- This article is about the episode. For the magazine issue, see The Beginning of the End (magazine).
"The Beginning of the End" is the premiere episode of Season 4 of Lost, and the seventy-third produced hour of the series as a whole. It was broadcast on January 31, 2008. Feeling that their rescue is close at hand, the survivors don't know whether to believe Charlie's final message that the people on the boat are not who they claim to be.
On the Island
Hurley stands beside the DHARMA van, radioing Jack to find out the situation regarding the call to the freighter. Jack confirms that he has talked to people on the boat, and that Naomi's people are on their way to pick them up. Jack winks at Ben after informing an ecstatic Hurley that they're going to meet them by the beach, and Hurley should pack his bags. Hurley runs off to the others at the beach to tell them the good news. Jin and Sayid finish collecting guns from the dead Others who attacked them, while Juliet is digging graves for them.
Later, while standing by the shore with Bernard, Hurley admits that he won the lottery, but believes it to be a curse, much to Bernard's disbelief. However, he figures that since he's been presumed dead in the crash, his money will be all gone and he will be "free." He decides he wants to do a cannonball dive into the ocean, reveling in his sense of freedom. Bernard agrees and encourages Hurley. When Hurley surfaces from his jump into the ocean, he sees Desmond returning to the beach in the outrigger. He immediately notices that Charlie is not with him and heads over to investigate.
Desmond informs everyone on the beach about Charlie's death and his final message. They begin arguing over what to do. Sawyer wants to use the Walkie-talkie to warn Jack, but Sayid cautions against it, warning that the freighter people must be monitoring all communications. When Sawyer starts to argue, Hurley grabs the walkie-talkie out of his hand and throws it into the ocean, insisting Desmond divulge what happened to Charlie. They grab their guns and head out to rendezvous with Jack and the rest of the survivors.
At the radio tower, Jack and the rest of the survivors are preparing to be rescued. Sun expresses her relief at being able to deliver her baby in a hospital, Claire jokes about rubbing it in. Rose joins the two, where Claire tells Rose that her husband seemed "quite the hero." Rose tells her that everyone knew Charlie was the real hero and told Claire to treat him "real good" when he got back, to which Claire was shocked at, but excited for too. Ben asks Rousseau to take Alex and flee as far away as possible, because he believes that everyone who is with Jack's group will die. When Ben refers to Alex as his daughter, Rousseau strikes him viciously, saying "She's not your daughter."
Jack and Kate discuss their imminent rescue. Jack says that if he sees Locke he will kill him. They receive an incoming call on the sat phone from Minkowski, who informs them their signal is weak and wants them to readjust it. Jack offers to do so, but Minkowski asks for Naomi. Not wanting to reveal Naomi is dead, Jack tells Minkowski that she is looking for firewood. He tells Minkowski he will try to find her. He turns around to look at her body, only to find that it is gone. Rousseau finds a trail of blood which she, Jack and a captive Ben prepare to follow. Before they go, Kate informs Jack that she found a separate trail and thinks Naomi may be trying to trick them. Jack says that since Naomi is injured she isn't thinking about creating dummy trails. Kate agrees, and hugs Jack goodbye.
Jack, Rousseau, and Ben reach the end of what they realize is a dummy trail, and Jack realizes the phone is missing. Ben admits he saw Kate take the phone while hugging him, but decided not to say anything until now. He remarks that at least Kate knows what she is doing.
Meanwhile, Kate heads into the jungle to find Naomi. She receives a call on the satellite phone and the caller asks again to speak to Naomi, Kate says they're looking for her, then abruptly hangs up the phone. She notices blood dripping on her from above and looks up to see Naomi dropping onto her from an overhanging tree limb. Naomi holds a knife to Kate's throat and accuses the survivors of trying to kill her. She demands the phone. Kate tries to convince her the attack was Locke's doing alone. The phone rings and Naomi speaks to George, telling him she has been injured, but lies and says she sustained her injuries when she parachuted onto the Island (an injury which she did actually sustain, but had healed from). She reconfigures the phone to allow the freighter to reacquire her signal, then apologizes to George and asks him to tell her sister she loves her. Naomi then dies from her stab wound.
As the group from the beach trek through the jungle, Hurley begins to fall behind. As he loses sight of the other survivors, Jacob's cabin appears in a nearby clearing. Hurley hears whispers, and suddenly a light appears in the cabin's window. Approaching carefully, Hurley looks through a broken window and sees Christian Shephard in the rocking chair. He then sees a painting of a dog, baring a striking similarity to Vincent, on the right wall of the cabin. A figure suddenly moves in front of the window and an eye appears, looking back at Hurley. Frightened, Hurley runs from the cabin. However, as he does so, he finds himself running towards the cabin again, yet it is in a different spot. He closes his eyes and tries to convince himself that the cabin is just an hallucination. When he opens his eyes, the cabin is gone. Amazed, Hurley takes a step back and trips backwards. As he is laying on the ground, Locke appears and greets him.
Hurley and Locke discuss Charlie's death and the general situation. Locke argues that if they can't convince Jack not to contact the people on the boat, Charlie will have died for nothing. They head off into the jungle and eventually catch up with Sayid and the others from the beach group, who have arrived at the cockpit.
Sayid begins to argue with Locke, especially about why he blew up the submarine. Just as Locke is about to respond, they hear faint whispers. The group from the radio tower has arrived. Hurley tells Claire that Charlie is dead and they console each other. Jack sneaks up on Locke, knocks him to the ground, grabs the gun, points it at Locke's head and releases the safety. Locke says, "You're not gonna shoot me, Jack. Any more than I was gonna shoot...", and Jack pulls the trigger, only to a click on an empty chamber. Jack begins to beat Locke and gets pulled off him by the other survivors.Locke says that all he's ever done has been in the best interest of the group. He tells everyone that they need to trust him that the freighter people are dangerous, and that he intends to go back to the Others' barracks since it's the most defensible place on the Island. He asks them to join him, saying, "If you want to live, you need to come with me." Jack says that Locke is insane, that only crazy people would follow him and that Locke always attempted to prevent their rescue. Hurley speaks up to say that Locke isn't crazy. He says Charlie's message has to be listened to, and joins Locke. Jack is left speechless. Next, Claire joins. Then two unnamed survivors, Rousseau, Ben (after asking permission from Jack), then Karl and Alex. To Kate's surprise, Sawyer also goes with Locke. Bernard asks Rose if she wants to go with Locke and stay on the Island, since she had expressed her wish to do so before. She tells him, "I'm not going anywhere with that man." Locke and his group leave.
Later, Jack and Kate are looking into the nose of the plane, reminiscing about Charlie and their trip to the cockpit. They hear a noise, which Kate initially mistakes for thunder, but which becomes clearer as the sound of a helicopter. They move into a clearing as a spotlight begins to stab down at them. They see a helicopter above, flying somewhat erratically. Something drops from the helicopter. They run towards it and see a parachutist. The parachutist removes his helmet and on seeing them asks, "Are you Jack?"
A giant pile of papaya fruit explodes when a speeding car drives through it. Jack is seen in his Los Angeles kitchen mixing a morning cocktail when his eye falls on TV coverage of police in hot pursuit of a speeding motorist in a Camaro, which Jack seems to recognize. We watch the chase from an omniscient perspective as it comes to an end. The police command the driver out of his car, and it's none other than Hurley who resists arrest while yelling, "I'm one of the Oceanic 6!"
Hurley is in a police interrogation room where he is shown a video of himself in a convenience store paying at the cash register, then "freaking out" and running out of the store. He races out of the store and ends up in a police chase in which he crashes his Camaro. The cop interrogating him reveals that he knew Ana Lucia Cortez, but Hurley denies knowing her. While Mike is out getting a donut, Hurley sees a vision of Charlie in his hoodie swimming up to a window in the interrogation room, which is suddenly underwater, and touching his hand to the window, causing it to break and allowing water to rush in. On Charlie's hand is written, "THEY NEED YOU." The cop enters the room when Hurley begins screaming and threatens him with incarceration in a mental institution. Hurley, however, looks relieved to hear this, and thanks the cop and hugs him.
Hurley is now back at the Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute and apparently happy. He is playing Connect Four when the orderly gives him his medicine and tells him he has a visitor. The man introduces himself as Matthew Abaddon and claims that he is an attorney for Oceanic Airlines. He tells Hurley that he wants to upgrade him to a nicer institute; one that's in better condition, where he will have his own bathroom and where he can see the ocean. This frightens Hurley as he doesn't want to see the ocean at all. Abaddon replies that is, "No problem." When Hurley grows suspicious of Abaddon's question and asks for a business card, the latter states that he must have left them at home. Hurley declines the offer, causing Abaddon to turn much more serious and ask, "Are they still alive?" Hurley looks startled and doesn't know what to say, and Abaddon continues to try and provoke him about what he knows. Thinking the man is after him, Hurley has a fit and starts to yell for a nurse. As the orderlies restrain him, he glimpses back and sees Abaddon leave.
Hurley is sitting on the grounds of the Hospital when Lewis comes over and says that a man is staring at him, he looks over to see Charlie. Hurley is shocked and starts to run away as Charlie tries to calm him down. Hurley states that he freaked out at the store because he saw him there, and that he can't really be there since he's dead. Charlie slaps him, telling him that he really is there, and that he is indeed dead. After they talk about Charlie's death, Charlie says Hurley has to do "something" that Hurley has been avoiding, and he claims the reason Hurley ran from him was because he knew he was there to "tell him." Hurley says he doesn't want to hear any more and closes his eyes and counts to five, while he does, Charlie tells him "don't do this," and then "You know they need you." When Hurley opens his eyes, Charlie is gone.
A much more in control Jack than seen in "Through the Looking Glass, Part 1" visits Hurley and plays a game of horse (basketball) with him. The two begin the game talking about being noticed frequently. Jack says the reporters are leaving him alone and only gets asked for autographs while buying coffee. He also mentions to Hurley that he's thinking of growing a beard. Hurley is glad to see him but wonders why he came. Jack, after losing a few shots to Hurley, asks if he is "going to tell." Hurley doesn't respond. Jack decides to leave and grabs his coat. Hurley says he's sorry he went with Locke, and that he should have gone with Jack instead, but Jack says that it's not an issue. Hurley wonders if they should go back to the Island and says "it" will do whatever it takes to bring them back. Jack says he will never go back to the Island, to which Hurley replies, "Never say never, dude," as Jack exits the room.
- A commercial for the movie Jumper aired during the Australian broadcast of the episode in which a logo from "Aero Grande Airways" appeared with the slogan "Get Lost With Us."
- The letters H and O show up several times in this episode. "H" is the 8th letter of the alphabet and "O" is the 15th, together this makes 815.
- While playing horse with Hurley, Jack gets the letters "H" and "O." *
- Behind Hurley as he’s freaking out over Abaddon there’s a small sculpture of the letters ‘HO’ on a shelf.
- Hurley mentions Charlie’s ghost showing up in the convenience store right next to the “Ho Ho’s.”
- Randy Nations is seen filming the end of the car chase with a camera.
- Kate joining up with the rest of the group at the cockpit marks the first time that all of the living, free survivors of Flight 815 have been in the same location at the same time since "Live Together, Die Alone, Part 1".
- When Hurley is talking to Abaddon the chalkboard behind them shows a drawing of a freighter, an island, and a shark. Another finger painting has the word "victory" painted in red.
- Hurley's cannonball is reminiscent of a real jump into the ocean taken by Jorge Garcia. According to the Season 1 DVD bonus feature "Welcome to Oahu", Garcia dived into the water as soon as filming was complete on the Pilot, calling it "a little symbolic moment of triumph."
- Originally, Hurley was going to come across himself in Jacob’s cabin, but the network urged the writers to change the scene to Christian Shephard, afraid it would set a precedent of weirdness. 1
- This is Dominic Monaghan's last main cast credit as Charlie, though he technically makes a guest starring appearance.
- This episode has 17 credited main cast members, the most of any episode.
- Jeremy Davies joins the cast as a regular in this episode as Daniel.
- Harold Perrineau rejoins the cast as a regular as Michael. The yet-to-be-introduced Rebecca Mader and Ken Leung also join the cast as regulars in this episode as Charlotte and Miles, though none appear in this episode.
- This is the first season premiere not to be Jack-centric.
- Even though the first flash-forward starts from Hurley's point of view, it cuts to Jacks perspective for a moment and then returns to Hurley's.
- This is the first season premiere not to begin with a close up shot of someone's eye.
- Hurley's underwater vision was filmed in an aquarium (the same set used for The Looking Glass's moon pool), but Charlie was later added in. 
- The painting that Hurley made of an Eskimo and igloo while outside on the hospital grounds was actually painted by Jorge Garcia during the scene. 
- This is the highest rated episode of Lost's season 4 on ABC with a total of 16.14 million viewers. No episode has rated higher than this since.
- An audio commentary by Evangeline Lilly and Jorge Garcia for this episode is available on the Season 4 DVD.
- A Lost: On Location for this episode is available on the Season 4 DVD.
Bloopers and continuity errors
- Jack has lost a lot of weight between "Through The Looking Glass" and this episode despite only taking place minutes apart. In reality this was because actor Matthew Fox was filming "Speed Racer" during the summer hiatus.
- Minkowski's voice is different from the one heard in "Through the Looking Glass, Part 1".
- Blood covers Bernard's right cheek just before he hugs Rose but when Rose looks at his face after the hug, the blood disappears. Furthermore, earlier on in the episode there was no blood on his right cheek while he was talking with Hurley about the cannonball.
|Animals • Black and white • Character connections • Children • Coincidence • Death • Deceptions and cons • Dreams • Economics • Electromagnetism • Eyes • Fate versus free will • Games • Good and bad people • Imprisonment • Isolation • Leadership • Life and death • Literary works • Mirrors • Missing body parts • Nicknames • The Numbers • Pairings • Parapsychology • Parent issues • Pregnancies • Psychology • Rain • Redemption • Relationships • Religion • Revenge • Salvation • Secrets|
- Hurley's car chase was aired on Channel 8. (The Numbers) (Car accidents)
- Hurley crashes his Camaro into a parking-lot full of mirrors. Breaking mirrors is often associated with seven years of bad luck. (Fate versus free will)
- Hurley plays Connect Four in the mental institution. (Games) (The Numbers)
- Charlie says "I am dead... but I'm also here". (Life and death)
- Jack and Hurley have their conversation while playing a basketball game called H-O-R-S-E. (Games)
- Hurley sees someone's (possibly Jacob's) eye through the window of the cabin. (Eyes)
- Hurley is back at the Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute. (Isolation)
- Hurley lies about Ana Lucia's fate. (Deceptions and cons)
- Naomi seems to cover for the survivors, meanwhile using a code to warn her team. (Deceptions and cons)
- Jack asks if Hurley is "going to tell." (Secrets)
- Hurley has visions of Charlie (Dreams and visions)
- When the survivor factions split, it starts raining. (Rain)
- Hurley gets connected accidentally to Ana Lucia through her former partner. (Character connections)
- Matthew Abaddon sits at a chessboard, on the light side. Hurley sits away from either side of the board, between dark and light. (Games) (Black and White)
- In the opening flashforward, the design on Hurley's t-shirt features the phrase "Bad Luck". (Fate versus free will)
- 'Sawyer refers to Hurley as "Ése", a term used to refer to a fellow person of Hispanic descent, most generally Mexicans. (Nicknames)
- Earlier he did the same in "Tricia Tanaka Is Dead"
| Cultural references|
(direct references only)
|Art • Automobiles • Games • History • Literary works • Movies and TV • Music • Philosophy • Religion and ideologies • Science|
- Star Trek: Sawyer humorously calls Desmond Scotty when he first returns to the beach in a distressed state. This is a reference to the Scottish engineer on Star Trek. (Movies and TV)
- The Bible: Abaddon is the name for the "Angel of the Abyss" in Revelation. This angel does the work of God in binding Satan and hurling him into the Abyss. "Abaddon" means "destroyer," or "destruction" in Hebrew. More precisely, this name comes from the Hebrew root word aleph-bet-daled, which means "lost." (Religion and ideologies)
- H-O-R-S-E: Jack and Hurley play this basketball variation (pronounced as "horse"). With 2 players competing, player #1 is allowed to shoot from anywhere on the court and, if he makes the shot, then player #2 must duplicate the same shot from the same position. If player #2 misses, he receives the first "letter" from the word "horse". However, if player #1 misses his original shot; then player #2 is now free to shoot from anywhere on the court and, hopefully, force player #1 to try and duplicate his made shots. A player is knocked out of the game once he has enough letters to spell out the word "horse." (Games)
- O. J. Simpson: Jack places a container of orange juice on a table while the TV is visible in the background showing the police chasing Hurley's car. The shot is very similar to shots of the police chasing O. J. Simpson in June 1994.
- The Terminator: Locke's line, "If you want to live you need to come with me" recalls a similar line in the movie by Michael Biehn, "Come with me if you want to live." (Movies and TV)
- Ladybug: As Abaddon sits at the chessboard when visiting Hurley at the institution, a picture of a ladybug is visible on the wall behind him. In ancient times, the ladybug was symbolic of the Virgin Mary (the red color symbolic of Mary's robes and the ladybug's spots signify the seven sorrows Mary experienced). The ladybug on the wall in the mental institution makes a reappearance on the refrigerator in Jack and Kate's apartment in "Something Nice Back Home". (Religion and ideologies)
|Comparative: Irony • Juxtaposition • Foreshadowing Plotting: Cliffhanger • Plot twist Stock characters: Archetype • Redshirt • Unseen character|
Story: Flashbacks • Flash-forwards • Flash sideways • Framing device • Regularly spoken phrases • Symbolism • Unreliable narrator
- Events are seen that occur after Hurley and Jack get off the Island. (Flashforwards)
- Jack is considering growing a beard and isn't yet convinced that they should return to the Island. (Foreshadowing)
- Hurley counts to five to make Charlie disappear. (Regularly spoken phrases)
- Hurley tells Jack, "Never say never" to the prospect of returning to the Island. (Regularly spoken phrases)
- Hurley cannonballs into the water and comes out of the water to see that everything has changed. (symbolizes baptism; going down his old self "dies" and he rises out of the water being changed or "reborn" and he is completely different) (Symbolism)
- When confronted with Jacob's cabin, Hurley closes his eyes and ears to "make it go away" (and it does). Later, when confronted with Charlie, he does the same to the same results -- as he believes those things, current and future, are imaginary and this procedure should do the job. (Foreshadowing) (Juxtaposition)
- Charlie has something written in his hand against a glass just before a flood, exactly like happened before, in the underwater station. (Foreshadowing)
- The episode begins with a chaotic situation in a flashforward, with Hurley's car chase and subsequent arrest, whereas the situation on the Island at the beginning of the episode is somewhat joyous and calm with the news of rescue coming. However, the episode ends with Hurley and Jack leisurely playing a game of basketball in the flashforward, while the situation on the Island has become chaotic with arrival of the parachutist and the division of the survivor factions. (Juxtaposition)
|A-Missions • Crimes • Economics • Leadership • O-Missions • Relationships • F-Missions • Rivalries • S-Missions|
- By the end of the hour, the castaways are split into two factions: Locke's group, who believe the freighter people represent a mortal threat, and Jack's group, who don't. (Leadership) (Rivalries).
- Ben asks for Jack's permission when joining Locke's team. (Leadership)
- Jack and Kate reminisce about the time they came out together at the front-section plane wreckage. ("Pilot, Part 1")
- Hurley is playing Connect Four at the Santa Rosa Mental Health Institute. ("Numbers") ("Dave")
- When Charlie slaps Hurley to prove he's real, it's in very much the same manner as Dave did to convince Hurley he was real as well. ("Dave")
- The Camaro is the car which Hurley began to help his father fix as a young boy. ("Tricia Tanaka Is Dead")
- Rose tells Bernard, "I'm not going anywhere with that man," speaking of Locke. This is reminiscent of the last Hurley-centric episode, in which he told his father, "I'm not going anywhere with you." ("Tricia Tanaka Is Dead")
- Naomi tells Minkowski that she was injured when she parachuted onto the Island and was stabbed by a branch. Though this is not the injury that she is actually suffering from now, the incident did happen. ("Catch-22") ("D.O.C.")
- Hurley crashes his Camaro into a parking-lot full of mirrors. ("Through the Looking Glass, Part 1")
- Jack tells Hurley that he's thinking about growing a beard. ("Through the Looking Glass, Part 1")
- The title of the episode refers to Ben's remark to Jack, "This'll be your last chance, Jack. I'm telling you, making that call is the beginning of the end." ("Through the Looking Glass, Part 1")
- Jack yells to Hurley, "We're never going back!", the opposite of what he said to Kate, "We have to go back!" ("Through the Looking Glass, Part 1")
- Christian Shephard is wearing a single white tennis shoe; the other shoe that was hanging from a branch close to where Jack woke up after the crash. ("Pilot, Part 1") It is known that Christian was in the area at the time. ("So It Begins")
- Hurley tells Jack "never say never" in reply to Jack saying they're never going back to the Island. Ben once told Jack never to say never at the prospect of wanting to return to the Island. ("King of the Castle")
- For fan theories about these unanswered questions, see: The Beginning of the End/Theories
- How is Lewis able to see Charlie?
- Whose eye appeared in the cabin’s window?
- How is the cabin able to move?
- Why does the cabin door open when Hurley sees it?
- Title confirmation: Episodic Photographic Assets
- ABC Medianet Press Release Bundle (01/14/08): Word Doc/PDF