. By far, the most horrifying was when we learned exactly how that Dharma van Hurley found in the forest in a beloved Breather Episode got stranded out there...
    • One out-universe example is in "Confidence Man" where Sawyer is describing the "Oil rigging off the Gulf".

  • Gambit Pileup: Rose, Bernard, and Frank are about the only characters without some kind of ulterior motive.
  • Gambit Roulette: Sometimes you wonder just how Ben could have planned for some things. He could be good at improvising and adapting his plans or claiming he is.
    • Ben seems like a rookie compared to Jacob's enemy, whose plan included everything in Ben's plans, plus a couple of twists which ultimately gave him the upper hand and led to un-Locke manipulating Ben into killing Jacob.
  • Game Changer: The third season finale shows flashbacks of Jack at his alcoholic worst. Except that it's actually the first flash-forward, revealing that some of the flight 815 survivors escaped the island.
  • Genius Loci: The Island, maybe, according to Locke. It was never really resolved.
  • Genre Shift: The first season is a relatively grounded drama with some elements of supernatural horror. The next five seasons transition into science-fiction/fantasy territory.
  • Geodesic Cast: Out of sheer necessity because of the show's Loads and Loads of Characters.
  • Geographic Flexibility: The Island. The mystical properties of the Island contribute to some locations, such as Jacob's cabin, not being discovered, but others, such as the other Island, the Barracks, the lighthouse, and the Temple probably should've been discovered sooner.
  • Get It Over With: Subverted. Keamy threatens to kill Alex if Ben wouldn't surrender. Ben answers that he doesn't care about her (that's a lie) and almost demands to kill Alex. Keamy shoots her immediately, even before Ben finishes his phrase.
  • A Glitch in the Matrix:
    • An important aspect flashsideways alternate timeline/afterlife is characters noticing something's up. Jack has a recurring cut on his neck and scar on his side that he can't place—both were suffered during the final battle with Smokey; the latter wound ends up being fatal. Charlie has a flash of Claire while choking on a heroin baggy. Kate gets deja vu when she sees Jack. The flashsideways as a whole serves this purpose for clever viewers who may notice minor characters, locations, or scenarios repeating themselves slightly differently.
    • In the series finale, each character has a revelatory montage where they remember their island life. When speaking to Locke, Jack has a brief flash of the two looking down the hatch and freaks out. When he finds Kate, he has a couple flashes of their romance and decides to go with her to learn the ultimate truth: he's dead.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: As Locke, Kate, and Jin attempt to rescue Jack from the Others, they see him making a run for the trees. They get ready to help him escape, only for Jack to turn around and catch the football that Tom Friendly threw for him.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation:
    • Rousseau and (as of season 6) Claire.
    • A promo implies that the Man in Black turned from a misled young man just trying to get home into The Monster because he went insane after spending 2,000 years trapped on the island.
  • Grand Theft Me: While he's not exactly stealing other peoples' bodies, the Man in Black/Smoke Monster is able to assume the form of anyone who has previously died whose body is on the Island such as Alex, Yemi, Christian, and Locke. He can also seemingly project visions of other people from characters' pasts, including Richard's wife, Isabella.
  • The Great Repair: In the final episode, Richard, Miles and Frank spend the entire episode focusing on getting Ajira Flight 316 operational again so Frank can fly them all off the Island.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: Played with in the repetition from all different sources about who is a "good person" (or people) or a "bad person" (or people). Naturally, there are contradicting opinions about and from just about everyone.
    • Even the Big Bad is given a Freudian Excuse and is a very sympathetic character in his Day in the Limelight
    • And the Big Good messed around with peoples' lives, which got many people killed. However, The end of the show seems to vindicate these actions explicitly, by saying that even though many died, their time on the Island was the most important part of their life, and they felt it was worth it in the end. The things his followers do in his name range from morally questionable to evil. Widmore, undoubtedly the man behind the "purge" of the Dharma Initiative, is unapologetically evil, and was the leader of the Island for many years before Ben staged a coup. It does remain unclear how many of these acts Jacob approved of, and which were the result of people being tempted by selfishness and their baser nature (or possibly under the influence of the MIB).
      • Jacob called Widmore a bad man. If he ever approved of his actions, it was before he was the monster he is now. But the entire idea behind The Others was for Jacob to be able to interfere without interfering, by having a group of people working to his end who (for the most part) were self-governing and self-sufficient. That way he can sort of influence things but without infringing on people's ability to choose for themselves. Nevertheless, Jacob admitted to being flawed. Knowingly tossing your own brother into a fate worse than death tends to qualify one for that label.
    • The show started off as this, but leaned more towards Black-and-White Morality towards the end of the series. Most of the main characters recognized their flaws and how their past actions had negative effects on them and wound up redeeming themselves, due to the Rousseau Was Right theme, which is why they were ultimately rewarded in the afterlife by reuniting and moving on. The irredeemable villains such as Man in Black and Martin Keamy, who never wished to redeem themselves and just kept getting worse, simply got their brutal comeuppances, even in the afterlife, as seen with the deaths of Keamy and his henchmen and Anthony Cooper being in a vegetative state and unable to move on.
  • Guile Hero:
    • Desmond in the flash-sideways universe. His goal is to make everyone remember their lives, and he has some odd ways of doing it: have Hurley tranquilize Charlie, bribe Ana-Lucia to set them free when they're arrested, have Boone get beat up so Shannon and Sayid will reunite, run Locke over with his car, and beat the living tar out of Ben to get him to snap out of the delusion.
    • Jack also qualifies. What does he do when he's forced to operate on Ben's tumor? He purposely cuts an artery and forces the Others to let Kate and Sawyer free since he's now the only one who can save him.
  • Guilt Complex: Hurley in seems to think that because he keeps finding his winning lottery numbers everywhere as the plot moves along, it means that the numbers are cursed, and somehow that means every other bad thing that happens on the island is his fault.
    • Before coming to the island, he blamed himself for an accidental deck collapse that killed two people.
  • Guinea Pig Family: Juliet practiced her fertility therapy on her sister.
  • Gut Feeling: Bernard was in the tail section of the plane which separated from the section the main characters were in before the crash. In spite of this, his wife Rose spends the entire first season calmly correcting anyone who refers to him as being deceased or past tense. She says she just knows he's alive. Early in season two she is proven correct and reunited with him.

  • Hair-Trigger Explosive: Arzt dies when he waves a stick of TNT too roughly and it detonates in his hand. Ironically enough, he was in the middle of a lecture on how to handle dynamite safely.
  • Hand Wave: When Abaddon asks if Walt has to come back to the island too, Locke replies that "he's been through enough."
  • Happily Married: Rose and Bernard. Jin and Sun as well, although Sun was just about to leave Jin before the plane crashed. Desmond and Penny are definitely this too, once they FINALLY get back to each other.
  • Has Two Mommies: A heterosexual example, after the end Aaron he ends up with both Kate and Claire raising him. It's implied neither loved again due to their true loves dying years before they did.
  • Have You Told Anyone Else?: Inverted. When Mother asks the Man in Black if he has revealed the Light beneath the island to the villagers. He says yes, and you can almost see the gears turning as she calculates how many people she must now kill then she kills everyone in the village except the Man in Black.
  • Hearing Voices: The whispers in the jungle, revealed in season six to be the dead people on the island who haven't "moved on."
  • Heart in the Wrong Place: Averted early in the series. The US Marshall that was on the plane was critically wounded in the crash, so Sawyer shoots him in the upper left part of his chest to put him out of his misery. Only for Jack to tell him that he missed the heart and hit his lung.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door:
    • Nadia's death causes Sayid to have a crisis that drives him from side to side. He goes from Ben, to the survivors, to himself, to the survivors again, then to the Man in Black, then the survivors over the course of two seasons.
    • Ben Linus's loyalty lies only with Ben Linus, so he has a habit of switching to whichever side will benefit the most. From the Others, to Locke, to his own agenda, back to Locke (who was secretly the Man in Black), back to himself, then to Ilana, and finally back to The Man in Black. The last one turns out to be a ruse, and he truly aligns with the survivors and helps to kill the Man in Black, ending the series as Hurley's loyal advisor.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Juliet and Ben both end the show firmly aligned with the survivors despite their long conflict with the Others, although Juliet defected much earlier than Ben did.
    • After spending an entire season causing nothing but harm to the survivors, Sayid commits a Heroic Sacrifice to ensure the survivors will escape the submarine explosion after giving them the information they need to take down the Man in Black.
  • Helping Would Be Killstealing: Jacob. Played straight on the island: He doesn't interfere, because he want everyone to figure out the right thing to do on their own. Subverted in the outside world, as Jacob seek out Kate in her childhood and save her from a problem that would likely have been a important life lesson.
  • The Hero Dies: The very last shot of the show.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Desmond at the end of Season Two (although he survives), Charlie at the end of Season Three, Sayid and Jin in "The Candidate.", and Jack in "The End.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: With the events of Season 6, this can be inferred as the reason for much of the Others' villainous behavior.
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: The Monster and the Others during season one. And Jacob, until "The Incident"
    • As regards the Monster the show certainly did play with the trope in a nifty way: we saw it as far back as the first episode or two but didn't know it because we didn't yet know that it was the same thing taking those other forms like Christian Shephard's. Although it wasn't until the season one finale that we even got a glimpse of its default, wispy form.
  • Hidden Villain: The revelation of the Big Bad and all Disc One Final Bosses previous are pretty big twists.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: The first antagonist introduced in the series is the Smoke Monster, making its presence known in the first episode. After several seasons of making us guess who the true Big Bad was, we are introduced to an unnamed character referred to as "The Man in Black", who was the enemy of Jacob and was manipulating everyone (even Ben) the whole time. At the very start of the final season, he reveals himself to be the Smoke Monster, thus it was the Big Bad the whole time.
  • Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: In play in some way. What with Sayid shooting, and trying to kill Ben Linus back in 1977.
    • Lampshaded in the following episode by Hurley and Miles - and even better, it's implied that Jack's refusal to save Ben's life as a child - and Sawyer and Juliet's subsequent plea to Richard Alpert - turned him into the Magnificent Bastard he would become in the future.
    • It's even more or less referred to by name in dialogue from the first episode of season 5:
      Dr. Chang: It will allow us to manipulate time.
      Foreman: And then what, you're going to go back in time and kill Hitler?
      Dr. Chang: Don't be absurd. There are rules. Rules that can't be broken.
  • His Name Is...: Pretty much every character with valuable information to impart on the main characters seems to suffer from this trope. Every time someone has a chance to really expose an important plot point or enigmatic mystery, they dance around the issue with vague words and nonsense until they are forced away/leave/die.
  • The Homeward Journey: The focus of the first half of the series. Once some of the characters return home, however, they realize that they have reasons for returning to the island.
  • Hope Spot: Locke banging on the Hatch door at his weakest moment only for it to miraculously turn on. Which is actually a double-whammy as it turns out that by doing so, he saved Desmond from a suicide attempt.
  • Hourglass Plot: Jack starts as a Man of Science, focused on getting the survivors off the Island, while Locke is a Man of Faith, believing that people aren't supposed to leave the Island Because Destiny Says So. It goes on like this for four Seasons, until the first reversal happens in Season 5: Jack gets off the Island but becomes increasingly depressed and is looking for a way to come back, while Locke is now desperately searching for a way off the Island, believing it to be a necessary step to save everyone. After Jack gets back and Locke is killed, his face assumed by the Man In Black, things get even better: Jack is now a strong believer in Faith determined to stay on the Island, while Fake-Locke is a cynical pragmatist desperately trying to leave it. By the final episodes, the Survivors led by Jack are now trying to stop the Big Bad from doing the very same thing they tried to do for most of the series.
  • How We Got Here: Season 4 and the first half of season 5. On a smaller scale, the episode "316", which starts with a brief flashforward and then spends the rest of the episode explaining how the characters ended up there.
  • Hurricane of Puns: The names of the tracks on the OSTs are almost all puns on the characters' names.
  • Humans Are Bastards: As it turns out, this is the nature of the conflict between the Man in Black and Jacob. The Man in Black believes the former, while Jacob believes the latter.
  • Hyperventilation Bag: Hurley is seen doing this in a parking lot during one of the flashbacks.

  • I Cannot Self-Terminate:
    • Richard due to Jacob's touch. He (Richard, not Jacob) even asks Jack to kill him. Guess what? Jack has something else in mind.
    • Candidates are incapable of committing suicide. In fact, if Tom is to be believed, no one who has been to the island can do it, at least until the island is "finished with" them.
  • I Choose to Stay: Quite a few of them, some of which span universes. Rose and Bernard choose to make a life on the island because it cured Rose's cancer. This is the whole point to Locke's arc, Jack's too in a sense. In the finale alone there's three of them: Hurley and Ben choose to stay on the island to help Jack. After he dies, Hurley and Ben choose to stay behind to be the new Jacob and Richard. Ben also chooses to stay behind in the "in between" Flash-sideways universe rather than move on with everyone else.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Locke's backstory. Ben has a little of this as well.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Libby in Season Two, and Charlotte in Season Five.
  • I Lied: Ben Linus's Catchphrase.
  • I Never Got Any Letters:
    • Walt's anger at Michael is mitigated when he realizes that Michael had, in fact, tried to contact him during his childhood; Walt's mother had hidden Michael's letters.
    • In "Live Together, Die Alone," Penny is upset that Desmond never wrote to her when he was in prison, when in reality he did; Charles Widmore had been intercepting all of his letters to make Penny think that Desmond had given up on her.
  • I See Dead People: Miles (who can only communicate with them) and Hugo.
  • I See Them, Too:
    • Kate and Sawyer go through this in "What Kate Did".
    • Jack and friends during Jacob's final talk with them. Until then, only Hurley could see him.
    • A particularly brutal example, given what immediately follows, is Sayid finally seeing for himself the apparition Shannon had seen.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Such episode titles as "...In Translation" and "...And Found."
  • Idiot Ball: A massive handling by the remaining A-Team and Boaties, who spent the last few episodes of season 5 formulating and executing a plan that hinged on the small probability that setting off a nuke would prevent the mysterious "Incident" that happened to the Swan station. It wasn't until five minutes before they were to do it that Miles asked "what if it didn't prevent it; what if it caused it?" The silent response warranted an exasperated "I'm glad you all thought this through".
  • Ignored Confession: When the Dharma Initiative is interrogating Sayid, he confesses that he is from the future. They don't believe him, however, and only think that they gave him too high a dosage of LSD.
  • Ill Girl: Shannon is asthmatic, and an early episode has a subplot in which she has increasingly severe attacks and needs her inhaler, which was in her luggage and now cannot be found. Everyone assumes Sawyer has it, but in the end it turns out he doesn't, and Sun ends up helping Shannon with herbal medicine. This becomes a Brick Joke in the final season when, years later, Jack comes across the inhaler in the jungle near the caves they had been living in; seems someone just tossed it aside.
  • Imaginary Friend: Hurley's hallucinatory friend from the mental institute, "Dave", shows up on the Island in one episode. He tries to convince Hurley that the island, not him, is the hallucination, and tries to prove it by pointing out all the unlikely things that have happened to Hurley since he left the institution. He says that if Hurley makes a literal leap of faith by jumping of a cliff, he'll have let go and will be back in reality, the island having disappeared. He is eerily persuasive. However, it gets more complicated when it turns out that Hurley can see and interact with the spirits of the dead, meaning that Institution Dave could very well have been real. Also, the Big Bad of the series turned out to be capable of taking on the form of those who had died and trying to lure them to their deaths or otherwise indirectly cause them to die (since he cannot kill candidates himself), thus creating another possibility for the identity of Island Dave.
    • Although since candidates cannot kill themselves, one must wonder what would have happened if Hurley had jumped. probably would have washed up on shore barely alive or something...
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Played straight and subverted at different times. The only time someone from the DHARMA initiative actually managed to shoot someone was when Roger Linus caught Jack and Sayid by surprise. Widmore's team in season 6 doesn't get a chance to shoot at much that isn't the Man in Black, but they prove themselves to be decent shots in "The Package". In "The Candidate", they even manage to shoot Kate in the shoulder.
  • Improbable Age: Daniel Faraday may be a super-genius, but it's a bit extreme for him to be teaching at Oxford at nineteen years old.
  • Improvised Weapon : Sayid's dishwasher and Hurley's hot pocket, in season 5.
  • Inconvenient Hippocratic Oath: Jack has to save Ben. When pressed for a reason, however, he neglects to mention the oath.
  • Infant Immortality:
    • Damon Lindelof stated that by the end of the series, Vincent the dog will still be alive. Chances are Aaron, Ji Yeon, and little Charlie will live to the end as well. It turned out to be true.
    • Kate seemed to enforce this before heading back to the island. She told Claire's mother the truth about Aaron and left him with her to keep him safe.
  • Inferred Survival: As of season 3, this is the game people play with the characters left on the island.
  • Infinite Supplies: Every time the castaways are about to run out of supplies, they find more. Down to eating peanuts? There's boar on the island. Only down to eighteen bottles of water? Jack finds some caves with a waterfall. At one point, food even drops out of the sky.
  • Informed Ability:
    • Sayid, the torturer. The only time we are even *informed* that he succesfully tortured someone is in a flashback, and it is almost all offscreen. This among numerous failed attempts.
    • Boone claims to be a certified lifeguard, but he can't give rescue breathing effectively to Rose and he needs Jack to save him from drowning when he tries to save a woman from the very same fate.
  • Informed Judaism: Sayid is obviously meant to be a Muslim — he is once shown praying and recites the shahada at one point when he's been caught in Rousseau's trap — but he also gets liquored up and fornicates with non-believers. Truth in Television, many people pay lip service to religion while ignoring its restrictions.
  • Instant Birth: Just Add Water!: Claire on both the island and in sideways. The latter is particularly egregious since Claire goes from contractions to birth within the space of time it takes Charlie to get a towel. Partially justified in that sideways is actually purgatory, so it doesn't need to follow the rules of reality.
    • Not totally impossible. We don't really know how long it took Charlie to get a towel, and it could have been rather hard to locate one. Even if it only took half an hour or so, this troper's birth took just twenty minutes.
  • Instant Death Bullet: Sawyer tries to apply this trope in the first season to put a dying man out of his misery. At first it looks like he succeeded but rasping coming from the tent minutes later confirms that Sawyer has sentenced him to hours of an even more painful death.
    • Later subverted in a similar fashion with Libby who lives just long enough to be assured that her killer is going to be just fine (and she dies unable to warn Jack.)
    • Later it becomes clear that this subversion happens because of the healing properties of the island.
  • Inter-Class Romance: Desmond and Penny, and also Jin and Sun.
  • Interrupted Suicide:
    • In "Through the Looking Glass" a depressed Jack climbs up on the railing of a bridge and is about to throw himself into the river below when a car crashes nearby and snaps him out of his funk long enough to run over and pull the driver out. Ironically the car only crashed because the driver was distracted by him standing on the railing.
    • A more tragic version occurs in "The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham". Locke, having failed to convince any of the Oceanic 6 to return to the island, prepares to hang himself in his hotel room when Ben bursts in and stops him. Ben tells Locke that Jack has booked a plane ticket that will take him back, showing Locke that is efforts weren't in vain. Just when it looks like Locke has been saved he mentions Eloise Hawking, which causes Ben to snap and strangle Locke.
  • Involuntary Group Split: Happens when they discover the cave.
  • Island of Mystery: Oh baby. Caves, ancient ruins, castaways, physical anomalies, weird creatures, angry natives, secret research stations, doomsday devices. It's got the lot.
  • It Will Never Catch On: Even the showrunners thought this. When Damon Lindelof was pitching the show to ABC in 2004, he was asked where the show would go in the long run. His reply?
    Lindelof: We're probably not going to get past episode thirteen. Let's all be honest about that up front.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • In "Dr. Linus"(6x07) after Ben reveals that Sayid killed Dogen and his interpreter:
    Ilana: Are you sure?
    Ben: He was standing over their dead bodies holding a bloody dagger, so yeah, I'm pretty sure.
    • then a few minutes later after Miles reveals that Ben killed Jacob:
    Ilana: Are you sure?
    Miles: He was standing over Jacob's dead body with a bloody dagger, so yeah, I'm pretty sure.
  • Island Help Message: Bernard begins to build one in the episode "S.O.S.," as the title would seem to indicate. He gives up, because nobody really wants to leave.
  • Is That What They're Calling It Now?: Sawyer's reaction to Jack telling him that he and Kate got caught in a net.
    • Later:
      Sawyer: I screwed her.
      Jack: What?
      Sawyer: Ana Lucia... we got caught in a net.
  • It Can Think: The Smoke Monster turns out to be one pretty intelligent entity.
  • It's All My Fault: Exactly what Locke says after Boone dies. Although he is at least partially right, and no one rebuts him save the "Boone" he sees in the sweat lodge vision.
  • It's Been Done: Ashes to Ashes (2008) beat Lost to an eerily similar ending by just two days.
    • Also arguably Neon Genesis Evangelion, which has a much bigger head start. Both shows end with most major mysteries being disregarded in favor of character analysis in purgatory.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Jack attended Columbia University.

  • Jerkass:
    • Sawyer in season one. Justified a few episodes in, where we learn that he is intentionally playing the part of a Jerkass so people can hate him as part of a deep self-hatred impersonation complex.
    • Radzinsky and Phil of the Dharma Initiative.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Sawyer after season 1. Thank you Character Development! By S4, the Jerk may as well be completely removed.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: We still haven't been given half the pieces.
    • There's a literal jigsaw puzzle you can buy that assists in revealing the plot.
  • Jitter Cam: Whenever an action scene comes up, the camera goes into "shaky mode".
  • Just a Flesh Wound: Usually played straight, but Sawyer's shoulder wound averts this: the single shot to the shoulder almost kills him from a combination of blood loss, an incoming infection, and too much strenuous activity.
  • Just Eat Gilligan: Averted when it comes to the main plot. Things really are a little more complicated than they seem.
    • However there would probably be some merit to actually killing Ben in expediting the process a little.


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