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Who's In the Coffin And Other Thoughts About Tonight's Season Finale of "Lost"

While Lost has been positively overflowing with mysteries since Day One, when the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 first arrived on that cursed island, one question has seized upon the imagination of the audience and not let go: just who is in that coffin?

It's a question that I've asked myself time and time again when watching the fourth season of Lost, which concludes tonight with a two-hour season ender that will likely once again rewrite the rules of the serialized drama and leave those of us obsessed with the series reeling from its implications for the next seven months. (I offered up a theory about one element of tonight's episode involving the notion of sacrifice and, er, fuel loss during my post about Part One of "There's No Place Like Home" two weeks ago. Very curious to see if I am right.)

So who do I think is in the coffin? Let's take a look at the likely--and unlikely--possibilities.

Benjamin Linus. We now know that Ben managed to get off the island, despite not being on the rescue plane that made it back to the mainland, so it's entirely possible that his war with Charles Widmore has reached a bitter and deadly end. Jack did say that he's neither family nor friend of the deceased (which fits the description of his relationship with Ben perfectly) and would also explain why none of the other Oceanic Six attend the funeral; Kate even says that there was no way she would have attended. Still, it feels a bit odd to have Ben end up in the coffin like that and not be able to use him in the future timeline on Lost, but if anyone could have faked their death and gotten away with it, it's the slippery Benjamin Linus. Still, I'm not convinced.

Michael Dawson. People have long suspected that the man in the coffin is none other than Michael himself but I think it's too much of a red herring that the funeral home is in a predominantly African-American neighborhood. Besides, Michael was much more connected to New York than Los Angeles and, at the very least, his mother and Walt would have turned up to the funeral, even if they are currently estranged. No, it's definitely not Michael.

Charles Widmore. The least likely suspect in my book. No way would his funeral go unnoticed and unobserved, with only a brief obit in the newspaper to mark his passing. Whoever is in that coffin is someone much further down the totem pole than the great and powerful Widmore. Let's consider him off-limits for now.

Matthew Abbadon. Again, the perception of the African-American neighborhood seem to be playing a role here and we haven't gotten a real clear sense of his involvement in the past and future timelines on the series yet. It's clear that Abbadon knows much more than he claims: he sends Locke on his walkabout in Australia, assembles the team of scientists for the mission under Widmore's instructions, visits Hurley in the mental hospital, and seems to be the series' go-to creepy man. Still, I don't think it would be quite fitting for him to end up in the coffin
as we haven't yet seen him interact with all of the other Oceanic Six members.

Richard Alpert. The mysterious Other who seems to have cropped up in several castaway's pasts and who appears not to age. But does that mean that he can't die? Again, as the de facto leader of the Others and the man responsible for giving Ben the order to exterminate every member of the Dharma Initiative, he seems to play an enormous behind-the-scenes role in the past, present, and future of the island and appears--like Ben years later--to be able to move from the island to the mainland relatively easily. He wouldn't be mourned by anyone, least of all anyone connected with Dharma and may have actually influenced events that led to the crash of Oceanic Flight 815 and the castaways' current situation. Still, it feels a bit odd as we haven't gotten any real concrete information about Alpert's past yet.

My two final guesses:

Martin Keamy. I'm leaning somewhat heavily towards Keamy as the possible coffin inhabitant. He's had some pretty serious scrapes with the castaways, nearly killed them all during his campaign on the island to capture Ben, and killed a number of Oceanic survivors during his incursion against New Otherton. There's some bad blood between him and Jack and no love lost between him and the others. I doubt that his real name is Martin Keamy and a sociopathic mercenary like him certainly would have no mourners at his funeral. Given his relatively new status on the series, is it presumptuous to think that he would end up escaping the island, surviving in secret for several years, and then dying mysteriously and ending up unmourned and alone? Hmmm, possibly. But would his death have as much emotional resonance as say...

Sayid Jarrah. The death of one of the Oceanic Six would have been a major media storm, but not if the person in question died under a different name. I believe that Sayid had adopted an assumed identity and could have died while in the employ of Benjamin Linus. We know that after the murder of Nadia, Sayid lost all direction and quickly fell under the lure of vengeance, beginning a new life as an assassin, targeting members of the opposition in Ben's ongoing war with Widmore. Working for Ben is a decision that likely wouldn't have made him very popular with members of the Oceanic Six and I can seem them renouncing him once and for all after learning of his new employment situation. Still, I can see Jack being curious enough to go to the funeral (and still acknowledging why Kate wouldn't) to see if anyone else would turn up, if he knew Sayid's new identity. As for Ben, I could see why he wouldn't come out into the open to attend the funeral of his new ally, not with Widmore and the others gunning for him. Would Carlton and Damon really kill off Sayid in the "present" day? Abso-bloody-lutely, especially as it would be a great twist to have one of them survive everything the island threw at them, escape, and then still wind up dead back on the mainland. Cruel twists of irony are one of Lost's stock in trade.

But I am very curious to know who you think is in that coffin at the funeral. Is it one of the above or someone else altogether? While we'll likely find out tonight once and for all, until then let's open up the floor for debate: who is the most likely occupant and who is the least likely? Discuss.


Anonymous said…
It's all very exciting. Did you see the you tube clip where someone has put all of the flash forward scenes in chronological order? It's called Lost Flash Forwards in 8:42. Really puts things in perspective in preparation for the big night.
Anonymous said…
But the obituary said the "on" named person was from NY. Michael is from NY.
If Sayid was under an assumed identity, his country/state of birth could be fake too. I actually think that, storywise, Sayid being in the coffin makes the most sense. But I still wouldn't bet money on it as there are many other possible contenders. Hopefully, we'll find out tonight!!!
Anonymous said…
I hope it's not Ben. I think he would have a much more...uncommon death. Of course, the irony of him being alone in a plain, wooden box with no one but Jack at his funeral would be great too. But I'm not ready for his story to be over!
Anonymous said…
What about John Locke? He could definitely fit into the category of niether friend or family, and depending on what else he does on the island the other survivors could potentially not want to go to his funeral.

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