Image via WikipediaIf you, as a fan of LOST, have ever met someone who says either they've watched the whole thing and don't get why there was a random polar bear, or someone who doesn't follow the show specifically because they don't get the random polar bear, then you know this: Infinitely more annoying than the currently outstanding list of questions yet to be answered in the series are the people who think there are more unanswered questions than there actually are. We like to think the Island is this mysterious place where a bunch of random things happen that teach us more about the characters than they do about the origin and nature of the Island itself. Some have even gone so far as to believe the writers are making it up as they go along. This is simply not true. In a few days the final season of LOST will begin and all your questions will be either answered or rendered irrelevant. But I suppose even the most avid fan sometimes needs a refresher, so before you annoy me by asking how Ben became the leader of the Others, let's go over some of the questions that have already been answered.
Needless to say, I'll be heading deep into spoiler territory without even a second glance at the spoiler button, so if you're a n00b to LOST, then just go ahead and move along...
1) What's With the Random Polar Bear?
The DHARMA Initiative brought polar bears and other animals to the island in order to run tests on them. When DHARMA was purged by the Others, they left the animals behind and these animals were cared for by the Others. During the purge, some of the polar bears escaped and roamed the island freely where they came into contact with the Oceanic survivors. The Blast Door Map suggests that the polar bears were being genetically altered to survive in warmer climates.
2) How Did Ben Become the Leader of the Others?
Before Ben was the leader, he just hung out with the Others and followed the lead of Charles Widmore.When Ben successfully convinces the Others that Charles is a threat to them, he gets Charles banished from the island and then becomes the leader.
3) What the Heck is the DHARMA Initiative?
Department of Heuristics and Research on Material Applications. "Heuristics" is a method of problem solving in which one comes to a solution using experience-based techniques. In this case, the DHARMA Initiative came to the island in order to study and run experiments on the unique properties found on the island. Supposedly, their purpose is to study the island and bring back to the mainland the science they learn. Little did they know they would be encroaching on the territory of the Others.
4) Is Locke Really Dead?
Probably. In the beginning of season 5's two-part finale, we see a Man in Black talking to Jacob hundreds of years ago about some day finding "a loophole." We haven't been told what this loophole is or why he needs it, but when the guy who we thought was Locke references this loophole at the end of part two we can be relatively certain that this is not Locke and is, indeed, the Man in Black... somehow. The Locke we know and love is rolled out onto the sands of the island... dead as a doornail. And probably a little smelly by now.
5) Why Does the Smoke Monster Take Some and Not Others?
The Smoke Monster acts as a sort of judge or arbiter on the Island. Most of the monster's origin and nature are so far unknown. As seen in the cave under the temple with Ben, it has the ability to take on human form and communicate verbally, which would explain how some people see dead or gone people on the island talking to them (like how Ben saw his late daughter). Sometimes it encounters people in order to drag them away and kill them and sometimes it leaves people alone, floating in the air, staring in people's face and then slinking away. The Smoke Monster looks into your soul and decides whether or not you are a threat to the island or the Temple and if you prove to be a person of questionable motives, it drags you away. If it finds you pure of heart, it leaves you alone.
6) Was Ben Really Talking to Someone in Jacob's Cabin?
No, but someone ended up talking back. Ben was trying to put on a show for Locke. Ben had never before ever seen Jacob and he thought he could convince Locke that Jacob was invisible. After all, Locke had seen so many other crazy things, why not an invisible man? When the cabin started to rumble and a voice started to call out... well, that was unexpected.
7) Why is DHARMA Still Receiving Supply Crates Years After They Were Gone?
This is never really explicitly answered, but look at it this way: even going to the island can end up sending you through time. If DHARMA had it set up back on the mainland to send supplies for as long as they were there, it's possible those supplies got stuck in time and sent ahead a few years.
Here it is in all its glory. Don't stare too long - you might get a headache. This map was drawn on the blast door of the Swan station and was destroyed when the Swan station imploded. It was started by Radzinksy, continued by Kelvin and discovered by Locke. It maps out all the DHARMA stations and gives an inordinate amount of clues etched around the sides and through the middle. There are all sorts of mysteries in this map, some of which you'd probably have to study for hours before really understanding. In the end I think the map is really just a red herring. There may be some legitimate answers buried in there, but if it really meant anything they wouldn't have blown it up along with the swan station.
Do you have any other questions? Ask them in the comments and I'll see if I can answer them.