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Hugo ''Hurley'' Reyes (Jorge Garcia)
Pre-crash story: Depressed and employed at Mr. Cluck's Chicken Shack, Hurley played the lottery with a combination of numbers he heard repeated by a fellow mental patient. Although he won $156 million, he considered himself cursed following a series of unfortunate events (dead grandpa, stray meteorite, etc.). He was taking Flight 815 home after visiting Australia to learn about the digits.
Island story: Affable and helpful (he built a golf course to reduce stress), Hurley remained haunted by the numbers. But he also blossomed, finding brief romance with Libby and helping to thwart the Others with a heroic Dharma van ride (Dude!). One of six rescued castaways, Hurley wound up back in a mental home. (Did we mention he talks to the dead?) Ultimately, Jacob prodded him to return to the Island, where he learned he was a candidate to watch over the Island.
Sideways story: Meet the self-described ''luckiest guy in the world,'' a happy lottery winner with a Mr. Cluck's empire. He was approached by Libby, a mental patient who claimed to have known him in ''another life.'' When the two finally kissed on a beach, memories of their Island life flooded Hurley's mind. —Dan Snierson
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Claire Littleton (Emilie de Ravin)
Pre-crash story: About to put her unborn baby up for adoption, the wide-eyed Aussie visited a psychic who ominously warned her to raise the child before reversing course: Let an L.A. couple adopt this baby. Take Flight 815.
Island story: She was kidnapped by Other Ethan, who stuck her with needles. She did birth Aaron, but left him behind, following dead dad Christian into the woods. MIA in season 5, Claire reemerged as a survivalist under UnLocke's spell. Although Claire tried to stab Kate for raising Aaron, Kate persuaded her to ditch UnLocke.
Sideways story: Cabjacked by Kate and spurned by the prospective parents, Claire went into labor, postponing delivery with Dr. Ethan's needle. As Claire headed into an adoption agency, Desmond steered her to attorney Ilana, who, as executor of Christian's will, was looking for her. Claire, meet brother Jack. —Dan Snierson
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Kate Austen (Evangeline Lilly)
Pre-crash story: After torching a house occupied by her abusive father, she went on the lam — with a U.S. marshal in hot pursuit. During Kate's time on the run, she snuck home to Iowa to see her cancer-stricken mother — but got her own childhood sweetheart killed while trying to flee the hospital. The chase ended in Australia, and the marshal was bringing her back stateside in handcuffs on the doomed Oceanic Flight 815.
Island story: At first, she hid her criminal past and played Jack and Sawyer off each other for her own gain — setting up a love triangle that would stretch out over the rest of the series. But she showed her softer side when delivering Claire's baby, whom she raised after the Oceanic Six escaped the Island. She also agreed to marry Jack, though their relationship ended over her devotion to carrying out a secret promise to Sawyer.
Sideways story: She slipped away from the marshal at the airport, then carjacked Claire's taxi. Feeling guilty after kicking Claire out of the car, Kate tracked Claire down, even driving the mom-to-be to the hospital when she went into labor. Later apprehended by flirty cop James Ford, Kate's still in police custody. —Jennifer Armstrong
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Jin-Soo Kwon (Daniel Dae Kim)
Pre-crash story: The Korean fisherman's son met his rich-girl future wife, Sun, while working at an upscale hotel. When he asked for Sun's hand in marriage, her father gave him a factory manager job and, later, promoted him to an ''enforcer'' who often had to carry out violent orders. Jin was handling one last mission when the couple boarded the Oceanic flight to L.A.
Island story: Even though he was infertile pre-Island, he got Sun pregnant. Presumed dead in the freighter explosion, Jin ended up time-travelling back to the 1970s Dharma compound with the other survivors and returned to present Island life with them. After being kidnapped by Widmore, he was finally reunited with Sun. But they would only be together for a short time before drowning in the submarine bombing.
Sideways story: His suitcase full of undeclared money was seized at customs, setting off a string of troubles for himself and his paramour, Sun — who wasn't his spouse in this alternate timeline. When a henchman came to collect the cash, he took Jin hostage and told him Sun's father had hired him to kill Jin. A chance run-in with Sayid and a shoot-out with his captors freed Jin, but wounded Sun, who revealed she's expecting a baby. —Jennifer Armstrong
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Sun-Hwa Kwon (Yunjin Kim)
Pre-crash story: Sun might have been the daughter of a powerful Korean businessman, but her life was hardly sunny. As soon as Jin began working for Sun's father, the couple began drifting apart, leading Sun to have an affair with a man who was teaching her English.
Island story: Sun's relationship with Jin was turbulent, but the duo bonded over her pregnancy. Tragedy struck when Sun, who escaped with the rest of the Oceanic Six, thought she lost Jin in the freighter explosion. Sun delivered her baby, but returned to the Island in hopes of finding Jin. Following a long separation, they were finally reunited only to die together in the submarine explosion shortly thereafter.
Sideways story: Though unmarried, Jin and Sun were having an affair — and, after landing in L.A. on a trip for Sun's father, eager to run away together. At least until Keamy got in the way. Sun was shot during a subsequent struggle; bleeding from her stomach, she told Jin, ''I'm pregnant.'' —JA
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James ''Sawyer'' Ford (Josh Holloway)
Pre-crash story: A young James saw his dad gun down his mom, and then himself, after a con man named Sawyer swindled them. Although James vowed to find and kill Sawyer, he eventually took the name and became a con man himself.
Island story: After the crash, Sawyer hoarded medicine and weapons, and was all too happy to join the raft party's (unsuccessful) attempt to leave the Island. Kidnapped by the Others, Sawyer and Kate got romantic in Dharma polar bear cages; later, thanks to the Others, he finally killed the real Sawyer (who was also Locke's father). While escaping the Island, Sawyer leapt from a fuel-starved chopper so the castaways on board could get away. Zapped back to the Island circa 1974, he became head of Dharma security, and fell in love with Juliet. They lived happily for three years, until Jack's attempt to blow up the Island killed Juliet. Sawyer double-crossed UnLocke in a play to steal Widmore's submarine, only to unwittingly cause the sub to sink after his attempt to disarm UnLocke's bomb caused it to explode instead.
Sideways story: Still obsessed with killing the con man who destroyed his family, James Ford became a cop. He nabbed a fugitive Kate and a wanted Sayid. —Adam B. Vary
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Sayid Jarrah (Naveen Andrews)
Pre-crash story: ''My name is Sayid Jarrah, and I am a torturer.'' So said the former Iraqi Republican Guard interrogator to Ben Linus in season 2. But the tough-as-nails Sayid was not merely a cold-blooded coercer, but also a man of conscience and courage haunted by guilt and betrayal.
Island story: Sayid was, from the earliest days on the Island, a man of smarts, strength, and spirituality. His military background, expertise with electronics, and deep-rooted skepticism, made him an essential part of the survivors', well, survival. But it was his own life that was in jeopardy at the end of season 5 when Sayid was mortally shot by Roger Linus... that is, until he was submerged in the cleansing waters of the Temple and miraculously resurrected. Was Sayid's soul actually ''infected'' by The Sickness as the Others claimed? The man who was always in search of redemption ended up giving his life to protect his fellow castaways.
Sideways story: Sayid's still in love with Nadia, but in this reality she was married to his older brother Omer, who owned a dry cleaning business in L.A. and was in trouble with mobsters over an unpaid debt. Enter Keamy, one of Widmore's badass mercenaries in the Island story. Sayid tried to help his brother and ended up shooting Keamy, freeing Sideways Jin from the baddies' clutches at the same time. —Chris Nashawaty
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John Locke (Terry O'Quinn)
Pre-crash story: A seemingly unremarkable man who yearned for adventure and belonging — this was the John Locke that fell to the Island. The son of a teen mom and a con man drifter, John was raised in foster homes and twice had the chance to come to The Island as a kid. As an adult, Locke became obsessed with his father, Anthony Cooper, who tricked him into giving up a kidney. His fixation cost him his true love, Helen Norwood, and his legs when Cooper threw him out of an eighth floor window. But powerful forces had taken an interest in John and guided him toward the Island.
Island story: With his legs inexplicably healed, Locke believed that a mysterious destiny had brought the castaways to The Island. Yet his most notable adventures — pushing a button in an underground hatch for a whole season; trying to prove himself worthy of leading The Others by getting Sawyer to kill his bad dad; clashing with Jack over staying on or leaving The Island — proved him dangerously vulnerable to Island power players promising him purpose and answers. During a bizarre and deadly time travel adventure, Locke ''met'' Richard Alpert in the fifties in hopes of gleaning Jacob's plan for his life (Alpert and perhaps other Island entities like the Man In Black subsequently became interested in Locke's life) and ultimately left The Island in order to bring the Oceanic 6 back to its shores. Alas, during the mission, his jealous Island rival, Benjamin Linus, murdered him. Jack Shephard took up Locke's cause and brought John's body back to The Island, not realizing that in so doing, he was facilitating a sinister plot hatched by the Man In Black.
Smokey Story: The Monster — a shape-shifting entity trapped on The Island — subsequently assumed his appearance. Posing as Locke, this long-suffering villain (also known as the Man In Black) manipulated Ben into murdering his enemy, the idealistic Island guardian Jacob. Wanting to escape The Island and return ''home,'' wherever that is, Fake Locke now needs to kill Jacob's would-be successor. The candidates: Locke (dead), Jin and Sun (both dead), Sayid (dead), Jack, Hurley, and Sawyer. Most of Smokey's backstory remains a mystery — but illumination is forthcoming.
Sideways story: Though still a paraplegic (cause: unknown), Locke was happy. He was engaged to Helen and had just landed a fulfilling job as a high school teacher. Then, Desmond Hume ran him over. Desmond! How rude! Presumably, Desmond was trying to create a crisis that would unlock Locke's Island memories and/or facilitate an enlightening encounter for Jack — but still rude! Doc Shephard saved John's life, but John declined Doc Shephard's offer to fix his spine. After Jack poked and prodded, John finally revealed that he had crashed a small plane he was piloting. He survived, but lost the use of his legs. His passenger — Anthony Cooper, his father — also ''survived,'' at least technically speaking: Sideways Cooper, all but brain-dead, now lives in a convalescent home. To date, Sideways Locke remains unaware of his Island life. —Jeff Jensen
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Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox)
Pre-crash story: The son of an alcoholic surgeon who believed his boy lacked the emotional mettle for heroism, Jack Shephard devoted his life to proving his father wrong... and wound up proving him correct. Jack, a brilliant spinal surgeon, became hooked on ''fixing people.'' His bitter pathology and savior addiction drove off his wife, a former miracle patient named Sarah. His paranoid (and wrong) suspicion that Sarah and Christian Shephard were having an affair effectively derailed his father's bid for sobriety. When Christian wound up dead in Australia, Jack went down under to claim the body.
Island story: As castaway leader, Jack took it upon himself to keep his people alive and get them rescued. But the hyper-rational superman clashed with the other Alpha Males in the camp, especially mystically oriented John Locke. Jack escaped with five other castaways, but his old obsessions re-emerged, costing him a happily-ever-after relationship with Kate. Following John Locke's apparent suicide, Jack put down the scientific mindset and adopted a zealous, unrefined 'man of faith' perspective. He took up John's mission of wooing his fellow escapees back to their tropical twilight zone and succeeded. Landing in the Dharma past, Jack came to believe he could solve all castaway problems by blowing up a hydrogen bomb on The Island and changing history. No dice, Einstein! Jack was bounced back to the Island present with the other time travelers and learned that a powerful Island god named Jacob had been watching him and other castaways for decades. This kinda creeped him out, but he rallied to the idea that Jacob had a plan for his life. His newfound Locke-esque belief in Island destiny rankled Sawyer, now playing Jack's old we-gotta-get-out-of-this-place part. Still, Jack backed Sawyer's submarine escape plan, though he fought with the ex-con man on how to handle Fake Locke's bomb. Jack believed it would do nothing if they did nothing. He may have been right — but we'll never know. With the castaways reeling from their most painful defeat, all eyes are again on Jack to save the day.
Sideways story: Very much the same guy — except he has a musical prodigy son, David. Like his Island world self, Jack has discovered he has a half-sister, Claire, and the revelation has triggered some weird déjà vu — as if Jack is beginning to recall his Island past. He recently became obsessed with fixing Sideways Locke's busted spine and helping him walk again, and his quest to learn the secret behind Locke's resistance brought him into contact with Bernard, who may or may not be ''enlightened'' with Island memories. What will it take for Jack to remember his castaway life? TBD... —Jeff Jensen
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Richard Alpert (Nestor Carbonell)
Pre-crash story: A Canary Islands farmer in the 1800s, Richard accidentally killed a doctor he hoped would help his dying wife, Isabella. Sentenced to death, he was instead sold into slavery, but his ship, the Black Rock, crashed on the Island. In exchange for eternal life, Richard agreed to represent Jacob to potential Island habitues. He would play a key role in Island events, traveling to California to visit a young John Locke, bringing a wounded Ben to the Temple for healing, later assisting Ben's wipeout of the Dharma Initiative, and recruiting fertility doctor Juliet Burke.
Island story: He once helped Locke depose Ben as leader of the Others, but now wants to thwart UnLocke: After Jacob's death, he lost his will to live, but when Isabella, via Hurley, instructed him to stop the Man In Black from reaching the outside world, he set out to foil Smokey's escape plan(e). —DS
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Benjamin Linus (Michael Emerson)
Pre-crash story: Ben's widowed father joined the Dharma Initiative when Ben was eight. Soon after, Richard Alpert healed young Ben at the Temple after he was shot by a time-traveling Sayid. As an adult, Ben gassed all of Dharma (including his father), and exiled the Others' leader, Charles Widmore, installing himself in Widmore's place.
Island story: Ben used his powers of deception in an elaborate plan to get Jack to operate on the cancerous tumor on Ben's spine. (Jack did, very reluctantly.) Threatened by potential rival Locke, Ben shot and left him for dead. Locke survived, but Widmore's mercenaries killed Ben's adoptive daughter Alex, and Ben was forced to move the Island to protect it, though that action transported him away from his adopted home. For years, Ben worked to take out Widmore's operation. He also killed Locke, but once back on the Island, a seemingly resurrected Locke instructed Ben to kill Jacob, the true leader of the Others. Ben obliged, only to realize that this Locke was really the Smoke Monster. Ben resolved to work with Richard to stop Smokey's attempt to escape the Island.
Sideways story: Having left Dharma with his dad when he was a child, Ben teaches high school history in L.A. He gave up a play for the principal's job to save the college future of Alex, his best student. —Adam B. Vary
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Desmond Hume (Henry Ian Cusick)
Pre-crash story: Life really began for Desmond, a monastery washout and runaway groom, when he met Penny Widmore, his eternal love. He wanted to propose to her, but for a variety of reasons — mainly, her father Charles' disapproval — he set off to prove himself. A stint in the British army ended with a dishonorable discharge. Plan B: Win a race around the world, sponsored by Charles Widmore.
Island story: After Desmond's boat crashed on the Island, he spent three years in the Swan station, entering the Numbers into a computer every 108 minutes. In the process, Desmond inadvertently caused Oceanic Flight 815 to crash. The eventual destruction of the Swan (and the resulting release of electromagnetic radiation) led Desmond's consciousness to become unstuck in time. Though he and Penny were ultimately reunited (they now have a son, Charlie), Desmond remains a pivotal figure on the Island due to his curious chrono-metabolism.
Sideways story: Desmond Hume lives an Up in the Air lifestyle, jet-setting around the world for his beloved boss Charles Widmore. After a run-in with Sideways Charlie, however, Sideways Desmond becomes aware of the Island world. He's now something of an alternate reality guardian angel, working to bring together the Sideways versions of the castaways. —Darren Franich
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Charles Widmore (Alan Dale)
Pre-crash story: A member of the Others since he was a teenager, Charles Widmore eventually became leader of the mysterious group of Islanders. In the process, he became a lifelong enemy of Ben Linus, the upstart Dharma lad who ultimately seized control of the Others and exiled Widmore from the Island. As the head of Widmore Industries, Charles relentlessly searched for a way to get back to the Island.
Island story: Widmore sent the freighter Kahana to the Island, hiring a band of mercenaries to kidnap Ben and murder anyone else on the Island. (He also planted fake Oceanic 815 wreckage at the bottom of the ocean.) Widmore has long been working behind the scenes in many ways — helping John Locke find the Oceanic Six, partnering with Sun in an effort to kill Ben, sending his son Daniel Faraday to the Island — but he recently succeeded in returning to the Island. A showdown with the Smoke Monster is inevitable, but Widmore's ultimate intentions for the Island, and the Losties, are still uncertain.
Sideways story: He's still a successful businessman, but Sideways Widmore's life seems a bit less complicated. He's married to Eloise Hawking, has two children he spoils, and enjoys sharing a glass of MacCutcheon whisky with Desmond Hume, the man whose life he consistently ruined in the Island world. —DF