What They Died For

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"What They Died For"
Lost episode
Episode no. Season 6
Episode 16
Directed by Paul Edwards
Written by Edward Kitsis
Adam Horowitz
Elizabeth Sarnoff
Production code 616
Original air date May 18, 2010 (2010-05-18)
Guest actors

Mark Pellegrino as Jacob
Alan Dale as Charles Widmore
Michelle Rodriguez as Ana Lucia Cortez
Mira Furlan as Danielle Rousseau
Tania Raymonde as Alex
Dylan Minnette as David Shephard
Sheila Kelley as Zoe
Kenton Duty as Young Jacob
Wendy Pearson as Nurse Kim Kondracki
Ashlee Kyker as Kid
Ernesto Lopez as Police officer

Episode chronology
← Previous
"Across the Sea"
Next →
"The End"
Lost (season 6)
List of Lost episodes

"What They Died For" is the 16th and penultimate episode of the American Broadcasting Company's final season of the serial drama television series Lost and 119th and penultimate episode overall. The episode aired on May 18, 2010, on ABC in the United States.[1] The episode's flash-sideways are centered on Jack Shephard, Desmond Hume, Benjamin Linus and James "Sawyer" Ford.

In the flash-sideways timeline, Desmond Hume (Henry Ian Cusick) continues his attempt to gather all the passengers of Oceanic Airlines Flight 815. In 2007, The Man in Black (Terry O'Quinn) devises a new strategy. Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox) takes the role as leader of the island while he and his group search for Desmond.


2004 (flash-sideways timeline)[edit]

In the flash sideways timeline, Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox) eats breakfast with his newly discovered half-sister, Claire Littleton (Emilie de Ravin) and his son, David Shephard (Dylan Minnette), where they discuss David's upcoming concert that night. While eating, Jack receives a phone call apparently from Oceanic Airlines, stating to have found Jack's cargo that had been lost on flight 815: Christian Shephard's coffin. Jack hangs up the phone, but it is revealed to have been Desmond Hume (Henry Ian Cusick) who had faked the phone call.

Desmond is later found waiting in his car outside the high school where John Locke (Terry O'Quinn) and Ben Linus (Michael Emerson) work. Ben jumps in front of the car and threatens to call the police. Desmond exits the car and begins to beat Ben, telling him that he wasn't trying to hurt Locke, but trying to get him to "let go". While Ben is being beaten, he has flashes of Desmond beating him in the original universe, as seen in Dead Is Dead.

Ben later meets Locke in the infirmary and conveys what was said between him and Desmond. After Locke hears this, he goes to see Jack in his office at the hospital. Locke tells him about them being on the same flight, Locke then being in a car accident and being brought to him of all doctors, and then about hearing Ben convey a message from Desmond that contained something Jack had said to Locke (getting him to "let go"), just as he had left the hospital from his injury. Locke states that he believes this is fate, and that it is his destiny for Jack to fix his wheelchair bound disability. Meanwhile, Ben meets Alex (Tania Raymonde) in the parking lot, who offers him a drive home with her mother Danielle Rousseau (Mira Furlan) because of his injured arm from Desmond's attack. She invites him to their home for a meal, and he accepts. Rousseau tells Ben that since Alex's father died, he has been the closest that she has had to a father.

Meanwhile, Desmond goes to the police station where James "Sawyer" Ford (Josh Holloway) and Miles Straume (Ken Leung) are employees, and Kate Austen (Evangeline Lilly) and Sayid Jarrah (Naveen Andrews) are being held in detention. Desmond confesses to running over Locke and beating up Ben, and Sawyer puts him in the same cell as Sayid, neighboring Kate's cell. A van arrives to transport Desmond, Kate, and Sayid, and they enter together.

The van, however, pulls over, and Ana Lucia Cortez (Michelle Rodriguez) opens the door and lets them out, demanding the money promised for setting them free. Desmond says it will be here soon, as Ana Lucia sets the three of them free, and a Hummer is seen pulling up to them. Hugo "Hurley" Reyes (Jorge Garcia) exits with the money, giving it to Ana Lucia. Desmond then instructs Sayid to ride with Hurley and tells Kate to ride with himself. Desmond hands Kate a dress and tells her they are going to a concert.

2007 (original timeline)[edit]

Following the events of "The Candidate", Jack, Kate, Hurley, and Sawyer wash up on a shore, having survived the submarine explosion. Jack then informs the group that they must find Desmond, reasoning that since the Man in Black (Terry O'Quinn) wanted Desmond dead, they would need him in the events to follow.

On their way to the well where Desmond was last seen, a younger Jacob (Kenton Duty) confronts Hurley alone, demanding the ashes of his adult body. Hurley willingly gives them, but younger Jacob runs away with them without answering any of Hurley's questions. Hurley chases him through the jungle to a campfire, where he now finds the adult Jacob (Mark Pellegrino) waiting for him. Jacob instructs him to bring the others, telling Hurley that once the campfire burns out, they will never be able to see Jacob again.

Jack, Kate, Hurley, and Sawyer make it to the campfire, where Jacob (who they can all see for the first time) tells them that they were brought to the island to take his place as protector of the island, and they were chosen above others because they were like him. They, throughout their lives, had nothing to cling to, and felt alone in the world, so he brought them here because they needed to fill that empty hole with the island. Jacob explains that the light, the "heart" of the island (seen in "Across the Sea"), needs to be protected from the Man in Black. He then tells them that one of them needs to choose to be the next guardian. Jack steps forward, stating that it was why he was brought there. Jacob's ghost then gives Jack a cup of water, and Jack takes the drink, accepting his responsibility. Jacob then tells Jack that he is "now like [him]".

Meanwhile, Ben, Miles, and Richard Alpert (Nestor Carbonell) are heading to the destroyed Barracks of the DHARMA Initiative. Ben enters the secret room where he was previously seen summoning the smoke monster, where he kept a stack of C4 that he was going to use to destroy the Ajira Flight 316 airplane in which the Man in Black was trying to leave the island. Before they can leave, Charles Widmore (Alan Dale) and Zoe (Sheila Kelley) are found in the house. Ben threatens to kill Widmore, who then claims that if he is killed, all hope will be lost.

Zoe, while spying on the docks, witnesses The Man in Black arrive, causing her and Widmore to hide in Ben's closet, while Ben and Richard decide to attempt to talk to the Man in Black. Miles runs off into the woods away from the events. Almost immediately after Richard goes out of the house to look for The Man in Black, he in his "Monster" form, charges into Richard and sends him flying off screen. The Man in Black then reappears as his indefinite guise as Locke to talk to Ben, telling Ben he had more people to kill and wanting to know where Widmore was. Ben reveals Widmore's location.

The Man in Black begins to interrogate Widmore and Zoe, but then slits Zoe's throat when Widmore tells her not to say anything, explaining that she was useless to him if she couldn't talk. He then gets Widmore to tell him why he is here by offering to spare the life of his daughter once he leaves the island. Widmore initially refuses to speak until Ben leaves the room, but The Man in Black convinces him to whisper the information to him. While Widmore is whispering into The Man in Black's ear, Ben shoots Widmore several times, killing him and coldly stating that "he doesn't get to save his daughter". The Man in Black claims that he had gotten the information he wanted regardless, and leaves with Ben.

The two arrive at the well where Desmond should have been, but it is empty and a rope is leading out of it. The Man in Black states that he was glad he had escaped, due to the fact that he could find him easily and use Desmond's resistance to electromagnetism to "destroy the island", having gathered the information from Widmore.


The episode was shown for approximately 1800 people at UCLA's Royce Hall on May 13, 2010 as a fundraiser for scholarships for the Colburn School of Performing Arts.[2][3] It was written by executive producers Edward Kitsis, Adam Horowitz and Elizabeth Sarnoff and directed by Paul Edwards.


Ratings and viewership[edit]

1.87 million Canadians watched this episode.[4] 10.17 million American viewers watched this episode,[5] the highest viewed episode since "The Package".[6]

Critical reception[edit]

The episode received critical acclaim. Review aggregate website Metacritic gave the episode a score of 89 out of 100, indicating "Universal Acclaim".[7] Both Cindy McLennan and Sam McPherson of Television Without Pity and TV Overmind, respectively, gave the episode a perfect score.[8][9] Chris Carabott of IGN gave the episode a score of 9.4, naming the episode "A fantastic setup for the series finale."[10] Noel Murray of The Onion A.V. Club stated "It was funny at times, poignant at times, shocking at times, and it made the overall picture a little bit clearer. And I especially liked the way the tone shifted as the episode progressed." In total, he gave the episode the score of 91.[11] Todd VanDerWerff of Los Angeles Times gave the episode a score of 90, stating, "What They Died For is a lot of things. It's a fantastic episode of "Lost," one that moves like a rocket. It's a big, relatively well-handled infodump that makes sure we know how everything and everyone fits into the big picture, mostly."[12] Jeff Jensen of Entertainment Weekly gave the episode the score of 80, saying that it was "A set-up episode, albeit an extremely entertaining one."[13]


  1. ^ Fordis, Jeff (May 13, 2010). "On Next Week's Lost on ABC". ABC Medianet. Retrieved May 12, 2010. 
  2. ^ "'Lost': What to expect in 'What They Died For' – From Inside the Box – Zap2it". Blog.zap2it.com. Retrieved 2010-05-16. 
  3. ^ Jensen, Jeff (May 14, 2010). "'Lost': Smokey is...What? | Totally 'Lost'". EW.com. Retrieved 2010-05-16. 
  4. ^ http://bbm.ca/_documents/top_30_tv_programs_english/2010/nat05172010.pdf
  5. ^ TV Ratings Top 25: Dancing Tops Idol With Viewers Again, Lost Finale Wins With Adults 18–49 – Ratings. TVbytheNumbers.
  6. ^ Tuesday Finals: V’s Loss Is Lost’s Gain – Ratings. TVbytheNumbers (March 31, 2010).
  7. ^ Jason Dietz (May 19, 2010). "Episode Review: Lost, "What They Died For"". Metacritic. Retrieved May 19, 2010. 
  8. ^ Cindy McLennan (May 19, 2010), "Lost TV Show – What They Died For – Lost Recaps, Lost Reviews, Lost Episodes | TWoP", Television Without Pity Retrieved May 19, 2010.
  9. ^ Sam McPherson (May 19, 2010), "LOST 6.16 “What They Died For” Review « TVOvermind", TV Overmind Retrieved May 19, 2010.
  10. ^ Chris Carabott (May 19, 2010), "Lost: "What They Died For" Review – TV Review at IGN" IGN Retrieved May 19, 2010.
  11. ^ Noel Murray (May 19, 2010), "“What They Died For” | Lost | TV Club | TV | The A.V. Club", The Onion A.V. Club Retrieved May 19, 2010.
  12. ^ Todd VanDerWerff (May 19, 2010), "'Lost': the one | Show Tracker | Los Angeles Times", Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 19, 2010.
  13. ^ Jeff Jensen (May 19, 2010), "'Lost' instant reaction: Start talking about "What They Died For" | EW.com", Entertainment Weekly Retrieved of May 19, 2010.

External links[edit]